MINNEAPOLIS, USA: George Floyd’s sister has boycotted a meeting with US President Joe Biden, saying he “broke a promise” to enact police reform legislation by the anniversary of her brother’s death.
While Bridgett Floyd attended a rally in Minneapolis, Minnesota, other family members lobbied Biden at the White House to help pass the bill. The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act is stalled on Capitol Hill.
On Tuesday cities in the US and abroad marked a year since Floyd’s death.
Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted last month of the murder of Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, after kneeling on his neck area for more than nine minutes as he was detained on suspicion of passing a counterfeit $20 bill. He faces up to 40 years in prison when sentenced on 25 June.
Biden had set Tuesday as a deadline for signing police reform legislation.
After meeting the president and Vice President Kamala Harris at the White House, Floyd’s brother, Philonise, told reporters: “If you can make federal laws to protect the bird which is the bald eagle, then you can make federal laws to protect people of colour.”
Floyd’s other brother, Terrence, said it had been “a very productive conversation” in the Oval Office.
But Bridgett Floyd – who instead held a moment of silence at a “Celebration of Life” event in a downtown Minneapolis park – explained why she did not go to Washington.
“I was going to DC for Biden to sign a bill,” she said. “Biden has not signed that bill. Biden has broken a promise.” She added a message for the president: “Get your people in order.”
After meeting the Floyd family, the president issued a statement pledging to keep supporting the legislation.
“The battle for the soul of America has been a constant push and pull between the American ideal that we’re all created equal and the harsh reality that racism has long torn us apart,” the president said. “At our best, the American ideal wins out. It must again.”
While Biden, a Democrat, has led the way in publicly lobbying for passage of infrastructure and coronavirus stimulus bills, he has left much of the negotiations over police reform to lawmakers on Capitol Hill.