George Floyd's Brother Philonise Reacts to Derek Chauvin Guilty Verdict: 'It Was Accountability'

"I feel better. I feel relieved," said Philonise Floyd after former police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of murdering George Floyd last May

George Floyd's brother, Philonise, is speaking out after Tuesday's guilty verdicts that found former police officer Derek Chauvin guilty of Floyd's murder.

Chauvin, 44, was found guilty of all charges he faced — second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter — in the death of Floyd, 46, last May by kneeling on Floyd's neck for about nine minutes while Floyd lay facedown on the pavement with his hands cuffed behind him. At the time he was under arrest for allegedly spending a counterfeit $20 bill.

Listen below to the episode of our daily podcast PEOPLE Every Day for more on Derek Chauvin's conviction.

Appearing on Good Morning America Wednesday, Philonise said his family is "happier knowing that his life, it mattered, and he didn't die in vain." He added, "He helped change the world. He made people realize that people's lives matter all across the world, not just here in Minneapolis but in different countries."

Philonise then described the moment he found out the guilty verdicts on Tuesday and what it was like watching Chauvin being taken away in handcuffs. (He will remain in jail until his sentencing in eight weeks.)

"The moment the prosecutors said something about him getting in handcuffs right then and there, I looked and I watched him put his hands behind his back," Philonise recalled. "I was like, he had it a lot easier than my brother, because my brother's hands were pinned backwards. But it was accountability."

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Philonise also appeared on the Today show, saying the guilty verdict was a "pivotal moment for me, my family, the world."

"I feel better. I feel relieved," he added. "I actually went to sleep for like five hours last night, and that was great, you know? I wanted to celebrate — I know that something that I shouldn't have to do, like, celebrate, but it was historic."

"I had so many individuals walk up to me and they was telling me, 'Man, you worked hard, and you and your family have set the tone for the standards that the world needs to be accountable and understand that we are one; we're united,'" he said.

At a news conference Wednesday, Philonise said, "Today we are able to breathe again," referencing George's repeated cries of "I can't breathe" as Chauvin pressed his knee into George's neck in the footage that went viral and sparked outrage and protests last year. Philonise invoked the name of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old Black boy who was brutally beaten and lynched in Mississippi in 1955.

"He was the first George Floyd, but today you have the cameras all around the world to see and show what happened to my brother," he said. "The world seen his life being extinguished, and I could do nothing but watch ... especially in that courtroom over and over and over again as my brother was murdered."

"Times, they are getting harder every day," he said. He mentioned a police shooting that occurred in a Minneapolis suburb even as Chauvin's trial was underway, with 20-year-old Daunte Wright, also Black, fatally shot during a traffic stop by a police officer who has now been charged with manslaughter.

George Floyd and Derek Chauvin
George Floyd, left, and Derek Chauvin. Splash

"Ten miles away from here, Mr. Wright, Daunte Wright, he should still be here," he said. "We always have to understand we have to march, we have to do this for life, we have to protest. It seems like this is a never-ending cycle."

Philonise vowed to keep up the fight he's embraced as a family spokesman, which includes testifying before Congress on behalf of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, a wide-ranging bill that aims to "hold law enforcement accountable for misconduct in court, improve transparency through data collection, and reform police training and policies," according to the legislation. The bill already has been passed by the House of Representatives, and on Tuesday after the Chauvin verdict, Vice President Kamala Harris announced its introduction in the Senate.

"I'm not just fighting for George anymore," Philonise said. "I'm fighting for everybody around this world. ... Justice for George means freedom for all."

To help combat systemic racism, consider learning from or donating to these organizations:

  • Campaign Zero ( which works to end police brutality in America through research-proven strategies.
  • works to make the government more responsive to racial disparities.
  • National Cares Mentoring Movement ( provides social and academic support to help Black youth succeed in college and beyond.
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