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Philonise Floyd calls for racial solidarity, end to qualified immunity for police

George Floyds brother Philonise Floyd, as well as the Floyd family attorney, Benjamin Crump, join Yamiche Alcindor to discuss the much-awaited verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial, what it means to the family, and what changes they want to see in policing going forward.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    Earlier today, Yamiche Alcindor spoke with one of George Floyd's brothers and the family attorney.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    I'm joined now by George Floyd's brother Philonise Floyd, as well as the Floyd family attorney Benjamin Crump.

    Thank you both for being here.

    I want to start with you, Philonise.

    You were in the courtroom when this verdict was read. Take me into the moments before and after this verdict. What did it feel like? What did it mean?

  • Philonise Floyd:

    I was really nervous.

    I just got up, and I was pacing back and forth. And attorney Crump and my wife, they were like, whatever you need to do to be comfortable, just do it. If you need to pace back and forth, do it. So, I did it until the — we had to get into that courtroom.

    And as soon as I got in there, I prayed. I prayed for over 30 minutes, because it took the jury and the judge to come up. And, lord, when I heard guilty, guilty and guilty, I was ecstatic. I was excited. I just didn't know what to do, because people of color never get justice for anything.

    And, at this time, I think that the world can breathe now, because they all stood behind George through a pandemic, through COVID marching. And justice for George means freedom for all.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    It's true that people really did stand up for your brother.

    I want to stick with you and ask, how is George Floyd's daughter, Gianna, doing? What was her reaction? And what do you hope this verdict means for the world that she is going to grow up in when it comes to police accountability?

  • Philonise Floyd:

    I think she would be exceptional, because she predicted. She said her dad would change the world.

    And like I always say, we're big on faith. We pray a lot. And we speak things into existence.

    So, Gianna, she is her father. She's laughing just like him. She has charisma. And that's the thing that separates them from a lot of people. They know how to come into the room and just fill it up with love. It's a big, different thing. Gianna, I just love her so much.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    And, Ben Crump, I want to ask you.

    Attorney General Keith Ellison, the attorney general of Minnesota, said justice would be George Floyd still being alive. What do you make of that? And what do you make of the fact that it took so much to convict this officer, given the fact that you have represented so many families who didn't have accountability happen in their cases?

  • Benjamin Crump:

    Certainly, Yamiche.

    In responding to Attorney Ellison's revelation about justice would be George not being dead, I'm reminded that Philonise Floyd and his family have become the comforters and counselors to Daunte Wright's family, who was killed within 10 miles while they were in court on the Chauvin trial.

    And I am reminded of that because, at the first joint press conference, Daunte's mother said: Justice would be my son coming through the front door with that big smile on his face. But that's not happening, because he's dead, so we can't get justice. All we can get is accountability.

    So, I agree wholeheartedly with Attorney General Keith Ellison, who did a masterful job here, him and his team, in prosecuting this police officer for killing George Floyd.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Philonise, I want to ask you about Darnella Frazier and the people who stood by and pleaded for your brother's life.

    That 17-year-old Darnella filmed that video that then went viral and really literally changed the world. How much are you thinking about her and all of the people who rallied around your brother? What do you think we should take away from the role that they played?

  • Philonise Floyd:

    I think about them every day.

    I know that my brother would just be another dead person if it weren't for her, because she had the video that had laid out all the facts. We didn't even need a lawyer to actually go in there. The facts were there.

    And I just think that, right now, people really believe that the land that we live on is for the free, because people fight to get here. And if people are going to fight here, we need to hold our standards high, because Derek Chauvin, he was the law, but he's not above the law.

    And accountability, he has to understand now that he will have to sit in that cell and do his time, just like my brother is in the ground doing his time.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Philonise, you were thrust into this. Your family has now become a voice for so many. I wonder what's next for you.

    And, also, in some ways, President Biden called your family before and after this verdict. He said this could be a moment, this can be a moment for significant change. What do you think it's going to take for this to actually be a moment for significant change?

  • Philonise Floyd:

    I think we all have to stand with each other in solidarity.

    We all have to be united because we're stronger in numbers, no matter what color, white, Black, Hispanic, Asian, because there's only one race, and it's the human race. So, if we all get together and make laws, like the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, we have to pass that law. It has blood on it.

    Breonna Taylor, no-knock warrant. You have Eric Garner and my brother George, the no choke hold. This — all this needs to be passed. We need to end qualified immunity. We need to make sure these officers have their cameras on at all times, body and dash. There's so many things that we need to work on.

    These officers have to be held accountable. Benjamin Crump shouldn't have to show up at people's doorstep at times like this. People didn't ask to be in this fraternity, but we're dealing with this.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Ben Crump, the sentencing for this officer, Derek Chauvin, will be in eight weeks. The typical sentence for crimes like this are 12-and-a-half years.

    How concerned are you about the sentencing portion of this case and the fate of the other three officers who stand charged?

  • Benjamin Crump:

    I believe we should make certain that we hold them to account of equal justice under the law.

    Whatever the charges would have been had the roles been reversed and George Floyd had his knee on Derek Chauvin's neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds is exactly what we want to hold Chauvin accountable for.

    And I think they're going to have a victim impact statement read in court, more than likely by Philonise maybe another family member. And I think that's exactly what they're going to say to Judge Cahill, who's going to pronounce the sentence, that: This is my brother, who he was. And whatever you would have done to him should happen to his killer.

    No police officer should be above the law.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Philonise, what are you hoping for in sentencing? How concerned are you about also the other officers being charged?

  • Philonise Floyd:

    I basically can put it this way.

    Derek Chauvin, he had a convoy with him, and that's the other officers. If I committed a crime with someone else, they will give me the same time. So, unfortunately, they have to go through this. But somebody had to help push my brother's brain down, so he would be able to breathe.

    Somebody had their knee on his neck, so he couldn't breathe. Somebody was trying to hog-tie him, so he couldn't breathe. The things that I had to go through, families all across America had to go through. You can't make up for what happened. This is not a mistake, because a mistake can be erased.

    He had nine minutes to understand that my brother's life mattered. But now he has to spend the rest of his time in a cell wondering why I couldn't have stopped what I did to that man that day.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Well, thank you so much, Philonise Floyd and Benjamin Crump. I really appreciate it.


  • Philonise Floyd:

    Thank you so much.

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