President Trump on Monday threatened to deploy federal troops if state and city leaders do not act to quell acts of violence and looting amid protests over the killing of George Floyd. After federal authorities used rubber bullets, stun grenades and tear gas to clear peaceful protesters from around the White House, Trump walked across Lafayette Square to St. John’s Church and posed for photos while holding up a Bible.

The president’s vow came as protesters intensified their demonstrations in Washington and other cities such as New York, St. Louis and Chicago, leading to more looting and incidents between police and the public. The response unfolded hours after George Floyd’s death was ruled a homicide by Minnesota’s Hennepin County medical examiner.

Here are some significant developments:

  • The Right Rev. Mariann Budde, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, said she learned of Trump’s visit to St. John’s by watching it on the news. “I am outraged,” she said. “I don’t want President Trump speaking for St. John’s.”
  • Congressional Democrats denounced Trump’s threat to deploy the military domestically as the behavior of a would-be authoritarian leader. The denunciation was echoed by both the American Civil Liberties Union and CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, who condemned the president’s pledge as “a failure of presidential leadership.”
  • Los Angeles Police Chief Michel R. Moore walked back comments he made Monday regarding how those who have participated in looting and vandalism amid recent protests bear just as much responsibility for George Floyd’s death as the police officers who had the man in custody.
  • The Federal Bureau of Prisons has instituted a “temporary national lockdown” in response to the protests raging across the United States, putting further limitations on inmate movements behind bars, a spokeswoman said.
  • A black sedan sped through an intersection in the Bronx early Tuesday and slammed into a New York City police officer standing in the road, leaving him with serious injuries, authorities said. In Buffalo, two police officers were hit by a car during a violent confrontation between authorities and protesters outside a police station on Monday night.
June 2, 2020 at 6:15 AM EDT

The push to tear-gas protesters before Trump’s photo op at historic church

President Trump began mulling a visit to St. John’s Episcopal Church on Monday morning, after spending the night devouring cable news coverage of protests across the country, including in front of the White House.

The historic church had been damaged by fire, and Trump was eager to show the nation’s capital — and especially his own downtown swath of it — was under control.

There was just one problem: the throngs of protesters, who on Monday had again assembled peacefully in Lafayette Square across from the White House to protest the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis.

Read more here.

By Ashley Parker, Josh Dawsey and Rebecca Tan
June 2, 2020 at 6:12 AM EDT

Black journalists are carrying unique burdens during period of civil unrest

For black journalists, the civil unrest in cities across America isn’t just a big story. It’s personal.

This was underscored for Branden Hunter in Detroit Saturday night. A rifle-toting police officer walked up to a group of reporters covering a chaotic night of demonstrations. As they all yelled “press” and held up their credentials, he made a beeline to one in particular. It was Hunter — one of the few black news reporters at the Detroit Free Press and the only one on that sidewalk — who drew the officer’s attention, though he also showed his press badge. “He’s with us!” a white colleague shouted, panic in her voice. Only then did the officer walk away.

“I’ve always had a hard time fitting in,” Hunter, 30, said in an interview Monday. “We know this field is dominated by white men. … For people to actually believe you’re a journalist — even cops last night were saying, ‘You’re not media.’”

Read more here.

By Elahe Izadi and Paul Farhi
June 2, 2020 at 6:00 AM EDT

‘This is how nations collapse’: Tucker Carlson slams Trump’s response to protests

Fox News host Tucker Carlson laid into President Trump’s response to the protests sweeping the nation on Monday evening, claiming that the president was abandoning the country and only thinking of himself by not acting to more decisively crack down on the unrest.

After opening by attacking a number of prominent conservative leaders, including Nikki Haley and Vice President Pence, for their responses to violent clashes over the weekend, the prime-time commentator turned his attention to Trump.

“When the mobs came, they abandoned us,” Carlson, often a fervent defender of Trump, said to open his show. “The nation went up in flames this weekend. No one in charge stood up to save America … This is how nations collapse.”

One Fox News reporter, Leland Vittert, had been attacked by protesters at Lafayette Square in Washington, just steps from the White House, and Carlson played footage of the incident.

But the following day, the host of “Tucker Carlson Tonight” said, Trump failed to acknowledge the attack while mentioning that he and his family were safe.

“How can you protect my family? How are you going to protect the country? How hard are you trying?” Carlson asked.

To close his tirade, Carlson invoked a different ruler best known for failing to do anything as his nation burned. The infamous Roman emperor Nero, he said, is best remembered for abandoning his “nation in a time of crisis.”

