As cities nationwide launched clean-up efforts and President Donald Trump called antifa a terrorist organization, pressure built for a special prosecutor as the death of George Floyd in the custody of Minneapolis police continued to reverberate across the nation.
Benjamin Crump, the lawyer representing the family of George Floyd, says the police officer who pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck may have known Floyd and should be charged with first degree murder. Officer Derek Chauvin was charged with second-degree manslaughter and third-degree murder and fired last week, days after the confrontation.
Floyd family members and Minneapolis leaders urged Gov. Tim Walz to name state Attorney General Keith Ellison as special prosecutor to examine Floyd’s death.
In Chicago, one of dozens of cities dealing with sometimes-violent protests, more than 20 police officers were injured, dozens of buildings were damaged and several vehicles burned Saturday night.
On Saturday’s National Day of Protest, tens of thousands of people took to the streets. Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Chicago and Atlanta were among cities enacting curfews to try and quell the upheaval prompted by Floyd’s death, racial inequities and police brutality. In New York, fires burned and a video shared on social media appeared to show a police car driving into a crowd of protesters.
Some journalists covering the demonstrations were injured by tear gas, smoke bombs and nonlethal projectiles fired by police. In Pittsburgh at least three local journalists were injured by protesters, police said.
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Our live blog will be updated throughout the day. Here are the latest developments:
Cities nationwide brace for more protests
After nights of chaos nationwide, cities braced for more protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death. Many protests have followed similar patterns — there’s peace at first, but things eventually turn for the worse, typically at night.
In Santa Monica, California, for example there was peaceful protest where hundreds gathered, marched and took a knee for more than two minutes. However, there were also reports of looting. A video on social media shows a woman attempting to stop looters from breaking into a store.
Other cities also had peaceful protesting early and late afternoon Sunday.
In Minneapolis, the epicenter of the protests, there was a sense of calm. Volunteer crews are cleaned up broken glass and rubble left behind following widespread looting and protesting. In a change from days previously, city public works crews helped managed the process, which was powered primarily by volunteers.
Still, some believed there was more damage to come. So far, just one of the four officers involved in the incident that ended with Floyd’s death has been charged. Minneapolis residents want charges for the other three.
‘We’re here to make a difference’: Protesters return to White House
Hundreds of protesters returned to the White House on Sunday, a day after demonstrations turned violent and police used tear gas to dispel the crowds in Lafayette Park.
The park was shuttered Sunday and nearby buildings remained boarded up, but police and members of U.S. Secret Service lined the facade of the White House as demonstrations carried on just outside the entrance at 16th and H streets.
The protest is part of nationwide demonstrations following the death of George Floyd.
Clutching signs that read, “end police brutality” and “peace, but not patience. We need change now,” protesters continued to chant and clap as the crowds swelled in the late afternoon sun. With the backdrop of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, most members in the crowd wore face-coverings.
– Courtney Subramanian, David Jackson and Kristine Phillips
‘Perfect storm’ of civil unrest following George Floyd’s death, experts say
Why did Floyd’s death spark such widespread, visceral outrage, while three other deaths of African Americans this year – Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia and Tony McDade, a black transgender man killed by police officers in Tallahassee – did not?
An array of combustible issues converged to form a “perfect storm” of civil unrest after Floyd’s death and could lead to longer-lasting changes, experts and protest organizers said.
For starters, the coronavirus pandemic that has sequestered most Americans to their homes, forced millions into unemployment and has disproportionately infected African Americans already had many black Americans and white supporters simmering with rage and frustration, said Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the National Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.
“The depths of despair are enormous right now for black people in this country,” she said. “You pile on unchecked police violence and it makes for a perfect storm.”
– Rick Jervis
Major cities across US impose curfews into Monday morning amid protests
As cities where protests have erupted try to quell the demonstrations, several governors and mayors across the country have imposed or extended curfews Sunday in anticipation of another night of unrest. More than 20 cities have imposed some type of curfew. Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz announced he would extend curfew for Minneapolis and St. Paul through Monday morning.
Other cities who have announced curfews include Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Seattle, Louisville – where Breonna Taylor was killed – Richmond, Va., Portland, Ore. and Jacksonville, Florida.
