A ceremony in memory of George Floyd, whose death under the knee of a white police officer sparked a deep wave of anger across the United States, began Thursday, June 4 in Minneapolis, after a quieter night in the country than the previous ones. A large crowd gathered in the early afternoon at North Central Christian University to pay their first public tribute to the 46-year-old African American who died of asphyxiation on May 25 during his arrest.
Before the ceremony began, the Reverend Jesse Jackson prayed before the coffin of George Floyd, followed by Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar. Representatives Ilhan Omar, Sheila Jackson-Lee, Ayana Pressley and Joyce Beatty were present, as well as the governor, Tim Walz and the mayor of Minneapolis, Jacob Frey.
Eight minutes and 46 seconds of silence
The ceremony notably began with a moving interpretation ofamazing Grace after the mayor of Minneapolis knelt, crying, in front of the coffin. Eight minutes and 46 seconds of silence were observed on Thursday during the tribute ceremony. It’s time the white policeman kneeling on George Floyd’s neck spent.
Speaking, the brother of the deceased, Philonise Floyd, denounced to the applause “The pandemic of racism and discrimination” who won it. George Floyd was killed by “The pandemic of racism and discrimination”, said family lawyer Ben Crump.
“It was not the coronavirus pandemic that killed George Floyd (…), it was the all too familiar pandemic in the United States of racism and discrimination that killed George Floyd. “
“It’s time for the police to be held accountable”
Reverend Al Sharpton said in his funeral eulogy: “He was a human being. He had a family, he had dreams, he had hopes. “ Figure of the civil rights movement, he then gave a political twist to his speech, denouncing the impunity of the police:
“It is time for the police and the justice system to be held accountable for the deaths of African Americans. “
“The time has come to hold the justice system to account”he said to America, assuring that the country had entered “The era of dealing with police methods”. “There is no excuse. ((…) We must not let this go, we cannot continue to live like that ”, he continued.
Another ceremony in memory of George Floyd is scheduled for Saturday in Raeford, in his hometown of North Carolina, before his funeral on Monday in Houston, Texas, where he grew up before joining Minneapolis. The final funeral ceremony on Tuesday will be restricted to those close to the ex-vigil.
New York mayor booed at ceremony for George Floyd
The mayor of New York was booed on Thursday by a crowd gathered in tribute to George Floyd, accusing him of tolerating increasingly muscular police interventions against protesters who denounce racial inequalities.
During the ceremony in the district of Brooklyn – organized in parallel with a tribute to Minneapolis -, the mayor had a lot of trouble making his speech heard: the crowd of several thousand people shouted “From Blasio Go Home! “ (From Blasio, go home) or “Vote them out!” “ (Get them out of power!). The mayor left shortly after.
Since a curfew in the US economic capital was imposed on Monday evening, extended to last Sunday, New York police have sometimes charged demonstrators who have defied orders to go home. Wednesday evening, she notably pushed the baton of protesters yet peaceful in Brooklyn, according to videos posted by social networks.
Questioned Thursday, the Democratic mayor, who had promised that the curfew was there only to avoid looting and clashes and not to prevent peaceful demonstrations, did not denounce these methods. “In the context of this crisis, in the context of the curfew, there is a time when too much is too much”said the councilor, re-elected for four years in November 2017.