Sep 11, 2020

George Floyd Family Press Conference After Court Hearing Transcript September 11

George Floyd Family Press Conference After Court Hearing Transcript September 11
RevBlogTranscriptsPress Conference TranscriptsGeorge Floyd Family Press Conference After Court Hearing Transcript September 11

The family of George Floyd and their attorneys held a press conference after a court hearing on September 11. Full transcript of the news briefing here.

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Speaker 1: (00:00)
It’s Roger and Terrence Floyd. Let me turn it over, please, to attorney Ben Crump.

Ben Crump: (00:13)
Good afternoon. I am Attorney Ben Crump, along with Attorney Tony Romanucci, Attorney Chris Stewart, Attorney Justin Miller, Attorney Jeff Storms, Attorney Michelle [Gabo 00:00:27], and Attorney Scott Masterson. We have the honor of representing the family of George Floyd, who are present here with us today. We have his brothers and his sisters, his cousins, his uncle, his aunt, all coming here to Minnesota to declare we demand justice for George Floyd, Jr.

Speaker 2: (00:57)
[inaudible 00:01:04].

Ben Crump: (01:06)
We just sat through a very emotional hearing where people tried to kill George Floyd a second time. They made all kind of foolish allegations talking about he died from a drug overdose. No. Exactly. They’re trying to claim the knee on his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds had nothing to do with his death. They are trying to say that the knee on his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds was reasonable. They are trying to claim some asinine theory about an overdose. I want it to be clear about this. The only overdose that killed George Floyd was a overdose of excessive force and racism by the Minnesota, Minneapolis police department.

Ben Crump: (02:38)
Ladies and gentlemen, this follows the same narrative that they’re trying to use when they killed unarmed Black people during this COVID 16 19 pandemic, like Breonna Taylor, like Dijon Kizzee in Los Angeles, like Trayford Pellerin in Lafayette, Louisiana, and like how they shot Jacob Blake Jr. seven times in the back in front of his children. And then they try to accuse the people who were trying to get away from them, who was trying to deescalate the situation as the reason for what happened. This family, this family, they saw what happened. You all, Minneapolis, y’all saw what happened. America saw what happened. The world saw what happened. And so who are you going to believe? Your eyes or these killer cops? Who are you going to believe? Your eyes or these killer cops? Ladies and gentlemen, I have the honor of introducing to you some great lawyers before who’s going to address you. And then we’re going to introduce George Floyd family who came to be here in the courtroom to make sure they wouldn’t stand idly by while they assassinated his character. We have a great lawyer who hails from Chicago, Illinois who’s going to address you next and who’s name is Tony Romanucci. And then after that, we’re going to have a pair of great lawyers who hail from Atlanta, Georgia. Attorney Chris Stewart and Attorney Justin Miller. And then we will have a great lawyer on our team who hails from Minneapolis, Minnesota, and that’s Jeff Storms. So please give your attention to Attorney Tony Romanucci.

Tony Romanucci: (05:07)
Thank you, Ben. And thank you everybody. Say his name, George Floyd.

Ben Crump: (05:10)
George Floyd.

Tony Romanucci: (05:13)
Because what we heard in that courtroom today was desperation. Desperation brings desperate defenses, people. Did you hear what they said, that their level of force was reasonable? Eight minutes, a knee on the neck. The video says what it says. That is unreasonable force. George was handcuffed, he was prone, he was lying face down, he was compliant, he was situational, he had situational awareness. And they dare to claim that their level of force was reasonable when they caused his death. Homicide. The medical examiner said that’s what it was. And that’s desperation, people. Don’t listen to anything that they say about what George was. He was anything but the man that you saw he was and what this family will tell you. What killed him was the knee on the neck. The knee on the neck, the knee on the neck. That’s what killed him and that’s what makes it unreasonable. Don’t listen to the words. Believe it with your own eyes. Thank you.

Ben Crump: (06:40)
Next we will hear from Attorney Chris Stewart.

