By STEPHANIE WASH, SABINA GHEBREMEDHIN and EVA PILGRIM, ABC News
(NEW YORK) — George Floyd was at his daughter Gianna Floyd’s side from the moment she let her first cry out into the world.
Just off work, Floyd had received the call that Gianna, now 6 years old, was due to be born. A tired Floyd slept through hours of mother Roxie Washington’s painful labor. It was Gianna’s entrance into the world that would finally awaken him.
“She cried and he heard her,” Washington told ABC News’ Good Morning America. “They wiped her off and they gave her to him. I mean that was his baby. He wanted that moment though. He really really wanted that moment. He looked forward to that.”
Now Gianna feels a void with her father gone. In an interview with Good Morning America she said she wants people to know “kinda that I miss him.”
Washington described Floyd as a provider that did everything for their daughter.
“He just wanted her to have the best,” Washington said. “We were struggling so he did what he had to do as a man and he had to come here [to Minneapolis] to work. And he said I’m going to come back and get y’all.”
“I mean, that was his baby. He loved his little girl,” Washington said.
And Gianna loved him. If you ask Gianna Floyd what her father was like, she’ll tell you that he was fun and played with her.
“He would put her on his shoulders,” Washington said. “She didn’t have to play with nobody else because daddy was gonna play all day long. And they played. They had fun.”
Washington received the devastating news of Floyd’s death from her niece, and a close friend of Floyd’s would later confirm it.
“I watched it only for a moment,” Washington said of the bystander video showing Floyd’s death. “I couldn’t believe that somebody was on him like that. And then in that moment, you know, because I loved him so much I wanted to help him or I wish I could’ve been there to help him. And just hearing him begging for his life.”
Coupled with the recent death of her mother, the loss of Floyd is hard to talk about for Washington, especially with their daughter. But she faced that conversation when Gianna knew something was wrong.
“I had closed the door so I could watch the news. I went in the room and I said ‘Gianna, why did you open the door?’ She said ‘Something’s going on with my family,’” Washington told ABC News’ Eva Pilgrim. “She said ‘I hear them. I hear them saying my Daddy’s name.’”
Washington says she still hasn’t found the words to explain how her father died.
“She doesn’t know what happened. I told her Daddy died because he couldn’t breathe,” Washington said.
Now, all Gianna Floyd has left of her father George are memories. But it is the unrealized moments that are shattering to Washington.
“He will never see her grow up, graduate. He will never walk her down the aisle. If there’s a problem she’s having and needs a dad, she does not have that anymore,” Washington said at a press conference on Tuesday in Minneapolis.
“I want justice for him, ‘cause he was good. No matter what anybody thinks, he was good. And this is the proof that he was a good man,” Washington said, looking down at their daughter.
That goodness was evident when Gianna proudly shared her dream during the GMA interview.
“I know what I want to be when I grow up,” Gianna called out. “A doctor. So I can help people.”
Washington is heartbroken that Floyd will never get to see their daughter chase her dreams.
“They took her Dad,” she said. “My heart is broke for my baby. It’s broke.”
Floyd’s close friend, retired NBA player Stephen Jackson, accompanied the family on Tuesday, vowing to step in and help Floyd’s family.
“Why do we have to see her pain? Why do we have to see a daughter getting raised without a father?” Jackson asked.
Jackson, turning to Washington, said: “There’s a lot of stuff that you said that he’s going to miss that I’m going to be there for. I’m going to walk her down the aisle. I’m going to be there for her. I’m going to be here to wipe your tears … Floyd might not be here but I’m going to be here for her.”
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