George Floyd to be buried in Houston: Live updates

Thousands bid farewell ahead of funeral of the black man whose death inspired worldwide anti-racism protests.

HOUSTON, TEXAS - JUNE 08: Cedrick Williams (L) and De Jaune Bickham visit a memorial and mural that honors George Floyd at the Scott Food Mart corner store in Houston''s Third Ward where Mr. Floyd grew
  • George Floyd, whose death sparked worldwide protests, will be laid to rest on Tuesday, next to his mother Larcenia Floyd.

  • Bail has been set at $1.25m for the former Minneapolis police officer who pinned George Floyd to the ground with his knee for nearly nine minutes as the unarmed Black man pleaded for air.
  • US congressional Democrats unveiled a sweeping package of legislation to combat police violence and racial injustice after two weeks of protests across the nation sparked by Floyd’s death.

Tuesday, June 9

12:20 GMT – More needs to be done to eradicate prejudice in the UK, says Boris Johnson

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has told his top ministers that there was more to be done to eradicate prejudice and create opportunity in the United Kingdom but society was much less racist than it was before, his spokesman said.

“The PM said we are a much, much less racist society than we were but we must also frankly acknowledge that there is so much more to do in eradicating prejudice and creating opportunity.”

Johnson also said he “heard” the message from those protesting after the killing of Floyd but that such action should not lead to violence, unlawful actions or the disregarding of social distancing, the spokesman added.

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson
 Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he ‘heard’ the messages from those protesting after the killing of Floyd [File:Reuters]

11:10 GMT – Manchester City’s Sterling backs anti-racism protests

“I think the protests – it’s a great starting point … to get your voice heard,” soccer international Raheem Sterling told the BBC, adding that it is time to go beyond debate and start, “implementing change”.

Manchester City’s England Sterling has backed anti-racism protests sparked by Floyd’s death. 

Raheem Sterling
“I think the protests – it’s a great starting point … to get your voice heard,” Manchester City’s English midfielder Raheem Sterling said. [File: AFP] 

10:40 GMT – Bon Appetit editor Adam Rapoport resigns after racially offensive photo resurfaces

Bon Appetit’s editor-in-chief, Adam Rapoport, have resigned after a 16-year-old picture of him with brownface resurfaced online and drew harsh criticism, coupled with a subsequent claim of discriminatory pay at the Conde Nast-owned US food magazine by a staff editor.

The picture, originally posted on the Instagram account of Rapoport’s wife Simone Shubuck in 2013, showed him in brownface makeup with her, according to several media reports. Shubuck’s Instagram account has since been taken private.

“From an extremely ill-conceived Halloween costume 16 years ago to my blind spots as an editor, I’ve not championed an inclusive vision,” Rapoport said in a post on Instagram.

08:15 GMT – London’s statues from ‘bygone’ imperial past to be reviewed, mayor says

London mayor Sadiq Khan has ordered a review of the capital’s statues and street names after the toppling of the statue of an English slave trader by anti-racism protesters triggered a debate about the demons of Britain’s imperial past.

A statue of Edward Colston, who made a fortune in the 17th century from trading West African slaves, was torn down and thrown into Bristol harbour on Sunday by a group of demonstrators taking part in a wave of protests following the death of Floyd.

“Our capital’s diversity is our greatest strength, yet our statues, road names and public spaces reflect a bygone era,” Khan said. He said some statues would be removed.

08:01 GMT – Family of black Frenchman who died in police custody call for national protest

The family of a black Frenchman who died in police custody in circumstances similar to the killing of George Floyd said they had spurned an offer of talks with the justice minister and called for a nationwide protest instead.

Adama Traore was celebrating his 24 birthday on July 19, 2016, when three police officers used their weight to restrain him. By the time he arrived at the police station, he was unconscious and could not be revived.

Medical experts differ on whether Traore died because of the restraint or because of an underlying medical condition. His family and their supporters have demanded that the officers involved be held to account. No one has been charged.

