Changes to law announced during George Floyd's funeral

Changes were announced to the law in Houston, Texas during the funeral of George Floyd. The Afric...
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

06.55 10 Jun 2020

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Changes to law announced durin...

Changes to law announced during George Floyd's funeral

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

06.55 10 Jun 2020

Share this article

Changes were announced to the law in Houston, Texas during the funeral of George Floyd.

The African-American man was killed on May 25th after police officer Derek Chauvin placed his knee on his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Mr Floyd was laid to rest in Texas on Tuesday.


Matt Harab is reporter with Houston Public Media and NPR news in the US.

He told Breakfast Briefing: "The speeches for the funeral today talked about action and change and how it's not just about words.

"Words have been said over the past five, 10, 15 years going back even further than that when it comes to police reform and police brutality.

"And we actually saw action in one of the speeches today - it was announced at the funeral for George Floyd by the Houston mayor during his funeral speech that choke holds will no longer be allowed to be used by the Houston police department to subdue suspects.

"It comes a day after the mayor of Houston announced the police reform taskforce was going to be started in the city to assist with training."

"The call for change, the call for action - we saw it literally today - New York state also is expected to introduce legislation banning choke holds as well.

"It does seem different then previous instances where this has unfortunately happened before."

There was also a call for people to use their vote for change.

"We have an election coming up here in the United States in November; and there was just a further call for communities of colour, specifically, and communities who are feeling oppressed to go out and do what they can.

Morning top 5 Flowers are seen outside the church where George Floyd's funeral is held in Houston, Texas. Picture by: unreguser/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

"Not just the current governmental officials, but that was constantly talked about throughout the process over the last couple of weeks.

"And it was once again re-emphasised that these people who feel oppressed and who have been protesting: they can themselves go out and effect and make change happen by going to the polls in November."

"I think we're at just a critical moment here in the States of a strong desire for change, a strong push for change.

"And now it's just about how to make that change - I think different cities across the country are going to do it differently."

One such proposal included calls for the police department to be de-funded, a request which the mayor of Minneapolis refused.

Speaking at the funeral, Mr Floyd's niece Brooke Williams asked "when has America ever been great?" - an apparent reference to US President Donald Trump's campaign slogan.

Referencing her uncle's final words, she said: "I can breathe and as long as I can breathe justice will be served.

"He always moved people with his words. The officer showed no remorse for watching my uncle's soul leave his body.

"He begged and pleaded for you to just get up.

"Why must this system be corrupt and broken? Laws were put in place for the African-American system to fail. These laws need to be changed. No more hate crimes, please.

"Someone said make America great again. When has America ever been great?"

She called Mr Floyd's death "not just a murder, this is a hate crime".

George Floyd Brooke Williams, niece of George Floyd, speaks during his funeral at The Fountain of Praise church in Houston, Texas. Picture by: Godofredo A. Vásquez/AP/Press Association Images

"America, it is time for a change, even if it begins with protests, no justice no peace," Ms Williams added.

"My brother and mum tells me this all the time - God says high, he lives low. Thank you Houston, he's always loving the hometown."

Earlier, Democratic US presidential nominee Joe Biden also spoke via a recorded message.

Mr Biden, who had a meeting with the family on Monday night, told mourners: "Now is the time for racial justice.

"That's the answer we must give to our children when they ask why.

"Because when there's justice for George Floyd we will truly be on the way to racial justice for America.

"And then, as you said Gianna, your daddy will have changed the world."

Additional reporting: IRN

Main image: Pallbearers carry the casket following the funeral for George Floyd at The Fountain of Praise church in Houston, Texas. Picture by: USA TODAY Network/SIPA USA/PA Images

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