Police fire tear gas at peaceful DC protesters as Trump speaks
- The United States was gripped by a weekend of protests over the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died on Monday in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and police brutality nationwide.
- Lawyers representing Floyd’s family said that independent medical examiners who conducted an autopsy of Floyd determined that asphyxiation from sustained pressure was the cause of death.
- Protesters are demanding all four officers involved be charged in Floyd’s death. So far, only one — white officer Derek Chauvin, who knelt on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes as the Black man pleaded, ‘I can’t breathe’ — has been arrested. He was charged on Friday with third-degree murder and manslaughter.
- Those protesting against police brutality have met, at times, excessive force by authorities. Two officers were fired over the weekend in Atlanta, Georgia, for pulling two Black people out of a car and throwing them to the ground. Videos have shown police targeting angry but peaceful protesters with tear gas and mace. Journalists have also been targeted by police.
- Protesters have remained undeterred by curfews and the presence of the US National Guard in some cities. Some largely peaceful protests turned violent, with looting and vandalism as the night raged on.
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Tuesday, June 2
02:30 GMT — DC Episcopal bishop: ‘I am outraged’ by Trump church visit
The bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington sharply criticised President Donald Trump on Monday for staging a visit to the historic St John’s Church across from the White House, where he held up a Bible after authorities had cleared the area of peaceful protesters by firing tear gas and flash bangs.
The Reverend Mariann Budde, whose diocese St John’s belongs to, said she was ‘outraged’ by Trump’s visit and noted that he did not pray while stopping by the church, a landmark known for its regular visits from sitting presidents since the early 19th century.
The president also did not ‘acknowledge the agony and sacred worth of people of colour in our nation who rightfully demand an end to 400 years of systemic racism and white supremacy in our country’, Budde said in a statement posted to the diocese’s Twitter account after Trump’s televised visit.
Statement from The Rt. Rev. Mariann Budde (@mebudde), Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington (@washdio) via @thewashingtonpost (3 part thread) https://t.co/b9s6tvWsh1— The Episcopal Church (@iamepiscopalian) June 2, 2020
01:20 GMT — Atlanta police fire tear gas
Protesters were still in the streets of downtown Atlanta, Georgia, on Monday night as curfew neared, and police officers and the National Guard used tear gas.
Protesters largely dispersed after that, though some remained, and officers were making arrests, apparently for curfew violations. A similar scene played out the night before.
01:40 GMT — DC mayor: Police actions ahead of Trump speech ‘shameful’
Late on Monday, Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser expressed that police fired on peaceful protesters to clear the way for a Trump photo-op.
’I imposed a curfew at 7pm,’ she tweeted. ‘A full 25 minutes before the curfew & w/o provocation, federal police used munitions on peaceful protestors in front of the White House, an act that will make the job of @DCPoliceDept officers more difficult. Shameful!’
I imposed a curfew at 7pm. A full 25 minutes before the curfew & w/o provocation, federal police used munitions on peaceful protestors in front of the White House, an act that will make the job of @DCPoliceDept officers more difficult. Shameful!— Muriel Bowser #StayHomeDC at 7 pm (@MurielBowser) June 2, 2020
DC residents — Go home. Be safe
01:15 GMT — Protesters in Louisville march after Sunday night police killing
The fatal police shooting of the popular owner of a Louisville barbecue spot has prompted a massive march to the site where the restaurateur was killed early on Monday.
David McAtee died while police officers and National Guard soldiers were enforcing a curfew amid waves of protests in the Kentucky city. Mayor Greg Fischer revealed earlier Monday that police officers lacked body camera video for the investigation.
The large group marched peacefully on Monday evening as some honked horns in solidarity and marchers raised clenched fists. Louisville’s police chief was fired by the city’s mayor on Monday after the mayor learned that officers failed to activate body cameras at the chaotic scene were McAtee was shot.
00:50 GMT — National Guard in Nashville put down riot shields
More than 60 National Guard troops put down their riot shields Monday evening at the request of peaceful protesters who had gathered in front of Tennessee’s state Capitol in Nashville to honour George Floyd.
