Kamala Harris Says Chauvin Verdict Won't 'Heal the Pain That Existed for Generations'

Vice President Kamala Harris, a Democrat, said the verdict in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin—who was convicted last week of murdering George Floyd—will not "heal the pain that existed for generations," and urged the Senate to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.

Chauvin, who is white, was convicted in a grand jury trial on Tuesday for the murder of Floyd, an unarmed Black man, last May. Video of the killing went viral online last year, leading to a massive wave of Black Lives Matter and anti-racism protests across the country, with activists calling for an end to police brutality and systemic racism in the justice system.

While Harris welcomed the verdict against Chauvin, she asserted that more must be done to address the unequal treatment of minorities by police across the country.

Vice President Kamala Harris on the Chauvin trial and police accountability: "This verdict is but a piece of it. And it will not heal the pain that existed for generations." #CNNSOTU https://t.co/1Tz4ATtPww pic.twitter.com/UBgEq08OKp

— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) April 25, 2021

"People are in pain over what we all saw in that video," Harris said during an interview with CNN that aired on Sunday morning. "In fact, it was in large part because of that case that together with my then colleagues [Senator] Cory Booker in particular and on the House side [Representative] Karen Bass, that we wrote the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act."

Harris pointed out that the House of Representatives has already passed the legislation, saying that she hopes the Senate "will take it on and have the courage to take it on."

The vice president said that "there is no question that we've got to put an end to these moments where the public questions whether there's gonna be accountability, questions whether there's going to be the kind of fairness that we should all expect and deserve."

"This verdict is but a piece of it. And it will not heal the pain that existed for generations, that has existed for generations among people who have experienced and firsthand witnessed what now a broader public is seeing," Harris said.

Following the verdict in the Chauvin trial last week, President Joe Biden hailed the jury's decision as "a step forward."

"Let's also be clear that such a verdict is also much too rare. For so many people, it seems like it took a unique and extraordinary convergence of factors: a brave young woman with a smartphone camera; a crowd that was traumatized — traumatized witnesses; a murder that lasts almost 10 minutes in broad daylight for, ultimately, the whole world to see; officers standing up and testifying against a fellow officer instead of just closing ranks, which should be commended; a jury who heard the evidence, carried out their civic duty in the midst of an extraordinary moment, under extraordinary pressure," Biden said in a statement released by the White House.

"For so many, it feels like it took all of that for the judicial system to deliver a just — just basic accountability," he added.

Even as the Chauvin trial played out, The New York Times reported that an average of more than three people were killed by police across the country every day. According to a report by The Washington Post, 988 people were killed by police in the U.S. in 2020. That report, which was published Friday, showed that 284 people have already been killed by police in 2021. It also highlighted that Black Americans are killed by police at a rate twice as high as white Americans.

But the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act faces an uphill battle in the evenly-split Senate. The legislation was approved with a party-line vote in the Democrat-controlled House in March. The bill reforms qualified immunity, which would make it easier to pursue civil claims against the police. It also bans no-knock warrants for drug cases as well as bars police from using chokeholds. It would redirect funding to community policing programs and would provide incentives for state investigators to probe police-involved deaths, among other reforms.

Newsweek reached out to the White House for further comment.

VP Kamala Harris
Vice President Kamala Harris urged the Senate to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act in an interview broadcast Sunday by CNN. In this photo, Harris pauses while she speaks during a climate change virtual summit from the East Room of the White House campus on April 22 in Washington, D.C. BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images