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Mourners pay their respects during viewing of George Floyd’s open casket in Houston

The brother of George Floyd wept during the final memorial service Monday as he was joined by the family members of other slain black man, including the mother of Eric Garner and father Ahmaud Arbery, in Houston  as thousands lined up to pay their respects. 

Reflecting the weight of the moment, the service drew the families of black victims in other high-profile killings whose names have become seared in America´s conversation over race – among them Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Ahmaud Arbery and Trayvon Martin.

‘It just hurts a lot,’ said Philonise Floyd, George Floyd´s brother, sobbing outside The Fountain of Praise church. ‘Just being here, talking, it’s pain.’ 

Philonise Floyd (center) is comforted by the Rev. Al Sharpton, (left) and attorney Benjamin Crump (right) at a news conference during a public visitation for his brother George Floyd at The Fountain of Praise church  in Houston

Philonise Floyd, the brother of George Floyd, broke down in tears as he admitted to dozens of mourners outside the The Fountain of Praise church in Houston, Texas, 'It just hurts a lot...Just being here, talking, it's pain'

Philonise Floyd, the brother of George Floyd, broke down in tears as he admitted to dozens of mourners outside the The Fountain of Praise church in Houston, Texas, ‘It just hurts a lot…Just being here, talking, it’s pain’

Philonise Floyd (pictured): 'Floyd had his life taken away when it shouldn't have been. He should've been here, speaking on someone else's behalf right now'

Philonise Floyd (pictured): ‘Floyd had his life taken away when it shouldn’t have been. He should’ve been here, speaking on someone else’s behalf right now’

During his remarks at his brother's memorial service, Philonese (center) became emotional as he mentioned the several family members of other victims of police brutality and gun violence, including the mother of Eric Garner,  that attended on Monday

During his remarks at his brother’s memorial service, Philonese (center) became emotional as he mentioned the several family members of other victims of police brutality and gun violence, including the mother of Eric Garner,  that attended on Monday

The body of George Floyd arrived to The Fountain of Praise church in Houston, Texas, on Monday following a memorial service in North Carolina on Saturday and one in Minneapolis on Thursday

The body of George Floyd arrived to The Fountain of Praise church in Houston, Texas, on Monday following a memorial service in North Carolina on Saturday and one in Minneapolis on Thursday

Floyd, a 46-year-old father, died while saying ‘I can’t breathe’ as a white offer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes on Memorial Day in Minneapolis, Minnesota. 

The disturbing incident was captured on cell phone video and shared to social media, prompting two weeks of continuous protests across the country over police brutality.   

‘Just being here, thinking about my brother, he’s a gentle giant,’ continued Philonise. ‘He had his life taken away when it shouldn’t have been. He should’ve been here, speaking on someone else’s behalf right now.’

He recalled growing up with George in a ‘houseful of love’ and said his brother was a ‘huge role model for a lot of people.’ 

Philonise then thanked the family members of other police brutality and gun violence victims, including relatives of Eric Garner, Ahmaud Arbery, Trayvon Martin and Pamela Turner.

‘I thank y’all for coming out so much to support us, And all the families that are here with me today – Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor – it just hurts. 

Dozens of flower bouquets are left outside The Fountain of Praise church in Houston, Texas, as thousands of mourners journey inside the church to pay respects to George Floyd, an African-American man who died in police custody on Memorial Day

Dozens of flower bouquets are left outside The Fountain of Praise church in Houston, Texas, as thousands of mourners journey inside the church to pay respects to George Floyd, an African-American man who died in police custody on Memorial Day

Pictuerd: The casket of George Floyd is removed after a public visitation for Floyd at the Fountain of Praise church on Monday

Pictuerd: The casket of George Floyd is removed after a public visitation for Floyd at the Fountain of Praise church on Monday

Rev. Al Sharpton (left) and the Floyd's family attorney  Benjamin Crump (center) implored the thousands of attending mourners to fight against police brutality and systematic racism

Rev. Al Sharpton (left) and the Floyd’s family attorney  Benjamin Crump (center) implored the thousands of attending mourners to fight against police brutality and systematic racism 

‘We will get justice. We will get it. We will not let this door close.’  

