Mourners gather for George Floyd’s funeral
HOUSTON – Mourners dressed in black, some of them wearing shirts with the words “I can’t breathe” on them, gathered on Tuesday at a Houston church for the funeral of George Floyd, whose death in police custody inspired anti-racism rallies around the world.
Outside the Fountain of Praise Church, the streets were lined with American flags as those invited to the service filed inside and onlookers stood in quiet respect. Flowers and bouquets were piled around a photograph of Floyd.
After the service, a funeral procession was scheduled to travel about 15 miles (24 km) to Houston Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Pearland, Texas. His body will arrive at the cemetery in a horse-drawn carriage for burial alongside his mother.
Floyd, a 46-year-old African American who grew up in the Texas city, died on May 25 after a white police officer in Minneapolis pinned him with a knee to the neck for nearly nine minutes. A bystander’s video captured the incident in excruciating detail, including his saying “I can’t breathe” and crying out for his mother.
“It was the worst thing I ever could have imagined, watching him going from speaking and breathing to turning blue,” said Godfrey Johnson, 45, as he arrived at the church. Johnson attended Floyd’s high school and played football with him.
About 500 people were invited to the funeral, which followed memorial services last week in Minneapolis and Raeford, the North Carolina town where Floyd was born.
Among those arriving at the church were US Representative Sheila Jackson Lee and other members of the Congressional Black Caucus; Cal McNair, chief executive of the Houston Texans professional football team; and one of the Texan players, J.J. Watt. Families of other black men who have been shot by police were invited to attend, according to local news outlet KHOU.
Floyd’s death has unleashed a wave of protests across the United States and cities in other countries against racism and the systematic mistreatment of black people. (Reuters)