NEW YORK — Rev. Al Sharpton, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and faith leaders honored George Floyd Tuesday on his one year death anniversary, calling for the need for the George Floyd Justice and Policing Act to pass in the Senate.
“Federal government needs to do what we do, make laws,” Sharpton said. “George Floyd should not just go down in history as a model, he should go down in history as the turning point on how we deal with policing in the United States.”
“We will breathe in love through love,” de Blasio said. “We will make this country worthy of the words it says, we will make it a country that acts in that spirit and protects all of us.”
The leaders knelt for 9 minutes and 29 seconds in memory of Floyd, a Black man who died in the hands of former police officer Derek Chauvin, who knelt on his neck. Floyd had repeatedly said he couldn’t breathe.
“As we took that knee, imagine how long that was on a human being’s neck. Never switched knees, just dug in. It’s time we correct policing in this country.” Sharpton said after kneeling.
Floyd’s death sparked months of nationwide protests focused on systemic racism and a renewed debate over police reform in the U.S.
While Biden set the anniversary of Floyd’s death as the initial deadline for legislation to reach his desk, the issue of police reform is a particularly politically thorny one. Congressional negotiators have struggled to find a compromise that can make it through an evenly divided Senate.
Associated Press contributed to this report.