1:11 PM PT — Al Sharpton just finished giving the eulogy and his words also brought the crowd to their feet. He said, “[George] did not die of common health conditions. He died of a common American criminal justice malfunction.” Sharpton also took a shot at President Trump’s recent photo-op and urged the Prez — without ever mentioning his name — to open the bible instead of using it as a prop. Sharpton said “George Floyd’s story has been the story of black folks, because ever since 401 years ago the reason we could never be who we wanted and dreamed to being is because you kept your knee on our neck. It’s time for us to stand up in George’s name and say get your knee off our necks.”
Sharpton also had a message for the flawed criminal justice system: “We don’t have a problem denouncing violence, Mr governor. We don’t have a problem, Mr. Mayor, denouncing looting. But it seems like some in the criminal justice system have a problem looking at a tape and knowing there’s probable cause and it takes a long time for you to go and do what you see that you need to do.”
12:59 PM PT — Floyd’s family remembered George as a magnetic presence regardless of who surrounded him. One said, “When he spoke to people, he made you feel special. They felt like they were the president because that’s how he made you feel.” They also remembered his big bear hugs. “No matter who you talked to, they all felt special. They never felt left out. He would embrace them. What I’ll miss the most about him is his hugs. When he wrapped his arms around you, it felt like your problems would go away.” They also talked about how George was a HUUUUGE LeBron James fan.
The lawyer repping Floyd’s family, Ben Crump, also gave an inspiring speech that brought everyone to their feet. He invoked the names of those who fell at the hands of injustice … from Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor to Eric Garner, Stephon Clark and Trayvon Martin. Crump also had these inspiring words justifying peaceful protests, “What we are doing is helping America be America for all Americans.”
The first of four services to honor George Floyd is about to get underway in Minneapolis … and you can follow it live right here.
Thursday’s memorial service will begin at 11 AM PT at the Frank J. Lindquist Sanctuary at North Central University. It’s a private event to be attended by family, friends and invitees of the Floyd family only.
Rev. Al Sharpton will deliver the eulogy.
On Saturday, a public viewing and a private memorial service will be held in Raeford, North Carolina. George was born nearby in Fayetteville, and his sister said “his family would remember him” in the state.
According to Hoke County Sheriff Hubert Peterkin … no protesting will be allowed at this service. Peterkin said, “The memorial is about the life that Mr. George Floyd lived, and this is a time to embrace the family with expressions of love and kindness.”
Finally, on Monday in Houston, there will be a public viewing at The Fountain of Praise Church, followed by a private service Tuesday. Floyd grew up in Houston but left several years ago when he moved to Minnesota.
Of course, Floyd was killed while Minneapolis PD arrested him on May 25. The video of his death — showing ex-cop Derek Chauvin pressing his knee on Floyd’s neck as he pled, “I can’t breathe” — set off a firestorm of outrage. Across the country, protests sprung up … a few of which escalated to riots and violence.
All 4 Minneapolis PD officers involved in the incident were fired within one day, and 4 days later Chauvin was arrested — initially charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
On Wednesday, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison added a 2nd-degree murder charge.
The 3 other ex-cops — Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Keung and Tou Thao — were also arrested and charged with felonies … aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.
Originally published — 10:20 AM PT