George Floyd, the 46-year-old black man whose cold-blooded murder at the hands of a white police officer has sparked protests across the US, will be laid to rest in his hometown of Houston, following a public visitation in Minneapolis.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announced the funeral plans on Saturday, though there are currently no public details about when it will take place. The mayor broke the news as part of a larger plea for peace amid a weekend where Houston police arrested hundreds of protesters.
“This is our house. This is the same city that George Floyd grew up, And his body will be returning to this city. To his city,” Turner said. Floyd died in Minneapolis on Monday after a white police officer pinned him to the ground. Video footage showed the officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck as he gasped for breath.
His death has triggered nationwide protests. Officer Derek Chauvin has been fired, and on Friday was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter, the authorities said.
Born in North Carolina, Floyd was raised in Houston and stood out as a star athlete at Jack Yates High School in the southeastern part of the city. He moved to Minneapolis in 2014, but most of his family, including his two daughters, are still in Houston.
Houston Police Department chief Art Acevedo is seeking to honour Floyd by giving his funeral a police escort. “Give us that honour,” Acevedo said during a rally on Sunday. The department will use a high level of security to transport Floyd’s body, comparable to when an officer dies in line of duty, the chief said, adding that he will provide more details at a rally reportedly scheduled for Tuesday, June 2 where protesters will march to City Hall.
Funeral arrangements are still being planned, said officials at the Fort Bend Memorial Planning Center in Rosharon. It posted a flyer on Facebook with a picture of Floyd, stating funeral arrangements are forthcoming. Details of a funeral have not been released.
Floyd’s family and attorneys have yet to confirm funeral arrangements. The family has asked for peace in honour of Floyd whose body is coming home tomorrow. Protests against Floyd’s death have taken place across the country and one protest, which went on for nearly 11 hours, involved hundreds of people gathered in downtown Houston to demand justice for Floyd.
Nearly 200 people were arrested during the rally. Many of those will be charged with obstructing a roadway, according to the Houston Police Department. Eight Houston police officers suffered minor injuries during the protest, and 16 police vehicles were damaged.
Meanwhile, Governor Greg Abbott declared a State of Disaster for all Texas counties following several protests in cities throughout Texas over the death of Floyd. Under this declaration, the governor has the ability to designate federal agents to serve as Texas Peace Officers.
“Every Texan and every American has the right to protest and I encourage all Texans to exercise their First Amendment rights. However, violence against others and the destruction of property is unacceptable and counterproductive,” said Abbott.
“As protests have turned violent in various areas across the state, it is crucial that we maintain order, uphold public safety, and protect against property damage or loss. By authorising additional federal agents to serve as Texas Peace Officers we will help protect people’s safety while ensuring that peaceful protesters can continue to make their voices heard,” he said.
Abbott’s deceleration comes less than a day after he activated the Texas National Guard and deployed state resources to the cities of Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Austin in order to maintain public safety.
Abbott sent more than 1,500 officers from the Texas Department of Public Safety to assist local police departments. In a statement, he said additional resources would be provided as needed.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines