George Floyd’s family was joined by hundreds of mourners at a memorial service for the man whose death sparked an outpouring of anger about racial injustice and global protests.
“Everyone wants justice, we want justice for George, he’s going to get it,” Philonise Floyd, one of his brothers, told those gathered at Minneapolis’ North Central University.
“It’s crazy man, all these people came to see my brother, it’s amazing he touched so many hearts.”
Mr Floyd‘s death in Minnesota in May has become the latest source of fury over police brutality against black people in the US, pushing race to the top of the political agenda five months before November’s presidential election.
Derek Chauvin was fired by the Minneapolis police force and charged with second-degree murder after being filmed in a widely-circulated video kneeling on the 46-year-old’s neck for nearly nine minutes as Floyd gasped for air and repeatedly said: “Please, I can’t breathe.”
Demonstrators have defied curfews in large numbers and taken to the streets of cities across the country for nine nights in sometimes violent protests, prompting Donald Trump to threaten to send in the military.
Ben Crump, a lawyer for Mr Floyd’s family, revealed at the memorial service that Mr Floyd had recovered from coronavirus after testing positive in April.
More from George Floyd
Ahmaud Arbery killing: Defendant Travis McMichael ‘shouted racial slur’ as jogger lay dying
George Floyd memorial: ‘Pandemic of racism killed him’, family lawyer says
Lee Rigby’s mother calls for his image not to be used in ‘divisive’ posts against Black Lives Matter protests
George Floyd death: Policeman hugs crying black girl who asked ‘are you gonna shoot us?’ during protests
Jamelia: ‘If I’m making you feel uncomfortable about racism, then I’m talking to you’
George Floyd death: Trump ‘tries to divide us’, says ex-Pentagon chief in stinging attack
“It was that other pandemic that we’re far too familiar with in America, that pandemic of racism and discrimination that killed George Floyd,” he said.
“It’s going to take a united effort inside the courtroom and outside the courtroom to get justice for George Floyd.”
Leading civil rights leader Reverend Al Sharpton also spoke at the memorial, where he urged people to distinguish between those calling for protests to remain peaceful and those seeking to silence voices calling for justice.
“There have been protests all over the world,” he said.
“None of us condones looting or violence. But the thing I want us to be real cognisant of is there’s a difference between those calling for peace and those calling for quiet.
“Some of you don’t want peace, you just want quiet.”
Prosecutors on Wednesday announced new charges against all four former Minneapolis police officers implicated in the killing.
The three officers charged with aiding and abetting the murder made their first appearances in court on Thursday, when bail was set at $1m.
In New York City, which has been hit by looting during the protests, thousands of people attended a separate memorial event in a Brooklyn park for Mr Floyd.