He worked security at a restaurant, where he developed a reputation as someone who had your back and was there for you when you were down.
“Knowing my brother is to love my brother,” Philonise Floyd, George’s brother, told CNN’s Don Lemon Tuesday.
Floyd, 46, died Monday in the city he moved to for a better life, his last moments caught on video. While being arrested, Floyd was held down by a Minneapolis police officer’s knee. The video shows Floyd pleading that he is in pain and can’t breathe. Then, his eyes shut and the pleas stop. He was pronounced dead shortly after.
That officer and three others involved in the incident have been fired.
‘He was loved by all’
He moved to Minnesota for work and to drive trucks, according to friend and former NBA player, Stephen Jackson.
“The difference between me and bro was I had more opportunity than he did,” wrote Jackson, who won a championship with the San Antonio Spurs in 2003. “2 things we have in common both from the bottom and both of our names will live forever.”
Floyd worked security at Conga Latin Bistro in Minneapolis for five years, according to its owner, Jovanni Thunstrom.
“He was loved by all my employees and my customers,” Thunstrom told CNN. “He was my friend.”
Floyd would help clean up after the bar had closed and was a “very nice guy and really good with customers,” according to Thunstrom.
“He stood up for people, he was there for people when they were down, he loved people that were thrown away,” Courteney Ross, Floyd’s friend, told WCCO. “We prayed over every meal, we prayed if we were having a hard time, we prayed if we were having a good time.”
Celebrities express outrage over death
Anger over Floyd’s death goes beyond his family and friends. A number of celebrities have reacted to the incident on social media.
At the time, Kaepernick had said he would not honor a song nor “show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.”
James’ post is accompanied by the caption, “Do you understand NOW!!??!!?? Or is it still blurred to you?? #StayWoke”
‘They were supposed to be there to serve and to protect’
“They were supposed to be there to serve and to protect and I didn’t see a single one of them lift a finger to do anything to help while he was begging for his life. Not one of them tried to do anything to help him,” Tera Brown, Floyd’s cousin, told CNN’s Lemon.
The FBI is investigating and said it will present its findings to the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota for consideration of possible federal charges.
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is conducting its own investigation into possible violations of Minnesota statutes, the FBI said.
The Major Cities Chiefs Association, an organization of police executives representing the largest cities in the US and Canada, released a statement Wednesday calling the actions of the officers involved in Floyd’s death “inconsistent with the training and protocols of our profession.”
The organization’s current president is Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo.
“The death of Mr. Floyd is deeply disturbing and should be of concern to all Americans,” the statement said. “MCCA commends Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo for “his swift and decisive action to terminate the employment of the officers involved,” the statement said.
“What occurred in Minneapolis is a sobering reminder of how quickly bad policing can undermine that trust.”
The Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis said in a statement the officers were cooperating in the investigation and urged “now is not the time to rush to (judgment)” while the officers’ actions are examined.
CNN’s Omar Jimenez, Christina Maxouris, Josh Campbell, Melissa Alonso, Ray Sanchez, Joe Sutton and Artemis Moshtaghian, contributed to this report