People share their feelings as they pay their respects to the life of George Floyd outside his family’s memorial service in Minneapolis.
As President Donald Trump touted the latest unemployment numbers and an improved economy as “the greatest thing that can happen for race relations,” the streets outside the White House were painted with the words “BLACK LIVES MATTER,” and D.C.’s mayor renamed the block “Black Lives Matter Plaza.”
It was the latest move in the tense relationship between Mayor Muriel Bowser and federal authorities, including Trump, as protests demanding justice for George Floyd continued into Friday evening.
Minneapolis officials voted Friday on the first changes to the police department since Floyd was killed on Memorial Day as a police officer pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck. City Council President Lisa Bender said that the council would “dismantle” the agency and “replace it with a transformative new model of public safety.”
Students at Harvard University and elsewhere also called for their colleges to divest from police forces and study new methods of campus security.
A second memorial service for Floyd is scheduled for Saturday in Raeford, N.C., before a viewing Monday and private funeral Tuesday in Houston. In D.C., Police Chief Peter Newsham said an event planned for Saturday “may be one of the largest that we’ve had in the city.”
Some recent developments:
- The NFL responds to pressure from its players to support Black Lives Matter.
- Politicians in Minnesota, California and elsewhere contemplate police reform as protests continue.
- Bail was set at $750,000 each for three former Minneapolis police officers accused of aiding and abetting Floyd’s death.
- Breonna Taylor’s neighbor is suing the Louisville police officers who raided Taylor’s apartment and killed her in March, claiming that their shots were “blindly fired” throughout the neighboring apartment and nearly struck a man inside.
Our live blog will be updated throughout the day. For first-in-the-morning updates, sign up for the Daily Briefing. Here’s the latest news:
Los Angeles sued over response to protests
A coalition of activist groups on Friday filed a lawsuit against the city of Los Angeles in a federal district court, alleging excessive use of force by the police department.
The litigation — which is proposed as a class action — requests the court hand down an injunction restraining the city “from engaging in the unlawful and unconstitutional actions” displayed in their handling of crowd control during recent protests. Black Lives Matter Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Community Action Network and others filed the legal action, and they are represented by the human rights-focused National Lawyers Guild.
The groups’ court filings told the stories of homeless people getting caught in the crossfire at protests. In one example, a homeless man known as “Cincinatti” who uses a wheelchair was hit in the face by a rubber bullet near Skid Row.
The complaint alleged abuses at the hands of law enforcement, such as detaining protesters for prolonged periods of time “based on their perceived association with the protests against the continued government-sanctioned killings of Black and Brown men and women at the hands of law enforcement.”
It’s one of the first lawsuits to emerge from the demonstrations, although litigation filed earlier this week attempted to compel New York City City to release protesters detained for longer than 24 hours without an arraignment.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell responds to players’ call to fight racism
Some of the NFL’s most prominent names spoke out Thursday night, telling the league how they should address racism and inequality with a powerful video. The league responded Friday afternoon, with commissioner Roger Goodell releasing his own video.
“We, the National Football League condemn racism and the systematic oppression of black people. We the National Football League admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest,” Goodell said in part of his statement. “We the National Football League believe black lives matter.”
New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees has been the center of some controversy after initially responding to the protests by focusing on the need to respect the American flag. His top wide receiver target, Michael Thomas, was a main voice in the players’ video telling the league to address racism. But Brees, who had apologized for his initial comments, released a new statement on Instagram Friday night directed at the president.
“We as a white community need to listen and learn from the pain and suffering of our black communities,” Brees wrote in a post alongside a graphic that simply read, “To President Trump.”
Compared to other professional sports leagues, the NFL has had a fraught relationship with race, highlighted by then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneeling during the national anthem four years ago to protest police brutality and racial inequality. His stance essentially earned him banishment from the NFL, as he was not picked up the next season.
