Across the United States, hundreds of thousands of protesters gathered Wednesday for a ninth night to call for police accountability and justice for George Floyd. Earlier in the day, Minnesota prosecutors added a second-degree murder charge against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, and charged three more former officers in Floyd’s death.

Meanwhile, the White House tweeted, and then later deleted, a 58-second video that purported to show “Antifa and professional anarchists … staging bricks” for nefarious use during protests against the killing of Floyd. This came as large peaceful protests unfolded in New York, Washington, Philadelphia and Los Angeles, and some cities lifted curfews or decided not to enforce the orders as unrest subsides. The ACLU also filed a lawsuit targeting curfews in Southern California, calling them “draconian” measures that violate the free speech of protesters.

Here are some significant developments:

  • The Army was making plans to send home active-duty soldiers who were dispatched to the Washington, D.C., area to bolster security, but the plan was reversed on Wednesday after a meeting at the White House involving Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper, defense officials said.
  • Former president Barack Obama, in his first public remarks since protests erupted, offered an optimistic perspective on the civil unrest, urged mayors to enact policing reforms and reminded young people of color: “your lives matter.”
  • Former defense secretary Jim Mattis excoriated President Trump on Wednesday, accusing the nation’s chief executive of deliberately trying to divide Americans.
  • A San Francisco man kneeling outside a pharmacy that was being looted was fatally shot Monday night by an officer who thought the man was carrying a firearm in his waistband, police said Wednesday.
  • Outrage spiked as the New York Police Department cracked down on demonstrators out after curfew on Wednesday, particularly over a video showing officers using batons to beat a cyclist.
  • The Los Angeles Police Department’s budget will be cut by up to $150 million to provide funding for programs in communities of color, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced Wednesday.
June 4, 2020 at 8:31 AM EDT

Photos from the protests around the nation and the world

See more photos from the protests across the U.S. and the world here.

By Olivier Laurent, Nick Kirkpatrick and Haley Hamblin
June 4, 2020 at 6:15 AM EDT

‘Tear gas’ or ‘pepper balls’? In response to assault on White House protesters, Trump harps on the semantics.

The shocking scene of peaceful protesters gassed and pummeled with rubber bullets Monday in Lafayette Square to make way for a presidential photo op had dominated the news cycle for nearly 24 hours, with images of coughing, weeping activists fleeing through billows of smoke. Journalists grappled with questions ranging from who ordered the aggressive use of force to whether President Trump’s use of military and religious symbolism raised constitutional concerns.

But late Tuesday, his reelection campaign pushed back by demanding a specific correction from the media:

The part in the stories about “tear gas” being used on the crowd, it maintained, was untrue.

Read more here.

By Paul Farhi
June 4, 2020 at 5:58 AM EDT

20-year-old protester in Austin critically injured by police over weekend, family says

Justin Howell, 20, has suffered a fractured skull and brain damage, his family said Wednesday, after a police officer in Austin shot the young black man with “less-lethal” ammunition during protests over the weekend.

Howell, a political science major at Texas State University, was peacefully demonstrating late on Sunday outside Austin’s police headquarters, police chief Brian Manley said at a news conference earlier this week.

At around 11 p.m. Sunday, a man standing beside him threw a water bottle at the officers guarding the building, and then a backpack. The officers responded with a bean bag round.

But the munition missed, Manley said, and instead hit Howell, who fell on his head.

Other protesters scrambled to help him, the police chief said, and some officers on the scene told them to move Howell forward. Yet as a group followed instructions, carrying Howell’s limp body toward the police building, other police responded with even more “less-lethal” munitions.

Video of the scene shows police shooting at the group about a dozen times. Manley said one person was struck in the hand.

“We’re trying to get help,” one person screams.

Howell was eventually transported inside the police building and taken to the hospital, Manley said, as the incident quickly gained attention in Texas news outlets.

“We are praying for this young man and his family, and we’re hoping that his condition improves quickly,” Manley said at the news conference on Monday.

Howell went unidentified for the next two days — until his brother, Joshua, penned an emotional response on Wednesday in the Battalion, the student newspaper at Texas A&M University. His brother, Joshua said, had not been throwing anything at the police.

“We are interested in you appropriately using the responsibilities with which the people of Austin have entrusted you,” Joshua Howell wrote to the chief. “Prayer is not an excuse to abdicate responsibility.”

By Teo Armus
June 4, 2020 at 5:50 AM EDT

How Barr seeks to subdue Washington protests

From an FBI command center in Washington’s Chinatown neighborhood, Attorney General William P. Barr has orchestrated a stunning show of force on the streets of the nation’s capital — a battalion of federal agents, troops and police designed to restore order, but one that critics say carries grim parallels to heavy-handed foreign regimes.

Barr was tapped by President Trump to direct the national response to protests and riots over police misconduct since the police-custody death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

The attorney general has focused much of his attention on the District, where unrest and arrests swelled over the weekend before a jarring clash Monday to clear peaceful protesters from outside the White House — an order Barr issued personally. By Tuesday night, as he sat in the FBI command center until nearly midnight, the city’s mood seemed to have calmed.

Read more here.

By Devlin Barrett
June 4, 2020 at 5:31 AM EDT

Minnesota files new charges in Floyd death as protests resume with a calmer tone

Prosecutors in Minnesota filed new charges Wednesday against the four former Minneapolis police officers present when George Floyd died in custody, as protesters returned to the streets of American cities, but a relatively calm tone prevailed early in the evening.

The charge against Derek Chauvin — the officer who knelt on Floyd’s neck until he lost consciousness — was upgraded to second-degree murder from third-degree, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison (D) announced. The other three officers, who restrained Floyd or stood guard while passersby pleaded for Chauvin to stop, were charged with aiding and abetting the murder.

Those charges — which an attorney for Floyd’s family called “a source of peace” — came on a day when peace seemed to be making a comeback, at least tentatively. After a week of aggressive use of force by police amid looting and vandalism in some cities, the tone changed. Police in many cities hung back and even marched with demonstrators, while protesters expelled vandals themselves.

Read more here.

By David Fahrenthold
June 4, 2020 at 5:12 AM EDT

George Conway’s group releases new ad accusing Trump of turning cities into ‘war zones’

An anti-Trump super PAC co-founded by George T. Conway III, an attorney and husband of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, released an ad Wednesday accusing President Trump of turning U.S. cities into “war zones.” (George Conway is also a contributing columnist to The Washington Post’s opinion section.)

The 60-second spot is the Lincoln Project’s latest attack ad targeting Trump and focuses on his response to the ongoing protests. The ad highlights the president’s threat to deploy the military to quell violent acts and looting, as well as his widely denounced Bible photo op that resulted in a large group of mostly peaceful protesters outside the White House being forcibly removed by federal authorities using chemical gas and less lethal rounds.

“When Donald Trump came out of hiding this week, he didn’t do it to bring us together or heal the nation. He wasn’t there to offer words of calm and comfort,” the ad’s narrator says over photos and videos of recent protests. “Instead, he became what we always feared, evoked the worst of our past, threatened our governors and states.”

Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric — “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” and his urging of governors nationwide to “dominate” — flash across the screen as quotes written in white text.

The video goes on to slam Trump’s Monday visit to St. John’s Episcopal Church, which has since been widely denounced by many, including religious leaders.

“He didn’t invoke the Lord to give us wisdom, but to boost his polls,” the narrator says.

“Washington transformed into a war zone for this coward,” the voice continues, referring to Monday’s incident involving the protesters in Lafayette Square. “This is a time for choosing: America or Trump.”

The Trump campaign did not respond to a request for comment from The Post early Thursday.

By Allyson Chiu
June 4, 2020 at 4:54 AM EDT

Los Angeles protest ends with arrests of demonstrators who breached curfew

LOS ANGELES — A large rally outside City Hall on Wednesday night largely dispersed, but not before dozens were arrested in peaceful protest for not adhering to the city’s curfew.

At around 10:30 p.m. local time, police in riot gear handcuffed close to 100 protesters who had overstayed the 9 p.m. curfew by about an hour and a half.

But many attendees of the 1,000-person rally in Los Angeles described the demonstration, meant to protest Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey and the city’s police department, as “beautiful.” Some praised law enforcement for largely allowing them to congregate and support their cause.

“When I first got here it was really scary, because when I came here I saw the National Guard and I was not myself,” said Ashley, a 22-year-old protester from Pasadena, Calif., who declined to give her last name. “So seeing that made me fear what was going to happen.”

For Bernard Elmore, 58 of Los Angeles, attending the protest was just as much about witnessing a peaceful anti-police brutality protest after experiencing the 1992 Rodney King riots, as it was about sharing the experience with his 16-year-old daughter, Mayah.

“This is going to be history. She needs to see a peaceful protest, not that negative stupid stuff,” he said. “If you’re trying to be a voice and let your voice speak for the cause, you need to see this side of it.”

Many attendees said they were unsure whether they would breach the curfew, despite understanding the need to pushback on what they believed was an unjustified timeline.

“No one is nervous about each other, or rioting, but we’re definitely on edge about the police presence,” said Yoko Okumura, 32. “For people who do stay, the curfew is criminalizing people who are out in their own city who just want to be heard.”

By Miranda Green
June 4, 2020 at 4:35 AM EDT

On a bridge in New Orleans, police tear gas the crowd

NEW ORLEANS — Police fired tear gas into a large crowd of protesters rallying against police brutality Wednesday night in New Orleans, an incident that seemingly marked a turning point in the tone of the city’s largely peaceful protests.

Hundreds of protesters marched through city streets for hours without incident before making their way up a highway on-ramp and onto the Crescent City Connection, an elevated bridge that connects New Orleans proper to neighboring Jefferson Parish. There, a line of officers and police vehicles blocked protesters from crossing the bridge.

Protesters faced off with the line of officers for nearly an hour, but the relative calm seemed to shift just after 10:15 p.m. As the crowd chanted, “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot,” a small number of protesters apparently provoked shield-wearing officers, who then fired tear gas into the crowd.

A near-stampede ensued during the brief but panicked moment that followed, when hundreds of protesters ran toward the highway on-ramp to exit the chaos. Clouds of tear gas were visible in the air above the departing crowd, and some protesters were seen rubbing their eyes and vomiting from the effects of the gas.

Most protesters left the highway after the tear gas was deployed, though a small crowd continued to stand off with officers before they were eventually dispersed.

The New Orleans Police Department confirmed the incident, tweeting that officers “deployed tear gas tonight to disperse protesters after the crowd refused to comply with three orders not to attempt to walk across the [bridge].” Police tweeted officers were compelled to gas the crowd “in response to escalating, physical confrontation.”

Wednesday’s march marked the second night in a row when New Orleans protesters took over a city highway. On Tuesday, however, the highway march was largely peaceful, with some officers even taking a knee in unison with protesters.

Local organizers have additional marches planned for Thursday and Friday this week.

Teo Armus contributed to this report.

