The latest news on the protests over the death of George Floyd Thursday. This file will be updated throughout the day).
MINNEAPOLIS— A judge set bail at $ 750,000 (U.S.) apiece Thursday for three fired Minneapolis police officers charged with aiding and abetting in the killing of George Floyd, as a memorial service took place just blocks away.
Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng made their first appearances in Hennepin County District Court as friends, relatives and celebrities gathered to memorialize Floyd in Minneapolis.
The Minneapolis Police Department fired them last week, along with Derek Chauvin, who is charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd’s May 25 death. Widely seen bystander video shows the white police officer pressing his knee into Floyd’s neck, ignoring the African American man’s pleas that he can’t breathe, until he stopped moving.
MINNEAPOLIS—The mural of George Floyd projected above his golden coffin, where mourners knelt and cried, paused and prayed at his memorial service Thursday had a simple message: “I can breathe now.”
Celebrities, civil rights activists, politicians and family members of Floyd gathered in Minneapolis to pay their respects to the man whose death at the hands of police has sparked protests nationwide and calls for an end to racial injustice. Mourners wore masks and bumped elbows, rather than hug or shake hands, at the memorial taking place in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
The memorial at the Frank J. Lindquist sanctuary at North Central University was the first service to be held in the next six days across three communities where Floyd was born, grew up and died.
Projected above the pulpit inside the sanctuary was the blue and orange mural that’s been painted at the site of a makeshift memorial in the neighbourhood where Floyd pleaded for air on May 25.
A small band and choir sang the gospel classic “Goin’ Up Yonder” as mourners gathered.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson entered and prayed for several moments over Floyd’s golden casket. Others followed his lead, including Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar. Jackson and Klobuchar greeted each other and spoke for a few minutes, before heading to their seats.
Others in attendance included U.S. Reps. Ilhan Omar, Sheila Jackson-Lee, Ayana Pressley and Joyce Beatty; rappers T.I., with his wife Tiny, Ludacris, and Tyrese Gibson; comedians Kevin Hart and Tiffany Haddish; and actress Marsai Martin.
The Rev. Al Sharpton was among those who planned to speak, as organizers of the memorials planned to acknowledge the meaning Floyd had in life to his large family and the broader meaning he has assumed in death.
“It would be inadequate if you did not regard the life and love and celebration the family wants,” Sharpton said. “But it would also be inadequate … if you acted as though we’re at a funeral that happened under natural circumstances.”
“The family is not independent of the community,” he said. “The family wants to see something happen.”
Mourners filed into a sanctuary in Minneapolis on Thursday for the first in a series of a memorials to George Floyd.
The afternoon service was set for North Central University, where the civil rights leader the Rev. Al Sharpton was among those scheduled to eulogize the 46-year-old Floyd.
Inside the sanctuary, a golden casket was flanked by white and purple flowers, and an image was projected above the pulpit of a mural of Floyd painted at the street corner where he was pinned to the pavement by police. The message on the mural: “I can breathe now.”
The sanctuary normally seats 1,000, but because of the coronavirus outbreak, the capacity was reduced to about 500, and mourners wore masks.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson and members of Congress, including Reps. Ilhan Omar, Sheila Jackson-Lee and Ayana Pressley prayed over the casket. Sen. Amy Klobuchar also arrived. A band and choir performed the gospel standard “Goin’ Up Yonder” as the sanctuary began to fill.
LOS ANGELES —Widespread peaceful conduct across California at demonstrations to protest the death of George Floyd brought an end to curfews in Los Angeles and other Thursday while other cities kept restrictions in place as a precaution against looting and violence.
In announcing the end to the Los Angeles curfew, Mayor Eric Garcetti said that “Angelenos are rallying around powerful and peaceful demonstrations against racial injustice,”
“We remain committed to protecting the right of all people to make their voices heard and ensuring the safety of protesters, businesses, residents, families, and our entire community,” Garcetti said in a statement.
Earlier, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said a curfew will no longer be enforced in the county areas where his deputies patrol but communities within the county can still make their own curfew decisions.
The cities of San Francisco and San Jose also lifted their curfews. Oakland and Sacramento officials said they planned to keep curfews in place.
