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AP team documents extraordinary funeral for George Floyd

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After six days of mourning in cities throughout the U.S., George Floyd was laid to rest in a suburb of Houston. The funeral and burial capped a procession akin to those for heads of state: services in three cities: Raeford, North Carolina, near where he was born; Minneapolis, where he died; and finally, Houston, where he grew up.

AP staffers brilliantly chronicled that final chapter in Houston for all formats.

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AP photographer David Phillip arrives to cover the funeral of George Floyd at The Fountain of Praise church in Houston, June 9, 2020. – AP Photo / Eric Gay

Reporter Nomaan Merchant was the main contact with the funeral organizers who initially barred text reporters from the service, but eventually invited him to attend, along with photographer David Philip. Their Houston colleague, reporter Juan Lozano, stood outside the Houston church and later outside the cemetery in suburban Pearland, Texas, interviewing those who couldn’t get close but still felt moved.

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AP video journalist John Mone, center, covers the funeral for George Floyd, outside The Fountain of Praise church in Houston, June 9, 2020. – AP Photo / Eric Gay

Houston video journalist John Mone was also positioned outside the church, while Merchant used the Bambuser app to capture B-roll and a short interview with actor Jamie Foxx, which became one of AP’s top-downloaded videos of the week. San Antonio photographer Eric Gay made photos of Floyd’s gold casket entering the cemetery via a horse-drawn carriage. Los Angeles-based entertainment reporters Jonathan Landrum and Andrew Dalton watched live feeds of the services, helping to identify not only celebrities and songs but also family members to ensure accuracy and speed for filing. Adam Geller in New York wove the reporting threads together for the text story.

The funeral lasted hours longer than planned,leaving those covering the event outside in the Texas heat that jumped into the 90s. But the voices,details and images captured by AP,combined with a eulogy-turned-edifying sermon from the Rev. Al Sharpton, made for a compelling narrative that was among the most used stories of the week.

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