George Floyd, ‘cornerstone of a movement,’ is laid to rest

Free Press wire reports | 6/11/2020, 6 p.m.
Fifteen days after George Floyd cried out for his mother with his final breaths, the 46-year-old who has become a ...
The coffin of George Floyd proceeds to his final resting place next to his mother inside Houston Memorial Gardens in Pearland, Texas, on Tuesday as throngs capture the picturesque farewell on their phones. Photo by Adrees Latif/Reuters

Some 2,500 people attended the funeral, after more than 6,000 people filed past Mr. Floyd’s open casket on Monday.

Two columns of uniformed Houston police officers saluted his golden casket as it was wheeled from the hearse into the church before the service. The funeral capped six days of mourning for Mr. Floyd in three cities – the first, a memorial service in Minneapolis on June 4, followed by a private service last Saturday in Raeford, N.C., near Fayetteville, where Mr. Floyd was born and one sister and other relatives still live.

Following Tuesday’s service in Houston, hundreds of people lined the route to the cemetery in suburban Pearland, Texas, to pay their respects. A white horse-drawn carriage carried his casket on its last mile to the cemetery, where he was laid to rest next to his mother in a private ceremony.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate in the Nov. 3 election, addressed the funeral service via a video recording, lamenting that “too many black Americans wake up knowing that they could lose their life in the course of just living their life.”

“We must not turn away. We cannot leave this moment thinking we can once again turn away from racism,” he said.

Two voter registration tables were set up outside the church.

Among those in attendance were loved ones of several other black men killed by white police officers or civilians.

The mother of Eric Garner, the New York man who died in a police chokehold in 2014, was present, as was the family of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old Georgia man who was shot and killed in February while jogging. Three white men have been charged in his death.

Amid the furor over Mr. Floyd’s death during the past two weeks, sweeping and previously unthinkable things have taken place: Confederate statues have been toppled in Richmond, Va., and elsewhere; many cities are debating overhauling, dismantling or defunding police departments; and discussions and action are taking place to combat centuries of systemic racism. Authorities in some locales have barred police from using chokeholds or are otherwise rethinking policies on the use of force.