- This was the first memorial to be held for Floyd while two others are scheduled for Saturday and Tuesday.
- The family eulogized him as a gentle soul with a commanding presence, and expressed their gratitude for the love that the public had shown for him.
- Floyd’s family lawyer, Benjamin Crump, focused on justice in his speech and won applause from the crowd.
A memorial service in honor of George Floyd was held in Minneapolis on Thursday. His family, friends, and hundreds of celebrities, politicians and civic leaders gathered to pay their last respects to the 46 year-old. Floyd died after a white officer pinned him down using his knee.
His body lay in a golden casket. This was the first memorial to be held for Floyd while two others are scheduled for Saturday in Raeford, NC, where he was born, and another on Tuesday, at his funeral.
The family eulogized him as a gentle soul with a commanding presence, and expressed their gratitude for the love that the public had shown for him. His brother said that he wished Floyd was around, alive to see the great unity exhibited. His cousin, Shareeduh Tate, said Floyd was a kind and loving person whom everyone wanted to hang around.
“George was somebody who was always welcoming, always making people feel like that they were special. Nobody felt left out,” she said. “When I looked this time and saw marches where, in some cases, young whites outnumbered the blacks marching, I know that it’s a different time and a different season,” said Rev, Al Sharpton the national civil rights leader. “Go on home, George. Get your rest, George. You changed the world, George.”
Floyd’s family lawyer, Benjamin Crump, focused on justice in his speech and won applause from the crowd:
“What we saw in that video was evil. So America, we proclaim as we memorialize George Floyd, do not cooperate with evil. Protest against evil . . . Join the young people in the streets protesting against the evil, the inhumane, the torture that they witnessed in that video.”
A crowd of hundreds listened quietly outside the worship hall. At the end of the ceremony, the people were urged to observe moments of silence for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, the duration that police officer Derek Chauvin had his knee on Floyd’s neck as he pleaded for mercy.
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.
Peaceful protests continued in several cities nationwide, with Los Angeles and San Francisco lifting curfews that had been imposed due to the violent protests witnessed across the US. In Washington, DC, two members of the National Guard have been hospitalized after being struck by lightning at their duty posts shortly after midnight. They are said to be in stable condition.
Former president Barack Obama has also added his voice to the murder of the African-American. He encouraged the protesters while talking about police reforms. “I want you to know that you matter. I want you to know that your lives matter, that your dreams matter,” he said.
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!”