MINNEAPOLIS - Ben Crump, the attorney representing the family of George Floyd, made a powerful proclamation at Floyd’s Minneapolis memorial service on Thursday: “Do not cooperate with evil - protest against evil.”
Crump would refer to the young people in the streets “protesting against the evil, the inhumane, the torture, that they witness on the video. We cannot cooperate with evil, we cannot cooperate with injustice, we cannot cooperate with torture,” Crump said as memorial attendees stood up from their chairs to applause.
“George Floyd deserves better than that, we all deserve better than that, his family deserves better than that, his children deserve better than that,“ Crump would continue.
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Crump said Floyd had been reaching for the inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit to be happy on this Earth before stating "he was denied those rights."
"We will seek justice in his name. We will all unite as a people who are god's children, seek justice in his name," Crump said.
Crump spoke on seeking a "broader, transformative justice" beyond that of holding the four police officers accountable for Floyd's death, urging an effort to make the "constitution real for all Americans."
"When we fight for the George Floyds of the world, but more importantly, when we fight for the unknown George Floyds of the world," Crump said, highlighting the names of black individuals who have died at the hands of police, "what we're really doing is helping America be the great beacon of hope."
"What we endeavor to achieve is equal justice for the United States of America and George Floyd is the moment that gives us the best opportunity I have seen in a long time of reaching the high idea that this country was founded on," Crump said.
Crump is representing the Floyd family following George’s death on May 25. George Floyd died while in the custody of Minneapolis police officers, one of whom, Derek Chauvin, knelt on Floyd’s neck for an extended period of time. Chauvin now faces murder charges while the other three police officers at the scene have been charged with aiding and abetting in Floyd’s killing.
Floyd’s death has sparked a sea of protests over police brutality against black individuals around the country and the world, ranging from peaceful to violent. The protests have prompted some state and local leaders to institute curfews and request assistance from the National Guard.
The memorial services to honor George Floyd are extraordinary: three cities over six days, with a chance for mourners to pay their respects in the communities where he was born, grew up, and died.
But so are the circumstances surrounding them: Since his May 25 death in Minneapolis, Floyd's name has been chanted by hundreds of thousands of people and empowered a movement. Violent encounters between police, protesters, and observers have inflamed a country already reeling from the coronavirus pandemic.
The organizers of the memorials want to acknowledge the meaning Floyd had in life to his large family and the broader meaning he has assumed in death, which happened after a white officer pressed a knee into the handcuffed black man’s neck for several minutes even after Floyd stopped moving and pleading for air.
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“It would be inadequate if you did not regard the life and love and celebration the family wants,” said the Rev. Al Sharpton, the civil rights leader who will eulogize Floyd in two cities. “But it would also be inadequate ... if you acted as though we’re at a funeral that happened under natural circumstances.”
“The family is not independent of the community," he said. "The family wants to see something happen.”
The Associated Press contributed to this story.