By Ashley Cusick
June 4, 2020 at 4:16 AM EDT

‘George Floyd’s life mattered’: Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, backs protests

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, had a powerful, timely message for the graduates of her own Los Angeles high school Wednesday: George Floyd’s life mattered.

“I wasn’t sure what I could say to you. I wanted to say the right thing,” she told seniors at Immaculate Heart High School in a virtual commencement speech. “I realized the only wrong thing to say is to say nothing.”

So Meghan, who has been outspoken about the racism she has faced at the hands of British tabloids, turned to the current events rocking the nation.

“George Floyd’s life mattered,” she said, repeating that sentiment for other black Americans who have died in police custody or in shootings — Breonna Taylor, Philando Castile, Tamir Rice, Stephon Clark — and the “many other people whose names we know and whose names we do not know.”

In addition to describing her own childhood memories of the 1992 riots, the former Meghan Markle cited a piece of advice she received from her teacher at the private all-girls Catholic school: to always put the needs of other before your own fears.

“That has stuck with me throughout my entire life,” she said, “and I have thought about it more in the last week than ever before.”

She still vividly remembers the “seeing ash fall from the sky” in response to the police beating of Rodney King, and said she was sorry the graduates had to grow up with history seemingly repeating itself. But nearly three decades later, she said, it was notable what had changed, too.

“We are seeing communities come together,” she told the class of 2020. “You are going to be part of this movement.”

By Teo Armus
June 4, 2020 at 4:02 AM EDT

Three NYPD officers, suspect injured after knife attack and shooting in Brooklyn

Three New York City police officers were injured in what police say was a “cowardly, despicable, unprovoked attack” early Thursday morning.

At around 12:15 a.m., police say a man approached two officers assigned to an anti-looting patrol near the intersection of Church and Flatbush Avenues in Brooklyn. New York City Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said in a briefing that surveillance footage shows the man brandished a knife and stabbed one of the officers in the neck.

When shots rang out from the scene, a nearby sergeant and police officer heard the noise and responded to the intersection. Shea said they opened fire when they saw the man holding a gun that police believe he took from an officer. Two officers were shot in the hand during the gunfight. The suspect was also shot multiple times.

Police did not mention any direct connection between Thursday’s early-morning attack and the ongoing protests against police brutality, other than the officers’ duty assignments.

Police recovered 22 casings and several unspent bullets on the ground. The police firearm and a knife were found at the scene.

All three injured officers received medical treatment, are in stable condition and expected to recover. The suspect is also in the hospital in critical condition, Shea said.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) and Shea visited the officers and their families in the hospital early Thursday morning.

“No matter what else is happening around us, we’ve got to be there for each other,” de Blasio said at a news conference early Thursday. “Officers protect us. We have to respect, support and protect them.”

The anti-looting patrols are part of the NYPD’s response to more than a week of upheaval in the city. Police have been violently attacked by some looters and drivers, sending several officers to the hospital in recent days.

Officers have also used force against Black Lives Matter protesters, while dozens of stores have been raided and vandalized. The inconsistent police response has drawn criticism from Democratic Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and protesters.

By Katie Shepherd
June 4, 2020 at 3:45 AM EDT

ACLU sues to end curfews in Southern California, calling restrictions ‘draconian’

The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California filed an emergency lawsuit Wednesday challenging “draconian curfews” imposed in the region in response to protests, arguing that the orders violate constitutional rights and calling for them to be immediately rescinded.

The lawsuit — filed on behalf of Black Lives Matter Los Angeles as well as individual protesters and journalists — targets curfew orders in Los Angeles city and county and the city of San Bernardino that have been in place for several days now. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti (D) and the city’s police chief, Michel R. Moore, are named as defendants, among other local leaders.

Earlier Wednesday, Garcetti announced that restrictions in Los Angeles would end Thursday, “barring a bad night.” Other officials named in the lawsuit have yet to signal a complete rollback.

“These unconstitutional curfews have suppressed a huge amount of important political protest activity and disrupted the lives of over 10 million people,” Ahilan Arulanantham, senior counsel of the ACLU SoCal, said in a statement. “The curfews must end now.”

Arulanantham told The Washington Post in an email that he believes the lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, is the first of its kind from the ACLU in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death.

Describing the curfews as “extraordinary suppression of literally all political protest after dark,” the ACLU alleges that the official action “plainly violates the First Amendment” and infringes on the Constitution’s protection for freedom of movement. Additionally, the lawsuit claims that the orders have made it “extremely difficult” for journalists to report on the unrest.

Beyond demanding that curfews in Southern California be reversed immediately, the ACLU is requesting that the court declare such restrictions “unlawful under the First, Fifth, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendments.”

“The City and County of Los Angeles are attempting to use these curfews to suppress Black Lives Matter — L.A.’s right to protest,” Melina Abdullah, a co-founder of Black Lives Matter Los Angeles, said in Wednesday’s statement. “They are attempting to suppress our ability to fully mobilize and focus full attention on the true issue of concern in the protests — police violence against Black people.”

By Allyson Chiu
June 4, 2020 at 3:28 AM EDT

The intersection where Floyd died has become a place for both grief and love

MINNEAPOLIS — Each night at the site of 38th and Chicago, where George Floyd was killed more than a week ago, the place looks a bit more lived in.

There were three couches set up at the Speedway gas station around midnight. Music played as well, as around 100 people hung out around the space, socializing, and interacting with the enormous altar to Floyd, which stretches across the Chicago Fire Arts Center and Cup Foods on Chicago Avenue.

In the center of the intersection is a giant circle of flowers and signs remembering Floyd.

Ronnie Riley Jr., an African American dancer and long-distance bicyclist, said the space at 38th and Chicago is not just about grief but also love and celebration.

“The grief is from living a life of discrimination,” he said. “The love is living a life where we have to communicate with each other to express how we want to live. And the celebration is the power we have and success in our statement.”

As a group of young men try out their break-dancing moves, Riley said the space is also a warning.

“The warning is that we will only grow with the message,” he said.

By Sheila Regan
June 4, 2020 at 3:04 AM EDT

The sights from the protests in Minneapolis, Washington and London

See more photos from Wednesday’s protests here.

By Haley Hamblin
June 4, 2020 at 2:40 AM EDT

Rep. Ayanna Pressley to co-lead bill to end ‘qualified immunity’ in police abuse cases

Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) has signed on to co-lead a bill to end “qualified immunity,” a legal protection that shields police officers from liability for rights violations in civil court.

The bill was first proposed by Rep. Justin Amash (L-Mich.) on Sunday. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) announced a similar proposal on Monday.

Pressley joined Amash on Wednesday to push for the legislation that would allow victims of police violence and civil rights abuses to sue the officers responsible. Courts have interpreted the qualified immunity standard to be a broad shield, allowing lawsuits only when an officer broke a “clearly established” law.

That protection could prevent George Floyd’s family from suing the four Minneapolis officers who face murder charges over his death in police custody.

Pressley, one of four freshman Democrats who call themselves “the Squad,” is the first black woman to represent Massachusetts in Congress.

“Qualified immunity shields police from accountability, impedes true justice, and undermines the constitutional rights of every person in this country,” Pressley said on Twitter late Wednesday. “It’s past time we end #QualifiedImmunity.”

By Katie Shepherd
June 4, 2020 at 2:23 AM EDT

NYPD officers seen beating cyclist with batons in ‘horrifying’ viral video amid curfew crackdown

Outrage over the New York Police Department’s aggressive curfew enforcement appeared to reach a boiling point Wednesday night, fueled in part by a viral video that showed at least three officers beating a cyclist with batons in the street.

In the video, which was reportedly taken by people inside a car stuck in traffic at the intersection of 50th Street and Third Avenue in Manhattan, the cyclist can be seen attempting to get away from an officer wearing a helmet and wielding a baton.

As the cyclist moves, the officer follows on foot and begins repeatedly hitting the person’s hip and upper thigh area.

“Oh my God,” the person filming says.

Soon, two other officers, also armed with batons, rush to the scene. They converge on the cyclist, swinging their batons, forcing the person off the bike before the video abruptly ends.

The 10-second clip was shared to Twitter late Wednesday and prompted swift condemnation, including from politicians such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and former Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro.

“Horrifying,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. “This isn’t a problem of bad apples or incidents. This is an institutional and systemic crisis.”

Castro also criticized the actions of the officers on Twitter, writing that violating the city’s 8 p.m. curfew is “no excuse for senselessly beating someone.”

The NYPD did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Washington Post.

Wednesday night’s tense confrontation came as police cracked down on demonstrations happening after the city’s 8 p.m. curfew, creating scenes of mass chaos as officers clashed with what had been a largely peaceful crowd.

“We gave them warnings for a while," NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan told Fox News. "No one wanted to leave, so we brought our teams in, we made 60 arrests and we were able to disperse the rest of the crowds.” Monahan added that there would be “no more tolerance” of people breaking curfew, according to the Gothamist.

By Allyson Chiu and Jada Yuan
June 4, 2020 at 2:06 AM EDT

‘Oakland needs this win’: Thousands gather past curfew to figure out a way forward

OAKLAND, Calif. — About an hour after the official start of the “F--- the Curfew” demonstration in downtown on Wednesday night, the crowd swelled to thousands, filling out the entire intersection of 14th and Broadway, and much of the adjoining streets and plaza.

The crowd remained peaceful but energetic in an area where nearby businesses and Oakland City Hall were boarded up with plywood. Activist groups led chants ranging from the rousing, such as “F--- the police,” to the more family-friendly and familiar, “Who keeps us safe? We keep us safe!”

Rebecca Ruiz of the Anti Police-Terror Project urged the crowd to take advantage of the moment. “We take our choice to take back the streets under these conditions very seriously,” she said.

Jessica Black, organizing director of the Black Organizing Project, urged for people to advocate for Oakland’s educational needs. She’s pushing for the community to support a vote that would eliminate the school police force from the Oakland Unified School District.

“Oakland needs this win,” she said. “Our community needs this win. Our babies deserve this win.”

By Natalie Jones
June 4, 2020 at 1:40 AM EDT

New York Times staffers denounce Tom Cotton editorial urging military incursion into American cities

Staffers at the New York Times are publicly rebuking their newspaper for publishing an editorial by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), which called for military intervention into American cities where protests over George Floyd’s death have led to further unrest.

The swift backlash, which spilled out on Twitter, came from dozens across the organization and included opinion writers, reporters, editors and magazine staffers. Several tweeted the same message — “Running this puts Black @nytimes staffers in danger” — with an image of the editorial’s headline, “Tom Cotton: Send In The Troops.”

In his op-ed, Cotton defended the invocation of the Insurrection Act, claiming “rioters have plunged many American cities into anarchy,” with looting that has nothing to do with Floyd’s death, and an “overwhelming show of force” is needed to “restore order to our streets.”

Read more here.

By Elahe Izadi
June 4, 2020 at 1:17 AM EDT

Huntsville, Ala., police launch tear gas, rubber bullets at peaceful protesters

Police officers in Huntsville, Ala., launched rubber bullets and tear gas at a peaceful crowd demonstrating by a park in the city’s center Wednesday evening, creating a chaotic scene.

