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Floyd Brothers React To Verdict: 'This Is For Everyone Who Has Been Held Down'

Philonise Floyd (left) and attorney Ben Crump react after a guilty verdict was announced at the trial of former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of Floyd's brother George Floyd
Julio Cortez
Philonise Floyd (left) and attorney Ben Crump react after a guilty verdict was announced at the trial of former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of Floyd's brother George Floyd

Philonise Floyd, who sat in the courtroom for much of the trial, said Tuesday he finally feels some relief, now that former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin has been found guilty of unintentional second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter.

"I feel relieved today that I finally have the opportunity for hopefully getting some sleep," he told a crowd of cheering supporters.

Floyd, who is George Floyd's younger brother and testified in the trial, said there have been "a lot of days that I prayed and I hoped and I was speaking everything into existence," praying that Chauvin would be convicted for murdering his brother on a street in Minneapolis.

Through tears he evoked the memory of Emmett Till, a Black 14-year-old boy who was lynched by a group of white men in Mississippi in 1955 after being accused of offending a white woman in a grocery store.

"He was the first George Floyd," Philonise Floyd said, crying. "People forgot about him."

But where Till was robbed of the opportunity to have his attackers immediately revealed, Floyd continued, the ubiquity of cell phone cameras made it possible to show the world what happened to his brother.

"It was a motion picture," Floyd said. "The world saw his life being extinguished and I could do nothing but watch."

It was an especially painful experience in the courtroom, where multiple videos captured the elder Floyd's cries for his mother and children, and his last gasps for breath were repeatedly played as evidence in the trial.

"Over and over and over again, as my brother was murdered," and he had to watch, he said.

Despite the solace the family is taking in the verdict, Floyd said the struggle for justice and equality for people of color in the U.S. remains an uphill battle. "We have to march. We will have to do this for life. We have to protest because it seems like this is a never-ending cycle," he said.

He noted the recent killing of Daunte Wright just 10 miles from the courthouse where the Chauvin trial was held. Wright, a biracial Black man was killed just nine days ago after a local police officer said she mistook her Taser for her service weapon during a traffic stop and shot Wright at point-blank range.

"He should still be here," Floyd said, referring to Wright.

Terence Floyd: 'What a day to be a Floyd!'

Terrence Floyd, another of George Floyd's younger brothers who is a school bus driver from New York, said the public's support has helped him get through the horrible ordeal.

Flanked by the Rev. Al Sharpton and Ben Crump, one of the family's attorneys, he said, "History is here. This is monumental."

Fighting back tears, he said, "I believe because of prayer, we got the verdict we wanted. We said God, we need justice. We need it now. And he answered."

Pointing to the sky Floyd said he will salute his brother every day of his life "because he showed me how to be strong. He showed me how to be respectful. He showed be how to speak my mind."

He added: "I'm gong to miss him but now I know he will be in history. What a day to be a Floyd!"

Rodney Floyd: 'This is for everyone who has been held down and pinned down'

Rodney Floyd, the youngest of the brothers called the decision by the jurors "a victory for all of us."

"There is no color barrier on this," he said to rounds of applause and cheers. "This is for everyone who has been held down and pinned down."

During his brief remarks, Floyd said he imagines his dead brother smiling down, pleased with the verdict and the fact that his daughter Gianna was there to witness it.

He thanked the jury for coming to a swift decision in what he called "an open and shut case," and he also urged the public to keep pressure on the Senate to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act into law.

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Vanessa Romo is a reporter for NPR's News Desk. She covers breaking news on a wide range of topics, weighing in daily on everything from immigration and the treatment of migrant children, to a war-crimes trial where a witness claimed he was the actual killer, to an alleged sex cult. She has also covered the occasional cat-clinging-to-the-hood-of-a-car story.
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