"I hate to talk about us winning something, but it just feels good because it never happens to us," said Philonise Floyd.
- How did you feel when you heard that guilty verdict?
PHILONISE FLOYD: I felt good. It felt like I won a championship and I'm bringing the W back to Houston. But I paced back and forth. I was nervous. Attorney Crump and my wife, they was like, hey, whatever you need to do, if you need to pace back and forth, just do it.
And I did it, but when it was time to go into the courtroom, I prayed for like 30 minutes. Because it took 30 minutes for the jury and the judge to come out. But just hearing guilty, guilty, guilty.
It really had me on cloud nine. I was excited because, as an African-American person, people of color, we never get justice for anything. And I think this sets the tone, because these officers will be held accountable for the rest of their lives.
- Now the other thing that happened, how did you feel when you saw Derek Chauvin in handcuffs and being led out of the courtroom?
PHILONISE FLOYD: That noise, that when they put him on and they make that little grinding noise. It felt good, because he didn't put them on as gentle as they put them on. For him, my brother, they pushed it all the way-- pushed his hands behind his back, was trying to hurt him. He had bruises and everything all on his arms. But they gently put the cuffs on him and he walked away, still not showing any remorse for what he did.
Where's the humanity? It was just-- it was just devastating. He didn't try to apologize. It was like, so what? I did it.
- Yeah. We saw so many civil rights activists and elected officials standing with you there at that podium after the verdict. What did that kind of support mean to you?
PHILONISE FLOYD: It was great, because you have to understand, these politicians, a lot of them, they were fighters a long time ago. So they didn't just jump into this. They've been doing it for years. So they know.
Especially Maxine Waters, she can take it all the way back to Emmett Till. You know, he didn't get justice. And I'm glad that I was able to be able to shed light on a lot of different things because of [? Joyce ?] being able to get these officers held accountable.
It makes everybody else feel safely in the world, like they have a chance. People are willing to get pulled over now and say, OK, I know that I have a chance at life because these officers see the blue wall collapse. So now we in the fight. You know what I'm saying?
BENJAMIN CRUMP: They're going to think twice before they use excessive force.
PHILONISE FLOYD: Mm-hmm.
- Yeah. And I want to talk to you about that in just a moment. But I have got to ask you, Benjamin says to you, hey, it's the President on the phone. What was that like?
PHILONISE FLOYD: You know, President Biden, I've spoke to numerous times before. He was with us when George first passed. He gave his condolences.
And he's just-- he's just a good man. Because I know he has a lot of things on his agenda to do, but he gave us his time at that particular time. And he just basically-- he know how it feels to lose a loved one.
And also, he said that he'd be praying for us. You know and that was confirmation for me, because we were already praying. And when that verdict came back in less than 10 hours, this man, he predicted it.
- Did you really, Ben? Why were you so sure?
BENJAMIN CRUMP: Well, Melanie, obviously the video was a pivotal part of that. And all of the witnesses were so compelling. And I cannot imagine how it was when Philonise was sitting in that courtroom and because of COVID he could only be there by himself. And his brothers and sisters, they would switch out, but only one person of time. And the thing that really made it so clear for me was when that nine-year-old little girl testified.
I have a eight-year-old daughter named Brooklyn. And when she said, where first they asked him very nicely and he still wouldn't take his knee off of his neck. I just said, if those jurors are parents, they are not going to allow this message to go to their children, to say that this barbaric conduct is acceptable. And I knew that they had to give them that. And that's why I told Philonise, we going to get a verdict on Tuesday.
- Well, listen, you are a real prophet, because I think everybody was surprised that it happened so quickly. But I've got to ask you, did you get a chance to talk to any of the witnesses and especially to Darnella who took the video?
BENJAMIN CRUMP: Well, we got a chance to talk to one of the witnesses. I had talked to Darnella and her mother. We talked to her when we were in Minneapolis around the time the tragedy took place.
And she apologized so profusely to Philonise, which is so unfair to her, to have any degree of guilt at all. Because she did-- she is the reason why we all know George Floyd's name. And so, but she's obviously is traumatized by this.
PHILONISE FLOYD: She's traumatized.
- And did you get a chance to talk to her, Philonise?
