George Floyd honoured a year after his killing by US police

Family-friendly street festival, musical performances and a moment of silence mark the anniversary

A family-friendly street festival, musical performances and moments of silence were held on Tuesday to honour George Floyd and mark a year since he died at the hands of Minneapolis police.

The death was captured on a video that galvanised the racial justice movement and continues to bring calls for change in the US.

Floyd’s sister Bridgett and other family members held a moment of silence at a “Celebration of Life” event at a park in the Minneapolis city centre, which included music, food trucks, an inflatable bouncy castle and a vaccination stand.

A few kilometres away, at the junction where Floyd died, dozens of people knelt around a steel fist sculpture for several minutes, symbolising the nine minutes and 29 seconds during which he was pinned down.

“It’s been a troubling year, a long year,” Bridgett Floyd told the crowd. “But we made it. The love is here. George is here.”

Other members of Floyd’s family went to Washington where they met President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, who urged Congress to quickly pass a law in his name that would bring changes to policing.

A moment of silence to honour Floyd was also held in New York and a rally in Los Angeles.

A rally also took place in Germany and Floyd’s death was marked by US embassies in Greece and Spain.

Hours before the Minneapolis festivities, the intersection where Floyd died was disrupted by gunfire.

AP video from 38th Street and Chicago Avenue, informally known as George Floyd square, showed people running and seeking cover as the shots rang out.

Police said a person later appeared at a nearby hospital with a gunshot wound but it was not immediately clear if they were hurt in the incident.

There were as many as 30 gunshots about a block east of the junction, although calm soon returned, AP reported.

Like other major cities, Minneapolis has been struggling with rising gun violence, a problem made worse by many officers leaving the force since Floyd’s death.

A girl, 6, was fatally shot and two  children wounded in recent weeks.

Mayor Jacob Frey last week unveiled a sweeping set of public safety proposals aimed at fixing the problem.

Other groups want a more radical remake of the police department.

The junction was barricaded soon after Floyd’s death and quickly turned into a memorial, It is also a challenging spot for the city, with police officers not always welcome.

Floyd, 46, who was black, died on May 25 last year after former police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck, pinning him to the ground for about nine and a half minutes.

Chauvin, who is white, was convicted last month of murder and will be sentenced on June 25. Three other fired officers are awaiting trial.

In New York City, elected officials including Mayor Bill de Blasio and Congressman Hakeem Jeffries joined the Rev Al Sharpton in kneeling for 9 minutes and 29 seconds.

“As we took a knee, imagine how long that was on a human being’s neck,” Mr Sharpton said.

“Never switched knees, just dug in. It’s time we correct policing in this country.”

Several of Floyd's family members, including his young daughter Gianna, met Mr Biden and Ms Harris at the White House.

Mr Biden said he was charmed by Gianna.

"She threw her arms around me and gave me a big hug and wanted to sit in my lap," he said. "She said, 'I'm really hungry. Do you have any snacks?'
"My wife would kill me. We gave her some ice cream. She had some Cheetos and I think she had some chocolate milk, I'm not sure."

Mr Biden, who previously pledged to continue fighting for racial justice, said he hoped the Senate could quickly pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act and get it to his desk.

“We have to act,” he said of the legislation that would ban chokeholds and unannounced police raids, and create a national registry for officers disciplined for serious misconduct.

Floyd’s brother Philonise told CNN he thought about George all the time.

“My sister called me at 12 last night and said, ’This is the day our brother left us',” he said. “I think things have changed. I think it is moving slowly but we are making progress.”

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