George Floyd’s family said Tuesday morning that they received a phone call from President Joe Biden just as the jury began deliberations in Derek Chauvin’s trial and that the president told them he hopes that “everything will come out OK.”
Biden also told Floyd’s family that they are in his prayers.
Chauvin’s defense presented their closing arguments on Monday, and the jury was given instructions and sent into deliberations for a short time before they were dismissed for the day. Deliberations will continue on Tuesday. They are deciding whether there is proof beyond a reasonable doubt that Chauvin killed Floyd, either through malice — the second-degree murder charge — or through recklessness.
Floyd’s family says they are “optimistic” following closing arguments and noted to the TODAY Show that they were in contact with the president on the matter.
“He was just calling,” Philonise Floyd said. “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.”
“Me and my family, we pray about it every day,” Floyd added, couching his optimism by suggesting that an acquittal would have widespread implications. “I just feel that in America, if a Black man can’t get justice for this, what can a Black man get justice for?”
Floyd ended by suggesting that protesters should be peaceful but noted that he “can’t stop people from doing the things that they’re doing because people are in pain.”
“They’re hurt,” he said.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki confirmed on Twitter that Biden had spoken to the Floyd family.
“President Biden spoke with the family of George Floyd yesterday to check in with them and also share that the family was in his prayers,” she wrote.
President Biden has not spoken on the case publicly, even to address Rep. Maxine Waters’ (D-CA) claims, over the weekend, that anything less than a conviction should result in a “confrontation.” Last year, after the video of Floyd’s death went viral on social media, Biden called the incident a “tragic reminder” that there there is “an ingrained systemic cycle of injustice that still exists in this country.”
“It cuts at the very heart of our sacred belief that all Americans are equal in rights and in dignity, and it sends a very clear message to the black community and to black lives that are under threat every single day,” Biden said.
The defense in Chauvin’s case rested Monday, and both sides presented their closing arguments before jurors entered their first day of deliberations. The state of Minnesota’s case rests on Chauvin’s actions being the proximate cause of Floyd’s death, and the defense presented what they felt was evidence that Floyd died from a combination of drug and health problems.
“The defense presented seven witnesses to bolster its three-prong strategy for clearing the former officer of culpability: Floyd died from drug and health problems; Chauvin’s use of force was ugly but appropriate; and a hostile crowd of bystanders distracted the former officer,” CNN reported Monday.
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