Who was George Floyd before he was killed in police custody? Part 1

Floyd, who grew up in a tough Houston neighborhood, had big dreams before he began to struggle with drugs. His family and loved ones remember him as a kind, family man.
11:30 | 04/24/21

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Transcript for Who was George Floyd before he was killed in police custody? Part 1
Thanks for joining us. You've no doubt seen the horrific video for yourself. Now the former officer we witnessed with his knee on George Floyd's neck is a convicted murderer. Floyd's loved ones are hoping that the verdicts will now help bring about systemic change. I used to call him big-g, I used to call him Floyd. I called him Georgie. He's known as Perry from the "Q," Georgie babe, Floyd, big Floyd, and gentle giant. You guys called him George, I call him Floyd. My brother was very loveable. Georgie. I mean, you can't even say his name without smiling. He was a protector. He was always uplifting, encouraging. He always had something positive to say. Give you the shirt off his back. Life of the party all the time cracking jokes. Just a good guy. Good guy, man. I would do some things, man, have to bounce back, man, I'm just sharing right now. One thing about old Floyd, man, I love the world. He was born in fairville, moved to Houston with his mom. Miss sissy was Georgie's mom. She loved him so much, and he loved her. He loved his family. He loved the people that he connected with. A lot of people don't realize this, but George Floyd was a father and a loving dad. He was kind, and he was nice O my mama all the time. With me and my mama both loved him. My name is waynelle sexton, George Floyd's second grade teacher at Frederick Douglass elementary in Houston, Texas. George was always Perry to his classmates and me. He was a good student. Each child wrote an essay on what I want to be when I grow up. And Perry's essay is very nice. "When I grow up, I want to be a supreme court judge. When people say, your honor, he did rob the bank. I will say, be seated." He always had dreams of being big. Doing something that had a huge impact. He made the statement that stuck with me. He said, man, I'll going to be big, I'm going to touch the world. George Floyd grew up in the cuney homes in Houston. It's known as one of the notoriously toughest areas in Houston. Most of the people there are on section 8, low-income, impoverished. Few have jobs. Third world is one of these places you always saw police officers -- traffic stopping, stopping individuals suspected of having guns, drugs, whatever. George Floyd, growing up in a place like that, it was a life surrounded by police and by drugs and by violence. Growing up, only way out, that we thought was our way out, was sports, rapping, and drugs. Reason being, we didn't have no doctors in our families. The only reason you run into a lawyer is if someone got in For George the way out ended up being sports. Basketball and football. Floyd played football, and he was good at it. But he was amazing on the basketball court. It was like, whoo! Very few people that could dunk the ball in middle school, Perry was one. He did get a scholarship to college for sports. He was just that good. His plans was, if he didn't make it as far as the NBA or NFL, he wanted to be in law enforcement. He wanted to be a chief of police at one time. But George was unprepared academically for the rigors that he would encounter in college. And it was when he came home that he started having problems with the law. He did drugs. He wasn't a heavy drug addict. I mean, he still went to work, he still was able to provide for himself, he still was able to take care of his business. I never knew him to do fentanyl or methamphetamines, ever. The next decade of George's life was a cycling in and out of the criminal justice system. He was involved and arrested several times for drugs and for an armed robbery, ultimately that landed him in a Texas We all have a past. We all have things we did that we regret that we wish we didn't do. When you think that your life is going to go one way, and it kind of goes another, I just see him trying to figure things out. George Floyd came to Minnesota looking for a better life. And he landed here because of a gentleman in Minneapolis who actually bought his bus ticket here and said, come to Minneapolis, come stay in this home with other men, get clean, and we're going to fix you up and set you on a better path in life. He just wanted to get free from drugs and alcohol. From what I understand from Floyd, if he completed the program, they would help him get employment, and he'd be able to get custody of Gianna. My name is Gigi, and I am the daughter of George Floyd. George's daughter was the apple of his eye. You could see every time he talked about her, he just beamed, his eyes got big, and just the smile come across his face. You know, his baby is his world. I mean, honestly, his world. He loved Gigi. He used to call me buttercup. I liked that name, buttercup. He wanted to be a better man and a better father. He loved her with all his heart. He'd call nonstop, how's Gigi doing, how's Gigi doing? Stop calling me, man. He was telling me he had a job. He was down there working the program. He was doing good. He liked it. He went down there, graduated the program, and he got his commercial driver's license. And people who know Floyd, that's a big accomplishment. He was pretty successful with working. He had a couple of jobs. He was working at a steel mill or steel plant. He did random security jobs. He was still, you know, able to make ends meet. George's life was really coming together. Things had been as good for him as they had ever been. Then his mom died and everything changed. He took it real hard. He was a strong, strong person. But that broke him. Just looking at him, I knew. He was never going to be the same. And then came the pandemic and he lost his job. It was just a whole lot of different emotions and feelings that he was going through. Like a week and a half before he died, he said, man, I love you. I said, I love you too, Georgie. He's like, I'ma call you later. I'm like, all right. That's the last time I talked to him. Outrage over the deeply disturbing death of a black man arrested and handcuffed by police in Minneapolis. I got a call from my sister. She said, Perry's gone. And I thought, gone where? And she said, he was killed. I look at the video, like 10 seconds, oh my god. I turned it off. I heard his voice screaming. Not this way. Not this way. This can't be. Not this way. Whew. When I first saw the images of George Floyd on the ground, I wasn't shocked. I wasn't surprised. I was saddened. And my first thought was, here we go again. It was different than other videos. This was people watching a man slowly die. I think in many ways that crowd on the sideline represents America on the sideline, watching that videotape. Like, stop. Why? He can't breathe, can't you see that? Show him some humanity. And they didn't. I watched his life come out of his body. Why? Because I watched this man murder another man that looked like me. For no reason. This knee on the neck was reminiscent of an old-school lynching. And most modern-day folk have never been to one. And now they have. Clearly there was something different in this case. Because just days later, the mayor announced that these officers were fired. Fired. And we hadn't seen that before. There's not only the firing F all four officers who were involved, there was then the arrest of the principal officer, Derek chauvin, and there were multiple charges against him. Former Minneapolis police officer Derek chauvin has been charged by the hennepin county attorney's office with murder and with manslaughter. When an officer is charged in the death of a black man, a lot of people following the story say, that's that, okay, resolution, case solved. But so many people in the black community know that's not enough. That's where the attention on a case should start. This generation, they're not interested in false ideas of hope or these empty expressions of justice. They want it. They want it now. And it's nonnegotiable. Thousands have filled the streets calling for justice. Say his name! George Floyd! Say his name! George Floyd! 70,000 people, peaceful, all coming out for George. We are going to go fight for justice for my daddy. There was also this sense of hope, that maybe our numbers will be so great, our voices will be so loud that we can no longer be dismissed when we say, we've got to have change. Ten months after this incident, after they lost their loved one, the man accused of killing him is finally going to face a jury. Whether or not you think officer Derek chauvin is innocent or guilty, this trial is monumental. It is the trial of the century.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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