Chris Stewart: (06:51)
First let me thank this beautiful family for even allowing us to utter George’s name. And one thing that y’all should remember is the solidarity, the beauty of this family is if George is a piece of that rock, then everything you hear in that courtroom is garbage. And we have to realize that we have the honor and the sadness of letting Gianna Floyd meet Rayshard Brook’s daughter a few weeks ago in our office. And as I watched them playing together, both having lost fathers within weeks, it hit me when I told them that it was going to be okay because I realized that I was lying to children. Because I don’t know if we get justice anymore in these situations. I don’t know how extreme the murder must be for us not to have to fight to get justice.

Chris Stewart: (07:42)
I thought it was over Walter Scott with that heinous incident. And that wasn’t enough. And now we see the tactics that they’re going to go to in this by trying to take down his name with lies and misinformation, hoping that one juror will get distracted, that one juror will lose faith. But that’s why we all have to unify and understand that the only way all of this madness ends is understanding the truth. And you see it standing behind us, the beauty standing behind us. So stay strong throughout this. Don’t listen to any of the misinformation to try and get you to change your mind. And remember the beauty that you see right here and the beauty of the children. Thank y’all.

Speaker 3: (08:23)
We got y’all’s back! We got y’all’s back! We got y’all’s back! We got y’all’s back!

Ben Crump: (08:23)
Next we’ll hear from Attorney Justin Miller.

Justin Miller: (08:36)
What do we want?

Crowd: (08:39)
Justice.

Justin Miller: (08:39)
And when do we want it?

Crowd: (08:40)
Now.

Justin Miller: (08:42)
Right now. The NFL started yesterday. The NBA is playing in the finals right now. Major League Baseball is back. Hockey’s back. The country is coming back. We’re all coming back out of our holes.

Speaker 4: (09:02)
We’re all coming back out of our holes.

Speaker 5: (09:03)
Boycotting.

Speaker 4: (09:05)
But what we’re doing right now, right here today, what this family is going through, what all of you are experiencing, and what we are dealing with as well is more important than all of that. All I wanted to say today is this. You look at this little girl right here with this pink jacket on, we need to make the world a better place for her because we have already failed this family and Rayshard Brooks’ family and Breonna Taylor’s family and all of the other families, we failed them. Let’s not fail that little girl. Thank you all.

Speaker 6: (09:55)
Next we will hear from your own Minneapolis, Minnesota, our local Council Attorney Jeff Stones.

Jeff Stones: (10:11)
It’s a sad anniversary in Minneapolis this week. 10 years ago this week, the Minneapolis Police Department killed a man by the name of David Smith. They kneeled on his back, handcuffed him, didn’t let him breathe, and killed him. Several months ago, his sister called me and said, “Jeff, when we settled. (silence).

Rodney: (13:05)
In Houston, Texas, everybody loves George where you’re from in the Minnesota. The people in Minnesota love them too. The people that got to know him. One thing about George, he would want us to get his justice for him and those officers saying that drug overdose killed him. That did not kill him. That officer the only one that was getting high off my brother begging for his life. That’s the only one I saw getting high. As my brother begged for his life for eight minutes and 46 seconds. Begging this man, “Take your foot off a n***a, give me some water, let me breathe.”

Rodney: (13:35)
And they say when someone’s dying, they have visions something close that they love so dearly. And he called out for mama. And one thing when we all get in trouble, male or female, we going to call our mama because mama going to make us feel so much better. Take the situation away. So my brother screamed and called out for mom. That hurt me so dealing with traumatic and haunting video to have to watch that video and hearing him say that. And my daughter called me. My daughter is nine years old, called me on the phone on FaceTime me. I tried to hide this from her, but it found her. She called me crying and said, “Dad, I’m so sorry for your brother’s loss. Hurts deeply.” And I didn’t know what to say to her.

Rodney: (14:24)
I just did what a dad would do what my mom would have did for me. That’s what my brother called out for just comfort her. Try to make a feel better, change the subject, but she just cried. I’m looking at her laughing like, “Oh, look at my baby. She’s so beautiful. So strong with this situation. She’s trying to comfort me in our situation.” So again, Floyd, I know she’s going to miss Floyd. He was a great man, brother, uncle, father, friend, pillar of the community. That’s the George Floyd I know. And I wish you guys would’ve got to know him as that person as well. Not the person they’re trying to paint him to be. Do not let them paint the picture and their narrative on Floyd because Floyd narrated his death if you all listen to that video. So thank you guys for coming out for the support. Love you all in Minneapolis. Thank you all.

