George Floyd's family meet with US president Joe Biden to mourn loss of brother, father and son a year after death

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Robert Moore

A year after George Floyd was killed when a police officer knelt on his neck, his family visited Washington to mourn the loss of their brother, father and son with US president Joe Biden.

“Today is the day that he set the world in a rage. And people realised what’s going on in America, and we all said, ‘Enough is enough,’” Floyd’s brother Philonese told reporters at the Capitol alongside family members, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other lawmakers.

He added: “We need to be working together to make sure that people do not live in fear in America anymore.”

Robert Moore discusses what's changed in America in the past year

Family members then spent an hour with Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris at the White House.

“It was a remembrance of what happened to my brother,” Philonise said. He described the president as a "great" and "genuine guy".

Philonise Floyd, George Floyd's brother, looks down at Gianna Floyd, George Floyd's daughter at the Capitol in Washington

According to Floyd’s nephew Brandon Williams, Biden told them “he just wants the bill to be meaningful and that it holds George’s legacy intact”.

But sister Bridgett Floyd stayed away, saying she would only visit the White House when a new legislation was ready. “That’s when I will make my way to D.C.,” she said from Minnesota.

The death of Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, drew global outrage and calls for police reform in the US.

Floyd died on May 25 last year after Derek Chauvin, a 45-year-old white officer, was seen on video kneeling on the 46-year-old black man’s neck for about nine-and-a-half minutes, while Floyd repeatedly said he could not breathe.

The former Minneapolis police officer was found guilty of murder and manslaughter on April 20.

The Democratic-controlled White House approved a bill in March that would make it easier for individual police officers to be sued and charged with crimes. It would also ban chokeholds, limit no-knock warrants and create a national database of officers with histories of complaints and disciplinary problems.

Biden had set the anniversary of Floyd's death as the initial deadline for the bill to be passed, but as of today, that bill has gone nowhere in the Senate, where the 50 Democrats will need support from at least 10 Republicans.

Philonise Floyd, the brother of George Floyd

The main point of contention has been “qualified immunity” for police officers, which generally protects them from being sued.

The Democrats are looking to eliminate that protection but South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, the lead Republican bargainer, proposed keeping that immunity for officers but allowing civil lawsuits against police departments.

Congressional negotiators say they are optimistic about a bill for police reform.

“We hope to bring comfort to your family by passing the final bill very soon,” Pelosi said.

There is no new deadline for reaching an agreement.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks to reporters while standing with members of George Floyd's family on the anniversary of Floyd's death Credit: Erin Scott/Pool via AP

California Rep. Karen Bass, Democratic bargainer, said talks would continue “until we get the job done” while Republican bargainer Sen. Scott said negotiations “have a long way to go still but it’s starting to take form.”

Ben Crump, the Floyd family’s lawyer, is calling on Biden to “reiterate that we need to get it passed.”

Biden has appeared to take a back seat, which contrasts with his fevered advocacy for his infrastructure bill and the Covid-19 relief package.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki explained: “We have been respecting the space needed for negotiators to have these discussions.”

White House advisers say Biden and his team have been in touch with Capitol Hill negotiators, but they believe this is an issue in which a high-profile public campaign by the president may do more harm than good.