MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – The first in a series of memorial services honoring George Floyd was held in Minneapolis Thursday afternoon.
Family, friends and guests gathered to honor Floyd inside a sanctuary at North Central University. Civil rights leaders, politicians, athletes and celebrities were also in attendance.
Watch the service below:
Reverend Al Sharpton delivered a eulogy at the service, calling for the black community to stand up in Floyd’s name and say, “Get your knee off our necks.”
"George Floyd’s story is the story of black folks," Sharpton said. "Because ever since 401 years ago, the reason we could never be who we wanted and dreamed of being — because you kept your knee on our necks."
Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, who is representing the Floyd family, delivered a "national statement" on behalf of Floyd's loved ones.
During his speech, Crump touched on Floyd’s coronavirus diagnosis, which was revealed in an autopsy report released Wednesday. He said Floyd died from a different kind of pandemic.
“It was not the coronavirus pandemic that killed George Floyd,” Crump said. “I want to make it clear, on the record. The other pandemic that we are too familiar with in America, the pandemic of racism and discrimination killed George Floyd."
Floyd, an unarmed black man, died in police custody on Memorial Day after a Minneapolis officer rammed his knee on his neck for nearly nine minutes, sparking outrage and protests.
The service ended with mourners standing for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, the amount of time the former officer, Derek Chauvin, reportedly pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck.
People in two other cities will pay their respects in the coming days.
On Saturday, a public viewing and a private memorial service will be held in Raeford, North Carolina, the state where Floyd was born. The 46-year-old’s body will then return to Houston for a public memorial and private service on Tuesday.