‘My brother got justice’: George Floyd’s family praises guilty verdict

Members of Floyd’s family have become leaders in the movement sparked by his death

LaTonya Floyd watched in anxious silence, her hands pressed together in front of her face, as the judge prepared to read the verdict in the trial of the former Minneapolis police officer who had killed her brother last year.

As Judge Peter Cahill said the jury had found Derek Chauvin guilty on all three counts for the murder of George Floyd, she broke into tears.

“I feel like heaven is standing on my shoulders,” LaTonya told a local news crew that had joined her and other members of her family watching the trial from Houston, Texas. “My brother got justice, and that’s very rare,” she said, struggling to speak. “He didn’t deserve that. He didn’t deserve none of that.”

Before the verdict was read, LaTonya Floyd said she had prayed for Chauvin. But that hadn’t stopped her anger. She shared memories of being at the hospital when George was born, and helping to change his diapers, and said resolutely that she would never be able to bring herself to watch the video depicting the final moments of her brother’s life, who died under Chauvin’s knee. It took the jury about 10 hours of deliberations to convict Chauvin on all three counts of murder.

“I just miss him so much. I am so hurt right now, but I am so happy,” she said after the verdict was read. “When I watch this man get handcuffed in court behind his back, just like he did my brother, he is not in control any more. He has no power. But my brother do. My brother do.”

Gianna Floyd, the daughter of George Floyd, joins family and supporters during a news conference after the verdict was reached.
Gianna Floyd, the daughter of George Floyd, joins family and supporters during a news conference after the verdict was reached. Photograph: John Minchillo/AP

Floyd, who was 46 when he died, moved to Minneapolis from his home town in Houston several years ago. He is survived by four siblings and five children, who recall the 6ft 4in man as a gentle giant, who relocated to become a better father and improve his life. Many members of the Floyd family have become leaders in the movement sparked by their brother’s death.

Speaking on MSNBC, George’s younger brother Rodney said the verdict was for “everyone that’s been in this situation”. Before the verdict, the family spoke to Joe Biden, who said he was praying for them.

The jury found Chauvin guilty of all three charges filed against him – second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter – and he will await sentencing from behind bars.

“Painfully earned justice has arrived for George Floyd’s family and the community here in Minneapolis, but today’s verdict goes far beyond this city and has significant implications for the country and even the world,” the family’s attorney Ben Crump said in a statement. “This case is a turning point in American history for accountability of law enforcement and sends a clear message we hope is heard clearly in every city and every state.”

Other members of the family traveled to Minneapolis and were there when the verdict was handed down. Some gathered together to watch on TV, while George’s nephew Brandon, his daughter’s mother, Roxie Washington, his daughter Gianna, and Rodney spent the closings in the overflow room at the courthouse, along with the Rev Jesse Jackson, the Rev Al Sharpton, and congresswomen Sheila Jackson Lee, of Houston, and Joyce Beatty, of Columbus.

Philonise Floyd, George’s younger brother, was the only one able to sit-in on the trial. He spent the final moments before the verdict was read praying, and was shaking as the judge began to speak.

After it was over, flanked by family members and civil rights leaders, Philonise celebrated the outcome but promised the fight for justice wasn’t over.

“We will have to do this for life,” he said, emphasizing that it’s felt like a never-ending cycle. “I am going to put up a fight every day,” he added. “Because I am not just fighting for George any more.”


Gabrielle Canon in San Francisco

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