'Power To The People': NYC Memorial For George Floyd Draws Thousands as Protests Continue

By , WCBS Newsradio 880

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — Protests popped up all across the New York City for the eighth day of demonstrations on Thursday as thousands gathered for a memorial service in Brooklyn to honor the memory of George Floyd, whose death in Minneapolis police custody sparked nationwide protests and riots.

The crowd chanted Floyd's name and then cheered when his brother, Terrence, who lives in Brooklyn, came to the microphone.

The massive crowd chanted "You are not alone." before an emotional Terrence Floyd, wearing a mask and a T-shirt bearing his brother's likeness, thanked them for their love and support.

"I thank God for you all showing love to my brother,'' Terrence Floyd said. "I'm just thankful, I hear about the memorials going on in Minnesota, I got a call from a friend, he's in Australia, he said there's a movement going on over there. I hear it going on all over the world."

He said he's proud of the protests that have spread across the nation, but not the destruction that has followed peaceful daytime demonstrations.

"My brother wasn't about that," he said. "The Floyds are a God-fearing family.''

"Power to the people, all of us," he said.

WCBS 880's Peter Haskell reported that Public Advocate Jumaane Williams riled up the crowd when he said, "We kept the wrong president, the wrong governor and the wrong mayor." Williams spoke at the event which was held in Cadman Plaza, where the night before he witnessed officers using batons and penning in protesters who remained out after the 8 p.m. curfew.

Mayor Bill de Blasio was not treated as warmly as other speaker. Boos erupted from the crowd as he was introduced on the stage, prompting the Rev. Kevin McCall to ask for people to show respect.

 But the heckling continued as the mayor spoke, nearly drowning him out. 

"George Floyd cannot have been allowed to die in vain, we have to make a change in this city and in this country. I thank you, I thank you for being here to build a change," the mayor said, as many in the crowd turned their backs on the mayor and some shouted "de Blasio go home."

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Police Commissioner Dermot Shea were invited to the event, but did not show.

As the service concluded, thousands marched over the Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan for a rally in Foley Square, where throngs of protesters, police and members of the media were awaiting their arrival. It appears some people looking to make some money showed up to the protest, selling T-shirts with George Floyd's face on it that reads "I can't breathe," along with pins, especially relating to President Trump, with one reading "Impeach 45." 

There was a reading of the names of people that were killed at the hands of police, going all the way back to Amadou Diallo and ending with George Floyd.

WCBS 880's Steve Burns reported there was essentially a meeting of the minds as several different groups joined together in Foley Square before deciding to keep on going. 

Police stood off to the side, as they've done in days' past, keeping on eye on things and not actively engaging. As protesters started to see more officers comed into the area, the chants turned to "hands up, don't shoot" — the customary note to say that they are trying to stay peaceful. 

The protest that streted nearly six blocks eventually filled Washington Square Park, where metal barriers surrounded the fountain, which was vandalized with graffiti earlier this week. I'm sure you can hear in the background, protestors have decided to move those barricades out into the edges of the park so they can take over the fountain. 

Protests were also planned in Queens, outside Gracie Mansion, Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn, in Harlem, and in Bay Ridge. A rally will also be held at 7 p.m. at McCarren Park in Brooklyn and a vigil will be held at Carl Schurz Park in Manhattan.

George Floyd, 46, died shortly after an officer knelt on his neck for several minutes while placing him under arrest in Minneapolis. The 46-year-old was accused of using a forged $20 bill to pay for goods at a grocery store. 

The officer, Derek Chauvin, has been charged with second-degree murder. The three other officers involved in the arrest have also been charged.

A memorial service was also held Thursday in Minneapolis. The Rev. Al Sharpton delivered a eulogy at the memorial.

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