'Get your knee off our necks!': George Floyd mourned in Minneapolis

06/05/2020

Menneapolis, June 5: Celebrities, musicians and political leaders gathered in front of George Floyd's golden casket Thursday for a fiery memorial service for the man whose death at the hands of police sparked global protests, with a civil rights leader declaring it is time for black people to demand, “Get your knee off our necks!”.

The service first in a series of memorials set for three cities over six days unfolded in Minneapolis at a sanctuary at North Central University as a judge a few blocks away set bail at $750,000 each for the three fired police officers charged with aiding and abetting murder in Floyd's death.

“George Floyd's story has been the story of black folks. Because ever since 401 years ago, the reason we could never be who we wanted and dreamed to be is you kept your knee on our neck,” the Rev. Al Sharpton said in a fierce eulogy.

“It's time for us to stand up in George's name and say, 'Get your knee off our necks!'” Floyd, a 46-year-old out-of-work bouncer, died May 25 after a white police officer, Derek Chauvin, put his knee on Floyd's neck for several minutes as he lay handcuffed on the pavement, gasping that he couldn't breathe. Chauvin has been charged with murder, and he and the others could get up to 40 years in prison.

From coast to coast, and from Paris and London to Sydney and Rio de Janeiro, the chilling cellphone video of Floyd's slow death has set off turbulent and sometimes violent demonstrations against police brutality, racism and inequality. Some protests continued Thursday.

Those gathered at the Minneapolis tribute stood in silence for 8 minutes, 46 seconds, the amount of time Floyd was alleged to be on the ground under the control of police.

Sharpton vowed that this will become a movement to “change the whole system of justice.” “Time is out for not holding you accountable! Time is out for you making excuses! Time is out for you trying to stall! Time is out for empty words and empty promses! Time is out for you filibustering and trying to stall the arm of justice!” he said.

The service drew the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sen. Amy Klobuchar and other members of Congress, including Reps. Ilhan Omar, Sheila Jackson Lee and Ayanna Pressley. Among the celebrities in attendance were T.I., Ludacris, Tyrese Gibson, Kevin Hart, Tiffany Haddish and Marsai Martin.

“All these people came to see my brother,” Philonise Floyd told the crowd at the memorial in awe as he recounted their childhoods playing catch and eating banana-mayonnaise sandwiches.

“That's amazing to me that he touched so many people's hearts because he touched our hearts.” He and other family members spoke lovingly of Floyd, who was well over 6 feet tall, which earned him the nickname “Big George.”

The casket was covered in red roses, and a vibrant image was projected above the pulpit of a mural of Floyd painted at the street corner where he was arrested by police on suspicion of passing a counterfeit $20 bill at a convenience store.

The message on the mural: “I can breathe now.” The sanctuary normally seats 1,000, but because of the coronavirus outbreak, the capacity was reduced to about 500, and many mourners wore masks, some with “I can't breathe” on them.

Outside, hundreds chanted Floyd's name as a hearse prepared to carry him away.

His body goes next to Raeford, North Carolina, near where he was born, for a public viewing and private family service on Saturday. A public viewing will be held Monday in Houston, where he was raised and lived most of his life.

In the US, where protests had been marked by bouts of lawlessness since last week, relative quiet prevailed for a third straight night Thursday, a day after prosecutors charged the three other officers at the scene and filed a new, more serious count of murder against Chauvin.

In New York City, a large crowd gathered at Brooklyn's Cadman Plaza and chanted “You are not alone” in a rally with one of George Floyd's brothers “I thank God for you all showing love to my brother,” said an emotional Terrence Floyd.

Peaceful demonstrations continued past the city's 8 pm curfew, even as Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio sought to 

deflect criticism over harsh tactics from police enforcing the curfew the night before. While there was a heavy police presence on the streets, they did not immediately move in to make arrests.

In Buffalo, video from television station WBFO showed an officer appearing to shove a man who walked up to police while they were enforcing a nightly curfew. The man falls backward, hits his head on the pavement and immediately begins bleeding as officers walk past him. A county official tweeted that the man was hospitalised and stable, but his exact condition was not immediately known.

News outlets reported that Buffalo Police Commissioner Byron Lockwood suspended two officers late Thursday.

In Washington, the law enforcement presence was much lighter compared to the previous night, and thousands of people marched peacefully from near the White House to the Lincoln Memorial. Police cleared the largely empty streets of cars just ahead of the demonstrators' path.

The protests broke up before dark as a heavy rain began.-Agencies

Related News

Protests heat up as curfews imposed in several US cities

Minniapolis, May 31: Civil unrest flared and curfews were imposed in several major US cities on Saturday as demonstrators took to the streets to vent outrage at the death of a black man shown on video gasping for breath as a white Minneapolis policeman knelt on his neck. From Los…

George Floyd died of "neck compression", it was "homicide": Autopsy

Washington, June 2: Two doctors who carried out an independent autopsy of George Floyd, the black man whose death in Minneapolis police custody last week triggered nationwide protests, said on Monday that he died from asphyxiation and that his death was a homicide. The doctors also said Floyd had no…

Modi confident of getting growth back; says onus now on industry

New Delhi, June 2: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday expressed confidence that India would revert to the high economic growth path if industrialists took advantage of the Rs 20-lakh crore fiscal support package and the opening up of several strategic sectors. According to the Indian Media, Asking the…

Trump threatens to call in troops to end unrest

Washington, June 3: President Donald Trump has threatened to deploy the military if the states fail to take necessary action to "dominate the streets" and "quell" the violent protests that have spread across the country over the custodial killing of African-American George Floyd. During a hurriedly-convened address to the nation…

Former Defense Secretary Mattis denounces Trump and military response to crisis

Washington, June 4: After long refusing to explicitly criticize a sitting president, former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis accused President Donald Trump on Wednesday of trying to divide America and roundly denounced a militarization of the US response to civil unrest. The remarks by Mattis, an influential retired Marine general who…

Floyd’s killing: New charges against 4 Minneapolis policemen as protests continue

Minneapolis, June 4: Prosecutors on Wednesday leveled new criminal charges against four Minneapolis policemen implicated in the death of a black man pinned by his neck to the street during an arrest that sparked more than a week of nationwide protest and civil strife. The added murder charge filed against…

Video

Find Us on Facebook

From Social