Demonstrations continued in the nation’s capital Sunday over police brutality and racism in the United States, with smaller rallies spreading into the District’s surrounding suburbs. The 10th consecutive day of protests near the White House began quietly, laced with a family-friendly vibe that included people taking selfies inside the city’s newly named “Black Lives Matter Plaza,” as well as singing and praying.

Here are some significant developments:

• Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) joined a group of hundreds of evangelicals marching Sunday as the tenth day of demonstrations took on themes of faith and prayer.

•Earlier, President Trump tweeted Sunday that he has ordered National Guard troops to start the process of withdrawing from Washington.

•Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) and U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) on Sunday morning toured Black Lives Matter Plaza, at the intersection of 16th and H streets NW, abutting Lafayette Square and St. John’s Church. City workers cleaned up graffiti in the area, and Bowser once again expressed support for peaceful demonstrations.

•The Sunday demonstrations followed a massive day of protests on Saturday across the city — including along the U Street corridor, the Lincoln Memorial, Freedom Plaza and Capitol Hill — over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody and the Trump administration’s militant approach to the unrest that has gripped cities across the country.

June 7, 2020 at 11:54 PM EDT

From a tiny grill to a feeding 1,000 in a day: impromptu ‘Earl’s First Amendment’ eatery offers free food to protesters

Where tear gas or pepper spray or whatever it was cleared the protesters from in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church last week, now there’s grill smoke. Under two canopies sits Earl’s First Amendment Grill, with a sign that says “FREE food for freedom fighters.“

The grill is a spontaneous creation started by Reggie Guy, 23, a CVS clerk from the city. On Friday, he decided to spend $50 on 90 hot dogs, set up a tiny charcoal grill and start serving people at the protest.

“I can cook,” Guy said. “Let me cook some hot dogs for people and they can just have it.“

He picked the spot near the church where Trump posed with the Bible for the irony, he said. But he also just liked the atmosphere in front of the yellow church.

“It’s just a really good spot,” he said.

It wasn’t long before Evan Burstein noticed what Guy was doing and approached him. Burstein, 33, had just been furloughed from his job as a chef at Via Sophia in the Hamilton Hotel not far away. “I was like, ‘I really like what you’re doing here. How can I help?’” Burstein said.

A few social media posts later, Burstein and other volunteers had come up with two tables, two coolers and a load of hot dogs and hamburgers. Burstein said a man came by and asked what else they needed, and they said a bigger grill. The man came back with two propane grills.

Someone made a sign, and here they are.

Earl is Guy’s middle name, but he says the grill isn’t named for him. “Earl is all of us,” reads a sign on the canopy.

“This isn’t our food, this is everybody’s food,” Burstein said. Then he pointed across Lafayette Square toward the White House. “And that isn’t his house. It’s everybody’s house.“

Burstein said they served 500 people on Saturday and 1,000 people on Sunday. The volunteers envision a growing operation. They figure maybe they could move to different sites around the city, or get a van and go to protests around the country.

“This is not stopping today,” said another volunteer, 33-year-old Jonathan Anderson of Georgetown. “We plan on doing this until Trump is out of office.”

The exact spot where Trump stood, right beside Guy’s tiny original grill, is still open sidewalk. Frequently, passersby stop to get their photo taken there.

“This is how he held it, right?” said Patty Feldt, 63, of Annapolis, to her friend as she posed for a photo. Instead of a bible, Feldt held a sign that said “America didn’t come this far to only come this far.“

Behind her, on the plywood boarding up St. Johns Church, portraits of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor we’re stenciled neatly, along with spray-painted red graffiti that said “F--- Trump!!!“

Gary Smith, 46, of Lanham, Md, also posed at the spot, checking a photo of the president there to make sure he was perfectly lined up. “We wanted to make sure we have the exact spot,” said his wife, Reesey McElvane.

Smith struck a pose like that of several others who came to the spot for photos Sunday evening. He raised his middle finger.

