Like so many others, Gayle King is in “deep despair” following the death of George Floyd.
Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, died last Monday shortly after being arrested for a non-violent act in Minneapolis. Video of the arrest shows white police officer Derek Chauvin with his knee on Floyd’s neck as Floyd says he can’t breathe and pleads for help. Chauvin has been fired and arrested.
“Extra’s” Billy Bush spoke with Gayle and asked her how she was feeling at the moment. She said, “It was a week of pain, Billy, to be honest with you, and then we go into a weekend of just real soul-crushing, searing kind of pain, and I think it’s because we saw it. We saw it in person, we saw George Floyd lose his life right before us and it’s the callousness of the way that it happened.”
She went on to describe Chauvin’s body language during the video, pointing out “He had his hand in his pocket, which is a universal sign of, ‘I am so comfortable’… I think I have to stop looking at the video because the video is too painful.”
King also shared her sorrow over hearing George call for his mother. “His life is slipping away, he is calling for his mama… his mother died two years ago. He’s crying for his mother… the most primal instinct we have because everybody knows that’s what your mother does, because she protects you.”
Gayle spoke about her fears for her own son, Will, who is 33 and lives in Los Angeles. “I worried all weekend,” she said. She asked him when he left the house to walk his dog to “not go out on a long walk.”
She is not just worried about Will, she is “very worried about all of us,” saying, “I don’t want us to miss this message.” Gayle wants less focus on the looters, saying, “the bigger story is the peaceful protest that is happening.”
The journalist also shared her thoughts on change, saying, “We should be all in this together, we should all be outraged by this story.” She pointed out that there are some great police officers out there, but insisted “policing in this country has got to change.”
As they ended the call, Billy asked how she was feeling. Gayle said she remains “in deep despair,” adding, “You also find me thinking maybe just maybe this could be the change. I’m so sorry it's happening at George Floyd’s expense, but I’m hoping this will be the game-changer that we’ve been looking for.”