‘Time to change’: Floyd’s family vows to fight on

 

The family of George Floyd, the black man whose shocking death under the knee of a white American cop sparked worldwide outrage, vowed to "fight on" in his name against racism as they farewelled him at a funeral in Texas early this morning AEST.

About 500 people invited to attend by the family packed into the Fountain of Praise Church in Houston.

Following an epic, emotionally exhausting five-hour service, his gold-coloured coffin was loaded into a horse-drawn carriage and taken to a cemetery where he was buried beside his mother. He had called out to her in the final minutes of his life.

 

LaTonya Floyd speaks during the funeral for her brother, George Floyd. Picture: AP
LaTonya Floyd speaks during the funeral for her brother, George Floyd. Picture: AP

Among many moving moments, possibly the most emotional came when members of his family dressed in white took to the stage to share their memories of the man they called "Big Floyd" and "the ghetto angel".

Among them was Brooke Williams, his niece, who angrily said her uncle had been the victim of a "hate crime".

"Somebody said make America great again. But when has America ever been great? America, it is time for a change," the young woman cried.

 

Brooke Williams, niece of George Floyd, speaks with the rest of the family at the funeral. Picture: AP
Brooke Williams, niece of George Floyd, speaks with the rest of the family at the funeral. Picture: AP

"That officer showed no remorse for watching my uncle's soul leave his body," she said.

"He begged and pleaded just for you to get up. But you just pushed harder.

"Why must this system be corrupt and broken? These laws need to be changed. No more hate crimes please.

"This is not just a murder, but a hate crime."

Civil rights activist Rev Al Sharpton closed out the service by saying: "You get your rest now. We gonna fight on, we gonna fight on, we gonna fight on."

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden delivered a video message to a service which was attended by actors Jamie Foxx and Channing Tatum, NFL star J.J. Watt and Congressman Al Green.

 

Roxie Washington weeps with Gianna Floyd, the six-year-old daughter of George Floyd. Picture: AP
Roxie Washington weeps with Gianna Floyd, the six-year-old daughter of George Floyd. Picture: AP

"Daddy's looking down and he's so proud of you," Mr Biden said, addressing Mr Floyd's six-year-old daughter Gianna.

"I know you miss that bear hug that only he can give."

Referring to a viral video in which Gianna declared, "Daddy changed the world," Mr Biden said: "As you said Gianna, your daddy will have changed the world."

The former vice president lamented the "question too many black children have had to ask for generations: Why?"

"Why in this nation do too many black Americans wake up knowing they could lose their life in the course of just living their life?" he said.

Following the gathering, Floyd's body was set to be carried in a horse-drawn carriage and laid to rest next to his mother at the Houston Memorial Gardens in Pearland.

 

Philonise Floyd puts his arm around his sister LaTonya Floyd. Picture: AP
Philonise Floyd puts his arm around his sister LaTonya Floyd. Picture: AP

Police officers with the Texas Southern University police saluted the casket of George Floyd as he was brought into the Fountain of Praise Church.

Mourners, who were invited to join the man's "home-going celebration", sang out during the service: "You changed the world, yes you did," mourners sang during the service."

 

 

George Floyd's coffin is loaded into a hearse after being brought out of Fountain of Praise church following a public visitation. Picture: AP
George Floyd's coffin is loaded into a hearse after being brought out of Fountain of Praise church following a public visitation. Picture: AP

 

 

The casket of George Floyd is placed in the chapel for the funeral. Picture: AP
The casket of George Floyd is placed in the chapel for the funeral. Picture: AP

 

 

Following the service, thousands of people lined the final mile of his journey to the cemetery where he will be buried beside his mother - the woman he called out for in the last moments of his life under the knee of a white Minneapolis cop.

 

Reverend Al Sharpton enters the church for the funeral for George Floyd. Picture: AP
Reverend Al Sharpton enters the church for the funeral for George Floyd. Picture: AP

Mourners dressed in black, some of them wearing "I can't breathe" shirts, gathered at The Fountain of Praise church in Houston, Texas, for the funeral. Outside the 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, whose death in police custody inspired anti-racism rallies around the world. After Tuesday's service, a funeral procession will travel about 24 km to Houston Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Pearland, Texas.

 

The Rev. Al Sharpton prepares to lead the family of George Floyd into the church. Picture: APsanctuary, including Quincy Mason Floyd, son of George Floyd, before the funeral of Geo
The Rev. Al Sharpton prepares to lead the family of George Floyd into the church. Picture: APsanctuary, including Quincy Mason Floyd, son of George Floyd, before the funeral of Geo

Earlier, hundreds of mourners lined up outside The Fountain of Praise church in Houston, to pay their respects to Floyd in a public memoiural.

As the doors opened, Floyd was lying in an open gold-coloured coffin, dressed in a brown suit.

 

Mourners, many wearing masks and T-shirts with the words "I Can't Breathe," stood six feet apart as they paused briefly to view the casket. Some made the sign of the cross as they passed by.

