Wednesday morning news – June 10, 2020

Mourners gather in Houston for Floyd funeral » AUDIO: I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress. He is my God. In him will I trust.

More than 500 mourners wearing masks poured into a Houston church on Tuesday to honor the memory of George Floyd.  

Friends and family members remembered him as “Big Floyd.” 

FLOYD: I’m going to miss my brother a whole lot, and I thank God for giving me my own personal Superman. 

Several elected officials attended the service, and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden addressed mourners in a taped video message. 

BIDEN: And unlike most, you must grieve in public. It’s a burden, a burden that is now your purpose to change the world for the better in the name of George Floyd. 

The funeral capped six days of mourning for Floyd in three cities. 

Following the service, Floyd’s golden casket was taken by hearse toward a cemetery in suburban Houston where he was to be entombed next to his mother. A mile from the graveyard, the casket was transferred to a glass-sided carriage drawn by a pair of white horses.

Hundreds gathered along the procession route and outside the cemetery entrance to pay respects.

Prosecutors charge NYPD officer with assaulting protester » Prosecutors in New York City are charging an NYPD officer with assault after he was caught on video shoving a woman to the ground during recent protests. 

Officer Vincent D’Andraia is also being charged with criminal mischief, harassment, and menacing. During a protest in Brooklyn on May 29th, D’Andraia told protester Dounya Zayer to move to the side of the road. When she didn’t comply, video footage appeared to show the officer violently shove her to the ground. Prosecutors say she suffered a concussion and a seizure. 

The police department suspended D’Andraia last week without pay. 

Meantime, the head of New York’s police union said Tuesday the wrong actions of a few should not be used to judge police everywhere. Mike O’Meara told reporters…

O’MEARA: Our legislators abandoned us. The press is vilifying us. 

And he added that NYPD badges are not stained by the actions of former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin. 

O’MEARA: We roundly reject what he did as disgusting. It’s disgusting. It’s not what we do. It’s not what police officers do. 

And he said little attention is being paid to officers hurt or killed in the line of duty. 

General becomes first black officer to lead a U.S. military branch » The Senate on Tuesday unanimously confirmed Gen. Charles Brown Jr. as chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force. That makes him the first black officer to lead one of the nation’s military branches.

Vice President Mike Pence presided over the vote, calling the moment “historic.” 

Also this week, Pentagon officials said they’re open to renaming military bases currently named after Confederate generals. 

Army Col. Sunset Belinsky said this week that both Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy have signaled that they’re willing to consider the changes.

The U.S. Army has 10 bases named after Confederate generals—including Ft. Bragg in North Carolina, Ft. Hood in Texas, and Ft. Lee in Virginia. 

Trump aiming to restart campaign rallies soon » With more states reopening, President Trump is aiming to resume campaign rallies in the coming weeks. 

And Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said she does not expect half-empty venues. 

MCDANIEL: Oh, I think they’ll be fully rallies. Listen, when we went to North Carolina and I spoke to the governor, talking about the convention, we were talking about doing temperature checks, testing everybody before they come in, lots of precautions to make sure we were putting the safety of convention goers first. I think it will be the same with the rallies.

The RNC is still working out what those precautions will be and where the Trump rallies will take place. 

The president announced last week that he was pulling the public portions of the 2020 GOP convention from Charlotte. That after North Carolina would not guarantee that it would allow indoor crowds at the convention. 

The president’s eagerness to resume rallies comes as internal and public surveys show him trailing in national polls to presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. 

Burundi’s president dies unexpectedly » The small East African nation of Burundi announced Tuesday that its president, Pierre Nkurunziza, has died of a heart attack at age 56. But many are questioning whether he really died of COVID-19. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin has more. 

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: The statement posted on social media said the president was admitted to a hospital overnight Saturday after not feeling well. He appeared better Sunday but his health abruptly worsened on Monday. 

Despite the government’s statement, some in Burundi wondered whether Nkurunziza died from the coronavirus instead. His wife was reportedly flown to Kenya and hospitalized for COVID-19 in late May. 

Burundi’s government has downplayed the virus. And authorities kicked out the World Health Organization’s top official in the country just days before last month’s election.

The outgoing president’s death comes weeks before president-elect and ruling party candidate Evariste Ndayishimiye was expected to be sworn in.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin.

(Godofredo A. Vásquez/Houston Chronicle via AP, Pool) Pallbearers recess out of the church with the casket following the funeral for George Floyd on Tuesday, June 9, 2020, at The Fountain of Praise church in Houston. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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