– Analis Bailey and Mike Jones
Arrest made in connection to viral video of biker accosting protesters
Maryland-National Capital Park Police on Friday arrested Anthony Brennan III, 60, and charged him with three counts of second-degree assault in connection to a video that went viral earlier in the week. In the video, a white, male bicyclist harassed three young adults who were hanging up signs in support of Black Lives Matter along a trail in a suburb of Washington, D.C.
The video was quickly shared tens of thousands of times on Twitter. In a press release, the police division responsible for the arrest said it received hundreds of tips.
Earlier on Friday, the police began speaking with Brennan and his lawyer and searched his home, seizing evidence. Brennan voluntarily turned himself in, and an arrest warrant was then issued.
Harvard students want divestment from police
In an open letter, students at Harvard University on Friday demanded that the school’s president make major changes to fight racism, inequality and injustice on campus in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
More than 20 student groups called on the university to divest from organizations that perpetuate racism and to rebuild the policing structure that provides security at the school. The students also demanded the university increase the hiring of black faculty and establish a campus reporting system for incidents of racial discrimination.
Harvard representatives acknowledged they received the letter but did not respond to a request for comment from USA TODAY.
Harvard’s students join those at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Houston who have called on their institutions to cut ties with local police departments.
– Erin Richards
New poll shows Americans supportive of George Floyd protests
A public opinion poll released Friday found 50 percent of respondents either somewhat or strongly supported the protests against the death of George Floyd. Just 28 percent opposed the ongoing demonstrations.
The survey was compiled by YouGov, a research and data analytics firm, on behalf of the publication HuffPost. It compiled online responses from nearly 3,000 people from May 27 through June 3.
The poll also surveyed Americans on their views of law enforcement personnel, police brutality and discrimination, finding divisions among demographic groups.
While 67 percent of white people polled had a somewhat or very favorable view of police, only 29 percent of black people did. Black and Hispanic people were also much more likely to be afraid of police than white people.
Similar gaps persisted among voters, as 45 percent of Democrats had a somewhat or very favorable opinion of police, while 84 percent of Republicans did. Democrats unsurprisingly held an overwhelmingly negative view of President Donald Trump’s response to the protests, with Republicans supporting him. But, the majority of independents who responded disapproved of Trump’s handling of the unrest.
Minneapolis bans police chokeholds
Minneapolis’ city council approved an agreement between the city and the Minnesota Department of Human Rights that bans the use of chokeholds by police and requires that officers report and intervene when they see another officer use unauthorized force.
The agreement is enforceable in court and requires all officers, regardless of rank, to report the use of neck restraint or chokehold to their superior or their commander’s superiors. Officers also have the duty to intervene, verbally or physically, if they see another officer use unauthorized force.
The agreement also requires authorization from the police chief or a designated deputy chief to use crowd control weapons, including chemical agents, rubber bullets, flash-bangs, batons, and marking rounds. And it requires more timely decisions on disciplining officers.
Michael Jordan, Jordan Brand pledge $100M to social justice organizations
Charlotte Hornets owner and Basketball Hall of Famer Michael Jordan and his Jordan Brand have pledged $100 million over 10 years to organizations “dedicated to ensuring racial equality, social justice and greater access to education,” Jordan Brand announced in a statement Friday afternoon.
“The Jordan Brand is us, the Black Community,” the statement reads. “It’s 2020, and our family now includes anyone who aspires to our way of life. Yet as much as things have changed, the worst remains the same.
“Black lives matter. This isn’t a controversial statement. Until the ingrained racism that allow our country’s institutions to fail is completely eradicated, we will remain committed to protecting and improving the lives of Black people.”
Jordan, who remained mostly silent on social issues during his days as a player, spoke out this week about George Floyd’s death.
— Jeff Zillgitt
California leaders call for reform amid protests
Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday instructed the state’s Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training to remove choke holds from the curricula used to teach police officers. He also said he would support legislation banning the practice.
“That has no place any longer in 21st-century practices and policing,” he said.
Newsom also asked the Legislature to consider passing standards for crowd control and use of force by law enforcement personnel during protests. Assembly Member Chad Mayes took to Twitter on Thursday, in part to call for Newsom to convene a special session on racial equality.
