"If that can happen to George Floyd, it can happen to E.J. and Andre and more black men," Magic Johnson said

By Jason Duaine Hahn
June 03, 2020 07:43 PM
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NBA legend Magic Johnson says he still has conversations with his two adult sons about the dangers they face while interacting with police as black people in the United States.

The 60-year-old former Los Angeles Lakers player spoke with CNN amid the nationwide protests following the death of 46-year-old George Floyd, who was killed on May 25 when now-former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee into Floyd's neck for more than eight minutes during an arrest.

Johnson told the news station that he's had "the talk" with his adult sons, E.J. and Andre, to keep them safe when they come into contact with law enforcement.

"Let's look at George Floyd. He did everything he was supposed to do, and this police officer put all his body weight, all his body weight on his neck, right, for eight minutes," Johnson, a five-time NBA champion, said. "So if that can happen to George Floyd, it can happen to E.J. and Andre and more black men."

"There's been a lot of George Floyds in our community that hasn't been reported or seen, and people who live in Black America know that," he continued. "Only reason now that we're acting like this is because we're fed up. We're tired of it. We can't take it anymore."

George Floyd
Ben Crump Law Firm

Floyd's death has sparked a worldwide conversation about police brutality and the disproportionate rates black people are affected by it. The frustration of Americans can be seen in the sheer numbers of people who have come out to participate in protests, and in the cardboard signs that they hold with phrases such as, "Black Lives Matter" and "Stop Killing Us."

"All race of people are out there, and they're showing their power and they're letting their voice be heard," Johnson told CNN of the protests.

"These young people got to have a voice at the table. They want their voices heard. They want their concerns heard," he added. "And then they want action to take place. And so they're going to still protest for a long time until their voices are heard."

In footage of the March 25 incident, Floyd is seen lying on his stomach next to a Minneapolis patrol car as Chauvin kneels on his neck.

RELATED VIDEO: Voices from Protests After George Floyd's Death: 'Our Skin Color Should Not Be Considered a Weapon'

"Please, please, please, I can't breathe," Floyd struggled to tell the officers. "My stomach hurts. My neck hurts. Please, please, I can't breathe."

Bystanders pleaded for Chauvin to stand up. But a second officer deflected their comments and appeared to mock Floyd by saying, "This is why you don't do drugs, kids."

The four police officers present during the arrest were terminated last week for their involvement. Chauvin was taken into custody and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter, charges that were then upgraded to second-degree murder on Wednesday afternoon, PEOPLE confirmed. The three other officers now face charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.

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

• Campaign Zero (joincampaignzero.org) which works to end police brutality in America through research-proven strategies.

ColorofChange.org works to make government more responsive to racial disparities.

• National Cares Mentoring Movement (caresmentoring.org) provides social and academic support to help black youth succeed in college and beyond.