D Kevin McNeirNational

Brother of George Floyd Testifies on Police Reform

Philonise Floyd Addresses House Judiciary Committee

Yielding to the protests and cries for justice lodged by millions of Americans, as well as citizens worldwide, the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on police brutality on Wednesday — just one day after the funeral services for George Floyd in Houston.

And with the centuries-old conflict and crisis of race and the policing of African Americans suddenly back in the spotlight, all eyes remained transfixed on Philonise Floyd, the brother of George Floyd, whose emotional testimony brought deadly clarity to the challenges facing America.

When asked by reporters what he planned to say when called upon by the House Judiciary Committee on reform proposals, and with the death of his brother while being detained by Minneapolis officers all four of whom now face charges ranging from second-degree murder to aiding and abetting, and with the pain of his brother’s unnecessary death still fresh in his mind, Floyd gave a terse reply.

“Justice for George.”

Philonise Floyd spoke candidly at the U.S. Capitol to testify at “Oversight Hearing on Policing Practices and Law Enforcement Accountability” in the District.

Benjamin Crump, the Floyd family’s lawyer, also testified, among others.

In announcing the hearing, the panel issued a statement saying that the hearing would “examine the crisis of racial profiling, police brutality and lost trust between police departments and the communities they serve.”

In a provocative and understandably emotional opening statement, Philonise Floyd asked our nation’s political leadership to ensure that police officers be included as “part of the solution, not the problem” with the hopes, it appeared that his brother would not have died in vain.

“I couldn’t take care of George the day he was killed but maybe by speaking with you today, I can help make sure that his death isn’t in vain. To make sure that he is more than another face on a t-shirt. More than another name on a list that won’t stop growing,” he said.

In efforts to explain his feelings upon seeing the video of his brother’s final minutes before his death, George Floyd’s sibling said, “[his] calls for help were ignored.”

“I can’t tell you the kind of pain you feel when you watch something like that. When you watch your big brother, who you’ve looked up to your whole life, die. Die begging for your mom,” Floyd said. “I’m tired of the pain I’m feeling now and I’m tired of the pain I feel every time another black person is killed for no reason. I’m here today to ask you to make it stop. Stop the pain. Stop us from being tired.”

Floyd stated that reform and accountability remain the most effective means to honor his brother, and others who have lost their lives in police custody.

“Honor them, honor George, and make the necessary changes that make law enforcement the solution – and not the problem. Hold them accountable when they do something wrong. Teach them what it means to treat people with empathy and respect. Teach them what necessary force is. Teach them that deadly force should be used rarely and only when life is at risk,” he said.

“George wasn’t hurting anyone that day. He didn’t deserve to die over twenty dollars,” he said. “I am asking you, is that what a Black man’s life is worth? Twenty dollars?

“I didn’t get the chance to say goodbye to Perry [the name to which he referred to George Floyd] while he was here,” he said. “I was robbed of that. But, I know he’s looking down on us now. Perry, look at what you did, big brother. You’re changing the world. Thank you for everything. For taking care of us when you were on Earth, and for taking care of all of us now,” he said. “I hope you found mama and can rest in peace and power.”

Sherrilyn Ifill, the president of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, also counted among the witnesses subpoenaed by Democrats. Republicans called three witnesses: Dan Bongino, a conservative radio show host and adviser to President Trump; Pastor Darrell Scott, the co-founder of Trump’s National Diversity Coalition; and Angela Underwood Jacobs, a member of the Lancaster, Calif., city council and former congressional candidate.

Next week, The Informer shares the summary of an interview conducted by WI Senior Correspondent Stacy Brown with Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, who now leads the prosecutor’s case against the four policeman charged in the death of George Floyd, and D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine, who spoke one-on-one with the editor about the case, the challenges facing Ellison and the kinds of issues he himself confronts as the leading attorney for the District.

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D. Kevin McNeir – Senior Editor

Award-winning journalist and 21-year Black Press veteran, book editor, voice-over specialist and college instructor (Philosophy, Religion, Journalism). Before joining us, he led the Miami Times to recognition as NNPA Publication of the Year.

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