The brother of a man whose death sparked protests and riots across the United States has criticized people using violence in the wake of the death, sending a message that what happened to his brother is being overshadowed by the rampages that started in Minneapolis.
Terrence Floyd, the younger brother of George Floyd, said he was still numb from his brother’s death, which sometimes makes him angry, but he’s refraining from becoming violent in part because that’s not what his brother would have wanted.
The riots are “overshadowing what’s going on,” Floyd said in an interview broadcast on ABC’s “Good Morning America” early Monday.
“He was about peace, he was about unity, but the things that are transpiring now—they may call it unity but it’s destructive unity, it’s not what he was about. It’s not what my brother is about,” Floyd said.
“If you’re angry, it’s OK to be angry, but channel your anger to do something positive or make a change another way because we’ve been down this road already. He would want us to seek justice the way we are, the way we’re trying to do, but channel it another way. The anger, damaging your hometown is not the way he’d want.”
Floyd died on Memorial Day after being apprehended for alleged forgery. Videos that circulated widely online showed a police officer, later identified as Derek Chauvin, kneeling on Floyd’s neck while Floyd said he couldn’t breathe.
Protests erupted in Minneapolis, where Floyd died, and have spread to other cities as people call for police reform. Widespread looting, property destruction, and violence against a host of individuals has taken place at or near the protests.
Terrence Floyd said the fact Floyd’s family is dealing with Floyd’s death by being “positive about it” and seeking justice shows the futility of engaging in violence to try to enact change.
“Why are you out here tearing up your community? Because when you’re finished and turn around and want to go buy something, you done tore it up. So now you messed up your own living arrangements. So just relax. Justice will be served,” he told ABC News, while calling for charges against the other three officers who were at the scene when Floyd was arrested.
Floyd’s girlfriend sounded a similar message last month.
“You can’t fight fire with fire. Everything just burns, and I’ve seen it all day—people hate, they’re hating, they’re hating, they’re mad. And he would not want that,” Coureney Ross said.
“He wouldn’t, he wouldn’t, he wouldn’t. He would give grace—I stand on that today—he would still give grace to those people.”