George Floyd and his girlfriend, Courtney Ross, dreamed of opening a restaurant called Convict Kitchen in Minneapolis, where they would hire only ex-convicts to give them the same second chance at life that he got. Ross dated Floyd for three years, and said the last thing he told her was, "I love you." Floyd, 46, died on May 25 in Minneapolis police custody, setting off protests of police brutality and racial inequality around the country.
In a new interview with The Daily Mail, Ross said Floyd came to Minneapolis just five years ago from Huston. "He wanted to escape the criminal environment he was in and after he was released from prison he made the move to Minneapolis to start fresh," Ross said, adding that he turned his life around since arriving in Minnesota. Floyd spent five years in prison after he pleaded guilty to aggravated assault for a 2007 robbery with another man.
Courtney Ross, George Floyd's girlfriend, pays respect during a memorial service for George Floyd following his death in Minneapolis police custody. Photo by @Lucas_Jackson_ pic.twitter.com/rsBydrVUij— corinne_perkins (@corinne_perkins) June 4, 2020
"He served some time in a Texas prison and after he was released he was able to get help with an organization called Turning Point," Ross recalled. "One job led to another and another. He really loves it here. He did get some peace in his life here." Floyd's goal in Minneapolis was to open a restaurant where ex-convicts could work. Floyd even had a menu in mind, hoping to focus on foods ex-convicts could easily learn to cook.
Ross, 44, met Floyd at a Salvation Army shelter in Minneapolis, and Floyd was working security. She is not sure what she plans to do next. "Floyd loved life, everyone who met him loved him. He really turned his life around and was just on the verge of really making something of himself and now it's all been taken away," she told the Daily Mail.
On May 25, police arrested Floyd for allegedly using a counterfeit $20 bill. Officer Derek Chauvin kept his knee on Floyd's neck for almost nine minutes, even after Floyd lost consciousness and complained he could not breathe. Chauvin was fired and has been charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. Three other officers who watched Chauvin and did nothing were also fired. They were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder.
After Chauvin was finally arrested on May 29, Ross told CBS Minnesota she was relieved and called it the "first step" to finding peace. "I can't say that it was happiness but it was like a relief, you know. It was a relief, that’s what it was," Ross said last week. "It was like thank you for taking that first step you know to find some peace for us, so it knocks some of that pain away."
Floyd's death inspired new protests across the country, bringing attention to systemic racism and police tactics. On Friday, the Minneapolis City Council unanimously decided to ban police from using chokeholds and neck restraints. The city council's changes to police procedures also said orders have a duty to intervene if they see another officer using extreme and unauthorized force, reports Bing Me The News.