Protesters continued to demand justice Saturday for George Floyd. Many demonstrations remained peaceful, but not all.
Donald Trump says he’ll designate Antifa as a terror organization
President Donald Trump announced Sunday a left-wing group he thinks are leading the violence at anti-police brutality protests will be officially labeled as terrorists.
“The United States of America will be designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization,” Trump said.
Antifa – short for “anti-fascist” – is the name for loosely affiliated, left-leaning anti-racist groups that have been involved in some violent clashes in recent years. The movement has no unified structure or national leadership.
– William Cummings and Kristine Phillips
Crump: Officer may have known George Floyd before confrontation
The lawyer for George Floyd’s family says the owner of a nightclub where Floyd worked notified the family that his accused killer, Derek Chauvin, was an off-duty officer there.
“They had to overlap,” civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump told CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “And so that is going to be an interesting aspect to this case and hopefully upgrading these charges to first-degree murder because we believe he knew who George Floyd was.”
Both worked security at the El Nuevo Rodeo, according to former owner Maya Santamaria. But Santamaria said they may not have known each other since Chauvin, as an off-duty police officer, worked outside while Floyd worked inside.
Crump said Floyd showed intent to kill by keeping his knee in Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes while Floyd was “begging and pleading for breath,” Crump said.
60 Secret Service agents injured in protests
More than 60 Secret Service agents were injured in clashes with protesters in Washington, D.C., on Friday and Saturday, the agency said. Some were assaulted – “kicked, punched and exposed to bodily fluids,” officials said. Eleven were taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Officials said protesters vandalized six Secret Service vehicles, repeatedly tried to knock over security barriers, and threw bricks, rocks, bottles, fireworks and other items at Secret Service personnel.
Seventeen people were arrested during protests Saturday night when organized groups “bent” on destruction took over the demonstration, Mayor Muriel Bowser said.
– Kristine Phillips
1 dead in Chicago
Six people were shot, and one was killed, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said. More than 20 officers went to the hospital, and at least two required surgery, said Superintendent David Brown. Police made 240 arrests, Brown said. In the Sunday morning press conference, Lightfoot called Saturday night’s destruction downtown “devastating.” She said cars were set on fire and windows were smashed.
“Is that how we bring social justice? Is that how we bring change? Certainly not,” she said.
Lightfoot said that, in addition to the city’s curfew, she was bringing in the Illinois National Guard and limiting access to the downtown Loop area, where protests took place. Lightfoot said she was also suspending transit services to the Loop.
– Grace Hauck
Minneapolis ‘picking up a broom’
No loss of life nor major fire damage was reported after bursts of violence that on Saturday night once again rocked Minneapolis, a city under siege of protests for almost a week, Mayor Jacob Frey said. “The events of last night were obviously difficult to watch, but the restoration of order was important,” Frey said at a news conference Sunday. Frey said Sunday he was encouraged to see residents “coming out of their homes, picking up a broom” to help sweep away the debris from nights of violence.
Trump tweeted congratulations to the Guard for the “great job they did immediately upon arriving in Minneapolis.”
The city will again impose an 8 p.m. curfew Sunday. And Frey pledged to make the state and city a better place for people of color.
“The action of one officer and the inaction of three officers have forever change our city,” Frey said. “We must become a better city. We must become a more just city.”
Chauvin could face additional charges and officers at the scene of George Floyd’s death are “not out of the woods,” Ellison said Sunday. Chauvin’s partner and two other officers who arrived on the scene as events unfolded have not been charged. Ellison, speaking on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” said County Prosecutor Mike Freeman could consider charging the other officers with aiding and abetting, among other counts.
‘Multiple shootings,’ 2 fatalities in Indianapolis
The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department confirmed two fatalities, and said they were investigating “multiple” shootings, none of which were officer-involved, after a second night of violence raged through parts of downtown.
Clashes broke out in a haze of tear gas a little after 9 p.m., about two hours after city officials asked protest organizers to wrap up their events and clear the streets. Several protesters were arrested and widespread vandalism was reported in the aftermath. It was a far different scene earlier in the day, when thousands of demonstrators marched peacefully through Downtown streets chanting slogans such as “Black Lives Matter” and “No Justice — No Peace.”
