George Floyd's Brother Urges Congress to Pass Police Reform on One-Year Anniversary of His Death

Philonise Floyd, the brother of George Floyd, urged lawmakers to act on police reform on the one-year anniversary of his brother's death.

"This will be one of the best things that you can pass across America," Floyd said Tuesday during an appearance on CNN's New Day.

"People shouldn't have to live in fear," he added. "African American people, people of color, they are dying at a rate that we shouldn't have in this world."

George Floyd died on May 25 last year after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes during an arrest. His death sparked national and international outrage and triggered protests against racism and police brutality.

In March, the House of Representatives passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which would ban chokeholds and curb qualified immunity for law enforcement personnel. The wide-ranging reform bill would also ban no-knock warrants in certain cases, create a national police misconduct registry and prohibit racial and religious profiling, among other measures.

But it appears that lawmakers will miss President Joe Biden's Tuesday deadline to pass a police reform bill. In his first joint address to Congress last month, Biden called for Congress to pass the bill by the anniversary of Floyd's death. The president said the reforms would help restore trust between communities and law enforcement.

So far, the Senate has not taken any action on the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act or a Republican-backed proposal introduced by Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.).

A trio of bipartisan lawmakers—Scott, Representative Karen Bass (D-Calif.) and Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.)—have been negotiating over police reform legislation for weeks. Booker said Sunday that "meaningful progress" has been made and that he is "committed" to seeing the issue through.

The Floyd family will meet with Biden on Tuesday to mark the one-year anniversary. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the closed-door meeting will give the president an opportunity to have a "real conversation" with the family.

George Floyd's family members will also meet with members of Congress, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and several senators from both parties.

"Our message is: Let's don't squander this moment," said Ben Crump, an attorney for the family.

Crump added, "It has been 57 years since we've had meaningful police reform on the federal level in America, and we want to make sure that we do something, that we not just talk the talk.... Now is the time to act. Let's do it in the name of George Floyd and all the others that have been taken from us unjustly [by] the very people who are supposed to protect and serve us."

Philonise Floyd told CNN on Tuesday that he thinks things have changed in the U.S. since his brother's death.

"I think it's moving slowly, but it's making progress," he said. "Just want everything to be better in life, because I don't want people dying the same way my brother has passed."

Newsweek reached out to the White House for comment on police reform but didn't receive a response before publication.

Philonise Floyd Urges Passage of Police Reform
Philonise Floyd, brother of George Floyd, and the Reverend Al Sharpton arrive at the Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis on April 19. On Tuesday, the one-year anniversary of his brother's death last year, Floyd urged lawmakers to act on police reform. Brandon Bell/Getty Images