Day 11 of the Chauvin trial: Philonise Floyd offers ‘spark of life’ testimony

George Floyd
Philonise Floyd gave the “spark of life” testimony.
PBS NewsHour / YouTube

George Floyd was a man who loved his mama, this was made clear during Philonise Floyd’s testimony on Monday at the Derek Chauvin murder trial. Philonise provided the “spark of life” testimony at the trial, which allowed jurors to see George as someone who left behind a family who cared about him and knew him beyond his tragic demise under the knee of a former police officer.

Philonise spoke lovingly about the time he shared with his big brother. He lit up as he shared memories of the time he was finally able to beat George in a video game while growing up in the Third Ward of Houston, Texas.

George “couldn’t boil water,” recalled Philonise, but he made the “best banana mayonnaise sandwiches” and syrup sandwiches. He testified that he last saw his brother George, or as he called him, Perry, his middle name, in 2018 at their mother’s funeral.

Philonise testified that George was devastated over the loss of their mother Larcenia Floyd. George taught his siblings how to treat their mother with respect, said Philonise. He smiled and then choked up looking at a photo of her holding George as a baby. “I miss both of them,” he said, wiping away tears.

He shared that he was married on May 24, his brother died on May 25, and his mom died on May 30. “It’s like a bittersweet month because I’m supposed to be happy when that month comes,” he said.

Instead of appearing last, Philonise’s testimony was sandwiched in between two more expert witnesses called by the prosecution. First was Dr. Jonathan Rich, a cardiologist, who, like other expert witnesses, Dr. Martin Tobin and Dr. Lindsey Thomas, testified that George died from a lack of oxygen. Dr. Rich dismissed the defense’s theories that drugs and heart issues caused George’s death.

During cross-examination, defense attorney Eric Nelson asked Dr. Rich if he agreed that George would be alive today had he just gotten into the officer’s car without resisting. Dr. Rich replied, “Had he not been restrained the way in which he was, I think he would have survived.”

Closing out the prosecution’s witnesses was criminal law professor Seth Stoughton from the University of South Carolina who is a use of force expert. He testified that no reasonable officer would have used the force that Chauvin used to restrain George.

At the start of Monday’s trial proceedings, Judge Peter Cahill ruled against the defense’s motions to sequester jurors due to news coverage of the fatal police shooting of Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center. He also ruled that prior statements made by George’s friend Morries Hall about drug use and George’s demeanor the day of his deadly arrest will not be admissible in court.

The defense is expected to begin laying out its case on Tuesday. Judge Cahill instructed the jury that they should expect closing arguments on Monday.