WASHINGTON: President Joe Biden has said the conviction of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin in the killing of George Floyd “can be a giant step forward” for the nation in the fight against systemic racism.
Biden spoke from the White House hours after the verdict alongside Vice President Kamala Harris, with the pair calling for Congress to act swiftly to address policing reform.
“It’s not enough,” Biden said of the verdict. “We can’t stop here.”
Biden spoke after telephoning Floyd’s family, telling them, “We’re all so relieved.” Before Tuesday’s guilty verdicts were read out, Biden said he was praying for “the right verdict” in the trial of Chauvin.
Telephoning Floyd’s family later, he said of himself and Harris: “We’re all so relieved.”
Chauvin was convicted of two counts of murder and one of manslaughter in the death of Floyd, a case that sparked a national reckoning on race and policing.
Biden said he hoped the verdict would give momentum to congressional police reform efforts.
Floyd family attorney Ben Crump posted video on Twitter of a phone call from Biden and Harris to the family.
Asked by a family member how he was doing, Biden said, “Feeling better now. Nothing is going to make it all better, but at least now there is some justice.”
“This is a day of justice,” Harris told the family after joining Biden to watch the verdict in the private dining room off the Oval Office.
Speaking hours ahead of the verdict, while the jury was deliberating in Minneapolis, Biden said he called Floyd’s family on Monday to offer prayers and could “only imagine the pressure and anxiety they’re feeling.”
“They’re a good family and they’re calling for peace and tranquility no matter what that verdict is,” Biden said a few hours before the verdicts were announced.
“I’m praying the verdict is the right verdict. I think it’s overwhelming, in my view. I wouldn’t say that unless the jury was sequestered now.”
Biden said he was only weighing in on the trial into the death of Floyd, who died with Chauvin’s knee on his neck,

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