WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — One year after George Floyd died at the hands of Minneapolis police, his family was in Washington D.C. to meet with lawmakers and President Joe Biden to call for police reform.
Biden had called on Congress to pass a comprehensive reform bill by Tuesday, but negotiations are still underway.
The president met with Floyd’s family for about an hour. After, family members said they remain optimistic that Congress can pass reforms and echoed the White House’s position by saying they would rather have a meaningful bill than one that merely meets a deadline.
“We just want this George Floyd (Justice in) Policing Act passed,” Floyd’s brother, Philonise Floyd, said.
“We will get this bill on President Biden’s desk,” Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., who is part of the small bipartisan group negotiating the bill, promised. “What is important is that when it reaches President Biden’s desk that it’s a substantive piece of legislation and that is far more important than a specific date.”
The Floyd family also met with Sens. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Tim Scott, R-S.C., who are both on the negotiating team. In a joint statement Monday, the group said it remains optimistic a deal is within reach.
One of the major points preventing that now is qualified immunity, a legal doctrine that protects officers from personal lawsuits. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, is among many Republicans who say they will not support a plan that leaves officers personally liable.
“The compromise is to let people sue the police department but don’t interfere with the individual policemen,” he said.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the president wants to sign a bill into law “as soon as possible.”