Friday, October 2, 2020

George Floyd's sister breaks silence urging: 'Don't let my brother die in vain'

George Floyd’s sister has broken her silence to call on Americans to vote ­“divisive” Donald Trump out of office.

LaTonya Floyd told the Daily Mirror today that George, killed by a white policeman, said Trump ruled the “White Supremacist House”.

And appealing for Joe Biden to become President, she said: “I refuse to allow my brother’s life to have been taken in vain.”

In the four months since George was killed at the knee of a white police officer, his big sister has maintained a dignified silence.

But today, little more than a month from the US elections, LaTonya Floyd feels compelled to speak out to warn: “If Trump is voted in for another four years, we are all going to hell.”

She will never come to terms with the way 46-year-old George died, his face pressed to the road on the corner of 38th Street and Chicago Avenue in Minneapolis, pleading in vain for his life, repeatedly telling police officer Derek Chauvin: “I can’t breathe.”

His dying words became a mantra of the Black Lives Matter movement.

LaTonya, 52, recalled how her brother had said Donald Trump, the 45th US President, was governing from the “White Supremacist House”.

And during his first presidential debate with Democrat rival Joe Biden on Tuesday, Trump’s failure to denounce the far-right Proud Boys led to revulsion around the globe, but a surge in recruits for the “hate” group.

LaTonya said: “The first presidential debate shows he is not, nor ever has been, a good president.

“He actively emboldens the far right, people like the Proud Boys, who he told to ‘stand by’ on Tuesday night.

“His words have consequences. People will act on them and further violence will follow. Leaders are defined by their characters, by their conviction, by their will to do what is right. The only character Trump cares for is himself.

“In the four years of his presidency, he has taken America back over 40 years. The country is more divided now than in the times of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X. All on his watch.

“He speaks about how no president has done more for African Americans. We all know this is a lie. Even before entering the White House, he ran on a campaign of division. Trump’s America is not united, it is divided. He has hurt more than he has healed and is happy to continue to do so.”

The world was horrified when video of George’s death on May 25 emerged. The officer had knelt on his neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds until George passed out and later died.

No one was closer to George than LaTonya.

You need only take a short walk around the Bricks neighbourhood in Houston, Texas, where they grew up, to find locals such as Travis “Mugz” Cain, who recall how inseparable George and LaTonya were.

He said: “Before they lived in each other’s shadows, they lived in one another’s pockets as kids.”

George, known to family by middle name, Perry, had four half-siblings, but only his two older sisters, LaTonya and Zsa Zsa, 53, share both the same parents, George and Larcenia.

Until now, she has been too upset to speak, but LaTonya fears progress made by Black Lives Matter will be undone if Trump wins on November 3.

Pleading for her brother’s death not to be in vain, she said: “Perry had Trump’s number, he’d speak to me of how divisive he was. In his mind, Trump didn’t live in the White House, but had made it the White Supremacist House.”

She blames Trump’s behaviour since George’s killing for the “needless violence”, neither she nor her family condone.

LaTonya said: “In the days after Perry’s death, I watched as Minneapolis burned. How it was destroyed. How the troubles then spread across the states. I was as mad as hell over my brother’s death.

“As a family, we were consumed with so many emotions – grief, anger, pain, heartache, it was a never-ending roller-coaster nightmare.

“We are still not off it yet.

“But while we appreciate the passion felt by so many millions of people, the destruction and violence that we saw and continue to see is not the way forward. We are better than that.

“As a family, we are not about that – above all, Perry would not be, too. It is not the way to bring about change.

“Our votes are stronger than any brick that is thrown, that is how we will bring about the change this country needs.”

After George’s death, Trump called the Floyd family, but LaTonya said it was “nothing more than a token gesture”.

She said: “Why did he never condemn my brother’s death? Why did he never join the people he was elected to keep safe on the streets in the aftermath?

“Not once has he joined those who are hurting. Obama would have. George Bush would have. There isn’t a president alive who would not, except Trump.

“The man even uses our military against us. His mantra is law and order, yet it is he who has wreaked havoc.”

LaTonya implored all Americans to get out and vote Trump out of office. She said: “Joe Biden is the only candidate to bring stability back to this country and stop the rest of the world from looking upon us with confusion and disdain.

“Biden is a man of substance, of values. Someone who genuinely cares for all Americans, Democrat or Republican.

“Trump’s handling of Covid and his politicisation of pandemic deaths speaks volumes for how incompetent he is.”

She hopes George’s death will bring change through Black Lives Matter. She said: “The movement is bigger than anything we have seen before. Perry’s death is going to change the world.

“I speak for all my family when I say how much we appreciate the people in the UK who have supported us.

“To all those who have taken to the streets, that have protested in peace in Perry’s name, we are so moved by you, we are so thankful to you.

“Together we can bring about change. To think that out of something terrible, something good can come is a comfort.

“I, like so many of us, refuse to allow my brother’s life to have been taken in vain. We are all 100% behind Black Lives Matter. I have a life, and it matters.

“Change is coming, but only if on November 3 we make the right choice.”


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