RICHMOND, Va.—A towering statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee will be removed as soon as possible from Richmond’s Monument Avenue, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said Thursday, pledging the state will no longer “preach a false version of history.”
The bronze equestrian statue, which sits on an enormous pedestal on state property, will be moved to storage while Northam’s administration works “with the community to determine its future,” the governor said at a news conference where the announcement was met with extended applause.
“You see, in Virginia, we no longer preach a false version of history. One that pretends the Civil War was about ‘state rights’ and not the evils of slavery. No one believes that any longer,” Northam said.
Northam made the decision, which has been widely praised by black leaders and activists, after days of angry protests in Richmond and across the country over the death of George Floyd.
The decision also came a day after Richmond’s mayor, Levar Stoney, announced he will seek to remove the four other Confederate statues along Monument Avenue, a prestigious residential street and National Historic Landmark district in the former capital of the Confederacy.
ALBANY, N.Y.—The thousands of people protesting the death of George Floyd have a “civic duty” to be tested for the coronavirus and help New York avoid a spike in new cases as it slowly restarts its economy, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday.
There’s widespread concern that people packing in tightly for demonstrations, sometimes without faces coverings, could lead to more COVID-19 cases. Cuomo was particularly concerned about daily mass demonstrations in New York City, which is poised to relax some economic restrictions amid an intense, months-long effort to tame the outbreak.
“If you were at a protest, go get a test, please,” Cuomo said at his daily briefing. “The protesters have a civic duty here also. Be responsible, get a test.”
Protests have continued around New York despite state rules against gatherings of more than 10 people.
The city is set to begin the first phase of its reopening Monday, which allows curbside retail, construction and manufacturing.
“New York City had the highest number of protesters,” Cuomo said. “We have to be smart.”
The Star’s Washington Bureau Chief, Ed Keenan, was with protestors near the White House last night. He describes what he saw as he followed the emotional demonstration: “They lay down in front of the Capitol building in the morning, knelt in front of the Trump hotel in the afternoon, then paraded past monuments and storefronts as helicopters flew overhead and tour buses full of troops in battle armour were escorted by police cars with sirens wailing to locations around the city.
Cries of, “I can’t breathe,” the now-familiar plea, rang out.
From the White House, visible behind the military trucks blocking the road and Lafayette Square park beyond them, there was news of apparent dissent from the Defense Department over President Donald Trump’s approach to the protesters. Here at the edge of the newly expanded perimeter around the president’s house, where the line was marked with the bodies of paramilitary riot squads in desert camouflage rather than a fence, things seemed tense after the heat of the day as protesters stood mere feet away from the guards and shouted directly into their faces.”
Read More: I followed an emotional protest through the streets of Washington last night. Here’s what I saw
ROME—The highest-ranking American at the Vatican will lead a prayer service on Friday in Rome to pray for “peaceful coexistence” following the death of George Floyd and protests that erupted across the U.S.
Cardinal Kevin Farrell, an Irish-born naturalized U.S. citizen, is the prefect of the Vatican’s family and laity office.
The Sant’Egidio Community, a Catholic charity close to Pope Francis, is organizing the evening prayer at its Santa Maria in Trastevere church. Francis this week decried Floyd’s death and the “sin of racism” and denounced violence as “self-destructive and self-defeating.” He’s appealed for national reconciliation and peace.
Farrell was bishop in Dallas, Texas, and an auxiliary bishop of Washington D.C. before taking his current job in 2016.
MINNEAPOLIS—Organizers of a Minneapolis memorial for George Floyd placed floral arrangements around a golden casket Thursday, as families, friends and celebrities prepared to pay their respects to the man whose death sparked protests nationwide and calls for an end to racial injustice.
A black hearse was parked outside the Frank J. Lindquist sanctuary at North Central University hours before the memorial was to begin in Minneapolis — the first sevice to be held in the next six days across three communities where Floyd was born, grew up and died.
Inside the sanctuary in Minneapolis, a self portrait of Floyd stood to the left of the casket, and a blue and orange mural that had been painted at the site of a makeshift memorial at the site of his death has been projected above the pulpit. A drum set, keyboard and four microphones stood ready for a small choir to perform.
