Mayor: George Floyd's body to be returned to Houston, funeral planned

George Floyd was a native of Houston’s Third Ward, a predominantly black neighborhood. Saturday, after a weekend of demonstrations and vigils across the country, it was announced that George Floyd’s body will be brought back to Houston.

Mayor Sylvester Turner released a statement. “This is the same city that George Floyd grew up in, and his body will be returning to this city,” Turner said after a night of explosive protests. “So the focus needs to be on supporting and lifting up his family.” No details about the funeral service have been announced. Fort Bend Memorial Planning Center confirmed they are handling Floyd’s services.

There was a long, relatively peaceful protest staged Friday in Houston by those wanting to voice anger over the death of George Floyd. It was organized by the Houston chapter of Black Lives Matter. I say it was relatively peaceful because while it wasn’t 100% peaceful, it was less violent and destructive to property downtown than some cities have seen. There was some looting of businesses and breaking storefront windows by the professional agitators and their followers and there have been about 200 arrests made since Friday. Four police officers were injured Friday and eight patrol cars were damaged. None of these actions are taken lightly by those of us appalled by the violence and mayhem unleashed at these protests. The protests turned into riots and mob violence aren’t honoring George Floyd.

Friday’s march and rally turned ugly in some spots. Broken windows and graffiti were left behind. One person was asked to leave the protest after she allegedly took out a rifle, another protester was carrying a machete. At one point, a group of about 60 to 70 protesters shut down U.S. Highway 59 for half an hour.

Houston Police Officers’ Union president Joe Gamaldi tweeted that the injured police officers were hospitalized.

Saturday Jack Yates High School alumni honored George Floyd, a 1993 graduate, and football player, with a vigil and walk in MacGregor Park.

Dozens gathered in the park to honor their classmate. Many wore crimson and gold, the Yates High School official colors.Others carried posters. One sign read “Enough Injustice Justice Now!”

Before the event began, organizers cautioned attendees to respect the event and maintain a peaceful presence in the park.

“We’re not here to rile up the city,” said attendee and Yates High School alum Marcus Brooks. “We’re here to bring love and just harmony but also to celebrate the life of George and bring focus to injustice. Period. Not just in Houston but all over the world.”

There have been some bright spots in Houston during this weekend.

And this man wins the weekend, as far as I’m concerned. He saw the destruction and looting happening downtown Friday night and told his wife he was going down to start cleaning it up. Bless him.

I’ll say this about Houston – these large, organized protests are rare. This city in which I live is not like other cities, even others in Texas. Dallas, for example, saw very violent protests and destruction this weekend. A man was nearly beaten to death for trying to protect his store.

This one is more graphic and comes with a language warning from me.

George Floyd’s brother set up a GoFundMe page set up three days ago. $4.6 million has been raised to pay for the funeral, burial, grief counseling, travel, and court costs. The money will also support his children and their education.