Guardsman had initially rushed to grab their shields and form a hard line to block the slowly moving crowd — which was singing and chanting — from advancing up the Capitol steps. As the National Guard began moving, Tennessee State Police grabbed batons and formed a line behind them. However, the crowd remained calm.
Democratic legislators leaving the Capitol asked to be able to move past the line of guards to join the crowd. As the crowd continued to sing and call for justice for Black Americans, slowly the shields began to drop. The state troopers declined to drop their batons, but backed farther away from the crowd.
Monday’s peaceful vigil was a marked difference from several protests that turned violent in Tennessee over the weekend.
Monday, June 1
23:50 GMT — 5,000 people arrested across US: Report
At least 5,600 people have been arrested in cities around the country since demonstrations broke out protesting the death of George Floyd, according to a tally compiled by Associated Press journalists from police department press releases, police agency Twitter activity and media.
The arrests come as protests in some cities become more violent and as police and governors are urged by President Donald Trump to take a stronger hand in quelling the demonstrations.
In Minneapolis, where Floyd died, some 155 arrests have taken place. Some of the biggest cities in the US have made a significant number of arrests, including nearly 800 in New York City and more than 900 in Los Angeles.
23:30 GMT — DC protesters take a knee after being driven from the White House
Protesters took a knee in the middle of a downtown Washington street Monday night, chanting, ‘What do we want? Justice. When do we want it? Now.’
They applauded as they rose to their feet and declared that the streets were theirs.
The march Monday night was peaceful as nightfall approached. There was no apparent effort to get protesters off the streets even though a 7pm curfew had passed.
Earlier, law enforcement officers on horseback and foot aggressively pushed the protesters away from Lafayette Park near the White House so that President Donald Trump could visit a church that was damaged by fire during the protests Sunday night. He took a photo while there.
23:05 GMT — Trump makes rare walk on foot to damaged church outside the White House
22:50 GMT — Trump threatens to deploy US military if states don’t halt violent protests
President Donald Trump has threatened to deploy United States military unless state governors halt violent protests.
Trump said he was recommending that governors deploy the National Guard in sufficient numbers to ‘dominate the streets’.
If governors fail to take action, Trump said he would deploy the US military and ‘quickly solve the problem for them.’
Trump, in his Rose Garden remarks, said he would mobilise the US military to end ‘lawlessness’ as police fired tear gas at hundreds of peaceful protesters gathered outside the White House.
22:30 GMT — Police use flash bangs against peaceful protesters outside the White House
Police appeared to fire a series of flash bangs, as well as tear gas to disperse peaceful protesters outside the White House. The curfew in Washington, DC, has not yet gone into effect.
Trump is due to speak at any moment.
22:00 GMT — Medical examiner declares George Floyd death homicide
The Hennepin County Medical Examiner declared the death of George Floyd a homicide, saying he died of ‘cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual restraint, and neck compression,’ according to a Minneapolis television station.
The updated report from the examiner states that Floyd died from a loss of blood flow due to compression on his neck while being restrained by Minneapolis police, local Fox television affiliate Fox 9 reported.
19:58 GMT — Obama: Turn the moment into a ‘turning point for real change’
Former US President Barack Obama on Monday condemned the use of violence at nationwide protests over racial inequities and excessive police force, while praising the actions of peaceful protesters seeking change. While the vast majority of protesters have been peaceful, a ‘small minority’ were putting people at risk and harming the very communities the protests are intended to help, Obama wrote in an online essay posted on Medium.
Obama, a Democrat who served two terms as president prior to Republican Donald Trump’s administration, said the violence was ‘compounding the destruction of neighborhoods that are often already short on services and investment and detracting from the larger cause’.
In his essay, Obama urged protesters not to be cynical about politics, arguing that electing new leaders on the national and local levels would bring about change.
’Eventually, aspirations have to be translated into specific laws and institutional practices — and in a democracy, that only happens when we elect government officials who are responsive to our demands,’ he said.
19:39 GMT — Floyd brother calls for calm in the storm
The brother of George Floyd appealed for peace Monday in the aftermath of riots and arson fires following the death of his brother in Minneapolis.
Terrence Floyd appeared at the intersection in south Minneapolis where his brother died. Wearing a face mask with the image of his brother’s face on it, Terrence Floyd spent several minutes of silence at the flowers and other memorials that have sprung up to his brother.
