Rights groups sue Trump over clearing peaceful protesters: Live

  • More than 10,000 people have been arrested in protests that have rocked the United States since the police killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, according to an Associated Press tally. 

  • All four Minneapolis police officers involved in Floyd’s death have been charged. Derek Chauvin, who knelt on Floyd’s neck, has been charged with second-degree murder, which was upgraded from a previous charge of third-degree murder. He also faces a second-degree manslaughter charge. The other three are charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter.

  • US President Donald Trump was rebuked by his former defence secretary, James Mattis, who said he was trying to sow divisions. Trump’s current defence chief, Mark Esper, also said he opposed Trump’s threat to send in the military to quell unrest.

  • Several major cities scaled back or lifted curfews imposed for the past few days. As protests continue, police in riot gear charged into a crowd of about 1,000 protesters defying a local curfew in New York City’s Brooklyn borough, albeit peacefully, near an outdoor plaza, and clubbed demonstrators and journalists as they scurried for cover in heavy rain.

Latest updates:

Thursday, June 4

23:35 GMT – George Floyd inspired protests erupt in Mexico

Anger built in Mexico over its own police brutality case: a young man allegedly beaten to death after officers detained him for not wearing a face mask during the coronavirus pandemic.

An online campaign to bring Giovanni Lopez’s killers to justice has drawn support from stars like Guillermo del Toro and Salma Hayek.

The hashtag #JusticeForGiovanni was gaining traction on Thursday.

Authorities in the western state of Jalisco have said that Lopez was detained May 4 in a town near the city of Guadalajara for a misdemeanor equivalent to disturbing the peace or resisting arrest.

A video of his detention shows municipal police wrestling him into a patrol truck as residents argued with officers about excessive use of force and rules requiring face masks, a measure designed to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Hours later he was taken from his cell for medical treatment and died. 

23:00 GMT - Rights groups sue Trump over clearing of peaceful protesters

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sued the Trump administration, alleging officials violated the civil rights of protesters who were forcefully removed from a park near the White House by police using chemical agents before President Donald Trump walked to a nearby church to take a photo.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court on Washington, comes as Attorney General William Barr defended the decision to forcefully remove the peaceful protesters, saying it was necessary to protect officers and federal property.

Police on hors-back dispersing protesters demonstrating against the death of George Floyd near the White House on June 1, 2020 [Roberto Schmidt/AFP] 

The suit argues that Trump, Barr and other officials “unlawfully conspired to violate” the protesters’ rights when clearing Lafayette Park on Monday. Law enforcement officers aggressively forced the protesters back, firing smoke bombs and pepper balls into the crowd to disperse them from the park.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the group Black Lives Matter DC and individual protesters who were present. It is filed by the ACLU of DC, Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the law firm of Arnold & Porter.

22:50 GMT – Man who aimed bow and arrow at protesters arrested

A man captured on video aiming a bow and arrow at protesters in Salt Lake City over the weekend was charged with assault and weapon possession.

Brandon McCormick was charged with possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person, as well as aggravated assault and threatening or using a dangerous weapon in a fight or quarrel.

He was reportedly pushed to the ground on Saturday after pointing the bow and arrow at people protesting the death of George Floyd at the hands of police. People then flipped over his car and set it on fire.

22:00 GMT - National Guard faces ‘tremendous challenge’ in DC: Tennessee governor

Tennessee National Guard troops face a “tremendous challenge” as they head to the nation’s capital at the request of President Donald Trump to help quell protests, Governor Bill Lee told troops.

“You’ve been called upon to protect the rights, the freedoms, and the privileges that Americans have to peacefully protest – to exercise their First Amendment rights in a way that they feel safe, and therefore, they can be heard,” Lee said before the 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment boarded a C-17 headed to Washington DC.

“But you’ve also been called up to protect the lives and the property … against those who hijack peaceful protests and turn them into violent riots. Balancing that protection is a tremendous challenge,” the Republican continued.

Tennessee is one of several states to send National Guard troops to Washington. Roughly 1,000 Tennessee troops are expected to be in Washington no later than Saturday. However, at least three states with Democratic governors – New York, Virginia and Delaware – have so far rejected the request.

The Trump administration asked multiple states to send troops to Washington at the same time as the president recently criticized many governors as “weak” for not using the National Guard more aggressively in their own states.

20:15 GMT - Wisconsin governor defends decision to deploy National Guard

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers defended his decision to deploy the Wisconsin National Guard to help police control protests over George Floyd’s death.

Evers told reporters during a conference call that he deployed the Guard to protect property in Madison, including the state Capitol building, and utilities in Milwaukee. If the troops actively intervened they did so at the direction of local authorities, he said.

Evers said Thursday the protests are a watershed opportunity to fix systemic racism. He encouraged people to demonstrate lawfully.

“First Amendment rights are not to be trampled in this state or any other state,” Evers said. “Those who decide to do damage are damaging the First Amendment and they’re damaging the opportunity for thousands of people across Wisconsin to exercise that First Amendment right.”

19:53 GMT – An eight-minute silence as memorial ends

Sharpton cut in to a session of religious music to start an eight-minute silence to honour Floyd, who was held down by Chauvin’s knee for eight minutes and 46 seconds. 

Sharpton called actress Tiffany Haddish and Gwen Carr, Eric Garner’s mother, to stand next to him during the silence.

