North Central University, a private Christian university in the heart of downtown Minneapolis, is set to host a funeral service for George Floyd Thursday amid escalating protests over his controversial death while in the custody of local police officers.
“North Central University is honored to have been asked to serve as the location for the Minneapolis funeral service for Mr. George Floyd. As a Christian university situated in the heart of Minneapolis, we strive to be good citizens and good neighbors. Our hope is that our sanctuary will provide a space of welcome and warmth for Mr. Floyd’s loved ones and their guests during this time of remembrance and worship,” the university said in a statement Tuesday.
Civil rights activist the Rev. Al Sharpton, who is founder and president of the National Action Network, is expected to deliver his eulogy at the memorial service set for 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Attendance at the memorial service, which will be held inside the Lindquist Sanctuary, Trask Word & Worship Center, will be restricted to verified persons only. The university noted that it was also working with planners of the event and the governor’s office “to ensure appropriate measures will be in place for health and safety related to COVID-19.”
Benjamin Crump, an attorney for the family, also announced at a press conference Monday that a funeral service for Floyd will be held on June 9 in Houston where Floyd grew up, CNN reported.
Floyd, a 46-year-old African American man, died in police custody in Minneapolis on Memorial Day while a police officer kneeled on his neck as he begged to breathe. Findings of an independent autopsy released Monday said Floyd died by asphyxia. The Hennepin County Medical Examiner's also called his death a homicide Monday, noting that he suffered "a cardiopulmonary arrest while being restrained by law enforcement officer(s)."
Derek Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer who was recorded kneeling into Floyd’s neck in a video online, was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter on Friday. Lawyers for Floyd’s family are calling for first degree murder charges as well as the prosecution of three other officers who were involved in the incident that has sparked protests and riots nationwide.
A memorial fund for Floyd that was set up on Go Fund Me just five days ago had raised over $11 million as of Wednesday morning.
“On May 25, 2020, my life shattered as I learned of the tragic passing of my dear brother, George,” Floyd’s brother, Philonise Floyd, said in a statement posted on the fundraising campaign.
“My family and I watched in absolute horror as the now infamous and horrifying video began to spread quickly throughout social media. What we saw on that tape left us shell shocked; a white Minneapolis police officer kneeling directly on my brother's neck, obstructing his ability to breathe. As some officers knelt on his neck, other officers participated and watched; no one took any action to save my brother's life. Those officers would continue to brutalize my brother until he died,” he said.
While some of the funds raised were expected to go toward paying for Floyd’s funeral service, Leonard Ellerbe, the CEO of Mayweather Promotions, told ESPN on Monday that boxer Floyd Mayweather will cover Floyd’s funeral costs.
"He'll probably get mad at me for saying that, but yes, [Mayweather] is definitely paying for the funeral," Ellerbe said. "Floyd has done these kind of things over the last 20 years.”