In a raw, heartbroken appeal for peace following his brother’s death, Terrence Floyd on Monday stood near the spot where George Floyd was held to the ground by police officers and urged people to turn away from violence.
“Let’s do this another way!” he shouted to hundreds of people who had come to see the memorial at E. 38th Street and Chicago Avenue.
It was Floyd’s first visit to the south Minneapolis intersection where his older brother died in police custody just one week before. With the help of several men, he staggered, step after unsteady step, to the chalk outline of where his brother had gasped for breath.
Then Terrence Floyd collapsed to his knees, and the crowd hushed as he let out an anguished scream.
He had traveled from Brooklyn, N.Y., with several others, including the Rev. Kevin McCall, who told the crowd that the Floyd family has “a long road ahead of justice.”
“Just because we’re doing it peacefully, that doesn’t mean we don’t want all four of the officers locked up,” said McCall, drawing cheers.
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman filed charges Friday of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who was taken into custody that same day. Chauvin is being held at the state prison in Oak Park Heights.
Public pressure to file charges against the other three officers involved in Floyd’s arrest and death has grown. On Sunday, Gov. Tim Walz said he had asked Attorney General Keith Ellison to lead the prosecution with Freeman’s assistance.
The protests and riots that began in Minneapolis last week have since spread to cities across the country and around the world.
Some 250 U.S. Army troops patrolled the streets Monday in Washington, D.C., the first such deployment since the 1992 riots in Los Angeles.
In Minnesota, three nights of curfew and scores of arrests have quelled a spasm of violence that over the course of the week saw hundreds of buildings looted, destroyed and in some cases burned to the ground.
One person died Friday in a shooting on E. Lake Street near the riots, and dozens of others have been injured.
The site of George Floyd’s arrest at 38th and Chicago has seen less violence, and on many nights last week didn’t even have a police presence as mourners and neighbors constructed memorials made of flowers, posters and chalk art.
A striking mural painted on the Cup Foods convenience store at the intersection depicts Floyd and the words, “I can breathe now.”
Speaking on Monday to onlookers and a crush of international media, Terrence Floyd took to task those people who have rioted in his brother’s name, saying his brother loved Minneapolis.
“I understand you all are upset. But I doubt you are half as upset as I am. So if I’m not over here wilding out, if I’m not over here blowing up stuff, if I’m not over here messing up my community, then what are you all doing? … That’s not going to bring my brother back,” he said.
As he did when he appeared on “Good Morning America” calling for “destructive unity,” Floyd told the Minneapolis crowd that people should band together at the ballot box.
“Let’s stop thinking that our voice doesn’t matter and vote,” he said, drawing cheers. “Educate yourself.”
Floyd, wearing a face mask with his brother’s image, finished his remarks, thanked the crowd on behalf of his family, and asked them to keep his brother’s name ringing out.
“Now before I go, I just want to hear this again. What’s his name?” yelled Floyd.
The crowd roared back: “George Floyd!”