GEORGE FLOYD PROTESTS

George Floyd Memorial Service: as it happened

George Floyd was remembered as a gentle giant during Thursday's memorial service with Al Sharpton saying it's time to "Get your knee off our necks."

George Floyd Memorial Service: as it happened
Carlos Gonzalez/TNS via ZUMA Wir Carlos Gonzalez/TNS via ZUMA Wir

George Floyd's death has caused multiple protests across America. A video emerged a week ago of a police officer kneeling on a man's neck as he pleaded for his life. 'I can't breathe,' he said. Derek Chauvin, the police officer has been charged with second degree murder. George Floyd, the man who died while in police custody, has caused an existential crisis in America and the country's history of violence against black people.

'I can't breathe,' has become the rallying cry during the protests around America. On Thursday night, Floyd, a man described as 'a gentle giant' was laid to rest and The memorial, the first of four scheduled services, took place at North Central University campus, located about two miles from where Floyd lost his life. Rev. Al Sharpton said, “It’s time to stand up and say, ‘Get your knee off our necks.’”

The knee of Derek Chauvin has become a metaphor for the oppression of black people in America with calls to defund the police. Politicians and public officials have called for root and branch  investigations into police brutality.

“George Floyd’s story has been the story of black folks,” Rev. Al Sharpton said in a eulogy of George Floyd. “Because ever since 401 years ago, the reason we could never be who we wanted and dreamed of being is you kept your knee on our neck.”

“We were smarter than the underfunded schools you put us in,” Mr. Sharpton said. “But you had your knee on our neck. We could run corporations and not hustle in the streets, but you had your knee on our neck. We had creative skills, we could do whatever anybody else could do. But we couldn’t get your knee off our neck.”

'Big Floyd' remembered as a gentle giant

The 46-year-old father was remembered as a loving father who made everyone feel welcome in his presence. Reverend Jesse Jackson and Minnesota Senator, Amy Klobuchar, spoke during the memorial service. The man's daughter says here 'Daddy changed the world'.

It was the first of four scheduled services but George Floyd's specter looms over the entire country with protests taking place from New York and Seattle to Florida and California. Protests continue a week after the death of George Floyd. Many continue with the same and even increasing intensity after curfews were put in place in New York and California.

The memorial service in Minnesota was the first of several services scheduled for Floyd, culminating with his funeral Tuesday in Houston. It came a day after criminal charges were brought against three of the four police officers at the scene of his killing. Bail was set Thursday at $750,000 for each of the three.