Haddish was joined in attendance by other celebrities including actors, musicians, activists and politicians. Kevin Hart, Ludacris, T.I., Tyrese Gibson and Master P. Reverend Jesse Jackson and Minnesota senator Amy Klobuchar were all at the memorial service.

19:23 GMT – ‘Get your knee off our neck’ – Al Sharpton 

Al Sharpton gave the euology at Floyd’s memorial. He said it wasn’t a “normal” funeral and Floyd didn’t die of natural causes.

“He died of a common American criminal justice malfunction”, Sharpton said. 

“There has not been the corrective behaviour that has taught this country that if you commit a crime, it does not matter whether you wear blue jeans or a blue uniform, you must pay for the crime you had committed.”, he continued.

Sharpton said he eulogised Eric Garner, another Black man who was killed by police officers whose final words were “I can’t breathe”.  What happened to men like Floyd and Garner “happens every day” in the US, through institutional racism, Sharpton said. 

“We were smarter than the underfunded schools you put us in, but you had your knee on our neck. We had creative skills, we could do whatever anybody else could do, but we couldn’t get your knee off our neck.” 

Calling for change, Sharpton said it’s “time to stand up in George’s name … and say get your knee off our necks”.

19:11 GMT – ‘What we saw was torture’ 

Benjamin Crump, the attorney for Floyd’s family, started his address to the memorial service with a quote from Dr Martin Luther King Jr: “He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”

Crump, who celebrated yesterday the elevated charges against former police officer Derek Chauvin, who allegedly murdered Floyd, and charges for the three other cops involved, said that what people saw in the video fo Floyd’s death was “torture”.  

Crump called on people to protest the injustice committed against Floyd and against other members of the Afircan American community. 

“We cannot cooperate with evil. We cannot cooperate with injustice. We cannot cooperate with torture. Because George Floyd deserved better than that.”

18:58 GMT – There will be justice – Philonese Floyd 

Philonese Floyd, George’s brother, told mourners at his memorial that George was like “a general”, people wanted to follow him. 

Philonese described his brother as a man who made people feel “like the president.” People “wanted to greet him. Wanted to have fun with him.”

Philonese ended his remarks by saying “everybody want justice, we want justice for George. He’s going to get it.”

18:00 GMT - Hundreds to attend Minneapolis memorial

Hundreds are expected to attend on Thursday the first of several planned memorials for George Floyd, an unarmed Black man killed by police in Minneapolis, Minnesota last month.

The Minneapolis event will kick off a week of services to honour Floyd, whose death on May 25, captured on video, set off protests across the United States, and worldwide.

Read more. 

17:45 GMT – DC mayor says out-of-state troops should leave US capital

The mayor of Washington on Thursday called for the withdrawal from the US capital of military units sent from other states to deal with protests against police brutality and racism.

“We want troops from out of state out of Washington DC,” Mayor Muriel Bowser told a news conference. 

17:00 GMT – Protesters should ‘highly consider’ getting COVID-19 tests

Protesters particularly in cities that have struggled to control the novel coronavirus should “highly consider” getting tested for COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus, a top US health official said on Thursday.

“Those individuals that have partaken in these peaceful protests or have been out protesting, and particularly if they’re in metropolitan areas that really haven’t controlled the outbreak…we really want those individuals to highly consider being evaluated and get tested,” Robert Redfield, director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told a US House of Representatives committee.

US: Thousands gather in DC to protest Floyd’s death

 Thousands of peaceful demonstrators holding banners gather in front of the White House to protest the death of George Floyd [Yasin Öztürk/Anadoulu] 

Redfield also said the World Health Organization (WHO) continues to be a close colleague in public health efforts. President Donald Trump said on Friday the US will end its relationship with the WHO over the body’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

17:00 GMT – Republican senator ‘struggling’ over whether to back Trump in election

US Senator Lisa Murkowski said on Thursday she is struggling over whether she can support President Donald Trump’s re-election bid, saying criticism of Trump’s response to nationwide protests by former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis rang true.

Asked if she supported Trump, who faces the nation’s voters again in November, she said, “I am struggling with it. I have struggled with it for a long time.”

“He is our duly elected president. I will continue to work with him … but I think right now as we are all struggling to find ways to express the words that need to be expressed appropriately,” Murkowski added.

16:48 GMT – LA County Sheriff’s office will no long enforce curfew

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s office said on Twitter that it will no longer enforce a curfew put in place to quell protests. 

“Based upon current situational awareness and the recent pattern of peaceful actions by protesters, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (@LASDHQ) will no longer enforce a curfew,” Sheriff Alex Villanueva tweeted. “Other jurisdictions are free to make their own decisions.”

Other jurisdictions are free to make their own decisions.

____________________________________________________________________

Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the protests in the US over the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This is Laurin-Whitney Gottbrath in Louisville, Kentucky, Creede Newton in Washington, DC, and Lucien Formichella in Minneapolis, Minnesota. 

Here are a few things to catch up on:

  • George Floyd, an unarmed 46-year-old Black man, died on May 25 after a white officer used his knee to pin Floyd’s neck to the ground for nearly nine minutes. Floyd can be heard on a bystander video repeatedly pleading with officers, saying: “I can’t breathe.” He eventually lies motionless with the officer’s knee still on his neck. You can read about the deadly incident here.
  • The four officers involved in the incident were fired, and all have been charged. 
  • Protests – some violent – have since erupted nationwide as demonstrators rally for justice for Floyd and all unarmed Black people killed by police.

See the updates from Tuesday’s protests here.



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