'Martyr for change': George Floyd memorialised in his hometown Houston

Updated: Jun 10, 2020, 01:49 PM(IST)

George Floyd, a black man whose death under the knee of a white police officer roused worldwide protests against racial injustice, was memorialised at his funeral on Tuesday as "an ordinary brother" transformed by fate into the "cornerstone of a movement."

Broadcasted nationwide

During a four-hour service broadcast live on every major US television network from a church in Floyd's boyhood home of Houston, family members, clergy and politicians exhorted Americans to turn grief and outrage at his death into a moment of reckoning for the nation.

(Photograph:Reuters)

“I can’t breathe”

The funeral followed two weeks of protests ignited by graphic video footage of Floyd, 46, handcuffed and lying face down on a Minneapolis street while an officer kneels into the back of his neck for nearly nine minutes. The video shows Floyd gasping for air as he cries out, "Mama," and groans, "Please, I can't breathe," before falling silent and still.

(Photograph:Reuters)

Officers charged with murder

The officer, Derek Chauvin, 44, has since been charged with second-degree murder and three other officers with aiding and abetting Floyd's May 25 death. All were dismissed from the department a day after the incident.

(Photograph:Reuters)

Global movement triggered

Floyd's dying words have become a rallying cry for hundreds of thousands of protesters around the globe who have since taken to the streets, undaunted by the coronavirus pandemic, demanding justice for Floyd and an end to mistreatment of minorities by U.S. law enforcement.

(Photograph:Reuters)

‘Big Floyd’

Williams was one of several relatives and friends who addressed the service, remembering Floyd as a loving, larger-than-life personality. The memorial was punctuated by gospel music and a video montage of shared memories of the man affectionately known as "Big Floyd."

(Photograph:Reuters)

‘An ordinary brother

Civil rights activist the Rev Al Sharpton called Floyd "an ordinary brother" who grew up in a housing project but left behind a legacy of greatness despite rejections in jobs and sports that prevented him from achieving all that he once aspired to become.

(Photograph:Reuters)

Families of other victims attend

Among those in attendance were loved ones of several other black men killed by white police or white civilians. The mother of Eric Garner, the New York man who died in a police chokehold in 2014, was present, as was the family of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old Georgia man who was shot and killed in February while jogging. Three white men were charged in his death.

(Photograph:Reuters)

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