Demonstrations against racism and police abuse in various cities in the United States were again massive on Wednesday, but were much calmer on the eve of the first funeral for George Floyd, which will initiate a series of acts in memory of the man whose death triggered a national movement.
The calm of the mobilizations came on the same day that the prosecution accused three more police officers and filed a new, more severe charge against the agent at the center of the case.
The modification involves a second-degree murder charge against Derek Chauvin, who was videotaped while pinning Floyd to the ground by placing his knee on his neck. The other three officers at the scene – Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao – were charged for the first time with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and second-degree murder.RELATED
If convicted, they could face up to four decades in prison.
The prosecution’s move culminated an unprecedented week in modern American history, in which communities of all sizes recorded protests, most of them peaceful, that were peppered with episodes of violence, including deadly attacks on police officers, mass robberies and arson in some areas.
Across the country, more than 10,000 people have been detained in connection with the riots, a count by The Associated Press shows. More than a dozen deaths have been reported, although circumstances are still being studied in many cases.
The protests remained massive, although mostly peaceful in California, where NBA stars Steph Curry and Klay Thompson marched alongside other protesters in Oakland.
Some threw themselves on the floor to represent the time the white police officer had his knee on Floyd’s neck while he was pleading for breath. But most of the agents maintained a policy of non-intervention during the day and even after the curfews came into force.
The first of three man-made funerals whose name has been chanted by hundreds of thousands of people in recent days is slated for Thursday afternoon in Minneapolis, a service featuring the reverend and civil rights leader Al Sharpton, and the family’s attorney, Ben Crump.
Floyd’s body will later travel to Raeford, North Carolina, where he was born 46 years ago, for a public wake and a private family funeral on Saturday.
In addition, a grand funeral will be held Monday in Houston, where Floyd spent much of his life, which will include speeches by Sharpton, Crump, and the Rev. Remus E. Wright, the family’s pastor. Former Vice President Joe Biden, who will almost certainly be the Democratic nominee for the presidency, could attend. Then a private burial will be held.
Crump, the family’s attorney, said the additional charges against the officers are “a bittersweet moment” and “an important step forward on the road to justice.”
Following the announcement of the new allegations, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz said the state and country have to “seize the moment” and use the heartbreaking events of last week to confront the effects of racism, including inequality in educational and economic opportunities.
“I think this is possibly our last chance, as a state and as a nation, to solve this systematic problem,” he said.