Family and friends are honoring George Floyd at a private funeral Tuesday in the U.S. city of Houston, two weeks after his death in police custody inspired renewed protests against police brutality in numerous cities across the country.
Relatives and friends began arriving at the Fountain of Praise Church before the service and walked behind his golden casket as it was ushered into the church as the media looked on.
Floyd’s casket was rolled into the church by six men wearing black suits and masks as a line of police officers stood nearby at attention.
After the funeral, Houston Police will escort the funeral procession to the nearby city of Pearland, where Floyd will be buried next to his mother.
Houston’s city hall was lit up Monday night in crimson and gold, the colors of the high school Floyd attended, in remembrance of his life. Other cities joined the effort, with crimson and gold lights shining on city halls in Los Angeles, Boston, Oakland, Las Vegas, New York and elsewhere.
Tonight, City Hall is lit crimson and gold in remembrance of #GeorgeFloyd.— Sylvester Turner (@SylvesterTurner) June 9, 2020
I appreciate my fellow @usmayors and @OurMayors members for joining in solidarity to show support for his family and good policing.
Crimson and gold are the colors of his alma mater @JackYatesHigh. pic.twitter.com/T29oRpUD7v
The public had its chance to pay respects Monday, as thousands of people streamed through The Fountain of Praise church to view Floyd’s open casket. Memorials were also held last week in Minneapolis and Raeford, North Carolina, near where Floyd was born.
Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott was among those who paid tribute Monday. He told reporters outside the church he will include Floyd’s family in discussions about police reform.
“George Floyd has not died in vain. His life will be a living legacy about the way that America and Texas respond to this tragedy,” Abbott said.
Outside the church, organizers assembled a large floral arrangement with white roses to spell the initials BLM for Black Lives Matter.
Biden meets with Floyd's family
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden met Floyd's relatives for more than an hour in Houston on Monday, according to the family's lawyer, Benjamin Crump.
Crump said on Twitter that Biden “listened, heard their pain, and shared in their woe."
Also Monday, Derek Chauvin, the white officer who was filmed pressing his knee against Floyd’s neck for more than 8 minutes before Floyd’s death, made his first court appearance since the charges against him were upgraded to second-degree murder.
Floyd’s death was the latest of many deaths of black Americans during or after encounters with white officers, triggering worldwide calls to correct racial injustices in the U.S.
Chauvin said little during Monday’s brief hearing at a Minneapolis court as he appeared on closed-circuit television from a maximum-security prison. His next appearance is set for June 29.
Calls to defund police
White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany told reporters Monday President Donald Trump is "appalled" by calls from some protesters and activists for police departments to be defunded. She said the president is “taking a look at various" proposals in response to Floyd’s death but offered no specifics.
In Minneapolis, where the 46-year-old Floyd died May 25, nine of the 12 City Council members pledged to disband the city’s police department.
“A veto-proof majority of the MPLS City Council just publicly agreed that the Minneapolis Police Department is not re-formable and that we're going to end the current policing system,” council member Alondra Cano tweeted Sunday.
In California, Governor Gavin Newsom ordered the state’s police training program to stop teaching chokeholds.
Denver’s police department announced Sunday that it has also fully banned the use of chokeholds. In addition, it said it would also require members of its SWAT team to activate their body cameras during operations.
In the northwestern state of Washington, Governor Jay Inslee proposed creating an independent investigative unit to probe officer-involved killings and making it obligatory for officers to report misconduct by other officers.
Protests around the world
The U.S. protests have also led to demonstrations in other countries, with people showing both solidarity with those marching in the United States and calling attention to cases in their own countries.
France is one of the nations that has seen protests, and the country’s interior minister announced police there will no longer be allowed to use chokeholds during an arrest.
“No arrest should put lives at risk," Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said.
Poll finds vast majority of Americans back protests
In a new Washington Post-Schar School poll released Tuesday, 81 percent of respondents said police need to continue to make changes needed to treat blacks equally to whites.
Seventy-four percent said they either strongly or somewhat support the protests overall, while 25 percent strongly or somewhat oppose the demonstrations.
When asked about the way Trump has handled the situation, 61 percent said they oppose his response, while 35 percent said they approve.