When Joe Biden meets with the family of George Floyd on Tuesday to acknowledge the one-year anniversary of the day former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin murdered Floyd in broad daylight, it will not be a perfunctory photo op. Instead, the president will use the visit as an opportunity to push for the passage of police reform legislation currently languishing in Congress, sources told The Root.
In stark contrast to the previous president, who responded to Floyd’s May 2020 death by noting the tragedy of the “white people” who are killed by police, Biden will host the Floyd family at the White House on Tuesday. The day of remembrance will also be used to remind elected officials that there are steps this country can take to blunt the scourge of police violence.
According to sources familiar with the event scheduled for Tuesday, Vice President Kamala Harris will join Biden, Director of the U.S. Domestic Policy Council Susan Rice and senior White House adviser Cedric Richmond. The attendees are key players in the ongoing negotiations for the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. While the meeting has been painted as a conventional public relations appearance, Biden’s main goal is to reaffirm his administration’s commitment to police reform, sources say. The White House plans to cast the event in the same light as other conferences with stakeholders, policymakers and senior officials. In what is sure to be a difficult day for Floyd’s loved ones, Biden will reportedly use the bully pulpit of the presidency to remind the country and lawmakers of the desperate need to reform America’s centuries-old practices of policing that disproportionately affect Black Americans.
The president has developed a relationship with the family but has not seen them since Floyd’s funeral last year. Sources indicate that the Biden administration officials will be joined by eight members of the Floyd family, including:
- Gianna Floyd, George’s daughter
- Roxie Washington, Gianna Floyd’s mother
- Bridgett Floyd, George’s sister
- Philonise Floyd, George’s brother
- Keeta Floyd, Philonise Floyd’s wife
- Rodney Floyd, George’s brother
- Terrence Floyd, George’s brother
- Brandon Williams, George Floyd’s nephew
Harris’ position as president of the Senate means she may hold the deciding vote for the legislation’s passage. Before joining the Biden administration, Richmond served in the House of Representatives and pushed for the bill days after Floyd’s death, noting that he is not interested in “deliberate speed” on police reform legislation.
Will it work? Who knows? But it’s worth a shot.
Democrats previously set a goal of passing the Justice in Policing Act by Tuesday, but bipartisan negotiations have stalled because police aren’t kneeling on white people’s necks...