George Floyd was murdered by a police officer Derek Chauvin while kneeling on his neck as three other officers watched the African American plead “I can’t breathe.” The gruesome killing of Floyd has sparked off protests across America and around the world. All four officers have now been charged.
In his eulogy, civil rights activist and President of the National Action Network, the Rev. Al Sharpton observed that the memorial was an unusual one because of the circumstances in which Floyd died, pointing out that he didn’t die of natural causes but of the systemic racism that is prevalent in America.
Alluding to how Chauvin held Floyd’s neck down, Al Sharpton lamented that African Americans have had the knees of white Americans on their necks for 400 years, and quipped, “get your knees off our necks, we don’t want no favours, all we want is take your knees off our necks.”
He said the protesters are out to get what “you stole from them,” adding that, “this is the time to give accountability in the justice system.”
Continuing, Al Sharpton declared, “we won’t stop” until the whole justice system is reformed, and urged the Floyd family to keep faith in the Lord.
Those who attended the event stood on their feet for eight minutes 46 seconds, symbolising the length of time Chauvin was on the neck of George Floyd. The Reverend Jesse Jackson, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, star actor Kevin Heart and rap star Ludacris were among several hundred people at the service.