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Hundreds Of Mourners Attend Public Viewing For George Floyd In Houston

Mourners attend George Floyd’s memorial in Houston, on Monday, June 8, 2020.
Lucio Vasquez | Houston Public Media
Mourners attend George Floyd’s memorial in Houston, on Monday, June 8, 2020.";

Hundreds of mourners lined up outside a Houston church Monday to honor George Floyd, a former Houston resident who was killed by police in Minneapolis two weeks ago.

Monday’s memorial, at the Fountain of Praise church in Houston, is a six-hour public viewing held for the former Third Ward resident. Floyd’s funeral will be held Tuesday.

Elected officials — including Gov. Greg Abbott and U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee — were on hand Monday as mourners wrapped around the side of the building, waiting to enter the church and pay their respects. All visitors were required to wear masks and social distance in line, in response to COVID-19 guidelines.

One of the mourners lined up outside, Andrea McLaren, said she was there to support Floyd’s family after the trauama of what she called a “horrific event.” 

She also hoped police would work harder to build good will within the communities they serve. 

“This is nothing new,” she said. “But now that we see that this is happening live and in living color, literally an execution right before our eyes, yeah they need to get out here and be more proactive, and build accountability and trust for the community.”

Watch live video from the public viewing below:

Former Vice President Joe Biden was also in Houston Monday to meet with Floyd’s family. Biden said he would not attend memorials Monday or Tuesday, out of concern his Secret Service detail would create a disruption. He said he would record a video message to be played at the funeral service.

The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee also paid tribute to Floyd Saturday in his Texas Democratic Convention keynote speech.

Floyd died May 25 after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee into his neck for almost nine minutes during an arrest, which was caught on camera. The footage sparked protests across the country, and Chauvin was later charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter. Three officers caught on camera looking on during the incident were also charged with aiding and abetting.

In Houston, tens of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets last week in protest of police brutality, during a rally with George Floyd’s family organized by rappers Trae tha Truth and Bun B. It came on the heels of two other protests across downtown Houston.

Floyd, who grew up in Houston’s Third Ward, was a student athlete at Jack Yates High School who received a basketball scholarship from Florida State University. He later started a music career in Houston under the name Big Floyd, collaborating with the late Texas hip-hop legend DJ Screw.

This story was produced by Houston Public Media.