George Floyd killing: Bail set at $750k for 3 officers accused, as hundreds attend memorial service

Martin Luther King III and his family show their respects to the remains of George Floyd before a memorial service.
Martin Luther King III and his family show their respects to the remains of George Floyd before a memorial service.

Three more accused for being involved in the murder of George Floyd have appeared in court facing charges of aiding and abetting Floyd's killing, where a US judge set bail at $750 000 each.

Former police officers Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng appeared at the Hennepin County District Court, AP reported, while friends, relatives and celebrities gathered at a large memorial for Floyd in Minneapolis.

The three join fellow former police officer, Derek Chauvin, who is facing a charge of second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter relating to Floyd's death on 25 May. A video circulated on social media shows Chauvin allegedly kneeling on Floyd's neck while Floyd cries that he is unable to breathe.

Floyd had been approached by police for allegedly having counterfeit money. 

His death has inspired large-scale protesting across the US and in other countries against police brutality on black men in the US. 

AP's report says Lane, 37, had allegedly taken no action to assist Floyd while the incident occurred.

Kueng, 26, is alleged to have been positioned between Chauvin and Lane and could hear what they were telling each other. Thao, 34, who was allegedly seen in the cellphone video standing near a crowd of bystanders and initially got a hobble restraint - something used by police to tie up a perpetrator - from the squad car, but the officers allegedly decided not to use it. 

Meanwhile, hundreds of people, including celebrities and prominent people, gathered to attend a memorial for Floyd. Prominent reverend, Al Sharpton, delivered the eulogy.

AFP reported Sharpton saying it was time to hold the US police force accountable. "You changed the world George," the 65-year-old Baptist minister said at the memorial service at North Central University in Minneapolis.

"This is the era to deal with policing," Sharpton said.

"America, this is the time for dealing with accountability in the criminal justice system," he said.

The Guardian quoted Sharpton criticising US President Donald Trump in his eulogy, saying he "held the bible in his hand. I’ve been preaching since I was a little boy. I never seen anyone hold a bible like that. I would like him to open that bible and I’d like him to read Ecclesiastes 3, to every season there is a time and a purpose and I think that it is our job to let the world when we see what is going on in the streets of this country and in Europe, and around the world, that you need to know what time it is.

"First of all, we cannot use bibles as a prop. And for those of you who have agendas that are not about justice, his family will not let you use George as a prop."

After Sharpton's speech, those attending the memorial service stood for 8 minutes and 46 seconds - the time Floyd spent pinned down and choked on the ground. 

Comedian and actor Kevin Hart had attended the memorial, as well as musicians TI and Ludacris, and also Martin Luther King III. 

Elsewhere, musician Kanye West said he has donated $2 million to charities associated with Floyd to fund his daughter's education, according to Variety.

- Compiled by Kerushun Pillay

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