The memorial service was expected to attract a wide array of celebrities, civil rights leaders, activists and politicians from around the country. Seats were reserved for actors and comedians Kevin Hart, Tiffany Haddish and Regina Hall; actor and producer Tyler Perry; film producer Will Packer; Martin Luther King III; the Rev. Jesse Jackson; Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz; Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey; U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar; U.S Sen. Amy Klobuchar and many others.
MOSCOW—The Russian Foreign Ministry urged the U.S. authorities to respect Americans’ right for peaceful protest amid the wave of demonstrations sparked by George Floyd’s death.
The ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, says Moscow has taken note of the use of tear gas to disperse rallies and massive arrests of protesters in the U.S. She also pointed out numerous journalists, including Russian reporters, were hurt while covering the protests.
Moscow long has bristled at Washington’s criticism of its human rights record amid Russia-U.S. tensions. Zakharova sought to turn the tables on the U.S. by pointing to the authorities forceful response to protests.
She says “it’s time for the U.S. to drop the mentor’s tone and look in the mirror,” challenging the U.S. authorities to “start respecting peoples’ rights and observing democratic standards at home.”
NEW ORLEANS—New Orleans police used tear gas during a late-night protest on a Mississippi River bridge when protesters refused commands to not cross.
Police Superintendent Shaun Ferguson was expected to discuss the protest at a Thursday news conference.
The encounter resulted in hundreds of demonstrators scattering on the bridge known as the Crescent City Connection, hours after a rally and march began near New Orleans City Hall
The department says on its Twitter page that tear gas was used after protesters refused to obey three orders not to attempt to cross the bridge. A department post says gas was deployed in “response to escalating, physical confrontation with our officers.”
SAN FRANCISCO—Police in San Francisco have filed criminal charges against more than 100 people accused of looting and violence.
Police in Vallejo say they shot and killed a 22-year-old looting suspect on Tuesday after mistaking his hammer for a gun.
The San Francisco figures were announced on the sixth day of protests over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. California authorities are generally praising thousands of peaceful protesters, with an estimated 10,000 gathering in San Francisco.
The violence has dwindled and some cities and counties have announced plans to shorten or cancel curfews.
MINNEAPOLIS—Mourners converged in Minneapolis on Thursday for the first in a series of a memorials to George Floyd, whose death at the hands of police has sparked protests around the world against racial injustice.
The afternoon event was set for North Central University, where the civil rights leader the Rev. Al Sharpton was scheduled to be among those eulogizing the 46-year-old Floyd.
“He was a human being. He had family, he had dreams, he had hopes. The real duty of one with this type of assignment is to underscore the value of the human life that was taken, which gives the reason the movement was occurring,” Sharpton said ahead of the gathering.
Memorials are set to take place in three cities over six days: After the Minneapolis event, Floyd’s body will go to Raeford, North Carolina, where he was born, for a public viewing and private family service on Saturday.
Next, a public viewing will be held Monday in Houston, where he was raised and lived most of his life. Then a 500-person service will take place Tuesday at the Fountain of Praise church.
NEW YORK—Gov. Andrew Cuomo says an ambush left three New York police officers injured and the suspect in critical condition shows the difficult balance police must strike in keeping the peace.
An officer on anti-looting patrol was ambushed in Brooklyn hours after an 8 p.m. curfew went into effect. The ensuing struggle left two other officers with gunshot injuries. All three are expected to recover.
“They have an impossible job, and they need support,” Cuomo told Long Island News Radio. “They’re out there, they’re getting hurt, last night again, they are the best, they are the best. God bless them because I don’t know that I would want to do the job that they’re doing now.”
Cuomo’s comments came days after he drew some criticism for saying some NYPD officers had exacerbated tensions during recent George Floyd protests with “very disturbing actions.”
The city’s police commissioner didn’t speculate on the stabber’s motive, but a police union leader blamed the attack on anti-police rhetoric.
WARSAW, Poland—In Poland’s second anti-racist protest in two days in response to the death of George Floyd, a large crowd gathered Thursday in front of the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw with signs reading “Black Lives Matter.”
Some laid face down on the ground in solidarity with the handcuffed Floyd, who was pleading for air as a Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck for several minutes.
U.S. Ambassador to Poland, Georgette Mosbacher, says the violent scenes of protest in the U.S. are an “anomaly” and not a true picture of the Americans.
