White Woman Shouts Racial Slur at George Floyd Hologram Event: 'Look at That N***** S***'

A video circulating social media captured a white woman yelling a racial slur at a group of people behind the camera during Tuesday's unveiling of a three-dimensional hologram of George Floyd in Virginia.

"This is public property. This is my city," the woman shouts, appearing to push one person away.

Someone behind the camera then calls her "a racist," asking her to leave. But the woman replies, pointing to another person off camera: "Look at that n***** s***."

Mikhail Smith, an activist and photojournalist from Richmond, captured the video Tuesday. Several people had gathered that night in front of the Confederate General Robert E. Lee statue in Richmond to watch the unveiling of a three-dimensional hologram of Floyd, who died in Minneapolis police custody May 25.

Smith told Newsweek that the woman was pointing to members of Floyd's family when she yelled the slur, who were gathered at the monument for the unveiling.

"Whoa, get the f*** out of here," Smith is heard yelling in response to the slur. Several men surround the woman, who stood with her hands on her hips until the 30-second video abruptly ends.

Smith said he "lost it" when the woman pointed to Floyd's family, he said. The woman entered the monument's circle — which has been blocked off for several weeks with barricades — as event organizers were setting up the hologram screen. The main reason Smith became upset was because the altercation occurred while a Richmond organization was performing an African ceremony and burning sage, he said.

Someone in a high-visibility vest escorted the woman out of the circle and back to her car before the situation further escalated. Smith said the woman's husband was waiting there for her, who Smith recognized from previous interactions.

"Her husband has been driving around the monument for weeks yelling slurs out," Smith said, adding that before Tuesday's incident he had never seen the woman before.

Smith said no charges had been filed against the woman to his knowledge, and that he just hoped the she would get help.

"I'm trying not to take the fact away that she's a racist, and it's blatant," Smith said. "And I mean even if she has a mental disorder, that doesn't excuse her from acting like that."

People should be paying more attention to Richmond, as the city is the former capital of the Confederacy, Smith said.

"People need to see what's happening out here in Richmond," he said. "Everybody's been focusing on Portland and Minneapolis and L.A. and New York...but the violence in Richmond is almost the same, in terms of the police brutality against the protesters."

Robert E. Lee Statue
People gather at the Lee monument to see the George Floyd hologram on July 28, 2020 in Richmond, Virginia. A video circulating social media captured a white woman yelling a racial slur at a group of people behind the camera hours before Tuesday’s unveiling of the hologram. Eze Amos/Getty

Members of Floyd's family gathered Tuesday evening to watch as a projection transposed the image of Floyd's head, shoulders and name over the Lee statue. The event was part of the George Floyd Hologram Memorial Project, which will display Floyd's hologram over four other Confederate statues across the U.S. this week.

"This project seeks to replace the monuments of racist Confederate memory with symbols of solidarity and justice," said Sylvia Rolle, a senior campaigner at Change.org, in a statement. "In collaboration with the family of George Floyd and the George Floyd Foundation, this project aims to reflect the power and beauty of those millions of voices standing up for change."

Change.org collaborated with the George Floyd Foundation to create the hologram initiative. Two of Floyd's brothers, Philonise and Rodney Floyd, attended Tuesday night's event.

"My brother George Floyd...he loves unity, he loves peace, he'd love what y'all are doing," Rodney Floyd told the crowd of around 500 people. "We love what y'all are doing."

Floyd's death ignited protests around the world meant to address police brutality and systemic racism. Many protesters have joined in a resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement, which was founded in 2013 following the acquittal of George Zimmerman, who fatally shot Trayvon Martin, an unarmed Black teenager.

Update 7/31/20, 1:05 p.m. ET: A previous version of this story stated that the George Floyd Hologram Memorial Project event took place after the altercation, but the altercation happened during the event. This article has also been updated to include additional background information and comments from Mikhail Smith, who captured the video.