President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris seized the moment Tuesday to press for policing reform after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of murdering George Floyd.
Not skipping a beat, the pair expressed solidarity with protesters who took to the streets to press their grievances, saying there’s still “work” to be done.
Biden, Harris press for police reform
The message was universal Tuesday evening: Biden called Chauvin’s conviction a “giant step forward” but lamented it was “not enough,” while Harris called the verdict merely a “measure of justice.”
“We still must reform the system,” she said.
In his own remarks, Biden seemed to contradict himself as he said most police serve “honorably,” despite upholding an oppressive system plagued by “systemic racism” in which it’s “much too rare” for police to face consequences for brutality.
“It was a murder in the full light of day, and it ripped the blinders off for the whole world to see the systemic racism the vice president just referred to, the systemic racism that is a stain on our nation’s soul,” Biden said.
Biden called on Congress to pass policing reform and confirm two nominees to lead the DOJ: Vanita Gupta and Kristen Clarke.
The unrest continues
The verdict brought a dramatic conclusion to nearly a year of violent tensions that began with Floyd’s tragic death in May, which set off some of the worst riots America has seen in decades. Bracing for the verdict, business owners all across the country boarded up their windows in fear.
Biden gave a rosy view of last summer’s riots, which killed several people and resulted in $1 billion in property damage, saying it “unified people of every race and generation in peace and with purpose.”
While many Americans applauded the verdict, some were left questioning the fairness of the trial, pointing to jury intimidation from politicians such as Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) and the looming threat of mob reprisal.
As a tense nation waited for the verdict Tuesday afternoon, Biden raised eyebrows with the highly unusual step of saying he was “praying” for a conviction.
Strangely, Biden denied that he was “weighing in” by giving his personal opinion on the combustible case.