On the stage behind the casket were two identical murals of Floyd wearing a black cap that read "Houston" and angel wings drawn behind him.

 

 

 

Actor Channing Tatum, back left, sits with actor Jamie Foxx. Picture: AP
Actor Channing Tatum, back left, sits with actor Jamie Foxx. Picture: AP

 

Houston's police chief Art Acevedour told the US Today show how the Houston police had been supporting the Floyd family.

"Our message to them is, first we extended our condolences, we wanted them to know that we feel their pain, but the most important thing is, that this is different," he said.

"The nation has united against police misconduct, and some of the other social, economic challenges in this country. (Floyd's) death will not be in vain. I really believe we're at a watershed moment, and I am very hopeful that we're going to see some, some real change, systemic change, in our country.

 

 

 

JUSTINE DAMOND'S FIANCE ATTENDS FUNERAL

The fiance of Australian woman Justine Damond, who was shot and killed by a police officer in Minneapolis, is set to attend the funeral of George Floyd in his hometown of Houston overnight.

Don Damond said he wanted to comfort the partner and daughter of Floyd, who died after fired Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pinned him to the ground by putting his knee on the unarmed black man's neck.

Australian woman Justine Damond with her fiance.
Australian woman Justine Damond with her fiance.

Mr Damond called for an overhaul of the controversial police force, three years after 40-year-old Justine, from Sydney's northern beaches, was shot dead outside her home by Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor, who was tried and found guilty of her murder.

"I'm sad, angry, so disappointed and I just really want to put my arms, maybe figuratively, around Roxy and her daughter," Mr Damond told Seven News at Minneapolis Airport before boarding a plane to Houston.

 

"This really sliced open something that you hope will heal - Mohamed Noor was sentenced a year ago.

"I feel like it's time to be a voice for that change. What's happening in this city with defund (the police), disband, whatever word you choose, it's pointing to the fact something has to change."

Justine Damond called 911 in 2017 after hearing a woman's screams behind her home. When she approached Noor's vehicle he shot her dead, claiming he thought he was being ambushed.

 

TRUMP SAYS INJURED PROTESTER COULD BE AGENT OF FAR-LEFT

US President Donald Trump believes the 75-year-old protester who was pushed down by police in Buffalo, New York - and then seen with blood dripping from his head - could be an "ANTIFA provocateur".

Mr Trump tweeted that Martin Gugino "was pushed away after appearing to scan police communications in order to black out the equipment".

"I watched, he fell harder than was pushed. Was aiming scanner. Could be a set up?" Mr Trump questioned.

Last week on June 4, Mr Gugino was filmed approaching a line of helmeted officers holding batons in Niagara Square around the time of an 8pm curfew.

 

Two officers are seen engaging with Mr Gugino: one cop uses a baton, while the other one extended his arm to knock down the elderly protester.

Soon, Mr Gugino falls to the ground, where he was seen motionless - with blood coming out of his head.

Mr Gugino's lawyer Kelly Zarbone said the man remained in hospital in a "serious but stable" condition.

Ms Zarbone responded to the president's tweet by saying, "No one from law enforcement has even suggested".

 

 

"Martin has always been a peaceful protester, because he cares about today's society.

"He is in serious but stable condition. Martin has acknowledged and sincerely appreciates the tremendous outpouring of support he has received nationwide," she said.

Two officers caught in the footage pushing Mr Gugino to the ground, where he lay heavily bleeding on the pavement, have pleaded not guilty to second-degree assault.

Police Officers Robert McCabe and Aaron Torgalski, who have been suspended without pay, have been released without bail.

 

LONDON MAYOR CALLS FOR REMOVAL OF ALL SLAVERY LINK STATUES

Days after the toppling by protesters of a statue of a slave trader in Bristol, a statue of colonialist King Leopold II in Antwerp, Belgium, has been removed by authorities.

More statues of imperialist figures could be removed from Britain's streets, following the unauthorised felling of a monument to slave trader Edward Colston in the city of Bristol, the mayor of London said Tuesday.

Mayor Sadiq Khan said he was setting up a commission to ensure the city's monuments reflected its diversity.

The statue of Robert Milligan, a noted West Indian merchant, slaveholder and founder of London's global trade hub, West India Docks, stands covered in a sack-cloth and sign reading Black Lives Matter, outside the Museum of London Docklands. Picture: AP
The statue of Robert Milligan, a noted West Indian merchant, slaveholder and founder of London's global trade hub, West India Docks, stands covered in a sack-cloth and sign reading Black Lives Matter, outside the Museum of London Docklands. Picture: AP

The Commission for Diversity in the Public Realm will review statues, murals, street art, street names and other memorials and consider which legacies should be celebrated, the mayor's office said.

"It is an uncomfortable truth that our nation and city owes a large part of its wealth to its role in the slave trade and while this is reflected in our public realm, the contribution of many of our communities to life in our capital has been wilfully ignored," Mr Khan said.

 

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson acknowledged that it was "a cold reality" that people of colour in Britain experienced discrimination, and promised his government was committed to "eradicating prejudice and creating opportunity."

