By Brendan O’Brien
“It’s going to take a united effort inside the courtroom and outside the courtroom to get justice for George Floyd,” Ben Crump, the lawyer for Floyd’s family, said at a memorial service at a chapel in the city’s North Central University.
Floyd’s death in May has become the latest flashpoint for rage over police brutality against African Americans, propelling the issue of race to the top of the political agenda five months before the U.S. presidential election on Nov. 3.
Derek Chauvin, 44, was fired from the Minneapolis police force and charged with second-degree murder after being filmed in a widely circulated video kneeling on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes as Floyd gasped for air and repeatedly groaned, “Please, I can’t breathe.”
Police suspected Floyd, 46, of trying to pass a counterfeit bill to pay for cigarettes.
Huge crowds have defied curfews and taken to the streets of cities across the country for nine nights in sometimes violent protests that prompted President Donald Trump to threaten to send in the military.
The protests dwindled overnight into Thursday after prosecutors leveled new charges against four former Minneapolis policemen implicated in the killing. Several major cities scaled back or lifted curfews imposed for the past few days. But not all was calm.
Services for Floyd are expected to stretch across six days and three states. Memorials will also be held on Saturday in Hoke County, North Carolina, where Floyd’s sister lives, and in Houston on Monday, near where Floyd had lived. A funeral is planned for Tuesday with private services at an undisclosed location.
(Reporting by Brendan O’Brien, Michelle Nichols and Andrew Hay Writing by Alistair Bell Editing by Howard Goller)