Family and close friends of George Floyd are gathering in Houston, Texas, on Tuesday, to bid him farewell in a private funeral service. Floyd died brutally at the hands of police in Minneapolis, 15 days ago.
His asphyxiation amidst his cries for help was captured on video sparking a global movement that has seen hundreds of thousands take to the streets to emphasise that ‘Black Lives Matter’, seeking both justice for his and other deaths at the hands of police while demanding reforms on how policing is conducted.
SABC’s Sherwin Bryce-Pearse reports on protests in the US:
It’s a tragic moment that shook the consciousness of a nation. A death so brutal, it’s been referred to as a modern-day lynching.
All four former officers are behind bars including Derek Chauvin, who refused to remove his knee from George Floyd’s neck.
His death brought large crowds to the streets, in mostly peaceful protests that have blurred demographics.v
Thousands lined up at a final memorial Monday to view his body that lay in repose. Among them was Rodney Glover, who said, “We want to show support to the George Floyd family. Secondly, we want to make a statement to the world that black lives do matter. To me, the support is essential. And not just the black community. Everyone should be a part of this to help make a change.”
Jennifer Edwards also came to pay her respects. “That could have easily been my son in there and so, I feel like I should, as a mom, express the importance of what it is to be black in America. It’s fearful. It’s a heart-wrenching. And at this point, I just feel that definite change needs to come about immediately.”
More details about the memorial:
Behind, Floyd leaves a family stricken with grief but enriched by a nation’s solidarity.
“I want to thank everybody who came out to see my brother and cheer him on to victory for his last lap. Just being here, thinking about my brother, he’s the gentle giant. And he had his life taken away when he shouldn’t have been. He should have been here speaking on somebody else’s behalf right now. As I told you, we grew up together, eating banana mayonnaise sandwiches. No, seriously, just having fun and a house full of love,” says George’s brother Philonise Floyd.
Many protestors have called for changes to police training and to how their departments are funded, while Congressional Democrats introduced sweeping legislation of police reform that seeks to provide greater accountability for officers.
“Let us, my colleagues, just go over some of those names of martyrdom: George Floyd, Jackson Davis, Oscar Grant … so sad, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Botham John, Terence Crutcher, Philando Castile, Freddie Gray, Walter Scott, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin. We cannot settle for anything less than transformative structural change, which is why the Justice and Policing Act will remove barriers to prosecuting police misconduct in covering damages by addressing the quality immunity doctrine,” says Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi.
Both presidential candidates, Joe Biden and incumbent Donald Trump don’t support defunding the police or disbanding their departments.
“I’m very proud of them. There won’t be defunding. There won’t be dismantling of our police. And there’s not going to be any disbanding of our police. Our police have been letting us live in peace. And, we want to make sure we don’t have any bad actors in there.”
A three-state, five-day final journey for George Floyd is ending on Tuesday – an inflection point, many hope, for a nation on its knees.
In South Africa, the Economic Freedom Fighters also took to the streets:
The EFF leader Julius Malema on Monday called on all black people across the world to unite and intensify the fight against racism. He was speaking at the offices of the US embassy in Pretoria in a show of support for African Americans who have been protesting against the killing of George Floyd by a white police officer.