By Steve Thompson
June 7, 2020 at 8:25 PM EDT

Protesters try — fruitlessly — to get Capitol Police officers to express solidarity with them

Randy Conyers, 43, was among the many who stood along a low stone wall at the front of the U.S. Capitol on Sunday, heckling U.S. Capitol police officers who declined to indicate support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

“So you’re not down with the cause?” Conyers yelled at one officer, after the officer declined the crowd’s entreaties to take a knee.

The officer, whose name tag said C. Nicholas, approached Conyers and spoke quietly. “I want you to be able to express your First Amendment rights, and we’re here to make sure you do,” he said. “But we have to remain apolitical.”

Conyers, a FedEx operations manager who lives in Fort Washington, and others in the crowd kept trying to get the officers to make some gesture — scratch their face, cross their legs, anything — to show solidarity with their cause. But none of the officers would do so.

The crowd did find some gratification when they noticed an officer with no name tag and heckled him about it. Another officer came over and conferred with the officer, then ushered him into the Capitol building.

“Na na na na, na na na na, hey, hey, hey, goodbye,” the crowd sang.

By Steve Thompson
June 7, 2020 at 7:21 PM EDT

A family watched protests on TV. Then they drove 29 hours to join demonstrators.

“Beautiful view,” JuanCarlos Quintanilla said as he and his wife marched along New Jersey Avenue. The white U.S. Capitol building came into view against a bright blue afternoon sky.

Quintanilla, 44, and his wife, Ana Elsa Quintanilla, were among a crowd of more than 1,000 people who marched from the White House to the Capitol about 6 p.m. Sunday.

It was JuanCarlos Quintanilla’s first time in the District. The couple and their three adult children drove 2,000 miles from El Paso in two vehicles to join the protest.

“We saw the phony photo shoot the president did, and he started tear-gassing people — peaceful protesters — just for the photo shoot,” he said. “That’s what really ticked us off, right there. That did it for us. That was, like, the last straw.”

They left about 11:30 a.m. Friday and arrived about 5 p.m. the next day, stopping only for food and gas. “I was just eager to get here as quickly as possible,” he said.

As they marched Sunday, he and his wife held hands, and together they held an American flag that read, in part, “Take a knee against police brutality.” JuanCarlos Quintanilla wore the No. 7 jersey of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

“He should’ve been listened to,” Quintanilla said of the black quarterback who protested police brutality by kneeling during the national anthem at NFL games — and has been unable to find a job in the league afterward.

“They shouldn’t have judged him the way that they did,” he said. “It was never about the flag.”

Quintanilla is a retired Army veteran. He and his wife are now real estate brokers, he said. Their kids were marching in the crowd ahead of them.

“We believe what we say on the flag,” he said. “Enough is enough. They need to make better rules of engagement for the police officers just like they do in the military.”

His biggest impression of the nation’s capital so far: the crowds.

“It’s beautiful how peaceful everybody is,” he said. “And I’m just glad that the police are behaving and minding their business and letting us protest. Letting us exercise our rights.”

By Steve Thompson
June 7, 2020 at 6:11 PM EDT

Mitt Romney, marching with evangelicals, becomes first GOP Senator to join anti-racist protests in D.C.

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) marched Sunday alongside hundreds of evangelicals protesting racism and the death of George Floyd, as the crowd around them eventually swelled to more than 1,000 in the nation’s capital.

The former presidential nominee said in an interview that he wanted to find “a way to end violence and brutality, and to make sure that people understand that black lives matter.”

He is the first Republican senator known to join the demonstrations in the city. President Trump, who last week declared himself “your president of law and order” retweeted a letter from his former attorney John Dowd that referred to the protesters as “terrorists.”

Under a beating afternoon sun, protesters around Romney waved signs with biblical phrases and chanted: “Do justice! Do justice!”

They marched from the U.S. Capitol’s reflecting pool along Pennsylvania Avenue in a demonstration planned by a handful of evangelical churches in the D.C. region, including some of the most prominent.