Officials said an official permit for the protest had expired an hour earlier and protesters had refused to leave.

“What you saw tonight was probably the most extreme patience I’ve ever seen with people who wouldn’t do what we say and were breaking the law,” Huntsville police lieutenant Michael Johnson told AL.com.

Crowds this week in Huntsville, one of the state’s largest cities, have been calling on city leaders to take down a Confederate monument outside the county courthouse. Gathering outside that building — its steps now fortified — on Wednesday, they rallied in a nearby park and chanted in protest after the death of George Floyd.

After 6:30 p.m., little seemed to change, according to video by Ian Hoppe of AL.com. Police silently watched the demonstrators from the courthouse steps, and the protesters below dared them to take a knee in solidarity.

But shortly before 8 p.m., officials formed a riot line at an intersection directly behind the protesters. The crowd, ordered to disperse, reassembled across from the riot line instead.

“I can’t breathe,” the crowd chanted, and then, “We are peaceful.”

As the riot police strapped on gas masks, they released a piercing siren. Helicopters and drones circled overhead, Hoppe said on Twitter, and protesters began chanting, “F--- the police!”

Rubber bullets and canisters of tear gas followed moments later, with some of the searing chemical agents enveloping a small, screaming girl Hoppe estimated to be about 3 years old.

Some protesters screamed in pain, and a line of police cars drove through the street, sirens blazing. “Hands up, don’t shoot,” some in the crowd yelled.

Johnson, the police lieutenant, claimed to AL.com that authorities saw individuals with guns or taking unknown objects from their backpacks. One officer on the scene received a minor injury to his head, and 24 people were arrested, he said.

Huntsville police did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Washington Post.

By Teo Armus
June 4, 2020 at 1:10 AM EDT

‘It feels like solidarity’: Chicago’s black and brown protesters marching together ‘means everything’ to some residents

CHICAGO — About 4,000 people marched in Pilsen, a predominantly Mexican neighborhood on the South Side, on Wednesday for the same reasons people have been marching throughout the United States this week: to protest police brutality after years of videos showing the killings of unarmed black men.

Most of the thousands marching in a part of town that’s home to the city’s prolonged civil rights battle with the federal immigration authorities were young people holding signs in Spanish. But they also emphasized the united strengths between black people and Hispanics in Chicago, two groups that traditionally have operated independently.

“Black and brown coming together — it means everything,” said Migdalia Jimenez, 39, who watched the marchers from her house on 18th Street. “Chicago already has an unfortunate history of segregation. This moment in time is an opportunity to change that.”

Jade Lopez, 35, became a probation officer in Cook County specifically to “make sure the system we created is corrected and not abused.” She sees the multicultural makeup of the thousands marching as a sign that strong alliances are forming, even if President Trump makes her uneasy.

“I’m praying this is what it will take to make tangible change,” she said. “I think we’ll see when November comes.”

Some marchers from the neighborhood also have firsthand experience with police antagonism. Vicky Madrano, 46, marched because she said her son was accused of a crime he didn’t commit. “They try to cover up so many times, too many times,” she said of police. “I worry about my kids.”

Yet in a city where former president Barack Obama branded hope into a galvanizing political movement, some here say they still have some of it.

“Something feels different,” said Dylan Quesada, a 27-year-old software developer who leaned against a chain-link fence on his bicycle. “It feels like solidarity. Everywhere.”

By Mark Guarino
June 4, 2020 at 12:50 AM EDT

‘I’ve done so much for religion,’ Trump says, days after widely denounced Bible photo-op

President Trump on Wednesday continued to defend his widely criticized decision to walk from the White House to a nearby church after authorities cleared out peaceful protesters using chemical agents and less lethal rounds, all so the president could pose with a Bible. In a new interview, Trump argued, “I’ve done so much for religion.”

Trump’s comments came during a roughly 22-minute sit-down with former White House press secretary Sean Spicer broadcast on Newsmax Wednesday evening. Spicer asked about the widely derided visit to St. John’s Episcopal Church this week.

“I went there because somebody suggested it was a good idea and I thought it was a great idea, and it was a great idea,” Trump said.

He then attempted to distance himself from the force used against protesters, telling Spicer, “I didn’t know if there were people around there or not.”

“I think everything was handled very well,” Trump added. “I will tell you, religious leaders loved it. Religious leaders thought it was great.”

A number of religious leaders, including the Episcopal bishop of Washington, have publicly condemned the visit, accusing Trump of using the historic place of worship as a “prop.” But Spicer didn’t challenge Trump’s characterization of the reaction to his quick trip and instead asked the president if he has grown in his faith since taking office.

“I think maybe I have from the standpoint that I see so much that I can do,” Trump said. “I’ve done so much for religion.”

By Allyson Chiu
June 4, 2020 at 12:35 AM EDT

White House says police didn’t use tear gas and rubber bullets in incident to clear protesters

In the days since protesters were driven out of Lafayette Square coughing and limping, their eyes burning amid clouds of smoke, the Trump administration has insisted federal authorities did not use tear gas on the crowd.

“No tear gas was used, and no rubber bullets were used,” White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters Wednesday, echoing similar claims from the U.S. Park Police and the president’s allies.

McEnany was correct, but only to the extent that police did not use products labeled “tear gas” and “rubber bullets.”

Read more here.

By Abigail Hauslohner, William Wan and Nick Miroff
June 4, 2020 at 12:10 AM EDT

Some major cities end curfews as protests remain peaceful late into the night

In some major cities on Wednesday night, local officials lifted curfews or decided not to enforce the orders after unrest in the wake of George Floyd’s death eased somewhat.

Faced with mass demonstrations and calls for justice that grew into to looting, fires and violent clashes at night, dozens of cities this weekend enacted curfews that by Monday affected more than 60 million people. But many demonstrators continued to go out, some facing arrest under the new rules while gathering peacefully.

On Tuesday in Detroit, police arrested more than a hundred people for violating the 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew, which remains in place. But on Wednesday, Police Chief James Craig said he would not get in the way of anyone marching peacefully after hours, the Detroit Free Press reported. The chief and officers have knelt among demonstrators in an effort to show solidarity.

“I support the peaceful protest,” Craig told the Free Press. “That’s what I’m seeing now. Right now, I want to support these young people having their voices heard.”

Elsewhere, mayors have lifted curfews entirely. Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan (D), who on Tuesday extended Seattle’s 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew for the rest of the week, tweeted Wednesday evening that she had decided instead to cancel the order after she and Police Chief Carmen Best met with community leaders.

“Chief Best believes we can balance public safety and ensure peaceful protests can continue without a curfew,” Durkan wrote two hours before curfew was set to kick in. “For those peacefully demonstrating tonight, please know you can continue to demonstrate. We want you to continue making your voice heard.”

In Los Angeles, Mayor Eric Garcetti (D) said the restrictions would end Thursday, “barring a bad night.” San Francisco Mayor London Breed (D) tweeted Wednesday that the city’s curfew would end the next morning at 5 a.m.

By Hannah Knowles
June 3, 2020 at 11:54 PM EDT

Trump and allies try to rewrite history on handling of police brutality protests

President Trump claimed on Wednesday that he had not hunkered down in a secure bunker as hundreds of protesters gathered around the White House last Friday night. He said Secret Service had not raced him to the secret underground location. And he described his trip to the subterranean space as a “tiny little short” visit that was really “much more for an inspection.”

But the president’s alternate history, which he unspooled to Brian Kilmeade on Fox News Radio Wednesday, was a false one — one facet of his days-long attempt to rewrite the history surrounding the police brutality protests that have engulfed the fortified White House in recent days.

Trump and his family were rushed to a secure bunker after at least four protesters breached the temporary fences set up near the Treasury Department grounds Friday around 7 p.m., according to arrest records and people familiar with the incident.

Read more here.

By Ashley Parker and Robert Costa
June 3, 2020 at 11:29 PM EDT

Los Angeles mayor says up to $150 million will be cut from police budget, reinvested into minority communities

The Los Angeles Police Department’s budget will be cut by up to $150 million to provide funding for programs in communities of color, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced Wednesday.

After national unrest over the death of George Floyd and continued protests in Los Angeles, Garcetti (D) said the city will make meaningful changes in policing and race relations, including a review of funding that goes to police.

“We will not be increasing our police budget. How can we at this moment?” Garcetti said at a news briefing.

Officials will review the police department’s budget to find up to $150 million in cuts, a small dent in the department’s $3.1 billion budget. There will also be cuts to other municipal departments, Garcetti said.

“We’ve made cuts because of covid-19. It’s time to also make cuts because racial justice is something worth fighting for and something worth sacrificing for,” he added.

The Los Angeles Police Commission will also recommend a new policy requiring police to step in when they see other officers using unnecessary force and backed hiring an independent prosecutor to prosecute officers who engage in misconduct, commission President Eileen Decker said at the briefing.

The announcement comes after Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez and other council members introduced a motion earlier Wednesday to make the same amount of proposed cuts to the police department.

“This is just one small step,” Martinez tweeted. “We cannot talk about change, we have to be about change.”

Garcetti also announced he would lift the city’s curfew Thursday, as long as there was no violence Wednesday night.

By Meryl Kornfield
June 3, 2020 at 11:10 PM EDT

Florida police officer who shoved kneeling woman had been reviewed for force 79 times

A Fort Lauderdale police officer suspended for shoving a protester had been reviewed for using force 79 times in his three-and-a-half-year career, according to police records obtained by Miami Herald and the South Florida Sun Sentinel. Those reviews reportedly include aiming his gun at suspects.

The officer, 29-year-old Steven Pohorence, drew his gun while on duty 45 times, or at least once a month, the Sun Sentinel reported. He was not disciplined for any of the actions reviewed, and the records do not show any violation of department rules.

Pohorence could be seen on video shoving a woman who knelt while protesting in Fort Lauderdale on Sunday. A police colleague, Krystle Smith, pulled Pohorence away from the crowd. Then, gesturing like an ejecting umpire, she directed him to continue walking away from the protesters.

“What Krystal Smith did, to me, is an example of what men and women should do when they wear that badge and they take that oath,” Fort Lauderdale Commissioner Robert McKinzie said in a city commission meeting on Tuesday.

Pohorence did not demonstrate that oath, McKinzie said: “I keep rewinding that tape …” and no other officers “reacted the way he reacted.”

Fort Lauderdale Police Chief Rick Maglione said the incident took place shortly after a police officer called for help when her car was surrounded. Pohorence has been relieved from duty, Maglione said.

By Ben Guarino
June 3, 2020 at 10:57 PM EDT

White House tweets, deletes misleading video about George Floyd protesters

The White House tweeted, and then later deleted, a 58-second video that purported to show “Antifa and professional anarchists … staging bricks” for future nefarious use during protests against the killing of George Floyd.

