George Floyd Hearing – January 25, 2021, 10 am Eastern
Content note for video below: This video contains a full eight minutes of graphic footage of the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police while he pleads for his life and bystanders call for police to end their attack. This video is shared for evidentiary purposes at this hearing.
Transcript: Hearing on the Case of George Floyd
- Rapporteur Ria Julien
- Commissioner Ms. Hina Jilani
- Commissioner Prof. Niloufer Bhagwat
- Mr. Philonise Floyd, brother of George Floyd
- Benjamin Crump, attorney for the Floyd family
- Jasmine Rand, attorney for the Floyd family
- Video audio of cell phone video capturing the death of George Floyd and pleas of bystanders to save him.
Ria Julien 00:27
Good morning, everyone. Welcome again to the hearings, pardon me; welcome again to the hearings of the International Commission of Inquiry on systemic racist police violence against people of African descent in the United States. These hearings are a process by which witnesses can present accounts of the unjustified killings, and maimings of Black people by police officers in the United States before an international panel of human rights experts. We now begin the hearing in the case of George Floyd. My name is Ria Julien, and I am the rapporteur for this hearing. Presiding over this hearing today is Commissioner Niloufer Bhagwat of India and Commissioner Hina Jilani of Pakistan. The witnesses for this hearing are attorneys, Benjamin Crump of the Crump law firm, Attorney Jasmine Rand of the Crump firm, as well as the brother of the late George Floyd, Philonise Floyd. There will be 50 minutes in this hearing, for this hearing, r rather. Witnesses will testify, followed by a period of questions from commissioners. I will call time at the 30 minute mark and the 45 minute mark, please excuse my interruptions. Commissioners Bhagwat and Jilani. I now present to you the witnesses who will be presenting jointly, that is attorneys, Crump, Rand, and Mr. Floyd. I will go in sequence in swearing in the in the witnesses. Attorney Benjamin Crump, please confirm your name.
Benjamin Crump 02:24
I’m attorney Benjamin Crump.
Ria Julien 02:27
Do you promise that your testimony to the Commission of Inquiry will be true to the best of your knowledge and belief?
Benjamin Crump 02:33
Yes, it will.
Ria Julien 02:36
Attorney Jasmine Rand, please confirm your name.
Jasmine Rand 02:40
I am attorney Jasmine Rand.
Ria Julien 02:42
Do you promise that your testimony to the Commission of Inquiry will be true to the best of your knowledge and belief?
Jasmine Rand 02:48
Yes, it will.
Ria Julien 02:50
Mr. Philonise Floyd, please confirm your name
Philonise Floyd 02:57
Ria Julien 02:59
Do you promise that your testimony to the Commission of Inquiry will be true to the best of your knowledge and belief?
Philonise Floyd 03:05
Ria Julien 03:07
You may begin.
Benjamin Crump 03:10
Thank you, ma’am. Again, I am attorney Ben Crump. Along with attorney Jasmine Rand, Attorney Tony Romanucci and other lawyers, we have the distinct honor of representing the family of George Floyd. Their most able spokesperson will also give testimony and that is the brother Philonise Floyd, who has previously testified before the United States Congress as to the tragic killing of his brother his big brother, George Perry Floyd Jr. George Floyd was tortured to death by the Minneapolis Police Department on May 25 2020. People often ask, Attorney Crump, why do you think the killing of George Floyd galvanized people all across America and in fact, people all across the globe? Because there have been other Black people killed in dramatic, unbelievable fashions. What is it about this George Floyd killing? And the one thing, judges, I shared with them was that people in cities all across America, in the world had gotten used to reality TV. But they still were shocked in the documentary of a human being, being murdered by the very law enforcement officials who swore to protect and defend him. And they were even more shocked and horrified that the human being who was murdered by the law enforcement officials who were supposed to protect and defend him, narrated the own, his own documentary to his death. When you watch the video, you hear George Floyd say, I can’t breathe 28 times, you hear George Floyd, say that the insides, I can’t feel them anymore, I can’t feel my insides. I can’t feel my legs, he says. Even though his mother had predeceased him two years prior, that he called out for his mama. He said, tell my children, I love them.
