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George Floyd's Brother Pleads For Calm In Minneapolis


In Minneapolis today the chant of protesters was, no justice, no peace. Prosecute the police.


UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTER: (Chanting) No justice, no peace. Prosecute the police. No justice, no peace. Prosecute the police. No justice, no peace. Prosecute the police.

CHANG: That was at the site where George Floyd died after a police officer pinned his neck to the ground with his knee. Floyd's brother Terrence Floyd visited the site today and urged protesters not to resort to violence. Joining us now for more from Minneapolis is NPR's David Schaper.

Hey, David.


CHANG: Could you start by telling us a little more about Terrence Floyd's visit today?

SCHAPER: It was a really emotional scene. You know, this intersection in south Minneapolis outside of the Cub Foods stores has become a huge memorial to George Floyd. At that center of it is a ring of both flower bouquets surrounded by yet another outer ring of flower bouquets. But then about 50 feet down is the site where George Floyd was pinned down, and there's another ring of flowers there. There's signs. There's posters, pictures and a white, painted outline of a body with the words, I can't breathe. People gather there day and night for vigils and prayers and somber remembrances. Terrence Floyd, who lives in Brooklyn, arrived with his minister from New York and his attorney to a huge crowd that was waiting there. His knees actually buckled when he got to the spot where his brother was pinned down. He knelt there shaking and sobbing for several minutes. Then he stood up, and he addressed the crowd.


TERRENCE FLOYD: My family is a peaceful family. My family is God-fearing. He'll be upset. But we're not going to be repetitious. In every case of police brutality, the same thing has been happening.

SCHAPER: And he said that nothing ever changes when there is rioting and violence in these protests. He pleaded for people to protest peacefully.

CHANG: And as he was talking, were you able to look at the crowd? How were people reacting?

SCHAPER: It was emotional. I saw several people wiping tears from their eyes, despite the hot sun. And I talked to some folks afterwards who are hoping that this is a turning point not just in ending the violence and the protests here and elsewhere but in truly reforming policing, ending racial bias and incidents like this that they feel is happening too often. Terrence Floyd did start walking away but then returned and addressed the crowd again and urged them to never forget what had happened here.


FLOYD: Keep my brother's name ringing.



FLOYD: Keep my brother's name ringing.


FLOYD: Keep my brother's name ringing.


FLOYD: Keep my brother's name ringing.


FLOYD: Keep my brother's name ringing.

CHANG: Meanwhile, I understand that George Floyd's family had their attorney commission their own autopsy. Those autopsy results were released today. What did they show?

SCHAPER: Well, this autopsy found that George Floyd died from what is called homicide caused by asphyxia due to neck and back compression that led to a lack of blood flow to the brain. That autopsy was conducted by doctors hired by the Floyd legal team, and it contradicts a preliminary autopsy from the Hennepin County medical examiner's office that found no physical findings that support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxiation or strangulation.

CHANG: Interesting; well, here we are. We're one week after Floyd was killed, and protests in the Twin Cities have continued almost nonstop. How is the effort going at calming down these protests at this point?

SCHAPER: Well, you know, the last two nights - after massive protests during the day here, there were smaller protests that continued into the night, but they have been relatively peaceful. The police and National Guard did have to break up some on Saturday night with tear gas and shooting rubber bullets. But there hasn't been much of the burning and looting and vandalism we saw here the previous nights. There still is a lot of tension in the air though here, and Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz addressed that today.


TIM WALZ: We've got an opportunity here. We've changed the direction of where this has gone. We've opened up incredibly important conversations. Many more things that need to be done at this point in time - but Minnesota, this is our chance.

SCHAPER: Still, there is a curfew that remains in place here. There's a heavy police presence. National Guard troops remain here, ready to respond to protests should they turn violent. And there is one still happening this evening at the governor's mansion.

CHANG: All right. That is NPR's David Schaper in Minneapolis.

Thank you, David. Stay safe.

(SOUNDBITE OF GRAMATIK'S "JUST JAMMIN'") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

David Schaper is a correspondent on NPR's National Desk, based in Chicago, primarily covering transportation and infrastructure, as well as breaking news in Chicago and the Midwest.