The video was watched more than one million times in the less than three hours it was online. However, close examination of the video reveals the White House promoted a misleading narrative.

The video is a mash-up of 10 distinct video clips, at least four of which are misleading, according to The Fact Checker’s guide to manipulated video.

Two of the original video clips of these incidents show bricks were already in these locations before protesters arrived, in some cases due to construction and in others — like the case of a Jewish community center in Los Angeles — as security barriers.

The White House employed the misleading video to lob unproven accusations about the Floyd protesters.

Read the full story and watch The Fact Checker’s video analysis here.

By Elyse Samuels and Meg Kelly
June 3, 2020 at 10:42 PM EDT

In Staten Island, a memorial links the deaths of Eric Garner and George Floyd

STATEN ISLAND — Across New York Harbor from Manhattan’s ongoing protests against police violence, Arlana Starks, 24, sat on a stoop outside a beauty supply store. It was 8 p.m., and her phone vibrated with an emergency alert from New York.

“It’s just about the curfew,” she said.

Next door lay four bouquets of flowers and a strip of cardboard. It read:

In memory of Eric Garner

and now George Floyd

“I Can’t breathe”

In solidarity with Minneapolis

Garner and Floyd both died in police custody, nearly six years apart. A plaque affixed to the red-brick storefront commemorated the spot where New York officer Daniel Pantaleo wrapped his arm around Garner’s neck following a confrontation about Garner selling loose cigarettes. Garner struggled with Pantaleo to the sidewalk and shouted, “I can’t breathe” 11 times as Pantaleo applied a chokehold and refused to release Garner, who gasped for air. Massive protests followed Garner’s death, which proved a flash point in the Black Lives Matter movement.

The weathered memorial notes that Garner died here “on July 17, 2014. May His Soul Rest In Peace.” It was not until last August that the New York Police Department fired Pantaleo.

Floyd’s death echoed Garner’s. Like Garner, Floyd pleaded with four Minneapolis police officers, saying, “I can’t breathe” as officer Derek Chauvin refused to remove his knee from Floyd’s neck as he lay face down on the street. Chauvin now faces charges of second-degree murder, and his three colleagues have been charged with aiding and abetting murder.

“Police brutality is crazy,” Starks said as business owners locked their stores before hopping on buses to go home. “Nobody is exempt to it, especially if you’re black.”

By Kevin Armstrong
June 3, 2020 at 10:29 PM EDT

All four living ex-presidents draw a sharp contrast with Trump on systemic racism

Four U.S. presidents spoke this week about systemic racism and injustice. They used their platforms to illuminate the humanity in all Americans and to decry the dehumanization of some. And they summoned the nation to confront its failures, make change and come together.

A fifth U.S. president spoke instead this week about using military force to dominate Americans who are protesting racial injustice. He declared winners and losers among state and city officials trying to safeguard their streets. And, with his reelection campaign in mind, he sought to apply a partisan political lens to the national reckoning over racial inequities.

The outlier was President Trump.

Read more here.

By Philip Rucker
June 3, 2020 at 10:07 PM EDT

Officer who shot kneeling California man at looting scene thought hammer was a gun, police say

A San Francisco man kneeling outside a pharmacy that was being looted was fatally shot Monday night by an officer who thought the man was carrying a firearm in his waistband, police said Wednesday.

When Vallejo Police Department officers responded to a Walgreens that was being looted, Sean Monterrosa, a 22-year-old San Francisco resident, knelt on the ground and held his hands at his waist, near a hammer that was in his sweatshirt pocket, Vallejo Police Chief Shawny Williams said at a news briefing Wednesday. That’s when an officer, thinking that the hammer was a gun, fired five shots through his patrol car window, killing Monterrosa, Williams said.

The officer has been placed on leave pending an investigation. Williams declined to name the officer, describing him as an 18-year veteran. A criminal investigation into the shooting is underway. The department hasn’t released body camera or dash camera video, but Williams said it would within 45 days.

“The intent was to stop the looting and to arrest any perpetrators if necessary. The officers reacted to a perceived threat,” Williams said. “I would say that it’s always a tragedy anytime an officer has to use force.”

Williams’s news briefing was interrupted by protesters who shouted at him, causing the police department spokeswoman to cut short time allotted for reporters to ask questions.

Civil rights attorney John Burris, who is representing the Monterrosa family, said Monterrosa clearly wasn’t a threat to the officers.

“This young man was shot multiple times while he was on his knees and appeared to be trying to surrender,” Burris told the Associated Press.

Shortly after Williams announced the shooting, California State Assembly member Tim Grayson, a Democrat who represents Vallejo and neighboring communities, called for an investigation by the state attorney general or a federal agency. He said it was “unacceptable” that it took more than 24 hours for Vallejo police to confirm that an officer had killed a man.

By Meryl Kornfield
June 3, 2020 at 9:58 PM EDT

Portland, Ore., braces for another night of protests after tear gas, flash bangs on Tuesday

PORTLAND, Ore. — As demonstrators planned more gatherings Wednesday evening, protesters and several city officials were criticizing the police use of force the night before.

Around 10,000 people had turned out Tuesday evening, according to Mayor Ted Wheeler, and the activities remained peaceful for much of it. Wheeler thanked the peaceful demonstrators, as well as the police, for maintaining hours of calm. For hours, uniformed police weren’t even a visible presence on the streets.

Tuesday night ended, however, with rounds of tear gas and several arrests as a small group broke off and approached fencing surrounding the Justice Center. Several days earlier, a small cadre of protesters had broken into the building —which houses a police precinct, several courtrooms, and a jail — and vandalized it, including lighting a fire.

While Police Chief Jami Resch defended the officers’ actions, other city officials condemned it.

The indiscriminate use of tear gas, City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty wrote on Twitter, “is completely unacceptable.” Commissioner Chloe Eudaly echoed that sentiment.

In preparation for Wednesday evening, authorities made some changes, including lifting a curfew that had been imposed days earlier. In a news conference, Wheeler said the curfew didn’t seem to be helping the situation, and might even be hurting it. Meanwhile, authorities removed some of the downtown barricades, other than the area immediately surrounding the Justice Center.

By Maureen O'Hagan
June 3, 2020 at 9:56 PM EDT

George Floyd had coronavirus, full autopsy reveals, and died with numerous blunt force injuries

George Floyd died with numerous blunt force injuries and bruises that seemed to be from handcuffs, according to a full autopsy report released Wednesday by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner.

Floyd had also tested positive for the coronavirus in April, the report reveals. The autopsy found Floyd likely had “asymptomatic but persistent … positivity” from that past infection, the report states.

Officials had previously announced, in a shift from the initial finding, that their autopsy found Floyd’s death to be a homicide — agreeing in broad strokes with an independent autopsy commissioned by Floyd’s family, who had said they did not trust authorities’ findings. But the reports disagree about whether Floyd died of asphyxia.

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner released a report Monday saying that Floyd died of “cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression.” It noted that Floyd also suffered from heart disease, fentanyl intoxication and recent methamphetamine use.

In contrast, the independent autopsy — also released Monday, and conducted by former New York City medical examiner Michael Baden and the University of Michigan’s Allecia Wilson — determined that Floyd died of “asphyxiation from sustained pressure” after being pinned down by his neck and back.

The full autopsy released Wednesday by the county medical examiner found no hemorrhaging or leaking blood vessels beneath the skin in various parts of Floyd’s neck, his shoulders or his back, according to the report. The thyroid cartilage as well as the hyoid bone — a bone in the neck often damaged by strangulation — were “intact,” the report states.

The autopsy details “blunt force injuries” to Floyd’s forehead, face, upper lip, shoulders, hands, elbows and legs.

It describes “patterned contusions” on his wrists consistent with those left by the handcuffs he wore as ex-officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes.

Tarkor Zehn and Brady Dennis contributed to this report.

By Hannah Knowles
June 3, 2020 at 9:47 PM EDT

New York protesters demonstrate with 30 minutes of silence at de Blasio’s Gracie Mansion residence

NEW YORK — A crowd of more than 1,000 sat and knelt in silence outside the mayor’s residence at Gracie Mansion, overflowing out into the intersection at 86th street in New York City’s Upper East Side neighborhood.

The protesters maintained their silence for more than 30 minutes, eventually raising their fists in the air, sending a message to New York’s second-term mayor, Bill de Blasio (D), who has come under fire over his handling of the demonstrations.

On the steps of the brownstone in which she has lived for several years, Upper East Side resident Aishi Bahl watched as protesters broke their silence and began their march downtown.

“I’m getting goose bumps because it’s just a show of support and it’s demanding justice and not sitting around expecting somebody else to do it,” the 46-year-old said, explaining that the significance of the march extended beyond just the symbolism of the mayor’s residence — it was occurring in a neighborhood associated with being wealthy and white.

“I’m so glad it’s on the Upper East Side because I’m a colored person that lives on the Upper East Side,” Bahl said. “So for me, this is validation.”

Wearing a face mask made of colorful red fabric, another longtime resident, Wendy Victor, also spoke of how meaningful it was for her — a 47-year-old black woman — to see her neighborhood supporting the movement.

“This is an area known for privilege. They’re known for their doormen and they’re known for their leisure, and understanding the struggle [of the black community] is very difficult,” she said.

Both women were disappointed with de Blasio’s response. Bahl questioned why de Blasio did not use the opportunity to embrace the movement.

“He could have been part of this,” Bahl said. “He could have turned this into something else.”

By Kayla Ruble
June 3, 2020 at 9:35 PM EDT

Minneapolis pastor fears for the lives of her black children

Pastor Marea Perry was overcome with emotion by the time she got done speaking at a rally on Hennepin Avenue. Earlier in the day, the protesters faced off with the National Guard, but Perry calmed the crowd with an ancient mantra.

“Let’s take a breath,” she said. “Let’s go deep. Let me hear that om.”

The entire crowd then hummed the chant.

Afterward, Perry’s eyes were filled with tears. She lost her oldest son several years ago. It was not a police killing, but she is fearful for her remaining black sons, “if no one sees their lives are valuable.”

For the past six years, Perry says she has been called to social justice work, and she had been called to the protest on Wednesday.

“My heart strings called me out,” Perry said. “I felt it was important to show we all need each other.”

By Sheila Regan
June 3, 2020 at 9:28 PM EDT

Minneapolis park board votes to weaken ties with city police

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation board unanimously voted Wednesday to distance the parks department from the city police department.

One approved change directs Park Police officers to not respond when city police call for backup during “nonviolent incidents.” City police will no longer staff park events.

“Recent actions by the Minneapolis Police Department in the alleged murder of George Floyd while in police custody have severely undermined community trust in, and sense of safety around, Minneapolis Police,” that resolution said.

“I’m afraid of a cop who looks at me as a danger,” Park Board Commissioner Londel French, who is black, said before Wednesday’s vote.

Several Minneapolis institutions have cut ties with the city police department after Officer Derek Chauvin, who was charged with second-degree murder, knelt on Floyd’s neck.