Our experts have told us that oftentimes, when a human being realizes that their life is slipping away from them, when they have some conscious sense that, I am dying, and about to be taken from this earth. Oftentimes, they go back, subconsciously, and call out to the person who was their first protector when they came into this world. And for many of us, that person is our mother. So they said that it was very logical that George Floyd, as he failed to have another breath to sustain his life, when the police officer whose knee was on his neck would not relent, that he called out to his first protector in this world, even though she was no longer in this world. And so we all witnessed these police officers not give George Floyd the benefit of consideration, the benefit of possibility, the benefit of professionalism, as they kept their knee on his neck for not one minute, not two minutes, not three minutes, not four minutes, that five minutes, not six minutes, not seven minutes, not eight minutes, but eight minutes and 46 seconds. And when you look at that video, the reason people were so galvanized, in cities all across America, and the cities all across the world, is because once you watch that video, you cannot unsee it. Is a permanent mark in your mental subconscious. And that’s why this case has become probably the most important civil rights case of this century.
We must often think to the fact that video is so important to us finally, being able to tell our truths, and for Black people to be believed. The first police report that came out on George Floyd was that he died of natural causes, while he was assaulting police, and resisting arrest. I invite you to watch all the videos of George Floyd’s killing, and you see anywhere where he assaulted the police. But if we did not have video, that would have been the narrative, and because of the strength, structural and systematic racism that exists in America, that would have been the end of the story. It makes you wonder how many other Black people were brutalized in America and told their truths, but nobody believed them. So that’s why we’re here before this international tribunal, to say, please hear our truths, as Black people in America, saying that we continue to suffer from systematic and structural and institutional racism in America, and it is killing our children. Therefore, we pray that George Floyd’s tragedy will help be transformed into triumph when we finally have policies and legislation that hopefully will curb this almost daily police brutality and deadly force against African Americans.
I could speak on and on about this case, especially when you think about the City of Minneapolis and David Smith, three years prior to George Floyd was also killed by a cardiac, I’m sorry, a carotid artery restraint, because the chokehold is legal in most cities in America, many people don’t know that. And many people don’t know the chokehold over 75% of the time, is applied on men of color. They’re not choking white men, but they’re choking minorities, men in America, that is causing their deaths. And the statistics are horrific. I will tell you this. The best person you will hear from, no matter how eloquent attorney Rand and I will be, and articulate in talking about the senseless killing of George Floyd was unnecessary, and unjustifiable and just inhumane. That person would be his brother, the person who slept in his bed with him when they were little boys. We all know George Floyd as a hashtag, they know George Floyd as their blood. At this time I will have attorney Rand present to you, and Mr. Philonise Floyd will speak as only a brother can on behalf of his brother. Attorney Rand.
Jasmine Rand 12:39
Thank you attorney Crump, and at this time I will just remind Mr. Floyd that we will be showing about eight minutes of the video, so you can watch it if you choose to or if you want to log off and mute. I’m not sorry, not log off, but if you want to mute and step away, you can. Can we please click the video?
Video audio 12:56
On the ground. Please man, please man, please I can’t breathe, please man….sounds of struggling. I can’t breathe. Let him go, let him breathe at least man, bro…I can’t breathe. Get up. What do you want? Relax. I can’t breathe. Get in the car man. I will. Get up Get in the car. I can’t move. Get up and get in the car. I can’t. I can’t. You can’t win, you can’t win man, you have to listen. I’m through, I’m through. My stomach hurts, my neck hurts, everything hurts. Please, please, I can’t breathe. You murderer. His nose is bleeding, come on now. Look at his nose. [We can see your knee on his neck.] I cannot breathe, I cannot breathe. Tough guy, huh? He’s not even resisting arrest. He’s not doing anything. His whole nose is bleeding. How long are they going to hold him down? Why don’t you put him in the car? We tried that for 10 minutes. That’s some bum ass shit. Why are you going to kneel on his head, bro? Is that some jiu jitsu move there bro?
You’re trapped you’re trapped him, and you’re trapping his breathing right there bro. Like you don’t think nobody sees, you don’t think nobody understands that right there bro? I trained at the academy bro That’s right, Bro. That’s bullshit, Bro, he’s stopping his breathing right there now, but just to get him off the ground you being a bum, right now you just get him off the ground bro get him off the ground you being a bum right now? He enjoying that shit, he enjoying that shit, right right now bro you could have put him in a car by now bro he’s not resisting arrest. Are you enjoying it? Look at you, your body language is crazy, bro. It’s the whites, they scared of minorities. You know that’s bogus right now bro, you know it’s bogus you can’t even look at me like a man cuz you’re a bum, bro. He’s not even resisting arrest right now. He’s passed out! Look at his nose. You stopping his breathing right now, bro, you think that’s cool? You think that’s cool though right. what’s your, what’s your badge number bro? You think that’s cool right now bro. How do you call police on another police? You think hat’s cool though bro you’re a bum for that, bro you’re a bum, you’re a bum for that bro. Bro, you getting mad, but he’s stopping his breathing right now. What the fuck? Look at him! First of all, he’s not responsive right now bro.
