The Latest: Private ceremony for Floyd planned at cemetery

TOP OF THE HOUR:

George Floyd, whose death energized a movement, to be buried outside Houston.

— Biden calls for racial justice in message to mourners at the funeral of George Floyd.

— Houston mayor to ban chokeholds by police.

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PEARLAND, Texas -- People are being allowed to walk up to the mausoleum in suburban Houston where George Floyd’s body is set to be entombed.

Some people took photos Tuesday as they got a closer look at the site in the cemetery in Pearland, Texas. Floyd’s funeral was ongoing at a church in Houston, where he lived most of his life. A private service at the cemetery was set to be held for Floyd’s family after his casket arrives. Inside the mausoleum, a small podium was set up along with 24 chairs in three rows. Outside the mausoleum in the back, another 42 chairs were set up underneath a tent.

___ HOUSTON — Pastor Steve Wells told mourners at George Floyd’s funeral that they have “awakened the conscience of a nation.”

Wells thanked the audience at the predominantly black Fountain of Praise church in Houston on Tuesday for inviting him, a white speaker, to address them.

He drew laughs and shouts when he said they might have to be forgiven for leaving white people off the program and drew a standing ovation when he said predominantly white churches like his must act now, that their conscience has been stirred, to end the racism he says killed Floyd.

Another pastor, Ralph Douglas West Sr., compared Floyd to Martin Luther King Jr. and Barack Obama, saying all three were born in obscurity but went on to change the world.

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ROME — Dozens of young Catholics gathered at nightfall on a small island in the Tiber River in Rome to pray for peaceful co-existence in the United States.

Then, clutching lit candles, participants knelt on one knee in the tiny cobblestone square outside St. Bartholomew’s Basilica during several minutes of silence Tuesday evening as George Floyd’s funeral was taking place in Houston.

The brief commemoration, called to stress the need to combat all forms of racism, social discrimination and violence, was organized by Young People for Peace. The youth movement has ties to a Rome-based Catholic organization with close relations with the Vatican.

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HOUSTON — Grammy-winning singer Ne-Yo said George Floyd’s death was a sacrifice that “changed the world” before performing during his memorial service.

Ne-Yo shed tears on Tuesday while singing a rendition of G.C. Cameron’s “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday.” The singer paused on a few occasions to collect himself during his performance.

“Fifty states are protesting at the same time,” he said. “This man changed the world. He changed the world for the better. I would like to personally thank George Floyd for his sacrifice, so that my kids could be all right later on. I appreciate the sacrifice. I genuinely do.”

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HOUSTON -- The family of George Floyd gave him tearful tributes and made impassioned demands for justice at his funeral.

The group of family members and close friends gathered around the podium at Fountain of Praise church in Houston and stepped up one at a time to talk about about their lost loved one.

Aunt Kathleen McGee laughed as she remembered the child family knew as Perry Jr., calling him a “pesky little rascal, but we loved him.”

Sister LaTonya Floyd was almost too overwhelmed to talk, wiping away tears and lowering her face mask to say “I’m going to miss my brother a whole lot and I love you. And I thank God for giving me my own personal Superman.”

Brooke Williams, a niece of Floyd, called for change to what she called “a corrupt and broken system.”

Two brothers and a close friend also spoke to mourn Floyd, whose death last month after a Minneapolis police officer put his knee on his neck for over eight minutes has inspired worldwide protests.

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SEATTLE — A Black Lives Matter group sued the Seattle Police Department Tuesday to halt the violent tactics it has used to break up largely peaceful protests in recent days.

Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County filed the emergency lawsuit in U.S. District Court.

Officers have used tear gas, pepper spray and other less-lethal weapons against crowds that have demonstrated against racism and police brutality following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis on Memorial Day.

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and Police Chief Carmen Best have apologized to peaceful protesters who were subjected to chemical weapons, but even after they promised a 30-day ban on using one type of tear gas, officers used it again, saying unruly demonstrators were encroaching on their position.

Under pressure from city councilors, protesters and other elected leaders, the police department on Monday removed barricades near its precinct building in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, where protesters and riot squads had faced off nightly. Protesters were allowed to march and demonstrate in front of the building, and the night remained peaceful.

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HOUSTON — Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee says George Floyd’s death ignited a plethora of protests around the world involving people of different races.

Lee said during Floyd’s memorial service on Tuesday that his death helped shine a light on police brutality against unarmed black men and women.

“I want to acknowledge those young marchers in the streets,” she said. “Many of them could not be in this place. They are black and brown, they are Asian. They are white. They are protesting and marching. And I’m saying as a momma, ‘I hear your cry.’ That is what George Floyd wanted us to know.”

Lee said she is unable to remove the Floyd’s last words “I can’t breathe” from her head. But the congresswoman said his death served a purpose.

“His assignment turned into a purpose,” she said. “And that purpose was heard around the world. There are people rising up that will never sit down until you get justice.”

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PEARLAND, Texas — Hundreds of people have lined up in the Texas heat along a road in suburban Houston that leads to the cemetery where George Floyd will be buried.

Many arrived hours ahead of time in Pearland, Texas, to get a spot Tuesday as they waited for the procession to come by after Floyd’s funeral ends at a church in Houston.