But he said those who attacked police or desecrated public monuments should face "the full force of the law."

Mr Khan suggested Winston Churchill's statue should stay up.

"Nobody's perfect, whether it's Churchill, whether it's Gandhi, whether it's Malcolm X," he told the BBC, adding that schools should teach children about historical figures "warts and all."

 

London Mayor Sadiq Khan, right, says removing statues of plantation owners and slave traders is “clear cut”. Picture: AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski
London Mayor Sadiq Khan, right, says removing statues of plantation owners and slave traders is “clear cut”. Picture: AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski

 

"But there are some statues that are quite clear cut," Mr Khan said. "Slavers are quite clear cut in my view, plantation owners are quite clear cut."

 

 

KKK LEADER DRIVES INTO PROTESTER

 

 

An American man who allegedly drove his car through a group of protesters is an "admitted leader of the Ku Klux Klan and a propagandist for Confederate ideology," prosecutors say.

Witnesses say Harry Rogers, 36, "revved his engine" and sped up before driving onto the median strip and into a crowd of Black Lives Matters protesters in Virginia on the weekend, according to WTVR.

No one was seriously injured, and Rogers was arrested by police.

Prosecutors said in court on Monday (local time) that Rogers told arresting officers that he was the president of the Ku Klux Klan in Virginia.

 

Harry Rogers. Picture: Henrico Sheriff's Department
Harry Rogers. Picture: Henrico Sheriff's Department

"The accused, by his own admission and by a cursory glance at social media, is an admitted leader of the Ku Klux Klan and a propagandist for Confederate ideology," Henrico County Commonwealth's lawyer Shannon Taylor said in a statement released after court, according to WTVR.

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"We are investigating whether hate crimes charges are appropriate."

Ms. Taylor labelled Rogers' act "heinous and despicable".

"We will prosecute to the fullest extent of the law," she said.

 

MASSIVE BAIL SET FOR COP IN GEORGE FLOYD MURDER CASE

The white ex-cop charged with murder in African-American George Floyd's death was ordered to be held on $A1.8 million bail in his first court appearance since being arrested.

Former cop Derek Chauvin appeared before Judge Jeannice Reding at the Hennepin County District Court early today AEST via video link from Oak Park Heights Prison.

His bail was set at $A1.8m with no conditions and $A1.5m with conditions that include no police or law enforcement work.

Under these conditions, Chauvin would also have to surrender his firearms or ammunition, his firearm permit and would not be allowed to leave Minnesota or have contact with George Floyd's family.

The defence did not object to the prosecutor's bail proposal.

 

 

 

 

Chauvin was handcuffed in an orange jail house jumpsuit with a white T-shirt and stated his name and address.

He also answered several questions from the judge including that he still has guns at his property.

The ex-officer only appeared in court for 11 minutes and will next appear on June 29.

Chauvin, 44, is charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the May 25 death of Mr Floyd, who died after being pinned down by the cop's knee for nearly nine minutes while pleading repeatedly, "I can't breathe".

 

Mr Floyd's death, caught on viral video, has sparked worldwide outrage and massive demonstrations calling for justice racial equality across the US and in dozens of countries on five continents.

Chauvin was initially charged with third-degree murder, but the charges were upgraded after an outcry from Mr Floyd's family and other supporters.

The three other officers involved in the incident - Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng, and Tou Thao - are charged with aiding and abetting.

Chauvin faces up to 40 years in prison if convicted.

All four cops were fired by Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey the day after the incident, and Chauvin was arrested the day after that.

Chauvin with his knee on the neck of George Floyd. Picture: AP
Chauvin with his knee on the neck of George Floyd. Picture: AP

Chauvin, a 19-year veteran of the Minneapolis department, has been the subject of more than a dozen complaints over his career.

His arraignment came as a memorial and funeral services for Floyd were held in his hometown of Houston.

'I'M NOT WITH THEM', BIDEN SAYS OF 'POLICE-FREE USA' ADVOCATES

Presidential candidate Joe Biden has been forced to distance himself from fellow US Democrats calling for police departments to be "defunded" and "dismantled".

Some far-left Democrats have advocated a "police-free America" to appease Black Lives Matter protesters - potentially creating a nightmare "law and order" showdown for Mr Biden with President Donald Trump in the lead up to the November presidential election.

The President of the Minneapolis City Council, Lisa Bender, even said people who expect to be able to call police when their home is broken into come from "a place of privilege".

A majority of members of her council have said they will move to "dismantle" the city's police department - a move opposed by its Mayor Jacob Frey.

Interviewed on CNN, Cr Lisa Bender was asked who someone would call for help in a "police-free" society if their home was broken into in the middle of the night.

 

Originally published as 'America, it is time to change:' Floyd's family vows to fight on

Protesters throw a statue of slave trader Edward Colston into Bristol harbour. Picture: AP
Protesters throw a statue of slave trader Edward Colston into Bristol harbour. Picture: AP

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