The world continues to mourn and speak out for justice in the killing of George Floyd. The 46-year-old died while in police custody after an officer pinned him to the ground with his knee for several minutes in a Minnesota neighborhood, as Blavity previously reported.
A video surfaced online showing the encounter as Floyd pleaded to breathe.
“Please, please, please I can’t breathe. Please, man,” Floyd can be heard saying in the video.
In the wake of his senseless death, here are five things you should know about Floyd.
1. He was known as a "gentle giant."
Floyd grew up in a predominately Black neighborhood in Houston before relocating to Minneapolis. He was a star football player for Jack Yates High School and helped his team make it to the 1992 championship game in the Houston Astrodome, according to The New York Times.
He was 6'6" and was known by his classmates and friends as a "gentle giant."
"Quiet personality but a beautiful spirit," Floyd's former classmate Donnell Cooper told ABC11.
Here’s George Floyd scoring a touchdown in ‘92. What a play. Yates HS game hero.
Probably seems like a lifetime ago to Floyd’s family and friends.
— Courtney Fischer (@CourtneyABC13) May 27, 2020
Even as a security guard at Conga Latin Bistro, customers saw his gentle spirit, and one said he "loved his hugs from his regulars," the Star Tribune reported.
"[He] would be mad if you didn't stop to greet him because he honestly loved seeing everyone and watching everyone have fun," customer Jessi Zendejas said.
The owner of the restaurant said he was like family and was eager to learn how to Bachata dance.
"He wanted me to teach him how to Bachata dance, and I gave up because I couldn't turn him because he was 6-foot-6," owner Jovanni Thunstrom told Fox23.
2. He was a father and loved by his family.
"They murdered my brother. They killed him. … They need to apply more pressure on these guys. Firing them is not enough," Bridgett said.
In addition to a host of family and friends, George leaves behind a 6-year-old daughter who lives in Houston.
3. He loved the city of Minneapolis.
"Waking up this morning to see Minneapolis on fire would be something that would devastate Floyd," Ross said.
"He loved the city. He came here [from Houston] and stayed here for the people and the opportunities. … Floyd was a gentle giant. He was about love and about peace," she added.
His name is George Floyd.
And he was murdered by the Minneapolis Police Department.
A grocery store called the police on him when they thought he was writing a bad check. pic.twitter.com/q1OQx2RpDM
— Shaun King (@shaunking) May 26, 2020
Benjamin Crump, the family's attorney, issued a statement echoing Ross' sentiments.
Crump thanked the protestors "for joining them in standing for justice, [but] we also cannot sink to the level of our oppressors, and we cannot endanger each other as we respond to the necessary urge to raise our voices in unison and outrage."
Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton and activist Gwen Carr, mother of the late Eric Garner, are planning to meet with city officials and faith leaders to call for justice and stand in solidarity with the community.
4. Celebration of life services will be held in North Carolina, Texas and Minnesota.
Crump said following the conclusion of an independent autopsy, the family intends to have multiple homegoing services for Floyd.
Services will be held in North Carolina, Texas, and Minnesota — the three states where Floyd lived a portion of his life.
5. Floyd's family is calling for murder charges against the officers involved.
During her interview on Good Morning America, Bridgett said more pressure needed to be applied to the officers involved in the killing of her brother.
“I would like to see the officers charged with murder and convicted,” Floyd's cousin Shareeduh Tate said. “I would not be happy with anything less. In my mind, they executed him.”
“The plan is to make sure these officers are charged with the murder of George Floyd,” Crump said. “When you really think about it, it was nine minutes that he begged for his life while this officer had his knee in his throat, had his knee in his neck.”
The four officers involved have been fired from the police department.