On Tuesday, the Minneapolis School Board terminated the contract between the public school system and the city police department. The nightclub First Avenue and the Minneapolis Institute of Art will no longer hire off-duty officers to work as security.

Last week, the president of the University of Minnesota announced that the school would no longer hire Minneapolis police to provide support at concerts, sports and other live events.

By Ben Guarino
June 3, 2020 at 9:24 PM EDT

Another car plows through protesters, this time in Newport Beach

A car plowed into a crowd protesting the death of George Floyd in Newport Beach, Calif., Wednesday afternoon, sending people scattering in a scene of terror that’s played out at multiple peaceful gatherings around the country in recent days.

Police said the car grazed several people and hit a bicyclist but did not leave anyone injured. Video shows what appears to be a white Mini Cooper zooming past and narrowly missing members of a group that seconds earlier had been chanting, “Hands up, don’t shoot.”

Some chased after the car. A Twitter live stream of the protest captures others turning their attention to a small child perched on a bike seat who appears unscathed.

“Almost hit this little baby,” one person says.

“That guy just ran right through the crowd,” another reels.

The driver was arrested just a few blocks away on a charge of assault with a deadly weapon, said Heather Rangel, a spokeswoman for the Newport Beach Police Department. She identified the suspect as Don Wallace, a Newport Beach resident in his 50s. She said she could not speak to a suspected motive.

This was not the first group of protesters forced to flee vehicles careening through crowds.

Last week, a video showed a car swerving in a seeming attempt to hit a protester in Denver. On Sunday, a truck barreled toward masses of demonstrators on a Minneapolis highway; the driver was taken into custody, but officials later said he likely panicked and eventually slammed on the brakes.

The New York Police Department also came under fire over the weekend after officers drove through protesters. While some politicians slammed their actions as endangering lives, Mayor Bill de Blasio defended the officers driving, calling the footage “upsetting” but saying protesters should not have surrounded the vehicles.

By Hannah Knowles
June 3, 2020 at 9:04 PM EDT

Deputies fired flash-bang rounds at a Raleigh business owner offering water to protesters

Deputies in riot gear fired flash-bang rounds at a Raleigh bar owner as he was passing out water bottles in front of his business during Monday night’s protests, according to police and video of the scene.

Wake County sheriff’s deputies were responding to an anonymous tip that someone was giving water and other supplies to protesters when they came upon Tim Lemuel in the parking lot of Ruby Deluxe, his LGBTQ bar, sheriff’s office spokesman Eric Curry told WRAL-TV.

That’s when deputies fired the rounds at him and others, even as Lemuel repeatedly shouted that he was at his business, the video shows.

“We’re actually here for a reason,” Lemuel told WNCN CBS 17 News. “We had a right to be here. They weren’t hearing it. They were shooting.”

In the video, Lemuel is in his parking lot, where he said he and some friends handed out water bottles and granola bars. Armed deputies start advancing toward Lemuel when he shouts “This is my business” and points at the bar.

“I don’t care where you but you gotta go,” one deputy yells back as the shots are fired.

“The game is over,” the deputy yelled. “Get out!”

Curry said what deputies fired were two rounds that he called “audible distraction charges,” often referred to colloquially as flash-bangs.

Lemuel, a U.S. Army veteran, said in an interview with WRAL that deputies fired before understanding what was happening, adding that it didn’t matter if no projectiles were fired.

“People who are civilians coming out to provide medical aid shouldn’t have to wonder if it’s a real bullet or not. [They] shouldn’t be fired on by the police,” he said. “At any point, they could have walked over and said, ‘Hey, what are you guys doing?’ or ‘We have some concerns about what you’re doing.’”

By Meryl Kornfield
June 3, 2020 at 8:50 PM EDT

Largest march in Philadelphia today ends peacefully, with a prayer, shortly after curfew

PHILADELPHIA — At 6:30 p.m., a half-hour after curfew started, Sixx King led a thousand kneeling protesters in prayer.

“We’ll be out here tomorrow,” the organizer told the crowd, then led a chant, “When? Every day!”

King asked a nearby police officer to let the crowd disperse safely, and the officer raised his hand and nodded.

The protesters had marched miles through the streets Wednesday afternoon despite the 90-degree heat. At an earlier stop, near City Hall, Malik Daniels walked through the crowd of kneeling protesters with a gallon of water yelling, “If you need water, stand up!”

Daniels, a 26-year-old recent college graduate, had been out on the streets protesting for the past five days — Wednesday starting at 1 p.m., shortly before a torrential downpour. His clothes were still soaked.

As the clock struck 6, Daniels said, “As much as we hear the curfew, we’re out here for the people who have been silenced.” Drenched, sweating, “I’m fired up!” he said.

Ato Adoo, an 18-year-old black teen from northeast Philadelphia, said he had come out to the marches on his days off from sorting packages at an Amazon warehouse in the suburbs. “I’m loving the support for black lives, and not just from black people,” he said, scanning the diverse throng surrounding him.

June 3, 2020 at 8:41 PM EDT

Three men charged with terrorism offenses in alleged right-wing plot to spark violence at George Floyd protests

Prosecutors in Nevada charged three alleged members of a right-wing extremist movement with terrorism offenses and other crimes Wednesday, saying they plotted to use Molotov cocktails and other explosives to spark violence at protests over the death of George Floyd.

Stephen T. Parshall, 35, Andrew Lynam, 23, and William L. Loomis, 40, were charged in federal court with conspiracy to damage and destroy by fire and explosive, and possession of an unregistered destructive device. The men also face state charges brought by local prosecutors, including conspiracy to commit an act of terrorism and providing material support for terrorism.

Prosecutors said all three were members of the “Boogaloo” movement, a radical right-wing group whose adherents openly anticipate civil war. Human rights advocates told The Washington Post they have tracked Boogaloo-related groups at 40 protests related to Floyd’s killing.

Authorities said the defendants talked about targeting various businesses and structures, including a power substation near downtown Las Vegas.

“They wanted to use the momentum of the George Floyd death in police custody in the City of Minneapolis to hopefully stir enough confusion and excitement, that others see the two explosions and police presence and begin to riot in the streets out of anger,” a federal criminal complaint read.

On May 29, prosecutors said, they showed up to a protest in Las Vegas over Floyd’s death carrying rifles and encouraged protesters to use violence.

The next day, the group decided to infiltrate a Black Lives Matter protest in downtown Las Vegas, prosecutors said. They met in a parking lot beforehand and allegedly started making Molotov cocktails using glass bottles, gasoline and rags.

Authorities arrested the group on the spot. They said they found in one of the vehicles “myriad” fireworks, firearms, cans of hairspray, gasoline and several partially assembled Molotov cocktails.

It was not immediately clear Wednesday whether the defendants had hired attorneys or entered pleas.

By Derek Hawkins
June 3, 2020 at 8:30 PM EDT

New York City mayor criticized by his own administration in open letter

More than 200 current and former members of New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration publicly criticized the mayor for what they said was a mangled response to police violence at odds with his progressive platform.

“We are demanding radical change from the Mayor,” they wrote in an open letter published Wednesday, “who is on the brink of losing all legitimacy in the eyes of New Yorkers.”

They published four demands: cutting the police budget by $1 billion and funding social services instead; firing police who covered their badges or used excessive force at protests; releasing the names of officers accused of excessive force or misconduct; and appointing an independent commission to investigate how the mayor has handled the recent protests.

The letter called the 8 p.m. curfew enacted this week — New York City’s first curfew since World War II — an “unprecedented attempt to silence New Yorkers’ cries for justice.”

“This is not about bashing on the mayor,” said Christopher Collins-McNeil, a former staffer in the Mayor’s Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and a signatory of the letter. “This is about policy.”

Collins-McNeil, who marched in Harlem on Saturday, said his colleagues were “shocked, appalled and disappointed” after de Blasio defended the way police handled protests in Brooklyn last week. The mayor initially said that police had “acted appropriately.”

Video captured Saturday showed police vehicles driving into a crowd of protesters. More than 780 people were arrested between Thursday and Sunday.

Collins-McNeil said the mayor “ran on a platform of progressive justice, twice,” that his actions continue to stray from.

City Hall did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

By Ben Guarino
June 3, 2020 at 7:59 PM EDT

West Hollywood march celebrates pride and demands accountability

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — Members of the LGBTQ community rallied on Wednesday to support the Black Lives Matter movement amid global protests against police brutality.

Hundreds donning rainbow attire and holding anti-police brutality signs peacefully marched through several blocks of one of Los Angeles’s most gay-friendly neighborhoods, flanked by go-go bars and boutique fitness gyms.

The march, which began shortly after the announcement that Minnesota officials would be charging all four Minneapolis police officers involved in the death of George Floyd, was starkly positive compared to the protests and looting that has plagued Los Angeles communities in recent nights.

Attendees said they found hope in the camaraderie of the march and were largely positive about the outcome of the global protests.

“I still have to worry about my bother, I still have worry about my dad, I worry about myself and I’m in a lesbian relationship. So there are so many things that play into this issue for me. It’s getting better, and I think this is the start” said Aryan Davenport, 22, originally of Fayetteville, N.C. “I was feeling sadness for so many days and now I feel complete happiness.”

Davenport said she was uplifted by images she’s seen of police officers across the country taking a knee with protesters. Mayor Eric Garcetti struck a similar pose during a protest in downtown Los Angeles on Tuesday night.

Others marching said they believed they owed solidarity with the African American community, a group that has faced similar prejudice.

“I feel like we owe a lot of our culture to black culture, with voguing and house music and drag — we have to stand for our brothers,” said Martin Jerome, 23, of Los Angeles.

By Miranda Green
June 3, 2020 at 7:40 PM EDT

Police keep using force against peaceful protesters, prompting criticism about tactics and training

Demonstrators were protesting outside the Austin Police Department over the weekend when officers fired a beanbag round, striking a pregnant woman in the crowd.

“My baby!” she cried out in a video that circulated widely online.

The next day, officers again fired a beanbag round — a small projectile that is supposed to be non-lethal but can cause serious injury — as a demonstrator threw rocks and bottles at police. The round struck a 20-year-old black protester standing near the man throwing objects, leaving him in critical condition.

The incidents in Austin and others like them have echoed in cities across the country since George Floyd’s death last week in Minneapolis triggered a nationwide outcry. Demonstrators opposing police force have been repeatedly met with force, some of it deployed against peaceful protesters, bystanders and journalists — and much of it captured in video footage shared on social media and cable news.

While some incidents have led to discipline for officers involved, the wave of episodes has just as often gone unpunished and prompted still more criticism of law enforcement and questions about why they have reacted by firing gas, rubber bullets and driving into protesters.

Read more here.

By Mark Berman and Emily Wax-Thibodeaux
June 3, 2020 at 7:33 PM EDT

Walz: Charging four officers for Floyd’s death is ‘a step today that the public wants to see’

Praising Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison for filing criminal charges against the four officers involved in the death of George Floyd, Gov. Tim Walz (D) pressed on during a Tuesday news briefing, calling for state lawmakers to extend a special legislative session as long as needed to fix systemic racism.

