George Floyd Family Remembers Magnetic Presence ... Crump, Sharpton Give Inspiring Remarks

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FLOYD FAMILY REMEMBERS GEORGE

1:11 PM PT -- Al Sharpton just finished giving the eulogy and his words also brought the crowd to their feet. He said, "[George] did not die of common health conditions. He died of a common American criminal justice malfunction." Sharpton also took a shot at President Trump's recent photo-op and urged the Prez -- without ever mentioning his name -- to open the bible instead of using it as a prop. Sharpton said "George Floyd's story has been the story of black folks, because ever since 401 years ago the reason we could never be who we wanted and dreamed to being is because you kept your knee on our neck. It’s time for us to stand up in George's name and say get your knee off our necks."

HIS STORY IS OUR STORY

Sharpton also had a message for the flawed criminal justice system: "We don’t have a problem denouncing violence, Mr governor. We don’t have a problem, Mr. Mayor, denouncing looting. But it seems like some in the criminal justice system have a problem looking at a tape and knowing there’s probable cause and it takes a long time for you to go and do what you see that you need to do."

12:59 PM PT -- Floyd's family remembered George as a magnetic presence regardless of who surrounded him. One said, "When he spoke to people, he made you feel special. They felt like they were the president because that's how he made you feel." They also remembered his big bear hugs. "No matter who you talked to, they all felt special. They never felt left out. He would embrace them. What I'll miss the most about him is his hugs. When he wrapped his arms around you, it felt like your problems would go away." They also talked about how George was a HUUUUGE LeBron James fan.

The lawyer repping Floyd's family, Ben Crump, also gave an inspiring speech that brought everyone to their feet. He invoked the names of those who fell at the hands of injustice ... from Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor to Eric Garner, Stephon Clark and Trayvon Martin. Crump also had these inspiring words justifying peaceful protests, "What we are doing is helping America be America for all Americans."

The first of four services to honor George Floyd is about to get underway in Minneapolis ... and you can follow it live right here.

Thursday's memorial service will begin at 11 AM PT at the Frank J. Lindquist Sanctuary at North Central University. It's a private event to be attended by family, friends and invitees of the Floyd family only.

Rev. Al Sharpton will deliver the eulogy.

On Saturday, a public viewing and a private memorial service will be held in Raeford, North Carolina. George was born nearby in Fayetteville, and his sister said "his family would remember him" in the state.

According to Hoke County Sheriff Hubert Peterkin ... no protesting will be allowed at this service. Peterkin said, "The memorial is about the life that Mr. George Floyd lived, and this is a time to embrace the family with expressions of love and kindness."

Finally, on Monday in Houston, there will be a public viewing at The Fountain of Praise Church, followed by a private service Tuesday. Floyd grew up in Houston but left several years ago when he moved to Minnesota.

EXCESSIVE FORCE
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Of course, Floyd was killed while Minneapolis PD arrested him on May 25. The video of his death -- showing ex-cop Derek Chauvin pressing his knee on Floyd's neck as he pled, "I can't breathe" -- set off a firestorm of outrage. Across the country, protests sprung up ... a few of which escalated to riots and violence.

All 4 Minneapolis PD officers involved in the incident were fired within one day, and 4 days later Chauvin was arrested -- initially charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

CHARGES FILED
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On Wednesday, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison added a 2nd-degree murder charge.

The 3 other ex-cops -- Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Keung and Tou Thao -- were also arrested and charged with felonies ... aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.

Originally published -- 10:20 AM PT

George Floyd Murder Case Charged Ex-Officers Appear in Court

Three of the four former Minneapolis cops charged in George Floyd's alleged murder just went in front of a judge for the first time since their arrest.

J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas K. Lane and Tou Thao appeared Thursday in Hennepin County District Court, and the judge set their bail at $1 million for each.

Attorneys for Kueng and Lane tried to shift the blame to Derek Chauvin, noting the 2 officers were rookies and Chauvin was a 19-year veteran. Lane's attorney said his client asked if they should roll Floyd on his side, but claims Chauvin said no. Instead, he kept his knee on Floyd's neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds.

The attorney asked the judge, "What was [Lane] supposed to do ... go up to Mr. Chauvin, grab him and throw him off?" He also said that Lane and Kueng had to refer to Chauvin as "sir" ... presumably in deference to his seniority. Lane's attorney also said Lane performed CPR on Floyd inside the ambulance.

The judge said all 3 could post a lower bail amount of $750k each if they agreed to additional bail conditions. A future court date for all three former officers was set for June 29.

