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tv   Nightline  ABC  April 24, 2021 12:37am-1:06am PDT

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♪ this is "nightline." >> tonight -- >> one thing about old floyd, man, i lot of the world. >> george floyd, his murder seared into the conscience of america. >> i watched this man murder another man that looked like me. >> the man behind the headlines. from his loved ones left grieving. >> he used to call me buttercup. i liked that name, buttercup. >> a son of houston and minneapolis. >> give you the shirt off his back. just a good guy. >> now with the guilty verdicts, the hope for a real reckoning. >> let's get the ball rolling. we made step one. let's take a few more. >> "nightline." "a man, a moment, america changed."
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♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ thanks for joining us. you've no doubt seen the horrific video for yourself. now the former officer we witnessed with his knee on george floyd's neck is a convicted murderer. floyd's loved ones are hoping that the verdicts will now help bring about systemic change.
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>> i used to call him big-g, i used to call him floyd. >> i called him georgie. >> he's known as perry from the "q," georgie babe, floyd, big floyd, and gentle giant. >> you guys called him george, i call him floyd. my brother was very loveable. >> georgie. i mean, you can't even say his name without smiling. he was a protector. he was always uplifting, encouraging. he always had something positive to say. >> give you the shirt off his back. life of the party all the time cracking jokes. just a good guy. good guy, man. >> i would do some things, man, have to bounce back, man, i'm just sharing right now. one thing about old floyd, man, i love the world. >> he was born in fairville, moved to houston with his mom.
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>> miss sissy was georgie's mom. she loved him so much, and he loved her. >> he loved his family. he loved the people that he connected with. >> a lot of people don't realize this, but george floyd was a father and a loving dad. >> he was kind, and he was nice o my mama all the time. with me and my mama both loved him. >> my name is waynelle sexton, george floyd's second grade teacher at frederick douglass elementary in houston, texas. george was always perry to his classmates and me. he was a good student. each child wrote an essay on what i want to be when i grow up. and perry's essay is very nice.
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"when i grow up, i want to be a supreme court judge. when people say, your honor, he did rob the bank. i will say, be seated." >> he always had dreams of being big. doing something that had a huge impact. he made the statement that stuck with me. he said, man, i'll going to be big, i'm going to touch the world. >> george floyd grew up in the cuney homes in houston. it's known as one of the notoriously toughest areas in houston. peo there are on section 8, low-income, impoverished. few have jobs. >> third world is one of these places you always saw police officers -- traffic stopping, stopping individuals suspected of having guns, drugs, whatever.
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george floyd, growing up in a ugd vlee. up, only way out, that we thought was our way out, was sports, rapping, and drugs. reason being, we didn't have no doctors in our families. the only reason you run into a lawyer is if someone got in trouble. >> for george the way out ended up being sports. basketball and football. >> floyd played football, and he was good at it. but he was amazing on the basketball court. >> it was like, whoo! very few people that could dunk the ball in middle school, perry was one. >> he did get a scholarship to college for sports. he was just that good. >> his plans was, if he didn't make it as far as the nba or nfl, he wanted to be in law enforcement. he wanted to be a chief of police at one time. >> but george was unprepared
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academically for the rigors that he would encounter in college. and it was when he came home that he started having problems with the law. >> he did drugs. he wasn't a heavy drug addict. i mean, he still went to work, he still was able to provide for himself, he still was able to take care of his business. i never knew him to do fentanyl or methamphetamines, ever. >> the next decade of george's life was a cycling in and out of the criminal justice system. >> he was involved and arrested several times for drugs and for an armed robbery, ultimately that landed him in a texas prison. >> we all have a past. we all have things we did that we regret that we wish we didn't do. >> when you think that your life is going to go one way, and it kind of goes another, i just see
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him trying to figure things out. >> george floyd came to minnesota looking for a better life. and he landed here because of a gentleman in minneapolis who actually bought his bus ticket here and said, come to minneapolis, come stay in this home with other men, get clean, and we're going to fix you up and set you on a better path in life. >> he just wanted to get free from drugs and alcohol. >> from what i understand from floyd, if he completed the program, they would help him get employment, and he'd be able to get custody of gianna. >> my name is gigi, and i am the daughter of george floyd. >> george's daughter was the apple of his eye. you could see every time he talked about her, he just beamed, his eyes got big, and just the smile come across his
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face. >> you know, his baby is his world. i mean, honestly, his world. he loved gigi. >> he used to call me buttercup. i liked that name, buttercup. >> he wanted to be a better man and a better father. >> he loved her with all his heart. he'd call nonstop, how's gigi doing, how's gigi doing? stop calling me, man. he was telling me he had a job. he was down there working the program. he was doing good. he liked it. >> he went down there, graduated the program, and he got his commercial driver's license. and people who know floyd, that's a big accomplishment. >> he was pretty successful with working. he had a couple of jobs. he was working at a steel mill or steel plant. he did random security jobs. he was still, you know, able to make ends meet. >> george's life was really coming together. things had been as good for him as they had ever been. then his mom died and everything
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changed. >> he took it real hard. he was a strong, strong person. but that broke him. >> just looking at him, i knew. he was never going to be the same. >> and then came the pandemic and he lost his job. it was just a whole lot of different emotions and feelings that he was going through. like a week and a half before he died, he said, man, i love you. i said, i love you too, georgie. he's like, i'ma call you later. i'm like, all right. that's the last time i talked to him. >> outrage over the deeply disturbing death of a black man arrested and handcuffed by police in minneapolis. >> i got a call from my sister. she said, perry's gone. and i thought, gone where? and she said, he was killed. >> i look at the video, like 10 seconds, oh my god. i turned it off.
