People rallied in Minneapolis, Minnesota, ahead of the one-year anniversary of the assassination of George Floyd, sparking protests across the United States to end the police brutality against Black people.
Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin convicted of murder last month after he held his knee against Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes while being arrested on May 25 last year.
Demonstrators gathered on Sunday outside the Hennepin County Government Center, where Chauvin’s trial took place, to celebrate Floyd’s life and call for action to fight police brutality and anti -Black racism.
The George Floyd Memorial Foundation, a group founded by Floyd’s sister Bridgett Floyd, spoke at the event addressed “To reflect the continuing call for accountability and reform, because the right to equal justice does not have to be conditional or based on one’s color”.
Several other rallies and activities were held across the U.S. to mark the anniversary on Tuesday.
“The day is almost here,” Bridgett Floyd told reporters earlier this week, as reported by Minneapolis NBC News partner KARE11.
“And I feel like the days are coming so close that I’m stronger than I was last year, and that’s because I’ve been through a lot this past year. I have no choice but to be strong and bear it. that weight, and take this position that God has placed in me. Because I didn’t see it coming, none of us did, ”he said.
‘Step in the right direction’
Reverend Al Sharpton, a prominent U.S. civil rights leader, was in Minneapolis on Sunday to join the Floyd family, who he said “not only suffers the disease but stands for justice in the matter. this “.
“Chauvin’s verdict is a step in the right direction, but it’s a step,” Sharpton told MSNBC before the rally. “We are still a long way off. I’m glad we’re on the right track, but we need to keep that track. ”
Last month, U.S. President Joe Biden also described Chauvin’s conviction on three criminal charges related to Floyd’s murder as a “go ahead“.
“’I can’t breathe.’ Those were George Floyd’s last words. We will not let them die with him. We need to continue to feel them. We must not turn away. We cannot turn away. This can be a moment of significant change, ”Biden said at the time.
But activists and others have questioned how much has really changed in the year since Floyd was killed.
“Every time you break the news, there’s a Black man who’s either beaten up by the police or killed – and they’re unarmed,” James Shoals, a Minneapolis resident who attended the rally, told Al Jazeera. “We didn’t get the justice we deserved,” Shoals said.
Police reform law
Meanwhile, Biden will host the Floyd family at the White House on Tuesday, a U.S. media outlet reported this weekend.
His administration urged Congress to pass police reform legislation before the anniversary of Floyd’s assassination, but those efforts stalled and U.S. lawmakers are likely to miss Tuesday’s deadline.
Democratic Senator Cory Booker, who was involved in bipartisan negotiations on the bill – known as George Floyd Justice on the Policing Act – told CNN’s State of the Union program on Sunday that while “significant progress” has been made, no deal has yet been reached.
“We’re making good progress, optimistic progress, but we still have a lot of work to do,” Booker said.
Racial justice activists also point out that police violence against Black people continued when Floyd was killed a year ago, raising the ongoing call for action.
Just this week, Louisiana state police in the United States released footage shows a brutal May 2019 arrest of a Black man who died in hospital after the incident.
Officials originally said Ronald Greene died after his car hit a tree in a police chase, but footage showed police were able to pull Greene out of his car and then tied up, beat and repeatedly he. The case is under a federal civil rights investigation, the Associated Press news agency said.
“We need to get the legislation to hold the officers who signed into law accountable,” Congresswoman Karen Bass, leader of the Congressional Black Caucus who was also involved in negotiations on the police reform bill, said. tweet on Thursday about Greene’s death.
“We really think my brother’s death is the last case of police brutality,” Bridgett Floyd also said this week. “But in everything we see, they always weigh in.”
He said he was confident the police reform law would pass, however, KARE11 reported.
“These police officers must be held accountable for their actions,” he said. “So that they know that if they break the law, if they take a loved one away from someone, they both have to think about it.”