'I want justice for him': Mother of George Floyd's daughter makes tearful statement as peaceful marches held across US

Alex Woodward
Roxie Washington embraces her daughter Gianna Floyd at a press conference to call for justice for George Floyd: Getty Images

Roxie Washington, the mother of George Floyd's six-year-old daughter, spoke through tears during a press conference on Tuesday to demand justice for Mr Floyd. She said his life and memory were greater than his final moments, captured on widely shared video as a Minneapolis police officer kneeled into his neck for nearly nine minutes.

In her first public appearance following his death, Ms Washington said: "I want everybody to know that this is what those officers took from me. At the end of the day, they get to go home and be with their families. Gianna does not have a father. He will never see her grow up, graduate, he will never walk her down the aisle. If there's a problem she's having and she needs her dad, she does not have that anymore."

Her appearance followed an announcement that Minnesota officials will launch a civil rights investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department.

Derek Chauvin, the now-former officer who was filmed pinning Mr Floyd to the ground while he was in handcuffs on Memorial Day, has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.

Three other Minneapolis police officers at the scene were fired, and attorneys for Mr Floyd's family say they believe criminal charges against them are forthcoming.

"I'm here for my baby, and I'm here for George, because I want justice for him," Ms Washington said outside Minneapolis City Hall. "I want justice for him because he was good man, no matter what anyone thinks, he was good, and this is the proof that he was a good man."

An independent autopsy revealed that Mr Floyd died from "asphyxiation from sustained pressure".

Results of a preliminarily medical exam in the criminal complaint against Mr Chauvin found "no physical findings that support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation" and claimed that "underlying health conditions ... likely contributed to his death" — but on Monday, the Hennepin County Medical Examiner ruled his death a homicide.

The report says that Mr Floyd's death was caused by "cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression."

While Mr Floyd called out "I can't breathe", "mama", and "please" while police held him to the ground, "none of the three officers moved from their positions," prosecutors said in Mr Chauvin's charging documents.

The independent autopsy reveals that pressure applied to Mr Floyd's carotid artery "impeded blood flow to the brain, and weight on his back impeded his ability to breathe", killing him at the scene.

"What we found is consistent with what people saw," Dr Michael Baden said in a statement. "There is no other health issue that could cause or contribute to the death. Police have this false impression that if you can talk, you can breathe. That's not

His death, among other deaths of African Americans at the hands of police, has inspired protests against police brutality across the US and in solidarity around the world.

Roxie Washington embraces her daughter Gianna Floyd at a press conference to call for justice for George Floyd (Getty Images)

More than a week following his death, peaceful protests and marches continue, while officials place curfews in large cities and mobilise police in riot gear and militarised law enforcement.

In New York City, pastor James Roberson led a prayer-focused march with hundreds of people, while a standing vigil in Brooklyn continued for a second night.

Dozens of demonstrators in Washington DC prayed on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

Thousands of people marched through both cities and elsewhere, with a massive crowd returning to the White House as curfew arrived.

Beginning on Thursday, a memorial for Mr Floyd will be held in Minnesota and Houston, where Mr Floyd grew up.

In Minneapolis. former NBA player Stephen Jackson — a friend of Mr Floyd — said: " I'm through crying. I'm ready to fight. I'm ready to stand for my brother. I'm ready to get justice for my brother. That's why I'm here."

Mr Jackson said said his friend had moved to Minnesota to "provide for his family, be a better father".

"He was a good man as a father," Ms Washington said next to her daughter. "He was so happy to have her ... He loved her so much ... He took care for us, he provided for us."

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