Who Was George Floyd?
George Floyd, 46, grew up in Houston’s Third Ward, one of the city’s predominantly African-American neighborhoods, where he and Harris met in middle school. Mr Floyd was a talented athlete who particularly excelled in football and basketball at school. At 6 feet, 6 inches, Floyd emerged as a star tight end for Jack Yates High School, and played in the 1992 state championship game in the Houston Astrodome. Yates lost to Temple, 38-20. Donnell Cooper, one of Floyd’s former classmates, said he remembered watching Floyd score touchdowns. Floyd towered over everyone and earned the nickname “gentle giant.”
Christopher Harris, Floyd’s childhood friend, said he and some of their mutual friends had moved to Minneapolis in search of jobs around 2014. Harris said he talked Floyd into moving there.
“He was looking to start over fresh, a new beginning,” Harris said. “He was happy with the change he was making.”
Floyd landed a job working security at a Salvation Army store in downtown Minneapolis. He later started working two jobs, one driving trucks and another as a bouncer at Conga Latin Bistro, where he was known as “Big Floyd.”
“Always cheerful,” Jovanni Tunstrom, the bistro’s owner said. “He had a good attitude. He would dance badly to make people laugh. I tried to teach him how to dance because he loved Latin music, but I couldn’t because he was too tall for me. He always called me ‘Bossman.’ I said, ‘Floyd, don’t call me Bossman. I’m your friend.”
Floyd moved to Minneapolis from his native, Houston, several years ago in hopes of finding work and starting a new life, said Christopher Harris, Floyd’s lifelong friend. But he lost his job as a bouncer at a restaurant when Minnesota’s governor issued a stay-at-home order.
Christopher Harris said he spoke with Floyd on Sunday night, and gave him some information for contacting a temporary jobs agency.
“He was doing whatever it takes to maintain going forward with his life,” Harris said, adding he couldn’t believe that Floyd would resort to forgery. “I’ve never known him to do anything like that.”
George Floyd Brief Background Events Leading to His Death.
On Monday night, an employee at a Minneapolis grocery store, called police after Floyd allegedly tried to pass a counterfeit $20 bill. In widely circulated cellphone video of the subsequent arrest, Floyd, an African-American, can be seen on the ground with his hands cuffed behind his back, while Officer Derek Chauvin presses him to the pavement with his knee on Floyd’s neck.
The video shows Derek Chauvin, who is white, holding Floyd down for minutes as Floyd complains, “I can’t breathe”. The video ends with paramedics lifting a limp Floyd onto a stretcher, and placing him in an ambulance. Police say Floyd was resisting arrest, but Chauvin’s lawyer has declined to comment, and the other officers have not been publicly identified.
Before he died after being pinned for minutes beneath a Minneapolis police officer’s knee, George Floyd was suffering the same fate as millions of Americans during the coronavirus pandemic, out of work and looking for a new job.
“The way he died was senseless,” Christopher Harris said. “He begged for his life. He pleaded for his life. When you try so hard to put faith in this system, a system that you know isn’t designed for you, when you constantly seek justice by lawful means and you can’t get it, you begin to take the law into your own hands.”
Mr Floyd was a regular at Cup Foods. He was a friendly face, a pleasant customer who never caused any trouble, the store owner Mike Abumayyaleh told NBC.
George Floyd Family Demands Justice.
Though the four Minneapolis officers involved in Floyd’s death were fired, his family members said that’s not enough. They want to see all of the officers charged with murder.
“They were supposed to be there to serve, and to protect and I didn’t see a single one of them lift a finger to do anything to help, while he was begging for his life. Not one of them tried to do anything to help him,” Tera Brown, Floyd’s cousin, told CNN’s Lemon.
The mother of George Floyd’s daughter has made an emotional plea for justice, sobbing as she insisted he was a good man “no matter what anybody thinks”. With her six-year-old daughter Gianna clinging to her, Roxie Washington said she wanted all four officers involved in Mr Floyd’s death to pay for the killing, which has sparked fierce protests across the US and the world.
