President Joe Biden marked the three-year anniversary of the police killing of George Floyd by urging Congress to enact police reform. File Photo by Jemal Countess/UPI | License Photo
May 25 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden issued a statement Thursday to mark the third anniversary of George Floyd's police custody death, calling on Congress to enact comprehensive police reforms while vowing to "do everything in my power to fight for police accountability."
"George Floyd's murder exposed for many what Black and Brown communities have long known and experienced -- that we must make a whole of society commitment to ensure that our Nation lives up to its founding promise of fair and impartial justice for all under the law," Biden wrote.
"I urge Congress to enact meaningful police reform and send it to my desk. I will sign it," he added.
Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, died on Memorial Day in 2020 after White Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for more than nine minutes as others deputies stood by and Floyd begged for his life.
Floyd's killing, which was shared in viral footage by multiple witnesses at the scene, galvanized the Black Lives Matter movement and sparked fierce protests around the country that toppled numerous Civil War relics and Confederate statues, while Biden has continued to seek a comprehensive police reform bill that has so far eluded Congress.
Two years ago the House passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2021, which included provisions to ban police chokeholds, end racial and religious profiling, eliminate qualified immunity for officers, and mandate data collection of police encounters, but the bill died months later after negotiations broke down in the Senate.
Then last year, on the second anniversary of Floyd's killing, Biden acknowledged a lack of progress and signed an executive order that aimed to strengthen investigations into police brutality, mandate body cameras, ban police chokeholds and no-knock warrants and create a national database for police misconduct, while also requiring de-escalation techniques for federal agents.
On Thursday, the president said the administration had made "significant progress" over the past year to implement the policies that were serving to make American policing more even-handed.
In July 2022, a federal judge sentenced Chauvin to more than 20 years in prison for violating Floyd's civil rights. At the time, he was already serving a 22.5-year sentence after being found guilty in April 2021 on state murder charges in Floyd's death.
Three other Minneapolis Police Department officers who were at the scene have also been convicted of violating Floyd's civil rights and were subsequently sentenced to multiple years in federal prison.
President Joe Biden (L) and first lady Jill Biden display their jerseys during an event with the Louisiana State University (LSU) women's basketball team in the East Room at the White House on Friday. The event is celebrating the LSU Tigers winning the 2022-2023 NCAA championship. The Tigers' Angel Reese is at right with Emily Ward at left. Photo by Samuel Corum/UPI | License Photo