Mourn­ers gather for Floyd ser­vice

Calgary Herald - - FRONT PAGE - BREN­DAN O’BRIEN

MIN­NEAPO­LIS •Hun­dreds of mourn­ers in Min­neapo­lis on Thurs­day re­mem­bered Ge­orge Floyd, the black man whose death in police cus­tody set off a wave of na­tion­wide protests that reached the doors of the White House and ig­nited a de­bate about race and jus­tice.

“Ev­ery­one wants jus­tice, we want jus­tice for Ge­orge, he’s go­ing to get it,” Philonise Floyd, Floyd’s brother, told a me­mo­rial ser­vice at a chapel in the Min­nesota city’s North Cen­tral Univer­sity.

“It’s crazy, man, all th­ese peo­ple came to see my brother, it’s amaz­ing he touched so many hearts,” said Floyd, wear­ing a dark suit and a badge with a photo of his brother and the words “I can’t breathe” on his lapel.

Floyd’s death on May 25 has be­come the lat­est flash­point for rage over police bru­tal­ity against African Amer­i­cans, pro­pel­ling the is­sue of race to the top of the agenda be­fore the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion in the United States on Nov. 3.

Derek Chau­vin, 44, was fired from the Min­neapo­lis police force and charged with sec­ond-de­gree mur­der af­ter be­ing filmed kneel­ing on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine min­utes as Floyd gasped for air and re­peat­edly groaned, “Please, I can’t breathe.”

Police say they sus­pected Floyd, 46, of us­ing a coun­ter­feit bill to pay for cig­a­rettes.

Huge crowds have de­fied cur­fews and taken to the streets across the coun­try for nine nights in some­times vi­o­lent protests that prompted Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump to threaten to send in the mil­i­tary.

“It’s go­ing to take a united ef­fort in­side the court­room and out­side the court­room to get jus­tice for Ge­orge Floyd,” Ben Crump, a lawyer for Floyd’s fam­ily, told the me­mo­rial ser­vice.

On Thurs­day the three of­fi­cers charged with aid­ing and abet­ting the mur­der of Floyd made their first ap­pear­ances in court, where bail was set at $1.35 mil­lion but would be low­ered to $1 mil­lion if they agreed to cer­tain con­di­tions.

In New York City, thou­sands at­tended a me­mo­rial event in a Brook­lyn park. Many knelt in a sym­bol of protest and chanted, “No Jus­tice. No Peace.”

Mayor Bill de Bla­sio called on white peo­ple to do more to un­der­stand African-amer­i­can com­mu­ni­ties.

“For all of us who have not walked a mile in the shoes of the black com­mu­nity ... we need to do more, be­cause we don’t even fully rec­og­nize the daily pain that the racism in this so­ci­ety causes,” he said.

Ser­vices for Floyd are ex­pected to stretch across six days. Memo­ri­als will also be held on Satur­day in Hoke County, North Carolina, where Floyd’s sis­ter lives, and in Hous­ton on Mon­day, near where Floyd had lived. A funeral is planned for Tues­day with pri­vate ser­vices at an undis­closed lo­ca­tion.

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