Walz touted the charges against the officers as “a step today that the public wants to see.” Underscoring the moment, Walz said protesters in the state should lobby for ways to fix systemic racism and that lawmakers who begin a special session next week to resolve a billion-dollar public construction package should “stay there till we get it done.”

“I think this is probably our last shot as a state and a nation to fix this systemic issue,” Walz said.

“If the belief is that it is going to calm down and go back, I certainly don’t believe it,” he added.

When asked by a reporter what legislative recommendations he would make, Walz said he hadn’t set them but said he would encourage community ideas. He named cash bail and the lack of teachers of color as two concerns.

Speaking a day before Floyd’s family has scheduled a public memorial in Minneapolis, Walz vowed to visit 38th Street and Chicago Avenue, the spot where Floyd died, Wednesday to ensure he was “viscerally feeling this.”

“We’ve made progress, but progress didn’t keep George Floyd alive,” he said.

By Meryl Kornfield
June 3, 2020 at 7:29 PM EDT

Bronx protest gives youths in the community an opportunity to speak

Afternoon protests took place across each of New York City’s five boroughs on Wednesday. Dozens of demonstrators in the Bronx gathered at the borough’s Hunts Point Subway station, just hours after news emerged that Minnesota prosecutors had upgraded the murder charge against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin to second-degree murder and had also charged three other former officers in the death of George Floyd.

As demonstrators passed around a loud speaker during a discussion, organizers focused on giving young community members a platform to speak. One speaker, a 14-year-old who lives in the community, spoke about already being worn down by the racism she experiences and her fears of being shot.

While handing out face masks, community organizer Maria Torres, 49, who is the chief executive of the local community development organization the Point, said it was important to hold a rally in the South Bronx to give residents, particularly youths, an opportunity to express their frustrations.

“This community, Hunts Point, the South Bronx, has been marginalized for so long,” Torres told The Washington Post.

The community has had a long history of tension with the NYPD. Beyond police relations, the Bronx was also hit hard in recent months by the coronavirus pandemic: The infection rate in the Bronx was the highest among the five boroughs.

“You can’t let other people from other communities come in and take it over for you,” Torres said. “That’s why something like this, [something] so local is important. … You’re getting the message to the folks here. And it’s not just some random thing they’re seeing online.”

By Kayla Ruble
June 3, 2020 at 7:00 PM EDT

Former defense secretary Jim Mattis blasts Trump in message defending protesters

Former defense secretary Jim Mattis excoriated President Trump on Wednesday, accusing the nation’s chief executive of deliberately trying to divide Americans, taking exception to his threats of military force on American streets, and praising those demanding justice following the police killing of George Floyd.

“Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people — does not even pretend to try. Instead, he tries to divide us,” Mattis wrote in a statement published by the Atlantic.

“We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership," he continued. "We can unite without him, drawing on the strengths inherent in our civil society. This will not be easy, as the past few days have shown, but we owe it to our fellow citizens; to past generations that bled to defend our promise; and to our children.”

The message marked a significant shift for Mattis, a retired Marine general who said he felt it was his duty to stay out of politics after resigning as Pentagon chief in 2018. He has broadly been criticized for it.

Read more here.

By Dan Lamothe
June 3, 2020 at 6:55 PM EDT

D.C. protesters find national landmarks are surrounded by federal forces

On the sixth day of protests Wednesday, Asia Horne and Haley Mahon walked into an unrecognizable version of downtown Washington.

Cops and military personnel seemed to walk on every sidewalk, block every road, bar every intersection.

On Monday, the American University students had been able to press up against the edges of Lafayette Square chanting with the familiar white columns of the executive mansion in sight. Two days later, they could hardly see it, the view blocked by rows of military vehicles and lines of law enforcement with riot shields.

Later, Horne and Mahon tried to march with hundreds of others to the Lincoln Memorial — only to realize it, too, had been converted to something akin to a military fortress, guarded by immense ranks of law enforcement.

“I’ve only lived here three years, but I did think the nation’s capital was supposed to be more open,” said Mahon, 21. “These national landmarks are supposed to be open to the people.”

“I think he just wants to hide in his bunker,” Horne, 20, said of President Trump. “I think he’s scared.”

Horne and Mahon know the increased federal presence has left some of their fellow protesters feeling scared, too, especially those who are black like themselves. It is not easy to walk past ranks of officers as a black person in America, Mahon said.

But if anything, they’re feeling more determined.

“It’s limiting in one way,” Mahon said of their ever-shrinking ability to traverse D.C. “But it also makes me want to be here a little bit more.”

By Hannah Natanson
June 3, 2020 at 6:36 PM EDT

Obama speaks on racial injustice, urges police reform and offers hope to young people of color

Former president Barack Obama, in his first public remarks since protests over racial injustice erupted across the country, offered an optimistic perspective on the civil unrest, urged mayors to enact policing reforms and reminded young people of color: “Your lives matter.”

Obama called the events of the past week “as profound as anything that I’ve seen in my lifetime.” The confluence of the coronavirus pandemic’s disproportional effect on black communities and the killing of George Floyd, a black man, by a white police officer exposed America’s systematic racial inequities, he said.

Yet in the protests, Obama said, he saw Americans awakening to the challenges and fears black Americans endure. He saw young people, who have led nearly every major social change, mobilizing for a more just society. And he saw demonstrators from many races coming together to create that change.

“When sometimes I feel despair, I just see what’s happening with young people all across the country ... and it makes me feel optimistic. It makes me feel as if, you know, this country is gonna get better,” said the nation’s first African American president.

Obama made his remarks during a virtual town hall hosted by his nonprofit, My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, which aims to fill the opportunity gaps faced by boys and young men of color.

The former president also spoke directly to young people of color, invoking his own daughters.

“I want you to know that you matter. I want you to know that your lives matter, that your dreams matter,” he said. “And when I go home and I look at the faces of my daughters, Sasha and Malia, and I look at my nephews and nieces, I see limitless potential … to flourish and thrive.”

By Colby Itkowitz
June 3, 2020 at 6:17 PM EDT

Protesters’ breach of temporary fences near White House complex prompted Secret Service to move Trump to secure bunker

President Trump was rushed to a secure bunker in the White House on Friday evening after a group of protesters hopped over temporary barricades set up near the Treasury Department grounds, according to arrest records and people familiar with the incident.

The security move came around 7 p.m. after people crossed fences that had been erected to create a wider buffer around the White House complex.

Secret Service officers detained at least four protesters, who were charged with unlawful entry at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue — the address of the White House — according to arrest records. The incident occurred near the boundary between the White House lawn and the Treasury Department, about 350 feet from the East Wing and close to a Treasury fence line that has been at the center of past security failures.

By Carol D. Leonnig
June 3, 2020 at 5:56 PM EDT

Army reverses plan to start sending home soldiers from D.C. region after White House meeting

The Army was making plans to send home active-duty soldiers who were dispatched to the Washington, D.C., area to bolster security amid unrest, but the plan was reversed on Wednesday after a meeting at the White House involving the defense secretary, defense officials said.

The officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, confirmed an account that Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy gave to the Associated Press. McCarthy said in an interview that the Army was planning to send home a “couple hundred” of the 1,400 troops the Trump administration has sent to the region.

The meeting occurred after Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper said in a news conference on Wednesday that he did not support the use of the Insurrection Act to respond to unrest caused by the death of George Floyd. The law permits President Trump to use active-duty troops on American streets to bolster security.

Esper has advocated using the National Guard under the control of state officials instead.

By Dan Lamothe and Missy Ryan
June 3, 2020 at 5:51 PM EDT

Virginia governor will announce plans to remove Richmond’s statue of Robert E. Lee

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) plans to announce Thursday that he will remove the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from its site on Monument Avenue and put it into storage, according to an official in his administration.

The towering statue has become the focal point of demonstrations in Richmond against racism and police violence, touched off by the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, under the knee of a white police officer in Minneapolis.

The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the plan has not yet been announced, confirmed a report from the Associated Press that Northam will discuss the removal Thursday morning.

Read more here.

By Gregory S. Schneider
June 3, 2020 at 5:48 PM EDT

Philadelphia City Council members getting thousands of emails urging cuts to police funding

PHILADELPHIA — City Council members are being inundated with emails calling for the city to scale back police funding — part of an action led by local organizers, many of whom are also mobilizing protests against police brutality.

“I’ve gotten 4,000 emails since yesterday, and it has been coming for the past several days,” said council member Jamie Gauthier, a freshman council member who emerged as a force for change this year.

“I think the most immediate thing is not to give the police a $14 million increase in a proposed budget when we’re cutting all sorts of things in our community that black and brown people need to survive,” she said. This includes quality public education, aid for small businesses and recreation centers, among other initiatives.

In May, Mayor Jim Kenney proposed an austerity budget amid the economic downfall catalyzed by the coronavirus pandemic. Nearly every agency’s budget was cut, aside from law enforcement. The school district lost $15 million, and the department responsible for workforce development and increasing access to public benefits was sliced in half, as was the mayor’s scholarship fund.

Meanwhile, the police department budget was bumped up by $14 million, a 2 percent increase.

Protesters nationwide are advocating decreased police funding. “We’re grateful in Philadelphia that we have a real shot of doing that because we’re in a live budget session,” said Hannah Sassaman, policy director of the Movement Alliance Project, a local nonprofit. Recent public hearings on the proposed budget have been called off in light of current unrest, but are expected to be rescheduled soon.

“For too long we’ve had this narrow view of public safety as policing,” Gauthier said. “I don’t think that’s all it is at all. We need to invest in things that keep people out of the criminal justice system.”

By Maura Ewing
June 3, 2020 at 5:48 PM EDT

McEnany denies rubber bullets, tear gas were used to clear out protesters despite evidence

While clearing out the street near St. John’s Episcopal Church on Monday night, authorities shoved protesters down with their shields, fired rubber bullets directly at them, released gas and set off flash-bang shells in the middle of the crowd.

But at a news briefing Wednesday, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany denied that law enforcement officers took some of those actions.

“No tear gas was used and no rubber bullets were used,” McEnany said -- even though footage from the scene shows protesters being shot with rubber bullets. The chemical compounds used by authorities Monday night also fit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s definition of tear gas.

A U.S. law enforcement official Wednesday confirmed pepper spray was deployed at Lafayette Park, but did not say by whom or at whose command. Both pepper spray, made from a naturally occurring compound, and tear gas, made of synthetic compounds cause uncontrollable watering of the eyes, extreme burning of the eyes and nose, temporary blindness, nasal and sinus discharge, burning of the skin and increase in blood pressure.

Some protesters on the street near the White House on Monday threw water bottles, while many simply stood with their arms raised. But McEnany described the largely peaceful crowd as “rioters” and said that authorities “had no other choice than in that moment to act and make sure that they were safe and that the perimeter was pushed back."

