One of George Floyd‘s brothers on Wednesday asked some bold questions of congress during a hearing on policing practices and reform in the wake of the 46-year-old’s notorious police killing in Minneapolis on Memorial Day. Philonise George was appearing before the House Judiciary Committee less than 12 hours after his brother was buried following a moving funeral in Houston.
During his allotted five minutes of testimony, Philonise Floyd appealed passionately to committee members to help make meaningful change to the way law enforcement polices Black people in particular. He said he was testifying because the death of his older sibling meant that he was “the big brother now” and that he wanted to make sure that George’s police killing was not in vain.
“I want to make sure that he is more than a name on a T-shirt,” Philonise Floyd said.
Referencing the video of George Floyd’s killing, Philonise said George “was always a gentle giant.” Even as he was being killed during those 8 minutes and 46 seconds that Derek Chauvin applied pressure with his knee into George’s neck, Philonise pointed to his brother’s “mild manners” of repeatedly calling his killers “sir” even as he was being “suffocated.”
Philonise appealed to the committee members to “make it stop. Stop the pain.” He asked that they help bring about “the necessary changes to make law enforcement the solution and not the problem.”
He went on to ask that Congress help hold accountable officers for misconduct.
“George wasn’t hurting anyone that day,” Philonise said. “He didn’t deserve to die over twenty dollars. I am asking you, is that what a Black man’s life is worth? Twenty dollars? This is 2020. Enough is enough.”
He said he was proud of the way his brother’s name had become so meaningful to so many people who have been protesting against racism and police violence.
“The people elected you to speak for them, to make positive change,” he said to the Congressmen and women on the committee. “You have the opportunity here today to make your names mean something, too.”
He continued: “It’s on you to make sure his death is not in vain.”
Philonise Floyd was testifying two days after House Democrats introduced sweeping legislation that would dramatically reimagine law enforcement in America. The Justice in Policing Act of 2020 ambitiously aims to end police brutality, hold police accountable, improve transparency in policing and create meaningful, structural change when it comes to how law enforcement does their jobs.
“A profession where you have have the power to kill, should be a profession that requires highly trained officers who are accountable to the public,” Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman and California Rep. Karen Bass said while announcing the bill during a press conference on Monday morning.
This is a developing story that will be updated as additional information becomes available.