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i heard his voice screaming. not this way. not this way. this can't be. not this way. whew. >> when i first saw the images of george floyd on the ground, i wasn't shocked. i wasn't surprised. i was saddened. and my first thought was, here we go again. >> it was different than other videos. this was people watching a man slowly die. >> i think in many ways that crowd on the sideline represents america on the sideline, watching that videotape. like, stop. why? he can't breathe, can't you see that? show him some humanity. and they didn't. >> i watched his life come out of his body. why? because i watched this man murder another man that looked like me. for no reason.
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>> this knee on the neck was reminiscent of an old-school lynching. and most modern-day folk have never been to one. and now they have. >> clearly there was something different in this case. because just days later, the mayor announced that these officers were fired. fired. and we hadn't seen that before. >> there's not only the firing f all four officers who were involved, there was then the arrest of the principal officer, derek chauvin, and there were multiple charges against him. >> former minneapolis police officer derek chauvin has been charged by the hennepin county attorney's office with murder and with manslaughter. >> when an officer is charged in the death of a black man, a lot of people following the story say, that's that, okay, resoluti resolution, case solved. but so many people in the black
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community know that's not enough. that's where the attention on a case should start. >> this generation, they're not interested in false ideas of hope or these empty expressions of justice. they want it. they want it now. and it's nonnegotiable. >> thousands have filled the streets calling for justice. >> say his name! >> george floyd! >> say his name! >> george floyd! >> 70,000 people, peaceful, all coming out for george. >> we are going to go fight for justice for my daddy. >> there was also this sense of hope, that maybe our numbers will be s wie so ld longer be dismissed when we say, we've got to have change. >> ten months after this incident, after they lost their loved one, the man accused of killing him is finally going to
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the nation bracing now for a verdict. >> the national guard deployed and the governor declaring a state of emergency. >> george floyd's family at a hotel near the courthouse. back in their hometown at houston. all watching and waiting for the verdict.
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>> they're about to read the verdict! >> please be seated. members of the jury, i understand you have a verdict? >> verdict, count one. we, the jury in the above-entitled manner as to count one, unintentional second-degree murder while committing a felony, find the defendant guilty. >> yes, yes! >> same caption, verdict count two, fine the defendant guilty. same caption, verdict count three, find the defendant guilty. >> let the healing work begin! >> when that verdict was read, people all over the country and all over the world were jumping for joy. >> say his name! >> george floyd! >> say his name! >> george floyd! >> say his name! >> they were kneeling in relief. it was like an exhale that you heard worldwide.
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>> i've looked and i watched him put his hands behind the back. and i was like, he had it a lot easier than my brother. but it was accountability. >> georgie was one of the most incredible people to walk this earth. his spirit, his faith, his love, his protection, his strength, his endurance. his ideology. how much he loved his family. how much he loved his kids. i wish they would know the georgie that i knew. the videos, the road trips. the laughing and playing. the dreams and goals and ambitions he had. he just wanted to be a good dad. >> when you say, daddy changed the world? >> uh-huh, for all the black
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daddies in the world. >> you're going up or your going down, you know what i'm saying? that's going to be it. >> i think the george floyd case, the derek chauvin case, has been a wakeup call for america. maybe the next time when the derek chauvins of the world meet the george floyds of the world, both men will get to go home to their families alive. >> this is the most significant trial on race relations in this country in the last half century. that's how important this case is. but does this mean we're going to keep talking about race and justice and policing in terms of what happened before george floyd's death and what happened after george floyd's death? in my opinion, no. not until there's a real push to change the laws. starting a war screaming peace at the same time ♪ ♪ all the corruption and justice the same crimes ♪ ♪ always a problem if we do or don't fight and we do and don't have the same right ♪
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>> let's get the ball may still take a few more. >> enough is enough! enough is enough! >> this is our country's racial reckoning. >> the change that happened was saying, no more, we're done. ♪ i can't breathe you're taking my life ♪ ♪ from me ♪ ♪ i can't breathe will anyone fight for me ♪ >> this verdict is a form of accountability. the same accountability that you received here can be received for all these cases. but you certainly can't exhale. this is the time that we have to put our foot on the gas and push forward. >> say his name! >> george floyd! >> it is george floyd. but it is eric garner. breonna taylor. >> daunte wright. >> we still say emmett till.
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we still say trayvon martin. i think we'll say george floyd, and it will have a meanin as a civil rights moment. and it's tragic, isn't it? because emmett till could have had a full life. but in death, that was a launch of a movement. and so too with george floyd. >> and i want his heart to be filled up with joy. and i'm going to fieel his whol name in the world. remember when driving was fun. it was an act of freedom and inspiration. but somewhere along the line cars just got boring. you deserve a car that thrills you. like sports cars with three pedals. trucks that take you to incredible places. colorful crossovers. and there's a car company that believes that too. one that has been delivering thrills for over 80 years.
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♪ ♪
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and a programming note. you can watch the "20/20" special, "george floyd: a man, a moment, america changed" on hulu. that's "nightline" for tonight. we'll see you the same time next week. thanks for staying up with us. good night, america. have a great weekend.


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