SENATOR Kamala Harris warned it "will not be easy" for the officer charged with George Floyd’s murder “to get a conviction.”
Harris, a former prosecutor and contender for the vice presidency, said on The View on Monday that such a conviction would be difficult because juries tend to believe police officers.
"It is still the case that jurors are inclined to trust — because that's part of the social contract — to trust police officers and that has been part of the difficulty that so many prosecutors have had when they brought these cases," Harris said on the talk show.
"But there's no denying that this, this officer and those who were his accomplices should pay attention real consequence and accountability for what they've done."
Derek Chauvin and three other police officers, Thomas Lane, J Kueng, and Tou Thao, were all fired after Floyd died on May 25.
The officers responded to a call at Cups Food deli in Minneapolis, Minnesota, after Floyd allegedly tried to use a fake $20 bill to buy cigarettes.
During his arrest, Chauvin kneeled on the back of Floyd’s neck for close to nine minutes.
Floyd died at the scene, according to an autopsy commissioned by Floyd’s family, and doctors ruled he passed asphyxiation due to neck and back compression.
Chauvin was initially charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, both of which still stand, but he was later also charged with second-degree murder.
On Monday, Chauvin appeared via video chat in court for the first time, where a judge kept his bail at $1million.
Last week, the other officers involved were charged for the first time with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
If convicted, all four officers could be sentenced to up to four decades in prison.
Harris said of Floyd’s death: "I don't think there is any question that he did not die of natural causes.”
"He died while this police officer who had been invested with a badge and a gun by the people used the power he was given by the people to have his knee on a human being's neck."
On Monday, Democrats proposed sweeping police reform legislation called the Justice in Policing Act — the most ambitious law enforcement reform from Congress in years.
The package would limit legal protections for police, create a national database of excessive-force incidents, and ban police chokeholds, among other changes.
It would revise the federal criminal police misconduct statute to make it easier to prosecute officers who are involved in “reckless” misconduct and it would change “qualified immunity” protections to more broadly enable damage claims against police in lawsuits.
The bill would ban racial profiling, boost requirements for police body cameras, and limit the transfer of military equipment to local police departments.
Overall, the bill seeks to provide greater transparency of police behavior in several ways, and could also create a “National Police Misconduct Registry” to prevent officers from transferring from one department to another with past misconduct undetected.
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