MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — Hundreds of mourners packed a Minneapolis church Sunday night for a prayer vigil hosted by Rev. Al Sharpton to honor George Floyd on the eve of the murder trial against the former police officer accused of killing him.
Floyd’s family members delivered emotional speeches about their slain relative, who died last May after Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck while he laying on a the street in handcuffs.
“My brother, he didn’t ask for this,” Floyd’s brother, Philonise Floyd, said at the prayer service at Greater Friendship Missionary Church.
“I think about my brother every day, every night. I think about his kids and the next generation’s kids. I need justice for George. We need a conviction,” Philonise said.
The trial against Chauvin, who is charged with second-degree and third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd’s death, is scheduled to start Monday morning and is expected to last up to four weeks.
“They could bring up everything my brother did in his past,” Floyd’s other brother, Terrence Floyd, said at the vigil.
“But that don’t have anything to do with those 8 minutes and 46 seconds,” the brother said, referring to the amount of time Chauvin kept his knee on Floyd’s neck.
Rev. Sharpton, who hosted the service, said he and Floyd’s family will kneel outside of Hennepin County District Court on Monday morning for 8 minutes and 46 seconds.
“We want justice,” Sharpton told The Post Sunday night. He urged New Yorkers to “stand up and support [Floyd’s] family.”
Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner, who died in police custody on Staten Island in 2014, also attend the vigil.
As the trial is set to get underway, authorities have beefed up security measures in anticipation of expected demonstrations.
On Sunday night, members of the Minnesota National Guard were spotted stationed outside the Hennepin County Government Center, where Chauvin’s trial will take place.
The perimeter of the building is also protected by tall fencing, as are other downtown government buildings and city police precincts.