WASHINGTON: President Joe Biden marks the anniversary Tuesday of the police murder of George Floyd by hosting the African American man's family -- but without being able to celebrate hoped-for national police reform.
Floyd's daughter Gianna, his mother, sister and brothers will be among those attending private talks with Biden at the White House, Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.
"The courage and grace of his family, and especially his daughter Gianna, has really stuck with the president," she told reporters. "He's eager to listen to their perspectives."
The choking to death of Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25 last year and subsequent conviction of the officer, Derek Chauvin, who'd knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes, were seen as seminal moments in the long US struggle for racial equality.
After the killing during Floyd's arrest outside a store, protests and riots erupted across a country already crackling with tension from the election battle between Biden and then president Donald Trump.
In the wake of the verdict this April against Chauvin, who faces sentencing next month, Biden sought to build on political momentum by urging Congress to pass a far-reaching police reform bill in time for the first anniversary.
Americans must confront the "systemic racism" revealed by Floyd's killing "head on," he declared.
However, the ambitious deadline comes with only the House having passed the bill, known as the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, while the Senate continues to wrangle over key details.
The bill seeks to reform what critics say have become ever more violent and unaccountable police forces around the country.
Opponents argue that police are being unfairly blamed when they are simply trying to operate in a dangerous and often heavily armed society.
However, Biden and reform proponents say that a culture of impunity and underlying racism have made incidents like Floyd's death increasingly common.