The hour of the last goodbye has come: the city of Houston, Texas, buries George Floyd on Tuesday after a shower of tributes for the one who today embodies the victims of racism and police violence in the United States around the world .
“It’s time to celebrate her life,” said Pastor Mia Wright in the crowded Fountain of Praise Church as she opened the funeral. “We may cry, grieve, but we will find comfort and hope.”
Relatives of George Floyd, a 46-year-old African American killed by a white policeman a fortnight ago in Minneapolis, in the north of the country, hugged each other in front of his open coffin, while a gospel group sang songs removed.
Silence was imposed on the arrival of the coffin, for which the police formed an honor guard.
The police have been on the dock since his death on May 25, in circumstances that continue to freeze America: pressed to the ground, handcuffed, George Floyd was asphyxiated by agent Derek Chauvin, who is remained kneeling on his neck for almost nine minutes.
A video of the scene, which has gone viral, prompted Americans to take to the streets by the thousands to demand an end to police brutality and racial discrimination, in protests of unprecedented scale since the civil rights movement of the 1960s.
From Europe to Australia, the anger movement has spread to several continents. “Racism is not just an American problem, but a global problem,” said family lawyer Benjamin Crump. “It’s all together that we will defeat him,” he said on Monday after the last public tribute to George Floyd.
More than 6,000 people had paraded all day in front of his coffin on display in the church for a prayer or to say a last word to him, fist raised.
Tuesday, the ceremony was reserved for 500 guests, relatives, some personalities such as actor Jamie Foxx or boxer Floyd Mayweather, as well as elected officials, all asked to wear a mask because of the new coronavirus.
“We want the family to know that they are not alone,” said Democrat parliamentarian Al Green upon arrival, hoping the anger would have a “lasting impact”.
George Floyd must then be buried alongside his mother Larcenia, who died in 2018, whose nickname “Cissy” was tattooed on the chest. During his ordeal, he had begged the police officer Derek Chauvin to release him by imploring “mom”.
Become the face of police brutality, the 44-year-old agent appeared for justice for the first time by video on Monday. At the hearing, the judge set a release bail amount of $ 1 million, subject to certain conditions.
It took four days for him to be arrested and charged, first with manslaughter. His three colleagues involved in the tragedy were not then worried.
This apparent leniency of justice had stirred anger and, by the last weekend in May, the protests had escalated into violence, with clashes and nightly looting in several cities across the country.
Curfews and the deployment of National Guard soldiers gradually restored calm.
At the same time, the charges against Derek Chauvin were reclassified as “murder”, a crime punishable by 40 years in prison, and his three colleagues were arrested and charged with aiding and abetting.
But the protests continue: tens of thousands of people, black and white, again marched quietly this weekend demanding for substantive law enforcement reforms.
Their appeals have been heard by Minneapolis City Council, which plans to dismantle municipal police to put everything back on track. In Congress, nearly 200 elected officials, the majority of them Democrats, introduced legislation to end the broad immunity enjoyed by police officers.
President Donald Trump continues to favor a speech of firmness. “We are not going to cut police funds, we are not going to dismantle the police,” the Republican billionaire said on Monday.