Biden calls George Floyd’s family to pray for them ahead of Derek Chauvin verdict

‘He was just letting us know that he was praying for us, hoping that everything will come out to be OK,’ Philonise Floyd tells the TODAY Show

Nathan Place
New York
Tuesday 20 April 2021 18:46
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George Floyd's brother says Joe Biden called his family
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George Floyd’s younger brother says President Biden called his family to say he was “praying” for them.

“He was just calling,” Philonise Floyd told NBC’s TODAY Show on Tuesday. “He knows how it is to lose a family member, and he knows the process of what we’re going through. So he was just letting us know that he was praying for us, hoping that everything will come out to be OK.”

Closing arguments wrapped up Monday in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer accused of murdering George Floyd. The Floyd family – and the rest of the country – are now anxiously awaiting the verdict, which come within hours or even weeks.

Mr Biden confirmed on Tuesday that he had made the call to Mr Floyd’s family.

“I waited until the jury was sequestered and I called,” he told reporters. “I’m praying the verdict is the right verdict. The evidence is overwhelming in my view.”

The president added that he feels great sympathy for the Floyd family.

“I can only imagine the pressure and the anxiety that they’re feeling,” Biden said. “They’re a good family and they’re calling for peace and tranquility no matter what the verdict is.”

Though Mr Biden until now has avoided commenting on the trial, he has expressed support for the Floyd family in the past, and visited them last year.

“George Floyd’s life matters,” he said back in May 2020, when he was still a presidential candidate. “It mattered as much as mine. It matters as much as anyone’s in this country.”

The White House has said the president will address the nation after the jury renders its verdict. 

In the case of a not-guilty verdict, that speech may be to call for calm. After video of Mr Floyd’s death first emerged in the spring of last year, massive protests erupted across the United States, resulting in violence and looting in some cases.

Officials worry that a similar reaction could take place if Mr Chauvin is acquitted. Washington, DC’s mayor, Muriel Bowser, has already requested 250 National Guardsmen to help police in the event of mass protests in the nation’s capital.

On Monday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the president does not want to see any rioting.

“His view is also that exercising First Amendment rights and protesting injustice is the most American thing that anyone can do, but as he also always says, protests must be peaceful,” she told reporters.

On Tuesday, Philonise Floyd urged non-violence as well.

“We just want everybody to be peaceful,” he told the TODAY Show, “but at the same time, I can’t stop people from doing the things that they’re doing, because people are in pain.”

He added that he remains “optimistic” about the result.

“Me and my family, we pray about it every day,” he said. “I just feel that in America, if a Black man can’t get justice for this, what can a Black man get justice for?”

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