President Joe Biden has invited George Floyd’s family to the White House on the anniversary of his death this week. The meeting isn’t just an empty gesture – the President is hoping to intensify pressure on Capitol Hill to actively work on police reform legislation – the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. Floyd’s death created a lot of awareness about the cases of police brutality against Blacks and other POCs. Just last week, bodycam footage from 2019 showed Ronald Greene, a black motorist being tased, kicked, and dragged by law enforcement. He died in custody, and the police initially pinned the cause of his death as a traffic accident.
A group of lawmakers that include Democratic Rep. Karen Bass of California, Democratic Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, and Republican Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina are working on the police reform legislation. Biden had hoped the Act would be firmed up by the anniversary of Floyd’s death. However, Booker told the media that though the group has made progress, there is still a long way to go when it comes to getting qualified immunity. So far, there is tentative agreement on federal standards for no-knock warrants, banning chokeholds, and placing limits on the kinds of equipment that the Defense department can send to state and local police departments. However, Democrats are hoping for changes to Section 242, a part of federal law that sets the standard for criminally prosecuting police officers.
This week will not be the first time Biden has contacted George Floyd’s family. The President had visited the family privately before Floyd’s funeral and spoke to them when Derek Chauvin was found guilty of murder. At the time Biden had said, “We’re going to get a lot more done. We’re going to stay at it until we get it done.”