The Phoenix Flyer
George Floyd’s brother: ‘Make sure that he is more than another face on a t-shirt’
Gov. Ron DeSantis has compared protests over George Floyd’s death to more frivolous gatherings. Credit: YouTube.
WASHINGTON — George Floyd’s younger brother, Philonise Floyd, pleaded with lawmakers on Capitol Hill Wednesday to ensure that his brother didn’t die in vain.
“I can’t tell you the kind of pain you feel when you watch something like that. When you watch your big brother, who you looked up to your whole entire life die, die begging for his mom,” Philonise Floyd testified at a U.S. House hearing on police reform.
George Floyd’s death in police custody in Minneapolis last month has sparked nationwide protests against police brutality and racial discrimination.
“I couldn’t take care of George that day he was killed, but maybe by speaking with you today, I can make sure that his death will not be in vain,” Philonise Floyd said. “To make sure that he is more than another face on a t-shirt, more than another name on a list that won’t stop growing.”
He implored lawmakers: “Honor George and make the necessary changes that make law enforcement the solution and not the problem.”
Congressional Democrats unveiled sweeping legislation earlier this week that aims to dramatically overhaul law enforcement. It would increase police accountability, bar racial profiling and boost transparency surrounding officers’ actions.
“This is Congress’ most comprehensive effort in decades to substantially address police misconduct,” said Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.
But while she welcomed law enforcement legislation, “policing reform alone is not going to solve the crisis that we’re in today,” she said. She urged leaders to “envision a new paradigm” that involves shrinking the footprint of the criminal legal system in the lives of people of color and increasing investment in social services.
“When we stop using criminal justice policy as social policy, we will make communities safer and more prosperous,” Gupta said.
Although House Democrats are expected to pass the wide-ranging police reform bill in the coming weeks, it faces dim prospects of clearing the GOP-led Senate. There, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has asked Republican Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina to take the lead on a police reform package.
Scott wrote on Twitter Tuesday that he would soon release details on a police reform and retraining package. “I am hopeful that this legislation will bring much-needed solutions,” he said.
Democrats calling for massive overhauls are urging their colleagues to fundamentally rethink the nature of policing.
Rep. Karen Bass, a California Democrat and the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, told lawmakers Wednesday that if the Democratic-backed bill had been law, “George Floyd would be alive because chokeholds would be banned.”
Breonna Taylor, who was killed by police officers in Louisville, Ky., in March, “would be alive because no-knock warrants for drugs would be banned,” Bass added. Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old killed by police in Cleveland in 2014, “would have graduated high school this May.”
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