‘You have to relive everything’: George Floyd’s brother on agony of trial

US News

“To everybody else they look at it and see a case. And I don’t see a case, I see my brother.”

Philonise Floyd grew up sharing a bed with his older brother George. They did their homework together. They depended on each other.

He’s now had to watch the harrowing final moments of his brother’s life in the trial of Derek Chauvin.

The video evidence has been agonising viewing for anyone. For Philonise it’s felt “devastating”.

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Court video shows George Floyd restrained by police

“Having to relive it all over again. It’s like an emotional rollercoaster with that stuff just constantly running through your mind,” he told Sky News.

“You have to relive everything and anything. You hear him constantly screaming because he’s being tortured to death, and he’s gasping for air like a fish out of water…

“My brother, he was killed over a $20 bill. My brother died right there in front of the store with kids watching him, people pleading, trying to render aid.”

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Witness after witness has broken down in tears in court as they described their sense of helplessness watching George Floyd suffering.

A common theme in their testimony is guilt, that there was something more they could have done to save him.

“I wouldn’t want them to have any guilt,” says Philonise.

“The person who should be feeling guilty is Chauvin because he killed my brother. He had his knee on my brother’s neck for over nine minutes.”

Philonise Floyd has sat through much of the emotional testimony in court and recalls listening to the youngest witness, a nine-year-old girl.

“She was quivering while she was talking about George being tortured to death.

“She’s going to be shell-shocked. She’s going to have that seared in her brain for years to come, like PTSD.

“Also, you have to think about it, she had ‘love’ on her T-shirt,” he says, referring to what she was wearing on the day George Floyd died.

'I just hope that justice gets served,' says Philonise Floyd. Pic: AP
Philonise Floyd says he hopes his brother will get justice. Pic: AP

Philonise appears clearly moved that each witness was doing what they could to try to save his older brother.

“The firefighter – she was trying to render aid but they wouldn’t allow her to do it…

“You’d better believe there’s a God because all of those people in one place at one time. At one time?

“Somebody made the video, somebody had ‘love’ on their shirt, you had a professional who knew about chokeholds and you also had a firefighter who knew how to resuscitate at that time.”

The Floyd family have had to wait 10 months for this trial. I asked Philonise what it’s like for him to see Derek Chauvin in court.

He lets out a sigh that sounds a mix of fatigue and emotion.

“Just, he’s in there. I just hope that justice gets served, and he gets convicted. It’s not right that African American people, we never get justice.”

George Floyd Killing: The Trial – Watch live continuous coverage of court proceedings in the trial of Derek Chauvin on our website, app, YouTube and Sky pop-up channel 524

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