Gov. Greg Abbott traveled to Houston on Monday to attend the public visitation of George Floyd, a black man who was killed recently in Minneapolis police custody. Abbott told reporters afterward that Floyd’s death was “the most horrific tragedy I’ve ever personally observed” and that he was heading to meet with Floyd’s family privately.
Floyd, whose death has sparked protests across the state and nation in recent days, was a longtime resident of Houston’s historically black Third Ward before moving to Minneapolis a few years ago, according to The Houston Chronicle. Floyd died after a white police officer kneeled on his neck until he lost consciousness and for minutes afterward. He was 46.
Thousands are expected to attend Monday’s public visitation of Floyd, which is being held Monday afternoon at the Fountain of Praise Church in Houston. Floyd is set to be buried in Houston next to his mother on Tuesday after a private memorial service, according to ABC13.
“Today is a sad day. Ever since his death has been a sad day,” Abbott told reporters before meeting privately with Floyd’s family, saying he would express his condolences and give them a flag flown over the Texas Capitol in Floyd’s honor.
Last week, Abbott said he would speak with Floyd’s family first before determining whether to attend Floyd’s burial.
“This is gonna be their choice,” Abbott told KFDX. “They need to have the opportunity to celebrate the life of George Floyd the way that’s most appropriate, and we want to do all we can to support the family.”
Abbott is not the only high-profile official scheduled to meet with Floyd’s family. Democratic presidential candidate and former vice president Joe Biden will also travel to Houston on Monday to meet with the family, according to CNN.