George Floyd’s family and closest friends on Thursday demanded justice for a man they said was killed by “the pandemic of racism and discrimination.”

Mourners paid tribute to Floyd inside a sanctuary at North Central University in Minneapolis, singing praises for their brother, father, uncle and friend who died at the age of 46.

Floyd died after a policeman planted a knee into his neck for nearly nine minutes, a violent arrest that’s all-too representative of African American life, according to a eulogy delivered by the Rev. Al Sharpton.

“George Floyd’s story is the story of black folks,” Sharpton told mourners. “Because ever since 401 years ago, the reason we could never be who we wanted and dreamed of being — because you kept your knee on our necks.”

“We need to go back to Washington and stand up — black, white, Latino, Arab — in the shadows of Lincoln and tell them, ‘This is the time to stop this,'” Sharpton said.

Go deeper