Philonise Floyd, the brother of George Floyd, has taken a public and emotional role in upholding his brother’s memory, appearing in front of Congress to ask for concrete steps to stop police-related deaths.
Philonise is George Floyd’s younger brother, according to The Washington Post. George Floyd, of course, is the Minneapolis man whose restraint in police custody was captured on video and has sparked protests and riots throughout the country. Four former Minneapolis police officers are now facing criminal charges in connection with Floyd’s death.
George Floyd was the oldest of five siblings. According to the Post, Floyd was born in Fayetteville, N.C., in 1973. His mother was named Larcenia Jones Floyd and worked at a burger stand.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Floyd Told the House Judiciary Committee That He Was ‘Tired of the Pain’
On June 10, Philonise Floyd appeared before the House Judiciary Committee.
“I’m tired,” Philonise Floyd said. “I’m tired of the pain. … I’m here today to ask you to make it stop. Stop the pain. Stop us from being tired.”
Philonise asked Congress to ensure his brother will be “more than another name on a list that won’t stop growing.”
He added, “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.”
According to the Washington Post, Floyd’s appearance before Congress came after Democrats unveiled police reform measures, including better tracking of police misconduct and a ban on chokeholds.
“He didn’t deserve to die over $20,” Philonise Floyd said. You can read the full statement that Philonise Floyd gave to Congress here.
2. Floyd’s Brother, Who Says His Life Shattered When His Brother Died, Started a Fundraiser That Has Raised Millions of Dollars
Philonise Floyd is the man behind a fundraiser that raised more than $14 million as of June 10.
“On May 25, 2020, my life shattered as I learned of the tragic passing of my dear brother, George,” he wrote, adding:
My family and I watched in absolute horror as the now infamous and horrifying video began to spread quickly throughout social media. What we saw on that tape left us shell shocked; a white Minneapolis police officer kneeling directly on my brother’s neck, obstructing his ability to breathe. As some officers knelt on his neck, other officers participated and watched; no one took any action to save my brother’s life. Those officers would continue to brutalize my brother until he died. This fund is established to cover funeral and burial expenses, mental and grief counseling, lodging and travel for all court proceedings, and to assist our family in the days to come as we continue to seek justice for George. A portion of these funds will also go to the Estate of George Floyd for the benefit and care of his children and their educational fund.
Anyone wishing to send cards, letters of encouragement and/or contributions in the form of a money order or check, may do so by mail at:
The Estate of George Floyd
c/o Ben Crump Law, PLLC
122 S. Calhoun Street
Tallahassee, FL 32301
Attn: Adner Marcelin
All checks must be made out to: The Estate of George Floyd
A second, now discontinued fundraising page also raised more than $370,000.
3. Philonise Is From Houston
On the GoFundMe page, Philonise gave some biographical details. He described himself as, “Philonise Floyd, brother of George Floyd” and said he was from Houston Texas. “George was my biological brother,” he noted.
He said that the fundraising money “will be governed and controlled at the discretion Philonise Floyd for the family’s benefit. All funds collected on this website will be withdrawn to an established account for the benefit of my family. 100% of funds collected here will go to my family.”
Philonise added: “From the bottom of our hearts my family thanks each of you who have reached out. While we are not able to respond to each expression of love at this time, please know that we love and appreciate each and every one of you. Our hearts are overwhelmed!”
To Congress, Philonise said of George Floyd, “The world knows him as George, but I called him Perry. Yesterday, we laid him to rest. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. I’m the big brother now. So it was my job to comfort our brothers and sisters, Perry’s kids, and everyone who loved him. And that’s a lot of people. I have to be the strong one now, because it’s what George would have done.”
He told CNN, “People just want justice. They’re going to continue to march and protest, and if I ask everybody to do it peaceful — but they want justice, and that’s the reason they’re acting out like that. … Black folks have been getting killed for a long time now, years. … People are just tired right now. African Americans, they want to stand up for what’s right.”
4. Floyd’s Brother Spoke About His Conversations with Joe Biden & Donald Trump
Philonese has also described his conversations with prominent politicians like President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger Joe Biden.
“I never had to beg a man before but I asked [Biden] could he please, please get justice for my brother, please. Because I need it, I just don’t want to see him on a shirt like those other guys. Nobody deserves that,” he said, according to People Magazine.
Of his call with Trump, he stated:
It was so fast. He didn’t give me the opportunity to even speak. It was hard. I was trying to talk to him but he just kept like pushing me off like ‘I don’t want to hear what you’re talking about.’ I just told him I want justice. I said that I can’t believe that they committed a modern-day lynching in broad daylight.
Online records show that Philonise is 38 year old. The brothers’ mother is buried in Texas.
5. Other Relatives of George Floyd Have Also Spoken Out
Philonise is not the only Floyd relative to speak out since Floyd’s death. His uncle, Selwyn Jones, gave an interview to the Rapid City Journal.
Jones pointed out that George Floyd called out for his deceased mother in the video.
“The thing that disturbs me the most is hearing him call for my sister,” Jones said to the newspaper. “He starts calling for my sister and (his) mama because he probably knew that he was going to go away.”
He said the 46 year old Floyd left behind three children and added, “He always had a smile on his face. He was always smiling and laughing.”
Floyd’s former partner, Roxie Washington, and his daughter, Gianna, 6, also appeared at a news conference.
“I miss him,” Gianna said of her dad.
Floyd’s aunt, Angela Harrelson, told the Los Angeles Times that her great-grandfather was a slave, and her great-grandmother Larcenia, had 22 children. Her mother, Laura Stewart Jones, “worked in the tobacco fields for $2.50 a day,” she told the newspaper.