Terrence Floyd, George Floyd’s Brother, Reflects on the Year That Changed the World
On April 20, a jury found Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged with George Floyd's murder, guilty on all three counts. He was charged with second and third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
In early 2020, the coronavirus pandemic began. By the time May rolled around, most places around the globe had entered quarantine. And on May 25, many people were glued to their devices, witnessing the horrific murder of George Floyd in Minnesota by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.
It forced many to examine their own honest feelings on race and even police. It would also change countless lives that day. Arguably, none more than George’s family. His younger brother, Terrence Floyd, chatted with Inside Edition's Stephanie Officer to reflect on his journey now and explain how he plans to push his brother’s legacy forward.
It’s been quite the year for Terrence, and he explains how he feels now that his life has drastically changed. “One word sums up a lot. And I say numb because everything just happened so fast, “ he explains.
“One day, I'm on the phone with him talking, talking to my brother, making plans. And then, out of nowhere, my sister's calling me, telling me what's going on in the news. And then I finally see it for myself, and it's surreal. Man, I was just talking to him. We were making plans for our daughters to have playdates and stuff. I'm just numb.”
But surprisingly, he reveals that he’s not gone to therapy. “Do I need it? Yes. And I sometimes shield away therapy things because I say, ‘I'm not crazy. I can deal with this. I can deal with that.’ But it came a time with when I'm by myself, and I'm thinking about it. I got twitches now. I don't know. I'm trying to cope with it by myself.”
Terrence shockingly adds that he has watched that infamous video on repeat. “You know how when certain people, they pass away, and you call their phone number, you call their number and hear the voicemail, and you just want to hear their voice again. So that's basically what I had, “ he states.
“I listened; I looked at the video. I heard his voice over and over and over again. A lot of people were telling me that I was torturing myself, but it wasn't torture to me. It was kind of, I want to say, my closure. I was hearing his voice, and I was like, ‘All right, he's still here with me. I can hear him.’ And that's basically what it is for me.”
Shock, horror, and grief spread around the globe exactly one year ago when the world witnesses a murder. A murder that happened when former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee into George Floyd’s neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds.
Terrence talks about how this made him feel. “Man. My initial feeling was, 'Wow. It was actually more time?' We're thinking 8:46, but they were saying that's what she had recorded, but the street cameras… So it's like, ‘Oh, so it was actually longer.’”
He adds, “In my mind, I was like, ‘Was he on something? Because Reverend Al [Sharpton] had a press conference outside of the court, and he had us kneel and pray, kneel down for eight minutes and 46 seconds. And when we did it, everybody was like, ‘Oh my back, my knees, my glutes, everything. I need to get up,’ after two or three minutes.”
“You had to be just evil. That's what I thought. Just moving, rocking, and all. That nine minutes and 29 seconds just made the case even more intense.”
On that day, 17-year-old Darnella Frazier was taking her 8-year-old niece to the store to buy candy. Her lens captured the video that shifted society. Terrence says that he spoke to her and Donald Williams, another witness, and they both expressed that they wish they could have done more.
But Terrence disagreed. He told them, "You did a lot. You did a lot because the actions you took got us this verdict.”
Terrence talks about having a moment alone with Derek Chauvin at the trial and describes what it's like. “So I stepped out for a minute. I guess it was the recess time. So they're coming out, and I kind of stood up to stretch my legs; I didn't really see him. So when I stood up, it was like, he's right there,” he said.
“So everybody jumped back thinking, and I was just standing there, but just a moment of us locking eyes and being right there. It was wow, a lot of people saying, ‘Oh, what did you want to do? You want to put your knee on his neck and do it?’ No.”
He adds, “Actually, I'm being honest. I did it. Because I felt bad for him. I felt bad for him. I felt disgusted.”
“Yes. I felt bad for him because I knew before the verdict came, even if the verdict would have went the other way, you can't live with this. You can't live with this. It's embedded in your mind. You're known all around this world. There is no such thing as a vacation for you anymore.”
And although Terrence feels bad for Chauvin, he and his family want him to pay the price for what he's done.
“Well, me and my family, we're in agreement. We want the maximum penalty. Yeah. Because my brother said it the best. So I'm saying the same thing he said. Right now, we're serving a life sentence because we lost our brother. We lost our father. We lost our cousin. So that's what he need, he need to sit there for life and dwell on that. He said.”
