JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — George Floyd's family members are among people in the United States and around the world watching the trial of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin.
“George Floyd deserves justice. The community and the whole world are watching," Cortez Rice said.
Cortez Rice, Floyd's nephew, came to Jacksonville in November 2020 for the funeral of Marcellis Stinnette, a local teen shot and killed by police in Illinois after a traffic stop. Rice now reflects on the trial and memories of his uncle in an exclusive interview with First Coast News.
“The witnesses are not on trial here. The protestors are not on trial here. George Floyd is not on trial here. Derek Chauvin is on trial," Rice said.
The memories of Floyd flood Rice's mind as he watches the trial.
“It’s a smack in the face," Rice said.
Rice says it's painful to see his uncle's character attacked in the courtroom.
“COVID-19 didn’t kill George Floyd. Drugs didn’t kill George Floyd," Rice said.
He describes the outside of the courthouse as energetic and packed with supporters and the inside of the courtroom as stoic and tense.
“My emotions are just kind of mixed, but I’m staying focused and keeping hope alive and praying that we get the justice that we deserve," Rice said.
Rice says even if the verdict isn't what they hoped for, the family will continue to push for social change and justice in the future.
“It’s very unfortunate that this had to happen to him to get the change that he wanted," Rice said.
In the meantime, Rice remembers the time the two spent together and their joint love for sports.
“Every time he would come around and see the kids, he’d give the kids candy. He’d give them a dollar to go to the store. We’d hang out and watch the game, watch football, watch basketball," Rice said.