Governor Abbott : "George Floyd Act" will address police brutality in Texas

On Monday, a six-hour visitation was held for George Floyd in Houston. More than 6800 people are reported to have paid their respects, standing in the blistering heat of the city’s hottest day of the year so far as they waited to go into Fort Bend Memorial Planning Center, the funeral home where the visitation took place.

Today the funeral for Floyd will be a private one at The Fountain of Praise church with about 500 people attending. It will be live-streamed. After the funeral service, he will be buried next to his mother in Pearland. Mia K. Wright, the co-pastor of The Fountain of Praise church said it will be a celebration of his life. Among those invited to speak will be civil rights leaders.

“We celebrate a life that had its ups and downs as many lives do but also a life that was connected to God and one that all people around the world have now connected to because of the tragedy and the trauma by which he passed,” Wright said.

“And so we want to have a home-going celebration, we want to remember his name,” she added.
Wright said the service will include multiple speakers — including civil rights leaders who will “have a call to justice, a call for social reform.”

“It is so important that we move forward from here from a place of healing and wholeness because if we expect change to happen in our community, we can’t come from anger and hurt and loss,” she said. “We have to learn how to move as a whole unit.”

Al Sharpton is said to be delivering a eulogy. He also spoke during the memorial service in Minneapolis. I can’t help but think he will do the same as he did there – turn the memorial into a political rally. The service in Minneapolis brought back memories of the Wellstone memorial. Senator Paul Wellstone died in 2002 and his memorial turned political. It was ugly. Sharpton didn’t quite go to that level during the Floyd memorial but he sure made an attempt. He clearly wanted to take shots at President Trump, without saying his name, as though Floyd’s death wasn’t at the hands of local police but at the president’s hands. It is a standard operating procedure for Sharpton, who has made a career as a race hustler and agitator. I pray it doesn’t happen again during the Houston service.

Joe Biden met with the Floyd family during the visitation hours Monday. He will speak at the funeral service via video.

Governor Abbott was one of the first to pay his respects yesterday and he met with the Floyd family. He gave the family a flag that flew over the Texas Capitol in Floyd’s honor. “Today is a sad day. Ever since his death has been a sad day,” Abbott said.

Abbott promises that he will work with the Floyd family and perhaps a “George Floyd Act” could be in the works. He doesn’t want lawmakers to take it over, though, he wants the family to lead his response, along with other victims of racism and police brutality. George Floyd’s life will be a “living legacy” he said.

“George Floyd has not died in vain,” Abbott said. “His life will be a living legacy about the way that America and Texas responds to this tragedy. I’m here to tell you today that I am committed to working with the family of George Floyd to ensure we never have anything like this ever occur in the state of Texas.”

Abbott said that “discussions about the pathway forward” would not be taken over by lawmakers, but would be spearheaded by family members, victims and others “who have suffered because of racism for far too long.”

“Several things are already beginning to change,” Abbott said in response to a reporter’s question. “When we get to the Texas Legislature, discussions have already begun. Remember this: Texas has a legacy of success, whether it be the Timothy Cole Act, the Sandra Bland Act and now maybe the George Floyd Act, to make sure that we prevent police brutality like this from happening in the future in Texas.”

Governor Abbott points to inadequate law enforcement training as a challenge mentioned by lawmakers. Also, police unions block reform efforts to bring more transparency to interactions with the public. In 2019, some lawmakers wanted to include limiting arrests for offenses that don’t warrant jail time in legislation but the proposal died, allegedly due to opposition from one of the state’s top police unions.

The Texas Democrat Party criticized Abbott’s remarks. Going off on a tangent, a spokesperson said if the governor wants to make real reform, he’ll repeal Senate Bill 4 which was passed in 2017 and allows police to question the immigration status of people they detain or arrest. It is often referred to as the “Show Me Your Papers” bill. Democrats doing what Democrats do – never let a crisis go to waste. Dragging law enforcement measures to handle illegal immigration problems in the state is a separate issue yet Democrats are taking advantage of the spotlight now.