Rodney Floyd, George’s younger brother, also spoke to the crowds of mourners as Rev. Al Sharpton comforted Philonese. 

‘We’re all getting tired of seeing the same routine play out daily by the police in every state, and I’m just happy we’re united on that front,’ said Roger, referring to several demonstrations that have happened over the last two weeks. 

Roger said George was ‘such a wonderful man, father, human being and he gives the best advice on anything.’

‘I got some much wonderful advice from him. And every day, it seems unreal, because I’m waiting on that phone call. I’m still calling his phone number,’ he said. 

‘If he was told he would have to sacrifice his life to bring the world together, and knowing him, I know he would’ve did it.’ 

Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner, then took to the podium to call for action and reform within law enforcement. 

The mother of Eric Garner, Gwen Carr (center), gave a passionate speech at the memorial service that urged everyone to fihgt for racial equality for minorities 'even after the cameras are gone in a few days. The lights are going out'

The mother of Eric Garner, Gwen Carr (center), gave a passionate speech at the memorial service that urged everyone to fihgt for racial equality for minorities ‘even after the cameras are gone in a few days. The lights are going out’

Rodney Floyd: 'I got some much wonderful advice from him. And every day, it seems unreal, because I'm waiting on that phone call. I'm still calling his phone number'

Rodney Floyd: ‘I got some much wonderful advice from him. And every day, it seems unreal, because I’m waiting on that phone call. I’m still calling his phone number’

A woman donning a American flag-themed cloth as a face mask views the casket of George Floyd during a public visitation

A woman donning a American flag-themed cloth as a face mask views the casket of George Floyd during a public visitation

George Floyd's casket is brought out of The Fountain of Praise church following a public visitation Monday after traveling from a memorial service in Raeford, North Carolina

George Floyd’s casket is brought out of The Fountain of Praise church following a public visitation Monday after traveling from a memorial service in Raeford, North Carolina

Chris Phillips (right), of Houston, passes by the casket of George Floyd during a public visitation for Floyd at the Fountain of Praise

Chris Phillips (right), of Houston, passes by the casket of George Floyd during a public visitation for Floyd at the Fountain of Praise

Garner, a  27-year-old African American man in Long Island, died after an NYPD officer put him in a chokehold during an arrest in 2014. 

Garner pleaded ‘I can’t breathe’ at least 10 times while  officers pinned him to the concrete sidewalk. His death was later ruled a homicide and sparked outrage over police brutality.

‘I stand in solidarity with the family,’ Carr said, ‘because it mimics my case and this is personal to me.’

‘They have doubled back and claimed another life by a chokehold. That’s why we have to fight for justice. This family is hurting now, like I’ve hurt – my hurt doesn’t go away.’

She then gave an passionate plea for attending mourners to rise up in solidarity against police brutality.

‘Don’t go home and not do anything. You’re paying your respects, but the most respect you can pay is to help this family Come out, even after the cameras are gone in a few days. The lights are going out. 

Carr (center): 'They have doubled back and claimed another life by a chokehold. That's why we have to fight for justice. This family is hurting now, like I've hurt - my hurt doesn't go away'

Carr (center): ‘They have doubled back and claimed another life by a chokehold. That’s why we have to fight for justice. This family is hurting now, like I’ve hurt – my hurt doesn’t go away’

Marcus Arbery Sr. (pictured), the father of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery, said his son was lynched by two white men in February when he was shot dead in Brunswick, Georgia

Marcus Arbery Sr. (pictured), the father of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery, said his son was lynched by two white men in February when he was shot dead in Brunswick, Georgia

‘But like when my son was killed six years ago, even when the lights went out, I kept fighting. Because I don’t to stand here again for another mother, another father, another brother crying because [their loved one] was killed by police senselessly. ‘

‘My son said he couldn’t breathe – 11 times he said he can’t breathe. Floyd said he could not breathe and called for his mother. He was calling for all mothers!’ 

Then, Marcus Arbery Sr., father of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery, denounced police brutality and said his son was lynched on that tragic February day.

Ahmaud Arbery was shot dead by two white men while jogging through a residential neighborhood in Brunswick, Georgia. The suspects said they suspected him of being a robber, despite having no concrete evidence.   