“At the end of the day, they get to go home and be with their families. Gianna doesn’t have a father. He will never see her grow up, graduate. He will never walk her down the aisle.” Miss Washington made her remarks during a news conference at Minneapolis City Hall. “He loved her, he loved her so much,” she said. “I’m here for my baby. I’m here for George because I want justice for him, and I want justice for him because he was good. No matter what anybody thinks, he was good.”
George Floyd A Devoted father.
Roxie Washington, the mother of his six-year-old daughter in Houston, described him as a devoted father.
“People mistake him because he was so big that they thought he was always a fighting person,” Washington said, according to the Houston Chronicle.
“But he was a loving person, and he loved his daughter.”
One of Floyd’s longtime friends, Stephen Jackson, became an NBA basketball star, but Floyd never let that change their friendship.
“He was changing his life,” moving to Minnesota for work so he could support his children, Jackson added. “My boy was doing what he was supposed to do, man, and you all go and kill my brother.”
Floyd’s girlfriend, Courtney Ross, said he had remained a shining light in the community.
“This is nothing but an angel that was sent to us on earth,” she told CBS News. “And we demonised him, and we killed him.”
George Floyd’s Autopsy Findings.
A medical examiner’s office on Monday ruled that George Floyd’s death was a homicide, as they appeared to walk back initial reports, that he wasn’t strangled when a Minneapolis cop knelt on his neck during an arrest. The medical examiner’s finding that the death was a homicide by asphyxiation, confirms the same conclusion of the independent autopsy, that was also released on Monday, but there are key differences over the cause.
A press release from the Hennepin County Medical Examiner, said that Floyd, who cried out that he couldn’t breathe as Officer Derek Chauvin pinned him down by kneeling on his neck, had ‘recent methamphetamine use’, and ‘fentanyl intoxication’, along with hypertension and coronary artery disease, all of which were possible contributing factors to his death.
But, two doctors who carried out that independent autopsy of the 46-year-old, and two attorneys for his family said that he had no underlying health conditions that may have contributed to his death. They argued that not only the officer who was kneeing Floyd’s neck killed him, but also two officers who were pressing their weight onto Floyd’s back while he was on the ground. But Dr Michael Baden, who took part in the independent autopsy at the behest of Floyd’s family, said that the two other officers’ actions also caused Floyd to stop breathing.
‘We can see after a little bit less than four minutes that Mr Floyd is motionless, lifeless,’ Baden said.
Baden has worked on several high-profile cases, including the 2014 death of Eric Garner, an African-American man who died after being placed in an unlawful chokehold by NYPD officer, Daniel Pantaleo, in New York City. Baden also previously conducted an autopsy on convicted sex offender, Jeffrey Epstein, that suggested he may have been murdered, in addition to testifying at the OJ Simpson murder trial.
The protests began after a video showed Mr Floyd being arrested on 25 May in Minneapolis by Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, and other police officers. Mr Floyd was an unarmed man who died after police officer Chauvin kneeled on his neck for more than eight minutes, as he told them, “I can’t breathe”.
The officer, Derek Chauvin, has been charged with third-degree murder. Three other police officers have been fired. The Floyd case follows the high-profile cases of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri; Eric Garner in New York; and others that have driven the Black Lives Matter movement in recent years.
Garner was placed in a police chokehold in New York in 2014, and could be heard crying out, “I can’t breathe” as officers restrained him. His words, which were also shouted by Mr Floyd in his final moments, have become a rallying cry for Black Lives Matter protesters.
Tens of thousands of people have demonstrated, mainly peacefully, across the United States, following the death of African-American George Floyd in police custody. One of the biggest protests, joined by Floyd’s relatives, took place in his hometown of Houston, Texas.
Many defied curfews in several cities, imposed after violence and looting in some districts on Monday night. In central Washington DC police fired tear gas late into the night.
The military were again on the streets of the capital, and helicopters hovered above protesters marching towards the White House. The Floyd case has reignited deep-seated anger over police killings of black Americans and racism. Demonstrators have taken to the streets, not only to express their outrage at the treatment of Mr Floyd, but to condemn police brutality against black Americans more widely.
Traffic was blocked in New York’s Manhattan district as protesters ignored a night-time curfew, which had been extended for a week. Video footage showed them surrounding a police van.
