MINNEAPOLIS — After a week of mushrooming protests and — in some cities — looting and violent clashes with police, the brother of George Floyd on Monday arrived at the Minneapolis intersection where his brother’s life came to an end.
Terrence Floyd, George Floyd’s younger brother, cried and knelt in prayer. He offered the crowd amassed around him the family’s hopes for peaceful protests and additional arrests in connection with his brother’s death. And he ultimately lead the crowd through a series of chants, including “Peace on the left, justice on the right,” as if to say the two must go hand in hand.
Terrence Floyd arrived at the intersection around 1 p.m., marking the first time a member of the Floyd family has visited the spot where George Floyd died after a police officer kept a knee on his neck for eight minutes.
When Terrence Floyd arrived, he was so emotional that two unidentified men stood on either side of him, and at points kept him from falling to the ground, overwhelmed with emotion. George Floyd was a member of a religious Texas family. So his brother knelt, wept and prayed amidst the flowers, protest signs, balloons, candles and other mementos left at the spot where George Floyd died.
Among the signs a few feet from a praying Terrence Floyd was one black and white placard bearing George Floyd’s last words, “I Can’t Breathe.” Most who gathered to watch the somber moment were wearing masks, including Terrence Floyd. His mask bore his brother’s image and the words, “WE CAN’T BREATHE.”
Eventually the crowd began to yell, “Take a knee!” More than 50 people did.
“First of all, first of all,” Terrence Floyd said. “If I’m not over here wilin’ out, if I’m not over here blowing up stuff, if I’m not over here messing up my community — then what are y’all doing? Nothing, because that’s not going to bring my brother back at all.”
“So let’s do this another way,” he said. “Let’s stop thinking that our voice don’t matter and vote…because it’s a lot of us and we still going to do this peacefully.”
Terrence Floyd then lead the crowd in a chant of, “Peace on the left and justice on the right.”
Floyd thanked the crowd for its support and implored people to continue to press for justice in connection with his brother’s death. Then came a chant referencing the fact that only one of four officers involved in the fatal encounter has been arrested and charged with a crime. “One down, three to go.”