Former Vice President Joe Biden made some gripping comments during a roundtable discussion Thursday in Philadelphia regarding the impact of George Floyd’s death compared with Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination in 1968.
Biden talked about how the emergence of smartphones and more video surveillance of police officers makes the reality of police brutality more apparent. He compared the rise in smartphones to the increase in televisions in American homes in the 1960s. As King’s assassination was broadcast on the news across the country, the civil rights movement was recharged for change in equal rights.
In the case of Floyd, an unarmed Minneapolis black man who died during an arrest last month, national and international advocates have been reinvigorated to advocate for police reform and mitigate systemic racism. Biden said Thursday the impact of Floyd’s death in impacting national and international policy will be more transformative than what happened after King’s death.
“Even Dr. King’s assassination did not have the worldwide impact that George Floyd’s death did,” Biden said. “It’s just like television changed the civil rights movement for the better when they saw Bull Connor and his dogs ripping the clothes off of elderly black women going to church and firehoses ripping the skin off of young kids.”
Protests have been ongoing for weeks since Floyd’s death. In some instances, the demonstrations have turned volatile, with Confederate monuments being vandalized and toppled, fires, looting, and conflict with police managing the protests.
After Floyd’s death, all four of the officers involved with his arrest were charged with felonies. The 46-year-old man was arrested for allegedly using a counterfeit $20 bill. Before Floyd died, former Minneapolis Officer Derek Chauvin kept his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes.
Biden predicted the police reform following his death and others including Breonna Taylor, who died after police sprayed her home with bullets while administering a no-knock warrant, will change things across the globe.
“I’m convinced that with rational proposals that cost a lot of money the American public is ready to step up,” he said. “They understand the need to make these systemic changes, dealing from racism to structures that our economy has just stacked the deck against anybody that doesn’t have any money.”
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