MINNEAPOLIS - On Sunday, George Floyd was scheduled to meet with his friend Wallace White, to talk about getting involved with MAD DADS - Men Against Destruction Defending Against Drugs and Social Disorder, but he couldn't make it. The next day, Floyd was dead.
White watched the video on Facebook Monday showing Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck as he said he couldn't breathe.
"That boy didn't need to die like that. All the footage showed the man was not resisting him," said White, 56. "He was a gentle giant man. He was loved by everyone around here. He was a real quiet guy, liked to have fun."
Floyd's volunteer slip sat on MAD DADS chapter president VJ Smith's desk Tuesday.
George Floyd has become a household name as the viral video sparked outrage and protests across the nation.
In life, friends and family members said the 6-foot-4 Floyd never made an enemy.
"He didn't like to argue, all that drama and stuff," White said. "He never threw around the fact that he was a bigger guy."
Floyd's family attorney Benjamin Crump said Floyd leaves behind two daughters, ages 6 and 22, in Houston.
"He was a really good person that everybody seemed to love," Crump told USA TODAY. "He was a gentle giant that when he came in the room he would light up the room. He was so exuberant."
Crump said Floyd was born in Fayetteville, N.C., but grew up in Houston where most of his family still lives. Crump said Floyd was a standout high school athlete. Floyd moved to Minneapolis for better employment opportunities, Crump said. In addition to security jobs at Conga Latin Bistro and the local Salvation Army, Floyd was also a truck driver.
Christina Dawson, Floyd's ex-girlfriend, told USA TODAY that Floyd was a joy to be around.
"Happy, fun, goofy guy," Dawson said. "He loved to see people happy."
Floyd, 46, had become a popular fixture at Conga Latin Bistro. The restaurant shared photos of Floyd on its Facebook page with one post reading "RIP Sad, we will always remember you." Patrons and colleagues shared memories in the comments.
"He was one of those big teddy bears. This is a huge loss. I really do hope there will be justice for this," one user wrote.
Bistro owner Jovanni Thunstrom said in a Facebook post that the death of Floyd was "just plain murder."
"My employee George Floyd was murdered by a Police officer that had no compassion, used his position to commit a murder of someone that was begging for his life," Thunstrom wrote. "I will like to keep on writing, but my vision is blurry, from the tears coming out of my eyes. I am sorry, I usually don't cry."
Four police officers,Chauvin, Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng, have been fired over the incident, but Floyd's family and Crump, say that's not enough.
Crump said he believes the officers' actions were fueled by racism and disregard for black lives and that they should be arrested and charged.
"We know if the roles were reversed and black people were accused of killing white people, oh you go to death row," Crump said. "But it seems to be that the message is sent from our legal system, our criminal justice system, that black lives are less valuable than white lives."
Philonise Floyd said he has been feeling constant pain since his brother's death.
"I grew up with him. That was my oldest brother. I loved him. I'm never going to get my brother back," he told CNN. "I wouldn't want this for anybody else. I'm just tired of seeing black people dying."
Tera Brown, Floyd's cousin, told KHOU in Houston that she grew up with Floyd and described him as athletic, talented and liked to joke around.
"He was everybody's favorite everything," Brown said. "He was the favorite friend, he was the favorite cousin."
Floyd's childhood friends have also spoken out.
Former NBA player Stephen Jackson said in an Instagram post that he grew up in the same Houston neighborhood as Floyd.
Jackson said he and Floyd called each other "Twin."
"My brother was only out there in Minnesota, he was changing his life, he went to Minnesota, he was driving trucks. I just sent him two, three boxes of clothes. My boy was doing what he was supposed to do, man, and y'all go kill my brother, man," Jackson said in the video post.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: George Floyd remembered as 'gentle giant,' family calls death 'murder'