Mourners pass by the casket of George Floyd during a public visitation for Floyd at the Fountain of Praise church in Houston, Monday, June 8, 2020. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, Pool)
Thousands mourn George Floyd at Houston memorial
02:28 - Source: CNN
Washington CNN  — 

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott acknowledged the grief and magnitude of George Floyd’s death on Monday, saying Floyd is going to “change the arc of the future of the United States.”

“This is the most horrific tragedy I’ve ever personally observed,” said Abbott, a Republican. “George Floyd is going to change the arc of the future of the United States. George Floyd has not died in vain. His life will be a living legacy about the way that America and Texas respond to this tragedy.”

In his comments – which came ahead of a private meeting with Floyd’s family and at a time of several memorials for Floyd, including a public viewing held in Houston – Abbott did not outline specific changes he’d like to see in his state, and messages left with his office were not immediately returned Tuesday morning. But his emotional response was in striking contrast to public remarks made by many other Republican leaders, including President Donald Trump, who have largely called for order to be restored to American streets rather than addressing the underlying racial tensions behind the recent unrest.

Abbott also said he is committed to working with Floyd’s family to “ensure we never have anything like this ever occur in the state of Texas.”

“We’re already working with legislators, we’re working with his family. His family asked me, and I promised his family, that I would use and incorporate their family in these discussions … the discussions about the pathway forward will not be taken over by politicians but will be led by family members, that will be led by victims, that will be led by people who have suffered because of racism for far too long in this state and in this country.”

Asked if there would be changes in the state, the governor said there were changes taking place in police departments and city halls with more to come but did not provide specific details. He also hinted that there could be a “George Floyd Act” aimed to prevent police brutality in the future in the state and called for police reform.

Last week, Abbott condemned several Texas county Republican chairs who promoted unfounded conspiracy theories related to Floyd’s death.

Police killings of African Americans in Texas in recent years have escalated racial tensions and added to a distrust of law enforcement in the black community. Some notable examples include the fatal shooting of Botham Jean by an off-duty police officer in 2018, the killing of Javier Ambler during an arrest in 2019 and the fatal shooting of Atatiana Koquice Jefferson last year.