George Floyd’s funeral hears calls for racial justice


HOUSTON: The funeral for African American George Floyd, whose death in police custody caused global outrage, heard impassioned pleas for racial justice. Speakers in the church in Houston, Texas, lined up to remember a man whose “crime was that he was born black”, the BBC reported.

Floyd died in Minneapolis last month as a white police officer held a knee on his neck for nearly nine minutes, his final moments filmed on phones. Four police officers involved have been sacked and charged over his death. His coffin was taken to the Houston Memorial Gardens where he was buried beside his mother.

One of Floyd’s nieces, Brooke Williams, called for a change in laws which, she argued, were designed to disadvantage black people. “Why must this system be corrupt and broken?” she asked “Laws were already put in place for the African-American system to fail. And these laws need to be changed. No more hate crimes, please! Someone said ‘Make America Great Again’ but when has America ever been great?”

Republican President Donald Trump’s Democratic opponent in the November presidential election, Joe Biden. addressed the service in a video message, saying: “When there is justice for George Floyd, we will truly be on our way to racial justice in America.”

Biden has sharply criticised Trump, accusing him at the weekend of making “despicable” speculative remarks about Floyd. But the Democratic politician was himself recently accused of taking black American votes for granted when he said African Americans “ain’t black” if they even considered voting for Trump.

“George Floyd was not expendable – this is why we’re here,” said Al Green, the local Democratic congressman. “His crime was that he was born black.” Veteran civil rights activist Reverend Al Sharpton told the service: “All over the world I see grandchildren of slave masters tearing down slave masters’ statues.”

Talking about Floyd’s difficult life, he said: “God took the rejected stone and made him the cornerstone of a movement that’s gonna change the whole wide world.” In Minnesota, Governor Tim Walz called on people to honour the funeral by observing silence for eight minutes and 46 seconds, the time Floyd was pinned to the ground before he died.

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