On Friday, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra wrote to Congressional leaders to request that they expand the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, which was passed after police beat Rodney King in Los Angeles in 1991. Becerra requested the legislation be used to give more power to state attorneys general to address police misconduct within their states without needing to turn to the Department of Justice.
“When our communities speak up about their pain, we in law enforcement have to listen and take action,” Becerra said in a statement. “That’s why it’s critical that all state attorneys general across the country have clear, explicit authority to fight back against patterns of police misconduct when they occur.”
Reverend Al Sharpton’s passionate speech at George Floyd’s memorial brought those in attendance to their feet.
Manhattan district attorney won’t prosecute protesters
Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr., on Friday announced that his office will not prosecute anyone arrested for unlawful assembly or disorderly conduct at demonstrations against the killing of George Floyd. He made the decision “in the interest of justice,” according to a press release.
Under the district attorney’s previous policy, people charged with low-level offenses during protests would have been offered a deal in which their cases would be dismissed within six months. The policy aims to avoid further straining an already overburdened legal system with unnecessary cases.
This updated policy only applies to certain offenses, however, and looting and violence directed at law enforcement personnel will still be prosecuted.
“Our office has a moral imperative to enact public policies which assure all New Yorkers that in our justice system and our society, black lives matter and police violence is a crime,” Vance said in a statement. “We commend the thousands of our fellow New Yorkers who have peacefully assembled to demand these achievable aims.”
Tacoma, Washington, mayor orders 4 officers fired, calls for charges
The mayor of Tacoma, Washington, has ordered four police officers be fired after their involvement in the death of a black man restrained by police in March.
Manuel Ellis, 33, died March 3 as he was restrained by four Tacoma officers, and the Pierce County medical examiner’s office ruled his death a homicide, per the News Tribune.
Authorities have said Ellis attacked officers who were trying to calm him down, but Mayor Victoria Woodards said the officers should also be prosecuted. New video released Thursday shows police punching and restraining Ellis while on top of him, KING-TV reported.
Trump invokes Floyd’s name as he talks jobs report
President Donald Trump invoked George Floyd’s name Friday during remarks in which he touted unexpectedly positive unemployment numbers, which showed the U.S. economy added 2.5 million jobs last month.
“Hopefully George is looking down right now and saying this is a great thing that’s happening for our country,” Trump said, adding: “This is a great day for him. It’s a great day for everybody.”
Trump’s comment came during an address on the economy, but it’s unclear what Trump thought Floyd would be happy about.
Trump mentioned equal justice under the law means everyone needs to receive fair treatment. Trump also called an improving economy “the greatest thing that can happen for race relations” and the African American community.
More news about the George Floyd protests
ACLU, Black Lives Matter sue Trump, Barr over clearing of Lafayette Square
The American Civil Liberties Union, Black Lives Matter D.C. and other civil rights groups have sued President Donald Trump, Attorney General William Barr and other administration officials over the clearing of Lafayette Square with force and chemical irritants, which the groups allege was “the manifestation of the very despotism against which the First Amendment was intended to protect.”
The suit was filed in federal court in Washington on Thursday and says that federal park police, secret service, military police and national guardsmen fired “tear gas, pepper spray capsules, rubber bullets and flash bombs into the crowd to shatter the peaceful gathering, forcing demonstrators to flee the area.”
“Defendants had no legitimate basis to destroy the peaceable gathering,” the lawsuit says. Trump has faced sharp criticism, including from D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, over his handling of the incident that ended with his photo-op in front of St. John’s Church.
LAFAYETTE SQUARE: A timeline of confrontation, contention and confusion
Many police go unpunished for violence during protest
A white Fort Lauderdale, Florida, police officer who shoved a black protester face-first into the ground has used force at least a dozen times and brandished his weapon at least 50 times during his four years with the force.
Despite that history and several videos showing his violent response to the protester on Sunday, Officer Steven Pohorence has not been fired from the department. He has been suspended – with pay – while the state investigates his actions during the protest.
In the protests that have erupted across the U.S., police officers have been caught on video shoving, hitting and ramming their vehicles into protesters.