‘I’m the father of Ahmaub Arbery, my son that was lynched…I just had to come support the Floyd family. I feel what they’re going through because I’ve lost a loved one. 

‘But my son was lynched by two white men, so I’m just letting you all know the fight must go on.’

The sister of Botham Jean, a 27-year-old black man who was killed inside him home by a neighboring police officer in Texas, and the father of Michael Brown, an 18-year-old black man who was shot dead by a police officer in Missouri, also took turns speaking to mourners.  

Michael Brown Sr. (right), the father of Michael Brown, an 18-year-old black man who was shot dead by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, also attended the memorial and offered his support to the Floyd family

Michael Brown Sr. (right), the father of Michael Brown, an 18-year-old black man who was shot dead by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, also attended the memorial and offered his support to the Floyd family 

Two mourners hold up their fists in solidarity during a public viewing of Floyd's casket during a memorial service on Monday

Two mourners hold up their fists in solidarity during a public viewing of Floyd’s casket during a memorial service on Monday

An artists holds up a painting outside a memorial service for George Floyd as thousands from across the country descend onto Houston, Texas, in honor of the Texas native

An artists holds up a painting outside a memorial service for George Floyd as thousands from across the country descend onto Houston, Texas, in honor of the Texas native 

As the doors opened at The Fountain of Praise church on Monday in Houston, where Floyd spent most of his life, the 46-year-old was lying in an open casket, dressed in a brown suit and blue tie. 

Officials are expecting thousands of mourners during the six-hour viewing in what will be the final stop in a series of memorials for Floyd. 

Mourners, many wearing masks and T-shirts with the words ‘I Can’t Breathe,’ stood 6 feet apart as they paused briefly to view the casket. Some made the sign of the cross as they passed by. On the stage behind the casket were two identical murals of Floyd wearing a black cap that read ‘Houston’ and angel wings drawn behind him. 

Some sang ‘Lean on Me’ and Houston´s police chief bumped fists and embraced others in line. Funeral home spokeswoman La´Torria Lemon said at least 6,000 attended the service.

Pictured: A man wearing a t-shirt with an image of George Floyd as a Yates High School basketball player reacts as he views the casket of Floyd during a public viewing

Pictured: A man wearing a t-shirt with an image of George Floyd as a Yates High School basketball player reacts as he views the casket of Floyd during a public viewing

A woman holding a young child cries while viewing the casket of George Floyd in Houston, Texas, on Monday as her friend sobs behind her

A woman holding a young child cries while viewing the casket of George Floyd in Houston, Texas, on Monday as her friend sobs behind her 

Some knew Floyd in the nearby housing projects where he grew up. Others traveled hours or drove in from other states. Those who couldn´t make it whipped up their own tributes: In Los Angeles, a funeral-style procession of cars inched through downtown as the viewing began in Houston. In Tennessee, residents of Memphis held a moment of silence.

Bracy Burnett approached Floyd´s casket wearing a homemade denim face mask scrawled with ‘8:46’ – the length of time prosecutors say Floyd, who was black, was pinned to the ground under a white officer´s knee before he died.

‘All black people are not criminals. All white people are not racists. All cops are not bad. And ignorance comes in all colors. That´s what I thought about when I viewed the body,’ Burnett, 66, said. 

Pictured: A Houston police officer pays his respects during the public viewing for George Floyd, whose death in Minneapolis police custody has sparked nationwide protests against racial inequality, at The Fountain of Praise church in Houston, Texas

Pictured: A Houston police officer pays his respects during the public viewing for George Floyd, whose death in Minneapolis police custody has sparked nationwide protests against racial inequality, at The Fountain of Praise church in Houston, Texas

Bracy Burnett: 'All black people are not criminals. All white people are not racists. All cops are not bad. And ignorance comes in all colors. That´s what I thought about when I viewed the body'

Bracy Burnett: ‘All black people are not criminals. All white people are not racists. All cops are not bad. And ignorance comes in all colors. That´s what I thought about when I viewed the body’

The viewing is open to the public but visitors are required to wear a mask and gloves to comply with coronavirus-related guidelines, as well as have their temperature checked prior to entering the church.  