By Teo Armus
June 2, 2020 at 5:46 AM EDT

‘Cowardly, weak, and dangerous’: Pelosi, Schumer condemn Trump for tear-gassing of protesters outside White House

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) in a joint statement Monday night condemned the actions taken by federal authorities to disperse protesters who had gathered for a peaceful demonstration outside the White House earlier that evening.

The Democratic leaders accused President Trump of being responsible for the clash, citing his decision to leave the White House and walk to a nearby church where he was photographed holding a Bible.

“Tear-gassing peaceful protesters without provocation just so that the President could pose for photos outside a church dishonors every value that faith teaches us,” Pelosi and Schumer said. “We call upon the President, law enforcement and all entrusted with responsibility to respect the dignity and rights of all Americans."

In videos, federal law enforcement officers could be seen rushing at protesters with shields and batons while rubber bullets, flash-bang devices and tear gas were fired into the large crowd.

“At this challenging time, our nation needs real leadership,” Pelosi and Schumer said. “The President’s continued fanning of the flames of discord, bigotry and violence is cowardly, weak and dangerous.”

By Allyson Chiu
June 2, 2020 at 5:41 AM EDT

Four police officers shot in St. Louis

Four police officers were shot early Tuesday morning in St. Louis, police said in a tweet.

All four officers remained conscious and breathing before being taken away from the scene. The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department said the officers were taken to a nearby hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

“They were standing near a line, and all of a sudden they felt pain,” St. Louis police chief John W. Hayden said at a news conference early Tuesday. He said two officers were shot in the leg, one was shot in the foot and one was shot in the arm. Police had not identified a suspected shooter or made any arrests early Tuesday morning.

“Some coward fired shots at officers and now we have four in the hospital, and thank god they’re alive,” he added.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported heavy gunfire could be heard in downtown after midnight.

By early Tuesday morning, officers were still taking gunfire in downtown St. Louis, police said.

Police did not immediately return a request for comment or additional information.

A large, peaceful protest marched through the city earlier in the day, but was winding down by 7:30 p.m. Most remaining protesters dispersed after police shot tear gas into the crowd just before 9 p.m., the Post-Dispatch reported. Looting began less than an hour later, and people set a 7-Eleven on fire after raiding it, according to the newspaper.

About 200 people were involved in break-ins and looting, Hayden said, and some people threw rocks and explosives at police officers. People tried to pour gasoline on officers, he said. At one point, officers used force to push people away from police headquarters.

“We’re trying to figure out what is going on,” Hayden said. “Mr. Floyd was injured down and was killed somewhere else, and they’re tearing up cities all over the country.”

He said his officers showed “extraordinary restraint” as people threw rocks, explosives and shot at police lines.

“I don’t understand what that has to do with Mr. Floyd’s death,” the chief said. “That’s what I don’t understand.”

By Katie Shepherd
June 2, 2020 at 5:30 AM EDT

Protests reignite despite new curfews, larger police presence in U.S. cities

Protesters filled the streets of U.S. cities again Monday to decry excessive force used by police as Washington, New York and other hard-hit cities imposed curfews and President Trump urged governors to use even more force.

Near the White House, federal officers used tear gas to clear a path for Trump to visit a nearby historic church in a move that was harshly criticized by D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D).

Monday marked one week since George Floyd, a 46-year-old African American man, died after Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes during an arrest. Floyd’s pleas to Chauvin — “I can’t breathe, man. Please” — went unheeded.

Read more here.

By David Fahrenthold
June 2, 2020 at 5:18 AM EDT

Las Vegas police officer, one civilian shot in separate incidents on the Strip

In two separate incidents on the Las Vegas Strip, a Metropolitan Police Department officer was shot and another person was shot by an officer, the Las Vegas Sun reported.

The shootings came toward the tail end of protests over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis that had been largely peaceful earlier in the day, according to the Sun. Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) said his office had been notified of both shooting incidents and that he was in contact with local authorities.

The officer was shot near Circus Circus Hotel & Casino, while the officer-involved shooting happened outside the federal courthouse on South Las Vegas Boulevard. Further details about the circumstances of each shooting were not immediately available, and a spokesman did not immediately return a request for comment.

Video of the moment police opened fire on one person showed a handful of horrified people running away from the scene, fearing aloud that they just witnessed someone being killed, as a volley of gunfire can be heard in the background.

The person’s condition was not immediately clear, nor was the officer’s.

“In this moment we ask for prayers for our law enforcement community,” an LVMPD substation tweeted. “Let us join together in prayer for the peace of our city.”

