Former NBA player Stephen Jackson stood in Minneapolis City Hall on Friday to speak at a rally for a man he considered a friend and his “twin,” George Floyd. Floyd was killed in police custody after an officer kept a knee on the back of his neck as he pleaded with officers about his inability to breathe. That officer, Derek Chauvin, has been arrested and charged with murder and manslaughter in Floyd’s death.
“I’m here because they’re not gonna demean the character of George Floyd, my twin,” Jackson told the supportive crowd. “A lot of times, when police do things they know that’s wrong, the first thing they try to do is cover it up, and bring up their background — to make it seem like the bulls–t that they did was worthy. When was murder ever worthy? But if it’s a black man, it’s approved.
Jackson, who hosts Showtime’s “All the Smoke” NBA show with Matt Barnes, continued, “You can’t tell me when that man has his knee on my brother’s neck — taking his life away, with his hand in his pocket — that that smirk on his face didn’t say, ‘I’m protected.’ You can’t tell me that he didn’t feel that it was his duty to murder my brother, and that he knew he was gonna get away with it. You can’t tell me that wasn’t the look on his face.”
Timberwolves players Karl-Anthony Towns and Josh Okogie both joined Jackson while he spoke. Towns’ participation is especially significant given that he was willing to be out in a crowded public space after his mother died of coronavirus back in April.
“A lot of emotion, a lot of frustration, a lot of pain,” Okogie told ESPN’s Malika Andrews about Friday’s rally. ” But everybody that spoke today stood firm. They made a point that they’re going to stand their ground, and I’m with them.”
Jackson donned a hoodie that said “RIP GEORGE FLOYD 3rd Ward, TX.” The two became friends while growing up together in Texas.
You can watch part of Jackson’s speech below.