George Floyd’s younger brother Terrence Floyd urged protesters in Minneapolis on Monday to protest peacefully and to vote in the wake of violent demonstrations that have gripped the city since his brother’s death.
“If I’m not over here blowing up stuff, messing up my community, what are y’all doing? Y’all doing nothing. Because that’s not going to bring my brother back at all,” Floyd said at the site where his brother died after a police officer knelt on his neck last Monday.
Floyd told the crowd that his family is peaceful and argued that violence doesn’t accomplish the change demonstrators are seeking.
“The same thing has been happening. Y’all protest, y’all destroy stuff and they don’t move. You know why they don’t move? Because it’s not their stuff, it’s our stuff. They want us to destroy our stuff. They not gonna move!” Floyd said.
“Let’s do this another way,” Floyd proposed. “Let’s stop thinking our voice don’t matter. Vote. Educate yourself and know who you’re voting for. That’s how we’re gonna hit them.”
Floyd concluded by saying, “I know my brother would not want violence,” imploring the crowd “let’s do this peacefully, please.”
Protests have erupted in cities across the nation in response to the death of 46-year-old Floyd last Monday, who was seen on video saying “I can’t breathe” as officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for several minutes. Dozens of cities remain engulfed in protests, some of which have featured looting and rioting, even after Chauvin was arrested and charged with manslaughter and third degree murder.
“He was a gentle giant. He was about peace, unity,” Terrence Floyd said of his brother during a Good Morning America interview on Monday. “The things that are transpiring now, they may call it unity, but it’s destructive unity. That’s not what he was about. That’s not what my brother was about. Channel your anger to do something positive.”
Floyd’s comments are part of a broader effort by activists at protests in cities across the country to discourage violence and push for legislative change. In Brooklyn on Sunday, organizers were able to get NYPD officers to kneel in solidarity with protesters and de-escalate a later confrontation with limited violence.