By Meagan Flynn
June 2, 2020 at 5:10 AM EDT

NYPD officer run over in the Bronx, police say

A black sedan sped through an intersection in the Bronx early Tuesday morning and slammed into a New York City police officer standing in the road, leaving him with serious injuries, authorities said.

An NYPD spokesman said officers were responding to reports of break-ins on Walton Avenue, located about two miles away from the chaos on Fordham Road, where people raided shops and set fires in the street, and a police officer was assaulted until he pulled out his gun.

The officer struck by a car was taken to nearby Lincoln Medical Center for treatment. He is in serious but stable condition, the spokesman said.

A video posted to social media by a bystander watching from several stories above shows a black sedan speeding toward the intersection where two officers had just parked and stepped out of their vehicle. One of the officers jumped out of the way, but the car slammed into a police sergeant and continued driving down the street. An NYPD spokesman confirmed multiple details shown in the video.

Police said the collision happened around 12:45 a.m. Tuesday near the intersection of Walton Avenue and East 170th Street. At almost that same time, the person who shared the video tweeted: “I just witnessed a murder n I recorded it.” About 10 minutes later, the Twitter user posted the cellphone footage, adding people had broken into a nearby pawnshop just before the crash.

An NYPD spokesman said police have not yet made any arrests in the case.

By Katie Shepherd
June 2, 2020 at 4:59 AM EDT

ACLU urges local leaders to listen to protesters and ignore Trump

The American Civil Liberties Union urged governors, mayors and police chiefs to ignore President Trump’s Monday comments about deploying active-duty forces to respond to violent protests taking place nationwide, stressing the U.S. “does not need authoritarian tactics like military intervention to silence dissent.”

In a statement Monday, ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero suggested local leaders “would do well to heed and hear the voices of the protesters, while ignoring the words of Donald Trump.

“Great presidents — like Abraham Lincoln — have historically appealed to the ‘better angels of our nature’ in moments of crisis. Lamentably, Donald Trump is not a great president,” Romero said. “As our country is ripped asunder and teeters on chaos and racial division, President Trump missed yet another opportunity to unify people across the country.”

On Monday, Trump drew widespread outcry from critics for threatening to send the military into states and cities in an effort to quell acts of violence and looting, prompting many, including Democratic officials, to liken his remarks to the behavior of a “tyrant.”

Instead of turning to the military, the country, Romero said, “needs the political will to dismantle the deep-seated racism and inequity that permeates our institutions — especially our police departments.

“This country’s strength lies in the willingness of its people to take to the streets and demand adherence to values that define our nation,” he said.

By Allyson Chiu
June 2, 2020 at 4:45 AM EDT

Minneapolis activists help the homeless affected by ongoing protests

In Minneapolis, the killing of George Floyd and the aftermath of fires and looting has led residents to take new kinds of direction, with neighborhood checkpoints and patrols, makeshift medic centers and large-scale cleanup efforts.

It has also led to the seizing of a Sheraton hotel, where during the past 48 hours, activists sheltered around 200 people experiencing homelessness, many of whom fled an encampment blocks away from the epicenter of protests by the Minneapolis Police Department’s 3rd Precinct.

Rosemary Fister, 26, of Minneapolis, is part of a coalition of organizers and activists behind the effort, which is being done with the cooperation of the property owners.

“This isn’t a moment, we are not going back. This, for example, it’s ours now,” they said, pointing to the hotel behind them. “We are at a point where the killing of George Floyd, a shelter worker killed by the Minneapolis Police, has given us power, and we are using that power to take care of each other. The police don’t take care of us, the police don’t keep us safe, we do. And that’s what we are doing by housing people right now.”

A sign saying, “You can’t stay home without housing,” stood in front of the four-story building as volunteers food and other supplies before the 10 p.m. curfew began.

By Jared Goyette
June 2, 2020 at 4:26 AM EDT

Black family protecting Los Angeles businesses from looters mistakenly cuffed by police on live TV

A black family helping to protect businesses from looters in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Van Nuys Monday evening were cuffed by police officers they flagged down for help — an incident that played out on a live video broadcast by KTTV.

The tense scenes captured by the local news station in a now-viral video came as the Los Angeles Police Department cracked down on looting across the city Monday.

“We are aware of the incident,” a spokesman with the LAPD told The Washington Post when asked about the Van Nuys footage. The spokesman noted several people were arrested for looting, but declined to provide additional details.

Around 6:30 p.m. local time, an African American woman and several members of her family had joined forces with the owner of a liquor store in Van Nuys to ward off a group of alleged looters who were targeting the establishment and a nearby Cash for Gold business, KTTV’s Christina Gonzalez reported.

