Democratic US presidential candidate Biden: Floyd will change the world

Wednesday, June 10th, 2020 00:00 |
Pallbearers carry the coffin with George Floyd’s body into the church for funeral service in Houston, Texas. Photo/AFP

Houston, Tuesday

Democratic US presidential candidate Joe Biden has said the late George Floyd will “change the world”.

Following a private meeting with Floyd’s family in Houston, Texas, to offer his sympathies, Biden said his death was “one of the great inflection points in American history.”

 Floyd was set to be laid to rest Tuesday in his Houston hometown, the culmination of a long farewell to the 46-year-old African American whose death in custody ignited global protests against police brutality and racism. The funeral service was scheduled to start at 1600 GMT (7pm Kenyan time).

Thousands of well-wishers filed past Floyd’s coffin in a public viewing on Monday, as a court set bail at $1.25 million for the white officer charged with his murder last month in Minneapolis.

Derek Chauvin, who kept his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes,aces charges of second-degree murder and manslaughter. Three other arresting officers are charged with aiding and abetting murder.

Meanwhile, Biden flew to Houston Monday for a private meeting with Floyd’s family.

He has sharply criticised President Donald Trump, who is standing for re-election as the Republican candidate in November, accusing him at the weekend of making “despicable” remarks about Floyd.

“They’re an incredible family, his little daughter was there, the one who said ‘daddy’s going to change the world’, and I think her daddy is going to change the world,” Biden said after the meeting.

Reform police

“I think what happened here is one of the great inflection points in American history, for real, in terms of civil liberties, civil rights and just treating people with dignity.”

Biden was expected to record a video message for Tuesday’s service.

Mourners in Houston, where Floyd lived before moving to Minneapolis, formed long lines to view his body, publicly on display for six hours at The Fountain of Praise church.

Memorial services have already been held in Minneapolis and North Carolina, where Floyd was born.

Meanwhile, US Democrats in Congress have proposed sweeping legislation to reform American police. The bill would make it easier to prosecute police for misconduct, ban choke-holds and address racism.

It is unclear whether Republicans, who control the US Senate, will support it.

Anti-racism protests started by Floyd’s death are now entering their third week in the US. Huge rallies have been held in several cities, including Washington DC, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

With the rallying cries “Black Lives Matter” and “No Justice, No Peace”, the demonstrations are among the largest US protests against racism since the 1960s. Protesters in European cities including London and Rome also gathered to show their support for Black Lives Matter over the weekend, while anti-racism protests in Australia were attended by tens of thousands. -BBC

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