President Joe Biden on Tuesday said he is praying for George Floyd’s family and called the evidence in the Derek Chauvin trial ‘overwhelming.
He said he hoped the jury, which has begun deliberations on the charges of murder and manslaughter against Chauvin, reaches the ‘right verdict.’
‘I’m praying the verdict is the right verdict. The evidence is overwhelming in my view,’ Biden told reporters in the Oval office.
Biden called Floyd’s brother Philonise after the jury went behind closed doors for their deliberations.
‘He was just calling. He knows how it is to lose a family member. And he knows that the process of what we’re going through so he was just letting us know that he was praying for us, and hoping that everything would come out to be okay,’ Philonise told NBC’s Today on Tuesday morning
Philonise Floyd said he is ‘optimistic’ about the coming verdict. ‘Hopefully it will be the way the world wants to see it,’ he noted. He also expressed his hope for peace after the verdict is revealed.
‘We just want everyone to be peaceful’, he added, as Minneapolis braces for the verdict and the White House figures out how to deal with any potential fall
More than 3,000 Minnesota National Guard members have been activated and hundreds marched through the streets of Minneapolis on Monday night as the US waits for the outcome of the trial.
Philonise spoke out as the jury in Minneapolis prepared to return for a second day of deliberations and amid fury over Maxine Waters’ calling for Chauvin to be found guilty and for Black Lives Matter protesters to be ‘more confrontational’.
The California Democrat sparked outrage by travelling to Minneapolis on Saturday and urging protesters to ‘get more confrontational’ if Chauvin was acquitted.
Her remarks, on the eve of the jury retiring to consider its verdict, were widely condemned and may, it emerged on Monday, have handed Chauvin’s defense grounds for appeal and the turning over of any guilty verdict.
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George Floyd’s brother Philonise reveals President Biden called him on Monday when the jury was sent out to deliberate in Derek Chauvins’ trial
Philonise went on to say: ‘I just feel that in America, if a Black man can’t get justice for this, what can a Black man get justice for?’
Biden is monitoring the trial and is concerned that a verdict may inflame racial tensions at a time when multiple U.S. cities are on edge following police killings.
The footage of Chauvin kneeling on George Floyd’s neck during Floyd’s arrest last summer set off protests in Minneapolis and around the country. If the Chauvin jury should deliver a verdict this week or next, the results would come amid renewed tensions in communities where police have shot suspects during traffic stops and arrests – along with sharp splits over efforts to control the coronavirus and a new spate of mass shootings.
Yet Waters, 82, defiantly insisted on Monday afternoon that she stood by her words.
‘The judge says my words don’t matter,’ she told CNN.
When pressed on the judge stating that her remarks could be grounds for appeal, she replied: ‘Oh no, no they didn’t.’
She insisted she was entirely justified in her call to action, saying: ‘The whole Civil Rights movement is confrontational.’
Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is introducing a resolution for Waters to be censured and says she ‘incited violence’ with her remarks.
‘(Biden) knows how it is to lose a family member. And he knows that the process of what we’re going through so he was just letting us know that he was praying for us, and hoping that everything would come out to be okay,’ Philonise told NBC Today
He believes up to 15 Democrats could back the motion to censure and said Waters ‘believes there is value in violence’.
Democrats including Nancy Pelosi have said she shouldn’t apologize for her comments.
The White House also refused to condemn Waters comments. Biden’s press secretary said on Monday that protests should be ‘peaceful’, but did not respond to Waters’ comments directly.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed the call and said the President wanted to ‘check in’ with Floyd’s family
Waters (D – California) had joined protesters in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Center on Saturday night for a demonstration over the death of Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old black man shot dead by a white police officer during a traffic stop on April 11.
Waters told the protesters that she will fight for justice on their behalf and urged them to ‘to get more confrontational’ – just one day after protests descended into violence.
Closing arguments were heard Monday in Chauvin’s trial with a prosecutor telling jurors that the officer ‘had to know’ he was squeezing the life out of George Floyd as he cried over and over that he couldn’t breathe and finally fell silent.
Following the arguments, the jurors retired to deliberate as demonstrators took to the streets of Minneapolis.
Images showed hundreds marching through the city demanding justice for Floyd while waving Black Lives Matter flags and holding signs that read ‘Blue Lives Murder’.
Demonstrators gathered outside the Hennepin County courthouse, which is surrounded by high fences and concrete barricades topped with barbed wire.