Look at him! Are you serious? Is he breathing right now? Check it out check his pulse, bro bro check his pulse, bro. You bogus, you bogus, don’t do drugs bro, what is that? What are you doing okay? Get back! You call what are you doing okay? He hasn’t moved! You’re a bum, bro, you’re a bum, bro. You’re a bum bro. He has not moved, not one time bro. Go back in the store, you don’t understand. No, I’m the runner. Okay that’s cool, go back into the store, bro. Go back in the store. He’s not fucking moving! I see that. Bro, I’m trying to help y’all out, bro. You don’t need to help me out bro. I know your parents. I know everybody that runs the store you don’t need to help me bro. He’s not moving right now bro. I just saw that man,. Bro he was just moving when I walked up. Here, I know that, they did it to him. You should get back out here, bro, you just got back out here. He’s not even moving! Did they just kill him? They killed him. 1987, bro? Are you serious? Are you serious? Are you gonna keep your, keep your neck. Why you not calling an ambulance? Why they didn’t want to call an ambulance? You’re a bitch, bro, he’s not even fucking moving right now? You’re going to let him keep on his neck like that, you’re going to let him kill that man in front of you. He’s not even fucking moving right now, He’s not going to care. These people don’t care bro, you’re going to sit there with your knee on his neck, you’re a real man for that, bro, you’re a real man. You’re not even checking his pulse, you guys are on him. Freedom of speech, bro.
Jasmine Rand 21:12
We chose to play nearly the full video of the killing of George Floyd, because it’s some of the best evidence that we can present to the commissioners today, that this killing was clearly a use of excessive force that he was intentionally murdered and that he was murdered based on his status as a person of African descent. And I will try to get through the facts as briefly as I can, but I would just ask if the commissioners please oblige me, I will not be able to have as much brevity as I did in our last hearing because we do have a nine minute video that provides us a tremendous amount of evidence. On May 25 2020, George Floyd was unarmed and accused of using a counterfeit $20 bill or committing an act of fraud, a non violent crime. Despite being accused of a non deadly crime, the officers used deadly force, including a neck restraint while arresting George Floyd. nearly the entire incident was captured on video. As you can see, the incident was in broad daylight, much like the Jacob Blake incident, and in the presence of several eyewitnesses and the surrounding community. Officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on George Floyd’s neck for a total of eight minutes and 46 seconds. While he was facedown on the ground and in the prone position, with his arms handcuffed behind his back, two other officers, Lane and Kueng, kneeled on his back and legs at the same time. A fourth officer, Thao, did not intervene to stop the unlawful and excessive force, and instead stood guard to stop citizens from intervening to save George’s life, George Floyd’s life and threatened them with mace. During the entire incident, he complied with the officers and he never attempted to resist arrest or flee.
Instead, he begged the officers to save his life and even referred to them as sir. Throughout the video, George Floyd told police officers he could not breathe at least 12 times, including within the first few seconds of the video. He clearly stated, I’m going to die. They’re going to kill me and called out for his mother to save him yelling Mama, Mama. He said tell my kids I love them. I’m dead. George Floyd’s last words were I can’t breathe, please. Several eyewitnesses attempted to intervene and stop the police from killing George Floyd. Witnesses begged officer Chauvin to remove his knee from his neck to stop the obstruction of his airway and said at least three times, he’s not breathing and told police officers you’re cutting off his breath on six different occasions. Blood began to drip out of his nose and witnesses told officer officers his nose was bleeding. He lost consciousness. Witnesses begged offers to take officers to take his pulse more than 16 times in two minutes and 17 seconds after George Floyd’s body went limp, one witness asked did they kill him. A female witness identified herself as a firefighter and EMT and begged the officers to take his pulse numerous times and when she attempted to render medical aid herself, we saw Officer Thou order her back onto the sidewalk. Officer Chauvin kept his knee on George Floyd’s neck for approximately four minutes after he lost consciousness and his body went limp. There was blood dripping from his nose. And even after the emergency medical arrived and began to check for a pulse, his knee was still on his neck for some time. The use of force was clearly excessive. He was fully compliant. Here referred the officers as sir and the officers responding to report on potential 20, counterfeit $20 bill, a non violent offense again. The officers clearly had knowledge that the use of force was killing George Floyd. He repeatedly told them himself he could not breathe, explicitly said that he was dying, begged for their mercy, told them to tell his kids he loved them because he was dead and cried out for his mother, who had already pre deceased him.
