Reverend Al Sharpton delivered a scathing criticism of President Donald Trump at George Floyd's memorial service on Thursday. Specifically, Sharpton singled out the president's recent photo-op outside a church in Washington, D.C. where he was holding up a bible, as well as his rhetoric regarding the protests that have taken place across the U.S. in the wake of Floyd's death.
"I've never seen anyone hold a bible like that [and] I've been preaching since I was a little boy," Sharpton said, via The Daily Mail. "If he's watching us today, I'd like him to open that Bible and reach Ecclesiastes 3: 'To every season, there is a time.' I'd like him to understand what time it is. We cannot use Bibles as a prop. For those that have agendas that are not about justice, this family will not let you use George as a prop. Let us stand for what is right."
On Saturday, Sharpton interviewed Floyd's brother, Philonise, on MSNBC, who spoke about the phone call he had with Trump. Floyd's brother described the conversation as "so fast" that the president "didn't give me the opportunity to even speak." He added that he "was trying to talk to him but he just kept like pushing me off like, 'I don't want to hear what you're talking about.'"
Floyd was arrested on May 25 in Minneapolis after allegedly trying to use a counterfeit $20 bill. Four officers responded, while one, Derek Chauvin, pressed his knee against Floyd's neck for close to nine minutes, killing him. All four officers were fired the following day, while Chauvin was arrested on Friday on charges of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. The remaining three were brought in on Wednesday on charges of aiding and abetting. Bail for the three was set at $1 million on Thursday, though their defense attorneys are all arguing for it to be lowered. Chauvin's murder charge was also elevated that day to second-degree.
Protests over Floyd's death, and the larger issue of police brutality against minorities, began on Thursday, and have continued since. On Monday, Trump addressed the nation, where he announced the deployment of the U.S. military in Washington, D.C. Ahead of the photo with the bible, a crowd of peaceful protesters were dispersed using tear gas. Right Rev. Mariann Budde, the Episcopal bishop for Washington, D.C., told The Washington Post that she was "outraged" by the president's actions and that no one at the church was consulted ahead of time.