(CNSNews.com) – George Floyd’s name is now “synonymous with justice, and dignity, and grace, and prayerfulness – and prayerfulness,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said after a jury in Minnesota delivered a guilty verdict Tuesday in the murder trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin.
She thanked God – and “Jesus, because we were praying to Him all along.”
Taking part in a press conference with members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), Pelosi said the Floyd family – with whom she had spoken earlier in the day, to thank them for their grace and dignity – were “people of faith.”
Pelosi said she thanked God that “the jury validated what we saw.”
“Thank you George Floyd,” she said, looking upward briefly, “for sacrificing your life for justice. For being there to call out to your Mom – how, how heartbreaking was that? – call out for your Mom, ‘I can’t breathe.’ But because of you, and because of thousands, millions of people around the world who came out for justice, your name will always be synonymous with justice.”
“And now we have to make sure justice prevails in the sentencing,” Pelosi added.
CBC member Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) also referred to the sentencing of Chauvin, which Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill said would take place in eight weeks.
“Step one is the verdict,” she said. “Step two is the sentencing, and we have been through this too many times to know you can get a verdict, but the sentencing must match the crime that he was convicted of.”
On social media, a clip of Pelosi saying, “Thank you George Floyd for sacrificing your life for justice” drew some strong responses, with Twitter posters questioning her choice of words and underlining that Floyd “was murdered.”
Pelosi then posted a tweet saying, “George Floyd should be alive today. His family’s calls for justice for his murder were heard around the world. He did not die in vain. We must make sure other families don’t suffer the same racism, violence & pain, and we must enact the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.”
Floyd, 46, died after Chauvin knelt on his neck during an arrest in a Minneapolis city street last May. A jury in Minnesota on Tuesday found the former police officer guilty on all three counts he was facing – second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter.
“This verdict, we certainly agree with – guilty on all charges – but we want our message to be very clear that this is just the first step. We know clearly that justice has been delayed,” CBC chair Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio) said at the briefing.
“We are hopeful that today will be the catalyst to turn the pain, the agony, the justice delayed into actions that go far beyond today,” she said. “We stand with the family who have suffered so much.”
The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, authored by Bass with 230 Democratic cosponsors, passed the House in a 236-181 vote in June last year but did not advance in the U.S. Senate.
Among other things, the bill would require all law enforcement personnel to undergo training on issues of racial or religious profiling, and require federal uniformed police officers to wear body cameras and marked federal police vehicles to be equipped with dashboard cameras.
The legislation would create a national registry of data on complaints and records of police misconduct, and would limit qualified immunity as a defense to liability in private civil actions against law enforcement officers.
President Biden in his remarks after the Chauvin verdict said he told the Floyd family that “we’re going to continue to fight for the passage of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act so we can – I can sign it into law as quickly as possible.”