When the country woke up to heartwrenching footage of the last minutes of George Floyd’s life, many people were left outraged and angry about the excessive use of police force on the 46-year-old African American man.
He was choked to death by the knee of a police officer in Minneapolis on Monday and even though many know him just because of that gruelling footage, those in ministry in his hometown of Houston — knew him to be a “person of peace” who, for decades, mentored young men living in rough areas.
“He said, ‘I love what you’re doing. The neighborhood need it, the community need it, and if y’all about God’s business, then that’s my business,’” recalled hip-hop artist Corey Paul Davis, a personal friend of Floyd’s. “He said, ‘Whatever y’all need, wherever y’all need to go, tell ’em Floyd said y’all good. I got y’all.’”
Standing more than six feet tall, he was known as “Big Floyd” to his friends.
Floyd did have a criminal past and served a few stints behind bars for drug possession and armed robbery. But he turned his life around and was a model example of what it means to be rehabilitated.
He moved to Minneapolis in 2018 to leave behind his history in Houston for a new life, after having worked in ministry for nearly a decade in his hometown. He needed to find a job.
His life in Texas was an inspiration to many, he led a basketball outreach in the Third Ward, and helped Resurrection Houston, an up-and-coming church at the time, secure space on a basketball court in the notoriously rough area for worship services.
In an old video, Floyd can be seen pleading with young men in the next generation to put down their guns and stop the violence. “Our young generation is clearly lost, man,” said Floyd. “I don’t even know what to say. … It’s clearly the generation after us, man, that’s so lost.”
To the young men who go out, thinking they’re tough for carrying a gun, Floyd added: “Come on home, man. One day, it’s gonna be you and God. You’re goin’ up or you’re goin’ down, you know what I’m sayin’? That’s gonna be it. … My heart hurts.”
Floyd seemed to be a genuinely rehabilitated person, but he died Monday at the hands of a cop known for using too much force, allegedly because he bought something at a local deli with a counterfeit bill.
Let’s keep our nation in prayer during this hard and difficult time, violence and looting is rampant in many states and we are dealing with the pandemic and the violence now.