President Biden addressed the nation on Tuesday evening after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of murder and manslaughter for the death of George Floyd during an arrest last year.
Biden said the verdict “can be a moment of significant change” for the country as it grapples with systemic racism.
The jury, on its second day of deliberations, found Chauvin guilty of all three charges: second- and third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Biden watched the verdict with Vice President Harris and staff in the private dining room, the White House said.
Afterward, he spoke with Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz. Biden, Harris and first lady Jill Biden also spoke with Philonise Floyd, George Floyd’s brother, from the Oval Office.
In video of the phone call shared by the Floyd family’s attorney, Ben Crump, Biden is heard saying, “Nothing is gonna make it all better but at least, God, now there’s some justice.”
“We’re going to get a lot more done,” Biden pledged. He referenced the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act in Congress and added, “that and a lot more.”
Vice President Harris told the family, “This is a day of justice in America,” adding, “We really do believe that with your leadership and the president that we have in the White House that we’re going to make something good come out of this tragedy, OK?”
Floyd died last Memorial Day after Chauvin, then an officer for the Minneapolis Police Department, knelt on his neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds as Floyd lay facedown, crying for help with his hands cuffed behind his back.
Biden — who won the 2020 presidential election in part on promises to help heal the inequities plaguing racial minorities, including issues of police bias — has thus far done little to address police violence. His team has instead pointed reporters to his support of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which has passed the House of Representatives but has a tougher fight in the Senate, rather than executive actions.
When asked on Tuesday about the trial, Biden said he was hoping for the “right verdict.”
“I’m praying the verdict is the right verdict, which is, it’s overwhelming, in my view. I wouldn’t say that unless the jury was sequestered now, not hearing me say that,” he said.