07:35 GMT – New York City protest: Anger at mayor response as city opens up

In an unprecedented protest in New York City, government employees past and present, joined calls for police reform within their own city.

The protest came on the day New York started easing COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.

 Al Jazeera’s Gabriel Elizondo reports from New York.


06:55 GMT – Japan’s NHK removes video about US protests after online outrage

Japanese public broadcaster NHK has apologised and deleted from its Twitter account an animated video aimed at explaining the background behind US protests for police reform but which sparked online outrage for its depiction of African Americans.

The 1:21 minute clip, which NHK had also broadcast, featured a tough-talking black narrator citing the wealth disparity between black and white Americans and the economic impact from the coronavirus.

But it made no mention of police brutality or the death of George Floyd.

In the clip, the narrator’s bodybuilder-like muscles were bursting out of a white top, while other African-American characters included a man with an afro and mutton chop sideburns, and a muscular man in a sleeveless purple suit, fedora-style hat and sandals strumming a guitar.

06:40 GMT – Police escort George Floyd’s casket to funeral home

George Floyd’s casket has been placed in a hearse and escorted by police back to a funeral home, following a public memorial in a Houston church.

About 6,000 people attended the memorial, ahead of a private funeral service on Tuesday.

George Floyd
 The casket of George Floyd is removed after a public visitation at the Fountain of Praise church  [AFP]

06:25 GMT – Self-described KKK leader charged for driving into US protesters

An “admitted” Ku Klux Klan leader who drove a vehicle into a crowd of peaceful Floyd protestors in the US state of Virginia is being investigated for possible hate crimes, a county attorney said.

The man has been charged with several offences after he “recklessly” drove into a crowd on Sunday, Henrico County’s Commonwealth Attorney Shannon Taylor said in a statement posted on Twitter.

US media reported one protester was injured in the incident near Richmond. The person was checked at the scene by emergency responders and refused further treatment.

04:45 GMT – No criminal charges for peaceful protesters in Los Angeles

Prosecutors said criminal charges will not be brought against thousands of Los Angeles protesters arrested for violating curfew and other police orders.

City Attorney Mike Feuer said his office would develop an alternate court without punishment for those cited for violating curfew or failing to obey orders to leave demonstrations, while District Attorney Jackie Lacey said she would not file charges in protest misdemeanour cases from other parts of Los Angeles County.

Police and sheriff’s deputies arrested more than 3,000 people over days of mostly peaceful protests. The vast majority of citations were in Los Angeles for violating curfew or dispersal orders.

Minneapolis City Council vows to disband police department (1:58)

04:16 GMT – Floyd’s family, rights groups call for UN probe

The American Civil Liberties Union said Floyd’s relatives joined some 600 rights groups to demand the top UN human rights body “urgently” convene a special session to look into a rise of police violence and repression of protests in the US.

A spokesman for the Human Rights Council in Geneva confirmed the council office received a letter on Monday from the groups outlining their call for an independent investigation into the recent killings of unarmed Black people in the US as well as one into “violent law enforcement responses to protests”.

The call included relatives of Floyd and family members of three other Black people who were killed by the police – Breonna Taylor, Michael Brown and Philando Castile.

04:05 GMT – Houston school holds vigil for Floyd

A vigil was held at Floyd’s high school in Houston, Texas, where his brothers spoke to the crowd and condemned police brutality.

“This is bigger than George right now. We’ve got to stop everybody from being afraid of the police,” said Philonise Floyd.

Floyd attended the Yates High School in 1993, where brother Rodney Floyd said he was known as a “football star”.

Residents take part in candlelight vigil for George Floyd on his high school football field in Houston
Residents and alumni of Yates high school take part in a candlelight vigil honouring Floyd, on the field he played football on in Houston, Texas [Adrees Latif/ Reuters]

02:44 GMT – Thousands attend service for Floyd

The last chance for the public to say goodbye to George Floyd drew thousands of mourners to a church in Houston where he grew up. 

