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World

George Floyd family urges police reform on anniversary of murder

  • "I got a chance to spend a lot of time with Gianna and the family," he said. "They've been wonderful."
26 May 2021

WASHINGTON: The family of George Floyd appealed Tuesday for sweeping police reform on the anniversary of the African American man's murder by a white officer, as they met President Joe Biden at the White House.

The president and Kamala Harris, America's first female and first Black vice president, hosted several of Floyd's relatives in the Oval Office after the family spoke to top lawmakers hoping for progress on reform.

"The Floyd family has shown extraordinary courage," Biden said after their meeting -- declaring himself "hopeful" that a deal could be struck after the Memorial Day holiday this weekend.

The legislation being considered to increase police accountability would be named after Floyd, who suffocated after being pinned down under the knee of Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin on May 25, 2020.

"If you can make federal laws to protect the bird, the bald eagle, you can make federal laws to protect people of color," Philonise Floyd, George's younger brother, said as he emerged from the private meeting, which lasted over an hour.

Another brother, Terrence Floyd, said as he left the White House that he was encouraged by the "productive conversation" in which Biden and Harris were eager to "actually give an ear to our concerns."

Floyd's mother, siblings and his daughter Gianna, along with family lawyers, had earlier gathered at the US Capitol with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic members of Congress.

While the adults discussed their hopes for police reform, it was seven-year-old Gianna -- hugging her mother Roxie Washington -- who eloquently addressed the legacy of her late father, saying he would "change the world."

"He did," Biden said after meeting the family nearly a year after their first encounter ahead of Floyd's funeral.

"I got a chance to spend a lot of time with Gianna and the family," he said. "They've been wonderful."

The family later visited Black Lives Matter Plaza close to the White House, which became a focal point for demonstrations in the weeks after Floyd's death.

"What's going on in America you can clearly see this right now, it's two justice systems -- so we need to get together as one," said Philonise Floyd. "Whatever I have to do to get this law passed, I will do, we want freedom, be able to walk in peace."

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