On April 20, a jury found Derek Chauvin was guilty on all three counts. He was charged with second and third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
He faces up to 40 years in prison for second-degree murder, 24 years for third-degree murder, and up to 10 years for manslaughter. His sentencing is scheduled for June 25.
Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng, and Thomas Lane, the other former Minneapolis officers at the scene, are charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter. Prosecutors also hope to take on a new charge of aiding and abetting third-degree murder. They’ve all pleaded not guilty, and their joint trial is scheduled for March of 2022.
When it comes to terms like “Defund the police” and “Abolish the police,” Terrence explains where he stands. “I'm going to be honest. Like I haven't already been, but defunding the police, that's not something I want to preach,” he states.
“Because, for one, I have friends and family that are police, and they have families that they need to take care of. Not all police are bad. You just have some of those rotten apples that's in there that's messing up the bunch. But my thing would be re-train. Put programs in, like psychological programs that will help them because, not for nothing, that is a hard job. “
Gianna Floyd, George’s daughter, was famously quoted in 2020, saying that her father “changed the world.” And according to Terrence, she’s handling everything well.
“Gigi, she's good, she's good,” he said. “She really don't know, but she in good spirits. She has a nice group of people around her that's keeping her mind occupied. Her mother, aunts, everything keeping her mind occupied from dwelling on it.”
Although the world knows how George died, many don’t know details of how he lived. When asked the light-hearted questions, “So what's something about George that we don't know? Did he put the milk in before the cereal?" Terrence laughed and jokingly replied, “I really didn't get a chance to know if he poured the milk in first because he would eat. He eats. So before you even see what he did, it's gone.”
And now Terrence, who works as a school bus driver in Brooklyn, has already embarked on a new path in life dedicated to activism.
He’s also now a part of this club that no one wants to be a part of. The same club that Breonna Taylor's family, Sandra Bland's family, Shereese Francis' family belong to. “And those are the names we know about,” Terrence says before describing how it feels.
“Oh man, it's bittersweet because you're in this club, fraternity, of families of police brutality. And it's like, man, why we got to be in this fraternity like this? But then that's that circle that you're in, that fraternity that we know what each other's going through.”
He adds, “And it's sweet because we know that even if we don't have the direct number, we all basically got the same lawyer, Mr. Crump.”
When asked the tough question, “Do you think this will ever stop?” Terrence was honest. “I don't really feel racism will stop because we've been fighting the same fight since [for] centuries. And the fact that we've seen change, I think it's more calmer, but I don't think it'd stop.”
He was also honest about the recent trend of brands like Uncle Ben’s and Aunt Jemima changing their product names. “Honestly, I just saw it and just was like, ‘What is this?!’ Like, Is this even relevant right now?"
As for what’s next for Terrence and the rest of the family, they have a lot on the way.
“Well, right now, besides my sister, Bridget Floyd, in North Carolina, with the George Floyd Memorial Foundation, and Florence with their institute and my uncle Roger and their center in North Carolina, we're all just try to do our part,” he explains. “I started a non-profit organization in New York called ‘We Are Floyd.’ It's basically dealing with the youth because I want to bring the programs back that I used to have. We had programs that kept our minds active.”
And through “We Are Floyd,” Terrence hopes to mirror programs for kids that provide mental health resources, education, and safety.
When asked what his favorite memory of George was, Terrence said, “He was my father's namesake, George Perry Floyd Senior. And my brother was in Houston. I was in New York. So we knew of each other, but we never really got a chance to meet until a cousin of mine in Spring Valley had a baby shower for her daughter. She knew how much I wanted to meet my brother.”
“And then when I turned around, he's a replica of my father. And I'm like, it's just the embrace, the hug that we gave each other. I wish I could go back there. I wish I could go back there and just get that hug one more time. Because it's like in my mind now, I tell people it took me 30 plus years to finally meet my brother and bond with him and get to know my older brother, my big brother.”
He lastly adds, “Big brother, you did it, man. You woke some people up. He had more life to live, and we had more plans. So since he's no longer here with me, then I need to keep this fight going. I need to keep this fight going. I need to keep his name ringing in everybody's ears.”
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