The memorial service for George Floyd has fallen silent for eight minutes 46 seconds to hammer home the amount of time police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck.
That powerful gesture was made by the Reverend Al Sharpton during Thursday’s funeral in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Sharpton told the crowd, which included Floyd’s family and a host of stars: ‘Somebody said 8 minutes 46 seconds is a long time.
‘It’s long enough for that police officer to know what he was doing…to rethink. as you go through these long eight minutes think of what George was going through, laying there, begging for his life, narrating his own death.
‘We cant let this go, we cant keep living like this.’
Gentle music played during the pause in readings and commemorations, which took place as three officers accused of helping Chauvin kill Floyd made their first court appearance.
‘There’s no excuse. they had enough time. now what will we do with the time they have?’ Sharpton said, concluding the service.
Floyd’s family was in attendance at the service held at North Central University as well as civil rights leader Reverend Jesse Jackson, Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar, Martin Luther King III and Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar. Also in attendance was Reverend Al Sharpton, actress Tiffany Haddish, actor Tyrese Gibson, comedian Kevin Hart and rappers Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges and TI.
The family’s attorney, Benjamin Crump, spoke briefly during the memorial service and thanked his legal team while promising to get justice for Floyd, who died on Memorial Day after officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for over eight minutes during an arrest that began when Floyd reportedly tried to use a bad check.
‘It’s going to take a united effort fighting in the courtroom and outside the courtroom to get justice for George Floyd,’ Crump said.
‘It was not the coronavirus pandemic that killed George Floyd. I want to make it clear on the record. The other pandemic that we’re far too familiar with in America, the pandemic of racism and discrimination that killed George Floyd,’ he continued after it was recently announced that Floyd had tested positive for Covid-19.
‘All these people came to see my brother. That’s amazing to me that he touched so many people’s hearts because he touched our hearts,’ he said.
Less than a mile away, three officers accused of doing nothing while Chauvin held Floyd down with his knee made their first court appearance.
J Alexander Keung, 26, Thomas Lane, 37, and Tou Thao, 34, all had their bail set at $1 million at the court hearing in Hennepin County District Court.
The trio has been charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder -unintentional – while committing a felony and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.
They were reportedly escorted through an underground tunnel between Hennepin County Jail and the courthouse, which was heavily guarded by police and the army.
The three men appeared separately in court. Thao appeared first, Keung was second and last was Lane, whose attorney asked, ‘What was he supposed to do? Tell Chauvin to get off.’
If convicted, each disgraced officer faces up to 40 years in prison on the first count and up to ten years for the second count.
All three men were charged on Wednesday and Chauvin’s charge was upgraded from third-degree murder to second-degree murder. Although their bail was set at $1 million, they could be released on a bail of $750,000 apiece, Judge Paul Scoggin said, before ordering them to reappear in court on June 29.
Chauvin reportedly remains jailed and his bail has been set at $1 million.
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