George Floyd: In death a martyr, in real life a work in progress

by WorldTribune Staff, June 8, 2020

Conservative commentator Candace Owens posted a video last week in which she criticized activists for lionizing George Floyd. In the black community, she said, “it has become extremely fashionable for us to martyr criminals.”

Owens emphasized that she was not defending the Minneapolis police officer charged in Floyd’s death. “Everybody agrees what he did was wrong,” she said, but she criticized those who wanted to “make [Floyd] the modern Martin Luther King Jr.”

‘In death, George Perry Floyd Jr. has become a civil rights martyr and a catalyst for social justice. In life, he was a mass of contradictions.’

“This is a man that had drugs on him, was using counterfeit bills and was high, and went into a store and the police were subsequently called,” Owens said.

Floyd died outside a Minneapolis grocery store on May 25 after he allegedly used a counterfeit $20 bill, and police were called.

Police Federation of Minneapolis President Bob Kroll said in a letter last week that Floyd had a “violent criminal history.” He said the media “will not air this” and accused politicians of scapegoating officers overwhelmed by the protests and rioting.

In a June 7 analysis for The Washington Times, reporter Valerie Richardson noted that “in death, George Perry Floyd Jr. has become a civil rights martyr and a catalyst for social justice. In life, he was a mass of contradictions.”

At his best, Floyd “was a beloved family man and standout athlete who rededicated his life to Christ after running afoul of the law, a community leader in Houston’s rough 3rd Ward and doting dad to his precious 6-year-old daughter, Gianna,” Richardson wrote.

At his worst, Floyd “was a drug addict and ex-con who did hard time for a 2007 robbery in which he terrorized a pregnant black woman, and absentee parent to his older children, one of whom didn’t recognize him when his photo appeared two weeks ago on television.”

Patrick “P.T.” Ngwolo, an elder at the inner-city Christian mission Resurrection Houston, may have put it best when he said Mr. Floyd, who stood somewhere between 6 feet, 4 inches and 6 feet, 7 inches was “larger than life.”

At a memorial service in Minneapolis, Floyd’s brother Philonise Floyd said that “everybody loved George.” His cousin Shareeduh Tate called him “this great big giant” who “always made people feel like they were special.”

Richardson noted: “Those who knew him 20 years earlier might disagree.”

In 1997, Floyd was arrested on a charge of possession of less than 1 ounce of cocaine. It was the first of eight arrests on drug and theft charges that culminated in the 2007 robbery of a woman’s home in Harris County, according to records posted by the [UK] Daily Mail.

The woman, who was pregnant, “tentatively identified defendant George Floyd” as one of the men who forced his way into her home by pretending to work for the water department. He pointed a gun at her abdomen and forced her into the living room. The men took jewelry and her cellphone before leaving.

Floyd served five years and was released in 2014. He joined Resurrection Houston and became involved with Roxie Washington, who gave birth to their daughter, Gianna. Three years ago, he moved to Minneapolis in what his aunt Angela Harrelson, who lives there, described to the Los Angeles Times as an effort to “make a fresh start.”

In Minneapolis, he dated Courteney Ross, who has told media outlets that she was his fiancee. He worked at one point as a bouncer at the Conga Latin Bistro.

“It’s unclear whether Floyd started using drugs again after leaving Houston, or whether he ever stopped, but his autopsy report said fentanyl and evidence of methamphetamine use were in his system,” Richardson noted.

Multiple media outlets have said Floyd had three children, although Tate said at the memorial service that he had five children and a granddaughter. He apparently lost touch with his children Quincy Mason Floyd and Connie Floyd, who moved to Bryan, Texas, with their mother 15 years ago.

“I didn’t recognize who it was until Mom called and told me,” Quincy Mason Floyd told KBTX-TV. “She said, ‘Do you know who that guy was?’ I said no. She said, ‘That’s your father.’ ”

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