Hundreds pack Houston church for funeral of George Floyd

The Rev Al Sharpton speaks with Quincy Mason Floyd, son of George Floyd
The Rev Al Sharpton speaks with Quincy Mason Floyd, son of George Floyd (SIPA USA/PA Images)
18:44pm, Tue 09 Jun 2020
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Hundreds of mourners packed a Houston church for the funeral of George Floyd, capping six days of mourning for the black man whose death has led to a global reckoning over police brutality and racial injustice.

Floyd, 46, was to be laid to rest next to his mother in the suburb of Pearland. He called out for her as a white Minneapolis police officer pressed a knee on his neck May 25. Cellphone video of the encounter ignited protests and scattered violence in cities across the US and around the world.

While the service was private, at least 50 people gathered outside the Fountain of Praise church to pay their respects. Some held signs with messages including “Black Lives Matter” and “Together because of George Floyd.”

“There’s a real big change going on and everybody, especially black, right now should be a part of that,” said Kersey Biagase, who travelled more than three hours from Port Barre, Louisiana, with his girlfriend, Brandi Pickney.

The couple wore matching T-shirts she designed, printed with Floyd’s name and ’I Can’t Breathe’, the words he uttered before his death.

Several police officers from Texas Southern University stood guard at the sanctuary entrance, wearing face masks printed with Floyd’s dying words. The historically black school is next to the Houston housing project where Floyd grew up.

Many people fanned themselves with paper fans bearing an image of Floyd.

Dozens of Floyd’s family members, most dressed in white, were led into the sanctuary by the Rev Al Sharpton, the civil rights activist. They were joined by rapper Trae tha Truth, who helped organise a march last week in Houston attended by 60,000 people.

Floyd ’often spoke about being world famous one day and he has managed to make that happen in his death’, the funeral programme said.

The funeral came a day after about 6,000 people attended a public memorial, also in Houston, waiting for hours under a baking sun to pay their respects to Floyd, whose body lay in an open gold-coloured casket.

Over the past six days, memorials for Floyd were also held in Minneapolis, where he lived in recent years, and Raeford, North Carolina, near where he was born.

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