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“He Didn’t Deserve to Die Over $20”: George Floyd’s Brother Urges Congress to Stop Police Killings

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A day after George Floyd’s family laid him to rest in his hometown of Houston, his brother Philonise Floyd addressed lawmakers on Capitol Hill to demand an end to police violence. “I’m tired. I’m tired of pain,” he told the House Judiciary Committee. “People of all backgrounds, genders and races have come together to demand change. Honor them. Honor George.”

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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now! I’m Amy Goodman, with Nermeen Shaikh. On Capitol Hill, the brother of George Floyd, whose killing at the hands of Minneapolis police officers has sparked a global uprising, demanded lawmakers take action to stop more deaths at the hands of police. Philonise Floyd traveled to Washington, D.C., to address the House Judiciary Committee in person, demanding they take action to stop more deaths.

PHILONISE FLOYD: George always made sacrifices for our family, and he made sacrifices for complete strangers. He gave the little that he had to help others. He was our gentle giant.

I was reminded of that when I watched the video of his murder. He called all the officers “sir.” He was mild-mannered. He didn’t fight back. He listened to all the officers. The man who took his life, who suffocated him for eight minutes and 46 seconds, he still called him “sir,” as he begged for his life.

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 looked up to your whole entire life, die — die begging for his mom? I’m tired. I’m tired of pain, pain you feel when you watch something like that, when you watch your big brother, who you looked up to for your whole life, die, die begging for his mom.

I’m here to ask you to make it stop. Stop the pain. Stop us from being tired. George called for help, and he was ignored. Please listen to the call I’m making to you now, to the calls of our family and the calls ringing out the streets across the world. People of all backgrounds, genders and races have come together to demand change. 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.

George wasn’t hurting anyone that day. He didn’t deserve to die over $20. I am asking you, “Is that what a Black man is worth? Twenty dollars?” This is 2020. Enough is enough. The people marching in the streets are telling you enough is enough. By the leaders that are in our country, the world needs the right thing. The people elected you to speak for them, to make positive change. George’s name means something. You have the opportunity here today to make your names mean something, too. If his death ends up changing the world for the better — and I think it will — then he died as he lived. It is on you to make sure his death is not in vain.

I didn’t get the chance to say goodbye to Perry while he was here. I was robbed of that. But I know he’s looking down at us now. Perry, look up at what you did. Big brother, you changed the world. Thank you for everything, for taking care of us when on Earth, for taking care of us now. I hope you found Mama and you can rest in peace with power. Thank you.

AMY GOODMAN: That’s Philonise Floyd, George Floyd’s brother, George Perry Floyd, known as Perry by his loved ones. Philonise was testifying Wednesday before the House Judiciary Committee as momentum for defunding the police grows amidst nationwide protests, global protests, over Floyd’s killing by Minneapolis police.

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