Reflecting the weight of the moment, the service and public visitation drew the families of Black victims in other high-profile killings whose names have become seared in the US’s conversation over race – among them Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Ahmaud Arbery and Trayvon Martin.

“It just hurts,” said Philonise Floyd, George Floyd’s brother, sobbing as he ticked off some of their names outside the Fountain of Praise church. “We will get justice. We will get it. We will not let this door close.”

Organisers told Khou TV, a local television station, that 6,362 people attended the service. 

More here

George Floyd Houston
Mourners in line to pass by the casket of George Floyd during a public visitation at the Fountain of Praise church in Houston [Godofredo A Vasquez/ Pool/ AFP]
Floyd service
Mourners react as they visit Floyd’s casket [Godofredo A Vasquez/ Pool/ AFP]
Floyd Houston
Floyd’s casket is removed after a public visitation at the Fountain of Praise church [David J Phillip-Pool/Getty Images/AFP]

01:30 GMT – Minneapolis councillors back community programmes over police force

Four city councillors in Minneapolis who want to dismantle the city’s police have outlined plans to shift funding to community-based programmes to reduce violence and limit the need for a law enforcement force.

Councilmember Jeremiah Ellison told the media it could take a year to discuss reform with the public and devise “an entirely new apparatus for public safety” to replace the Minneapolis Police Department.

“I think there is this mistake that a lot of folks are making in thinking that we are talking about abolishing safety,” Ellison said. “No, we are talking about abolishing a failure of a police structure that doesn’t keep us safe.”

The councillors say they are expecting an amended budget proposal from Mayor Jacob Frey in the coming weeks. 

Monday, June 8

22:44 GMT – Attorney General Barr slams ‘dangerous’ calls to defund police

US Attorney General William Barr has criticised calls to defund or dismantle police forces and use their budgets for community projects, as demonstrations against police brutality continue.

“I think defunding the police, holding the entire police structure responsible for the actions of certain officers is wrong and I think it is dangerous to demonise police,” Barr told the Fox News Channel.

“If you pull back the police from these communities there will be, there will be more harm done in these communities,” Barr said.

22:08 GMT – Minneapolis police ‘strategically deflated’ tyres of parked vehicles

State officials in Minnesota confirmed that police officers patrolling Minneapolis during the recent unrest slashed the tyres of unoccupied vehicles in at least two locations in order to, as they put it, “stop behaviours such as vehicles driving dangerously and at high speeds in and around protesters and law enforcement”.

Videos and photographs obtained by Mother Jones magazine showed officers in tactical clothing stabbing the tyres of multiple vehicles in a car park. The Minneapolis Star Tribune identified the officers as being from Anoka County Sheriff’s office.

A spokesman for the Department of Public Safety, Bruce Gordon, confirmed that: “State Patrol troopers strategically deflated tyres,” Gordon told the paper. “While not a typical tactic, vehicles were being used as dangerous weapons and inhibited our ability to clear areas and keep areas safe where violent protests were occurring.”

Among the dozens of vehicle owners whose tyres were damaged was Star Tribune reporter Chris Serres, who was covering the protests on the night of May 30 and returned to his car about 1am. 

21:45 GMT – Pennsylvania Black legislators disrupt voting in call for reform

Black Democrats in the Pennsylvania state House of Representatives commandeered the podium for about 90 minutes at the start of the voting session on Monday in an effort to force action on police reform bills.

The dramatic takeover was paused when the Republican House speaker said he would consider putting proposals up for votes and that he supports a special session to consider the legislation.

The protesters, including veteran Black legislators from Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, hung a “Black Lives Matter” banner from the speaker’s dais and vowed they would not leave without movement on the stalled proposals.

21:11 GMT – Joe Biden meets Floyd’s family in Houston

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden showed compassion that “meant the world” to George Floyd’s family on Monday, according to a lawyer for the family.

Biden met with Floyd’s relatives in Houston for more than an hour, said lawyer Benjamin Crump, who posted a picture on Twitter of himself with Biden, Floyd’s uncle Roger, civil rights activist Reverend Al Sharpton and Representative Cedric Richmond.

