George Floyd funeral: Family calls for justice as mourners gather in his hometown

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Speakers in the church in Houston, Texas, lined up to remember a man whose “crime was that he was born black”. George Floyd was subject to a tragic death at the hands of a white police officer, who held a knee on his neck for nearly nine minutes. The incident took place last month in Minneapolis, where Mr Floyd’s final moments were filmed on phones.

Four of the police officers involved have been sacked and charged over his death.

The motorcade drove his coffin from the church to the Houston Memorial Gardens where he was to be buried beside his mother.

One of Mr Floyd’s nieces, Brooke Williams, called for a change in laws which, she argued, were designed to disadvantage black people.

“Why must this system be corrupt and broken?” she asked.

“Laws were already put in place for the African-American system to fail. And these laws need to be changed. No more hate crimes, please! Someone said ‘Make America Great Again’, but when has America ever been great?”

Democratic Presidential candidate, Joe Biden, addressed the service in a video message, saying: “When there is justice for George Floyd, we will truly be on our way to racial justice in America.”

The Democrat, who is running against Donald Trump in the November Presidential election has sharply criticised Mr Trump, accusing him at the weekend of making “despicable” speculative remarks about Mr Floyd.

But the Democratic politician was himself recently accused of taking black American votes for granted when he said African Americans “ain’t black” if they even considered voting for Mr Trump.

After visiting the family on Monday, the Democratic candidate told CBS: “His little daughter was there, the one who said ‘daddy’s going to change the world’, and I think her daddy is going to change the world.”

“I think what happened here is one of the great inflexion points in American history, for real, in terms of civil liberties, civil rights and just treating people with dignity.”

The service was attended by some 500 guests and was held at the Fountain of Praise church.

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The guests included celebrities and politicians.

“George Floyd was not expendable – this is why we’re here,” said Al Green, the local Democratic congressman. “His crime was that he was born black.”

Veteran civil rights activist Reverend Al Sharpton told the service: “All over the world I see grandchildren of slave masters tearing down slave masters’ statues.”

Talking about Mr Floyd’s difficult life, he said: “God took the rejected stone and made him the cornerstone of a movement that’s gonna change the whole wide world.”

Governor of Minnesota, Tim Walz called on people to observe a silence in order to honour the funeral.

People observed silence for eight minutes and 46 seconds, the time Mr Floyd was pinned to the ground before he died.

Mr Floyd’s coffin was taken to a cemetery in Pearland, south of Houston for a private burial ceremony. For the last mile of the procession, it was conveyed in a horse-drawn carriage.

His body was on display at the church for six hours on Monday.

Memorial services were also held in Minneapolis and North Carolina, where Mr Floyd was born.

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