PHILONISE FLOYD: Yes. I had the opportunity to speak with her. The thing that stuck with me is we needed that video. Because without that video, my brother would just be another black man in the streets, killed.
But then nine-year-old child, she really touched a lot of people hearts around this world. She quivered as she spoke about George losing his life, being tortured to death. She's going to think about that for the remainder of her life.
And that's something that I want to be able to help her cope with, but I know, it's going to be hard. Because that's-- that's inhumane to sit there and see something like that. So part of me trying to be a counselor to like, the Wright family. Because--
BENJAMIN CRUMP: Daunte Wright.
BENJAMIN CRUMP: Daunte Wright. We'll be attending his funeral tomorrow. They are going through the same situation that we went through. The mom could barely talk right now. The dad could barely talk.
But hey, they're getting stronger and they will be fighting just like us. We all holding this rope together. And they jump on and we're steady gaining ground. But the objective is not to win, it's just to let them know that, hey, we can live with each other. It's not about winning.
It's not about losing. It's not about white. It's not about Black. It's not about age and it's not about Hispanic. There's only one race, and it's the human race. And if we can't come together, it's going to always be problems.
BENJAMIN CRUMP: That's right.
- Yeah and you know what? You always moved me when you talk about fighting for somebody else. It's not over yet. You got a sentence coming up in two months. What kind of sentence would you like to see?
BENJAMIN CRUMP: I think we have been clear on the record. We want equal justice. If the roles were reversed and it was George Floyd who had his knee on Derek Chauvin's neck and tortured him to death.
Well, whatever they would give George Floyd, we want the same for Derek Chauvin. Because when they say liberty and justice for all, that's what the legacy of George Floyd will be. We're fighting for it to be for everybody in America. African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, Native Americans, all of us should be able to enjoy liberty and justice for all.
- Now, Philonise, does that mean you want 40 years? You want the maximum?
PHILONISE FLOYD: Well, my brother, he'll be in the ground for 40 years, plus. So I think that the determining factor is I just think that he should serve his time in a cell, just like my brother is serving his time in the ground. I forgive people. But the thing about everything is, I can't get my brother back. It wasn't a mistake.
Because mistakes can be erased. He had nine minutes and 29 seconds to think about what he was doing, but it didn't work. He didn't care. He didn't show any remorse and I lost my brother. And this has been a determined fact, for me to want to fight for other people, because this is a never ending cycle it seems like.
- Yeah. We heard yesterday about that 15-year-old girl who was shot just really a few hours after that happened. What's it going to take to get the George Floyd Act passed? Is that your next focus?
BENJAMIN CRUMP: Yes. And this is probably going to be the last question, Melanie.
BENJAMIN CRUMP: I think it's going to take, to the George Floyd Justice and Police Accountability Act passed, it's going to take a lot of leaning in. I think Philonise is going to have to go back to Washington DC and testify before the United States Senate. We got to have President Biden to use his influence. And we all go to try to do whatever we can to make sure that we have meaningful police reform to change the culture and the behavior of policing in America, especially as it relates to marginalized minorities.
- I do have one last question, if you'll indulge me, Ben. You saw all those people out there yesterday reacting to the verdict. Whether they were crying, or cheering, or whatever. How did that make you feel when you saw all that, Philonise? And do you have a word for folks here in Houston who also came out in huge numbers?
PHILONISE FLOYD: It felt good. I actually-- H-Town, we're bringing the W home.
BENJAMIN CRUMP: Because that's what George would've said.
PHILONISE FLOYD: That's what George would have said. And, you know, it's pretty much I hate to talk about us winning something, but it just feels good because it never happens to us. This has been a historic moment. This is something that's monumental, something that-- It has never been a case of this magnitude. And we were fighting from day one, boots on the ground.
Protesters all around this world, I thank them so much. I thank the people of Houston for marching. Everybody was doing things peacefully and we also had bad actors who tried to make it look like we weren't doing things peacefully, because they wanted to stop this movement. Because they wanted it to be a moment. And we showed that we can stand together in solidarity with each other.
And we are going to get this George Floyd Policing Act passed because people want it passed. They want it. And that's big right now.