US President Joe Biden urged additional action in the pursuit of racial justice on Tuesday as he marked one year since the murder of George Floyd.
Biden said last month’s conviction of former Minneapolis, Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin for the grisly murder “was another important step forward toward justice,” but maintained “our progress can’t stop there.”
“We have to act. We face an inflection point,” Biden said in a statement after meeting with Floyd’s family behind closed doors at the White House. “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.”
“At our best, the American ideal wins out. It must again,” added Biden.
Floyd’s May 25 death ignited nationwide protests against police brutality and racial injustice that spread beyond the US’s borders and began to manifest in major capitals worldwide. Popular demonstrations extended for months in the US in what Biden said was “a summer of protest we hadn’t seen since the Civil Rights era in the ‘60s.”
Bystander video captured Floyd’s grisly death as Chauvin pinned Floyd to the ground with his knee fixed firmly on his neck for more than nine minutes, ignoring Floyd’s pleas that he could not breathe, and desperate cries for his mother.
Chauvin, who was convicted by a Minnesota jury of murder and manslaughter in April, faces the potential of spending decades behind bars when he is sentenced on June 25.
Chauvin and three other ex-officers who were present at the scene now face a separate federal case of depriving Floyd of his civil rights during the fatal arrest.