”Officers officers have a right to defend themselves," she said, adding that authorities that night used “the minimal force that they could to ensure that that situation was safe.”

By Felicia Sonmez and Spencer Hsu
June 3, 2020 at 5:45 PM EDT

Bail for four police officers charged in Floyd’s death set at $1 million each

Bail for the four former Minneapolis Police Department officers charged with George Floyd’s death is set at $1 million each, according to court records.

Bail for former officer Derek Chauvin, who was originally charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, was increased Wednesday to $1 million after prosecutors added a second-degree murder charge. He is being held at Oak Park Heights, a maximum-security prison.

Former officers Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng were charged Wednesday with two felony counts each of aiding and abetting in murder and manslaughter. Kueng was booked into Hennepin County Jail as of Wednesday afternoon, according to jail records.

In newly released criminal complaints, investigators described how the other three officers didn’t prevent Chauvin from restraining Floyd with his knee, despite continued pleas from Floyd as he died.

“None of the three officers moved from their positions,” a criminal complaint alleged.

“Police are trained that this type of restraint with a subject in a prone position is inherently dangerous,” the document added.

By Meryl Kornfield
June 3, 2020 at 5:45 PM EDT

A call to ‘abolish the police’ is intensifying in Minneapolis

In Minneapolis streets and on social media, the call to fundamentally change city law enforcement has intensified over the past week. The chorus goes like this: “Abolish the police.”

It’s a radical idea that has been around for decades but is gaining momentum in a city outraged over the killing of George Floyd — just the type of incident, advocates say, that makes the need for a dramatic overhaul of the police force so urgent. Proponents say reform is not enough and leaders must make policy changes that reduce reliance on officers, such as decriminalizing drugs, sex work and homelessness, and prioritizing crime prevention over punishment.

In Minneapolis, and in cities across the country, this shift would probably begin with the municipal budget. The City Council and Mayor Jacob Frey (D) increased spending on police in 2020, earmarking the department $193 million, or about 12 percent of the city’s budget.

But with their city recovering from days of unrest, the 13-member council has begun discussing whether it should cut funding for the police department.

“I don’t know yet, though several of us on the council are working on finding out, what it would take to disband the MPD and start fresh with a community-oriented, nonviolent public safety and outreach capacity,” said council member Steve Fletcher in a lengthy Twitter thread.

Before Floyd’s killing, the council was tasked with cutting city spending by about 24 percent in response to the pandemic-spurred economic crisis.

At a council meeting Tuesday, the board agreed that drastic policing reform was needed, but had not yet reached consensus on whether the current budget discussion, which must be resolved by the end of June, should be the avenue for that change.

“Many, many cities, communities and organizations and groups are looking at Minneapolis to see what we do, to see how we respond to this moment in time,” said Alondra Cano, the council’s Public Safety and Emergency Management chair.

By Reis Thebault and Katie Mettler
June 3, 2020 at 5:26 PM EDT

County attorney wants grand jury to review fatal shooting of black protester in Omaha

OMAHA — A county attorney called Wednesday for a grand jury to review his decision not to prosecute a white bar owner who shot and killed a black protester during a scuffle amid demonstrations in Omaha last week.

Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine said he would be petitioning the court to impanel a grand jury to investigate the case of James Scurlock, 22, whose death fueled protesters’ anger and inspired a new rallying call on the streets: “What about James?”

Kleine had said this week that he would not be filing charges against Jacob “Jake” Gardner, who authorities say shot and killed Scurlock on Saturday night as protests swept through the city’s popular Old Market area. The two men had tangled and Kleine said he had determined that Gardner had acted in self-defense. Kleine called it a “senseless, but justified” killing.

Read more here.

By Annie Gowen
June 3, 2020 at 5:18 PM EDT

New Biden ad compares his meeting with protesters to Trump clearing them out for a photo op

A searing minute-long digital ad released Wednesday by Joe Biden’s campaign juxtaposes images of President Trump after he cleared protesters for a photo op with pictures of Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, visiting with protesters over the past several days.

Biden’s recent speech on civil unrest narrates the ad. It begins with photos of streets on fire and riot police guarding the White House as Biden says, “The country is crying out for leadership. Leadership to unite us, leadership that brings us together.”

“I won’t traffic in fear and division,” Biden promises as the ad shows Trump carrying a Bible by his side as he walked outside the White House to visit nearby St. John’s Episcopal Church.

“I won’t fan the flames of hate,” Biden continues over images of white nationalists carrying torches in Charlottesville and Trump’s news conference when he said there were “very fine people on both sides” at those 2017 marches.

As Biden talks about his vision for a better America, the music picks up and Biden is seen engaging with black Americans at the protests, at a black church and on the campaign trail.

The ad ends with a photo of Trump walking alone in front of a graffiti-covered wall.

By Colby Itkowitz
June 3, 2020 at 5:07 PM EDT

In shift, key Republicans talk openly of police reforms after George Floyd’s death

Key Senate Republicans have openly embraced the need to rein in police brutality in a manner that was largely unthinkable five years ago, when the political imperative of supporting officers remained central to the GOP’s “law-and-order” ethos.

The nearly nine-minute video of a police officer’s knee compressing George Floyd’s neck left these Republicans stunned, like most of America, concluding that black communities were right in accusing some police forces of decades of systemic injustice.

But these Republicans are not denouncing President Trump’s actions, not even his declaration of being the “law-and-order president” before clearing out mostly peaceful protesters so he could walk to a historic church near the White House.

Trump’s hold on conservative voters remains too strong for any real rebellion from Republicans on Capitol Hill.

But Floyd’s death has prompted Republicans to hold uncomfortable conversations and talk more openly, sometimes awkwardly, about a subject they had long avoided. Yet many GOP lawmakers remain unsure of what steps the federal government should take to break this systemic problem.

Read more here.

By Paul Kane
June 3, 2020 at 4:50 PM EDT

Pelosi attends protest on Capitol grounds as Democrats prepare legislation to address police violence

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Wednesday visited protesters demonstrating against police brutality and racial injustice on the Capitol grounds.

Video aired on MSNBC showed Pelosi giving people a thumbs up. CNN’s Manu Raju tweeted that she was met mostly by applause, though there were a few hecklers asking her what she had done for the cause recently.

House Democrats may come back to Washington before their expected return at the end of the month to vote on a legislative package being drafted by the Congressional Black Caucus.

During a call with the Democratic caucus Monday, CBC Chairwoman Karen Bass (D-Calif.) said proposals that address police brutality and the broader injustices faced by the black community are being worked on.

“The Democrats have to lead this, and we have to show people why we’re in the majority,” Bass said, according to a readout of the call.

Pelosi, after spending time at the protest, tweeted that Congress needed to enact policing reforms.

“Stopping police violence must be a priority in this country if we are to ever come to terms with America’s history of racial injustice. Congress must address deadly use of force by police and reform policing practices,” she wrote.

She added that the Democrats “will be guided by the experiences and expertise of @RepKarenBass and @TheBlackCaucus as we seek to achieve progresss and secure justice for Americans nationwide.”

By Colby Itkowitz
June 3, 2020 at 4:49 PM EDT

Three more officers charged over Floyd’s death; Chauvin gets second-degree murder

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison has upgraded charges against the former Minneapolis police officer who pinned George Floyd to the ground by the neck and added charges of aiding and abetting murder against three former officers who were at the scene.

Derek Chauvin, who was captured in a viral video kneeling on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes as Floyd struggled for air, is now charged with second-degree murder. Facing charges of aiding and abetting are Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng. In footage of the encounter, Lane briefly pointed a gun at Floyd and later asked whether he should be rolled to his side. Kueng helped restrain Floyd, while Thao stood watch as an increasingly distraught crowd of onlookers protested that Floyd could not breathe.

Drew Evans, superintendent of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, said at a news conference Wednesday that one of the newly charged officers has been taken into custody, while the remaining two are expected to be in custody by late afternoon.

All four charged officers now face the same maximum sentence of 40 years in prison.

Ellison emphasized that “winning a conviction will be hard,” noting that the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office originally leading the case is the only one in Minnesota to have secured a murder conviction for a police officer.

We’re confident in what we’re doing,” he said. “But history does show that there are clear challenges here.”

The charges come after days of protest and unrest that started in Minneapolis and spread across the nation. Throngs of largely peaceful demonstrators marched through city streets to show their anger and demand change, at times clashing with police. Vandalism, looting and other violence, meanwhile, have caused officials in multiple states to set curfews and call in the National Guard.

Floyd’s family had repeatedly called for the arrests of the other three officers involved in the encounter outside of corner store Cup Foods, which began when the 46-year-old father and security guard was accused of using a counterfeit $20 bill. On Wednesday, Floyd’s son Quincy Mason visited the growing memorial outside the store with family attorney Ben Crump and again called for charges.

“We are confident that Attorney General Keith Ellison is working vigorously to do the right thing, and what is the right thing? To make sure that George Floyd’s family is afforded justice by holding these officers accountable to the full extent of the law,” Crump said. “Each and every one.”

Gov. Tim Walz (D) on Sunday appointed Ellison to take over the prosecution, which had previously been handled by the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office.

By Brittany Shammas, Holly Bailey and Kim Bellware
June 3, 2020 at 4:49 PM EDT

Washington State Patrol apologizes for officer who said, ‘Don’t kill them, but hit them hard’

The Washington State Patrol apologized Wednesday after one of its officers was filmed telling troopers “Don’t kill them, but hit them hard,” as they forcefully removed protesters from the Seattle neighborhood of Capitol Hill.

“The team leader was doing his best in the heat of confrontation to create a mental environment for his troopers where they could do a ‘push’ maneuver,” spokesman Chris Loftis said in a statement. The technique, used for “aggressive” and “threatening” protesters, he said, requires “motivation and focus as well as balance and restraint.”

“The team leader’s intent of motivating and reassuring his troopers was commendable but his word choice, especially when considered outside of the context of his team’s immediate challenges, was not,” Loftis said.

Krystal Marx, executive director of Seattle Pride, filmed the moment from her office window. Her video was viewed more than 1 million times on Twitter.

“Don’t kill them, but hit them hard,” the officer said as he punched forward with both fists. The officer and the troopers he addressed wore masks and riot gear.

She recalled shaking as she heard the officer’s words, Marx told the Seattle Times. “Why not say, ‘Restrain them, calmly’?”

By Ben Guarino
June 3, 2020 at 4:37 PM EDT

Family of George Floyd: New charges against fired officers a ’significant step on the road to justice'

All four fired police officers involved in the arrest and death of George Floyd have been arrested and are now facing charges, a development Wednesday that Floyd’s family said was a “source of peace” in a painful time that pointed toward a just outcome.

“This is a significant step forward on the road to justice, and we are gratified that this important action was brought before George Floyd’s body was laid to rest,” attorney Ben Crump said in a statement on behalf of Floyd’s family.

The family additionally expressed gratitude for the “outpouring” of support from citizens across the United States.