Organizers said they did not know that Romney planned to attend until they saw him. Romney said that he attended a rally before the march. There, Rev. Thabiti Anyabwile, pastor of the Anacostia River Church, called for “fighting systemic injustice and being for personal responsibility.”

“We don’t have to settle for half the coin,” Anyabwile said. “We’re Democrats and Republicans.”

On Saturday, as what would become 10,000 people crammed into D.C. streets for anti-racism protests, Romney tweeted about his father, former Michigan governor George W. Romney. While in office, Romney’s father marched in civil rights demonstrations outside Detroit in the late 1960s.

Read more here.

By Michelle Boorstein and Hannah Natanson
June 7, 2020 at 5:21 PM EDT

Faith and prayers take center stage during afternoon marches to U.S. Capitol

Hundreds of evangelicals from churches across the region sang, prayed and tambourined from a side street in Anacostia — with passing cars honking as the marchers held aloft signs mixing Bible verses and “Black Lives Matter” — and to the U.S. Capitol reflecting pool.

Their presence highlighted the decidedly religious flavor of Sunday’s demonstrations, where hymns rang out and many marchers stopped and prayed along their way to the Capitol and the White House.

While conservative evangelicals were a presence in the crowds protesting in D.C. last week, the Sunday march included some of the most high-profile faces, among them David Platt, pastor of McLean Bible, one of the country’s biggest evangelical churches.

Platt gave an opening prayer after being introduced by Thabiti Anyabwile, pastor of Anacostia River Church and one of conservative evangelicalism’s more outspoken black figures on the issue of racism.

“We praise you, in particular, today, Jesus, as this group, for taking the judgment we deserve,” Platt prayed, as the group of a few hundred, mixed in age and race, responded, “Mmm-hmm.”

“As your children, we pray you would forgive us for our history and our present. God forgive us,” he said, pausing long, “for the sin that so infects our heart.”

The march was organized by church leaders who felt the demonstrations haven’t had enough explicitly Christian voices — and because, some of them said, they, in particular, needed to repent.

“We’ve not represented our Lord well,” said Kay Walker, 35, who carried a sign reading “Jesus is for justice.”

“If you say you’re with Jesus, you have to be for justice,” she said. “It should be the church in front, but it’s a shame in past years we haven’t been.”

Anyabwile said he helped organize the event after watching all week how few events were clergy-led.

“This iteration of civil rights is not located in the church, so the church is playing catch-up when it was once the vanguard,” he said.

His church is racially mixed, but he said conversations about the causes and solutions of racial inequality are challenging.

“One skill we don’t have as a country or a church is conversation,” Anyabwile said. “We’re unpracticed at that, and so we’re wrestling with hope.”

As they approached the Capitol, the marchers sang hymns and songs.

Fred Lau, 42, half-chuckled after shouting, “No justice, no peace, followed by MORE justice, MORE peace!”

“It’s two sides of the same point,” said Lau, who lives in McLean and attends Platt’s church. “To a group like this — as Christians, we’re calling for more peace. The message is the same.”

By Michelle Boorstein and Marisa Iati
June 7, 2020 at 5:11 PM EDT

Fairfax County police officer charged after using stun gun on black man without provocation, police say

A white Fairfax County police officer has been charged with three misdemeanor counts of assault and battery after authorities said he used a stun gun on a black man who was disoriented and did not appear combative as he paced on a street in the Mount Vernon neighborhood on Friday.

Officer Tyler Timberlake was arrested Saturday evening after Fairfax County police and prosecutors reviewed body-camera footage of the incident, which appeared to show Timberlake deploying the stun gun on the victim multiple times and sticking his knees on the man’s neck and back without obvious provocation.

Fairfax County Police Chief Edwin C. Roessler Jr. called the use of force “horrible” and said it violated the department’s policies. Timberlake, an eight-year veteran, has been relieved of duty and is under an administrative investigation. All other officers on the scene also have been relieved of duty pending outcomes of the criminal and administrative investigations, police said.

Read the full story here.

