Houston-area senator denounces president's support of George Floyd murder trial verdict
(Source: Associated Press)
“I'm praying the verdict is the right verdict which is — I think it is overwhelming in my view.”
It is these words from President Biden that made Texas Senator Ted Cruz declare the Derek Chauvin verdict grounds for a mistrial. Chauvin had been on trial for the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25, 2020. On April 20th of this year, he was convicted on all three counts of the charges he was facing. The counts that he has been convicted of are second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Previous to the verdict, President Biden had been asked about his opinion on the trial and what was then the upcoming decision by the jury. Upon hearing the president's response, Cruz (R-Texas), said that Biden's remarks about the contentious case had the ability to derail the judicial process or perhaps leave a potential conviction open to an appeal.
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The Houston-area senator took to his active Twitter account to declare "Joe Biden decides that Maxine Waters shouldn’t be the only politician foolishly providing grounds for a mistrial or a possible basis on appeal to challenge any guilty conviction."
His comment was in reference to Rep Waters' comments made during a rally for racial justice in Minnesota the previous weekend. In reference to how the community should combat systemic racism in policing and how to obtain justice for Black people abused or killed by police, she said "We've got to get more confrontational."
Cruz wasn't the only person incensed by Waters' comments.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) says that he will introduce a motion to censure Waters for the comments she made.
VIDEO: President Biden Responds to Chauvin Verdict
Before the verdict was rendered, and after sending the jury to be sequestered while deliberating, the judge overseeing the trial gave a terse rebuke to lawmakers in response to Waters' comments.
"I wish elected officials would stop talking about this case, especially in a manner that is disrespectful to the rule of law and to the judicial branch and our function," Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill said. "If they want to give their opinions, they should do so ... in a manner that is consistent with their oath to the Constitution."
White House press secretary Jen Psaki subsequently explained that the president was not trying to get ahead of the verdict when he made the comments.
“The president has been clearly watching the trial closely as many Americans have been. He was also moved by his conversations with the family yesterday,” she said.
“The jury is sequestered which is why he spoke to this but I will expect that he will weigh in further once there is a verdict.” The president did come back with more commentary after Chauvin was found guilty.
Video of Floyd's murder sparked massive global protests last summer. Biden said recently that he supported peaceful protests in the wake of another fatal police shooting in Minneaoplis. Daunte Wright was a 20-year-old Black man who died earlier this month.
CHART: Voters Supporting the Components of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act
A racial reckoning
The killing of George Floyd has brought to light issues that exist between the police and Black Americans. Research indicates that majority of people also believe law enforcement is racially biased: 52 percent agree that police are more likely to use deadly force on Black Americans than white Americans, though this number varies by party and race.
Some other statistics:
- 84 percent of Democrats believe this, compared to 45 percent of independents and 24 percent of Republicans
- 80 percent of Black Americans, compared to 61 percent of Latino Americans and 46 percent of white Americans, also agree with this statement
- 63 percent of Americans say most officers can be trusted, with a variation across party, race, and age lines
- Only 48 percent of Democrats say police can be trusted compared to 78 percent of Republicans
- 32 percent of Black Americans and 38 percent of Latino Americans say the same, compared to 72 percent of White Americans
- Younger people are much less likely to trust police: 30 percent of those ages 18 to 29 say they trust police, compared to 73 percent of those who are 45 and older