Calls for an end to police brutality echoed through the park during a public memorial service for Floyd, who was killed on Memorial Day at the hands of Minneapolis police.
All four officers involved in Floyd’s death are now in custody and facing charges related to second-degree murder.
The crowd also mobilized in support of Terrence Floyd, who choked up as he expressed the intensity of emotions surrounding his brother’s death.
“I was mad, I was upset, but I want to thank God,” the Brooklyn resident said. “It wasn’t his fault. It was his purpose, his will. My brother is gone, but the Floyd name lives on.
“I’m just thankful about the movement that’s going on,” he continued. “I’m proud of the protests, but I’m not proud of the violence.”
The rally, which took place simultaneously with a funeral service for Floyd in Minnesota, was hosted by Civil Rights Activist Reverende Kevin McCall and Kevin Livingston, who runs a nonprofit called 100 Suits that supplies free suits to formerly incarcerated men.
A long list of elected officials gave speeches as well, including Borough President Eric Adams and Congresswoman Yvette Clarke. Mayor Bill de Blasio was also in attendance, but swiftly left the stage after his words were drowned out by a chorus of boos from the audience.
Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, who has stood with constituents on the front lines of protests all week, did not hold back in shaming leadership for being slow to take action to save Black lives in New York City.
“We have the wrong president, we have the wrong governor and we have the wrong mayor,” he declared.
Williams, who attended Thursday’s memorial with his mother, encouraged New Yorkers to keep making their voices heard in the face of resistance from those poised to enact true legislative change.
"There are some people who come up here today and want to tell you to march in a way that doesn’t make people uncomfortable, who want to tell you to march the way they tell you to march, who tell you not to interrupt the status quo,” said the Brooklyn-bred public advocate. “But they forget that the people who have been affected the most have been uncomfortable for four or five-hundred years.
“If one person isn’t comfortable, we all shouldn’t rest," he added.
Harsh criticism of the mayor also came from Comptroller Scott Stringer, who demanded that $1 billion of the nearly $6 billion yearly NYPD budget be be redirected to community-based organizations.
After the service, protestors peacefully marched across the Brooklyn Bridge to Foley Square in Downtown Manhattan.