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Friends Remember George Floyd As A Gentle Giant

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Well, let's hear the voice of the man whose killing by police sparked these three nights of unrest in Minneapolis. Many, of course, have seen the video circulating of George Floyd's death. But there is also been video circulating of another time when Floyd spoke straight into a camera in a reflective moment having just learned of a friend who had lost her son.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

GEORGE FLOYD: Our young generation is clearly lost, man. I don't even know what to say no more, man. Like, you youngsters just going around just busting guns in crowds, kids getting killed. Hey, man, come on home, man. One day, it's going to be you and God. You going up or you going down.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Floyd's death cuts deep for Christopher Harris. They were lifelong friends since middle school in Houston.

CHRISTOPHER HARRIS: If he has a stamp and it had his signature on it, it would be his smile. It literally lit up a room just because it was his smile.

MARTIN: Both moved to Minneapolis in later years. This week, Harris has been remembering Floyd as a gentle giant and as an athlete. Harris talked to Floyd the night before his death. Floyd had been laid off because of the pandemic. They talked about finding him another job.

HARRIS: We were up here making a difference in our lives, in our family lives. We were being productive, paying child support, things of this nature. And for his life to be taken the way it was, with no remorse whatsoever, why hasn't anyone been charged yet?

GREENE: Before COVID-19, Floyd worked as a restaurant security guard. Luz Maria Gonzalez would eat at the restaurant, Conga Latin Bistro, on Fridays. And they became friends.

LUZ MARIA GONZALEZ: He would just keep us safe there, you know? At the end of the night, he'd say, hey, Luz. I want to wait until you get into your cab, you know? This is just - my heart is so heavy right now.

GREENE: Now she has nightmares in which she sees Floyd unable to breathe. She is from a part of Minneapolis that has been swept by protests.

GONZALEZ: But you know what? It has to happen. I'm Puerto Rican-Native American. And my son is half-black. Every time he leaves the house, he could be killed, just like George. This can't happen anymore. We are sick of this. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.