Police officers have been subjected to attacks, as well, but while those officers have the power to immediately respond and arrest their attackers, protesters who have filmed their violent encounters with police are learning that holding officers accountable when they cross the line is a far different story.
– Alan Gomez and Daphne Duret
‘Black Lives Matter’ painted on street outside White House; DC mayor demands federal authorities withdraw
Muralists painted “BLACK LIVES MATTER” in large yellow paint on two blocks of 16th Street in Washington, D.C., on Friday, just in front of Lafayette Park, as D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser renamed a section of the street to “Black Lives Matter Plaza.”
The street is near where protests have been held for several days and federal law enforcement authorities cleared groups of peaceful demonstrators with force and chemical irritants earlier this week ahead of President Donald Trump’s controversial visit to St. John’s Church.
The painting of the mural was at the direction of Bowser, according to her chief of staff, who said the mayor wanted to make it “abundantly clear” the street belonged to the city.
In a letter dated Thursday, Bowser demanded that Trump withdraw federal law enforcement and military forces from the city.
“We are well equipped to handle large demonstrations and First Amendment activities,” Bowser said, adding that the mass deployment of federal law enforcement officers and heavy equipment was serving to “inflame” demonstrations rather than secure them.
– Nicholas Wu, Kevin Johnson and Kristine Phillips
Twitter blocks Trump campaign video featuring Floyd
Twitter blocked a video shared by President Donald Trump’s campaign that shows images of George Floyd and recent protests over a copyright claim, the company says.
The company put a label on the video posted by the @TeamTrump account that said, “This media has been disabled in response to a claim by the copyright owner.”
The video, still on Trump’s YouTube page, shows Floyd and images of peaceful protests with Trump’s voice dubbed over commending the demonstrations. The video then shows images of destruction some protests saw as Trump condemns those actions, before turning to images of police officers and demonstrators embracing.
“Per our copyright policy, we respond to valid copyright complaints sent to us by a copyright owner or their authorized representatives,” Twitter said in a statement. It’s the latest action that Twitter has taken against Trump, who has threatened to retaliate against social media companies.
57 New York police officers resign after two officers suspended after injuring 75-year-old man
An entire unit of the Buffalo Police Department in New York resigned from their assignments Friday after two officers were suspended amid outcry over video showing those officers shoving a 75-year-old man to the ground, according to the Buffalo News and other media outlets.
All 57 of the members of the department’s Emergency Response Team resigned from the unit, which responds to riots and other crowd control situations, according to the outlets. The Emergency Response Team members have not quit the police department, but have stepped down from the tactical unit, the Buffalo News reported.
The graphic video shared on Twitter shows a man walking up to Buffalo Police Department officers. It is unclear if he exchanged words with the officers before he is shoved to the sidewalk. The man stumbles back and falls and the video shows him motionless and bleeding from his head.
After the man falls, a person shouts, “He’s bleeding from his ears!” Someone else shouts, “Get a medic!” The reporter recording the video is then told to back up. Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown issued a statement late Thursday, saying the man in the video is 75 years old and at the hospital in “serious but stable” condition.
– Jordan Culver, David Robinson
California mayor resigns after controversial email about police killings
The mayor of a Southern California city has resigned after apologizing for an email that stated he didn’t “believe there’s ever been a good person of color killed by a police officer” locally, saying he never meant to use the word “good.”
Temecula Mayor James Stewart said he is dyslexic and used voice text to send his late-night message on Tuesday but failed to notice the added word.
“Unfortunately I did not take the time to proofread what was recorded. I absolutely did not say that,” Stewart told the Riverside Press-Enterprise on Thursday. “What I said is and I don’t believe there has ever been a person of color murdered by police, on context to Temecula or Riverside County. I absolutely did not say ‘good.’ I have no idea how that popped up.”
Stewart said he was replying to someone “concerned about our police officers and their sensitivity training.” Stewart said the message started a firestorm of criticism and asked people to forgive him “for this egregious error.”
Contributing: The Associated Press
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