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Time has come to hold police accountable: Sharpton

  • News Desk

    Agence France-Presse

Minneapolis, United States   /   Fri, June 5, 2020   /   11:15 am
Time has come to hold police accountable: Sharpton Rev. Al Sharpton performs a eulogy during a memorial service for George Floyd at North Central University on June 4, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. A number of politicians and celebrities attended the service in Minneapolis as more are scheduled to be held in North Carolina and Texas. (Getty Images/AFP/Stephen Maturen)

US civil rights leader Al Sharpton said Thursday at a memorial service for George Floyd, the African-American whose death during an arrest set off mass protests, that it was time to hold police accountable.

"You changed the world George," the 65-year-old Baptist minister said at the memorial service at North Central University in Minneapolis, where Floyd died on May 25.

"This is the era to deal with policing," Sharpton said.

"America, this is the time for dealing with accountability in the criminal justice system," he added.

The country has seen more than a week of nationwide protests over Floyd's death, captured in a shocking video showing white officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck as he pleaded for his life.

The wave of civil unrest has been unlike any seen in the US since the 1968 assassination of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

At the memorial service, mourners observed eight minutes and 46 seconds of silence, the length of time that Chauvin kept his knee to Floyd's neck, including for two minutes and 53 seconds after he became unresponsive.

Recent cases of alleged police brutality -- especially by white officers against minorities -- and negligence were already grabbing headlines all over the United States, sparking a national outcry and rekindling concerns about race relations.

"We won't stop," Sharpton said in a reference to the protests. "We're going to keep going until we change the whole system of justice."