Briefly speaking with reporters at the White House, the president discussed his call on Monday with the family of George Floyd, the Black man in Minnesota who died after he was seen on video – handcuffed – saying “I can’t breathe” as Chauvin kneeled on Floyd’s neck. His death sparked nationwide protests last spring and summer over police brutality against minorities and systemic racism.
Chauvin is charged with second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd’s death. He has pleaded not guilty to all three charges.
Floyd’s brother, Philonise Floyd said in an interview on NBC News early Tuesday morning that the president had called the Floyd family on Monday after the jury began deliberations in the trial.
“I can only imagine the pressure and anxiety they’re feeling, and so I waited until the jury was sequestered, and I called,” Biden explained. “I wasn’t going to say anything about it, but Philonise said today on television, and he accurately said it was a private conversation because Joe understands what it was like to go through loss. They’re a good family, and they’re calling for peace and tranquility, no matter what that verdict is. I’m praying that verdict is the right verdict, which I think it’s overwhelming, in my view. I wouldn’t say that unless the jury was sequestered now.”
Biden called the Floyd family last year – soon after Floyd’s death, which came during the 2020 presidential election campaign – and later the then-presidential candidate traveled to Houston to meet with the family and express is condolences.