Witnesses repeatedly told the officers George Floyd cannot breathe, begged Chauvin to take his knee off of George Floyd’s neck, that his nose was bleeding, that he lost consciousness, asked them to take his pulse, to allow them to render first aid, yet they refused and even threatened them with mace. George Floyd’s body also told them he was dying, blood poured from his nose, he lost consciousness, his body went limp, and he stopped breathing. The officer clearly intended to kill George Floyd. Even after he lost consciousness, his body went limp, he kept his knee on his neck for another four minutes. The video evidence clearly demonstrates that the officers tortured George Floyd by using unlawful restraint mechanisms and excessive force, which resulted in his extra judicial killing. The video and other evidence also clearly demonstrates that part of the reason he was killed was because he’s a member of African descent, a Black person, an African American. You hear one of the officers on the video implying that a Black male witness does drugs because he’s trying to intervene and stop them from killing George Floyd. An obvious admission of racial bias. You also hear the witnesses say you must be doing this because you’re afraid of minorities, you’re scared of black people.
I want to give you a bit of background to put this killing in the context of the pattern of practice of the Minneapolis Police Department. The Minneapolis Police Department officers engage in what’s called Killology training. A review into Minneapolis Police Department, review that its officers aim to kill, many of the officers had taken Killology training offered by the police union, a training in which officers are trained to approach situations with an aim to kill, not an aim to de-escalate and not an aim to engage in lawful and constitutional policing. The Killology approach was also connected to the police shooting and killing of Philando Castile in Minnesota in 2016, who was fatally shot seven times at a traffic stop. The Minnesota, Minneapolis Police Department, union president refused to stop Killology training, even after he was directed to do so by the city. And while speaking at a President Trump rally, he said that he believed that President Trump’s policies supported Killology training within our police force, clear evidence of structural racism and clear evidence that the United States engages in systemic excessive force and extrajudicial killings. During the five year period from 2015 to 2020, the Minneapolis Police Department reported that its officers use violence against Black people at seven times the rate that they used violence against white people. Derek Chauvin’s personal background, the officer who kneeled on his neck, for eight minutes and 46 seconds, also reveals that he was in the Army Reserve, was a military police officer. He had 18 complaints on his official record, two of which ended in discipline, including official letters of reprimand, he had been involved in three other police shootings, one of which was fatal. According to the former owner of a nightclub where Derek Chauvin also worked, he used over aggressive tactics when dealing with Black clientele, and responding to fights by spraying the crowd with mace. Instead of dealing with those who were fighting. He and his wife are also facing multiple counts of felony tax evasion in the United States. As we discussed in the in the prior hearing, these officers never would have been arrested if it was not for mass protest. They never even would have been fired if it was not for a mass protest of the protesters in Minneapolis. They were not immediately fired upon doing this to George Floyd despite the graphic video evidence. They were not fired until the first round of protest. As a protest went national and international, and attorney Benjamin Crump represented the family of George Floyd and began calling for the officers’ arrest. Derek Chauvin was arrested and charged with third degree murder. Protests continued at the unjust criminal or criminal charges that were brought against Derek Chauvin and as a family fought to see first degree murder charges. And as the protests escalated from national to international protest, as we filed an urgent appeal before the United Nations, the charges were increased against Eric Chauvin to second degree murder and second degree manslaughter. And the other three officers were charged with aiding and abetting second degree murder.
This case also exemplifies another problem with systemic and structural racism and police brutality we have in the United States, the complicit actions of the medical examiners that support the unlawful policing of the police officers. On May 29 2020, the state of Minnesota released the preliminary autopsy findings. The Hennepin County Medical Examiner concluded that George Floyd’s death was the result of a combined effect of being restrained, underlying health conditions, conditions and potential intoxicants. There were no physical findings that support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation despite the fact that we all just watched a nine minute video showing otherwise. The medical examiner’s bizarre conclusion clearly defied common sense and science and shows you the racial bias that is steeped even within our medical profession. George Floyd’s family hired an independent autopsy by Dr. Michael Baden and Dr. Alicia Wilson, as we have to do in so many cases. And the independent medical examiners concluded that George Floyd was killed by mechanical asphyxia due to neck and back pressure. That pressure interfered with flow of blood to his brain, that George Floyd died at the scene, and that there was no other cause of death, including pre existing health conditions or intoxication. The private autopsy has not yet been finalized or released to the public.
