After several memorials that took place over six days in Minneapolis and North Carolina and weeks of nationwide and global protests fueled by his death, George Floyd was laid to rest Tuesday following a private funeral held at the Fountain of Praise church in Houston, where he grew up.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announced during the service that Houston police would no longer be allowed to use chokeholds on people in custody, according to the Washington Post. Turner said he intended to sign an executive order banning the use of the move as soon as he returned to city hall. The executive order will also mandate that police actively deescalate confrontations, require using a firearm to be a last resort and will require officers to give a warning before firing their gun.
Turner also declared Tuesday “George ‘Perry’ Day” saying, “We honor him today because when he took his last breath, the rest of us were able to breathe.”
A video recorded by presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden was also played at the funeral. “Why, in this nation, do black Americans wake up knowing they can lose their life just for living their life?” Biden asked in the video.
His remarks, somber in tone, were partially addressed at Gianna, Floyd’s 6-year-old daughter. “Now is the time for racial justice. That’s the answer we must give to our children when they ask, ‘Why?’ Because when there’s justice for George Floyd, we will truly be on our way to racial justice in America. And then, as you said, Gianna, your daddy will have changed the world,” Biden said.
Texas Democratic Rep. Al Green called for the creation of a new federal department focused on race relations. “We have a responsibility to not only George Floyd, but to those other persons, to…ensure the future generations that this won’t happen again,” Green also called for the end of “no-knock warrants,” a reference to Breonna Taylor who was killed after officers open fired on her and her boyfriend while executing a no-knock warrant.
The Rev. Al Sharpton delivered another passionate eulogy for Floyd, taking aim at the NFL, President Trump and the inherent hypocrisy of the criminal justice system.
“Well, don’t apologize. Give Colin Kaepernick a job back,” he said, referring to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s recent apology to black players who protested. “Don’t come with some empty apology, take a man’s livelihood, strip a man down of his talents—and four years later, when the whole world is marching, you go and do a FaceTime, talking about ‘you’re sorry.’ ”
Sharpton also called out the president’s response to the protests and his recent photo-op in front of a Washington, D.C., church. “When some kids wrongly start violence that this family doesn’t condone, the president talks about bringing in the military. But he’s not said one word about the 8 minutes and 46 seconds of police murder of George Floyd.” Sharpton said. “To clear out peaceful protesters and then take a Bible and walk in front of a church and use a church as a prop…wickedness in high places. You ain’t been walking across that street when the church didn’t have boards up,” he added.
He also pointed out how differently the circumstances of the last month would’ve played out had it been four black cops that killed a white man. “If four black cops had done to one white what was done to George, they wouldn’t have to teach no new lessons. They would send them to jail.” Sharpton said.
After the ceremony, Floyd’s body was taken to Houston Memorial Gardens, where he was buried next to his mother.