CHARGES FILED
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As we reported ... Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison charged Kueng, Lane and Thao Wednesday with one count each of aiding and abetting 2nd-degree murder and aiding and abetting 2nd-degree manslaughter.

Chauvin was arrested last week and initially charged by the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office with 3rd-degree murder and 2nd-degree manslaughter.

But, the Minnesota AG, who is now heading the investigation and prosecution, filed an additional count of 2nd-degree murder against Chauvin, who is now facing 40 years in prison -- the maximum penalty for 2nd-degree murder.

Chauvin is yet to go before a judge ... and his first court appearance is scheduled for Monday.

EXCESSIVE FORCE
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As you know ... Floyd was killed during a Memorial Day arrest, which saw Chauvin press his knee into Floyd's neck for nearly 9 minutes.

L.A. Dodgers Light Up Stadium To Honor Floyd ... 8 Minutes, 46 Seconds

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Dodgers Stadium was lit up for 8 minutes and 46 seconds Wednesday night ... and the team says it's all in an effort to pay tribute to George Floyd.

The MLB squad announced they turned on the lights at Chavez Ravine at 9 PM PT to stand in unity with "all Angelenos" who are outraged by Floyd's tragic death.

The 8 minutes and 46 seconds represent the same amount of time a Minneapolis cop had his knee on the neck of Floyd, before the 46-year-old ultimately passed away.

Thousands of others in L.A. joined in the light-up gesture ... with some individuals even stopping to pull out their phone's flashlights on city streets to honor Floyd.

"Tonight, the Dodgers joined families across Los Angeles in shining our Dodger Stadium lights into the sky at 9 pm for 8 minutes and 46 seconds in recognition of George Floyd," the team said in a statement.

"The Dodgers join all Angelenos in this peaceful display of unity to shine a light in the darkness."

The team and its players have consistently denounced racism and condemned police brutality since Floyd's death ... with star third baseman Justin Turner writing, "We will not pretend that we have personally experienced your struggle."

"But we will use our voice to speak out against racism and stand with you all."

The Dodgers also said in a team statement on June 1, "As we stood with Jackie Robinson to overcome the barrier of racism in our sport, we now stand with all Americans who will no longer tolerate the evils of racism and social injustice in our society."

"We must remain dedicated to the pursuit of freedom equality, and justice for all."

George Floyd Ahmaud Arbery's Mom to Attend Houston Funeral

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George Floyd's funeral will feature a guest who knows all too well the pain of losing a son to racial violence -- because Ahmaud Arbery's mom, Wanda Cooper, will be in attendance.

Wanda's attorney, Lee Merritt, tells TMZ ... she will be among those there in person Monday for George's funeral procession in his hometown of Houston. She'll be attending with Lee, although it doesn't sound like she's set to speak at this point in time.

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We're told the program is still being worked out, so it's possible she may share a few words -- but for now ... she's simply attending and paying her respects. Merritt tells us Wanda got connected to George's fam through their own family attorney, Ben Crump.

Of course, Wanda herself is in her own battle for justice over the killing of her 25-year-old son, Ahmaud, who was chased and gunned down by Travis McMichael, with the help of his father, Gregory. Both have been arrested and charged with murder/aggravated assault.

IN COLD BLOOD

We already knew Wanda had recently sought to connect with Trayvon Martin's family -- now, it looks like she's connected with a family who's dealing with an even more recent tragedy.

No doubt ... Wanda's appearance Monday should prove to be a powerful moment in what's been an historic past few months on the issue of police brutality against African-Americans.

George Floyd County Autopsy Report Released Reveals Positive COVID-19 Test in April

The full autopsy report for George Floyd has been completed by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner and it reveals he tested positive for COVID-19 in early April ... though he was likely asymptomatic at the time of his death.

The 20-page analysis details most of what we already know, Floyd became unresponsive and died while pinned to the ground by 3 police officers. However, a section of the report says George tested positive for COVID-19 on April 3.

The coroner says, "positivity for 2019-nCoV can persist for weeks after the onset and resolution of clinical disease, the autopsy result most likely reflects asymptomatic but persistent PCR positivity from previous infection." Meaning George was likely walking around without issues or active symptoms, but the virus was still in his body.

As we reported, George's family hired Dr. Michael Baden to complete a private autopsy. Baden's report found Floyd's cause of death to be "death from asphyxia" after the Hennepin County concluded he had a heart attack while being restrained by cops, with underlying medical conditions including hypertension and possible drugs or alcohol.

The final report from Hennepin on Wednesday says Floyd had, “no injuries of anterior muscles of neck or laryngeal structures.”

On Wednesday, ex-cop Derek Chauvin was hit with an additional charge of 2nd-degree murder. The other 3 officers involved, Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao, were all charged with felonies -- aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.

George Floyd Son, Attorney Visit Death Site ... He Was Tortured!!!

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WE EXPECT JUSTICE
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George Floyd's son and the family's attorney are making a powerful call for justice ... from the very site where he was killed.

George's son, Quincy Mason, stood alongside attorney Ben Crump Wednesday on the Minneapolis street where Floyd died. They kneeled to pay their respects, and Quincy spoke to the crowd, saying no man or woman should be without their father ... and he wants justice to be served.

Crump added that justice for the family goes beyond the arrest and now second-degree murder charge for ex-cop Derek Chauvin, who kneeled on George's neck for nearly 9 minutes.

Crump was speaking shortly before the announcement the other 3 ex-officers would also be charged ... but said their arrest and prosecution are also key to the family's pleas for justice.

As we reported ... the Minnesota Attorney general is expected to make an announcement Wednesday afternoon charging Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng in connection to Floyd's death.

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Crump says Floyd was absolutely tortured during his final moments ... and he claims the other officers failed to act when they knew George did not have a pulse.

Johnny Majors College FB Hall Of Famer Dead At 85

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12:39 PM PT -- Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt released a statement about Majors ... saying, "Not only was he a Hall of Fame player and a legendary football coach, he was a great man, leader and visionary."

Legendary college football coach Johnny Majors -- who led Pittsburgh to a national title in 1976 -- has died at 85, the school announced Wednesday.

Majors was a head coach at the college level from 1968-1996 ... with programs including Pitt, Iowa State and -- most notably -- Tennessee, where he led the Volunteers for 16 seasons.

John's wife, Mary Lynn, released a statement to WNML ... saying, "It's with a sad heart that we make this announcement," she said.

"John passed away this morning. He spent his last hours doing something he dearly loved: looking out over his cherished Tennessee River."

Pitt also addressed Majors' passing, saying, "He led us to our greatest glory and changed Pitt forever. Thank you, Coach. Rest in peace."

Majors was also an incredible single-wing back for the Vols from 1953-56 ... receiving All-American honors and finishing 2nd in Heisman voting in 1956.

He rushed for 549 yards and 7 TDs and passed for 552 yards and 5 TDs that season, leading the Vols to a 10-1 record and winning an SEC title.

#RIP

Originally Published -- 7:54 AM PT

Bernice King You Don't Have to Protest to Aid the Movement

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LET'S MOVE TOGETHER
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Bernice King has a message for the people who aren't protesting in the streets right now -- that's perfectly fine ... there are other ways to help.

The youngest child of Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King tells TMZ ... being a protester requires a certain character and discipline -- and not everyone fits the bill -- but EVERYONE can be a part of the movement.

For the George Floyd protests, King says there are many roles to fill ... like donating to help bail out peaceful protesters who were arrested, or helping with research, or simply being vocal about wanting to end racism in this country.

Bernice points out she's not on the front lines with protesters in this case either, because she's focused on achieving the desired results of positive change ... so the protests aren't in vain.

King suggests there's a lot of work to be done, but lucky for us ... her father set a pretty stellar example, and she's striving to follow his lead and get others in line, as well.

Bernice is CEO of The King Center, which helps teach tactics and strategies for advocacy and peaceful protesting ... which the U.S. can use a lot more of.

Actor Fred Willard Cause of Death ... Cardiac Arrest

Fred Willard died from a heart attack ... according to his death certificate.

According to the doc, obtained by TMZ, the veteran comedic actor's immediate cause of death is a cardiac arrest. The underlying causes are listed as myelodysplastic syndrome and coronary artery disease.

We broke the story ... Fred died May 15, and his daughter Hope told us her father passed away peacefully and made his family "happy until the very end." The doc says he died at his home at 6:45 PM.

The death certificate also notes Fred was a veteran of the United States Armed Forces and had 60 years in the entertainment biz, and it says he was laid to rest at the famous Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Los Angeles.

As we reported, at the time of his death, Fred's family said ... "He kept moving, working and making us happy until the very end. We loved him so very much. We will miss him forever."

Fred was famous for his role as Ron Burgundy's news director in the 'Anchorman' movies and he starred in countless cult comedies throughout his career, including ... "American Wedding," "Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle," "How High," "The Wedding Planner," "WALL-E," "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me" and on and on.

He was 86.

George Floyd Daughter's Mother Gets Emotional ... He Won't Get to Walk Gianna Down the Aisle!!!

