- "And as we lay you to rest today, the movement won't rest until we get justice," Rev. Sharpton said.
- One of his nieces, Brooke Williams, called for a change in laws which in her view disadvantaged the black people.
- Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden also addressed mourners in a video.
Speakers at the funeral of George Floyd called for racial justice. Floyd, an African-American man, died after a white officer pinned him down on Floyd’s neck using his knee for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. Civil rights activist, Rev. Al Sharpton, delivered a powerful eulogy in Houston.
“And as we lay you to rest today, the movement won’t rest until we get justice,” Rev. Sharpton said. “Lives like George’s will not matter unless someone pays the cost for taking their lives,” Sharpton added.
One of his nieces, Brooke Williams, called for a change in laws which in her view disadvantaged the black people. “Why must the system be corrupt and broken,” she asked.
“Laws were already put in place for the African American system to fail,” she added. “These laws need to be changed . . .No more hate crimes, please. Someone said, ‘Make America great again,’ but when has America ever been great?”
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden also addressed mourners in a video:
“Now is the time for racial justice. That’s the answer we must give to our children when they ask why. Because when there is justice for George Floyd, we will truly be on our way to racial justice in America . . . And then, as you said, Gianna, your daddy will have ‘changed the world.’”
Earlier, in an interview with CBS News after a visit to Floyd’s family, Biden elaborated on Floyd’s daughter, Gianna, saying “daddy’s going to change the world.”
“I think what has happened here is one of the inflection points in American history, for real, in terms of civil liberties, civil rights and just treating people with dignity,” he had said.
The anti-racism protests, which began on May 25, the day Floyd was killed, have since spread across US cities, with calls for justice and an end to police brutality. The protesters, who chanted “no justice, no peace,” carried placards that said “He said I can’t breathe. Justice for George.” The protests have since gone global, with a number of countries, like Germany, Australia and the Netherlands, witnessing their own protests.
In a horrifying video, Chauvin pinned Floyd down with his knee as he lay on the ground during an arrest. The video footage was taken by a witness and was sent on social media. It showed Floyd helpless, asking the police not to kill him. Floyd said several times, “I can’t breathe!”
The officer is then heard telling him to relax he continues to pin him down. “My stomach hurts. My neck hurts. Everything hurts,” Floyd cries out. “[I need] water or something. Please. Please. I can’t breathe, officer. . . I cannot breathe. I cannot breathe.” In the footage witnesses are heard pleading with the police to let go the man but their pleas fell on deaf ears.
Floyd’s case is similar to Eric Garner’s, a black man who was unarmed and was killed in 2014 in New York. Garner was placed in a police chokehold, and pleaded for his life. Garner uttered the same phrase as Floyd: “I can’t breathe.” The police officer involved in Garner’s case was fired after the investigations were completed.
All four Minneapolis police officers were fired on May 26, following a video on Floyd’s last moments that went viral. Chauvin, who had Floyd pinned down on his knee, faces second degree murder and second degree manslaughter. The other three— Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane, and Tou Thao— face the charges of aiding and abetting second degree manslaughter with culpable negligence.