3 years since George Floyd’s murder, family pushes for change

Remembering George Floyd 3 Years Later

Remembering George Floyd 3 Years Later

Thursday marks three years since George Floyd was murdered by a former Minneapolis police officer on Chicago Avenue. Now, Floyd’s family hopes to make May 25 George Floyd Forever Day, to commemorate and memorialize his life.

Floyd’s uncle, Selwyn Jones, co-founder of the Hope929 organization, is pushing for the federal passage of The Medical Civil Rights Bill, which would require law enforcement to provide medical care during any police interaction where the person communicates they are in a health crisis.

“It feels like it was yesterday, it feels like was yesterday,” Jones told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS.

“Once you saw my nephew get murdered, what else could I do,” he added.

Since then, Jones has focused his life on advocating for social justice change and police reform.

“I’m going try and make a difference, I’m going to make an effort,” he said.

All four officers involved in the murder of Floyd have since been convicted. Former Minneapolis police officer Tou Thao was found guilty of aiding manslaughter on May 2, but he is still awaiting sentencing for that conviction.

Derek Chauvin was convicted of murder and manslaughter in 2021 — his appeal was denied earlier in April — and the other two officers took plea deals — Thomas Lane last May and J. Alexander Kueng in October, just before jury selection for their trials were to begin.

Pilgrimage to George Floyd Square

At George Floyd Square, fresh flowers open up old wounds.

“I still get chills. It’s sad,” said Shaun Farrow, a resident of south Minneapolis resident. “I was here every single day. It’s very familiar and a little surreal.”

The site of Floyd’s death at the corner of 38th Street and Chicago Avenue is now a sacred space in south Minneapolis. There was steady foot traffic on the square Thursday as people stopped by with flowers and some tears to honor Floyd’s life and memory.

“It’s important to come down to pay respects to take a moment to think about it,” said Shawn Peirce, a visitor to George Floyd Square.

Peirce made sure to stop by the square on his trip to Minneapolis from Washington, D.C., to reflect and remember.

“Some definitely are forgetting on purpose, and that’s part of how we ended up here in the first place. They didn’t want to see it,” Peirce said.

Billy Jones, Onyx Coffeehouse owner, welcomes customers from Minneapolis and across the country to his cafe on the square.

“There’s a lot of emotions, and you meet a lot of great people from around the world,” Jones said.

He’s brewing coffee and conversation as people stop in after they take in the monument right outside his window.

“I do think that we’re on the right path of change,” Jones said.

He feels the racial reckoning lost a bit of momentum and the journey to justice will take more time.

“It does feel like there has been some progress. There’s always room for improvement,” Farrow said.

More community members were expected to gather at the square Thursday evening for a candlelight vigil in Floyd’s memory.

Elected leaders mark May 25

On Thursday, Gov. Tim Walz signed a proclamation declaring May 25 “George Floyd Remembrance Day,” saying “True justice for George Floyd will come only through real, systemic, and lasting change in Minnesota.”

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey released the following statement Thursday:

“Today we remember and honor George Floyd’s life. He was a beloved father, brother, and friend – and our hearts are with his loved ones today and every day.

“In the three years since Mr. Floyd was murdered by a former MPD officer, our city has called out for change, and rightly so. We have confronted the reality that our Black and Brown communities have faced unjust discrimination at the hands of those who are sworn to protect and serve.

“A reality that these communities have felt and seen for many generations, and one that we have set out to change in Minneapolis. We are shifting the culture of our police department – to ensure that our officers strengthen and hold the trust of our entire community. This work has been ongoing for the past few years and will continue for years to come.

“Strengthening our community-police trust will take time. We know it’s not enough to just put pen to paper and write a new policy – the culture shift will only be real when it is truly seen and felt by the community. I believe, in time, we will get there. We have to.

“We are committed to this change. We will see this culture shift through.”

Minneapolis Police Chief Brian O’Hara released a statement saying that while it’s the first anniversary of Floyd’s death that he’s been with the department, “It is crystal clear to me that the trauma of George Floyd’s murder still reverberates with the people of Minneapolis and the members of MPD.”

He added that Floyd’s murder “has changed not just the history of this city but the history of the policing profession itself. I will ensure that this department is a part of leading that change.” Read his full statement here.

President Joe Biden also released a statement on Thursday, saying in part, “George Floyd’s murder exposed for many what Black and Brown communities have long known and experienced — that we must make a whole of society commitment to ensure that our Nation lives up to its founding promise of fair and impartial justice for all under the law. The injustice on display for the world to see sparked one of the largest civil rights movements in generations — with calls from all corners to acknowledge and address the challenges in our criminal justice system and in our institutions more broadly.”

On the second anniversary of Floyd’s death, Biden signed the Executive Order on Advancing Effective, Accountable Policing and Criminal Justice Practices to Enhance Public Trust and Public Safety. The order restricts federal law enforcement agencies from conducting no-knock warrants, mandated the use of body cameras, implemented stronger use-of-force policies, provided de-escalation training and more.

The 3rd precinct, which was burnt in the ensuing protests after Floyd’s death, still stands vacant on Lake Street and Minnehaha Avenue. The City of Minneapolis recently announced they won’t decide on the former precinct’s future until at least June.

RELATED: Minneapolis won’t decide 3rd Precinct future until after 3rd anniversary of it burning

CLICK HERE for KSTP’s complete coverage of George Floyd.