A somber memorial service for George Floyd is underway in Minneapolis, Minnesota featuring a live gospel band, members of his extended family and an upcoming eulogy by Rev. Al Sharpton.
Floyd was murdered 10 days ago on Memorial Day by police officer Derek Chauvin, who knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes as Floyd begged for help and said he couldn’t breathe. Moments before he was killed, Floyd was arrested for allegedly using a counterfeit $20 bill at a grocery store.
A sprawling yellow and blue graphic with a drawing of Floyd’s face and his name hangs above the stage at North Central University’s sanctuary as his body rests in a mahogany coffin at the front of the room.
An emcee requested members of the audience to “socially distance” and wear masks while inside of the auditorium.
“Let’s show this family the dignity that they deserve,” the man implored the audience.
Members of Floyd’s family arrived just after 1 p.m. local time and are expected to speak, along with their counsel, civil rights attorney Ben Crump.
Floyd’s death caused widespread outrage and set off riots, looting and massive peaceful protests in all 50 states and abroad where demonstrators demanded accountability, reforms in the police department or an outright abolishment of cops all together.
Chauvin, originally charged with third-degree murder, which is killing without intent, saw those charges upgraded to second-degree murder Wednesday and the three other cops involved in the arrest were also cuffed and brought to jail.