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George Floyd live updates: Mourners gather for North Carolina memorial; protests continue nationwide


People share their feelings as they pay their respects to the life of George Floyd outside his family’s memorial service in Minneapolis.


As hundreds of mourners gathered to memorialize George Floyd in North Carolina, thousands of protesters across the country continued to rally against his death, police brutality and systemic racism.

Protesters marched across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Fransisco, covered miles of highway near the LOVE statue in Philadelphia and chanted “Revolution, nothing less!” on Los Angeles’s Hollywood Boulevard. That’s in addition to the biggest day of demonstrations yet in Washington, D.C. 

Protesters are gathering to honor Floyd, a black man killed when a white police officer held his knee to Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes as other officers stood by. Floyd’s death was ruled a homicide and all four officers have been arrested.

In Philadelphia Saturday, moms with strollers, priests and nuns, groups of school teachers and LGBTQ organizations were among the crowds that marched through downtown. Crowds surrounded the city’s police and National Guard troops at the Philadelphia Municipal Building. Still visible there: burn marks from patrol cars toppled and torched by demonstrators in protests that turned violent last week.  

Some recent developments:

  • Two suspended Buffalo police officers were charged with second-degree assault Saturday amid outcry over video showing officers shoving a 75-year-old man to the ground, according to Erie County District Attorney John Flynn in a news conference Saturday.
  • Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser joined the crowd outside the White House and has demanded Trump withdraw military and federal law enforcement from the city.
  • Minneapolis officials voted Friday on the first changes to the police department since Floyd was killed on Memorial Day. 
  • Facing pressure from players, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said he wants to do his part to fight against racism and systematic oppression. USA TODAY’s Christine Brennan writes how this could be a watershed moment.

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.

Emmett Till’s lynching ignited a civil rights movement. Historians say George Floyd’s death could do the same

Buffalo police officers seen pushing man to ground are charged

Two suspended Buffalo police officers were charged with second-degree assault Saturday amid outcry over video showing officers shoving a 75-year-old man to the ground, according to Erie County District Attorney John Flynn in a news conference Saturday.

Officers Robert McCabe and Aaron Torgalski pleaded not guilty to the charges and were expected back in court July 20 for a felony hearing, according to Flynn’s office.

All 57 of the members of the Buffalo Police Department’s Emergency Response Team resigned from the unit Friday after the two officers were suspended. The unit members have not quit the police department, but have stepped down from the tactical unit.

Thousands gather in Washington on ninth day of protests

In the ninth – and by far the largest – day of demonstrations demanding justice for Floyd, thousands of protesters from all walks of life poured into downtown Washington Saturday.

Protesters gathered across the nation’s capital at the city’s most iconic sites – the Capitol building, the Lincoln Memorial and near the White House – for simultaneous marches and mass demonstrations. 

After marching down Constitution Avenue, thousands of protesters knelt at an intersection north of the Lincoln Memorial. Music blared up and down 16th Street, a main city artery, as waves of people crisscrossed the city. Most people wore masks to guard against COVID-19, but the idea of social distancing seemed a thing of the past.

The District of Columbia metropolitan police declined to provide a crowd estimate, and with thousands of protesters gathered at multiple sites across the city, it was difficult to get an accurate assessment.

Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy told reporters on Friday that local officials were projecting between 100,000 and 200,000 protesters.

– Rebecca Morin, David Jackson, Joey Garrison and Kristine Phillips

Second Floyd memorial held in North Carolina

Hundreds of mourners gathered Saturday in Raeford, North Carolina, to memorialize George Floyd, the man described by many as a “gentle giant,” at a public viewing before a private service.

The viewing was held inside a Raeford church just outside Fayetteville, North Carolina, where Floyd was born. The 46-year-old’s body was placed in the center of the lobby. Mourners were allowed inside in groups of 10 and were asked to wear a mask, according to Hoke County Sheriff Hubert Peterkin.

As the memorial started, a crowd of peaceful protesters lined the road outside.  A group of black men on horses rode into the parking lot, followed a few minutes later by a local motorcycle group. Flowers and signs lined the street, including one that read “George Floyd changed the world.”

– N’dea Yancey-Bragg, Jorge L. Ortiz, Nora G. Hertel and Mark Emmert


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Thousands rally in London, across Australia

Following a series of protests seen across the world, thousands of people took a knee and observed a minute of silence Saturday in London in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. More protests were planned in the city and across England over the weekend.

In Australia, thousands of people also joined protests across the country. Dozens also gathered in Mexico City, Seoul, Tokyo, Rome and Berlin.

In Paris, police banned a protest planned for Saturday, citing fears of coronavirus spread and public unrest.