“We can and will heal and learn from this tragedy — and justice will prevail,” Mosbacher’s statement said.
A small protest march was held Wednesday in Poland’s western city of Poznan.
BRUNSWICK, Ga.—Three men who were charged with murder months after the fatal shooting of Ahmaud Arbery appeared Thursday by a video link from jail for their probable cause hearing following a week of angry protests in the U.S. over law enforcement biases against black victims.
Jesse Evans, appointed as a special prosecutor in the case, says Arbery “was chased, hunted down and ultimately executed” based on the evidence his team would present.
Glynn County Magistrate Judge Wallace E. Harrell scheduled the hearing to determine whether authorities have enough evidence of murder in Arbery’s killing to send the case to trial.
Arbery was killed Feb. 23 after a white father and son armed themselves and gave chase when they spotted the 25-year-old black man jogging in their neighbourhood just outside the port city of Brunswick.
It wasn’t until May 7 that Greg McMichael, 64, and Travis McMichael, 34 were charged with felony murder and aggravated assault. The McMichaels’ arrests came two days after cellphone video of the shooting leaked online and stirred a national outcry.
The neighbour who filmed the video, 50-year-old William “Roddie” Bryan, was also arrested and charged with felony murder and illegally using a vehicle to try to confine and detain Arbery.
NEW ORLEANS—Drew Brees apologized Thursday for comments that were “insensitive and completely missed the mark” when he reiterated his opposition to Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling during the national anthem in 2016, drawing sharp criticism from fellow high-profile athletes and others in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
Los Angeles Lakers great LeBron James, New Orleans Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins and former NFL player Martellus Bennett were just some of the high-profile athletes to criticize Brees on their Twitter feeds.
Brees, a New Orleans Saints quarterback who won the Super Bowl in the 2009 season, was asked Wednesday in an interview with Yahoo to revisit former NFL quarterback Kaepernick’s kneeling during the national anthem before games to bring awareness of police brutality and racial injustice.
“I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States,” Brees began, adding that the national anthem reminds him of his grandfathers, who served in the armed forces during World War II. “In many cases, it brings me to tears thinking about all that has been sacrificed, and not just in the military, but for that matter, those throughout the civil rights movements of the ’60s, and all that has been endured by so many people up until this point.”
Many athletes have repeatedly said the kneeling was not about disrespecting the flag or the military but instead about police brutality.
In an Instagram post Thursday, Brees said he was apologizing to his friends, teammates, New Orleans, the black community, the NFL community and “anyone I hurt with my comments yesterday.”
WASHINGTON—Civil rights icon John Lewis said Thursday that the video of George Floyd’s death at the hands of police in Minnesota “made me cry.”
“I kept saying to myself: How many more? How many young black men will be murdered?” said Lewis, D-Ga.
“It made me so sad. It was so painful,” Lewis told “CBS This Morning.” “It made me cry.”
Lewis said he was encouraged to see such diverse crowds protesting Floyd’s killing, seeking the arrests of the police officers involved and demanding an end to racial injustice.
“It was very moving, very moving to see hundreds and thousands of people from all over America and around the world take to the streets to speak up, to speak out,” he said.
Lewis, 80, was a key figure in the civil rights movement and was one of the leaders behind the 1963 March on Washington and the push to end legalized racial segregation. He had his skull fractured by Alabama troopers as marchers crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma on March 7, 1965,
He urged protesters seeking justice in Floyd’s killing to embrace nonviolence and called on President Donald Trump not to crack down on “orderly, peaceful, nonviolent protests.”
“You cannot stop the call of history,” Lewis said.
Lewis quoted Martin Luther King Jr.: “Hate is too heavy a burden to bear. The way of love is a much better way.”
NEW YORK—Journalists alarmed by dozens of incidents where reporters were shot at, manhandled, gassed or arrested while covering demonstrations touched off by the death of Minnesota man George Floyd are fighting back legally.
A freelance journalist, backed by the American Civil Liberties Union, filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday against the city of Minneapolis, and dozens of news organizations urged Minnesota authorities to let journalists work unimpeded.
