George Floyd trial: Biden hopes for “correct judgment”

George Floyd trial
Biden hopes for “correct judgment”

Is ex-cop Derek Chauvin guilty or innocent? This is what the jury will discuss in the case of the violent death of George Floyd. US President Joe Biden had not yet commented on the process. Now he has broken his silence and let shine through what he wants.

US President Joe Biden has indicated that he is hoping for a guilty verdict against the accused ex-police officer Derek Chauvin in the trial for the death of the African American George Floyd. “I pray that the verdict will be the correct one,” Biden said now in the White House. In his opinion, the evidence is “overwhelming”. Biden was not saying that he was betting on a guilty verdict against Chauvin; the direction of his remarks was clear – especially since the president had spoken to Floyd’s family the day before. Biden now pointed out that the jury in the trial of Chauvin on Monday in Minneapolis had started their deliberations and are therefore being sealed off from the public. Otherwise he would not have commented on the case, he said.

The statements of the President about an ongoing judicial process caused astonishment. Biden’s spokeswoman Jen Psaki was confronted with numerous questions from journalists about the president’s possible influence on the process. Psaki rejected this several times. “He certainly doesn’t want to influence,” she emphasized. They also do not believe that the President takes his testimony as an expression of opinion on the upcoming judgment. It merely expressed what many people in the country were feeling – namely “compassion for the family” of George Floyd. Biden’s remarks came at a time when there were already discussions about possible political influence on the process.

Statements by a fellow Biden on the Floyd trial had visibly upset presiding judge Peter Cahill. The Democratic MP Maxine Waters said at a protest over the weekend that if Chauvin is not condemned, protesters will have to become “more active” and “more confrontational”. Judge Cahill said on Monday that Waters’ remarks could result in the outcome of the ongoing appeal being overturned. “I would like elected representatives to stop talking about this case, especially in a way that is disrespectful to the rule of law and the judiciary.” However, Cahill denied Chauvin’s defense attorney’s motion to annul the ongoing process because of the MPs’ statements. “A MP’s opinion is not really that important,” said the judge.

The twelve jurors in the Floyd trial are currently debating whether Chauvin is guilty or innocent on the counts of second degree murder, third degree murder and second degree manslaughter. The public prosecutor’s office had called for a guilty verdict on all three counts in its closing argument on Monday. Chauvin’s defense attorney had stated that the white ex-police officer would have to be acquitted.

Biden: Floyd’s family calls for “peace and quiet”

Chauvin held the knee of Floyd, arrested on counterfeit money allegations, on May 25, 2020 in Minneapolis for nine and a half minutes, although the African-American repeatedly complained that he could no longer breathe. Floyd’s death, captured on a cell phone video, sparked international outrage and sparked nationwide protests against racism and police violence in the United States. But convictions against police officers are rare in the USA. The authorities fear protests and riots if Chauvin is not convicted. Because of this, drastic security precautions have been taken in Minneapolis, including the National Guard.

Biden said after his phone call with Floyd’s family members that the family was calling for “peace and quiet”. At the same time, the president said the family was feeling “pressure and worry”. “You are a good family.” Floyd’s brother Philonise said of the interview with Biden on NBC News, “He just let us know that he is praying for us and that he hopes we will all turn out fine.” Biden – still a presidential candidate at the time – had met relatives of the African American after Floyd’s death. At the funeral ceremony before Floyd’s funeral in June 2020, he gave a video address and called for a tough fight against racism in the country.