National Guard members are seen through fencing and wire near the Minneapolis Police 3rd Precinct in Minneapolis
Local organizer Brandyn Tulloch speaks to the crowd during a demonstration on Monday
Protesters take to the street in Minneapolis as jurors begin deliberations following the trial of former Officer Derek Chauvin
Protesters gathered in Minneapolis on Monday as the jury started their deliberations toward a verdict in the case against Derek Chauvin, who faces murder and manslaughter charges in the death of George Floyd
Protesters held signs that demanded justice for George Floyd as the jury was retired to consider their verdict
‘I hope we get a verdict that says guilty, guilty, guilty,’ she said of the Chauvin trial. ‘And if we don’t, we cannot go away. We’ve got to stay on the street. We get more active, we’ve got to get more confrontational. We’ve got to make sure that they know that we mean business.’
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell likewise went after Waters on Monday, telling colleagues: ‘It’s harder to imagine anything more inappropriate than a member of Congress flying in from California to inform local leaders – not so subtly – that this defendant had better be found guilty or else there will be big trouble in the streets.’
The Kentucky Republican said that Waters’ demand for a guilty verdict was ‘like somebody window-shopping or ordering off a menu.’
‘Every single American deserves a fair trial. This is sacred. You do not balance the scales of justice by trying to tip them,’ McConnell said.
The top Senate Republican noted that through much of the country’s ‘quest for civil rights and equal justice has been the fight to get rid of extra-judicial violence, to get rid of rigged trials where the outcome was molded by public sentiment or angry mob.’
‘It is beyond the pale for a sitting member of the United States Congress to look at what happened last summer and imply there should be some kind of a sequel if a legal case does not unfold as she thinks it should,’ he said.
Republican House Whip Steve Scalise said: ‘Let’s be clear: Maxine Waters knew her rhetoric would incite violence in Minneapolis—but she doesn’t care, she just requests police escorts for herself. I was shot because of this kind of dangerous rhetoric. Where is the outrage from Dems & the media? They need to condemn this.’
Scalise was shot in 2017 by left-wing activist James Hodgkinson during a charity Congressional Baseball Game in Alexandria, Virginia. The Virginia Attorney General concluded that Hodgkinson’s attack was an ‘act of terrorism fueled by rage against Republican legislators’.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy took his criticism even further – saying that he is introducing a motion to censure Waters and claimed that up to 15 Democrats could vote for his motion.
During an interview with on Fox News Primetime, McCarthy said the congresswoman ‘believes there is value in violence’.
‘And now what she has said has even put doubt into a jury,’ McCarthy said, referring to the George Floyd jury that started deliberations on Monday in the murder trial of former Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin.
‘You had a judge announce that it was wrong. I think this takes action especially when she has a pattern of this behavior,’ McCarthy continued.
He was referring to Waters’ 2018 remarks when she told Californians to ‘get in the face’ of Trump administration staffers if they see them in public.
McCarthy said he believes there are ‘probably 10 to 15’ Democrats who would vote for censure.
‘It will all come down to the pressure of what Democrats will put on them to just try to vote to table it – not even to have the discussion,’ he added.
McCarthy’s remarks Monday night came just hours after he claimed in a tweet that Waters ‘broke the law by violating curfew and then incited violence’ while in Minneapolis over the weekend.
He then accused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of ‘ignoring Waters’ behavior,’ which he said prompted him to introduce ‘a resolution to censure Rep. Waters for these dangerous comments’.
Waters (D – California) had joined protesters in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Center on Saturday night for a demonstration over the death of Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old black man shot dead by a white police officer during a traffic stop on April 11
Maxine Waters’ history of defending violence: Democrat called the deadly 1992 LA riots a ‘rebellion’ and told her supporters to confront Trump cabinet members in the street
CALLED 1992 LA RIOTS A ‘REBELLION’
Waters refused to call the violence in Los Angeles in 1992 a riot, instead dubbing it a ‘rebellion’ – even though her office was burned down during the unrest.
The riots ensued after the acquittal of four LAPD officers who beat Rodney King, a black man. A video of the incident was captured and circulated.
‘There are those who would like for me … to tell people to go inside, to be peaceful, that they have to accept the verdict,’ Waters said during a 1992 press conference.
‘I accept the responsibility of asking people not to endanger their lives. I am not asking people not to be angry,’ she continued.
‘I am angry, and I have a right to that anger, and the people out there have a right to that anger.’
The death toll from the riots reached 64, which included nine shot by law enforcement. Of the dead, 28 were black. Reports at the time indicate as many as 2,383 people were injured in some capacity.
Waters insisted that the majority of the looting in LA during that time was just so poor mothers could get necessities for their children.
Waters and then-President Bill Clinton tour Los Angeles in May 1992 after rioters burnt buildings to the ground in violent riots
At the time, she called the violence ‘a spontaneous reaction to a lot of injustice and a lot of alienation and frustration.’
