‘Get your knee off our necks!': Floyd mourned in Minneapolis

The Rev. Al Sharpton speaks at a memorial service for George Floyd at North Central University Thursday, June 4, 2020, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
The Rev. Al Sharpton speaks at a memorial service for George Floyd at North Central University Thursday, June 4, 2020, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Celebrities, musicians and political leaders gathered in front of George Floyd's golden casket Thursday for a fiery memorial service for the man whose death at the hands of police sparked global protests, with a civil rights leader declaring it is time for black people to demand, “Get your knee off our necks!”

The service — the first in a series of memorials set for three cities over six days — unfolded in Minneapolis at a sanctuary at North Central University as a judge a few blocks away set bail at $750,000 each for the three fired police officers charged with aiding and abetting murder in Floyd's death.

“George Floyd’s story has been the story of black folks. Because ever since 401 years ago, the reason we could never be who we wanted and dreamed to be is you kept your knee on our neck,” the Rev. Al Sharpton said in a fierce eulogy. “It’s time for us to stand up in George’s name and say, ‘Get your knee off our necks!’”

Floyd, a 46-year-old out-of-work bouncer, died May 25 after a white police officer, Derek Chauvin, put his knee on Floyd's neck for several minutes as he lay handcuffed on the pavement, gasping that he couldn't breathe. Chauvin has been charged with murder, and he and the others could get up to 40 years in prison.