MINNEAPOLIS (Reuters) – Minneapolis was set to hold an emotionally charged memorial service on Thursday for George Floyd, the black man whose death in police custody set off a wave of protests and unrest that has roiled America in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic and a divisive presidential election campaign.
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 lived, media said.
However, a funeral is planned for Tuesday with private services at an undisclosed location.
Services for Floyd, 46, will stretch across six days and three states, the attorney for Floyd’s family told media.
The Reverend Al Sharpton, a television political commentator and civil rights activist who will give a eulogy at the service, struck an optimistic tone on Thursday morning, praising the unity of marchers protesting at police brutality.
“I’ve seen more Americans of different races and of different ages, standing up together, marching together, raising their voices together,” he told MSNBC. “We are at a turning point here,” Sharpton said ahead of the event, due to start at 1 p.m. Central Time (1800 GMT).
George Floyd, 46, was stopped by police investigating the purchase of cigarettes with counterfeit money on 25 May in Minneapolis.
A video showed Floyd being arrested and a white police officer continuing to kneel on his neck for several minutes even after he pleaded that he could not breathe.
Protests erupted and have continued since, across many US cities and also internationally, with rallies on Wednesday in Australia, France, the Netherlands and in the UK, where thousands gathered in central London.