George Floyd moved to Minnesota for a fresh start — an opportunity to better himself and to be a better father.
And while so many now know the Houston native by his full name, those who knew him best called him Floyd.
He worked security at a restaurant where he developed a reputation as someone who had your back and was there for you when you were down.
“Knowing my brother is to love my brother,” Philonise Floyd, George’s brother, told CNN’s Don Lemon.
“He’s a gentle giant, he don’t hurt anybody.”
Floyd, 46, died May 25 in the city he moved to for a better life, his last moments caught on video. While being arrested, Floyd was held down by a Minneapolis police officer’s knee. The video shows Floyd pleading that he is in pain and can’t breathe. Then, his eyes shut and the pleas stop. He was pronounced dead shortly after.
That officer, Derek Chauvin, was arrested on Friday and first charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. The new second-degree murder charge says that Chauvin killed Floyd “without intent” in the course of committing assault in the third degree, according to an amended complaint.
Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng, who helped restrain Floyd, and Tou Thao, who stood near the others, were not initially charged. Lane, 37, Kueng, 26, and Thao, 34, are now charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.
He was a coachable kid with a big heart
Floyd grew up in Houston’s Third Ward neighborhood and graduated from Jack Yates High School where he played football and basketball, according to CNN affiliate KPRC.
After high school, head basketball coach George Walker recruited Floyd to play for him at South Florida State College in Avon Park, Florida. Floyd was a student there from 1993 to 1995, Walker told CNN.
“He didn’t give me too much trouble as a basketball coach,” Walker said. “He was a pretty good athlete, averaged 12 to 14 points a game.”
Floyd was a coachable kid with a big heart, according to Walker’s wife, Gloria.
Of all the college athletes on the school’s team, she said Floyd had her attention the most “because he was just a fun person to be around.”
“He was never one that tried to blame others for his own mistakes,” she said. “He always owned up to them and always tried to do better.”
He was trying to be a better father
He moved to Minnesota for work and to drive trucks, according to friend and former NBA player, Stephen Jackson.
Jackson, a Houston native also, calls Floyd his twin.
“I’ve heard George in the last couple days more than I’ve heard my whole life, and we had a 21-plus (year) relationship,” Jackson told CNN’s Poppy Harlow Thursday. “His name was always Floyd, my twin.”