WASHINGTON: Before Tuesday’s guilty verdicts were read out, President Joe Biden said he was praying for “the right verdict” in the trial of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin.
Telephoning George Floyd‘s family later, he said of himself and Vice President Kamala 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.”
President Biden and VP Harris call the Floyd family after the GUILTY verdict! Thank you @POTUS & @VP for your suppo… https://t.co/CLKhtZqjSg
— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) 1618955032000
“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.” The president was expected to address the outcome of the trial Tuesday evening.
“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, because the jury in the case had already been sequestered.
The president has repeatedly denounced Floyd’s death but had previously stopped short of weighing in on Chauvin’s trial, with White House officials saying it would be improper to