George Floyd’s aunt told Alpha News that Cortez Rice was sent a cease and desist letter in 2020 to make him stop claiming to be Floyd’s nephew.
Rice is a BLM activist who has been in the media spotlight since Floyd’s death. Last year, both the Washington Post and New York Times reported that the activist was George Floyd’s nephew. He even appeared on a Florida TV news station claiming that Floyd was his uncle in April of this year.
He grabbed headlines again after he led a protest outside a Minneapolis judge’s home earlier this month. Shortly after his controversial protest gained significant public attention, he hosted a Facebook livestream where he contradicted the Post and NYT, saying that he is not a blood relative of George Floyd.
“I never ever said that,” he claimed on the stream. “I say [Floyd’s] like an uncle, my kids called him uncle, he always say ‘blood don’t make you family, loyalty does.'”
However, George Floyd’s aunt, Angela Harrelson, tells a different story: she said that Rice was sent a cease and desist letter last year to make him stop claiming to be a member of Floyd’s family, she told Alpha News in an email.
She also said she “will be contacting the Washington post [sic] and any other news article that is putting this [claim of familial relation] out.”
Meanwhile, Rice may face legal issues related to his recent protest at the judge’s home. During the protest, he entered Judge Regina Chu’s private building. He then stood in the hallway outside her apartment/condo while livestreaming and publicly announcing her address.
Rice said he was there to “apply pressure” to the judge, who was facing criticism for her decision to not allow cameras in the courtroom during the trial of former Brooklyn Center police officer Kim Potter, who shot Daunte Wright.
Criminal defense lawyer Joe Tamburino said Rice’s claim that he meant the judge no harm might not hold up if legally challenged.
“If someone is just roaming the hallway [because] they’re lost, they don’t know what’s going on, of course [it’s not intimidation],” Tamburino told WCCO. However, Rice “has been active in social media and what he’s saying could be used against him to show his intent as to why he went to the judge’s residence,” the attorney observed.
Rice was also wearing what appeared to be a bulletproof vest during his protest. Given that he is a convicted violent felon, it is illegal under federal law for him to possess ballistic armor. Felons who violate this rule face up to three years in prison.
Despite the controversy that surrounds him, a portrait of Rice is hanging in the Minneapolis Central Library as he remains a celebrated member of the local activist community. His picture has been displayed in the library since Oct. 17 and will remain there through the end of November.