Ria Julien 32:00
Attorney Rand, I would just call we are at the 30 minute mark there. 20 minutes remaining in the hearing.
Jasmine Rand 32:06
OK, I’m wrapping up and then I’ll turn it over to Philonise. As we saw in the Jacob Blake case, Black people don’t even have the right to protest being killed by police. After as protest, as people protested the killing of George Floyd, 114 journalists were attacked by police officers. As of June 8 2020, 19 protesters were killed. Protesters and journalists have been shot with machine guns, with bows and arrows, run over by police vehicles, run over by citizens, shot with rubber bullets, and tear gassed, a systemic attempt to stifle freedom of speech and press in America. We pay for those freedoms in blood these days. An American author, James Baldwin, wrote a powerful piece about lynchings in the south that detailed the American tradition of going to church on a Sunday, going home after to pack a picnic basket of food and taking your family to spread a blanket beneath a tree on a Sunday afternoon to watch public lynching of yet another Black body. What happened to George Floyd 100 years later was a lynching, a public execution and active state sanctioned torture and an extrajudicial killing based in part on being a member of the African diaspora. Derek Chauvin kneeled on George Floyd’s neck in broad daylight on a street filled with spectators and seemed to take pleasure in killing him all while knowing he was being filmed sending a message to Black people in Minnesota and those who watched it throughout America that this could be you next. You could be the next Michael Brown. You could be the next Tamir Rice. You could be the next Jacob Blake, Philando Castile, that there are two different justice systems in America, one for Black injustice and one for white justice.
America and much of the world is quick to criticize the behavior of monarchies like Saudi Arabia for conducting public executions, as they rightfully should. But I ask is America so different in its behavior from Saudi Arabia? In 2019, Saudi Arabia had 184 public executions, and in 2020, it had 27 public executions. In 2020, the United States executed 226 Black people by police, extrajudicial killings, that denied them due process of law. As I stated, Black people don’t even have the right to protest the violation of their basic human rights in America. Journalists don’t have the right to cover it. Is freedom of speech and press really free when you pay for it in blood, with your life? As a global human rights community, we chastise other nations like Saudi Arabia for executing dissidents. journalists, yet America does the same thing. And somehow people don’t think it’s an international crisis. We come here today asking for justice for George Floyd. That will you use the power convened by this commission to condemn the extrajudicial killing of George Floyd, to condemn his torture, and to find that his killing was perpetuated, in part based on the fact that he’s a member of the African diaspora, and that we will recommend extensive police reform in the United States. I thank you for your time and I will now turn it over to Philonise Floyd.
Philonise Floyd 35:42
My name is Philonise Floyd. And my big brother was George Floyd. He was 46 years of age when four officers from Minnesota murdered him, on May 25 2020, his children are left without a father. Not only did they kill my brother, but having to watch the videos of my brother begging for his life, crying for mom has, taken a part of me. I’m here today because I have to be the big brother now. I have to look out for not only his children, but America’s children. His youngest daughter spoke about how she used to be on her father’s shoulders. And I’m asking you to let his legacy continue to build a brighter future from structural racism and police brutality to do, not rule the day. I’m asking and seeking justice for all Black and brown men, women and children who have needlessly been killed by racism and police violence. I am asking to hold the United States accountable to their human rights obligations, so we can reach our full potential as a nation who values, loves and protects all of its people. On May 25 2020, my brother was unarmed and accused of using a counterfeit $20 bill or committing an act of fraud, a non violent crime. Nearly the entire incident was captured on video in broad daylight and in the presence of several eyewitnesses. Despite being accused of a non deadly crime, the officers used deadly force, including a neck restraint. And just watching a video of my brother, when he had blood coming out of his nose, Derek Chauvin, he kneeled on my brother neck, for a total of eight minutes and 46 seconds, which is the estimated time. Two other officers, Thomas Lane, Alexander Kueng, they helped they kneeled on his back, on his legs at the same time. And the fourth officer Thao did not intervene to stop the use of the unlawful and excessive force, and instead, he stood guard to stop citizens from intervening to save my brother’s life. They were trying to do his job and the paramedics job. During this entire incident, my brother begged, he begged the officers, please save his life. He’s trying throughout the video, he told police officers that he could not breathe at least 12 times, including within the first few, they’re going to kill me and called out but his mother to save him yelling Mama, Mama. My brother said, tell my kids, I love them. I’m dead. His last words were I can’t breathe.
