Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden chose the protest-buffered City Hall of Philadelphia to deliver an address on the civil unrest here and across the nation in the wake of the killing of George Floyd, a Black man, by a white Minneapolis police officer.
"I can't breathe. I can't breathe."
The former vice president began his remarks with Floyd's last words, saying those words didn't die with him.
"They're still being heard, echoing all across this nation. They speak to a nation where, too often, just the color of your skin puts your life at risk," he said.
Biden said the moment has come to deal with systemic racism.
"It’s a wake-up call for our nation. For all of us," Biden said of Floyd's death.
He said bad cops must be dealt with, and he called on Congress to pass legislation that would make a start at it.
"Congressman Jeffries has a bill to outlaw choke holds. Congress should put it on the president's desk in the next few days," he said. "There are other measures to stop transferring weapons of war to police forces, improve oversight and accountability, to create a modern use of force standard."
He said, at times like these, the president of the United States needs to be part of the solution, not part of the problem, and that the nation needs direction.
"The country is crying out for leadership," he said, "leadership that can unite us, ... leadership that can recognize the pain and deep grief of communities who have had a knee on their neck for a long time."
The Trump administration responded with a statement saying Biden "has made the crass political calculation that unrest in America is a benefit to his candidacy."
Biden spoke in the mayor's reception room to a small group that included Mayor Jim Kenney.
"We're honored to have him here, and I'm glad he considers us still home," Kenney said.