‘There were mothers who took this as an opportunity to take some milk, to take some bread, to take some shoes. Maybe they shouldn’t have done it, but the atmosphere was such that they did it. They are not crooks,’ Waters defended while speaking on Michael Jackson’s KABC radio talk show in 1992.
She also told a Los Angeles Times reporter at the time: ‘One lady said her children didn’t have any shoes. She just saw those shoes there, a chance for all of her children to have new shoes. God damn it! It was such a tear-jerker. I might have gone in and taken them for her myself.’
Waters said her office burning down in the riots was not personal. She said she wasn’t ‘angry at all’ and the office was just ‘one of the victims of the rebellion.’
TOLD SUPPORTERS TO PUBLICLY CONFRONT TRUMP OFFICIALS
In June 2018, Waters told people to harass Trump cabinet members and other administration officials in public after the then-president imposed a ‘zero tolerance’ policy for illegal immigration at the southern border.
‘Let’s make sure we show up wherever we have to show up,’ Waters said during a rally in LA.
‘And if you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out, and you create a crowd. And you push back on them. And you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere,’ she said.
Trump’s policies led to the separation of parents from their children after illegally crossing into the U.S.
‘Mr. President, we will see you every day, every hour of the day, everywhere that we are to let you know you cannot get away with this,’ Waters said at the rally.
The congresswoman’s comments came after several Trump officials had been recently confronted in public – especially while dining at restaurants.
In June 2018, then-White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and her family were asked to leave The Red Hen in Lexington, Virginia – where they were dining that night because gay employees were uncomfortable with her politics.
Also that month, Trump’s then-Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was heckled out of a Mexican eatery a couple blocks from the White House. A video emerged with protesters chanting ‘shame’ at Nielsen while she was dining.
Two days before that, White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller was called a fascist while he was eating at a different Mexican restaurant, also in D.C.
The same day as Waters’ rally, the congresswoman appeared on MSNBC to encourage more confirmation.
‘The people are going to turn on them. They’re going to protest,’ she said. ‘They’re going to absolutely harass them until they decide that they’re going to tell the President, ‘No, I can’t hang with you.”
WATERS SAYS SHE THREATENS TRUMP SUPPORTERS ‘ALL THE TIME’
Trump suggested in a 2018 tweet that Waters’ comments inciting confrontations were directed at his supporters, instead of those working in his administration.
But Waters said in September 2018 remarks, while she does threaten Trump supporters ‘all the time,’ she was not in that instance.
‘I did not threaten constituents and supporters. I do that all the time, but I didn’t do that that time,’ Waters said to laughter from a crowd in LA.
‘What bothered me so much was, they tried to frame that as violence,’ Waters said. ‘That’s not violence.’
‘The poster child for violence is the President of the United States. He’s the one who threatens,’ she continued. ‘Don’t forget at his rallies, when he said go ahead and beat them up, I’ll take them out on a stretcher.’
‘I do not advocate violence,’ she said. ‘I do not believe you should hit, kick, shoot,’ Waters said. ‘We have to tell people the difference between violence and incivility and protesting.’
‘I said, if you see them anywhere, if you see them in a restaurant, if you see them in a department store, even at a gasoline station, just tell them, you’re not welcome here or anywhere,’ Waters recalled.
‘Of course it frightened a lot of people.’
TELLS GOP REP. JIM JORDAN TO ‘SHUT YOUR MOUTH’
Waters told Republican Congressman Jim Jordan to ‘shut your mouth’ when he asked Dr. Anthony Fauci when the pandemic will end and America will get their ‘liberties’ back.
The House Coronavirus Crisis Subcommittee descended into chaos last Thursday when Jordan probed Facui on restrictions that have been in place for a year.
‘We had 15 days to slow the spread turned into one year of lost liberty,’ Jordan said during the session. ‘What metrics, what measures, what has to happen before Americans get their freedoms back?’
‘You’re indicating liberty and freedom. I look at it as a public health measure to prevent people from dying and going to hospital,’ Fauci told Jordan and said the U.S. will return to normal when enough people are vaccinated.
Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters (right) told Republican Congressman Jim Jordan (left) to ‘shut your mouth’ when he asked Dr. Fauci when America will get their ‘liberties’ back
‘You don’t think Americans’ liberties have been threatened the last year, Dr. Fauci?’ Jordan added. ‘They’ve been assaulted!’.
Fauci then told Jordan ‘you’re making this personal’ when the Ohio representative said no one was allowed to criticize him.
‘You need to respect the chair and shut your mouth!’ Waters then interjected. It came after she opened her testimony by saying: ‘Dr. Fauci, I love you.’