Several eyewitnesses attempted to intervene and stop the killing. Witnesses begged officer Chauvin, to remove his knee from his neck, to stop the obstruction of the airway and said at least three times, he’s not breathing and told police officers you’re cutting his air off, you’re cutting his air off, blood begin to drop out of my brothers nose and witnesses begged officers to take him up, take his knee off his neck, more than like 16 times. My brother was clearly dying and yet neither officer removed their knees from his body, including officer Chauvin, kneeling on his neck. Officer Chauvin kept his knee on my brother’s neck for approximately four minutes after he lost consciousness and his body went limp. There was blood still dripping from my brother’s nose and even after the emergency medical arrived and began to check for a pulse, a pulse Officer Chauvin was my brother’s judge, jury, and executioner. Not only did he kill my brother, he killed everyone in our family because we’ll never be the same. He has given everybody a life sentence in our family.
Not only did my brother have the weight of three police officers on him, he had the weight of a nation plagued with centuries of systemic racism that stole his last breath. The video evidence clearly demonstrates that the officers tortured my brother, using unlawful restraint mechanisms and excessive force while resulting in an extrajudicial killing. On May 29 2020, the state of Minnesota released a permanent preliminary autopsy findings the Hennepin County Medical Examiner, concluded that George Floyd’s death was the result of a combined effect being restrained, his underlying health conditions and potential intoxicants in his system, and that there were no physical findings of support of diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia. The medical examiner’s bizarre conclusion clearly defied both science and common sense. George Floyd’s family hired Dr. Michael Baden and Dr. Wilson to perform an independent autopsy. The independent medical examiners concluded that George Floyd was killed by asphyxiation due to neck and back pressure, that pressure interfered with flow to the brain of blood, his brain and George Floyd, he died at the scene. My brother was dead in front of the world who had to watch the video. Once the incident and the video footage being made public, the four police officers were being fired. They had plenty of time to fire them after they killed him. But they chose to wait until it went viral.
Since my brother’s death, there has been at least 140 cities across the United States and as well internationally. Many innocent Black and brown people will continue to lose their lives to police officers’ use of excessive force and racism during peaceful protests. Not only are unarmed Black men and women frequently killed by police brutality, we do not even have the right to protest our systemic murder. Since my brother George Floyd died, just being able to go down the street, it’s never going to be the same anymore. Every day, I get stopped, and people telling me you have my condolences. It’s been over six months as my brother has passed. And I will never, ever be able to get this out of my my heart. Every day, I hit the ground running and I’m trying my best to be who I can be. And you have to understand that these protesters who are out, I thank them so much because you have 19 protesters who have died. You have 114 journalists who were injured and attacked by police officers. Protesters have been shot with bows and arrows, gunned down, and run over with police vehicles and citizen vehicles. This summer we saw peaceful Black Lives Matter protesters brutalized at the footsteps of our national Capitol. The insurrectionists there were there, it was terrible. Cap – I’m telling you at the Capitol Building, while the Vice President and Congress were inside, posing danger to our leaders and national security, video footage revealed that our police officers opening up the gates of the Capitol to the criminals, posing with the selfies, they weren’t attempting to do their job. Just seven short months after police officers knelt on my brother’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds while he begged for his life. The insurrectionists proceeded to parade through the building, that Capitol, with Confederate flags throughout the House, a known symbol of slavery and our nation’s racist history. The President of the United States, Donald Trump responded by telling these criminals they were special and loved.
The images of the treatment of Black Lives Matter protests, compared to the treatment of the criminal insurrectionists in our national Capitol is the starkest illustration of the two divergent justice systems in America, one Black, and one white. It’s Derek Chauvin’s knee, pressed into my brother’s neck, bearing the weight of systemic racism and white supremacy. My brother asked us to do one thing for him because he knew he was dying. He narrated his death, like a cinema movie at the time. He said, tell my kids, I love them. The best way we can tell George Floyd’s children, my nieces and nephews, that we love them, is to tell them that we will not, this will not happen anymore. We must tell my brother’s children and all that racism can’t destroy everybody. And I come before you to continue writing my brother’s story and to forge his legacy to right the, right the historic wrongs of systemic racism and police brutality that have been plagued by our nation. I do not want my brother’s name to simply be a page in American history. I want it to be emblazoned in his children’s future in the form of systemic reform mandated by the highest powers in our nation and world. I am seeking that. To the United States of America, I need them to end qualified immunity.
