Philonise Floyd, the brother of George Floyd, says it has been an “emotional roller-coaster” sitting in the courtroom for the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.
Floyd told CNN that it was only on Monday that he learned for the first time that Chauvin actually knelt on his brother’s neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds. The original complaint said 8 minutes and 46 seconds which is the time that has become a widespread symbol of Floyd’s death.
Chauvin, 45, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges.
His trial comes 10 months after 46-year-old Floyd’s death in police custody launched a summer of protest, unrest and a societal reckoning with anti-Black racism and aggressive policing in America.
“To everybody else, it was a case and a cause,” Floyd told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota on Tuesday morning when he appeared with family attorney Benjamin Crump. “To me, it was my brother, somebody that I grew up with, eating with, sleeping in the same bed with, going fishing with, just watching him dance with my mother. Those are the things that I think about when I think about my brother. He was a protector, he was someone who we can go to when we were in trouble and in need of anything,” Floyd said.
Crump told Camerota that the defense is “coming up with every excuse in the book other than what we saw in that video,” in reference to Chauvin’s defense lawyers pointing to underlying health conditions and drug use as contributing factors to George Floyd’s death.
“Well, I know the rules are different when it’s a marginalized person of color that is killed unjustifiably by the police, Alisyn,” Crump said.
“History has shown us, you and I have talked many times about these types of cases where police kill people in some of the most unbelievable ways, but yet because they are a Black person, they engage in the intellectual justification of discrimination and you are absolutely right, opioid use in America is an epidemic and so we are now going to say because George Floyd had a dependency issue like millions of other Americans that what we saw in that video was acceptable?”
“I think we’re better than that, America,” Crump added. “We have to have equal justice under the law for all Americans, whether they are Black or White.”
Philonise Floyd said he wants to see Chauvin convicted.
“At the end of the day, justice is a conviction,” he said.
“So many times I have seen African American people killed and nobody gets a conviction. We’re all fighting across America, not just me. You see protesters all around the world. They’re all standing up for George Floyd. If you can’t get justice in America for this, what can you get justice for then?”