There was no shade along the procession route in Pearland and a heat advisory was issued for the area with temperatures in the 90s.

Marcus Brooks and a group of friends and graduates of Jack Yates High School, where Floyd graduated, set up a tent by the grassy side of the road. The 47-year-old Brooks said he had the tent specially created in crimson and gold, the colors of Yates High School, where Floyd played tight end. Past and present members of the football team signed the tent.

“We’re out here for a purpose,” Brooks said. “That purpose is because first of all he’s our brother. Second, we want to see change. I don’t want to see any black man, any man, but most definitely not a black man sitting on the ground in the hands of bad police.”

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HOUSTON — Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has announced that he will sign an executive order that bans chokeholds in the city.

Turner’s announcement Tuesday came during the funeral for George Floyd at a church in Houston, the city where he lived most of his life.

“In this city, you have to give a warning before you shoot,” Turner said. “In this city you have a duty to intervene.”

The sheriff of Harris County, which includes Houston, earlier in the day said his office will immediately implement a new “duty to report” policy for deputies and increase audits of use of tasers and body cameras. Sheriff Ed Gonzales announced the directives in a series of tweets.

Gonzalez said his office already prohibits the use of chokeholds

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HOUSTON — Joe Biden called for racial justice in a message to mourners at the funeral of George Floyd.

The former vice president and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee spoke via video at Floyd’s funeral on Tuesday, a day after he met privately with Floyd’s family.

Biden said in his recorded remarks that “when we get justice for George Floyd we will truly be on our way to racial justice in America,” adding a message to Floyd’s daughter by saying, “Then, Gianna, your daddy will have changed the world.”

More than 500 mourners gathered for the service at Fountain of Praise church in Houston, where Floyd was raised.

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The police department in St. Petersburg has updated its conduct policy to require officers to speak up and intervene when a colleague violates laws and policies.

St. Petersburg Police Chief Anthony Holloway announced at a press conference that he changed the policy after conferring with community members.

“If they see someone violating the law, an ordinance or a policy or procedure they will intervene,” Holloway said. “They’ll go over and say ‘Hey stop doing this.’”

Miami-Dade commissioners are considering reviving an oversight panel for their police department.

In the Orlando area, deputies with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office now have a duty to intervene “if they anticipate or observe the unreasonable, unnecessary or disproportionate use of force,” according to the agency’s recently updated use of force policy.

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PARIS — Thousands of people gathered Tuesday on Republic Plaza in Paris to pay tribute to George Floyd and show solidarity toward American protesters.

Demonstrators observed 8 minutes and 46 seconds of silence in homage to Floyd, whose funeral was being held Tuesday in Houston. Most kneeled in the black man’s honor.

French singer Camelia Jordana and others sang a poignant a cappella version of the classic civil rights anthem “We Shall Overcome.”

Demonstrators denounced brutality and racism within the police force, waving a variety of banners and signs, including “Black Lives Matter” “I can’t breathe” and “Racism kills.”

French authorities allowed the event to take place despite a ban on public gatherings amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Similar gatherings were organized Tuesday in other French cities.

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MIAMI — The chief prosecutor in Miami-Dade County says curfew violation charges will not be pursued against most people involved in recent protests over police brutality against African Americans.

State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said in a statement Tuesday that she saw little value in prosecuting curfew violations. The charge is a misdemeanor that typically would not involve any jail sentence. There have been dozens of such arrests in protests that began after George Floyd, a black man, died in police custody in Minneapolis.

Most Miami-area protests have been peaceful, but there were over 100 curfew violation arrests.

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HOUSTON — The sheriff of Harris County, Texas, which includes Houston, says his office will immediately implement increased audits on the use of tasers and body cameras.

Sheriff Ed Gonzales announced the directives in a series of tweets as Houston prepared for the funeral of George Floyd.

Gonzalez says his office already prohibits the use of chokeholds, but he’d make it clearer in policy. Gonzales says he supports law enforcement reform, but disagrees with “defunding,” which calls for some police resources to be spent on social services.

The sheriff says he’d advocate for better pay for law enforcement to attract better candidates.

“Mr. Floyd’s death reminds us that much work remains to be done,” Gonzalez tweeted. “We must build momentum toward a more effective, equitable and thoughtful approach to law enforcement.”

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HOUSTON — The black man whose death has inspired a worldwide reckoning over racial injustice will be buried Tuesday in Houston, carried home in a horse-drawn carriage.

George Floyd, 46, will be laid to rest next to his mother. As a white police officer pressed a knee on Floyd’s neck for several minutes on May 25 in Minneapolis, the dying man cried out for his mother.

His funeral will be private. A public memorial service was held Monday in Houston, where he grew up. Some 6,000 people attended.

Under a blazing Texas sun, several mourners waiting to pay their respects wore T-shirts with Floyd’s picture or the words “I Can’t Breathe” — which he cried out repeatedly while pinned down by the police officer. Floyd’s body, dressed in a brown suit, lay in an open gold-colored casket.

Shorty after the memorial ended, Floyd’s casket was placed in a hearse and escorted by police back to a funeral home.

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