Shortly before a jury convicted former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd last May, Vice President Kamala Harris said even a guilty verdict would not “heal the pain” of systematic racism in the United States.
Harris spoke to CNN just before the jury announced it had found Chauvin guilty on charges of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. The vice president urged Congress to pass legislation backed by the White House that would overhaul standards for police conduct at the federal level.
“This verdict is but a piece of it and it will not heal the pain that existed for generations, that has existed for generations among people who have experienced and first-hand witnessed what now a broader public is seeing because of smartphones and the ubiquity of our ability to videotape in real time what is happening in front of our faces,” Harris told the outlet. “And that’s just the reality of it. That’s why Congress needs to act and that’s why they should pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.”
The House voted largely along party lines to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act in March. The bill has yet to be brought up for a vote in the Senate.
The jury found Chauvin guilty on the second day of deliberations in the trial. Chauvin, who is white, was filmed pinning Floyd to the ground with his knee for more than nine minutes until he lost consciousness in front of several bystanders. A sentencing hearing is scheduled in eight weeks.
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“I think there needs to be a consequence and accountability for people who break the law. Period,” Harris said when asked for her opinion on the case.
Harris and President Biden were set to address the guilty verdict from the White House on Tuesday evening.