George Floyd’s sister has accused Joe Biden of “breaking his promise” to enact police reforms by the anniversary of his death as she boycotted a landmark family visit to the White House.
Bridgett Floyd chose instead to attend a rally in the city of Minneapolis where her brother died under a police officer’s knee.
Speaking to several hundred supporters, she urged the US President to “make it right” on the passage of sweeping legislation intended to tackle injustice in law enforcement.
The George Floyd Justice in Policing bill remains stalled in Congress despite Mr Biden’s promise to sign it into law by Tuesday.
Ms Floyd said: “I think Biden needs to make it right. He broke his promise.”
“There’s been a lot of names added to the list after my brother’s death, and still nothing’s being done,” she added.
Former police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted in April of the murder of the 46-year-old black man. He faces up to 40 years in prison when sentenced on 25 June.
His dying words, “I can’t breathe,” echoed as a slogan in street demonstrations that convulsed the US and the world last summer in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
The anniversary was supposed to be a milestone moment in Washington marking the passage of reforms in Mr Floyd’s name.
Instead, Mr Floyd’s family met Mr Biden and vice president Kamala Harris not only to commemorate their loss but to continue the push for legislation.
“It was a remembrance of what happened to my brother,” Philonise Floyd said of the meeting with Mr Biden, calling the president “a genuine guy”.
Mr Biden told them “he just wants the bill to be meaningful and that it holds George’s legacy intact”, said George Floyd’s nephew Brandon Williams, adding Mr Biden showed “genuine concern” for how the family was coping.
Mr Biden took time during the meeting to play with Mr Floyd’s young daughter Gianna, who enjoyed some ice cream and Cheetos after she told him she was hungry.
Later, she stood before the cameras outside the White House and softly called out “Say his name”. Family members chanted “George Floyd” in return.
“We have to act,” Mr Biden said in a statement issued by the White House. “The battle for the soul of America has been a constant push and pull between the American ideal that we’re all created equal and the harsh reality that racism has long torn us apart.”
Mr Biden also hailed the family’s “extraordinary courage” as he tweeted a picture of the Oval Office gathering.
Following the meeting, the president told reporters he had spoken with congressional negotiators and was “hopeful that sometime after Memorial Day we’ll have an agreement”.
Mr Floyd was also commemorated with a moment’s silence in New York and a rally in Los Angeles, while events were held in the UK, Spain and Germany to mark the day.