‘Love and humanity’: Couple married in Philadelphia amid protest

As thousands of people marched from Philadelphia’s Museum of Art to City Hall on Saturday, a bride and groom in wedding attire emerged from the Logan Hotel and joined the protesters in a celebratory moment of love and hope.

Rachel Lopez, a professor of law at Drexel University, told USA TODAY that she was marching along when she came upon the wedding party. In Lopez’s video of the moment, the crowd parts for the bride and groom as they hold hands and kiss in the middle of the street, the marchers cheering and holding up “Black Lives Matter” signs.

“With all of the horrifying and shameful videos circulating on the internet right now, I am glad that mine is one of love and humanity!” Lopez said.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported the happy couple was Kerry Anne and Michael Gordon.

AG Barr unapologetic for ordering law enforcement to clear protesters

Attorney General William Barr was unapologetic for ordering law enforcement to clear protesters from a street near the White House on Monday, asserting that some in the demonstration were throwing “projectiles” and had defied at least three orders to move to accommodate a larger security perimeter.

In his first public comments on the aggressive federal action that continues to fan a firestorm of criticism, the attorney general also defended President Donald Trump’s controversial visit to a nearby church later that evening after the street-clearing operation.

“It was not a political act,” Barr said of the visit where the president was photographed with a bible. “It was entirely appropriate for him to do.”

Barr claimed that his decision to expand the security perimeter around Lafayette Square was made early Monday, well before Trump’s decision to visit St. John’s Church, and was not coordinated.

– Kevin Johnson

Judge limits police use of tear gas, rubber bullets in Denver

A federal judge is limiting police use of tear gas, rubber bullets and other non-lethal weapons against people protesting police brutality in Denver.

In a temporary restraining order issued late Friday, U.S. District Judge Brooke Jackson says the four people who sued the city had made a strong case the police had used excessive force. He says an on-scene supervisor with the rank of captain or above must approve the use of any chemical weapons and projectiles. They also must wear body cameras. 

Denver police say they would comply with the order but would ask for some changes given the limitations of staffing and cameras.

– Associated Press

Seattle mayor bans use of type of tear gas

Seattle’s mayor has banned the police use of one type of tear gas as protests continue over the killing of George Floyd. Mayor Jenny Durkan said at a news conference Friday that the ban on CS gas would last for 30 days.

The move came hours after three civilian police watchdog groups urged city leaders to do so. Police Chief Carmen Best says officials will review police crowd control policies. 

Local health officials had also expressed concerns over the use of the gas and other respiratory irritants based on the potential to increase spread of the coronavirus.

– Associated Press

Town hall on racism comes to ‘Sesame Street’

In a program aimed to educate children about racism, CNN and “Sesame Street” joined forces for a town hall Saturday. 

Big Bird joined CNN commentator Van Jones, CNN anchor and national correspondent Erica Hill in moderating the event, featuring other “Sesame Street” characters talking to kids about racism, the recent nationwide protests, embracing diversity and being more empathetic and understanding.

– Bryan Alexander

Two Chicago officers relieved of police powers after brutal encounter seen in video

Two Chicago officers have been relieved of their police powers after viral cellphone video showed officers dragging two people out of a car, one of whom says an officer pressed his knee into her neck.

Bystander video of the Chicago incident posted to social media appears to show a swarm of about a dozen male officers surrounding a small car in a strip mall parking lot on a sunny day, beating the car and its windows with batons. Officers appear to pull a person out of the passenger’s side door and another person out on the driver’s side. At least two officers appear to hold down the person pulled out of the passenger’s side.

The Chicago Police Department relieved the two officers Friday, one day after the department’s civilian police oversight agency, the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA), recommended the department “either modify their duty status or relieve them temporarily of police power until COPA can further assess the events and circumstances surrounding the use of force.”

More on protests, George Floyd and Breonna Taylor:

Michael Jordan, NFL say it’s time to address racial equality

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.

And a day after a group of players released a video and challenged the NFL to join their fight against racism and systematic oppression, commissioner Roger Goodell responded with a video of his own and said he wants to do his part.

“Without black players, there would be no National Football League. And the protests around the country are emblematic of the centuries of silence, inequality and oppression of black players, coaches, fans and staff,” Goodell said in a statement. “We are listening. I am listening, and I will be reaching out to players who have raised their voices and others on how we can improve and go forward for a better and more united NFL family.”

The statement did not mention then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who four years ago began kneeling during the national anthem to protest racism and social injustices, earning him banishment from the league the following offseason.

– Jeff Zillgitt and Mike Jones

Contributing: Associated Press; James McGinnis, Bucks County Courier Times; Khrysgiana Pineda, USA TODAY


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