Philonise Floyd Reflects on His Brother George's Legacy on First Anniversary of His Death

Philonise Floyd
Erin Scott/Reuters/Bloomberg via Getty Images

'I think things have changed. I think it's moving slowly, but it's making progress.'

It's been one year since George Floyd's tragic murder on May 25, 2020, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and his brother is speaking out about his legacy.

On Tuesday, Philonise Floyd appeared on CNN's "New Day" to discuss the movement spurred by his brother's murder at the hands of former police officer Derek Chauvin and the issues of racial injustice in the year since.

"I think about all the activists and the people who stepped out and put their lives on the line during the pandemic," Philonise said, making note that his brother's death and the subsequent trial were seen by people all over the world who joined in protest for him.  

George, a 46-year-old Black man living in Minnesota, died after Chauvin held him down by the neck with his knee for more than nine minutes when he was arrested for suspicion of forgery outside a deli. Former police officers Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng were also seen holding down George, while former officer Tou Thao was spotted near the others in the video. George heartbreakingly told officers that he couldn't breathe, and also called out for his mother in the final moments of his life. The devastating incident was caught on tape and went viral, thrusting the Black Lives Matter movement into the spotlight and spurring thousands to protest against police brutality.

Stars like Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Lopez, Alex Rodriguez, Ben Affleck, Madonna and more were moved to publicly speak out after the death of George, and also personally took to the streets to protest. Others like Insecure star Kendrick Sampson and Riverdale's Cole Sprouse were arrested while protesting.

Chauvin was found guilty on all charges -- including second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter -- following 13 days of powerful testimony. The jury reportedly deliberated for 10 hours over two days before returning with their verdict on Tuesday.

"I think things have changed," Philonise said when asked if he feels that his brother's death has led to a change in the racial injustices Black Americans face. "I think it's moving slowly, but it's making progress."

"I just want everything to be better in life because I don't want people dying the same way my brother has passed," he added.

The Floyd family is set to meet with President Joe Biden at the White House on Tuesday to mark the anniversary, amid continued congressional negotiations over police reform legislation. The House passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act in March, but it's been stalled in Congress, with overhauling qualified immunity -- which shields government officials including police officers from lawsuits -- remaining a major sticking point in bipartisan congressional negotiations. President Biden has expressed his support for the act and called on Congress to reach a deal by May 25.

"This would be one of the best things that you can pass across America. People shouldn't have to live in fear," Philonise said during the interview.

"Now is the time to act," civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump added. "Let's do it in the name of George Floyd and all the others that have been taken from us unjustly by the very people who were supposed to protect and serve us."