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George Floyd’s family asks Congress to pass police reform, 4 years after his murder in Minneapolis

The family of George Floyd marked the fourth anniversary of his murder by renewing their call for Congress to pass legislation named in his honor to reform policing in the United States.

“Change is needed,” Philonise Floyd, George Floyd’s brother, said at a news conference Thursday where Democratic lawmakers announced their latest effort to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.

The legislation passed the then-Democrat-controlled House in June 2020, but stalled in the Senate.

Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee reintroduced the bill Thursday, days before the fourth anniversary of Floyd’s killing. She calls for law enforcement to be held “accountable for misconduct in court,” as well as police training and policy reforms.

“We have an opportunity to enact bold, comprehensive reform of policing practices, to correct and prevent unnecessary deaths. Congress must pass the George Floyd #JusticeInPolicingAct of 2024,” Rep. Jackson Lee wrote in a Facebook post.

Philonise Floyd agreed.

“In their opinion, they (police) consider you a target just because you are someone of color,” he said. “At the end of the day, if they can make federal laws to protect the bird, which is the bald eagle, then they can make federal laws to protect people of color.”

The following year, Chauvin was convicted of murder and manslaughter in a state trial and sentenced to more than 22 years in prison. He subsequently pleaded guilty in federal court to depriving Floyd of his civil rights.

Three other former Minneapolis police officers also faced state and federal charges and were sentenced to prison for their roles in Floyd’s murder.

George Floyd Square in Minneapolis became a makeshift memorial for Floyd, who died at the hands of police making an arrest.

AP Photo/Jim Mone

At Thursday’s news conference, Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar, who represents Minneapolis, called on her fellow lawmakers to “think about the lives that could have been saved if we had had the courage to act.”

The murder of George Floyd sparked a wave of protests against racial injustice and police brutality around the world. Four years later, Floyd’s death is still painful for his family, who were drawn to join the ranks of black Americans moved to action after police killed his loved ones.

“As I watched the video (of his death), I promised myself that I had to do something. And I haven’t stopped doing something,” Floyd’s uncle, Selwyn Jones, told CNN.

This spring, Jones joined Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner, an unarmed black man who was also killed by police in 2014, to talk about how they turned their grief into purposeful activism at Harvard University.

Jones said he co-founded hope929.orga charity dedicated to empowering people on the margins of society, to bring about change in honor of her nephew.

“What I can do is take the atrocity that happened that day and make a difference,” he said.

But he is not optimistic about the fate of the legislation.

“I’m frustrated because I don’t think it will ever pass. And if it does, it has to be very watered down, but we were promised that bill would pass,” he said.

Jones said he and his family will continue to elevate Floyd’s legacy. He said he plans to attend a celebration in Floyd’s honor this weekend in Charlotte, North Carolina.

“It’s going to be like it used to be,” Jones said. “Let us all sit down and eat, drink, be merry, and take care of one another.”

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