George Floyd’s family and attorney Ben Crump reflect on his life, legacy one year after his death

National

MINNEAPOLIS (NewsNation Now) — Nearly one year to the day that George Floyd was killed by police, members of his family reflected on his legacy and the year of activism inspired by his death.

Shareeduh Tate, Floyd’s cousin, believes the video was key to finding former officer Derek Chauvin guilty of her cousin’s murder. Chauvin was convicted on one manslaughter and two murder charges in April.

“There was something different about this video. There was something different about the number of onlookers and the fact that Darnella Frazier was brave and courageous enough. We can’t thank her enough by the way for being strong enough to say — I’m not going to back away from this. I am going to film this to make sure somebody else can see what’s happening,” said Tate.

“It felt different because of the movement that took place after — it was almost as if watching that video was a wake up call or an awakening for so many people .” 

Shareeduh Tate

Floyd died at 46-years-old after the police were called over him allegedly using a counterfeit $20 bill at a corner store. He had just moved to Minneapolis a few years earlier after living previously in Houston.

His cousin Tera Brown remembered fondly his athletic prowess and sense of humor.

“Well, he definitely had a big personality. He was a person who was alive… Everything that he did, he was very good at it. He was an athlete. He was a star athlete. He was one of the ones that helped take his high school to the state championships,” said Brown. “He was a big joker. He had a great sense of humor and he always had a little funny dance that he would do.”

“There were so many things that he did that we all knew there was something special about him. And you know he would say all the time, everybody’s going to know me…things like that.”

Tera Brown

Floyd’s cries for his mother during the over nine minutes he remained on the ground with Chauvin’s knee on his neck stuck with millions who watched the video of his final moments. Tate reflected he was always close to his mom.

“He really was a momma’s boy. Like he was from a very early age was as a toddler. He would literally hang on his coat tail. Every where she would go, he would be hanging on to it,” said Tate.

When asked about her thoughts as she watched the video, Tate remarked how close his death was to the anniversary of his mother’s.

“I had heard people say that he called out to his mom but I never seen it before. But at the time, I was thinking that she was coming to get him.  You know they were so close and she had passed away almost two years before he did. I think it was like 5 days shy, would have been her two year anniversary.”

SHAREEDUH TATE

Since Floyd’s death, members of his family have been working towards passing significant police reform legislation. The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act has received support from President Joe Biden and Democrats but remains stalled as Republicans voice objections to provisions reducing qualified immunity for police officers.

While there are some who believe Chauvin was justified in his use of force when detaining Floyd, Tate said she’s not concerned about it.

“I think that my energy is well served on the side that we move the needle forward toward getting change — true change. I think those individuals that feel that way. There is probably little that I can do to pull them over to the other side,” said Tate. “And if they are going to change it’s going to be because they see how laser focused I am on making sure that real change takes place.”

The Floyd family received a $27 million settlement from the city of Minneapolis after attorney Ben Crump filed a civil lawsuit over Floyd’s death. At the time, Crump remarked it was the largest pretrial settlement ever for a civil rights claim.

Tate explained why Crump was the best fit for the family in their pursuit of justice. Brown was the one who contacted Crump initially for the family.

“And so I knew that something had to be done immediately. Something had to be done, so I have this thing about my family and wanting to be the protector and the nurturer, person to take care of everything. So I thought about Ben. And so that was my natural reaction was I got to find somebody who can help me because something has to be done about this,” said Tate.

“The obvious thing. I wanted justice and the person responsible for his death to be held accountable. I was feeling like enough is enough is enough is enough. You know just like everybody else, I seen the videos before of police brutality and black men being murdered at the hands of the police. And I just…enough was enough.”

TERA BROWN

Crump told NewsNation he wasn’t surprised when a guilty verdict was announced in the criminal case against Chauvin.

“I expected it. I expected a guilty verdict. I didn’t know if it was going to be guilty on all three,” said Crump.

“When that little 9-year-old girl testified and said at first the man asked him nicely if he would take his knee off his neck and he still didn’t do it. I immediately thought about my 8-year-old daughter Brooklyn. And I immediately came to the conclusion, that if those jurors have children then they’ll going to convict Derek Chauvin because you can’t send this message to your children that it’s ok to do that kind of reprehensible act and not be held accountable.”

Attorney Ben Crump

Crump has continued advocating for families of those who died in police encounters including Andrew Brown Jr., Andre Hill, and Breonna Taylor.

When asked about police violence incidents that have occurred since, the Chauvin trial, Crump said it “makes us feel like we still have work to do.”

“I don’t know what it is about a black man running away that white police in America find so dangerous. That they got to shoot them in the back. It makes no sense,” said Crump. “That’s why we have to get the George Floyd Justice and Policing Act passed.”

He shared that his passion for civil rights law began with his uncle and the injustices he faced.

“When I was a little boy, growing up in North Carolina, my uncle who was the first African American to graduate valedictorian from our high school Lumberton, North Carolina. And he went away to Wake Forest University. Everybody knew who our Uncle Horace was,” said Crump. “When he came home to visit with some of his college fans. I guess the local police wanted to remind him that he was still an n-word. And they assaulted and battered him in front of my family and pretty much the whole community.”

“I think we all felt powerless in that moment. We felt very powerless as we watched police brutalize my uncle when he came home from college. As we perceived it, it doesn’t matter where he goes in life, how much he advances, what college he attends to them they would always see him as another n-word. And we did feel powerless. But we feel powerless no more.” 

ATTORNEY Ben crump

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