The world watched as a jury found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty of killing George Floyd, whose death sparked a movement in America including more open conversations about race.
FOX8 caught up with two Piedmont dads from different races to get their take on the conversations they’re having with each other and their families.
For Terrence Floyd, Tuesday started with doubt.
“You would think there would be no other crime a police officer could commit that was as obvious as that. But still, we were looking like this could go either way, especially when you heard them talking about what was in his system,” he said. “The police officer on his neck didn’t know that at the time, so why is that even a factor?”
It ended with a wave of emotions after the guilty verdict came down.
“I got choked up because at first, it was like relief,” Nate Edmondson said. “But it was more like relief that then gave way to this frustration and anger. Like why was it even a question? Why were we not sure what the outcome was going to be? And then how are we going to get justice for all the other names, all the other hashtags that have been added to the list since last Memorial Day when George Floyd was killed?”
Edmondson and Floyd are friends. Edmondson is white. Floyd is Black. They’re both fathers of three. Edmondson’s oldest is 14. Floyd’s oldest is 11. Floyd says in the last year he sat his son down to have “the talk,” to make sure he knows how to act when encountering police. In that talk, he explained to his son how his experience with officers may be different than his white friends.
“I keep it real. In a perfect world, everyone is treated equally. Everyone is treated fair. But that’s not the world we live in,” he said. “You can’t do what they do. You have to conduct yourself different. You have to carry yourself at a higher standard. I would say that’s the sad part, but that’s the reality.”
“It’s interesting as a father of white children who are aware of issues that affect our friends who are Black is that we want them to understand that these are real issues in the world, but at the same time we’re all people,” Edmondson said. “We’re all made in God’s image. We’re all treating each other with respect. But in some situations, our friends get treated differently than we are.”
These men strengthened their relationship through F3, a group we introduced you to in January. Through fitness, fellowship, and faith they create a space for tough conversations.
Edmondson says the best conversations he’s had are the ones that are awkward. He pointed to the time he tried to express solidarity with some of F3’s Black members.
“The pushback I got was ‘what are you saying to your white friends?’ And that was extremely helpful. It was a really important question that I needed to be asked,” he said.
We asked him what he’s saying to his white friends.
“Our friends who are not white are being treated differently in these circumstances. Honestly we’ve had to go back. Because I don’t think you can understand what’s going on today if you don’t really understand what happened in our history as a country.”
Last summer’s unrest following the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd to this week’s guilty verdict, these men say what happens next is as important as anything.
“I’ll speak for myself. I think I need to be calling my representatives and my senators a lot more than I’m holding up a sign because those are the people that are actually writing the laws that impact my neighbors,” Edmondson said.
“Not calling the officer for everything,” Floyd said. “I think officers are tasked to do too much.”