By Justin Jouvenal and Emily Davies
June 7, 2020 at 4:49 PM EDT

Protesters conjure spirit of 1960s civil rights movement, recalling Selma march and singing gospel hymns

The references to the civil rights movement of the 1960s were evident across Washington.

Along the closed-down streets leading to the White House, several hundred people marched in a demonstration meant to recall Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1965 march in Alabama from Selma to Montgomery.

Nearby, an African American spiritual group sang “We Shall Overcome,” their words echoing through the streets as they knelt in front of the White House.

Before the Selma-Montgomery tribute started in Southeast Washington, the Rev. Vernon Miller of Evergreen Baptist Church asked God to look kindly on the hundreds of marchers gathered before him on a green lawn.

“We are putting our lives in your hands,” Miller said in prayer.

Then — tailed and headed by a small escort of police on motorcycles — the group spilled onto the shuttered highways of the nation’s capital, chanting and singing as they headed for the White House.

At the front of the crowd, Stephanie Municci, 30, adjusted her grip on the black-and-white banner reading “LOVE MERCY” and tried to breathe through her blue face mask in the punishing humidity.

She had organized the event, teaming up with friends and pastors throughout the District and in Virginia.

Municci, who works in a law office downtown, at first thought only a few friends would join her.

But news of the event spread swiftly on social media, and now she walked alongside more people than she’d ever expected to see on such a hot day, with the words of “Amazing Grace” and “This Little Light of Mine” pushing them forward.

Jorge Mendoza, a 26-year-old pastor in training from Hagerstown, Md., walked in silence, streaming the moment live on Facebook from his lofted phone.

He wanted to bear witness, he said, for those unable to march.

As the column passed into residential areas, people stood up from their brunches to clap. Joggers paused on sidewalk corners to watch. People sunbathing and playing racket ball in a park turned and cheered.

A woman ran outside her home, calling out, “Hey! I love these people!” and handed an ice-cold water bottle to the closest marcher.

Jason Thomas, 42, bowed his head for a moment before stepping off the sidewalk and motioning to his wife and three children to begin marching alongside him. Thomas, who is black, held a cardboard sign that read “I AM A MAN!” — a famous declaration black sanitation workers made during their 1968 march in Memphis.

Meanwhile, in front of the White House, the gospel choir had finished “We Shall Overcome,” and the group returned to this year’s declarations: “Say his name! George Floyd! Say her name! Breonna Taylor!”

They then marched along H and 14th streets, singing another gospel song, kneeling briefly on the hot asphalt to pray.

By Hannah Natanson and Marisa Iati
June 7, 2020 at 4:19 PM EDT

As protests swell, Metro ridership on Saturday hit highest level since pandemic restrictions began

Metro saw its busiest day in nearly three months Saturday as thousands of protesters returned to the nation’s capital to protest police brutality and systemic racism.

Metro carried nearly 70,000 passengers Saturday, the highest number since ridership plummeted and the transit agency reduced operations because of the coronavirus crisis in mid-March.

The last time Metro trains carried more than 70,000 passengers was March 20, according to available ridership data. Saturday’s ridership was up by about 153 percent compared with the previous Saturday, when 24,000 people used the region’s rail system.

Although the number isn’t close to a normal summer day, when Metro averages more than 250,000 riders, Saturday’s bump represents an increase in demand that Metro has not seen in the months since the coronavirus restrictions hit.

Read the full story here.

By Luz Lazo
June 7, 2020 at 4:07 PM EDT

Shouts of ‘Black lives matter’ also echo through D.C.’s suburban communities

About nine miles from the White House, several hundred people gathered for a rally in Falls Church, Va., near where the NAACP opened its first rural branch, at Tinner Hill, 102 years ago.

The demonstration was among several that have occurred in the District’s suburbs during the past week, showing that frustrations with police brutality and systemic racism run deep even in wealthier neighborhoods.

“Would we be angry two years from now, two decades from now?” a woman asked the crowd gathered in Falls Church.

“Yes!” they shouted back. And she continued: “We cannot allow the anger to fade.”

