HOUSTON (CBSDFW.COM) – It was just after 10:00 a.m. on Monday in Houston and already thousands of people had lined up to pay their respects at a public memorial viewing for George Floyd.
Today is the first of two days of remembrance for the Houston man who died May 25 with the knee of a Minnesota police officer on his neck.
The Fountain of Praise Church in southwest Houston will open its doors for six hours – welcoming all who wish to visit and pay their respects to Floyd. To comply with social distancing rules, 15 guests at a time will be allowed inside the church and guests, who are required to wear a mask and gloves, will be allowed to stay no more than 10 minutes.
The body of the 46-year-old was brought to Fountain of Praise early Monday — a church that is part of the Third Ward area of Houston that his family called home.
Floyd’s gold-lacquered casket will be displayed in the form of a person lying in state. His floral arrangements, sent from around the world, continue to come in.
The Houston Police Department and other public safety agencies are on hand — mostly to handle crowd logistics. “It’s a big deal for our city to bring him back home,” said Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo. “He’s well known, he’s known by a lot of our officers. We want to make sure that the family is safe, that the movement is safe. We want to make sure that the family knows that we’re here for them and we support them at this time.”
There were already lines of cars along the avenue to the entrance of the church early Monday.
Thousands are expected at the viewing and memorial after after days of marches, demonstrations and protests over the death of Floyd – the image of him lying on the ground, with the knee of a now criminally charged former Minneapolis police officer on his neck, burned into people’s minds. An event that sparked protests across the United States and around the world.
Not only are thousands expected to honor Floyd today, in Texas and elsewhere, but also speak out against police conduct, injustice and the often bias against African Americans.
Memorial attendee Tamiko Casey told CBS 11 News, “It’s personal, because I mean it’s our lives. I have a black son in America and I also have a daughter and I’m a black lady in America. It’s frightening to know that you don’t know if your child, or yourself, is going to see the next day. So, right now I’m getting a little nervous because I can feel it, I can feel the pain. For a man to be calling for his dead mother — it says a lot.”
One woman at the viewing said the world – in stillness because of the coronavirus – was able to see what so many black people already knew about black lives and police.
The families of Fort Worth victim Atatiana Jefferson and Dallas resident Bothan Jean are expected to attend the services for Floyd in Houston. 2020 Presidential Candidate Joe Biden will tape a video message for Floyd’s private funeral service Tuesday.
The final memorial for George Floyd will be held Tuesday. Retired NBA player Stephen Jackson said, “They’re ready to put him to rest, put him to rest the right way and the city is supporting them.”
According to the Fort Bend Memorial Planning Center, Floyd, who was a graduate of Houston’s Jack Yates High School in 1992, will be buried at the Houston Memorial Gardens cemetery in Pearland, next to his mother, Larcenia Floyd.