When I spoke in Congress, the George Floyd Policing Act, I was there, the day after his funeral, to make that statement, I had no time to grieve. But I showed up. And not only did I show up, everybody across the world showed up because they wanted a time for change. I turned my pain into purpose. And a second thing I want, I want them to end provision of military equipment, and military type training of police officers who believe that it’s okay to put their knee on someone’s neck and cut off the air. No, we can’t have that anymore. No more George Floyds, this should have stopped way back then. I need you also to reinstate federal oversight consent decrees where warranted. We need that we have to have that taken care of. I need establishing civilian review bonds to aid in the pursuit of justice for victims. We have to understand, we can make laws to protect the bald eagle when it was becoming extinct. But if you can make federal laws to protect a bird, you can make federal laws to protect people of color. I need them to also mandate the use of body cameras for all police officers and immediate release of video footage and audio recordings following incidents involving police killings. I’ve been all across the world. And all people ask me the same thing. What did my son do? What did my daughter do to deserve death? Not a slap on the wrist? Death. But nothing. My brother died over $20. That’s what they say. It hasn’t been proven. Also, I need them then also mandate police training, I needed them to be basically, that’s one of the number one things. Police trainers, I need them to go specifically and say hey, we can’t do this to people. People are human beings. They treating, they treating African Americans, basically people of color, like, what, animals. And thank you so much for having me here.
Ria Julien 49:23
Thank you, Mr. Floyd, for your testimony and my condolences to your family.
Philonise Floyd 49:30
Thank you so much.
Ria Julien 49:32
I would like now to turn it over to the commissioners. We have a few minutes we will go over. We have about 10 minutes left. We need to end properly on the hour. But I think that provides some time for questions.
Niloufer Bhagwat 49:49
With your permission, Commissioner, but I have really no questions. The testimony is so clear, clear and the evidence that has come before us leaves no, no questions in my mind about the kind of case that we are dealing with. But I would just like to express my condolences to Mr. Floyd. I, you know, I have been looking at situations in the world, like mass killings, etc. globally. You know, this is one of the most distressing images that I’ve seen in this video. I cannot even imagine what you and your family have gone through. And my, my real appreciation of the two attorneys who have given testimony before us, and I see what kind of commitment with which they are pursuing this, not just this case, but the whole issue of structural racism in the law enforcement officers in the US. I just want to ask one particular question, which if anybody can answer it, I’m sure that Commissioner Bhagwat has also raised this last, in the last case that we were reviewing. What do you think, are the policies that you must convince this new administration in the US to make sure that this becomes a priority, I know that the administration has many difficult challenges at the moment that arise from the pandemic, etc. But I think this is something that must also take first priority in terms of reforms that not just reform the police in general, but remove this racist attitude in the law enforcement. So if you can give us one or two concrete recommendations that we can make as commissioners that would help to alleviate the situation. Thank you.
Benjamin Crump 52:13
I will begin. As I told attorney Rand and Philonise this morning, I have had conversations with congressional leaders for Philonise, and I talked with President Biden, then, before he was elected and vice president Kamala Harris about this most important concern for not just African Americans, but to be a more just America, we need to make this a priority for all of America to live up to our highest ideals. And so, because Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell did not entertain the George Floyd Justice in Policing act that was passed by the House of Representatives in the US Congress and led by the Congressional Black Caucus, that it would have to come up again in this new Congress. And so there will be new congressional hearings. And we are hopeful that there will be Senate hearings now that we will have a new senate majority leader and as articulated by Philonise and attorney Rand in great detail, those aspects about the no knock warrants, about the chokehold, about qualified immunity, about body cameras and transparency, and having obstruction of justice if police don’t have their body cameras on and somebody was brutalized or killed. The fact that there should be a rebuttable presumption that the police did something nefarious or inappropriate, or illegal, if that body camera is not on. Not that they’re guilty, but a rebuttable presumption because we want them to have due process of the law, just like we want Black people in America to have due process of the law. And then finally, we have been fighting for over a decade now for there to be a national registry of police misconduct. So police do something brutal to a black citizen in one police department and simply leave and go to another state and get another job and become a police officer and continue the brutality or to engage in Killology, or what have you. So those are the most stressful and important things that we must do and we welcome any assistance. I pray that President Biden, and especially vice president Kamala Harris, would lead in the advocacy in the United States Congress to get the George Floyd Justice and Policing Accountability Act passed and signed into law in the United States of America.
Jasmine Rand 55:38
And just to add briefly to that, we do need independent prosecutions, independent boards of Medical Examiners, for officer involved killings. Particularly with medical examiners, we often have to pay out of pocket as attorneys, whether or not we are reimbursed 1000s of dollars for independent autopsies to prove that the officers used excessive force, which is cost prohibitive to a lot of legal practitioners and cost prohibitive to a lot of families.