Falls Church Mayor P. David Tarter said the anger rippling through the country since George Floyd was killed in the custody of Minneapolis police has moved his city to begin re-examining its policing policies to ensure that it is following best practices.

“Your message is heard loud and clear!” Tarter told the crowd, seeking to assure the city’s residents that Falls Church is committed to “fair, safe, evenhanded and effective administration of justice.”

“But we know that this is an ever-ongoing process and that we must always continue to listen and strive to improve,” Tarter said.

A day after a police officer in nearby Fairfax County was charged after officials said he used a stun gun on a black man without provocation, the fight for racial justice resonated in Falls Church.

Tarter shared the area’s history with the crowd.

Cherry Hill Park, where they had gathered, was once owned by William Blaisdell, among the few Virginia landowners who voted against secession in advance of the Civil War.

His reward for that stand was to have many of his possessions stripped away, Tarter said.

In 1915, the Falls Church Town Council passed a housing discrimination law that designated vast portions of the city for whites only.

Outrage over that ordinance led to the foundation of the NAACP’s first rural branch and efforts that brought an end to the law, Tarter said.

“So right here, on this spot today, we can see the imperfection of American democracy and the beauty, as well,” he said.

In Maryland’s Takoma Park, another crowd gathered for a youth-led march through the city’s Main Street.

There, young children carried signs that read “I stand with you” and “Racism is a Pandemic,” while shouting “Black lives matter” as their parents joined.

“We all need to show up, stand up and support #BLM,” one resident, Elizabeth Goodman, tweeted from the protest.

Other protests were planned in Maryland’s Clarksburg, Silver Spring, Gaithersburg and Germantown. In Virginia, rallies were planned in Fairfax and Arlington counties.

By Luz Lazo
June 7, 2020 at 3:04 PM EDT

A farmers’ market vibe with Malcolm X’s ‘Bullets or Ballots’ speech as its soundtrack

The portion of H Street in front of the White House took on a cheery farmers market vibe Sunday, a stark contrast to the looting, fires and graffiti that filled the area a week ago.

There were pop-up speeches and boys pushing shopping carts with bottles of water for sale. Some people posed for selfies with the obscenity-scrawled Treasury Department building as their backdrop.

In front of the statue honoring Revolutionary War Gen. Tadeusz Kosciuszko in Lafayette Square — now covered with red, green and black graffiti — a few dozen people stood listening to a boombox playing Malcolm X’s famous 1964 “Bullets or Ballots” speech, which took Democrats to task and called blacks “political chumps” for supporting them.

The boombox sat next to an African American man whose head and face were covered in scarves, with only his eyes visible.

“We’re not getting by singing ‘We Shall Overcome.’ ” Malcolm’s words rang out. “It’s nationalism that brought about independence in Africa. It will take black nationalism to bring about the freedom of 22 million black Americans.”

The crowd listened quietly. A few people held aloft “Black Lives Matter” signs. Others asked: “Who’s talking?”

A man pedaled his bike through, with a dog in a baby carrier trailer following him, as Malcolm’s call to action continued.

By Michelle Boorstein
June 7, 2020 at 2:57 PM EDT

A makeshift medical tent springs up outside Mirabelle, a white-table-cloth restaurant near the White House

In normal times — before the global pandemic that canceled fine dining in the District and the demonstrations that left the windows of downtown businesses covered with plywood boards — Sunday brunch at Mirabelle would have been in full swing by now.

But the pricey, lavishly decorated French-American restaurant a short walk from the White House was now located in Black Lives Matter Plaza and, on the 10th day of protests in the city, its outdoor dining area had been converted into a makeshift medical tent.

Where tables draped in white once stood, tents had been set up, lined with yoga mats meant to serve as beds for ailing demonstrators. A shift schedule scribbled in black Sharpie greeted the men and women with red crosses taped to their T-shirts who showed up to help.