One organization has logged more than 230 incidents targeting journalists since Floyd’s death. The Associated Press captured film of New York police shoving and swearing at two of its journalists while documenting arrests Tuesday night after a curfew went into effect. Journalists covering the story are exempt from the curfew.
“The press is under assault in our country,” freelance photographer Jared Goyette said in the ACLU lawsuit.
Goyette was shot in the face last Wednesday by police using rubber bullets, according to the complaint. The lawsuit documents charges by more than 30 people who were set upon by authorities despite clearly identifying themselves as working journalists.
Freelance journalist Linda Tirado was blinded in one eye after being shot in the face. MSNBC’s Ali Velshi was fired upon after identifying himself as a journalist and being told, “we don’t care.” Vice magazine’s Michael Adams was thrown to the ground by police and pepper sprayed from inches away, the complaint said.
Photographer Lucas Jackson, who was hit by pepper spray and ammunition, told lawyers that “I’ve been hit because I’ve been in the wrong place before. I’ve never been aimed at so deliberately so many times while I was avoiding it.”
ST. PAUL, Minn.—Gov. Tim Walz is sending Minnesota National Guard troops to state’s western border because of what he says are credible threats of violence during demonstrations planned in neighbouring North Dakota.
The city of Moorhead, Minnesota, lies just across the border from Fargo, North Dakota.
Walz’s order didn’t say how many guard members are being deployed in Clay County. The governor didn’t provide details on what he perceives is a credible threat.
“The Minnesota National Guard stands ready to provide protection for all Minnesotans,” said Walz in a statement. “While Minnesotans turn their attention to rebuilding our communities and re-examining racial inequities in the wake of George Floyd’s death, our administration is committed to providing protection for our neighbourhoods, businesses, and families in order for those meaningful conversations to happen.”
The National Guard adjutant general will work with local government agencies to provide personnel, equipment and facilities as needed, Walz said.
SARASOTA, Fla.—A bystander video showing a Sarasota police officer pressing his knee into the neck of a handcuffed black man a week before the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis has prompted an investigation and promises of transparency.
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Two Sarasota officers are seen on video holding down Patrick Carroll, 27, during a domestic violence call on May 18. A third officer was standing nearby.
The department told news outlets it wasn’t aware the officer placed a knee on Carroll’s neck until it was tagged in the video on social media on Monday.
Aerial video posted by the department Tuesday shows the officers speaking with Carroll for several minutes before placing him in handcuffs. He then resists being put in the patrol car, and officers force him to the ground.
Carroll said he was trying to ask officers why he was being detained. He said he has asthma and scoliosis in his back and was having trouble breathing.
The officer who placed his knee on Carroll’s neck has been placed on administrative leave, the department said. He hasn’t been identified. The two other officers are on “desk duty” while the arrest is being investigated, news outlets reported.
Carroll faces charges of domestic battery, possession of ammunition by a convicted felon and resisting arrest.
MINNEAPOLIS—Officials in Minneapolis say the looting and property damage that following the death of George Floyd has caused at least $ 55 million in destruction.
Vandals damaged or set fire to at least 220 buildings in the city where Floyd died, but that number is expected to go up, city officials said.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey will ask for state and federal aid to help rebuild after the civil unrest. Until that happens, community members are pitching in to support Minneapolis neighbourhoods.
More than $ 1 million has been raised to help businesses in north Minneapolis, WCCO-TV reported. The West Broadway Business and Area Coalition says it will announce how they plan to use the money in the coming weeks.
The violence follows the death of Floyd, a handcuffed black man who died May 25 after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck, ignoring Floyd’s cries that he couldn’t breathe.
Prosecutors upgraded charges against the officer, Derek Chauvin, to second-degree murder on Wednesday and charged three other officers with aiding and abetting in the case that has rocked the nation with protests over race and police brutality.
The family of George Floyd was preparing on Thursday for the first of a succession of planned memorials in three cities, after a ninth day and night in which tens of thousands of people took to America’s streets in largely peaceful demonstrations calling for sweeping reforms in policing and an end to systemic racism.
Many protesters cheered the decision to charge three more police officers on Wednesday in Floyd’s death and to file a more severe charge against Derek Chauvin, the officer who pinned Floyd to the ground with a knee for nearly 9 minutes as an encouraging development in a broader struggle.