Amid arguing with the looters, a group of young black men, the woman and others outside the liquor store waved their arms at passing police cars. Soon, Gonzalez, who had also been trying to get the police’s attention, told viewers that officers were inbound.

But as more than 10 cops descended on the scene, the situation swiftly went awry. Within seconds, at least three officers, one of whom appeared to be holding a rifle, had the woman and two of her family members lined up against a wall — and they were putting cuffs on them.

“I was handcuffed, thrown up against the wall with my husband, my brother-in-law and I was just like, the hell?” the woman later told Gonzalez in an interview.

Gonzalez could be heard frantically telling the police that they had the wrong people while an officer tried to get information about what happened from her.

Late Monday, KTTV caught up with the woman, who said she and her family were fine after the encounter and doubled down on her decision to face off against the looters.

“We don’t want other people from different cities to come and tear up where we live at 'cause we have to rebuild this,” she said.

By Allyson Chiu
June 2, 2020 at 4:08 AM EDT

Los Angeles police chief walks back comments saying looters bear equal responsibility for Floyd’s death

Hours after saying that looters were just as responsible for George Floyd’s death as the officers who had the man in custody, the Los Angeles police chief walked back his comments on Monday.

At a news conference alongside Mayor Eric Garcetti (D) on Monday afternoon, Police Chief Michel R. Moore said the violence and looting he witnessed Sunday night in Los Angeles had amounted to far more than protests.

“We had criminal acts,” Moore said. “We didn’t have people mourning the death of this man, George Floyd. We had people capitalizing. His death is on their hands, as much as it is those officers."

“That is a strong statement,” he added, “but I must say that this civil unrest that we’re in the midst of, we must turn a corner from people who are involved in violence, people who are involved in preying on others.”

Police had arrested nearly 700 people the night before, he said, including 70 who were directly involved in looting or burglary. At least one permitted protest had veered onto a freeway and became unlawful, warning demonstrators from repeating that example later on Monday.

But approximately three hours later, the police chief took to Twitter to issue an apology for his comments. He also clarified that only police were responsible for Floyd’s death.

“I recognize that my initial words were terribly offensive,” Moore wrote. “Looting is wrong, but it is not the equivalent of murder and I did not mean to equate the two.”

Garcetti also responded to the chief’s comments on social media.

“The responsibility for George Floyd’s death rests solely with the police officers involved,” Garcetti wrote on Twitter. “Chief Moore regrets the words he chose this evening and has clarified them.”

By Abigail Hauslohner and Teo Armus
June 2, 2020 at 3:44 AM EDT

The sights from the protests in San Francisco and Los Angeles

See more photos from Monday’s protests around the country here.

By Olivier Laurent
June 2, 2020 at 3:24 AM EDT

Birmingham, Ala., officials take down 115-year-old Confederate monument

Demolition crews began taking down a Confederate statue late Monday in Birmingham, Ala., an extraordinary move ordered by the city’s mayor that will probably prompt legal challenges from the state.

At 52-feet tall, the Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument has loomed over a park in the city’s center since 1905. But as protests for racial justice overtook the city this week, Mayor Randall Woodfin said it was time for the obelisk to come down — even if doing so could violate a state law.

“In order to prevent more civil unrest, it is very imperative that we remove this statue,” Woodfin, who is black, told the Birmingham News.

In 2017, city officials affixed plywood to the base of the obelisk and covered the rest with a tarp, saying the monument was offensive and fearing it would lead to violence.

Alabama officials sued, citing a state law that barred cities from removing Confederate statues and prompting a years-long legal battle. Last year, the Alabama Supreme Court ruled Birmingham had to pay a $25,000 fine for obstruction.

The plywood remained on the statue on Sunday, when demonstrators attempted to take down the monument. They managed to chisel the base of the obelisk and completely toppled a nearby statue of Charles Linn, a Confederate Navy captain and the namesake for the surrounding park.

Then Woodfin arrived at the scene.

“Allow me to finish the job for you,” he said, according to WIAT television.

Given the ongoing legal battle over the statue, he acknowledged on Monday that Alabama could bring another lawsuit against the city. But he was willing to accept that outcome, he said, “because that is a lower cost than civil unrest in our city.”

At 10 p.m. on Jefferson Davis Day — an Alabama state holiday on Monday honoring the Confederate president — a demolition crew removed the top of the obelisk and loaded it onto a flatbed truck. More than an hour later, they moved down to take apart a middle section, WBRC television reported.

By Teo Armus