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"Convicting Chauvin is not enough": Leaders urge reform at rally marking 1 year since George Floyd's death

Rally marks 1-year anniversary of George Floyd's death
Rally marks 1-year anniversary of George Floy... 07:52

Civil rights leaders, activists and the family of George Floyd and others slain by law enforcement called for police reform efforts Sunday at a rally ahead of the one-year anniversary of Floyd's murder.  

Reverend Al Sharpton called Floyd's killing on May 25, 2020 "one of the greatest disgraces in American history." Floyd's death was captured on video, where he struggled beneath the knee of White Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin, and led to masses of people to protest in the streets and sparked a reckoning on race in the U.S.

Sharpton, Floyd's sister Bridgett Floyd, civil rights attorney Ben Crump and others spoke at the rally Sunday outside the Hennepin County government center, where Chauvin was convicted on murder and manslaughter charges last month. The group then marched through downtown Minneapolis to mark the grim anniversary. 

"Something changed here in Minneapolis, May 25, 2020, that galvanized people all across America," Crump said. "But not only did it galvanize people across America, it galvanized people across the world to say, 'We're better than this."

Bridgett Floyd, the founder of the George Floyd Memorial Foundation, which organized the rally along with Sharpton's National Action Network, said it's been a long and painful year for her family. She said their lives changed "within the blink of an eye, and I still don't know why."

"That officer didn't know what he took from us last year," Bridgett Floyd said. She vowed to "stand and be the change for him" and to continue his legacy.

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George Floyd's sister Bridgett Floyd, left, civil rights attorney Ben Crump, center, and the Revered Al Sharpton speak at a rally ahead of the one-year anniversary of Floyd's police killing in Minneapolis. WCCO

Sharpton said "convicting Chauvin is not enough," and called for the passage of the federal police reform bill the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.  

"George Floyd is not going down in history as a martyr -- George Floyd is going down in history as a game-changer," Sharpton said. "When you went down on his neck, you broke the neck of police misconduct in this country."

Sharpton said it's evident federal law is needed to curb police violence because another Black man, Daunte Wright, was killed by police in a Minneapolis suburb "before the jury could come back" in the Chauvin case.

"This family -- these families here -- they want to see a law, but don't be mistaken, this law will not fill the pain in their hearts," Sharpton said.

Joining the calls for continued action was Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner, whose pleas of "I can't breathe" before he died in a police chokehold in 2014 became a national rallying cry against police brutality. Floyd also begged "I can't breathe" as Chauvin pinned him to the ground.

Carr said she is pleased by Chauvin's conviction, but warned, "We must not go to sleep on this verdict."

"All of you out here today, we need you at election time, keep being in the streets, write letters, make phone calls, don't just go home and sit on your couch and pretend this is another news story," Carr said. "This is real life. We families, we live this every day. Every day we wake up with pain in our heart, and you don't know if you'll be the next one."

Sharpton vowed to return to Minnesota for the sentencing of Chauvin next month, for the trials of the three other officers charged in Floyd's death next year, for the pending federal civil rights trial for all four officers, and for the manslaughter trial of the officer charged in Wright's death.  

The George Floyd Memorial Foundation is planning more events including a virtual day of action on Monday and a celebration of Floyd's life on Tuesday, the anniversary of his death. 

President Biden will be meeting with Floyd's family on Tuesday at the White House. 

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