‘With this happening to him, it’s going to make a difference in the world,’ said Pam Robinson, who grew up with Floyd in Houston and handed out bottled water to mourners waiting outside in the searing Texas heat. 

One man in the line, which had no shade, collapsed as temperatures spiked above 90 degrees and was taken by stretcher to a cooling station set up in front of the church. 

Mourners have started arriving to view George Floyd 's open casket in his hometown of Houston, Texas on Monday in the final stop of a series of memorials in his honor

Mourners have started arriving to view George Floyd ‘s open casket in his hometown of Houston, Texas on Monday in the final stop of a series of memorials in his honor

Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (above) was among the first to view the casket on Monday and planned to meet privately with the family later

Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (above) was among the first to view the casket on Monday and planned to meet privately with the family later

Ushers guide mourners for the public visitation for George Floyd at the Fountain of Praise church in Houston on Monday

Ushers guide mourners for the public visitation for George Floyd at the Fountain of Praise church in Houston on Monday

Mourners pass by the open casket of George Floyd during the six-hour public visitation for Floyd at the Fountain of Praise church

Mourners pass by the open casket of George Floyd during the six-hour public visitation for Floyd at the Fountain of Praise church

Floyd’s private funeral will be Tuesday followed by burial at the Houston Memorial Gardens cemetery in suburban Pearland where he will be laid to rest next to his mother, Larcenia Floyd. 

Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott was among the first to view the casket on Monday and planned to meet privately with the family later. He wore a striped gold and crimson tie, the colors of Floyd’s Houston high school.

‘George Floyd is going to change the arc of the future of the United States. George Floyd has not died in vain. His life will be a living legacy about the way that America and Texas responds to this tragedy,’ Abbott said. 

Former Vice President Joe Biden traveled to Houston to meet with Floyd’s family and provide a video message to be played at Floyd’s funeral service. He posed for a photo alongside Floyd’s uncle Roger Floyd, Rev Al Sharpton, Floyd’s family attorney Ben Crump and Congressman Cedric Richmond.

Floyd was raised in Houston’s Third Ward and was a well-known former high school football player who rapped with local legend DJ Screw. 

He moved to Minneapolis several years ago to seek work and a fresh start after being released from prison. 

His face now appears on a mural in his old neighborhood and his name was chanted by tens of thousands last week at a protest and march in downtown Houston.  

The mourners came from near and far on Monday: Comill Adams said she drove more than seven hours from Oklahoma City with her family, including two children ages 8 and 10. They wore matching black T-shirts with ‘I Can’t Breathe’ on the back – shirts she made specifically or the memorial.

‘We had been watching the protests on TV. We´ve been at home feeling outraged. At times it brought us to tears,’ Adams said. ‘The fact this one is causing change, we had to come be a part of.’ 

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The Houston memorial took place as Derek Chauvin, the white Minneapolis police officer charged with killing Floyd, faced court for the first time.

Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder in Floyd’s May 25 death after he was filmed kneeling on the 46-year-old’s neck for nearly nine minutes as he gasped for air and repeatedly groaned: ‘Please, I can’t breathe.’ 

He was initially charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter before he was newly charged with second-degree murder last week. 

Three other Minneapolis police officers – Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao – were charged last week with aiding and abetting murder in Floyd’s death.        

Former Vice President Joe Biden traveled to Houston to meet with Floyd's family and provide a video message to be played at Floyd's funeral service. He posed for a photo alongside Floyd's uncle Roger Floyd, Rev Al Sharpton, Floyd's family attorney Ben Crump and Congressman Cedric Richmond

Former Vice President Joe Biden traveled to Houston to meet with Floyd’s family and provide a video message to be played at Floyd’s funeral service. He posed for a photo alongside Floyd’s uncle Roger Floyd, Rev Al Sharpton, Floyd’s family attorney Ben Crump and Congressman Cedric Richmond

Mourners gathered around Floyd's open casket on Monday after his death sparked nationwide protests against racial inequality

Mourners gathered around Floyd’s open casket on Monday after his death sparked nationwide protests against racial inequality 

