“It’s still hard to believe,” LaTonya Floyd says of her brother’s 2020 murder at the hands of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin
As she ponders the second anniversary of her brother’s murder, George Floyd’s sister, LaTonya Floyd, tells PEOPLE that she feels “like hell.”
“It’s still hard to believe,” LaTonya, 53, says. “It’s unbearable for me. I’m a full-blooded sibling. I was in the waiting room when he was born. All I can see is that little boy.”
On Wednesday, LaTonya will attend the unveiling of a life-sized bronze statue in a park in Houston, Floyd’s hometown before he moved to Minneapolis months before his murder at age 46. The statue, called “Conversation with George,” created by industrial artist Adrienne Rison-Ison in Houston’s Tom Bass Regional Park, depicts Floyd seated at an outdoor table, inviting people of all races and ethnicities to sit and join him, reports KHOU.
LaTonya describes the statue as “a real him. A life-size him.”
She can’t wait to see the statue and come face-to-face with her brother’s likeness.
“I might get a blanket and sleep there,” she says. “I always feel his spirit. Every day. Every day. It’s like he’s laying his hand on me. Because I know what his hugs feel like. I know what his touch feels like. And I know I feel his spirit every day.”
She adds, “I just want to hug him.”
LaTonya says she turned down an invitation to join family members at the White House to commemorate the anniversary. “I’d rather be here with him,” she says.
She also plans to visit the mausoleum where her brother rests, and attend various local portrait unveilings. Last week, she says, she attended an unveiling of a mural of her brother at a Houston restaurant.
“This is his blood, sweat and tears right here in Houston’s Third Ward,” she says. “He would be right here.”
The stretch of street in Minneapolis where her brother was murdered has been renamed George Floyd Square. “I want to go there. I really do,” says LaTonya.
In an interview with PEOPLE, Floyd’s niece, Bianca Williams, 28, said she was grateful for the public’s continued support of her family. “I’m thankful that everybody’s still standing with us and we’re all family and we’re all going to be all right,” says Williams.
Last year, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter in Floyd’s death. Chauvin was sentenced to 22 and a half years in prison. Last December he also pleaded guilty to a separate federal charge of violating Floyd’s civil rights.
Chauvin’s guilty verdict followed a prosecution that replayed over and over what millions around the world had seen, propelling them into the streets in protest: the bystander video of Chauvin, his hands in his pockets and his sunglasses perched atop his head, pressing his knee into Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes as Floyd cried out for his dead mother and repeatedly said, “I can’t breathe.”
LaTonya is disappointed that just last week, former Minneapolis Police Officer Thomas Lane pleaded guilty to manslaughter — she believes the charge should have been more severe.
“No one is above the law,” LaTonya says. “You’re a grown man. You have kids. Picture your kids in my brother’s situation.”
Lane, 39, and two other ex-officers — J. Alexander Kueng, 28, and Tou Thao, 34 — had already been convicted on federal counts of willfully violating Floyd’s constitutional rights by showing deliberate indifference to his medical needs and failing to provide aid during the murder.
She adds: “You know what’s right, you know what’s wrong,” she says. “Maybe he didn’t do as much, or he didn’t have much to do with it. [But] Man, you stood there and watched your superior murder my brother. And held the crowd back. Along with the other two officers. Laughing. Y’all was twisting his fingers. So how in the hell can he just grab manslaughter?”[via]