Recognizing what would have been George Floyd’s 50th birthday, President Joe Biden urged Congress to pass a “meaningful” police reform bill and send it to his desk.
“George Floyd should be alive,” Biden said in a statement Saturday on the White House website. “He should be celebrating his 50th birthday with his young daughter Gianna, family, and friends. He deserved so much more.”
Floyd was born Oct. 14, 1973. His death at the hand of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin on May 25, 2020, touched off protests across the nation.
“George Floyd’s murder exposed for many what Black and Brown communities have long known and experienced — that our nation has never fully lived up to its highest ideal of fair and impartial justice for all under the law,” Biden said in his statement.
The president added that he signed an executive order in 2022, creating a national registry of officers fired for misconduct. The order also bans federal law enforcement agencies from using chokeholds and restricts no-knock warrants.
Biden urged Congress to pass similar legislation that would affect local police departments.
“We know that implementing real and lasting change at the state and local levels requires Congress to act,” he said. “I will continue to do everything in my power to fight for police accountability and urge Congress to pass meaningful police reform and send it to my desk. I will sign it.”
As previously reported, Chauvin was recorded kneeling on Floyd’s neck for about nine minutes as the Black man pleaded that he couldn’t breathe.
Floyd was arrested for allegedly using a counterfeit $20 bill at a grocery store. He was handcuffed and lying on his stomach, when Chauvin — who is White — pressed a knee into his neck. The officer refused to budge even as Floyd’s body went limp and bystanders pleaded for him to stop.
Three other officers stood next to Chauvin as the life slipped out of Floyd’s body.
Chauvin and the three former officers — Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane — were all convicted on both state and federal charges for their roles in Floyd’s death.
The killing galvanized the movement against police brutality.