America remembers George Floyd

By Melissa Mahtani, Melissa Macaya, Meg Wagner, Mike Hayes and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 8:07 p.m. ET, May 25, 2021
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2:06 p.m. ET, May 25, 2021

George Floyd's family is meeting with Biden and Harris now at the White House

From CNN's Kate Sullivan

Gianna Floyd, George Floyd's daughter, arrives to the White House on May 25th,  in Washington, DC. George Floyd’s family are having a meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden at the White House to mark the first anniversary of his death.
Gianna Floyd, George Floyd's daughter, arrives to the White House on May 25th, in Washington, DC. George Floyd’s family are having a meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden at the White House to mark the first anniversary of his death. Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are meeting with the family of George Floyd exactly one year after he was killed by a Minneapolis police officer, sparking nationwide protests against racism and police brutality.

The meeting today comes as the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act — legislation that would set up a national registry of police misconduct, ban racial and religious profiling by law enforcement and overhaul qualified immunity for police officers — remains stalled in the Senate.

Biden had set an initial goal of having the legislation passed by today, but the White House backed off that deadline to allow negotiations to continue in Congress.

The family was on Capitol Hill this morning, where they met with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Karen Bass, the lead House negotiator of the police reform bill passed by the House under Floyd’s name.

Biden wanted his meeting with Floyd's family today to be private, according to White House press secretary Jen Psaki, "in order to have a real conversation and preserve that with the family."

1:52 p.m. ET, May 25, 2021

Minnesota governor remembers George Floyd on anniversary of his death

From CNN’s Jessica Jordan

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz released a statement honoring George Floyd on the anniversary of his death.

“In the days following his murder, Minnesotans raised their voices and called for real, meaningful change to prevent this from ever happening again. Those calls for action spread across the world as his memory sparked a global movement. George Floyd didn't ask to be an international symbol of the pain that Black Americans have faced for generations, and yet, in the words of his daughter, he changed the world,” Walz said.

The governor said the state must honor Floyd’s memory "by ensuring all people—particularly in our communities of color—are respected and protected by law enforcement."

3:03 p.m. ET, May 25, 2021

White House defends Biden's efforts on policing reform ahead of President's meeting with Floyd family 

From CNN's Jason Hoffman

White House press secretary Jen Psaki responded to criticism that President Biden is not doing enough to help push a police reform bill through Congress, saying Tuesday that Biden wanted to give the negotiators on the Hill space to negotiate, and that he has been speaking with police reform advocates throughout these negotiations.

She also would not put a new timeline on when the President expects to sign a police reform bill into law, but said Biden wants to sign the bill into law “as soon as possible.”

“We have been closely engaged with the negotiators and a range of parties on the Hill. We have also been respecting the space needed for the negotiators to have these discussions about where they can find common ground and where they can find agreement,” Psaki said when asked what the President has been doing to try and push police reform closer to the finish line after his original deadline came and went.

Biden had set a goal of today — the anniversary of George Floyd's death — to pass police reform legislation during his joint address to Congress in April, though the White House backed off that deadline last week.

“So we've been closely engaged, the President himself called Sen. [Cory] Booker to get an update last Friday, expect to continue to get updates over the coming days. And we have also made it imperative and made it a priority to leave space for the negotiators to have these discussions,” she added.

She also responded to criticisms from police reform advocates who say Biden has not done enough to get this legislation passed. 

“Look, I think we may just have a disagreement in terms of what the right strategic approaches to these negotiations moving forward and getting to the final outcome which we all want to see, which is a bill that the President can sign into law,” she said.

Asked why the President wasn’t using his bully pulpit to make a stronger public call for police reform on the anniversary of Floyd’s death, Psaki said a written statement in the President’s name would be coming out today.

“He used the opportunity of his joint session address, which is the highest profile moment any President of the United States has in their first year of office to call for forward movements on police reform to call for the George Floyd Justice in Police Act to pass and he’s meeting with the family,” Psaki said.

The press secretary would not say whether the President would sign legislation that includes a compromise proposed by GOP Sen. Tim Scott on qualified immunity that allows individuals to sue police departments but not individual police officers, saying the President wants to wait to see what negotiations ultimately bring.

“He remains closely engaged and closely in touch with the negotiators about what is most constructive and what role he can play and we can play to leave the space for them to negotiate and to move toward a place where you can sign the bill into law,” she said.

Shortly after Psaki was asked about Biden doing more to publicly call for police reform, a tweet from Biden’s account said, “We face an inflection point. We have to act.” Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are meeting privately with the Floyd family today at the White House.

See Biden's tweet:

1:34 p.m. ET, May 25, 2021

Minnesota will observe a moment of silence for 9 minutes and 29 seconds today

There will be a 9-minute-and-29-second moment of silence across Minnesota today at 2 p.m. ET (or 1 p.m. local time), to honor the George Floyd, Gov. Tim Walz announced.

Former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin — who last month was convicted of murder in Floyd's death — knelt on Floyd's neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds.

12:52 p.m. ET, May 25, 2021

Canada's Trudeau says he'll work "to take real action to fight systemic racism" as country remembers Floyd

From CNN’s Paula Newton

CTV Network
CTV Network

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday that he will work "to take real action to fight systemic racism" and recognized the many Canadians and those around the world who have called for change in the wake of George Floyd’s death. 