The viewing is open to the public but visitors are required to wear a mask and gloves to comply with coronavirus -related guidelines, as well as have their temperature checked prior to entering the church

The viewing is open to the public but visitors are required to wear a mask and gloves to comply with coronavirus -related guidelines, as well as have their temperature checked prior to entering the church

Mourner Charlene Thompson of Houston broke down as she passed by the casket bearing the remains of George Floyd

Mourner Charlene Thompson of Houston broke down as she passed by the casket bearing the remains of George Floyd

A woman prayed as she passed Floyd's casket on Monday at the Fountain of Praise church

A woman prayed as she passed Floyd’s casket on Monday at the Fountain of Praise church

Some mourners were visibly upset as they stepped inside the church on Monday for Floyd's viewing

Some mourners were visibly upset as they stepped inside the church on Monday for Floyd’s viewing

People line up to attend the public viewing for George Floyd at the Fountain of Praise church in Houston on Monday

People line up to attend the public viewing for George Floyd at the Fountain of Praise church in Houston on Monday

One man in the line, which had no shade, collapsed as temperatures spiked above 90 degrees and was taken by stretcher to a cooling station set up in front of the church

One man in the line, which had no shade, collapsed as temperatures spiked above 90 degrees and was taken by stretcher to a cooling station set up in front of the church

The viewing is open to the public but visitors are required to wear a mask and gloves to comply with coronavirus -related guidelines, as well as have their temperature checked prior to entering the church

The viewing is open to the public but visitors are required to wear a mask and gloves to comply with coronavirus -related guidelines, as well as have their temperature checked prior to entering the church

It comes two weeks after Floyd’s death sparked widespread protests and civil unrest across the United States over police brutality. 

Two other memorials have taken place in Minneapolis and Raeford, North Carolina, near where Floyd was born. 

Hollywood celebrities, musicians and politicians were among those to attend Floyd’s memorial service in Minneapolis last Thursday. 

Civil rights leader Rev Al Sharpton delivered the eulogy, declaring it was time for black people to demand: ‘Get your knee off our necks!’  

‘George Floyd’s story has been the story of black folks. Because ever since 401 years ago, the reason we could never be who we wanted and dreamed to be is because you kept your knee on our neck,’ Sharpton said. 

‘What happened to Floyd happens every day in this country, in education, in health services, and in every area of American life. It’s time for us to stand up in George’s name and say, ‘Get your knee off our necks!’   

Those gathered at the Minneapolis tribute stood in silence for 8 minutes, 46 seconds – the amount of time Floyd was held on the ground before he died.  

Sharpton vowed a movement to ‘change the whole system of justice’ and said it was time to hold police accountable. 

‘Time is out for not holding you accountable. Time is out for you making excuses. Time is out for you trying to stall. Time is out for empty words and empty promises. Time is out for you filibustering and trying to stall the arm of justice” he said.  

Floyd’s body traveled to Raeford, North Carolina, where he was born 46 years ago, for a two-hour public viewing and private service for the family on Saturday. 

George Floyd's golden casket arrived at the Fountain of Praise church in Houston, Texas on Monday ahead of a six-hour viewing

George Floyd’s golden casket arrived at the Fountain of Praise church in Houston, Texas on Monday ahead of a six-hour viewing

Officials are expecting thousands of mourners during a six-hour viewing at The Fountain of Praise church in southwest Houston starting from 12pm on Monday

Officials are expecting thousands of mourners during a six-hour viewing at The Fountain of Praise church in southwest Houston starting from 12pm on Monday

A man looks on before the casket with George Floyd arrives at the Fountain of Praise church where the service will be held on Monday

A man looks on before the casket with George Floyd arrives at the Fountain of Praise church where the service will be held on Monday

Officials are expecting thousands of mourners to attend the six-hour viewing in Houston

Officials are expecting thousands of mourners to attend the six-hour viewing in Houston

Houston police officers who had escorted the hearse with the casket of George Floyd stand outside of the Fountain of Praise church where his memorial and funeral services will be held

Houston police officers who had escorted the hearse with the casket of George Floyd stand outside of the Fountain of Praise church where his memorial and funeral services will be held

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