Renewed calls for policing reform as George Floyd’s family marks tragic anniversary

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George Floyd

25th May 2024 – (Washington) On the fourth anniversary of George Floyd’s death, his family reiterated their plea for the U.S. Congress to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, aiming to enforce substantial reforms in American policing. This renewed appeal coincided with a press conference where Democratic lawmakers announced their latest push to see the bill through Congress.

Initially passed by the House in June 2020, the legislation faltered in the Senate. Representative Sheila Jackson Lee has reintroduced the bill, which seeks to hold law enforcement accountable for misconduct and implement crucial training and policy reforms. The announcement comes just days before the anniversary of Floyd’s murder on 25th May, 2020—a day that sparked global protests against racial injustice and police brutality.

George Floyd died after a police officer, Derek Chauvin, knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes during an arrest, despite Floyd’s pleas that he could not breathe. Chauvin was subsequently convicted of murder and manslaughter, receiving a 22-year prison sentence, and later pleaded guilty to violating Floyd’s civil rights.

Philonise Floyd, George’s brother, emphasized the urgency of the legislation at the press conference. “If federal laws can protect the bald eagle, they can surely protect people of colour,” he argued. Representative Ilhan Omar also voiced her support, stressing the need for a national standard to ensure equal protection under the law.

The legislation’s revival is part of broader efforts by the Floyd family and their supporters to transform personal tragedy into a catalyst for systemic change. Selwyn Jones, Floyd’s uncle, expressed both determination and frustration over the legislative process. Despite doubts about the bill’s passage, he remains committed to honouring his nephew’s legacy through activism and community engagement.