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Policeman charged with Floyd murder appears in court

Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin made his first court appearance Monday charged with the murder of George Floyd, the 46-year-old African-American man whose death sparked…

Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin made his first court appearance Monday charged with the murder of George Floyd, the 46-year-old African-American man whose death sparked nationwide protests.

Chauvin, 44, who was filmed pressing his knee on handcuffed Floyd’s neck until he expired, appeared by video from Minnesota state prison to face charges of one count of second degree murder, one count of third degree murder, and one count of manslaughter.

Democratic lawmakers knelt in silent tribute to George Floyd in the US Congress on Monday before unveiling a package of sweeping police reforms in response to the killing of African Americans by law enforcement.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer were joined by some two dozen lawmakers in Emancipation Hall — named in honor of the slaves who helped erect the US Capitol in the 18th century.

They knelt for eight minutes and 46 seconds to mark the length of time a white police officer pinned his knee on the neck of the 46-year-old Floyd, whose May 25 death in Minneapolis unleashed protests against racial injustice across America.

The Democrats said their bill aimed to create “meaningful, structural change that safeguards every Americans’ right to safety and equal justice.”

The legislation seeks to “end police brutality, hold police accountable (and) improve transparency in policing,” a statement said.

Pelosi, who like other kneeling lawmakers was draped in a colorful Kente cloth scarf that pays homage to black Americans’ African heritage, spoke afterward of the “martyrdom of George Floyd” and the grief over black men and women killed at the hands of police.

“This movement of national anguish is being transformed into a movement of national action,” she said.

The Justice and Policing Act, introduced in both chambers of Congress, would make it easier to prosecute officers for abuse and rethink how they are recruited and trained. (AFP)

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