Speaker 6: (15:22)
Thank you, Rodney. And thank you for that emotional plea for justice. Next we will hear from his other brother from Houston, Texas, Philonise Floyd.

Philonise Floyd: (15:48)
The world witnessed the live execution of George. Everybody watched him scream for his mom. He pleaded for help and nobody cared. They kept their knee on his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds. Nobody tried. People cried. The officers, they did what they wanted to do because they thought that that was justice. Just sitting here being in Minnesota is hard. 9/11, we shouldn’t have to be here because of George. George should be alive. He didn’t die of natural causes. He died because of a knee being on his neck. The autopsy said he died of affixation. That’s what the autopsy said. He did not die of an overdose. Man. I ask that everybody stand with us in solidarity as we tirelessly go through everything that we have to go through with the court because they’re going to prolong this as long as they can because they have no ability at all to say that that video was right. That was wrong. They killed him. This is worldwide. The nation is standing behind us.

Speaker 7: (18:03)
… this is worldwide. The nation is standing behind us and we all need to come together and realize that we need to stop this. This is wrong. We need justice. And we demand that.

Benjamin Crump: (18:23)
Next, we have another one of George brothers all the way from New York city, Terrence Floyd.

Terrence Floyd: (18:38)
Peace, everybody. Peace. Oh man. The last time I was out here was when it first happened and I made that trip from New York to come to the site. And there was a lot of looting going on and it was just tearing up cities and stuff like that. And I was speaking, I would say, “Keep it peaceful. Protest. Let your voice be heard, but keep it peaceful.” I’m still saying that even though I’m standing here with my family and I’m angry. After what I heard in that courtroom, it’s unbelievable because where I’m from and I know where some of you all are from, if it was one of us that killed the other person, it wouldn’t be no hearing it. It would have been a open and shut case. Open and shut. That’s it. That’s it.

Terrence Floyd: (19:49)
But here we are in a hearing over something that we saw happen. I don’t believe this. And I just… oh man. The one thing I want is accountability. Growing up, that’s what I was taught. Be accountable for your actions. If you do the crime, you do the time. So why is it different for these guys? It shouldn’t be different and it will not be different because we will get justice for my brother. Thank you.

Benjamin Crump: (20:45)
Before we hear from the last family member, you heard from his three brothers, George also had three beautiful sisters who couldn’t be with us today. One of them, Bridgett Floyd, had flight delays. She’s in the city, but she couldn’t get here. So we want to let you all know his sisters stand in complete solidarity with his brothers. Also, his sisters, LaTonya and Zsa Zsa from Houston, Texas, they stand in complete solidarity and they want to thank you, Minneapolis, for standing with them. And on behalf of all of his children who are far too young to have to be here to witness these accusations about their father, on behalf of his family, they thank you all on behalf of his children, all of his children as well.

Benjamin Crump: (21:54)
So remember George was an incredible father who loved all of his children and, but for that knee on his neck would be here being the big lovable daddy for them to jump on and hug and kiss and ride his back. So we would never let that go unnoticed. The last family member that we have is not a brother or sister and not a child, he’s a nephew, but he was like a son of his uncle George. They talked on a regular basis. I mean, George would text him about everything going on in his life. So it’s appropriate that we end with Brendan Williams, bringing greetings to you all Minneapolis, Black Lives Matter and the activists. Brendan Williams.

Brendan Williams: (22:57)
First, I just want to say thank you to the city of Minnesota. We appreciate you guys. Last night was probably one of the most difficult nights I’ve had in a while since this has happened. Growing up in the same house with Floyd, we had a real, real special connection. And a lot of that connection came from sports. Growing up, I played sports. He did, he was a standout athlete and we had a real strong connection through sports. And even with him being in Minneapolis and me being in Houston, during the sports season, particularly the NBA and NFL, we would talk at night after the games and we would just kind of just catch up and talk a lot of sports talk. And as I mentioned before, he was a real big LeBron fan. And if you’re watching the NBA right now, the Lakers are playing our hometown Houston Rockets and they’re getting the better of us.

