It now represents a global symbol of police and racist violence in the United States. Between tears and political slogans, the funeral of George Floyd, in a Texas church on Tuesday, June 9, mixed tributes to this black man killed by a white police officer and fiery calls to finally attack racism which “Hurts the soul” from America.
Pastor Mia Wright of Fountain of Praise Church in Houston immediately set the tone for the funeral, which was broadcast live in millions of homes:
“We may cry, grieve, but we will find comfort and hope! “
In the first register, the relatives of George Floyd greeted “Big George”, their “Super-Man”, their “Sweet giant” whose stature of nearly two meters did not prevent a police officer from suffocating him, kneeling for almost nine minutes on his neck, two weeks ago in Minneapolis, in the north of the country where he had left to live a few years ago.
“The time for racial justice has come”
“You have to grieve in public, it’s difficult”, Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden told them in an intimate video released during the ceremony. But, for him, “The time for racial justice has come”. “We can no longer turn away from the racism that hurts our souls”added the former vice president of Barack Obama, who enjoys great popularity among black voters.
Several elected Democrats, including the mayor of Houston, Sylvester Turner, who announced a reform of the city’s police, spoke at the podium, but it was George Floyd’s young niece who ventured the furthest on the political field.
“Some say he wants to make America great again”said Brooke Williams, referring to Donald Trump’s campaign slogan. “But when was America big?” “, she asked herself, denouncing the “Racial hatred” in the USA.
President Donald Trump “Didn’t have a word” for the ordeal of George Floyd, accused the Rev. Al Sharpton at the funeral. “The president spoke of calling the soldiers in for reinforcement” to restore calm in the cities shaken by violence following this drama, noted this figure of civil rights. “But he didn’t have a word for the eight minutes and forty-six seconds of this police murder”, he added.
Donald Trump initially denounced a “Sad and tragic death” but has since emphasized violence against demonstrators on the sidelines of protests against racism and police brutality. In a tweet on Tuesday, on the contrary, he questioned the credibility of a 75-year-old man recently pushed by the police during a demonstration.
“Clean the White House”
The ordeal of George Floyd, whose video has gone viral, has sparked unprecedented mobilization in the United States since the civil rights struggle in the 1960s. “Black Lives matter” (Black Lives Counts), calls to reform the police and fight racial inequality have spread around the world.
But Donald Trump, who will run for a second term in November, camped on a speech of firmness. “The first thing we need to do is clean up the White House”concluded, to the applause of the church, the Reverend Bill Lawson by calling on the Americans to ” vote “.
Interspersed with gospel songs, the funeral also saw an artist draw the face of George Floyd in white line, on a black canvas. The first white figure to speak, Pastor Steve Wells called out to his community:
“We are better than before, but we are not as good as we should be and that is not enough”
Buried alongside his mother
At the end of the ceremony, George Floyd must be buried alongside his mother Larcenia, 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 ” mum “.
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, initially 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 charge against Derek Chauvin was reclassified from “Murder”, a crime punishable by forty 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.
In France, tributes took place Tuesday evening in several cities (Lille, Grenoble, Paris, Dijon, Amiens …), to salute the memory of George Floyd, at the time of his funeral.
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