’I understand you’re upset,’ Terrence Floyd said to the crowd through a bullhorn. But he said civil unrest and destruction is ‘not going to bring my brother back at all. It may feel good for the moment, like when you drink, but when you are done, you’re going to wonder what did you do.’
Terrence Floyd said his family is ‘a peaceful family. My family is God-fearing’. And he said, ‘in every case of police brutality, the same thing has been happening. You have protests; you destroy stuff ... so they want us to destroy ourselves. Let’s do this another way.’
He told the crowd to vote and to educate themselves. ‘Let’s switch it up, y’all.’ He said his brother moved to Minneapolis from Houston and ‘loved it here. ... So I know he would not want you all to be doing this’.
19:00 GMT — More curfews in New York City, Washington, DC
New York City is imposing a curfew as the nation’s biggest city tries to head off another night of violence erupting amid protests over Floyd’s death. The curfew will last from 11pm Monday (03:00 GMT) to 5am Tuesday (09:00 GMT), Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Monday. The limitation on 8.6 million people’s movements comes on top of coronavirus restrictions and as the mayor and governor deplored the outbreaks of violence, but also criticised some police actions.
Separately, Washington, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser said on Monday that the city also is imposing another curfew as it braces for several more days of protests. Bowser said at a news conference that the curfew would begin at 7pm Monday (23:00 GMT) and run through Tuesday morning, with similar restrictions beginning again on Tuesday night and continuing into Wednesday morning.
17:55 GMT — Independent medical examiner: Floyd died due to asphyxia
Lawyers representing Floyd’s family said that independent medical examiners who conducted an autopsy of Floyd determined that asphyxiation from sustained pressure was the cause of death.
’World renowned medical examiner Dr. Michael Baden and Dr. Allecia Wilson found the manner of Mr Floyd’s death was homicide caused by asphyxia due to neck and back compression that led to a lack of blood flow to the brain. Sustained pressure on the right side of Mr. Floyd’s carotid artery impeded blood flow to the brain, and weight on his back impeded his ability to breathe,’ a statement from the lawyers read. ‘The independent examiners found that weight on the back, handcuffs and positioning were contributory factors because they impaired the ability of Mr. Floyd’s diaphragm to function. From all the evidence, the doctors said it now appears Mr Floyd died at the scene.’
Baden said that what they found was ‘consistent with what people say. There was no other health issue that could cause or contribute to the death.’
17:25 GMT — Trump wants governors to use more National Guard troops
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters that US President Donald Trump wants governors to utilise more National Guard troops to respond to protests against police brutality.
Earlier on Monday, Trump told governors he wanted them to ‘dominate’ protesters, urging the use of more aggressive tactics.
White House press secretary just confirmed Trump had a call with Putin today but did not address question about whether he asked him for advice before his call with the governors, as asked by the reporter.
17:20 GMT — US to send federal assets to help quell protests
The White House on Monday said additional federal assets would soon be deployed to respond to protests across the country over the death of a Black man, George Floyd, while in police custody.
The protests had turned violent in some places, which prompted many governors to turn to the National Guard for support. But the protesters have remained undeterred.
President Donald Trump had two briefings on Monday, with Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Attorney General William Barr ‘and there will be additional federal assets deployed across the nation,’ Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said at a briefing.
16:00 GMT — Trump calls governor’s weak, urges crackdown
President Donald Trump on Monday derided the nation’s governors as ‘weak’ and demanded tougher crackdowns on protesters in the aftermath of another night of violent protests in dozens of American cities.
Trump spoke to governors on a video teleconference with law enforcement and national security officials, telling the local leaders they ‘have to get much tougher’ amid nationwide protests and criticising their responses.
’Most of you are weak,’ Trump said. ‘You have to arrest people.’
15:50 GMT — Biden to hold roundtable with mayors
Joe Biden will hold a roundtable with several mayors whose cities have been affected by unrest over the weekend.
The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee will hold a virtual event Monday with the leaders of Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles and St Paul, Minnesota.
Biden began his day meeting with community leaders at a predominantly African American church in Delaware.
15:45 GMT — DC imposes 7pm curfew
District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser is imposing a 7pm (23:00 GMT) curfew Monday and Tuesday after three days of protests, some of which have turned violent.