Brendan Williams: (23:46)
And so he would probably crack some jokes and let me hear some trash talk about it. And after the game last night, being here in Minnesota, the first thing I did after the game was think about talking to George. And that’s when it kind of hit me, there’s times like this, when I really miss them the most. Just a simple phone call or a laugh, it brightens up the day. He will brighten up any day. I woke up this morning feeling a lot better and then I get here to this hearing and to hear them assassinate his character, it kind of put me back in a mindset of where I was last night. To hear those accusations and the foolishness. It was crazy. I couldn’t bear it. My uncle was nothing like the guy they’re trying to make him to be. You all take his life in broad daylight on camera and then my family has to sit in a courtroom and hear that foolishness on top of all that. It’s hurting and disrespectful.

Brendan Williams: (24:55)
So I think more than anything, we appreciate everybody coming together and standing with us and all of the support. To see the Black Lives Matter Movements and people of all colors just coming together, standing for what’s right. Because what happened to my uncle was not right. That was a murder. So to come out here and see everybody standing in solidarity with us, it uplifts us. But we want justice. We want change. It has to be better policing. They have to stop killing us. That’s all we want. Thank you.

Benjamin Crump: (25:49)
And as the attorneys come and answer questions, Minneapolis, let this family know again, we got your back.

Group: (26:00)
We got your back.

Benjamin Crump: (26:00)
We got your back.

Group: (26:00)
We got your back.

Benjamin Crump: (26:00)
We got your back.

Group: (26:00)
We got your back.

Benjamin Crump: (26:00)
We got your back.

Group: (26:00)
We got your back.

Benjamin Crump: (26:00)
We got your back.

Group: (26:00)
We got your back.

Benjamin Crump: (26:00)
We got your back.

Group: (26:00)
We got your back.

Benjamin Crump: (26:00)
We got your back.

Group: (26:00)
We got your back.

Benjamin Crump: (26:00)
We got your back.

Group: (26:00)
We got your back.

Benjamin Crump: (26:00)
We got your back.

Group: (26:00)
We got your back.

Benjamin Crump: (26:00)
We got your back.

Group: (26:00)
We got your back.

Benjamin Crump: (26:00)
We got your back.

Group: (26:00)
We got your back.

Benjamin Crump: (26:00)
We got your back.

Group: (26:11)
We got your back.

Benjamin Crump: (26:26)
Lawyers. We’ll take some questions.

Speaker 8: (26:33)
[inaudible 00:26:33] I’m [inaudible 00:26:33] with the Star Review and at the hearing today, three of the defense attorneys said they wanted to bring in evidence regarding the 2019 Minneapolis case. [crosstalk 00:26:40] Southern Texas case involving George. The judge said, no to the Texas case being relevant. He said, “No for now in the Minneapolis case but maybe we’ll revisit that at trial.” What do you think about-

Benjamin Crump: (26:51)
Repeat that last part of the question.

Speaker 8: (26:54)
The judge said no to the Texas case being brought in, maybe to the Minnesota case, depending what happens at trial. What are your thoughts on the allegations made in those two cases against George-

Speaker 9: (27:03)
What are your thoughts on the allegations made in those two cases against George? One attorney said it showed that he was “a violent person”.

Benjamin Crump: (27:06)
Well, all I would say, when you look at that video, the only people who are being violent on that video is the Minneapolis Police Department. When you watch that video, you see George being the person… Seemed like he’s the de-escalating the situation. That video is very telling because it’s emblematic of every black person in America who is trying to justify to the police that you don’t have to kill me. That’s [inaudible 00:27:37] when George Floyd is telling them, “I’m not that type of guy.” I don’t know if any of the other counselors want to address it.

Speaker 9: (27:44)
What does the violence have to do with this situation? They tell you comply, he was compliant. He was begging, he was crying, he was screaming. He was-

Speaker 10: (27:53)
Claustrophobic.

Speaker 9: (27:54)
What more do you want to show nonviolence? So to try and bring violence into a situation where he was being actually harmless in his actions and pleading, it’s no relevance. And I think that the real trial, the judge is still going to not let it in.

