Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday met privately with the family of George Floyd during a public viewing of his body to express his condolences and to tell them his home state is working to change police policies in the wake of his death.
"Today is a sad day; ever since his death has been a sad day," Abbott told reporters.
Floyd was a longtime resident of Houston who had moved to Minneapolis where he died May 25 after a police officer placed his knee on his neck for almost nine minutes as he begged for breath.
Abbot called Floyd's death, which was captured on cellphone video and has sparked protests throughout the nation and the world against racial disparities in policing, "the most horrific tragedy I've ever personally observed."
Abbot said he will work with Floyd's family "to ensure we never have anything like this ever occur in the state of Texas."
"George Floyd has not died in vain," he said. "His life will be a living legacy about the way that America and Texas responds to this tragedy."
He added, "discussions about the pathway forward" would not be usurped by politicians, but by family members and others "who have suffered because of racism for far too long."
"Remember this: Texas has a legacy of success, whether it be the Timothy Cole Act, the Sandra Bland Act, and now maybe the George Floyd Act to make sure that we prevent police brutality like this from happening in the future in Texas," he said.
Democratic Party presidential nominee Joe Biden also met with the family privately in Houston on Monday.
Biden met with Floyd's relatives in Houston for more than an hour, said lawyer Benjamin Crump, who posted a picture of himself on Twitter after the meeting with Biden, Floyd's uncle Roger, civil rights activist Reverend Al Sharpton and Representative Cedric Richmond.
"He listened, heard their pain, and shared in their woe," Crump said of the private meeting. "That compassion meant the world to this grieving family."
Mourners gathered Monday in Floyd's Texas hometown at a public viewing ahead of a private funeral service scheduled for Tuesday. The former vice president is expected to record a statement for the service, an aide said.
Reuters contributed to this report.
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