MINNEAPOLIS – The tears were forming in Roxie Washington’s eyes Tuesday before she even stepped to a podium at Minneapolis City Hall, with 6-year-old daughter Gianna clinging protectively at her side.
“I’m here for my baby, and I’m here for George, because I want justice for him,” Washington said before being overcome with emotion in her first public comments since the May 25 death of George Floyd.
Floyd, 46, was Gianna’s father. He moved from Houston to Minnesota in search of better job opportunities, Washington said. He found work as a truck driver and a security guard at Conga Latin Bistro and the local Salvation Army. Washington said he sent a portion of his pay to Houston and remained active in his younger daughter’s life.
On May 25, Floyd died while handcuffed and pinned to the street by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who kept his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes in a video that quickly went viral. Chauvin, and three other officers who were on the scene to arrest Floyd over the possible use of a counterfeit $20 bill, were all fired. Only Chauvin has been charged so far in the case, which the Hennepin County medical examiner has ruled a homicide.
Washington came to Minneapolis on Tuesday with her daughter and two attorneys in an attempt to show people that Floyd is more than just a meme or a name to be chanted during demonstrations that have occurred nationwide daily since his death.
He was also a doting father, Washington said, who slept while she was in labor with Gianna but awoke immediately upon hearing the newborn cry.
“He’ll never see her grow up, graduate. He will never walk her down the aisle. If there’s a problem she’s had and needs her dad, she does not have that anymore,” Washington said.
Former NBA player Stephen Jackson also attended the news conference, carrying Gianna in his arms as he entered the rotunda at City Hall and vowing to be the one to help raise her now that his childhood friend is gone.
“I’m going to walk her down the aisle. I’m going to be there for her. I’m going to be there to wipe the tears,” Jackson said.
The two grew up together in Houston and excelled at basketball. Floyd, 6-foot-4, played at South Florida State College. Jackson, four years younger, made it all the way to the NBA, playing 14 seasons for seven teams.
“His whole reason to come (to Minneapolis) was to be a better father, be a better provider. He was doing his part,” Jackson said.
“I’m through crying. I’m ready to fight. I’m ready to stand for my brother. I’m ready to get justice for my brother.”
Floyd also has a 22-year-old daughter from a previous relationship.
Chris Stewart, the Atlanta-based attorney representing Floyd’s family, pointed to Gianna in final remarks to the dozens of media members present Tuesday.
“It’s not just that someone passes and people are angry in the streets. It affects people’s actual lives and their futures,” Stewart said.
“Associate this beautiful little face when you all think of that memory.”
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: George Floyd's child mother Roxie Washington makes public comment