Thousands of mourners braved sweltering Texas heat on Monday to view the casket of George Floyd, whose death after a police officer knelt on his neck ignited worldwide protests against racism and calls for reforms of U.S. law enforcement.
American flags fluttered along the route to the Fountain of Praise church in Houston, where Floyd grew up, as throngs of mourners wearing face coverings to prevent spread of the coronavirus formed a procession to pay final respects.
Solemnly filing through the church in two parallel lines, some mourners bowed their heads, others made the sign of the cross or raised a fist, as they paused in front of Floyd’s open casket. More than 6,300 people took part in the visitation, which ran for more than six hours, church officials said.
Meanwhile - Bail for the white former Minneapolis police officer charged with murdering George Floyd, whose death ignited two weeks of protests, was raised by $250,000 to $1.25 million at a hearing on Monday.
Former officer Derek Chauvin, 44, has been charged with second- and third-degree murder and manslaughter in Floyd’s May 25 death in Minneapolis by kneeling on his neck for nearly nine minutes.
Chauvin made his first court appearance by video link. He was handcuffed in an orange jumpsuit and sitting at a small table, the Minnesota-based Star Tribune said after the hearing. Access was limited to a small group of reporters.
Minnesota Assistant Attorney General Matthew Frank argued that the “severity of the charges” as well as the strength of public opinion against Chauvin made it more likely that Chauvin would flee if set free, the Star Tribune reported.
Chauvin’s bail was raised to $1.25 million from $1 million without conditions, and to $1 million from $750,000 with conditions, according to a conditional release order signed by Hennepin County District Judge Jeannice Reding.
The conditions include prohibitions against working in law enforcement and contact with Floyd’s family. Chauvin would also have to surrender any licenses or permits for firearms to qualify for the lower bail amount, the order said.
Chauvin and his attorney did not object to the bail conditions, the Star Tribune reported.
Floyd’s death has triggered the largest nationwide protests in decades as demonstrators call for policing reforms and policies to address racism and inequalities in society.