Remembering George Floyd: Memorial services underway in Raeford, NC

State - Regional

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The Hoke County Sheriff’s Office is preparing for thousands of people to come into Raeford for George Floyd’s viewing.

Sheriff Hubert A. Peterkin said he expects the service site to be filled like never before.

“It’s been one of the biggest things I’ve ever had to deal with. You got every single law enforcement entity that you could think of. Everyone is at the table,” Peterkin said.

Peterkin said he is relying on a number of partners to get everything right for George Floyd’s viewing service. He told CBS 17 that he has had detailed discussions with those agencies.

“We’re meeting every day, two or three times a day to make sure I haven’t missed anything. We’ll be doing that to the day of this event,” Sheriff Peterkin said.

The pressure is on.

“This is someone the whole world knows now, they know his name,” the sheriff said.

Peterkin said organizers will work to keep the line moving as much as possible. He asked people to be patient and understand that there will be long wait time for most people.

Two doors will be open into the church in an attempt to get as many people in as possible.

“There’s going to be a lot of people there. This is one of the biggest services I have seen at this church. I thought I’ve seen it as big as it can get. I’ve seen it packed out to the max,” Peterkin said. “I fear everyone won’t (get in). There’s gonna be a lot of people there.”

Devin Francis and her friend traveled from Virginia earlier in the week for the viewing. They drove in early to make sure they could pay their respects.

“I’d never heard of Raeford, North Carolina but I figured it was close enough and it’s a monumental moment really in history that it’s just changed the world. Like her daughter said, her daddy change the world. I feel like this is something that I wanted to experience. I want to see him. It leaves you kind of speechless,” Francis said.

She hoped Floyd’s death would result in more police accountability.

“He murdered that man in broad daylight. If it was anybody else that was not in a uniform, no questions asked, gone that day,” she said.

“We’re going to have enough people who are there for that reason. There’s nowhere for you to park on the side of the road just to look and be nosy. That’s not gonna happen. We have too much going on,” said Peterkin.

The sheriff wanted to make it clear to the public this is not a protesting opportunity. He said the family wants to keep the afternoon as peaceful as possible.

Peterkin said Saturday was not the day for finger pointing, fights, or conflict.

“We don’t want to lock anyone up, we don’t want to have to do all that but we are prepared to do that too.”

Peterkin said it’s important visitors follow traffic signals and instructions when they arrive.

“It’s about George Floyd and his family and if they really care about this situation, they will respect what we are asking them to do,” Sheriff Peterkin said.

Public viewing details:

  • Location: Cape Fear Conference B Headquarters, 10225 Fayetteville Rd, Raeford, NC 28376
  • Time: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • No flowers or gifts allowed per family request
  • Visitors must bring a face mask and practice social distancing as much as possible
  • Lingering at the casket, or parking lot will not be allowed


  • On-site parking allowed
  • Overflow lot: Rockfish Church with shuttles made available by Hoke Area Transit Buses
  • No parking along Hwy. 401 allowed

Traffic Concerns:

  • Highway 401 North and Highway 401 South will remain open
  • Heavy traffic expected from at least 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Avoid: Hwy. 401, Lindsay Rd., Wayside Rd., Hoke Loop Rd.

Future memorials:

  • Saturday, June 5: private family service at Cape Fear Conference B Headquarters at 3 p.m.
  • Tuesday, June 9: public memorial from noon to 6 p.m. at The Fountain of Praise Church in Houston

This story will be updated with more details about the Raeford viewing as they become available.

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