(WCCO) — Friends of George Floyd, the black man killed by police earlier this week, held a news conference earlier today in the rotunda of Minneapolis City Hall. Among the speakers was former NBA player Stephen Jackson, a childhood friend of the victim. Actor Jamie Foxx also spoke, along with Leslie Redmond, president of Minneapolis chapter of the NAACP.
“I’m here because they’re not gonna demean the character of George Floyd, my twin,” Jackson said. “You can’t tell me, when that man had his knee on my brother’s neck, taking his life away, with his hand in his pocket, that that smirk on his face didn’t say, ‘I’m protected.'”
Floyd’s death has touched off four days of protests and three nights of violence throughout Minneapolis, and inspired demonstrations nationwide. The Twin Cities will be under a mandatory curfew this weekend.
Derek Chauvin, the cop seen on video kneeling on Floyd’s neck, along with the other three officers present, was fired from the Minneapolis Police Department after the incident. Shortly before this rally he was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.
“We’re not afraid to stand,” said Foxx. “We’re not afraid of the moment.” The moment is fraught, to say the least. But the actor, who, like Floyd and Jackson, is from Texas, was measured in his comments.
“What we saw on television, to watch this man plead for his mother,” Foxx continued. “What it does is it over-complicates everything as a black man trying to tell his son or his daughter how to function in life. Even the things we’ve taught them don’t seem to work.”
The ongoing events have attracted national and international attention, with public figures from all walks of life showing their support.
Leslie Redmond, president of Minneapolis NAACP, gave events of this week a little more historical perspective. “What you’re witnessing in Minnesota is something that’s been a long time coming. I can’t tell you how many governors I’ve sat down with, how many mayors we’ve sat down with. And we’ve warned them that if you keep murdering black people, the city will burn. We have stopped the city from burning numerous times, and we are not responsible for it burning now.”