Mourners watch as the casket of George Floyd is carried to his final resting place in Houston. AFP
George Floyd was fondly remembered on Tuesday as "Big Floyd” — a father and brother, athlete and neighbourhood mentor, and now a catalyst for change — at a funeral for the black man whose death has sparked a global reckoning over police brutality and racial prejudice.
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More than 500 mourners wearing masks to combat the coronavirus packed a Houston church a little more than two weeks after Floyd was pinned to the pavement by a white Minneapolis police officer who put a knee on his neck for what prosecutors said was 8 minutes, 46 seconds.
Cellphone video of the encounter, including Floyd’s pleas of "I can’t breathe,” ignited protests and scattered violence across the US and around the world, turning the 46-year-old Floyd — a man who in life was little known beyond the public housing project where he was raised in Houston’s Third Ward — into a worldwide symbol of injustice.
The funeral capped six days of mourning for Floyd in three cities: Raeford, North Carolina, near where he was born; Houston, where he grew up; and Minneapolis, where he died. The memorials have drawn the families of other black victims whose names have become familiar in the debate over race and justice - among them, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Ahmaud Arbery and Trayvon Martin.
After the service, Floyd’s golden casket was taken by hearse to the cemetery in the Houston suburb of Pearland to be entombed next to his mother, for whom he cried out as he lay dying. A mile from the graveyard, the casket was transferred to a glass-sided carriage drawn by a pair of white horses. A brass band played as his casket was taken inside the mausoleum.
Hundreds of people, some chanting, "Say his name, George Floyd,” gathered along the procession route and outside the cemetery entrance in the mid-90s heat.
George Floyd, who was 46 when he was killed, will be laid to rest next to his mother. On May 25, as a white Minneapolis officer pressed a knee on Floyd’s neck for several minutes, the dying man cried out for his mother.
George Floyd's death sparked nationwide protests demanding a reckoning with institutional racism that have sometimes resulted in clashes with police, but many officers took a less aggressive stance over the weekend when demonstrations were overwhelmingly peaceful.
The resignations were confirmed by the police union and two law enforcement officials that spoke to ‘The Buffalo News.’ Two members of the tactical unit, which responds to riots and crowd control, were suspended without pay on Thursday after video emerged of the confrontation during the emergency curfew.
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