Speaker 11: (28:10)
And I just want to add, this is what happens every single time. We get killed and then we get killed again in court. So you’re getting killed multiple times for no reason. So this is what we want to stop, an assassination, and then a character assassination. That has to end.

Speaker 12: (28:30)
What about this idea that some of the defense is making that George overdosed on drugs? It came up several times. What’s your response to that?

Benjamin Crump: (28:38)
I’m going to have my co-counsel Tony Romanucci take that and answer that.

Tony Romanucci: (28:43)
As I said earlier, it’s really a desperate defense. It’s like a reality show, Desperate Defenses. That overdose that they’re claiming is just… That is the false narrative in this case. There is no doubt that he died from mechanical asphyxiation. They want to coincidentally say that whatever drugs were in his system killed them at the same time that the knee on the neck and the pressure on his back killed him, and that’s the falsity of this. So when you look at this from a legal perspective, the causation perspective, those drugs did nothing to him because we know that he had situational awareness. He was cooperative, he was begging to do what we all are doing as a matter of right, and that his breathing. He wanted an oxygen exchange between his brain and his lungs and he was denied that when he asked, “Please, may I breathe?” That drug defense is desperate, it will fail, and it’s false.

Speaker 13: (29:53)
What do you think about the change in venue?

Benjamin Crump: (29:53)
I will say this, and let’s be clear about this. The only overdose that killed George Floyd was an overdose of excessive force and racism by the Minneapolis Police Department. Let’s just be clear about that. All right. A few more questions.

Speaker 13: (30:13)
What do you think about the other arguments made? [inaudible 00:30:14] changed the venue. Also the push to try all four former officers [crosstalk 00:00:30:18]. What’s your opinion on that?

Benjamin Crump: (30:18)
We’re going to have Jeff Storms address that the change of venue. We’ll have attorney Scott Matheson address the issue with the four officers appearing in trial at once [inaudible 00:30:30].

Jeff Storms: (30:31)
The goal in them trying to change venue is to try to find as many jurors as they can find that don’t look like George Floyd. And that is the only goal. The only goal… And let me take my mask off just so y’all can hear me. [inaudible 00:30:51] The only goal they have in trying to change venues is to get as many jurors as possible who do not look like George Floyd. They don’t want jurors that look like you. No, they do not.

Benjamin Crump: (31:11)
Scott Matheson will answer the question about whether they have joined them or they’ll try them separately. They are bringing that question up, Scott.

Scott Matheson: (31:20)
I’ll be brief. Guilty is guilty.

Benjamin Crump: (31:27)
All right, one last question then we got to go. Yes ma’am. Last question.

Speaker 15: (31:37)
There were mentionings about gang affiliation and confidential informants and the judge said that there wasn’t any proof of that and they said they could not find that. What do you think about that [crosstalk 00:31:42]?

Benjamin Crump: (31:42)
It is a blatant attempt to kill George Floyd a second time. They kill a person and then they assassinate our character. And that will not hold because everybody saw that video not just across Minneapolis, not just across Minnesota, not just across America, but all across the world. The whole world is watching. The whole world is watching. The whole world is watching. The whole world is watching. The whole world is watching. The whole world is watching. The whole world is watching. The whole world is watching. The whole world is watching. Before we go, we want to acknowledge one of George Floyd’s sisters who just got off the plane from North Carolina. Y’all give it up for Bridgett Floyd.

Speaker 16: (32:42)
We love you, Bridgett. We love you.

Speaker 17: (32:50)
Yeah, solidarity [inaudible 00:32:49].

Benjamin Crump: (32:50)
Thank y’all. Thank y’all.

Speaker 18: (32:50)
We love you, Bridgett.

Benjamin Crump: (32:50)
George Floyd.

Speaker 19: (32:50)
What do we want?

Speaker 20: (32:50)
Justice

Speaker 19: (32:50)
When do we want it?

Speaker 20: (32:50)
Now.

Speaker 19: (32:50)
[inaudible 00:33:18].

Speaker 20: (32:50)
George Floyd.

Speaker 19: (32:50)
What do we want?

Speaker 20: (32:50)
Justice.

Speaker 19: (32:50)
When do we want it?

Speaker 20: (32:50)
Now.