Watch CBS News

'There Are People Rising Up That Will Never Sit Down': George Floyd Laid To Rest In Houston

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/AP) -- Thousands around the country are paying their respects to a Minneapolis man whose death sparked nationwide protests. George Floyd will be buried Tuesday following a funeral service in Houston, the city where he grew up.

The 46-year-old died two weeks ago while in police custody in Minneapolis. Now, he was honored in his hometown.

On Tuesday, another crowd of supporters showed up outside the church, thought he funeral itself will be a private service. Rev. Al Sharpton, who presided of the Minneapolis memorial service, gave the eulogy for the Tuesday service as well. Renowned boxer Floyd Mayweather, who paid for these services, was also in attendance.

Four busloads of family, relatives and friends made their way to the church Tuesday morning.

The ceremony began with family being led into the sanctuary, where Floyd's casket was on display. Floyd's relatives were visibly distraught as musical selections were performed by Donieta Webb-Thomas, Rhonda McLemore and the Houston Ensemble, who also assisted Pastor Kim Burrell with a performance of "God Will Take Care of You."

There were then readings from the Old and New Testaments. The former came from Amos 5:16-24 and the latter from 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.

A video montage was presented showcasing protests from around the world, while Dray Tate sang a version of "A Change is Gonna Come" and visual artist Ange Hillz painted a portrait of George Floyd. Thereafter, a list of resolutions honoring the memory of Floyd were read aloud by Ivy McGregor.

What followed after were a series of remarks by dignitaries, including former vice-president Joe Biden and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner.

"Why in this nation are too many black people losing their lives in the course of living their lives?" Biden asked.

(credit: DAVID J. PHILLIP/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

"We honor him today because, when he took his last breath, the rest of us will now be able to breathe," Turner told the gathered mourners, before telling them that he was going to sign an executive order to ban chokeholds and also enact other law enforcement reforms in the city of Houston.

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee says George Floyd's death ignited a plethora of protests around the world involving people of different races. Lee said during Floyd's memorial service on Tuesday that his death helped shine a light on police brutality against unarmed black men and women.

"His assignment turned into a purpose," she said. "And that purpose was heard around the world. There are people rising up that will never sit down until you get justice."

At that point, family members of Floyd's were invited to share their memories and thoughts. Floyd's niece at one point said, "Someone said, 'make America great again.' But when has America ever been great?"

Prior to the eulogy from Rev. Al Sharpton, a series of ministerial remarks were delivered from pastors at other area churches, including Rev. William Lawson, Dr. Steve Wells, and Dr. Ralph Douglas West Sr.

From there, Sharpton took a moment to direct the families of others killed by police officers, who were present at the service.

"We are not fighting some disconnected incidents. We are fighting an institutional systemic problem that has been allowed to premiate since we were brought to these shores. And we are fighting wickedness in high places," Sharpton said.

Though it was a sweltering, hot day in Houston, WCCO's Jeff Wagner says the heat hardly stopped people from paying their respects. This funeral marks the third of three separate services that were held in Floyd's memory -- the first two in Minneapolis and North Carolina last week.

Following the funeral, Floyd's body was to be carried in a horse-drawn carriage, and then be laid to rest at a cemetery in Pearland, Texas, next to his mother.

Though it was a sweltering, hot day in Houston, WCCO's Jeff Wagner says the heat hardly stopped people from paying their respects. This funeral marks the third of three separate services that were held in Floyd's memory -- the first two in Minneapolis and North Carolina last week.

Wagner talked with a family that drove 10 hours from El Paso, Texas. They wanted to feel the impact of being here in person, not from just watching the service on TV.

"I feel that this is a historic moment. My hope is that it's a historic moment for significant change and it's important that even if we're not inside that the family knows that there are people here supporting them," Florence Chamberlin said.

RELATED: As Protests Subside In The Twin Cities, Plywood Comes Down

The funeral follows a six-hour public viewing held Monday. A long line of mourners paid their final respects to Floyd. Due to COVID-19, people were required to wear masks. The church's capacity is 2,000, but only 500 were allowed inside due to restrictions.

Gov. Tim Walz ordered a moment of silence at 11 a.m. in honor of Floyd, lasting for 8 minutes, 46 seconds -- the length former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is accused of having pressed his knee into Floyd's neck during the fatal arrest attempt.

"The world watched in horror as George Floyd's humanity was taken away from him," Walz said. "We will not wake up one day and have the disease of systemic racism cured. We must do everything in our power to come together to deconstruct generations of systemic racism in our state so that every Minnesotan – Black, Indigenous, Brown, or White – can be safe and thrive."

A million-dollar bail has been set for the former Minneapolis police officer accused of Floyd's death. Derek Chauvin appeared in court by video-link from the maxmium security prison in Oak Park Heights. Chauvin and the other three officers accused in the case are due back in court June 29.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.