Trump has also spoken with Floyd’s family in a call that Floyd’s brother Philonise said in interviews was brief and did not provide him with an opportunity to say much.

18:50 GMT – Trump mulling proposals in response to Floyd’s death

Trump is “appalled” by calls for police to be defunded and is looking at a number of proposals in response, according to spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany, who told a media briefing Trump is “taking a look at various” proposals in response to Floyd’s death, but offered no specifics.

McEnany said Trump believes there are some “instances” of racism among police, but added that the president sees the police as by-and-large good people.

Democrats in Congress unveiled legislation that would make lynching a hate crime and allow victims of misconduct and their families to sue police for damages in civil court, ending a legal doctrine known as “qualified immunity”.

18:30 GMT – Judge sets bail for former Minneapolis police officer 

Bail for Derek Chauvin the white former Minneapolis police officer charged with murdering George Floyd has been raised by $250,000 to $1.25m, the Minnesota-based Star Tribune reported.

Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder in Floyd’s May 25 death in Minneapolis when Chauvin knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes. Minnesota Assistant Attorney General Matthew Frank argued that the “severity of the charges”, as well as the strength of public opinion, made it more likely that Chauvin would flee if set free, the Star Tribune reported.

17:30 GMT – Mourners in Houston pay their respects to Floyd

Mourners are paying their respects to George Floyd, whose body is on view at a memorial in a church in his hometown of Houston. 

Many paused briefly to view Floyd’s body, some making the sign of the cross. Several hundred people stood in line to enter the church before the start of the visitation, all wearing masks. Some held umbrellas for shade as the sun beat down, and temperatures rose to about 32 degrees Celsius (90 Fahrenheit).

Those passing through the church were required to leave six feet between themselves and the next person in observation of physical distancing guidelines to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

George Floyd mourners
Mourners view the casket during a public visitation for George Floyd in Houston, Texas [Godofredo A Vasquez/Pool via Reuters]

16:50 GMT – Denver bans chokeholds

Denver’s police department announced it is changing policies regarding the use of force and body cameras.

In a statement, the department said it had banned the use of chokeholds, with no exceptions, effective immediately. Previously, the practice was barred except in lethal encounters, The Denver Post reported.

The department also said officers who intentionally point their gun at someone would be required to notify a supervisor and file a report to help collect data on such incidents. Members of its SWAT team will also have to activate their body cameras during tactical operations, the department said.

16:25 GMT – CrossFit founder apologises for ‘Floyd-19’ tweet

CrossFit founder Greg Glassman has apologised for a tweet that equated Floyd’s killing to the COVID-19 pandemic in which he responded to a tweet by research firm Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation that classified racism and discrimination as a public health issue, saying: “It’s FLOYD-19”.

The fallout was fast. Adidas AG-owned Reebok ended its 10-year-old partnership with CrossFit and updated its US homepage in support of the “Black Lives Matter” campaign.

In a statement on Twitter, Glassman said: “I, CrossFit HQ, and the CrossFit community will not stand for racism. I made a mistake by the words I chose yesterday. My heart is deeply saddened by the pain it has caused. It was a mistake, not racist but a mistake.”

16:05 GMT – Officer charged in Floyd’s death to appear in court

Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis police officer charged with second-degree murder in George Floyd’s death, is scheduled to make his first court appearance. He is also charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

Derek Chauvin
Former Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin in a booking photograph at Hennepin County Jail in Minneapolis, Minnesota [Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office/Handout via Reuters] 

Chauvin is being held at a state prison in Oakdale. The three other officers – J Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao – are charged with aiding and abetting. They remain in the Hennepin County jail on $750,000 bond.

16:00 GMT – Floyd’s coffin arrives at Houston church

The body of George Floyd arrived at a church in Houston for a final public memorial.

His body arrived in a gold-coloured coffin that was escorted to The Fountain of Praise church by Houston police. A six-hour viewing open to the public was scheduled to begin in the afternoon.