“We’re not really equipped to do more than treat heat cases,” said Ben Tan, 26, one of more than 60 volunteer medics manning the impromptu emergency ward, which was constructed overnight Friday. Still, the group treated 70 of those cases in its first full day of operation Saturday, when tens of thousands of people descended on the District for the largest day of demonstrations yet, Tan said.

The mini-hospital sprang up organically, as word spread on social media among those with spare time and medical training, he said.

The staff members all have some level of expertise — ranging from CPR training to medical school degrees — and the group always pairs less knowledgeable volunteers with more experienced peers on every shift, Tan said.

People from all corners of the city have joined up, as have some from out of state.

Cade Dimock, a 25-year-old paramedic from Upstate New York, was among them. She drove to the District after learning about the clinic at Mirabelle on the Discord social media platform. Dimock said she was willing to risk contacting the novel coronavirus amid large crowds because “for me, I stand number one for the Hippocratic oath.”

Tan, who is from Falls Church, Va., works in finance. But, he said, he has first-aid training and decided he wanted to help after learning about the effort from another volunteer newly arrived to town from New York, whom Tan met after offering the man a cigarette.

On Sunday, Tan stood under the tent, masked and ready to help whoever needed it — law enforcement and demonstrators alike. “That’s important for us,” Tan said. “Police and protesters, they’re all human.”

By Hannah Natanson
June 7, 2020 at 1:37 PM EDT

No arrests in the District during Saturday’s large demonstrations, Bowser said

Bowser said no arrests were made during Saturday’s demonstrations, underscoring the festive nature of the day, which was marked by mostly unorganized demonstrations in several neighborhoods.

In an interview with Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday,” Bowser (D) said the demonstrations were peaceful.

She doubled down on her criticism of the Trump administration’s decision to flood the city with federal police and National Guard soldiers earlier in the week. On Friday, Bowser renamed a portion of 16th Street leading to the White House “Black Lives Matter Plaza.”

“What we saw last week was basically an invasion of our city. Active-duty Army troops moved from all points around the country to threaten our autonomy,” Bowser told Wallace. “ “What you saw — and I won’t have it reduced to a spat — was how I have to defend our taxpayers.”

Bowser again rebuffed Republican criticism that she had evicted the Utah National Guard, saying it was up to the U.S. Army to pay the housing bills of its troops.

“We did insist that D.C. residents don’t pay the bills for troops we didn’t request,” she told Wallace. “I understand the Army has worked out all payment arrangements.”

Wallace asked Bowser how she would appease protesters’ concerns about police funding in the District. The city’s proposed budget would increase police department funding by $45 million, which protesters say should instead go to community-based initiatives.

Bowser called the additional funding appropriate.

“We have invested not a penny more and certainly not a penny less than we need for safe neighborhoods,” she said.

By Meryl Kornfield
June 7, 2020 at 1:12 PM EDT

Images from Black Lives Matter Plaza

Several hundred people streamed into Black Lives Matter Plaza for a 10th day of protests in the District. Here is what the scene looked like during the late morning and early afternoon:

By Katherine Frey
June 7, 2020 at 12:51 PM EDT

‘My Country, ’Tis of Thee’ gets round of cheers outside White House

About 11 a.m., Michael A. Jackson pressed his face against the metal fence surrounding Lafayette Square and, facing the White House, belted out one of the oldest protest songs around: “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee”

“From every mountainside, let freedom ring!” he sang as bystanders cheered and clapped.

The 1824 song, also known as “America,” was an affirmation of the nation’s independence, laid over the melody of Britain’s “God Save the Queen.”

Jackson, vice president of the Georgia Avenue Business Improvement District and Development Corp., said he came downtown to send a public message that Floyd’s killing was unacceptable in a nation that stands for freedom and democracy.

Jackson gestured toward the fence and mimicked President Ronald Reagan’s words in a famous 1987 speech about tearing down the Berlin Wall.

“Mr. Trump,” Jackson said, “take this fence down and heal this nation.”

Another man paused while passing by with his bike.

“Sir, you’re completely right,” he told Jackson. “This fence is a metaphor for his entire presidency.”

By Marisa Iati and Antonio Olivo