George Floyd's Body to Be Given Police Escort When Laid to Rest—an Honor Usually Reserved for Officers

The chief of the Houston Police Department has said he wants to provide a police escort for George Floyd when his body is laid to rest.

Art Acevedo said during a news conference on Sunday that he had spoken with Floyd's family and offered to have Houston police officers serving as a funeral security escort—an honor that is usually reserved for fallen officers.

"If they give us that honor. Because we are bringing him home. We want to be part of that journey," Acevedo said, according to Click2Houston.

Acevedo later told CNN's Don Lemon on Sunday night that he wants to ensure that Floyd's family feels safe and supported by the police department. "It's going to be a big deal for our city to bring him back home," Acevedo said. "He's well known, he's known by a lot of our officers."

He added: "We want to make sure that the family is safe, that the movement is safe. We want to make sure that the family knows that we're here for them and we support them at this time."

Art Acevedo
Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo walks arm-in-arm with a woman during a "Justice for George Floyd" event in Houston, Texas on May 30, 2020. Mark Felix/AFP via Getty Images

According to the Houston Chronicle, Mayor Sylvester Turner said he spoke with Floyd's family on Sunday about funeral plans, but the details are yet to be finalized. The newspaper reported that the city also plans to honor Floyd with a rally and a march on Tuesday.

Floyd's death after a Minneapolis police officer pressed a knee to his neck for more than eight minutes has triggered several nights of protests across the U.S. including in his native Houston, Texas.

In videos shared on social media, police officers have been seen using heavy-handed tactics at demonstrations—including dousing crowds with pepper spray, steering police cars into throngs of people and shoving protesters. Two police officers in Atlanta were fired over excessive use of force during an incident involving two college students on Saturday night.

Acevedo described the nationwide protests as a "watershed" moment and said he hopes it's a sign that "meaningful reform" can take place on the handling of officers who use deadly force.

In an op-ed for The Washington Post at the weekend, Acevedo said the actions of the officers involved in Floyd's death "shock the conscience" and "are inconsistent with the protocols of the policing profession and sabotage the law-enforcement community's tireless efforts to build public trust."

He added: "Tragedies such as this one occur far too frequently in our country, especially in communities of color and low-income neighborhoods. There is still much work that our profession must do to prevent more deaths like Floyd's and the destructive outrage that follows."

Derek Chauvin, the officer who was seen in widely circulated footage kneeling on Floyd's neck while arresting him as he shouted that he couldn't breathe, and three other officers, have been fired.

On Friday (May 29), Chauvin was charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.

But Floyd's death and other police killings of black people have continued to fuel protests demanding the arrest of the three other officers involved. Some of the demonstrations have erupted into violence, with deliberately set fires, looting and vandalism seen in a number of cities.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott declared a state of disaster on Sunday following several nights of protests in the state, and deployed thousands of additional state troopers and National Guard members to several cities.

Meanwhile, Acevedo gave a speech outside the Living Word Fellowship Church on Sunday, issuing a warning to those intent on causing damage during protests in the city.

"We will not let people come to our city and tear it up," Acevedo said, according to the Chronicle, blaming a handful of people for causing the majority of the damage.

"To the fools who think that our kindness is weakness: When you try to tear up our city, you're not going to face the police, you're going to have to face the people of Houston who will not let the memory of George Floyd be hijacked by anarchists that are doing Satan's work." Acevedo has been contacted for additional comment.

More than 500 people have been arrested in Houston as of Sunday night during the protests, according to an Associated Press tally.