“This is a significant step forward on the road to justice, and we are gratified that this important action was brought before George Floyd’s body was laid to rest,” said Ben Crump, a lawyer for Floyd’s family.
The groundswell of national outrage has already led lawmakers in a number of states to consider legislation aimed at overhauling police procedures and systemic inequities. Measures being weighed include a ban on chokeholds in Colorado, a bill aimed at minimizing the use of lethal force in Wisconsin, and a potential repeal of California’s 24-year-old ban on affirmative action in university admissions and public sector contracting and hiring.
Former President Barack Obama, in rare public remarks, called on every mayor in the country to review use-of-force policies and to aggressively pursue police reforms like mandatory de-escalation of conflicts, a ban on shooting at moving vehicles, timely reporting of violent incidents and prohibitions on some forms of restraint used by the police.
Speaking from his home in Washington, he also offered encouragement to the demonstrators.
“For those who have been talking about protest, just remember that this country was founded on protest — it is called the American Revolution,” Obama said.
His remarks stood in stark contrast to President Donald Trump, whose calls to deploy active-duty military troops to U.S. cities have shaken the Pentagon.
Read the analysis from the Star’s Washington Bureau Chiefe, Ed Keenan: Obama and Trump offer competing visions of how to heal a deeply divided America
President Donald Trump’s Pentagon chief shot down his idea of using troops to quell protests across the United States, then reversed course on pulling part of the 82nd Airborne Division off standby in an extraordinary clash between the U.S. military and its commander in chief.
Both Trump and Defence Secretary Mark Esper also drew stinging, rare public criticism from Trump’s first defence secretary, Jim Mattis, in the most public pushback of Trump’s presidency from the men he put at the helm of the world’s most powerful military.
Mattis’ rebuke Wednesday followed Trump’s threats to use the military to “dominate” the streets where Americans are demonstrating following the death of George Floyd. Trump had urged governors to call out the National Guard to contain protests that turned violent and warned that he could send in active duty military forces if they did not.
Esper angered Trump when he said he opposed using military troops for law enforcement, seemingly taking the teeth out of the president’s threat to use the Insurrection Act. Esper said the 1807 law should be invoked “only in the most urgent and dire of situations.” He added, “We are not in one of those situations now.”
After Esper’s visit to the White House, the Pentagon abruptly overturned an earlier decision to send a couple hundred active-duty soldiers home from the Washington, D.C., region, a public sign of the growing tensions with the White House amid mounting criticism that the Pentagon was being politicized in response to the protests.
Former Secretary Mattis, a retired Marine general, lambasted both Trump and Esper in an essay in The Atlantic for their consideration of using the active-duty military in law enforcement — and for the use of the National Guard in clearing out a largely peaceful protest near the White House on Monday evening.
“We must reject any thinking of our cities as a ‘battlespace’ that our uniformed military is called upon to ‘dominate,’” Mattis wrote, referencing quotes by Esper and Trump respectively. “Militarizing our response, as we witnessed in Washington, D.C., sets up a conflict — a false conflict — between the military and civilian society. ”
Trump responded on Twitter by calling Mattis “the world’s most overrated General,” adding: “I didn’t like his ‘leadership’ style or much else about him, and many others agree, Glad he is gone!”
WASHINGTON—Congressional Democrats, powered by the Congressional Black Caucus, are preparing a sweeping package of police reforms as pressure builds on the federal government to respond to the death of George Floyd and others in law enforcement interactions.
With the urgency of mass protests outside their doors, lawmakers on Capitol Hill are working furiously to draft what could become one of the most ambitious efforts in years to oversee the way law enforcement works. Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Kamala Harris of California, both former presidential candidates, are expected to announce a package in coming days, with a House bill coming soon.
Both the Senate and House efforts are expected to include changes to police accountability laws, such as revising immunity provisions, and creating a database of police use-of-force incidents. Revamped training requirements are planned, too, among them a ban on the use of choke holds. Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, has endorsed such a ban.
“We have a moral moment in our country,” Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., the chairwoman of the CBC, said on a conference call Wednesday.
