“When I look at George Floyd, … I look at my dad. I look at my brothers. I look at my cousins, my uncles because they are all Black. I have a Black father. I have a Black brother. I have Black friends. And I look at that and I look at how that could have been one of them,” Darnella Frazier testified Tuesday.
Her testimony highlights why Floyd’s death last summer sparked self-reflection among Black Americans and motivated many others to join massive protests against police brutality. Her words were a reminder that Floyd represents the burden of being Black in America.
As the trial began earlier this week, some of Floyd’s relatives and attorneys said he is deeply missed by his daughter.
“We can’t get George Floyd back. But what we can do is make sure that no family feels this pain and suffering that we feel,” Floyd’s nephew Brandon Williams said Monday. “His daughter won’t have a father in her life.”
Weeks after Floyd’s death, a video of his daughter captured the attention of people across the country.
“My daddy changed the world,” Gianna Floyd says in a video posted last summer by Floyd’s close friend, NBA player Stephen Jackson. “Daddy changed the world.”
More than 40 years before Floyd’s death, another young Black girl lost her father during an encounter with police.
“When I saw that video, I just cried,” Miller-Bradford told CNN. “I cried because I heard he had a daughter and I never want any child to experience what LoLisa, the little 8-year-old, had to experience.”
He was a brother
While Floyd became a cause for many people across the country, his brother still sees him as just his sibling.
“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 added.
Philonise Floyd has previously said his brother was “one of the many black men and women that have been murdered by police in recent years.”
He ‘could have been me’
As pain and anger poured through communities after images of Floyd’s last moments circulated online, athletes, politicians and many others spoke up showing that the 46-year-old was not an arbitrary figure.
“That is the difficult situation because when you think of what he was doing or how he was going about it, then that is not very different to me going to a store,” the two-time Olympic gold medal winner told CNN last year.
“George Floyd turned Black men into human beings for White people, and he did that by calling out for his mother,” Janet Helms, a Boston College professor of counseling and psychology, has told CNN. “Covid made White people sit and look at the murder of George Floyd. They couldn’t get away from it, especially White women. … They became aware they were allowing this to happen.”
Chauvin’s trial began earlier this week. The former police officer has pleaded not guilty to second-degree unintentional murder and second-degree manslaughter charges. He has also pleaded not guilty to third-degree murder, which was reinstated March 11.
The case is not centered in whether race was a factor.