LOST A GREAT FATHER
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The mother of George Floyd's daughter is coming to grips with the fact he's going to miss every milestone in their child's life ... and it's heart wrenching to see.

Roxie Washington had tears streaming down her face Tuesday as she stood alongside 6-year-old Gianna at Minneapolis City Hall. Through her sobs, Roxie hammered home the point ... Gianna's father was taken away from her abruptly and brutally.

Referring to Derek Chauvin, and the 3 other ex-cops as yet uncharged ... Roxie said they all get to go home and be with their families, but Gianna will never again go home to her father.

EXCESSIVE FORCE
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Roxie really broke down when she talked about George never getting to see Gianna grow up, graduate and walk down a wedding aisle.

You can see, feel and hear how the loss is taking a toll on George's loved ones ... and Roxie is still wondering why some of the others have not been arrested and charged.

LOOTING WON'T BRING HIM BACK
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You'll recall, George's younger brother, Terrence, was in Minneapolis Monday, calling for peace and an end to the riots and looting -- and earlier today, hundreds of Houstonians rallied for George who was from there.

George Floyd Hometown of Houston Protests ... Bun B Leads the Way

George Floyd's hometown is honoring him, and joining the national cries for justice by staging a large, peaceful march rally and March on the streets of Houston.

H-town rappers Bun B and Trae tha Truth joined throngs of people flooding Downtown Houston Tuesday for a march that ended at City Hall. George spent most of his life in Houston and still has family there. He hailed from the Third Ward and was an active member of the rap scene there.

Ben Crump, attorney for Floyd's family, announced earlier Tuesday the first memorial service will be Thursday from 1 to 3 PM in Minneapolis with another one scheduled in North Carolina Saturday at 3 PM.

Later, there will be a public viewing in Houston from 12 to 6 PM before he's buried there. Presidential candidate Joe Biden's expected to attend the funeral.

Bun B told a local reporter he was marching because George "was a human being and wasn't treated like one." Former classmates of Floyd from nearby Jack Yates HS also held a vigil over the weekend. People attending the vigil wore school colors and shirts that read, "I can't breathe."

Tuesday's protests also included an urban trail riding club dubbed Nonstop Riders. A reporter there got video of them showing up to the protest and they were met with boisterous applause. One of the riders said, “We’re here representing for all our black brothers and sisters.”

The protests in Houston come in the wake of Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz announcing the launch of a civil rights investigation ... which will not only look at the 4 officers involved in Floyd's fatal arrest, but also examine the department's behavior, in general, over the last decade.

Minneapolis PD Now Investigated for Floyd Death ... And Other Cases

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The Minnesota Department of Human Rights has filed a complaint against the Minneapolis PD in the wake of George Floyd's killing.

Governor Tim Walz announced the launch of the civil rights investigation, which will look into last week's incident involving the 4 officers who arrested Floyd ... in which one of them, Derek Chauvin, pressed his knee on George's neck for nearly 9 minutes, and long after he became unresponsive.

All 4 officers have been fired and Chauvin's been arrested and charged with third-degree murder ... but the other ex-cops have not been charged yet.

The investigation will not only focus on the Floyd incident, though. Gov. Walz says it will examine the practices, policies and patterns of the department over the past 10 years to determine if police have engaged in systemic violations of human and civil rights.

The Minneapolis PD has faced allegations of brutality, discrimination and unfair treatment of minorities for years, but clearly ... Floyd's death could be the catalyst to finally do something about it.

George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery Lawyers Urge Nation to 'Take a Breath for Peace' ... Details on Floyd's Funeral Services

LET'S ALL TAKE A BREATH

9:38 AM PT -- Crump and Merritt just spoke and briefly offered some opinions and updates regarding Floyd and Arbery's cases. Crump talked about both autopsies and compared each one's findings. He also said the Minnesota AG confirmed he'll look at the independent autopsy as part of his case building. What's more ... Crump said, "What [Floyd] needed was a breath. The family's [now] asking for everyone to take a breath for peace, take a break for justice, take a breath to heal our country and take a breath for George."

Crump also offered some details about Floyd's upcoming memorial and funeral services slated to begin Thursday in Minneapolis and culminate with his burial in Houston. Crump said former VP Joe Biden plans to attend.

Merritt announced the three suspects charged with Arbery's murder will have a bond hearing Thursday morning in Georgia. Merritt said it's appalling that a bond hearing will take place, adding, "We don’t think any bond is reasonable for these brutal suspects." He says he's assured the family "we're confident they will not get bond. We believe in the rule of law." Merritt confirmed the family will attend Thursday's hearing.