In Houston, where Floyd is due to be buried, Mayor Sylvester Turner, told the crowds people should know that he “did not die in vain”.
Big rallies were also held in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Atlanta and Seattle. Minneapolis, where 46-year-old Floyd died, was reported to be relatively calm.
In Atlanta, police fired tear gas to disperse a demonstration near Centennial Olympic Park, reports said.
Earlier, Democratic presidential hopeful, Joe Biden, criticised Mr Trump for using the crisis to appeal to his supporters, saying he was “serving the passions of his base”.
On Monday, Mr Trump said he would deploy the army if cities and states failed to control the protests. The National Guard, the US reserve military force for domestic emergencies, said on Sunday that 5,000 of its personnel had been activated in 15 states and Washington DC. It added that “state and local law enforcement agencies remain responsible for security”.
Monday night saw some of the worst unrest with widespread looting, and arson as previously peaceful protests saw a minority resort to violence. In Las Vegas, a police officer was described on Tuesday as being in a grave condition after being shot.
Separately, an armed man was shot dead by police in the same city.
Four police were also shot in St Louis, though their injuries were not described as life-threatening. But a retired officer was shot and killed outside a looted store.
Sixteen members of George Floyd’s family joined the 60,000 protesters for the Houston rally. They included sister La Tonya and brother Philonese. A nephew told the crowd: “Don’t stop until we get justice for my uncle,” the Houston Chronicle reports. At an emotional news conference in Minneapolis, Roxie Washington, the mother of George Floyd’s six-year-old daughter Gianna, said he was a good man. Standing with Gianna, she said: “I’m here for my baby and I’m here for George because I want justice for him.”
George Floyd’s Family lawyer Benjamin Crump Calls His Death A Premeditated Murder.
A lawyer for the family of George Floyd, accused a police officer of “premeditated murder”. Minneapolis policeman Derek Chauvin has been charged with third-degree murder, but George Floyd’s family lawyer, Benjamin Crump, told CBS news it was a case of first-degree murder.
“We think that he had intent, almost nine minutes he kept his knee in a man’s neck that was begging, and pleading for breath,” Crump said. “The fact that officer Chauvin kept his knee on his neck for almost three minutes, after he was unconscious. We don’t understand how that was not first degree murder. We don’t understand how all these officers haven’t been arrested,” lawyer Crump said.
In the CBS interview, lawyer Benjamin Crump also said, “we now have the audio from the police bodycam, and we hear where one officer says, ‘he doesn’t have a pulse, maybe we should turn him on his side’, but yet officer Chauvin says, ‘no, we’re going to keep him in this position’. That’s intent. Also, the fact that officer Chauvin kept his knee on his neck for almost three minutes, after he was unconscious.”
Benjamin Crump also said, Mr Chauvin and Mr Floyd already knew each other before Mr Floyd’s death in custody. Benjamin Crump said, the Floyd family was “notified by the owner of a club that Derek Chauvin, was an off-duty police officer where George Floyd was a security guard, and so they had to overlap”.
The Facts and on The Records.
African-Americans are more likely to get fatally shot by police than other ethnic groups. They are also arrested for drug abuse at a much higher rate than white Americans, although surveys show drug use is at similar levels. For many, the outrage over Mr Floyd’s death also reflects years of frustration over socio-economic inequality and discrimination. But the protests also echo those of the Civil Rights movement more than 50 years ago. This action was led by Martin Luther King Jr, and sought to challenge white supremacy, and the segregationist policies that were commonplace at the time. The ongoing unrest is the most widespread racial turbulence the US has experienced since Dr King, known to most Americans as M,L,K, was gunned down by a sniper in 1968.
George Floyd Family.
George Floyd was a father to two daughters, the youngest, a six-year-old daughter lives in Houston with her mother, Roxie Washington. Ms. Washington told the Houston Chronicle, he was a good father while they were raising their daughter, Gianna, together. He also left behind a girlfriend, Courteney Ross, who said she was “heartbroken” over his death.
“Waking up this morning to see Minneapolis on fire would be something that would devastate Floyd,” she told the Star Tribune. “He loved the city. He came here [from Houston], and stayed here for the people and the opportunities.”
George Floyd Quick Facts.
- Floyd grew up in Houston’s Third Ward neighborhood, and graduated from Jack Yates High School where he played football and basketball, according to CNN affiliate KPRC.
- After high school, head basketball coach George Walker recruited Floyd to play for him at South Florida State College in Avon Park, Florida. Floyd was a student there from 1993 to 1995, Walker told CNN. “He didn’t give me too much trouble as a basketball coach,” Walker said. “He was a pretty good athlete, averaged 12 to 14 points a game.” Floyd was a coachable kid with a big heart, according to Walker’s wife, Gloria. Of all the college athletes on the school’s team, she said Floyd had her attention the most, “because he was just a fun person to be around. He was never one that tried to blame others for his own mistakes,” she said. “He always owned up to them and always tried to do better.” And while so many now know the Houston native by his full name, those who knew him best called him Floyd.
- George Floyd moved to Minnesota for a fresh start, an opportunity to better himself and to be a better father. He worked as a truck driver, according to friend and former NBA player, Stephen Jackson. Jackson, a Houston native also, calls Floyd his twin. “I’ve heard George in the last couple days more than I’ve heard my whole life, and we had a 21-plus (year) relationship,” Jackson told CNN’s Poppy Harlow Thursday. “His name was always Floyd, my twin.” Jackson said Floyd talked at great length about his journey to create better opportunities for himself. “The last time i talked to him was about a year ago, and every conversation we had in that year, was about bettering ourselves and being better fathers,” Jackson said. “That’s all he talked about.”
- According to friend and former NBA player, Stephen Jackson, Floyd was known in the community as a protector, and a provider who didn’t have a hateful bone in his body, according to Jackson. He got along with everybody and seldom wanted anything in return for helping someone out, Jackson said. “The difference between me and bro was I had more opportunity than he did,” wrote Jackson, who won a championship with the San Antonio Spurs in 2003. “2 things we have in common, both from the bottom and both of our names will live forever.”
- In Houston, Rose Hudson, who dated Floyd more than 20 years ago, told CNN affiliate KTRK, that her and Floyd had a daughter who is now the mother of a toddler. “My daughter had to see her daddy get killed on live TV,” Hudson said. Floyd hadn’t met his 3-year-old granddaughter, according to Hudson. “I will just let her know what a great guy he was,” she said.”He was a good father to his girls. I just have memories, that’s all I can give her, memories of her grandfather.”
- Jovanni Thunstrom, the owner of Conga Latin Bistro in Minneapolis, told The New York Times he employed George Floyd as a bouncer at the restaurant, and was also his landlord. “No one had nothing bad to say about him,” Thunstrom told the paper. “They all are shocked he’s dead. He never caused a fight or was rude to people.”
- Floyd was charged in 2007 with armed robbery in a home invasion in Houston, and in 2009, he was sentenced to five years in prison as part of a plea deal, according to court documents.
- Mr Floyd was a regular at Cup Foods. He was a friendly face, a pleasant customer who never caused any trouble, the store owner Mike Abumayyaleh told NBC. But Mr Abumayyaleh was not at work on the day of the incident. In reporting the suspicious bill, his teenage employee was just following protocol. In a call to 911, made at 20:01, the employee told the operator he had demanded the cigarettes back, but “he [Floyd] doesn’t want to do that”, according to a transcript released by authorities.
- The Hennepin County Medical Examiner on Monday, ruled that George’s Floyd’s death was a homicide, and that he died by asphyxiation. The finding confirms the same conclusion of the independent autopsy that was also released on Monday, but there are key differences over the cause.
- George Floyd younger brother, Rodney Floyd, 36, told the NewsHour that the older Floyd was also a local rapper who once contemplated a career playing professional basketball. “He was a great human being, a great brother, great father and great friend,” Rodney Floyd said. “He gives out plenty of good energy, good vibes. He’s happy. He’s smiling all the time.”
The Last Words.
One of Mr Floyd’s former classmates, Donnell Cooper said, “Quiet personality but a beautiful spirit. His death “definitely caught me by surprise. It’s just so sad the world we’re living in now.”