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George Floyd's former partner and Rayshard Brooks' widow know each other's pain: "Keep fighting, don't stop"

Brooks' widow and Floyd's former partner meet
Rayshard Brooks' widow and George Floyd's former partner meet for the first time 05:16

Rayshard Brooks' widow, Tomika Miller, and George Floyd's former partner, Roxie Washington, belong to a club no one wants to belong to. When a black man dies violently in the U.S., no one understands that stab of pain like another family who has gone through the same thing.

"CBS This Morning" invited Miller and Washington to meet for the first time, and when they did, they hugged and consoled each other.

"I really, really hope you get through it," Miller told Washington.

"I hope we get through it," Washington said.

They relate to each other's anguish like best friends.

"Keep fighting, don't stop," Miller said.

"I'm never going to stop," Washington said.

On May 25, Floyd died on a Minneapolis street, a cop's knee pressed on his neck for more than eight minutes. Eighteen days later, an Atlanta cop suspected Brooks of DUI. When Brooks ran, officer Garrett Rolfe shot him twice in the back.  

Brooks and Miller had four children. Miller said she is "pretty numb." "I'm still in disbelief," she told CBS News correspondent Mark Strassmann.

"We take it day by day," Washington told Strassmann. She and Floyd had a 6-year-old daughter, Gianna, and the hardest part, Washington said, is the questions she asks like, "Can she go to heaven? When is she going to be able to see her daddy again?"

Washington had wanted to meet Miller after seeing what happened to Brooks. 

"When I saw you and the babies, I was like, I got to get to her," she said.

"I was excited to see her," Miller said. "I felt God sent me a spiritual sister who knows my pain."

Like millions of people, Miller watched Floyd die. She and Brooks had talked about it.

"My husband was in disbelief. … He was heartbroken. He actually cried," Miller said. "When it happened to me, I couldn't believe it. I never thought it could happen."

Millions also watched the shooting of Brooks, including Washington.

"When I saw it, I was like, not again. Not again," she said.

Neither will watch the video of the man in her life dying. But, both were fascinated by the protests that followed.

"It made me feel good to know that his name will be remembered until the end," Washington said. 

They may not have known Floyd, "but they loved him," she said.

Miller recognized the diversity of the protesters.

"That it brought all different colors and races together," she said. "It means so much to me. It means so much."

After Floyd died, Gianna said something remarkable to her mother.

"She's like, 'Daddy changed the world,'" Washington said. She also told her mom, "I believe that there are some good cops, and there are some bad cops." 

One officer involved in both Floyd's and Brooks' deaths was charged with murder. Derek Chauvin sits behind bars for Floyd's death awaiting trial. But Rolfe is free after posting a $500,000 bond.

"I don't even want to speak about him," Miller said.

Washington understood and comforted Miller. "I'm sorry," she told her.

Chauvin has not entered a plea and his representatives did not immediately respond to CBS News' request for comment. Rolfe's attorneys say he intends to fight the charges and argue the shooting was justified because Brooks fired a taser at police.

Both Miller and Washington want justice. To Washington, justice is for both officers to spend the rest of their lives behind bars. Miller said she doesn't know what justice is at this point.

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