The attorneys representing the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery are holding a news conference to discuss getting justice in the courts AND the United Nations ... and TMZ's streaming live.

Attorneys Ben Crump and Lee Merritt will speak Tuesday morning -- along with criminal justice advocate and CNN analyst, Van Jones -- in an online forum set up by Team Roc.

We're told Crump and Merritt will take questions from reporters and hit topics including the upcoming bond hearing for Ahmaud's alleged murderers, Minnesota AG Keith Ellison taking on George Floyd's case and the next steps for bringing the 3 cases to the United Nations. Presumably, they want the U.N. to deem all three killings human rights violations.

As we previously reported ... the attorneys held a similar virtual news conference last week and not only touched on Floyd and Arbery's murders, but also discussed the tragic killing of Breonna Taylor in Louisville. Merritt also suggested it was time for economic boycotts and sanctions in the communities where these events had unfolded in hopes of conveying their message that racism and police brutality will no longer be tolerated.

The lawyers are also representing Taylor's family and pursuing justice after police killed her in a case of mistaken identity. The virtual news conference begins at 9 AM PT.

Originally published -- 8:41 AM PT

Wes Unseld NBA Hall Of Famer Dead At 74

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Washington Bullets legend Wes Unseld -- who won Rookie of the Year and MVP in the same season -- has died at 74, his family announced Tuesday.

"It is with profound sadness that we announce that our adored husband, father and grandfather Wes Unseld passed away peacefully this morning surrounded by his family following lengthy health battles, most recently with pneumonia," Unfeld's family said in a statement.

"He was the rock of our family -- an extremely devoted patriarch who reveled in being with his wife, children friends and teammates."

Unseld was the #2 overall pick in the 1968 NBA Draft and played his entire career with the Bullets ... and won ROTY and MVP in his first season in the league. The only other player to win both awards in the same season was Wilt Chamberlain.

He went on to win an NBA title and Finals MVP in 1978 and made 5 All-Star appearances.

The family continued ... "He was our hero and loved playing and working around the game of basketball for the cities of Baltimore and Washington, D.C., cities he proudly wore on his chest for so many years."

NBA champ Kevin Love -- whose middle name is Wesley in honor of Unseld -- spoke about the loss, saying, "Proud to be named after such a great man. A Legend and a Leader."

"Wes, you will be missed by the NBA family and all people who’s lives you touched. Rest In Peace."

Unseld's #41 jersey was retired after his retirement in 1981 ... and he went on to coach the Bullets from 1988-94. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1988.

Unseld is survived by his son, daughter, daughter-in-law, grandchildren and wife of 50 years, Connie.

#RIP

George Floyd Video Teen Who Recorded It ... Getting Psychological Help

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The girl who captured George Floyd's killing by Minneapolis PD officers on video is getting through the trauma of the ordeal thanks to therapy and a change of scenery, while remaining an important part of the case ... TMZ has learned.

We broke the story ... 17-year-old Darnella Frazier says she's utterly traumatized after recording the incident in which officer Derek Chauvin used his knee to suffocate George, largely because she's been the target of unfair criticism and backlash since the video got released.

She's also been facing a media frenzy -- dealing with reporters and an onslaught of attention -- and, of course, there's the trauma of just witnessing George's death firsthand.

Darnella's attorney, Seth B. Cobin, tells us that she and her family are no longer staying at her house in South Minneapolis, which is literally around the corner from the scene where Floyd was brutally killed.

We're told the family decided to relocate to an undisclosed spot -- police were not involved -- to remove themselves from the constant attention and strangers coming to their door.

Darnella's neighborhood has understandably become a flashpoint for Minneapolis protests, so the family felt it was best to get away from that for now.

Cobin tells us Darnella's also begun seeing a therapist who specializes in trauma, and it's working for her. Otherwise, she's keeping her mind busy with her school work.

EXCESSIVE FORCE
Facebook/ Darnella Frazier

As for her role in Floyd's murder case ... Darnella -- along with her mother and Attorney Cobin -- met with investigators from the FBI Civil Rights Divison and Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension on Saturday to give them her statement.

Cobin says it was a very important step for them to speak to the main witness, and Darnella is doing her part. Cobin says, "It's not an easy story to tell. You're going back to that place in your head and that's not an easy way to go back. It was emotional for her to recount her story, and for all of us to hear it."

Darnella's phone was taken to a crime lab so they can extract the original video and use it as evidence in Chauvin's trial. We're told investigators are trying to get in touch with other witnesses seen or heard in her video, as well.

For all that she's been through, a GoFundMe campaign's been started to help Darnella get some peace and healing ... it's raised nearly $50k in 2 days.

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