George Floyd death: ‘Stop the pain’, brother tells US Congress

Philonise FloydImage copyright
Reuters

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Philonise Floyd: “Be the leaders that this country, this world, needs. Do the right thing”

The brother of the African American man whose death in police custody has sparked global protests, has urged the US Congress to pass reforms on police brutality and “stop the pain”.

Philonise Floyd told a House hearing that his brother George could not become “another name on a list”.

“Be the leaders that this country, this world, needs,” Mr Floyd said.

George Floyd died in Minneapolis in May as a white police officer held a knee on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

The final moments were filmed on phones.

Four police officers involved have been sacked and charged over his death.

What was said in the House?

Lawmakers in the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee have been listening to testimony from civil rights activists and law enforcement officials, a day after the funeral service of George Floyd, 46, in Houston.

The committee plans to send a bill to the floor of the Democrat-led House by 4 July on combating police violence and racial injustice.

It comes amid a nationwide – and in many cases international – debate on police practices and accountability, and more generally on racial inequity.

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Media captionThe hearing comes a day after the funeral of George Floyd in Houston

“I’m here to ask you to make it stop. Stop the pain,” an emotional Philonise Floyd, 42, told lawmakers. “George called for help and he was ignored. Please listen to the call I’m making to you now, to the calls of our family and the calls ringing on the streets of all the world.

“The people marching in the streets are telling you enough is enough.”

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Media captionProtester Shantania Love, blinded in one eye, says she has “no regrets”

Democrat committee chairman Jerrold Nadler said: “We must remember that [George Floyd] is not just a cause, a name to be chanted in the streets. He was a man. He had a family… we mourn his loss.”

The Democrat-proposed bill would make so-called police chokeholds illegal, enforce anti-racism training, bar sacked officers from switching to another force and make it easier to prosecute abuse.

It is unclear whether there will be bipartisan support.

Republican committee representative Jim Jordan said that “it’s time for a real discussion, real debate, real solutions about police treatment of African-Americans” but also praised President Donald Trump’s response to George Floyd’s death.

Mr Trump has promoted a “law and order” message, backing a strong response by security forces to violent protests.

A spokesperson for Mr Trump said on Wednesday that the president would have “proactive policy prescriptions, whether that means legislation or an executive order”.

What is happening with the Minneapolis police?

As the House hearing was taking place, the police chief in Minneapolis said that his department “absolutely” could be reformed and vowed not to let George Floyd’s death be in vain.

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Media captionThe Minneapolis community at the heart of the protests is rebuilding after destruction caused by rioting

Medaria Arradondo said one reform would be to introduce a new early warning system to identify the conduct of police officers.

On Sunday, a majority of the city council’s members vowed to disband the police department and replace it with a new model of public safety.

“Defund the police” has been a rallying call for many protesters nationwide. It has been opposed by both President Trump and his Democratic challenger in November’s election, Joe Biden.

What other developments have there been?

  • In New Jersey, a FedEx employee and a corrections officer have been suspended from their jobs after a video emerged of two men appearing to re-enact the death of George Floyd in an attempt to taunt people protesting against police brutality
  • A New York police officer has been charged with assault after a woman protester was allegedly thrown to the ground during a rally on 29 May in Brooklyn
  • Police in Minneapolis are investigating Facebook posts reportedly from an active officer that mocked protesters and encouraged looters to target a neighbourhood popular with Somali immigrants
  • Anti-racism protesters continue to target statues they believe glorify imperialist history. A statue of Christopher Columbus was dumped in a lake in Virginia and another had its head cut off in Boston

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AFP

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A Columbus statue is decapitated in Boston

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