The United States is once again the scene of protests and riots against racism and police crime. And a new name has been added to the long list of black Americans who have become symbols of this fight: that of George Floyd, 46, who died on Monday May 25 after his arrest by a police officer, Derek Chauvin, accused on Friday of “murder on the third degree ”and of“ manslaughter ”.
Since then, tributes to the memory of George Floyd have multiplied. And his relatives, in the media, deliver the portrait of this man whose face the whole world discovered on the video showing his arrest and his death.
Texan arrives in Minneapolis after jail
Fourth largest city in the United States, Houston has also been the scene of major protests in recent days, and the death of George Floyd has a particular resonance: he was born in North Carolina, he had arrived in the city of Texas during his childhood, and lived there most of his life. It is also where her two daughters, born of two different relationships, and her granddaughter live.
He had left town for Minneapolis, on the other side of the country, a few years ago. But different parents give different dates and reasons for his departure.
Christopher Harris, presented by the Guardian as a childhood friend, explains that he convinced George Floyd to join him there around 2014, when he was released from prison. Justice documents published by the Daily Mail show that in 2009, he pleaded guilty to “armed robbery” and was sentenced to five years in prison. During a gang robbery in 2007, the judicial investigation determined that he had aimed a pistol at the victim.
He wanted to start from scratch, make a new start. He was happy with this change.
His relatives agree that he appreciated his adopted city: “He was happy there. He made friends there and told me he was studying to become a truck driver, ”said one of his cousins, Shareeduh Tate, in the New York Times. “He came home for his mother’s funeral two years ago and told me that he had decided to stay in Minneapolis.”
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said at a press conference that he would be buried in his hometown, reports the New York Times.
A promising former sportsman, close to an NBA pro
The relatives of George Floyd, who nicknamed him “gentle giant”, also remember his sporting career in his youth. In Houston, he had been a promising player on his high school’s American football team, for which he is seen making a touchdown on images found by a reporter for a Houston television station.
George Floyd was also a talented basketball player, who had left Houston for a time and got a scholarship to join the team from a University of Florida. “He was a very good athlete, scoring an average of 12 to 14 points per game,” recalls his coach at the time, George Walker, found by CNN. George Floyd was also a close friend of the former NBA champion, former professional basketball player Stephen Jackson. The former Spurs and Warriors member said that they grew up in the same area of Houston, and that he called it “Twin” because of their physical resemblance. “He was good at two sports, and the only difference between me and this brother was that I had more than he wrote on Instagram, also posting a photo of his friend in a football uniform.
An amateur rapper, who rubbed shoulders with a figure of the genre
After two years in Florida, George Floyd left university to find Houston and devote himself to another passion, music. Amateur rapper, he records under the name of Big Floyd. He had integrated a time, reports the Houston Chronicle, the Screwed Up Click, a group formed around the producer DJ Screw, legend of hip-hop, famous for his style slowed down to the extreme, which he invented. Appearing on the latter’s mixtapes, George Floyd had also released an album in 2000 with another group, Presidential Playas. The Stereogum website has compiled the few rare Big Floyd songs that can still be listened to online.
A bouncer who had worked in the same bar as Derek Chauvin
In Minneapolis, George Floyd worked in particular as a bouncer in several establishments including the bar-discotheque El Nuevo Rodeo. Questioned by several media, the ex-owner revealed that she also employed Derek Chauvin, the police officer accused of having killed and investigated on Friday. The latter had been responsible for the security of the establishment for almost 17 years, Maya Santamaria told the Associated Press.
George Floyd, he worked for the bar in 2019, for a dozen evenings. But she considers it unlikely that their paths crossed, and even less that they were able to recognize themselves during the arrest of George Floyd: security was ensured by several dozen people, and Derek Chauvin worked outside. from the bar, while bouncers like George Floyd were inside.
He lost his job because of the Covid-19 case
. Relatives say George Floyd worked as a driver and security guard in Minnesota. Jovanni Thunstrom, who owned both the apartment he rented and the bar where he worked primarily as a bouncer, the Conga Latin Bistro, told the New York Times that George Floyd asked him shortly before his death to look for a new job, the bar has been closed since March due to the measures taken against the Covid-19 epidemic. His friend Christophe Harris tells the Guardian that he had given him advice on contacting a temp agency the day before he died.