George Floyd was killed in police custody on May 25 when former officer Derek Chauvin used force on his neck.
Hordes of people have taken to the streets to protest against the custodial death of George Floyd and to share the message of anti-racism, but for his family, the pain is a lot more personal. For them, he's more than a symbol to rally behind. He was a partner, a brother, a friend, and most importantly, he was a father. He is survived by his 6-year-old daughter, Gianna, who will have to grow up without her "daddy" now.
Roxie Washington, the mother of 6-year-old Gianna, spoke out on June 2 about the devastating loss they are experiencing. She was accompanied by NBA player Stephen Jackson, who was Floyd's close friend, and Atlanta-based attorneys Justin Miller and Chris Stewart, during a press conference in Minneapolis, according to PEOPLE.
"I don't have a lot to say, because I can't get my words together right now," Washington said, as the tears flowed down her face. "But I want everybody to know that this is what those officers took. At the end of the day, they get to go home and be with their families. Gianna does not have a father. He will never see her grow up, graduate, he will never walk her down the aisle," she added.
"If there's a problem she's having and she needs her dad, she does not have that anymore," Washington said, crying. "I'm here for my baby, and I'm here for George. Because I want justice for him. I want justice for him 'cause he was good. No matter what anybody thinks, he was good."
She gestured to her daughter, and said, "And this is the proof that he was a good man." She added that Floyd was a good father. "He was so happy to have her," she said. "He was there — he slept the whole time that I went through labor, but when he heard her cry, he got up. He woke up. I still have a picture of him waking up and getting his baby," she said, adding, "He loved her so much."
Previously, she had reiterated that he was a "gentle giant," a name given to him by many others. Speaking to Houston's Chron.com during a prayer vigil for Floyd in Texas, she said, "People mistake him because he was so big that they thought he was always a fighting person but he was a loving person ... and he loved his daughter."
Former NBA player Jackson, whose video with Gianna on his shoulders saying "Daddy changed the world" has gone viral, also took the podium to speak about his "twin." "It really don't make no sense," he said. "I'm going to be there for her. I'm going to wipe your tears." He added that his friend's priority was to find work and provide for his family, which is why he had moved to Minneapolis.
He had been on the TODAY show earlier and said, "I haven’t been the same since I’ve seen it [the video of Floyd's death]." He also added just like Floyd's brother Terrence had previously said that he won't want violence in his name. "He would be happy that people were fighting for him," Jackson said, "but that’s not he way he’d want to do it. He’d want the people responsible for his death penalized. He wasn’t the type of people to hurt innocent people. … [He] would want everybody standing together fighting for justice."
“I haven’t been the same since I’ve seen it.”— TODAY (@TODAYshow) May 28, 2020
Watch @craigmelvin’s full interview with Stephen Jackson, a former NBA player and lifelong friend of George Floyd, who died while in Minneapolis police custody. pic.twitter.com/4qsdbBMxeB
Attorney Miller also added that Washington was speaking out to "show the world that George Floyd is not just a name, not just a meme and not just something to be chanted." "George Floyd was a real person," he said, as per PEOPLE. "He was a good person, and he had people that loved him. And so we're here today to show the world these are the people that loved him."
Floyd was killed on May 25 by four uniformed police officers. He kept pleading that he couldn't breathe even as one of them, Derek Chauvin, pinned him down with his knee to his neck. The four officers have been fired and charges have been brought against Chauvin.
An official Gianna Floyd fund has been set up here.