George Floyd
The coffin of George Floyd inside the church for a memorial service in Raeford, NC [Ed Clemente/Pool via AP] 

Before the coffin arrived, workers outside the church assembled a large floral arrangement with white roses on one side in the shape of a heart and with the initials “BLM” for Black Lives Matter created from blue roses and placed on top of the heart. The other side of the floral arrangement was made up of red roses and appeared to be in the shape of a raised fist.

15:00 GMT – Democrats unveil ‘Justice in Policing’ act to make wide-ranging changes to US police policy

The legislation addresses excessive use of force, qualified immunity and racial profiling, answering calls from protesters across the country after the death of George Floyd and other Black Americans while in police custody.

“It will demilitarise the police by limiting the transfer of military weaponry to state and local police departments,” said Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the US House of Representatives. 

It also proposes banning “no-knock” warrants, which allow police officers to enter a residence without warning. The legislation would require support by Republicans who control the upper house of the legislature. 

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuuck Schumer (D-NY) kneel with Congressional Democrats during a moment of silence to honor George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbe
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer kneel with Congressional Democrats during a silence to honour George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and others [Jonathan Ernst/Reuters]

14:20 GMT – Nancy Pelosi leads ‘moment of silence’ for Floyd

Members of the US Congress went down on one knee in Emancipation Hall in the US Capitol building, in silence for eight minutes 46 seconds – the length of time that Floyd spent pinned down by three police officers on a Minneapolis street corner.

The two dozen legislators included Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the US House of Representatives. 

13:00 GMT – Congressional Democrats to unveil sweeping US police reform proposal 

US congressional Democrats plan to unveil a sweeping package of legislation to combat police violence and racial injustice.

The proposal is expected to ban police chokeholds and racial profiling, require nationwide use of body cameras, subject police to civilian review boards and abolish the legal doctrine known as “qualified immunity”, which protects police from civil litigation, according to congressional sources.

Defund the police
Protesters painted ‘Defund the Police’ on the street near the ‘Black Lives Matter’ road mural near the White House in Washington, DC [Joshua Roberts/Reuters] 

It is unclear whether the proposal will receive support from Republicans, who control the US Senate. Their support, as well as that of Trump, also a Republican, would be needed for the measure to become law.

12:45 GMT – Trump opposes police defunding 

Protesters are pushing to “defund the police”, a chant that has become a rallying cry – and a stick for President Donald Trump to use on Democrats as he tries to portray them as soft on crime.

Trump has said he opposes the idea, and is set to meet with members of law enforcement at the White House on Monday afternoon.

Supporters say it is not about eliminating police departments or stripping agencies of all of their money, rather that it is time for the country to address systemic problems in policing and spend more on what communities across the country need, like housing and education.

Al Jazeera’s podcast The Take spoke to protesters. Listen here

12:30 GMT – Houston to hold six-hour public viewing of Floyd’s casket

Mourners will be able to view Floyd’s casket Monday in his hometown of Houston, the final stop in a series of memorials in his honour.

A six-hour public visitation will be held at The Fountain of Praise church in southwest Houston. Visitors will be required to wear face masks and gloves to comply with coronavirus-related guidelines.

New York City
Demonstrators holding a Black Lives Matter banner during a protest at Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn, New York City [Eduardo Munoz/Reuters]

Floyd’s funeral will be Tuesday, followed by burial at the Houston Memorial Gardens cemetery in suburban Pearland, where he will be laid to rest next to his mother, Larcenia Floyd.

See Sunday’s coverage here.

12:25 GMT – NYC mayor announces police reforms including shifting funding to youth programmes

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Sunday a series of police reforms that he said were part of a “transformative movement”.

Funding would be shifted from the New York Police Department (NYPD) to youth and social services, moving enforcement for street vending out of the police department to a civilian agency and adding community ambassadors to the NYPD to serve as liaisons between officers and New Yorkers.

“People did not protest for the sake of protest. They protest to achieve change, and now we must deliver that change,” de Blasio said.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies