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Terrence Floyd reveals he was alone with Derek Chauvin at trial: ‘I was revolted but I did not want to kneel on his throat’

Andrew Buncombe
·4-min read
Terrence Floyd says he feels obliged to fight for racial justice  (Getty Images)
Terrence Floyd says he feels obliged to fight for racial justice (Getty Images)

George Floyd’s brother has revealed how he came within feet of Derek Chauvin on the first day of the trial, and while he felt disgusted, he had no desire to harm the police officer charged with murder.

Terrence Floyd, 44, who is one of three brothers of the man whose live was taken last spring, has been attending every day of the trial of Mr Chauvin.

He said it was intense and emotional, not only having to rewatch the video of Mr Chauvin kneeling on his brother’s neck for more than eight minutes as the unarmed African American man gasped he could not breathe, but being in the court room while he was. 

“That has been intense, because for the last year, I’ve been seeing this particular person, Chauvin, on TV. But to see him up close, it brings on a whole bunch of emotions,” he told The Independent.

“You know there’s ‘Why?’ factor. ‘What was on your mind?’ But you can’t get to him to talk to him about that. But that’s just my curiosity. It’s been intense to relive this all over again, and to see him, in arm’s reach. It’s just an intense emotional feeling.”

Mr Floyd said on the very first day of the trial he was even closer to the former police officer, during a break in proceedings.

Watch: Terrence Floyd on how seeing Derek Chauvin made him feel

“It was recess. And I came outside the court through a a vestibule. And I was sitting down, and I guess he walked out. I stood up just to stretch my legs, but he came out at the same time,” he said. 

“And I got a question [afterwards from my friends] ‘Did I want grab him and put my knee on his neck’. And I said no, I didn’t I didn’t feel that way. I felt disgusted, but I didn’t feel like doing any harm to him because I didn’t think it would prove a point. It wouldn’t prove a point.”

Mr Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. He has pleaded not guilty. 

While he did not testify on his own behalf during the trial, the defence has sought to reject the prosecution’s claims, that his actions on May 25 of last year were responsible for George Floyd’s death. 

The jury will be told to consider each charge and verdict separately. Mr Chauvin could be found guilty of one charge but be acquitted of the others. Similarly, he could found guilty or acquitted of all three charges.

Mr Floyd asked that regardless of the outcome, people across the country respond peacefully when the verdict is announced – possibly in just a few days.

“You have a right to be angry. You have a right to protest and let your voice be heard. And to express that anger. But don’t express it in a violent way, express it in a peaceful way,” he said.

Getty Images
Getty Images

He said he understood people were already additionally angry over the killing of Daunte Wright, which took place even as the trial of officer charged with his brother’s death was reaching its final stages.

“It was just like ‘not again?’ And then when you see his age. He’s only two years older than my son. You know that could have been my son. It could have been my friend’s son,” he said.

“And you would think the police department would be on point, and try to do everything in the right way, because this case is on, so they don’t want to get any more drama thrown their way. But it’s not happening. That just disturbs my spirit, [and] my soul because it’s not them dying.”

He said a guilty verdict would be a huge milestone, not just for his family, but the African American community.

“[A guilty verdict] would be a big spark of hope,” he said.

“A sigh of relief that we see change now. It’s not just somebody speaking change, but seeing it. It’d be like a milestone to see change like that happen.”

Watch: What we know about the jury responsible for deciding Derek Chauvin’s fate

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