An 11pm (03:00 GMT) curfew had been in place Sunday night. But the violence still escalated, with protesters setting fires, breaking windows and looting businesses. There were clashes with police, who used pepper spray and other measures to try to break up the demonstrations.
15:10 GMT — Where have protests taken place?
14:09 GMT — Photos from Sunday’s protests against police brutality
14:00 GMT — Floyd’s family to release findings from independent autopsy
The attorney for George Floyd’s family was set to announce findings Monday of an independent autopsy into his death a week ago after a Minneapolis officer held his knee on Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds.
Floyd, a Black man who was in handcuffs at the time, died after the white officer ignored bystander shouts to get off him while also ignoring Floyd’s cries that he couldn’t breathe. His death, captured on citizen video, sparked days of protests in Minneapolis that have spread to cities around the US.
An official autopsy last week said the combined effects of being restrained, potential intoxicants in Floyd’s system and his underlying health issues, including heart disease, likely contributed to his death. There were no other details about intoxicants, and toxicology results can take weeks. In the 911 call that drew police, the caller described the man suspected of paying with counterfeit money as ‘awfully drunk and he’s not in control of himself.’
The criminal complaint noted that the medical examiner’s report was preliminary, but said the autopsy ‘revealed no physical findings that support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation.’
Ben Crump, the attorney representing Floyd’s family, soon announced plans to commission the family’s own autopsy.
13:55 GMT — Truck driver arrested on suspicion of assault
Authorities say the driver of a semitrailer that rolled into the midst of thousands of people marching on a closed Minneapolis freeway in protest over the death of George Floyd has been arrested on suspicion of assault.
Authorities had said it appeared no one was hurt Sunday, but some witnesses said a handful of people who were on Interstate 35W near downtown Minneapolis sought medical attention on their own. Authorities said they could not confirm that.
The freeway was among many shut down in the Minneapolis area for the second night in a row as officials imposed an 8pm (01:00 GMT) curfew and sought to make it more difficult for protesters to move around.
Bystander video showed the crowd parting seconds before the semi rolled through, then the tanker truck gradually slowed and demonstrators swarmed the truck.
Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington said Sunday that it initially appeared from traffic camera footage that the semitrailer was already on the freeway before barricades were set up at 5pm (22:00 GMT). State Corrections Commissioner Paul Schnell said at a later briefing, however, that the truck went around a traffic barrier to stay on the road.
Read witness accounts here.
13:50 GMT — UK PM office: Attacks on journalist ‘very concerning’
United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman says arrests and assaults on journalists covering protests in the United States are ‘very concerning.’
James Slack said Monday that ‘journalists all around the world must be free to do their job and to hold authorities to account without fear of arrest or violence.’
He said the violence of the past few nights was ‘very alarming’, and noted, ‘people must be allowed to protest peacefully’.
Slack said, ‘The footage of George Floyd’s death was deeply distressing and our thoughts are with all those who have been affected.’
Noting that a police officer has been charged with murder, he said ‘we would hope and expect justice to be done.’
13:45 GMT — Louisville police kill one
The police chief of Louisville, Kentucky, says police officers and US National Guard soldiers enforcing a curfew in Louisville killed a man early Monday when they returned fire after someone in a large group fired at them first.
Louisville Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad confirmed the shooting happened around 12:15am (04:15 GMT) outside a business on West Broadway, where police and the National Guard had been called to break up a large group of people gathering in defiance of the city’s curfew.
Someone fired a shot at them and the officers returned fire, the chief said. It was unclear whether the person killed is the one who fired at the law enforcers, he said.
Protests have erupted in Louisville over the shooting death of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency medical technician who was shot eight times by narcotics detectives who knocked down her front door, as well as the death of George Floyd.
Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the protests in the US over the deadly arrest of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This is Laurin-Whitney Gottbrath in Louisville, Kentucky.
Here are a few things to catch up on:
- George Floyd, an unarmed 46-year-old Black man, died on Monday 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 becomes 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. Derek Chauvin, the white officer who pinned Floyd down, has been arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. Protesters demand the three other officers be charged, as well.
- 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 Sunday’s protests here.
SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies