Philonise Floyd, brother of George Floyd, testifies in hearing on police brutality
"The men who took his life, who suffocated him for eight minutes and 46 seconds. He still called them ‘sir’ as he begged for his life"
By Clodagh Meaney
Philonise Floyd, brother of the late George Floyd, has today testified at a hearing on police brutality.
The hearing took place at the US Capitol in Washington DC, just one day after George was laid to rest following his death on May 25th.
He arrived at the hearing wearing a face cover bearing a picture of his late brother.
"The world knows him as George, but I called him Perry. Yesterday, we laid him to rest. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do," he began.
"I’m the big brother now. It was my job to comfort our brothers and sisters, Perry’s kids and everyone who loved him. And that’s a lot of people. I have to be the strong one now, because it’s what George would have done.”
"I’m tired. I’m tired of the pain I’m feeling now and I’m tired of the pain I feel every time another black person is killed for no reason. I’m here today to ask you to make it stop. Stop the pain. Stop us from being tired," he pled.
During his statement, he told the House judiciary committee about the heartache of watching a video of his gentle brother die.
"He was our gentle giant. I was reminded of that when I watched the video of his murder," he said.
"He was mild mannered, he didn’t fight back. He listened to the officers. He called them ‘sir.’ The men who took his life, who suffocated him for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. He still called them ‘sir’ as he begged for his life."
"George's calls for help were ignored."
"Please listen to the call I’m making to you now, the calls of our family and to the calls ringing out in the streets across the world," he pled.
Philonise paid tribute to the Black Lives Matter protesters as demonstrations against racism have been taking place across the world in the wake of his brother's death.
"People of all backgrounds, genders and race have come together to demand change. Honour them, honour George and make the necessary changes that make law enforcement the solution and not the problem," he said.
"I can’t tell you the kind of pain you feel when you watch something like that. When you watch your big brother, who you’ve looked up to your whole life, die. Die begging for your mom," he said in his emotional plea to the lawmakers.
He further commented that his brother didn't deserve to die over $20.
"George wasn’t hurting anyone that day," he said. "He didn’t deserve to die over twenty dollars. I am asking you, is that what a black man’s life is worth? Twenty dollars? This is 2020. Enough is enough."
"Be the leaders that this country, this world, needs. Do the right thing," He told the law makers.
"George’s name means something."
"If his death ends up changing the world for the better. And I think it will. I think it has. Then he died as he lived. It is on you to make sure his death isn’t in vain."
Philonise concluded his statement thanking his brother for changing the world, and hoping he is finally resting in peace with his mother.
“I didn’t get the chance to say goodbye to Perry while he was here. I was robbed of that. But, I know he’s looking down on us now. Perry, look what you did, big brother. You’re changing the world."
"Thank you for everything. For taking care of us when you were on Earth, and for taking care of all of us now. I hope you found mama and can rest in peace and power," he said.
George tragically died of asphyxia after police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck following an arrest in Minnesota.
It was alleged that George had tried to use a counterfeit $20 bill at a store in Minneapolis.
The murder was filmed by by-standers, and showed that Chauvin kept Floyd held down by the neck for almost 9 minutes.
Derek Chauvin has been charged with second-degree murder, meanwhile 3 other officers present during the attack are being charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.