The family of George Floyd, a 46-year-old Minneapolis man who died after pleading that he could not breathe during a Monday arrest, sat down with CNN host Don Lemon on Tuesday night, seeking accountability and justice for the loss of their loved one.
Floyd’s cousin and two brothers hoped to tell the story about who their brother was, whose character has been mired in the accounts of what led to his untimely death.
“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, said.
“Knowing my brother is to love my brother,” Philonise Floyd said. “They could have tased him; they could have maced him. Instead, they put their knee in his neck and just sat on him and then carried on.”
“They treated him worse than they treat animals,” he said.
“They need to be charged with murder because what they did was murder,” Brown said. “And almost the whole world has witnessed that because somebody was gracious enough to record it.”
Video of Floyd’s death made rounds on social media, hearkening back to the tragic death of Eric Garner in 2014. In the video, a white officer can be seen kneeling on Floyd’s neck while he struggled to breathe. Minneapolis police authorities claim they were called to the scene of a local grocery store in order to check out a “forgery in progress.”
Officers contend when they arrived at the scene, they were physically confronted by Floyd and called an ambulance when they noticed he was in medical distress.
However, the bystander video of the officer kneeling shows a more harrowing account, as everyone begins to put the pieces together regarding what happened on Monday evening. Since that time, the four involved officers have been terminated, but the fears of undue justice remain in the back of minds who have seen the cycle of violence perpetuated by local law enforcement.
“You have eyes. I have eyes. You can see what you saw,” said Rodney Floyd, George’s brother, in an interview with CBS This Morning on Wednesday. “And I saw, and the nation saw … and every black person saw, the same thing, because it don’t happen to nobody else.”
On Tuesday evening hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets of Minneapolis to protest the police incident, where cops shot rubber bullets and threw tear gas at certain points throughout the demonstration.
Floyd’s family recently called for rest through their attorney Benjamin Crump.
“The community is understandably and rightfully upset by the wrongful death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers, and their grief and outrage are pouring out onto the streets of Minneapolis,” the statement read. “We share these painful emotions and demand justice, but we also urge everyone who wishes to raise their voice to engage in peaceful protests and observe social distancing. ”
“We cannot sink to the level of our oppressors, and we must not endanger others during this pandemic. We will demand and ultimately force lasting change by shining a light on treatment that is horrific and unacceptable and by winning justice.”