The family of George Floyd was in Washington D.C. to meet with President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, Nancy Pelosi, Karen Bass, and other top congressional leaders. It is the first anniversary of Floyd’s death.
“I stand here to renew the commitment that we will get this bill on President Biden’s desk,” Bass said. “We will work until we get the job done. It will be passed in a bipartisan manner. And so that is a commitment that we are making, [that] I’m making personally for the family.”
The Floyd family spent over an hour at the White House meeting with President Biden and Vice President Harris. The family’s attorney Ben Crump said that the president was disappointed that the legislation wasn’t passed before the deadline.
“The negotiations on the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act in Congress are ongoing. I have strongly supported the legislation that passed the House, and I appreciate the good-faith efforts from Democrats and Republicans to pass a meaningful bill out of the Senate. It’s my hope they will get a bill to my desk quickly,” the president said.
After meeting with President Biden and Vice President Harris at the White House, the Floyd family went to Capitol Hill to meet with Senators Cory Booker and Tim Scott.
Republicans have a problem with limiting qualified immunity. A provision in the bill makes it easier to file a lawsuit against an individual law enforcement officer. Republicans believe that eliminating qualified immunity will result in pointless lawsuits and punish officers.
“We have not come to an agreement on qualified immunity – that’s an overstatement – but I do think that we are closer and are trying to look for various solutions,” Bass said.
Senator Booker wants to make sure that ending qualified immunity is in the final bill.
“Qualified immunity is something I strongly believe should not be there, and I actually fully believe that in the course of history, it will be gone. I’m trying to make that moment now, and I’m fighting to make sure that’s a part of this bill,” Booker said.
“This bill that we are working on right now would not have been possible, I think, before George Floyd. His death, tragic and in pain, we all must make sure that it wasn’t in vain and that something substantive comes out of it,” Booker said.
Both the Left and Right want to pass bipartisan legislation.
“Given that police violence, as a weapon of structural racism, continues to have devastating and deadly consequences for Blacks and Brown lives across our country, we strongly urge you to not only maintain but strengthen the provision eliminating qualified immunity as negotiations in the Senate continue,” lawmakers wrote in a letter to House and Senate leadership last week.
Last year, Floyd was killed by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. Chauvin pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for nine minutes and twenty-nine seconds, while Floyd screamed out that he couldn’t breathe. Chauvin was convicted of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter.
The House passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act in March. The bill bans chokehold and no-knock warrants in drug cases. It creates a National Police Misconduct Registry and encourages states to establish guidelines for investigating deaths involving police.