Mourners, family and lawmakers in North Carolina gather to pay respects to George Floyd
There was also a public viewing of Floyd’s body in the North Carolina city Saturday, which drew lines of thousands of people, according to North Carolina outlet WRAL.
Floyd was born in the state, and he later lived in Houston, Texas.
Hoke County Sheriff Hubert Peterkin spoke at the memorial, calling on law enforcement across the country to acknowledge that, “We are part of the problem,” NBC News reported.
“We as law enforcement officers don’t have the authority to bully, push people around and kill them because we have on a badge and a gun,” he said..
“It’s got to change. We keep talking, we keep talking, we keep talking until it happens again. … Enough of talking. Don’t let the life of George Floyd be in vain.”
Floyd died last week after a former Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes during an arrest. In bystander video of the arrest, Floyd can be heard pleading with the officer and saying that he cannot breathe.
Protests have erupted across the country over Floyd’s death calling for racial equality and justice. Thousands of people took to the streets Saturday in major U.S. cities including San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York City, Washington, D.C. and more.
Rev. Dr. Christopher Stackhouse of the Lewis Chapel Missionary Baptist Church gave the eulogy at the Saturday memorial service, calling May 25, the date of Floyd’s death, “different.”
“Although it took 8 minutes and 46 seconds for him to die, it took 401 years to put the system in place,” Stackhouse said, according to NBC News.
Stackhouse also told mourners that, “A movement is happening in America, and I’m glad that all of us can say that it was George Floyd that sparked a fuse.”
North Carolina Reps. G.K. Butterfield (D) and Richard Hudson (R) also delivered remarks, according to USA Today.
One family member, Ruby Floyd, told the crowd that, “We’re bringing love back into the universe.”
Jeremy Collins, a spokesperson for North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D), gave the Floyd family a flag that had flown over the state’s Capitol building. The family was also given resolutions from the office of the governor and the Lumbee Tribe, NBC News reported.
The first service honoring Floyd’s life was held on Thursday in Minneapolis. There will be another service in Houston next week, where he will be buried.