Family memorial for George Floyd will be held in NC
Posted June 2, 2020 11:40 a.m. EDT
Updated June 6, 2020 2:45 p.m. EDT
Raeford, N.C. — Long lines of mourners, on foot and in vehicles, backed up traffic along Fayetteville Road in Raeford Saturday, where a public viewing was being held for George Floyd. Floyd, whose death in police custody sparked protests nationwide, was born in North Carolina and his sister lives in Hoke County.
A private, family memorial service will follow the public viewing on Saturday afternoon, at Cape Fear Conference B Headquarters, 10225 Fayetteville Road in Raeford.
Thousands arrived at the conference center, wearing masks and waiting to get in. Traffic was backed up in one direction along Fayetteville Road as people waited to see Floyd's body.
Floyd's body arrived in Raeford at around 9 a.m., escorted by the Hoke County Sheriff's Office.
Raeford is a city of around 5,000 people. But on June 6, 2020, it took the national stage. News crews from across the country gathered outside the conference center.
A shuttle service was offered by Rockfish Church, down the road of Cape Fear Conference Center.
Roads closed to ease traffic flow for George Floyd memorial:
Hoke Loop Road will close at 8 a.m. between Nessee Street and Raeford Road
Left lane outbound on Raeford Road is for travel, the right lane on Raeford Road is for the memorial service only
Closures will stay in place until the evening hours
Drivers can expect the west region of Fayetteville around Raeford Road and Gillis Hill Road to be heavily congested with traffic.
People are arrived from all across the country, and arrived early. A spokesperson with the conference center said people have been calling in from California, Georgia and Indiana.
"Everyone wants to come see the services for George Floyd," she said.
Sheriff asks for peaceful service
In announcing that his county would host the service, Sheriff Hubert Peterkin asked that mourners respect the family's grief.
"The memorial is about the life that Mr. George Floyd lived, and this is a time to embrace the family with expressions of love and kindness," he wrote.
Floyd's death was captured in a video that went viral. In it, a white police officer kneels on Floyd's neck. He can be heard saying, "I can't breathe" before losing consciousness. Minneapolis Police Department officer Derek Chauvin was arrested and charged with third degree murder and manslaughter in connection with Floyd's death.
The first memorial service for Floyd was held Thursday in Minneapolis. Another will be held in Houston, where Floyd spent many years of his life.
Gov. Cooper ordered all flags at state facilities to fly half-mast today in honor of George Floyd's memorial.
Family remembers Floyd as a gentle man, calls for end to riots
Bridget Floyd described her 46-year-old brother, who stood 6 feet 4 inches tall, as a gentle giant and a religious man.
Many of George Floyd's relatives live in our area, including an uncle in Raleigh.
Roger Floyd is the owner of an All State agency off Six Forks Road.
He remembered the day Floyd was born. His brother became a new father shouting, "I got a boy, Rog! I got a boy!"
He remembered getting the phone call that his nephew--Perry Junior is what they called Lloyd--had been killed by a police officer.
He said his "throat clogged up."
In the video, his nephew lay on the ground, a police officer's knee on his neck.
"And then what broke my heart more than anything else was when he called out for his mom," said Roger. "I believed that he was dying at that point because [his mother] had already passed."
George Floyd's mom passed away from cancer a couple of years ago.
Roger Floyd says his nephew had been a counselor for young people in Minneapolis and worked security, often alongside the officer accused of killing him.
"I really think it was something personal. Something may have happened-- because with his gentle spirit and the way he carried himself, he just had the persona where people were just readily attracted to him."
Protests tarnish Floyd's memory
He is encouraged by the national outrage. But he's angered when peaceful protests erupt into vandalism and looting.
"I would say stop this. It's uncalled for. There's no justification in doing that, not at all."
When they do, he says, they only mar his nephew's memory.
And they risk having the message lost in all the noise.