President Biden says he’s ‘praying’ that jurors convict Derek Chauvin

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President Biden says he’s “praying” that jurors convict former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin of murder for killing George Floyd.

“I’m praying the verdict is the right verdict. The evidence is overwhelming, in my view,” Biden told reporters at an unrelated event at the White House.

Biden said he called Floyd’s family on Monday night after jurors began to deliberate in the case.

“I’ve come to know George’s family … And his brother, both brothers,” Biden said.

Biden said he held off placing the call until closing arguments were done so that he wasn’t seen as applying pressure to jurors — as Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) stands accused of doing.

“I waited until the jury was sequestered and I called,” Biden said, without directly mentioning controversy over inflammatory remarks from Waters.

“They’re a good family,” Biden said. “And they’re calling for peace and tranquility.” 

Biden has repeatedly denounced Floyd’s death but had previously stopped short of weighing in on the trial itself. His comments came as his administration has been privately weighing how to handle the upcoming verdict, including whether Biden should address the nation and dispatching specially trained community facilitators from the Justice Department, aides and officials told the Associated Press.

The jury resumed deliberations Tuesday morning after spending a few hours Monday discussing the case behind closed doors. 

Floyd’s death triggered nationwide protests and rioting last year — causing up to $2 billion in damage, according to insurance company estimates.

The plans for possible presidential remarks are still fluid, with the timing, venue and nature of the remarks still being considered, in part depending on the timing of the verdict, according to two White House aides who were not authorized to speak publicly about private conversations and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.

The White House has been warily watching the trial proceed in Minneapolis — and then another shooting of a black man by a white police officer last week — and is preparing for the possibility of unrest if a guilty verdict is not reached in the trial. Biden may also speak after a guilty verdict, the White House aides said.

But the White House on Monday stopped short of condemning the remarks by Waters, who called for protesters in Minneapolis to “get more confrontational” with police. Press secretary Jen Psaki said Biden believes “protests must be peaceful,” in response to a reporter’s question about Waters’ call to action.

With Associated Press

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