US protests latest: George Floyd laid to rest in Houston funeral

Houston's mayor announces executive order banning officers from using choke holds

Friends and family paid respects to George Floyd at a funeral on Tuesday after his death in police custody ignited international protests against racism and police brutality.

Flowers were piled high outside the Houston church for the private service the day after thousands of well-wishers filed past Mr Floyd's coffin at a public viewing.

He was buried in a grave next to his mother's.

The service became the culmination of five days of public memorials to the 46-year-old African-American man, whose death at the hands of a white police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota, caused international outrage and forced a pledge from the city to dismantle and rebuild its police department.

Derek Chauvin, 44, the white officer who was filmed pressing his knee on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes, appeared by video link from prison on his first court appearance on Monday.

Politicians, civil rights activists and celebrities joined the family to share memories of the man they called a "gentle giant" before his gold casket was taken by horse-drawn carriage to his final resting place.

Mr Floyd's niece, Brooke Williams, said in a eulogy that drew applause inside the Fountain of Praise Church: “I can breathe. And as long as I’m breathing, justice will be served.”

Mayor Sylvester Turner took to the podium during the funeral to announce an executive order banning choke holds by police in Houston.

Mr Turner said he would sign the order after the funeral.

Underscoring the effect his death had on the world, the funeral was broadcast live on every major US broadcast and cable news channel.

The New York Stock Exchange observed eight minutes and 46 seconds of silence, which was broadcast on business news channel CNBC.

“I would like to thank the whole world for what it has done for my family today, especially George,” Mr Floyd’s aunt, Kathleen McGee, said at the funeral.

“I have gained such a huge family all over the world.”

Sobbing in grief, Mr Floyd's brother Philonise said: "George was my personal superman."

In a video message delivered during the ceremony, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden told those gathered that now is the time for "racial justice".

"Why in this nation do too many black Americans wake up knowing they could lose their life, in the course of just living their life?" Mr Biden asked.

Floyd's death spurred international outrage and forced a pledge from the city council to dismantle and rebuild its police department.

Footage of Mr Floyd’s death on May 25, recorded on a mobile phone, prompted international protests and drew new attention to the treatment of black Americans by police and the criminal justice system.

As the Houston memorial service began, the effects of his death continued to resonate internationally, with protests drawing thousands to the streets in cities around the world.

On Tuesday, New York lawmakers passed a repeal of a decades-old law that has kept officers’ disciplinary records secret, the change comes as New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has vowed to cut the budget of the city's police department.

Los Angeles also announced budget cuts for police services, while city council members in Minneapolis said they support disbanding and rebuilding the department.

Meanwhile, London’s mayor announced on Tuesday that more statues of imperialist figures could be removed from Britain’s streets after protesters knocked down a slave trader's monument.

In Paris, France’s top security official said police would no longer use choke holds, which have been blamed for several cases of asphyxiation.

Meanwhile, hours before Mr Floyd's funeral, US President Donald Trump tweeted a conspiracy theory about an elderly protester in Buffalo who was critically injured after being shoved by police and falling backwards.

Mr Trump wrote that the protester, 75, who remains in hospital, could be a member of the anti-fascist movement antifa, which he and other Republicans have blamed for violence at the protests.

He offered no evidence other than a report from the pro-Trump channel One America News Network, which also gave no evidence.

New York governor Andrew Cuomo issued a stern condemnation of the tweet during his daily news briefing.

"I mean, if there was ever a reprehensible, dumb comment, and from the president of the United States ..." Mr Cuomo said.

"At this moment of anguish and anger what does he do? Pours gasoline on the fire. He should apologise for that tweet."

After Mr Floyd's death, more videos were released on Monday of other black men dying in police custody in the US.

Police bodycam footage released by Williamson County in Texas showed officers repeatedly using stun guns on Javier Ambler, 40, despite his pleas that he was sick and could not breathe.

Mr Ambler was being pulled over for having his high-beams on. He died after being shot four times.

In Oklahoma, police released footage late on Monday of an armed black man who died in police custody last year after telling arresting officers, "I can't breathe."

In the videos, Derrick Elliot Scott, 42, moans and tells officers he could not breathe as at least one officer straddled him to place him in handcuffs.

Mr Scott then appears to go in and out of consciousness.

Paramedics are called and he is placed on a gurney and taken to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

In another incident in New Jersey, a state trooper fired his handgun six times, killing 28-year-old Maurice Gordon after an encounter during a traffic stop for speeding on a motorway.

After being unable to start his car, the officer calls Mr Gordon a tow truck and has him wait in the police car. After a lengthy wait, Mr Gordon exits the cruiser and gets into an altercation with the officer that ends with six gunshots being fired at Mr Gordon.

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