‘Get your knee off our necks’: Minneapolis honours George Floyd | USA Information

Minneapolis, United States – Eight minutes and 46 seconds of silence. Eight minutes, 46 seconds of prayer. For eight minutes and 46 seconds, 1000’s in Minneapolis, Minnesota, stood silently with their heads bowed to recollect George Floyd, the unarmed Black man killed by police right here final week.

It was the identical period of time {that a} white police officer knelt on Floyd’s neck as he cried out: “I am unable to breathe.”


It was an period of time that has change into a rallying cry throughout the USA in opposition to police brutality and violence in opposition to Black individuals.

“That is a very long time,” stated Reverend Al Sharpton, who eulogised Floyd on Thursday in Minneapolis.

“There isn’t any excuse. That they had sufficient time, that they had sufficient time,” he advised the gathering.

“George Floyd’s story has been the story of Black people. As a result of ever since 401 years in the past, the explanation we might by no means be who we wished and dreamed to be is you stored your knee on our neck,” he added. “It is time for us to face up in George’s title and say, ‘Get your knee off our necks!'”


Reverend Al Sharpton speaks throughout a memorial service for George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota [Lucas Jackson/Reuters] 

Thursday’s service was the primary of a number of memorials scheduled earlier than Floyd can be buried in Houston, Texas, the place he grew up on Tuesday. A weekend memorial is scheduled in North Carolina, the place Floyd was born.

Philonise Floyd advised mourners that his brother was like “a common” and folks wished to comply with him.

Philonise described George Floyd as a person who made individuals really feel “just like the president”. Folks “wished to greet him, wished to have enjoyable with him,” he stated.

Philonise spoke alongside different members of George Floyd’s household, every remembering Floyd as a sort and good man. Fridays, civil rights leaders, celebrities and politicians listened intently, at instances breaking out in applause for what was being stated. Thursday’s occasion was half memorial, half a name to motion to finish police violence and the tradition that many say has led to the deaths of so many African-People and different individuals of color by the hands of individuals.

“What we noticed in that video was evil. So America … as we memorialise George Floyd, don’t settle for evil,” stated Benjamin Crump, a distinguished civil rights lawyer who’s representing the Floyd household.

“Protest in opposition to evil. We can’t cooperate with evil. We can’t cooperate with torture,” Crump stated.

‘Floyd’s spirit is alive’

Whereas the memorial was invite-only, 1000’s of individuals gathered not removed from the location it was held, listening intently to the service on loudspeakers. One individual within the crowd described the eight minutes and 46 seconds of silence as a “highly effective” second.

“I am not gonna surrender, and we’re not gonna surrender till this world modifications,” stated Zenzele Isoke within the park the place the general public gathered to take heed to the service.


Folks gesture as George Floyd’s funeral automobile leaves a memorial service in Minneapolis, Minnesota [Lucas Jackson/Reuters] 

“[Floyd’s] spirit is alive in each breath that I draw,” she stated. “He is trying down and he is with us, so really we’re nearer collectively now than we have ever been.”

Mahlet Aschenaki stated Thursday’s occasion was vital so individuals might begin to heal.

“It is vital for us to return collectively and grieve as a result of we have now been on the market explanation for our anger, and now it is vital to return collectively within the grieving course of,” Aschenaki stated. “I feel it is actually good for the neighborhood to all be right here, present their assist and general simply be right here for his household.”

‘That is the period to cope with policing’

Floyd’s dying, captured on a video seen worldwide, set off mass protests over police and former regulation enforcement killings of unarmed Black individuals, together with Ahmaud Arbery in Atlanta, Georgia and Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky.

Sharpton introduced he and Floyd’s household will lead a march in Washington, DC, on August 28, the 57th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr’s unique March on Washington, which drew a whole lot of 1000’s of individuals.

“We’re going again to Washington,” Sharpton stated. “That is the period to cope with policing and felony justice.”

Sharpton’s emotive phrases got here a day after prosecutors introduced new prices in opposition to the 4 now-fired officers concerned within the dying.

Derek Chauvin, the officer who knelt on Floyd’s neck, had his beforehand introduced third-degree homicide cost upgraded to second-degree homicide. He additionally faces a second-degree manslaughter cost.


Folks gesture as they stand outdoors throughout a memorial service for George Floyd in Minneapolis [Leah Millis/Reuters] 

The opposite three officers face prices of aiding and abetting second-degree homicide and manslaughter. All 4 are in custody.

The costs had been one of many key calls for of protesters, who’ve rallied day by day for greater than per week in cities throughout the US. However protesters have vowed to proceed marching to demand an finish to police violence and extra systemic reforms.

“We do not have an issue denouncing violence,” Sharpton advised mourners on Thursday.

“We do not have an issue denouncing looting … but it surely looks as if some within the felony justice system have an issue taking a look at a tape, and realizing there’s possible trigger,” he stated. “America, that is the time of coping with accountability within the felony justice system.”

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