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Thousands attend public viewing memorial service for George Floyd in Houston

A horse-drawn carriage carries a golden casket containing the body of George Floyd to a cemetery in Pearland, Texas, to buried next to his mother on Tuesday. Photo by Trask Smith/UPI | License Photo

June 8 (UPI) -- Thousands of mourners gathered to pay tribute to George Floyd in his hometown of Houston on Monday during a public visitation period at a city church ahead of his funeral on Tuesday.

The six-hour visitation period was held at the Fountain of Praise church in southwest Houston. It was open to the public but visitors were required to wear a mask and gloves in compliance with coronavirus-related guidelines.

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Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott were among those who attended the viewing on Monday.

Abbott called Floyd's death "the most horrific tragedy" he has seen and suggested Texas may introduce legislation to ensure the state "will not have police brutality like what happened to George Floyd."

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"George Floyd is going to change the arc of the future of the United States," said Abbott. "George Floyd has not died in vain. His life will be a living legacy about the way America and Texas Respond to this tragedy.

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The Rev. Al Sharpton is set to deliver the eulogy at Tuesday's funeral service and former Vice President and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden will meet with Floyd's family on Monday, aides said.

On Tuesday, Floyd will be buried at the Houston Memorial Gardens cemetery in suburban Pearland, Texas, next to his mother, Larcenia Floyd.

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The Houston funeral will be the third memorial for Floyd, following remembrances on Thursday in Minneapolis and Saturday in Raeford, N.C., near where he was born.

Monday's viewing period comes a day after Minneapolis councilors voted to defund and disband the city's police department as a direct result of Floyd's May 25 death.

Four former Minneapolis officers have been charged in Floyd's death, including Derek Chauvin, the officer who pressed his knee down on Floyd's neck and cut off his airway, which ultimately caused his death. He faces a charge of second-degree murder, while the other three are charged with aiding in Floyd's death.

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Chauvin made his first court appearance on Monday, exactly two weeks after Floyd's death, which spurred national protests demanding police reforms and an end to systemic racism.

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Most demonstrations have been peaceful but there have been a number of violent uprisings that have resulted in deaths, injuries and property damage.

One man was shot during a demonstration in Seattle on Sunday. Officials said the 27-year-old man was stable after he was shot in the shoulder. Police have arrested a suspect.

In Los Angeles, tens of thousands marched through Hollywood in a peaceful demonstration. As part of the protest, a U.S. flag atop the iconic Capitol Records building was replaced with one reading "Black Lives Matter."

Earlier, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said National Guard troops would leave city Sunday night. They will remain nearby through Wednesday in case they are needed.

In Oakland, Calif., thousands of bicyclists rallied to show solidarity. They rang bicycle bells and chanted, "no justice, no peace, no racist police."

President Donald Trump, who has been criticized for his response to the movement, met with law enforcement officials for a roundtable discussion at the White House Monday afternoon.

Protesters demand justice in police killing of George Floyd

Demonstrators hold a sign in Los Angeles on June 14 for Breonna Taylor, a black woman who was shot by police in her home while she was sleeping. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

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