HOUSTON - The mayor of Houston said Saturday that the body of George Floyd, whose death after a Minneapolis police officer pressed a knee on his neck during an arrest has sparked protests across the U.S, will be returning to the city where he grew up.
Floyd was a Houston native before moving to Minnesota. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said at a news conference that Floyd’s body would be coming back to Houston but provided no additional details. His family has not announced funeral plans.
“This is the same city that George Floyd grew up in. And his body will be returning to this city,” Turner said. “And so the focus needs to be on supporting and uplifting this family.”
Turner spoke alongside Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo, who said his department had arrested more than 130 people since protests began Friday in the nation’s fourth-largest city.
Floyd, 46, grew up in Houston’s Third Ward, one of the city’s predominantly black neighborhoods. At 6 feet, 6 inches, Floyd emerged as a star tight end for Jack Yates High School and played in the 1992 state championship game in the Houston Astrodome. Yates lost to Temple, 38-20.
Floyd’s death Monday and other police killings of black men have fueled tense demonstrations nationwide.
The white police officer who held his knee to Floyd’s neck as he begged for air was arrested Friday and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. But many protesters are demanding the arrests of the three other officers involved.
FOX 26 spoke with Floyd's high school friends Gerry Monroe and Cyrill White.
“He was doing good, so whatever happened that day, I don’t think a hot check or a credit card issue you should receive a death sentence for,” said Monroe.
“That was the direct opposite of protecting and serving when you dehumanize and kill and murder somebody like that, and that was very tough to watch, and I’m just sorry for all of his family,” said Cyrill White, a high school friend of Floyd.
White says he looks forward to seeing the four police officers go through the judicial system, but overall, he’s hoping for greater sensitivity training for officers when it comes to not dehumanizing certain people and when it comes to de-escalation tactics.