The brother of George Floyd made an emotional appearance before the US Congress on Wednesday, appealing to lawmakers to ensure that his brother didn’t die in vain.
Philonise Floyd told the House Judiciary Committee he wanted justice for his late brother, and asked Democrats and Republicans on “to make your names mean something”.
The House of Representatives is considering a package of reforms that would limit legal protections for police, create a national database of excessive-force incidents, and ban police choke holds, among other changes.
Floyd told a silenced hearing room that he was there to ask Congress to “stop the pain” and make sure his brother is “more than another face on a T-shirt” and a name on a growing list of black men killed by police.
“I love my brother. He’s still here in spirit right now. And we need justice and we demand justice,” Floyd said.
Benjamin Crump, the attorney for the Floyd family, told reporters on Capitol Hill that Floyd’s death offered the “best opportunity” he had seen to “get real change, systematic reform to affect how police treat people of color, especially black people”.
Philonise Floyd’s appearance came a day after funeral services for his brother, the 46-year-old Minnesota man whose death has become a worldwide symbol in demonstrations over calls for changes to police practices and an end to racial inequality and injustice.
Four police officers have been charged, one with second-degree murder, following George Floyd’s death on May 25 on a Minneapolis street.
Video of the scene went viral after a white policeman knelt on Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds during an arrest.
His brother told Congress that watching the video “felt like eight hours and 46 minutes”. “I just think about that video over and over again,” Philonise Floyd said. “My family, they just cry, and cry every day.”