For the friends who have known a teenager in Houston, George Floyd was a prankster at heart on the hand, a sporting giant that watched over the younger ones.
Growing up in the great city of texas, Houston, George Floyd was well-known in his district of the Third Ward, historically inhabited by a majority of Black americans, where he had grown up and studied.
The name of the African-american 46-year-old has made the world tour after the release of his calvary under the knee of a white policeman on may 25 in Minneapolis, where he had lived since 2014.
Dressed in a red t-shirt emblazoned with “George Floyd”, and his last sentence “I can’t breathe”, Mallory Jackson said he had not eaten much nor slept since his death: “You see one of your friends to the tv for all the wrong reasons and you know that you will not be able to see it. It is despicable”.
Mallory and George had met for the first time during an English class at the college.
“They were creating rhythms in class and I was tapping on the desk,” remembers the black man aged 44 years who is now working in insurance. George Floyd “began to freestyle and I stopped, and it was: no, No, take the pace!”.
“Its size made it necessary to respect, but this was not a bully or anything like that. He was not a villain,” adds Mallory Jackson, standing in the courtyard of the high school Jack Yates where the two friends had studied. “He was always in his role of big brother.”
“He loved the Third Ward,” explains Mallory. “He wanted everyone around him improves. He left because he wanted a better opportunity”, to show the example to his surroundings, he says.
In 2015, this area of Houston were 60% African-american compared to 23% in the rest of the city, according to census figures. The median household income is almost two times lower than elsewhere in Houston.
In recent days, a crowd of curious people visited the Third Ward for a tribute to Mr. Floyd, celebrated by a mural on two of the small buildings in red brick. We see his face framed by two wings of an angel, with the caption “You respireras forever in our hearts.”
A fair treatment
To Redick Edwards, who met on a basketball court in the open air, the summer before his first return to school, the size and agility of George Floyd were impressive.
“I admired his style of play”, recalls he to the AFP. The one he now considers as “a great athlete”, two years her elder, encourages the state party on the ground and gives him the confidence to improve his game.
Redick Edwards has learned of the death of George Floyd at the tv while he was having dinner with his son of nine years. “My son asked: Why did they make him it if he is already handcuffed and on the ground?”.
The technician at the hospital, who is also an actor, says he is “angry” and “in mourning”. But he found it “extraordinary that someone with a modest beginning” is now known by the whole world.
“Now we see the people united, require what we have wanted for a long time, even before my birth: the justice and fair treatment.”
An ideal of justice that animated George Floyd as early as primary school. His mistress then, Waynel Sexton, found in his archives a short text and a drawing made at the age of 7 years.It had been inspired by Thurgood Marshall, the court’s first african-american to the supreme Court.
It was drawn by a judge, and had written: “When people say Your Honor, it is he who has robbed the bank. I would say : Sit down. And if he does not, I will tell the guard to take him out. And then I hit my hammer on the desktop, and all the world be silent.”