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George Floyd’s memorial service to be held in Minneapolis

George Floyd’s memorial service to be held in Minneapolis

Mourners gathered in Minneapolis on Thursday for the first of a series of memorials for George Floyd, whose death at the hands of police has sparked turbulent protests around the world against racial injustice – as his family’s attorney says it will be a celebration of his life but also a plea to America not

Mourners gathered in Minneapolis on Thursday for the first of a series of memorials for George Floyd, whose death at the hands of police has sparked turbulent protests around the world against racial injustice – as his family’s attorney says it will be a celebration of his life but also a plea to America not to let his death be in vain.  

The service is being held at the Lindquist Sanctuary at North Central University in Minneapolis in the first of three that will be held for Floyd in different cities over the next six days.  

Inside the sanctuary, his golden casket was flanked by white and purple flowers inside the university’s Lindquist Sanctuary where an image was also projected of a mural painted at the street corner where Floyd was pinned to the ground by police. 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 mourners wore masks. 

Civil rights leader Reverend Al Sharpton and Floyd’s relatives will be among those addressing the memorial service.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson and members of Congress, including Reps. Ilhan Omar, Sheila Jackson-Lee and Ayana Pressley prayed over the casket. Sen. Amy Klobuchar also arrived. A band and choir performed the gospel standard ‘Goin’ Up Yonder’ as the sanctuary began to fill. 

Seats were also reserved for actors and comedians Kevin Hart, Tiffany Haddish and Regina Hall; actor and producer Tyler Perry; Martin Luther King III; Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz; Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, and others, though it wasn’t certain that all would attend.   

George Floyd's golden casket was flanked by white and purple flowers inside the North Central University Lindquist Sanctuary in Minneapolis on Thursday ahead of his memorial service

George Floyd’s golden casket was flanked by white and purple flowers inside the North Central University Lindquist Sanctuary in Minneapolis on Thursday ahead of his memorial service

The afternoon event was set for North Central University, where the civil rights leader the Rev. Al Sharpton was scheduled to be among those eulogizing the 46-year-old Floyd

The afternoon event was set for North Central University, where the civil rights leader the Rev. Al Sharpton was scheduled to be among those eulogizing the 46-year-old Floyd

Floyd’s death has empowered a national movement that has seen widespread demonstrations and civil strife in cities right across the United State to condemn racism and police abuses. 

Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo, who fired all four police officers now charged in Floyd’s killing, took a knee nearby as his body arrived ahead of the service. 

Floyd's memorial service will be held on Thursday afternoon in Minneapolis where he died at the hands of police last week

Floyd’s memorial service will be held on Thursday afternoon in Minneapolis where he died at the hands of police last week

Floyd’s Promethean casket is the same type of custom-made coffin that singers Aretha Franklin and James Brown were laid to rest in. 

In an interview with NBC’s Today at the site of the memorial, attorney Ben Crump said the Floyd family don’t want his death to be in vain. 

‘It’s going to be a celebration of life, but it’s also going to be a plea to America and a plea for justice that we don’t let his death be in vain,’ Crump said. 

‘We have a lot of high profile people coming. We want everybody to use their forces to say no more – we’re tired of dying at the hands of the people supposed to protect us.’  

It is the first of three memorial gatherings planned to honor Floyd’s life – the man whose name has been chanted by hundreds of thousands of people across the country. 

Floyd’s body will then travel to Raeford, North Carolina, where he was born 46 years ago, for a two-hour public viewing and private service for the family on Saturday. 

Finally, a public viewing will be held Monday in Houston, where he was raised and lived most of his life. A 500-person service on Tuesday will take place at The Fountain of Praise church and will include addresses from Sharpton, Crump, and the Rev. Remus E. Wright, the family pastor. 

Former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, may attend, and other political figures and celebrities are expected as well.

The mother of Ahmaud Arbery, the black man who was shot dead by two white men while out running, will attend Floyd’s memorial in Houston, her attorney Lee Merritt told TMZ

A private burial will follow.  

Due to the coronavirus, Fountain of Praise will be limited to 20 percent of its capacity and visitors will be required to wear masks. 

Actor Kevin Hart and musician Ludacris are seen during a memorial service for George Floyd on Thursday

Actor Kevin Hart and musician Ludacris are seen during a memorial service for George Floyd on Thursday

Martin Luther King III and his family pay their respects to George Floyd ahead of his memorial service in Minneapolis 

Civil rights activist Reverend Jesse Jackson and his son Jonathan Jackson pray in front of Floyd's coffin ahead of his service

Civil rights activist Reverend Jesse Jackson and his son Jonathan Jackson pray in front of Floyd’s coffin ahead of his service

Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz

Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar (left) and Minnesota Governor Tim Walz arrive ahead of Floyd’s memorial service

George Floyd's body was taken to the North Central University in Minneapolis on Thursday ahead of the first of three services that will be held in the different cities over the next six days

George Floyd’s body was taken to the North Central University in Minneapolis on Thursday ahead of the first of three services that will be held in the different cities over the next six days

Floyd's death has empowered a national movement that has seen widespread demonstrations and civil strife in cities right across the United State to condemn racism and police abuses

 Floyd’s death has empowered a national movement that has seen widespread demonstrations and civil strife in cities right across the United State to condemn racism and police abuses

Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo, who fired all four police officers now charged in Floyd's killing, took a knee nearby as his body arrived ahead of the service

Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo, who fired all four police officers now charged in Floyd’s killing, took a knee nearby as his body arrived ahead of the service

His casket was taken into the service with a cover brandishing a Promethean logo - the same type of custom-made coffin that singers Aretha Franklin and James Brown were laid to rest in

His casket was taken into the service with a cover brandishing a Promethean logo – the same type of custom-made coffin that singers Aretha Franklin and James Brown were laid to rest in

This will be the first of three memorial gatherings planned to honor Floyd's life - the man whose name has been chanted by hundreds of thousands of people across the country

This will be the first of three memorial gatherings planned to honor Floyd’s life – the man whose name has been chanted by hundreds of thousands of people across the country

Since his May 25 death in Minneapolis, Floyd's name has been chanted by hundreds of thousands of people and empowered a movement

Since his May 25 death in Minneapolis, Floyd’s name has been chanted by hundreds of thousands of people and empowered a movement

The organizers of the memorials want to acknowledge the meaning Floyd had in life to his large family and the broader meaning he has assumed in death, which happened after a white officer pressed a knee into the handcuffed black man’s neck for several minutes even after he stopped moving and pleading for air. 

‘It would be inadequate if you did not regard the life and love and celebration the family wants,’ said the Rev. Al Sharpton, the civil rights leader who will eulogize Floyd in two cities. 

‘But it would also be inadequate… if you acted as though we’re at a funeral that happened under natural circumstances.  

‘The family is not independent of the community. The family wants to see something happen.’ 

Both the memorials in Minneapolis and Houston will include personal tributes and eulogies about social justice, Sharpton said.  

Floyd’s final journey was designed with intention, Sharpton said. Having left Houston for Minneapolis in 2014 in search of a job and a new life, Floyd will retrace that path.

‘They collectively said we need to make the first memorial statement from the city he chose to go to make a living, that ended his life,’ he said. 

The memorial services to honor Floyd are extraordinary but so are the circumstances surrounding them. 

Since his May 25 death in Minneapolis, Floyd’s name has been chanted by hundreds of thousands of people and empowered a movement. 

Violent encounters between police, protesters, and observers have inflamed a country already reeling from the coronavirus pandemic. 

Attorney Ben Crump told NBC on Thursday that George Floyd's family don't want his death to be in vain. He said Floyd's memorial will be a celebration of his life but also a plea to America and a plea for justice

Attorney Ben Crump told NBC on Thursday that George Floyd’s family don’t want his death to be in vain. He said Floyd’s memorial will be a celebration of his life but also a plea to America and a plea for justice

Floyd's death has empowered a national movement that has seen widespread demonstrations and civil strife in cities right across the United State to condemn racism and police abuses. Pictured above is the memorial at the place where Floyd was killed

Floyd’s death has empowered a national movement that has seen widespread demonstrations and civil strife in cities right across the United State to condemn racism and police abuses. Pictured above is the memorial at the place where Floyd was killed

The service on Thursday is the first of three memorial gatherings planned to honor Floyd's life - the man whose name has been chanted by hundreds of thousands of people across the country

The service on Thursday is the first of three memorial gatherings planned to honor Floyd’s life – the man whose name has been chanted by hundreds of thousands of people across the country

Floyd’s memorial on Thursday will take place around the same time three Minneapolis police officers who were at the scene, but did not intervene, will face court for the first time. 

It comes as prosecutors on Wednesday leveled new criminal charges against all four policemen implicated in Floyd’s death after he was filmed being pinned by his neck to the street during an arrest. 

Derek Chauvin, who was jailed Friday on charges of third-degree murder and manslaughter, was newly charged with second-degree murder.

He was the white officer seen in widely circulated video footage kneeling on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes as Floyd gasped for air and repeatedly groaned, ‘Please, I can’t breathe.’ 

Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao – the three fellow officers fired from the Minneapolis police department along with Chauvin the next day – were charged on Wednesday with aiding and abetting both second-degree murder and manslaughter. 

Floyd’s family attorney said his relatives were relieved to hear all four officers had been charged. 

‘They had a sense of relief… they were very thankful,’ Crump said. ‘George Floyd’s family and many others believe the charge should be first degree, however, we’re relieved (it’s been upgraded). 

Crump said he didn’t believe the additional charges would have been brought if it were not for the widespread protests over the past week.

‘I don’t think we would have seen those charges. There’s evidence for these charges. There’s always evidence for many of these cases when white police kill black people, they just never get charged,’ he said. 

Following the charges, demonstrations seen over the past week across the US remained large but turned notably more subdued. 

In many cities, demonstrators defying nighttime curfews have been met by police in riot gear firing tear gas, mace and rubber bullets to disperse unruly crowds. 

National Guard troops have been activated in several states to assist local law enforcement. 

Derek Chauvin

Tou Thao

Derek Chauvin, who was jailed Friday on charges of third-degree murder and manslaughter, was newly charged with second-degree murder (left).  Tou Thao (right) charged on Wednesday with aiding and abetting both second-degree murder and manslaughter

J.A. Kueng

Thomas Lane

J.A. Kueng (left) and Thomas Lane (right) were also charged on Wednesday with aiding and abetting both second-degree murder and manslaughter



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