The political stakes of any police reform effort are high, amplified in an election year by President Donald Trump’s “law and order” stance, including his threats to call in the U.S. military to clamp down on protesters. With mass unrest now entering a second week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sought to shift the national tone Wednesday by walking and talking with protesters outside the Capitol.
The House is expected to vote by month’s end. “We’ll be intense, proactive,” Pelosi said on MSNBC.
MINNEAPOLIS—Demonstrations in cities across the U.S. to condemn racism and police abuses remained large but turned notably more subdued on the eve of a Thursday memorial service for George Floyd that kicks off a series of events to mourn the man whose death empowered a national movement.
The calmer protests came on the same day that prosecutors charged three more police officers and filed a new, tougher charge against the officer at the centre of the case.
The most serious new charge Wednesday was an accusation of second-degree murder against Derek Chauvin, who was caught on video pressing his knee to Floyd’s neck. The three other officers at the scene were charged for the first time with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
If convicted, they could be sentenced to up to four decades in prison.
The move by prosecutors punctuated an unprecedented week in modern American history, in which largely peaceful protests took place in communities of all sizes but were rocked by bouts of violence, including deadly attacks on officers, rampant thefts and arson in some places.
Nationwide, more than 10,000 people have been arrested in connection with unrest, an Associated Press tally shows. More than a dozen deaths have been reported, though the circumstances in many cases are still being sorted out.
Floyd’s name has become a rallying cry in other countries, too, unleashing protests against police violence and racial injustice.
In the U.S., protests were still big, but largely peaceful in California, where NBA stars Steph Curry and Klay Thompson marched with protesters in Oakland.
COPENHAGEN, Denmark—Authorities in Norway have turned down applications to hold rallies in the country’s three largest cities in support of protesters in the U.S. over the death of George Floyd, citing the coronavirus restrictions on gatherings.
Rallies were planned in Oslo, Bergen and Trondheim but local authorities said that without a dispensation from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, not more than 50 people can gather in one place, Mohamed Awil, president of the African Student Association UiO told The Associated Press.
The association is co-organizing the rally in Oslo where more than 15,000 people had said they planned to take part in Thursday’s demonstration outside the U.S. Embassy. Awil said they were considering an alternative demonstration but details were not immediately available.
Similar events took place in the in the capitals of Sweden and Finland Wednesday. They attracted thousands of people even though the limit in Sweden is currently 50 and in Finland is 500.
LONDON—The Duchess of Sussex has shared her sadness about racial divisions in the United States, telling students at her former high school that she felt moved to speak out because the life of George Floyd mattered.
Meghan told graduates at the Immaculate Heart High School in Los Angeles that she wrestled with what to tell them given the days of protests after Floyd’s death.
“I realized the only wrong thing to say is to say nothing, because George Floyd’s life mattered,” she said in a virtual address.
The former Meghan Markle, who has an African American mother and a white father, said the unrest reminded her of riots that took place in her hometown of Los Angeles after police officers were acquitted in the video-taped beating of another African-American, Rodney King.
“I remember the curfew and I remember rushing back home, and on that drive home, seeing ash fall from the sky, and smelling the smoke and seeing the smoke billow out of buildings,’’ she said. “I remember seeing men in the back of a van just holding guns and rifles.
“I remember pulling up the house and seeing the tree, that had always been there, completely charred. And those memories don’t go away.”
The duchess’ video was first reported by the U.S. magazine Essence.
TEHRAN, Iran—Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has called George Floyd’s killing “brutal” and criticized President Donald Trump for posing for photos while holding a Bible.
Rouhani in a televised speech said Floyd “was killed in the most brutal way.”
“We express sympathy toward the American people who are on the streets while harshly condemning the crime,” he said, referring to Floyd’s death after a white police officer was caught on video pressing his knee to Floyd’s neck.
Rouhani also made reference to the clearing of peaceful protesters from a park outside the White House with chemical agents and flash bang grenades so that Trump could walk to a church for a photo opportunity.
“It is a shame that the president stands with a Bible when he plans to act against his people,” Rouhni said.
Iranian officials regularly take advantage of protests in the U.S. to criticize the administration, even though Iran itself in November put down nationwide demonstrations by killing hundreds, arresting thousands and disrupting internet access.
State television has repeatedly aired images of the U.S. unrest.