– Tim Evans, Indianapolis Star
Mississippi mayor apologizes for George Floyd Twitter post
A Mississippi mayor has apologized for social media posts that seemed to defend the behavior of Minneapolis police in Floyd’s death. Petal Mayor Hal Marx, however, denied his comments were racist and said he won’t resign.
“I admit that my comments on the recent tragic death of George Floyd in Minnesota were made in haste and not well-thought out or expressed,” he said. He apologized to the city’s 10,000 residents and anyone who might have been offended.
The post, which he deleted from Twitter, said that “if you can say you can’t breathe, you’re breathing. Most likely that man died of overdose or heart attack. Video doesn’t show his resistance that got him in that position. Police being crucified.”
– Lici Beveridge, Mississippi Clarion-Ledger
4 officers, 3 journalists injured in Pittsburgh
Four police officers and three local journalists were injured by protesters in Pittsburgh, the city Public Safety Department said. At least two police cars were set ablaze, as was an American flag, police said. Forty-three adults and one juvenile were arrested. State police were called in, and downtown property damage was “extensive” with dozens of businesses looted, the public safety department tweeted. Mayor Bill Peduto accused white, male “anarchists” of hijacking the protest.
“To those vandalizing downtown, you will be arrested,” Peduto said. “You have turned on the very mission, and more importantly – the people, you supposedly marched for.”
Police join protest in Alaska
An “I Can’t Breathe” rally on the waterfront in Juneau, Alaska, was joined by local residents, elected officials – and police officers. Floyd uttered “I can’t breathe” multiple times in the moments before he died. Juneau Police Chief Ed Mercer said he and other members of his department attended the rally to show solidarity with residents, saying he won’t “tolerate excessive use of force.” The rally featured Alaska Native songs performed by members of Yees Ku Oo dance group, a multi-cultural group from Juneau.
“I’m here just to show that we are in this community and let people know that our voices matter and for people to stop killing us,” Jennifer Gross, an African-American woman, told the Juneau Empire.
‘Don’t go out of your homes’: Tough response in Twin Cities
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz promised to bring “the full force of goodness and righteousness” as law enforcement enforced a curfew in Minneapolis. “Don’t go out of your homes; don’t make things more difficult,” Walz said.
As part of the state’s increased enforcement, the Minnesota National Guard said more than 4,100 service members had been deployed to the Twin Cities and projected more than 10,000 would soon be called up. Several hours after the 8 p.m. curfew began Saturday, there were “no reported injuries of consequence,” Minnesota Department of Corrections Commissioner Paul Schnell told the media. Minneapolis mayor Jacob Frey reported at least two dozen arrests were made Saturday night and said it was too early to say whether the curfew would be extended another night.
Follow USA TODAY reporters Trevor Hughes and Tyler Davis for reports from the ground in the Twin Cities.
Los Angeles mayor asks for National Guard amid violence
In Los Angeles, police cars burned after thousands of protesters gathered at Pan Pacific Park spilled out into streets. Mayor Eric Garcetti asked for the National Guard to be sent in to the nation’s second-largest city as protesters torched police cars and vandalized and burglarized stores while clashing with lines of officers. Garcetti said he asked Gov. Gavin Newsom for 500 to 700 members of the Guard.
Elsewhere in California, a few hundred chanting demonstrators marched through San Francisco while northeast of San Diego police fired tear gas to try to break up a large group that defied orders to leave the La Mesa police headquarters.
Fires at courthouse and City Hall building in Nashville
Fires in Nashville led Mayor John Cooper to declare a state of civil emergency. Police announced a 10 p.m. curfew for the city, and Gov. Bill Lee deployed the National Guard. Dozens of protesters had gathered on the steps of Nashville’s criminal courthouse and City Hall after a rally and march. Demonstrators smashed windows with rocks and other materials, drawing a swarm of police. The situation at the building appeared to subside around 7:30 p.m.
By 8:15 p.m., fire was visible from a first-floor office at the courthouse. A short time later, police with riot gear arrived as a fire burned inside a window at City Hall. Officers deployed tear gas as demonstrators clustered in the center of Public Square Park.
— Staff of The Tennessean
Contributing: The Associated Press
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