Hina Jilani 56:09
Jasmine Rand 56:14
Commissioner, we can’t hear you.
Benjamin Crump 56:18
She’s on mute.
Jasmine Rand 56:21
I believe you’re muted.
Niloufer Bhagwat 56:26
Can you hear me now?
Jasmine Rand 56:28
Yes, we can.
Niloufer Bhagwat 56:31
Regarding the Minnesota police department at its training to kill, the training which is being given to the Minnesota police department to kill, this was mentioned that the entire police force of Minnesota is being trained to kill citizens. Is this in conformity with a republic or with a fascistic political system?
Jasmine Rand 56:59
The Killology training is actually given through the police union. So I don’t believe every single officer has received Killology training, but many officers have received Killology training. And although it has been banned by the city, that ban has not been enforced, because the Killology training continued. And the training is not consistent with constitutional policing in America.
Niloufer Bhagwat 57:27
Why did George Floyd, immediately when he was arrested, say, Please do not shoot. beg them, please do not shoot me?
Benjamin Crump 57:44
Philonise and I, as Black men in America, oftentimes, when police pull our white brothers and sisters over, they see them as a measure of assistance. When they encounter African Americans, we see it as a measure of oppression. And oftentimes we have seen it play out where as an African Americans, a shooting, killed by the police. And so when we are put up by the police, every Black person in America, heart start to race and say, I pray I will survive this encounter with police. I have no doubt that that was exactly George Floyd’s mental thoughts when the police approached him. You heard Jacob Blake Jr. say earlier, the reason he was going away from the police. I didn’t want to end up like George Floyd. It is the reality that we live with in America every day when we encounter police in America.
Niloufer Bhagwat 59:09
One last question. The Native Americans faced genocide. The Native Americans of the United States faced genocide. Do you consider this policy of shoot to kill of young African American men genocidal in policy and intent? Genocidal in policy and intent?
Jasmine Rand 59:39
I believe I believe that the policy in the United States has absolutely risen to genocidal proportions. Attorney Benjamin Crump published a book called Open Season: Legalized Genocide of Colored People. And I believe that it is it’s obviously an act that has, has reached genocidal proportion, particularly with the commentary of President Trump, who openly encouraged people to counteract people lawfully protesting and exercise their second amendment rights. We saw the National Guard called out over and over against Black Lives Matter protesters who were protesting the killing, the unlawful killing of Black people. And it is clearly systemic. Although it may not be a direct written policy, it is a de facto policy of genocidal behavior.
Niloufer Bhagwat 1:00:36
Would it be comparable to what the Zionist government of Israel does to the Palestinians? Would it be comparable?
Jasmine Rand 1:00:47
I believe that it is, I don’t know that it’s comparable in numerosity. But I believe that it’s comparable in intent. And I think that whenever lives are lost, however, many lives are lost, behind the intent and the policies, whether they are implicit policies or de facto policies that result in genocide of people, it’s important to treat it as such. And I believe that America frequently is given a pass by the international community. We use money, we use trade agreements and trade alliances, to bully other nations into not condemning what truly is an act of genocide in America. We have also seen the infringement of our first amendment rights, freedom of speech and freedom of the press and trying to protest violations of human rights and genocide here in America.
Niloufer Bhagwat 1:01:42
Virtually, the 14th amendment is a dead letter. Virtually, the 14th amendment of the constitution is a dead letter in the context of all this?
Benjamin Crump 1:01:56
I believe that the 14th amendment provides an avenue for which we can do better, I do not want to believe that we won’t be able, working together as brothers and sisters, to prevent future tragedies from happening, because our children’s very lives depend on it. And so we have to hold America accountable to its high ideals when they say, we hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equally, that they’re endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, that amongst them are life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Well, America that means Black people too, and that is what we are declaring and proclaiming from the top of every mountain. And we thank Philonise and his family for their eloquence, and letting us use their personal grief and tragedy to hopefully transform America and transform the world where Black lives matter.
Ria Julien 1:03:19
Thank you all.
Niloufer Bhagwat 1:03:20
Thank you very much Attorney. And I, we, I cannot express adequate words to convey to George Floyd’s brother, what we think about this murder, it is not second degree, it is a killing. And it is a murder. And it is all there recorded everything on video.
Ria Julien 1:03:46
Thank you to all the commissioners and to the witnesses today. Thank you again for your testimony. I’m afraid this concludes the hearing in the case of George Floyd and hearings will resume tomorrow. Thank you again.