NEW ORLEANS—Police in New Orleans released tear gas on hundreds of demonstrators who pushed past a line of officers to cross a Mississippi River bridge during demonstrations against the death of George Floyd.
A video of the incident obtained by The Times Picayune / The New Orleans Advocate shows a crowd of protesters running, shoving past each other, and shouting “walk” on Wednesday night as smoke envelops the background of the bridge.
The encounter came hours after a rally and a march that started near the New Orleans City Hall. Some protesters were chanting curses at New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who earlier Wednesday was criticized by fellow high-profile athletes, including LeBron James, and some of his own teammates after saying in an interview with Yahoo! he opposed kneeling during the national anthem.
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SEATTLE—Leaders in Seattle seeking to address concerns raised by protesters have abruptly ended a city-wide curfew in place for days amid massive demonstrations against the death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minnesota.
Mayor Jenny Durkan said Wednesday evening on Twitter that she was ending the curfew, which had been scheduled to last until Saturday, after she and Police Chief Carmen Best met with community members.
“Chief Best believes we can balance public safety and ensure peaceful protests can continue without a curfew,” Durkan said. “For those peacefully demonstrating tonight, please know you can continue to demonstrate. We want you to continue making your voice heard.”
Thousands of protesters remained in the city’s Capitol Hill neighbourhood well after the abolished 9 p.m. curfew Wednesday. Demonstrators carried “Black Lives Matter” signs, called for cutting the police department’s budget and shifting the money to social programs, and chanted for officers to remove their riot gear.
Washington Lt. Gov. Cyrus Habib tweeted that he was pleased Seattle had listened and reversed course.
“Preemptive curfews were only making things worse. Other cities should do likewise,” he posted.
WASHINGTON—Demonstrators marched to the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday night, protesting the death of George Floyd in Minnesota and demanding that laws be changed to prevent more like it.
Along their route from near the White House, there were troops in fatigues and officers from federal agencies keeping watch on the crowd. Barricades were put up around the Capitol, and the Capitol Police stood guard behind them.
“We came here because they make laws here and we want the laws to change,” said Mohammed Wagdy, 26, of nearby Prince George’s County.
As an 11 p.m. curfew in Washington neared, community activists urged the demonstrators to head home. Some did, but others said they were returning to the White House.
MINNEAPOLIS—A full autopsy of George Floyd, the handcuffed black man who died after being restrained by Minneapolis police, provides several clinical details — including that Floyd had tested positive for COVID-19.
The 20-page report released Wednesday by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office came with the family’s permission and after the coroner’s office released summary findings Monday that Floyd had a heart attack while being restrained by officers, and classified his May 25 death as a homicide.
The report by Chief Medical Examiner Andrew Baker spelled out clinical details, including that Floyd tested positive for COVID-19 on April 3 but appeared asymptomatic. The report also noted Floyd’s lungs appeared healthy but he had some narrowing of arteries in the heart.
The county’s earlier summary report listed fentanyl intoxication and recent methamphetamine use under “other significant conditions” but not under “cause of death.” The full report’s footnotes noted that signs of fentanyl toxicity can include “severe respiratory depression” and seizures.
CANBERRA, Australia—Australia’s prime minister has urged Australians involved in George Floyd-related anti-racism protests around the world to be “extremely cautious.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison was commenting Thursday after Australian journalists came under attack while covering protests in Washington and London.
“In terms of some of the violence … that we’re seeing around the world today, for those Australians who find themselves in those situations, I would urge them to show great caution,” Morrison told reporters.
“I would urge people to be extremely cautious. These are dangerous situations, people should exercise great care in where they’re placing themselves,” he added.
Australia’s ambassador to the United States has complained about two police officers in riot gear lashing Channel 7 journalist Amelia Brace and camera operator Timothy Meyers with a shield and baton on Monday. The network’s news director, Craig McPherson, described the attack as “nothing short of wanton thuggery.”
The officers have been placed on administrative leave while their conduct is investigated.
Two Nine Network television crews also came under attack from crowd members while reporting Wednesday on protests in London, the network reported.
Multiple Star reporters and editors have contributed to this article, including Ed Keenan, Tania Pereira and more. With files from the Associated Press, the New York Times and McClatchy wire services.