Cities across the nation have been rocked by both peaceful protests and violent, fiery riots. Buildings across the country have burned. And it all leads back to George Floyd, who was killed in police custody in Minneapolis, MN.
Floyd, 46, died on May 25 after an officer was seen with his knee on Floyd’s neck. Officers had handcuffed him for allegedly using a counterfeit $20 bill and were trying to force him into a squad car when he became stiff. Floyd told them he was “not resisting,” but that he did not want to get in the squad car and he was claustrophobic.
Floyd eventually fell to the ground, still handcuffed, and continued to be restrained until he stopped moving.
Derek Chauvin, a 44-year-old officer who was seen in a video with his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes, is facing charges of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter. The three other officers at the scene — Thomas Lane, 37, Tou Thao, 34, and J Alexander Kueng, 26 — are facing charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting manslaughter.
The family of George Floyd called for protesters to “take a breath’’ as they embark on a series of memorial services to honor the man whose videotaped death has shocked and angered people around the world.
The May 25 killing at the hands of Minneapolis police sparked a week of protests worldwide against police violence and racism.
The first of several memorial services was to be held in Minneapolis on Thursday at North Central University with the Rev. Al Sharpton delivering the eulogy.
Another memorial service is scheduled for Saturday, June 6, in Raeford, North Carolina. A public viewing will be at Cape Fear Conference B Headquarters from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. with a memorial service scheduled at 3 p.m. Floyd, 46, was born in North Carolina.
On June 8, a celebration of life service, is scheduled in Houston, Texas, where Floyd previously lived. A public visitation is scheduled at The Fountain of Praise on Hillcroft Avenue from noon to 6 p.m.
A private funeral service also is scheduled there on June 9 at 11 a.m. Former Vice President Joe Biden is expected to attend.
On Wednesday, Minnesota State Attorney General Keith Ellison elevated charges against former Officer Derek Chauvin, who was videotaped kneeling on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes to second-degree murder.
The three other Minneapolis police officers at the scene will face charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder. All of the officers had been fired.
At a press conference on Wednesday, Floyd family attorney Ben Crump stated: “Let’s take a breath for George Floyd as we get ready to memorialize him this week and lay him to his final rest on next Tuesday.’’
“Let’s take a breath this week to heal the country and to remember George. Let’s follow George’s example, he would have wanted a peaceful protest.’’
Crump went on to ask people to remember Breonna Taylor, who was shot to death at her home on March 13 in Louisville, Kentucky.
He asked people to “take a breath’’ for a host of others who have died at the hands of police, including Ahmaud Arbery, Terence Crutcher, Pamela Turner, Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, Laquan McDonald, Sandra Bland, Natasha McKenny, Stefan Clark, Corey Jones, Botham Joan, Eric Gardner, Freddie Gray, Walter Scott, Jamar Clark, Michael Brown and Tamir Rice.