The city of Newark, New Jersey, is honoring George Floyd with a 700-pound bronze statue in his likeness that sits in front of City Hall.
City officials said during an unveiling ceremony Wednesday that the statue will remain in place for at least one year in recognition of Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man who died last summer in Minneapolis while in police custody.
The statue by artist Stanley Watts, which depicts Floyd sitting on a bench, was gifted to the city this week, the local ABC News affiliate reported.
“The world needed a peaceful George,” Watts said during the ceremony, the affiliate reported. “The world needed him relaxed and chilling on a bench and that’s what we produced and we produced him larger than life, because after death, George will be remembered. That’s what memorials are. To remember and never forget why we changed today and tomorrow and for the rest of our existence on this planet.”
Floyd died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly 10 minutes during an arrest attempt on Memorial Day. His death sparked weeks of international outrage and protests.
The officer, Derek Chauvin, was convicted in April of murdering Floyd and faces up to 40 years in prison when he is sentenced later this year. Three other officers also face charges for their involvement.
Actor and director Leon Pinkney, who commissioned the statue, said he was inspired to do so the night Floyd was killed “to honor his humanity.”
“The statue was to cause them to continue to remember why they marched during such a horrific pandemic. And I didn’t want them to go back to the status quo,” Pinkney said, CBS News reported.