“I can’t tell you the kind of pain you feel when you watch something like that,” Philonise Floyd told the Democrat-led House Judiciary Committee during a Wednesday hearing on police practices and law enforcement accountability. “When you watch your big brother, who you’ve looked up to your whole life, die. Die begging for your mom.”
“I’m tired. I’m tired of the pain I’m feeling now, and I’m tired of the pain I feel every time another black person is killed for no reason,” Floyd continued. “I’m here today to ask you to make it stop. Stop the pain. Stop us from being tired.”
The committee called 12 witnesses to Wednesday’s hearing, including family members of victims of police brutality, religious leaders, police chiefs, lawyers, experts, and Fox News personalities.
But Floyd, speaking just one day after burying his brother in Houston, was the main event. His brother’s death in May catalyzed a national and global movement for racial equality and better policing. Such pressure led Republicans to consider new proposals to overhaul policing around the country, with a specific focus on minimizing racial discrimination among officers.
Floyd urged the congressional panel to not let the moment for reform slip away. “Please listen to the call I’m making to you now, to the calls of our family, and to the calls ringing out in the streets across the world,” he pleaded. “Honor them, honor George, and make the necessary changes that make law enforcement the solution — and not the problem.”
It’s unclear whether Congress will heed Floyd’s advice. It’s a presidential election year, and the gap between the two parties on this issue may be too wide to bridge. But Floyd is solemnly aware of the hurt future Americans will feel if changes to policing aren’t made — and soon.