“We all remember the horrible images of that murder that scandalized and changed the world,” Trudeau said in French. CNN translated the remark.

“It was a reminder that there are still too many people living with anti-black racism and injustice including here in Canada. Last summer, Canadians and especially young people marched to demand change; from economic empowerment through the black entrepreneurship program to proposing to remove ineffective mandatory minimums from the Criminal Code, to historic investments in community organizations our government is working with black communities across the country to make sure nobody is left behind. We will continue to take real action to fight systemic racism and create more opportunities for black Canadians and for everyone,” Trudeau said. These remarks were in English. 

Trudeau, along with a few Cabinet members, attended an anti-racism rally in Ottawa shortly after Floyd’s death last year. 

12:48 p.m. ET, May 25, 2021

Floyd family meets with House Speaker Pelosi ahead of White House visit 

CNN
CNN

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi just met with members of George Floyd’s family on Capitol Hill.

According to a senior Democratic staffer, the Floyd family was to meet with Pelosi, Rep. Karen Bass and lawmakers today.

Bass is the lead House negotiator in the police reform bill that passed the House under Floyd’s name. The legislation remains stalled in the Senate.

"They've been working tremendously to help push the issue of getting this law passed. I thank you all so much. Our families thank you that you are all here today," George Floyd's brother, Philonise Floyd, told reporters.

The family will meet privately with President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris at the White House this afternoon.

CNN's Ryan Nobles contributed reporting to this post.

11:36 a.m. ET, May 25, 2021

Schumer calls on Congress to continue "important work" of bipartisan policing bill on Floyd anniversary

From CNN's Ali Zaslav

Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on Tuesday that it is “particularly poignant and appropriate” that the Senate will confirm Kristen Clarke to lead the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division on the anniversary of George Floyd’s murder – in addition to Congress’ continued efforts to pass strong bipartisan policing reform legislation.

He said the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division is “often the tip of the spear conducting investigations of police departments with patterns or practices of constitutional violations”.. “So, in a way, as we continue to pursue strong policing reform legislation, it is appropriate that we confirm Kristen Clarke… where she can continue the fight against bigotry.”

He noted how Democratic Rep. Karen Bass of California, Democratic Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Republican Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina have been working behind the scenes to craft a bipartisan policing bill and “that important work must continue as we strive to ensure George Floyd's tragic death will not be in vain.”

Some more background: The House of Representatives in March approved legislation aimed at preventing police misconduct that Democrats named in honor of Floyd, but the legislation has remained stalled in the Senate. A group of bipartisan lawmakers is currently working to reach an agreement. One of the sticking points is qualified immunity, which shields police officers from civil lawsuits.

Senate Judiciary Chair Dick Durbin said today that the qualified immunity issue "isn't resolved" in ongoing negotiations over the legislation.

"The negotiations are still underway. They are positive. There are differences," Durbin told CNN when asked about qualified immunity.

President Biden had originally set today — the anniversary of Floyd's death — as the deadline to pass police reform legislation. Press secretary Jen Psaki said Friday that the White House has "confidence in the negotiators," but did not offer a concrete timeline for when Biden wants a bill on his desk, saying only that he'd like it "as quickly as possible."

10:21 a.m. ET, May 25, 2021

Floyd family uses some settlement money to offer grants for Minneapolis community

From CNN’s Carma Hassan & Devon Sayers

George Floyd’s family announced they are using $500,000 of their $27 million settlement with the city of Minneapolis to create The George Floyd Community Benevolence Fund.

The fund will offer grants to organizations and businesses that serve the community at 38th & Chicago in Minneapolis. The intersection of 38th Street and Chicago Avenue is where Floyd died one year ago.

“As we mark the one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s horrific death, the family feels deeply that something positive should come from the pain and injustice he suffered. The George Floyd Community Benevolence Fund will be an instrumental, long-term partner to the Black-owned businesses in the neighborhood where he died, where we all have seen the continued negative impact of systemic racism,” family attorney Ben Crump said in a statement.
1:48 p.m. ET, May 25, 2021

How communities across the country are remembering George Floyd today

From CNN's Nicquel Terry Ellis

It hast's been a year since George Floyd was killed by a former Minneapolis police officer, and events are planned across the country to honor Floyd and remember his life.

Here's a look at where some of the tributes, events and marches are happening:

  • In Washington, DC: Floyd's sister Bridgett Floyd, his daughter Gianna Floyd and Gianna's mother, Roxie Washington, will visit the White House at the invitation of President Joe Biden. The family meeting will be private so Biden can have a "real conversation and preserve that with the family," press secretary Jen Psaki said.
  • In Minneapolis: Other members of Floyd's family are expected to attend memorial events in Minneapolis on Tuesday, according to a family spokesman. One of those events is a "Celebration of Life" which includes a day of games, food, inflatable attractions for youth and special performances by Grammy Award-winning artists and local talent.
  • In Dallas: Organizers in Dallas are hosting a solidarity march and rally on Tuesday.
  • Online: The California-based Pacific Symphony is streaming a free concert in honor of Floyd.
  • On television: BET will also pay homage to Floyd, airing special programming that kicks off Tuesday with "Bars and Ballads for George Floyd," featuring Jon Batiste, Nas, former UN Ambassador Andrew Young, singer and activist Anthony Hamilton and Color of Change President Rashad Robinson.