“We urge them to raise their voices for change in peaceful ways,” the statement said. “Our message to them is: Find constructive and positive ways to keep the focus and pressure on. Don’t let up on your demand for change.”

Crump said Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, who is now prosecuting the case, told the family his office will upgrade charges to first-degree murder should the ongoing investigation turn up additional supporting evidence.

Ellison on Wednesday afternoon announced an additional second-degree murder charge against Derek Chauvin, 44, the fired officer who was arrested and charged last week with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. His bail was increased Wednesday to $1 million.

Arrest warrants were also issued for fired officers J. Alexander Kueng, 26; Thomas K. Lane, 37; and Tuo Thao, 34. All three former officers face charges of aiding and abetting unintentional second-degree murder. With the new charges, all four now face the same maximum sentence of 40 years in prison if convicted.

Drew Evans, superintendent of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, said at least one of the three men charged Wednesday was in custody but did not specify which; the other two were in the process of being taken into custody Tuesday afternoon. Bail for each was set at $1 million.

By Kim Bellware
June 3, 2020 at 3:21 PM EDT

Star Wars actor John Boyega delivers emotional speech at George Floyd protest in London

LONDON — Star Wars actor John Boyega delivered a passionate speech at a London protest, telling the crowds that he was speaking from the “heart” even if it might cost him his career.

The outrage and anger sparked by the killing of George Floyd has rippled across the world. On Wednesday, thousands of demonstrators gathered in London’s Hyde Park to make their voices heard and show solidarity with protesters in the United States. Some chanted “Black Lives Matter” and “I can’t breathe,” and many took a knee.

In Boyega’s address to the protesters, which quickly went viral, the London-born actor was at turns passionate and emotional.

“We are a physical representation of our support for George Floyd,” said Boyega, 28. The actor mentioned the deaths of Americans Sandra Bland and Trayvon Martin, as well as Mark Duggan, a 29-year-old British man who was shot and killed by police, and Stephen Lawrence, a British teenager whose murder was racially motivated.

“Every black person in here remembered when another person reminded you that you were black,” he said.

He added: “I’m speaking to you from my heart. Look, I don’t know if I’m going to have a career after this.”

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said earlier Wednesday that he was “sickened” by Floyd’s death. As his news conference was going on, just outside the gates of Downing Street, scuffles broke out between a handful of protesters and police officers.

By Karla Adam
June 3, 2020 at 2:38 PM EDT

Member of security force assigned to Texas Capitol during unrest tests positive for covid-19

A member of the security force dispatched to guard the Texas Capitol in Austin during protests over the in-custody killing of George Floyd has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, reported the Austin American-Statesman.

State Preservation Board spokesman Christopher Currens told the newspaper that the “case involves the DPS/National Guard security contingent temporarily assigned to the Capitol.” The preservation board was told about the positive test overnight, the American-Statesman reported.

The Texas Department of Public Safety did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the American-Statesman, the paper reported, nor to a separate request from The Washington Post.

The statehouse in Austin has been closed to the public since March, when much of the nation shut down gathering spaces and implemented social distancing measures to prevent the spread of the virus.

In the weeks leading up to Floyd’s death, Americans had begun to slowly venture from their homes, many still wearing masks and proceeding with caution as the coronavirus continued to infect communities nationwide, hitting black and Latino people especially hard.

Then Floyd was killed in police custody, and mass protests swept the nation. Many wore masks, but maintaining social distancing has been nearly impossible.

Health officials have said they are concerned that communities will see spikes in cases in the weeks to come.

By Katie Mettler
June 3, 2020 at 2:19 PM EDT

Snapchat is no longer promoting Trump’s account

Snapchat will no longer promote President Trump’s account in the curated “Discover” tab on the social media app, the company said Wednesday, following a week of showdowns between the president and social media companies.

The president’s account, realdonaldtrump, will still be live on the app, and people can still search and subscribe to it. But it won’t show up in the tab that suggests new stories to watch or new people to follow.

“We will not amplify voices who incite racial violence and injustice by giving them free promotion on Discover,” Snap spokeswoman Rachel Racusen said. “Racial violence and injustice have no place in our society, and we stand together with all who seek peace, love, equality and justice in America.”

By Rachel Lerman
June 3, 2020 at 1:47 PM EDT

George Floyd’s son visits the site of his father’s death for the first time, calls for justice

For the first time since George Floyd was killed there, his son visited the intersection of E. 38th Street and S. Chicago Avenue in Minneapolis on Wednesday, kneeling at the spot where his father last gasped for air.

Addressing a crowd of supporters, Quincy Mason made an emotional plea for justice and thanked demonstrators for their displays of solidarity.

“I’m trying to get justice for my father,” Mason said. “No man or woman should be without their fathers. We want justice for everything that is going on right now. I appreciate everyone for showing support and love, and I thank you all for that. This is so emotional.”

“We need change, this can’t happen to anybody else,” Mason added.

As other parts of the city convulsed in furious protest, the site where a white police officer pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck while the 46-year-old black man repeatedly cried “I can’t breathe” has remained peaceful over the past week. The corner evolved into a memorial of Floyd’s life and a beacon for change after yet another killing of an unarmed black person at the hands of police or white vigilantes.

Chalk art and flowers now line the sidewalk there and a freshly painted mural of Floyd adorns the side of a building, captioned with the words “I can breathe now.”

Floyd family attorney Benjamin Crump joined Mason and addressed the crowd, saying he expects every officer involved to be arrested before the family memorial on Thursday.

“We cannot have two justice systems in America — one for black America and one for white America — we must have equal justice for the United States of America,” Crump said. “Change is going to come in the tragic killing of George Floyd and I proclaim with his son as my witness, that change starts today.”

By Reis Thebault
June 3, 2020 at 1:35 PM EDT

America is awash in cameras, a double-edged sword for protesters and police

On Saturday night, as protests were still taking place in city streets across the country, the Dallas Police Department put out a call for help on Twitter. It asked anyone who had video from the protests showing “illegal activity” to upload it to its anonymous tip app, iWatch Dallas.

What it got was a different kind of protest, in the form of a flood of videos and images of K-pop stars performing. The department later tweeted that the app was down due to technical difficulties.

In the tense and escalating standoffs between law enforcement and protesters that have now spread to more than 100 cities in the wake of George Floyd’s death in police custody in Minneapolis, photos and video footage are being collected and wielded by all sides.

And there is no shortage of cameras to pull from. Law enforcement agencies have existing networks of surveillance cameras and body cameras worn by officers, as well as face- and object-recognition software. Large retail and food chains have similar security systems and traditionally will share footage with police if it is part of an investigation. Protesters and journalists shoot their own videos, the latter often on smartphones or small cameras such as GoPros.

Cameras have been present at protests for years, but more recently the technology that allows people to share footage or analyze it has changed significantly. With the growth of big tech companies and their offerings have come increased concerns regarding how and when people are being watched — as well as how that information may be used by law enforcement and the government. Adding to these concerns is the proliferation of facial-recognition software and other tools powered by artificial intelligence that are used by law enforcement to track down information and suspects.

By Heather Kelly and Rachel Lerman
June 3, 2020 at 1:06 PM EDT

A Minneapolis school asked people to donate food for students after stores were looted. ‘Miles of cars’ lined up.

In the aftermath of George Floyd’s death, flames raged through the 3rd Precinct police station in Minneapolis on Thursday. Neighborhood stores were ransacked and closed amid widespread anger after a video showed Floyd — a black man — begging for his life, then going limp as a white police officer pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck.

A nearby middle school found that many of its students and their families who live blocks from the police station were stuck without access to food.

“The area has become a food desert for these families, many of whom don’t own a vehicle to drive elsewhere,” said Amy Nelson, the principal of Sanford Middle School.

Read more here.

By Sydney Page
June 3, 2020 at 12:48 PM EDT

Milwaukee police fire tear gas, rubber bullets to break up protesters after declaring gathering ‘unlawful’

Another day of largely conflict-free protests in Milwaukee ended with a tense confrontation and at least one arrest Tuesday night after police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at demonstrators who had been chanting “don’t shoot” and “we are peaceful.”

Police started to use crowd dispersal measures after an officer tackled a cyclist for unclear reasons near the police line, according to reports and video from Milwaukee’s NBC affiliate WTMJ. The Milwaukee Police Department said in a statement to local media that officers declared the gathering “unlawful” after protesters threw rocks and glass at officers. One person with a gun was taken into custody.

About half an hour after Milwaukee police moved to disperse the crowd, the department said someone threw a molotov cocktail at officers, but it did not explode.

The nighttime unrest stood in contrast to the daylight hours when protesters marched, stopping at Milwaukee police headquarters and arriving around 5 p.m. at City Hall, where the crowd filled a city block. The protest moved north of downtown before police started to crack down on their presence hours later.

After three nights of curfews, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett (D) said earlier Tuesday he would not issue another, but allowed for that to change on short notice “if conditions warrant.”

Milwaukee police did not immediately respond to requests for comment on its decision to fire tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters.

By Kim Bellware
June 3, 2020 at 12:30 PM EDT

L.A. police vacate UCLA baseball stadium after backlash over using it as ‘field jail’ for protesters

After pushback from faculty at the University of California in Los Angeles, the city’s police department has vacated the school’s Jackie Robinson baseball stadium after using it as a “field jail” to process demonstrators detained during protests over the killing of George Floyd.

UCLA faculty wrote in a letter to the chancellor and executive vice chancellor that the Los Angeles Police Department had arrested students and other demonstrators for violating curfew and taken them on packed buses to the field, named for the first African American player in Major League Baseball.

The letter recounted “testimony” from demonstrators, who said law enforcement did not abide by social distancing or mask-wearing protocols and left demonstrators on the crowded buses for hours before processing and releasing them in the middle of the night.

“The cruel irony that this took place at a location used as a covid-19 testing site is not lost on those arrested or on us,” the faculty members wrote in the letter.

The letter continued: “We share these details because if you do not already know them, you must know them now.”

Just after midnight Wednesday, the university tweeted that officials were “troubled” by the use of the stadium by LAPD.

“This was done without UCLA’s knowledge or permission,” the university said in the statement. “As lessee of the stadium, we informed local agencies that UCLA will NOT grant permission should there be a request like this in the future.”

The university later tweeted that it had confirmed that officers had “vacated the property.”

NBC News reported that LAPD acknowledged using the stadium for detainees. “We are no longer using it,” Officer Mike Lopez told the news organization.

As of Tuesday, at least 2,700 people had been arrested by Los Angeles police, the vast majority for allegedly violating curfew or “failure to disperse,” the Los Angeles Times reported.

By Katie Mettler
June 3, 2020 at 12:16 PM EDT

Atlanta police chief criticizes charges against officers who Tasered college students

In an email obtained by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields described charges against six officers involved in a Saturday night arrest as political, adding that the move to charge them has caused multiple agencies to stop assisting the department.

Shields on Sunday fired two of the officers over the incident, in which police fired Tasers at two college students and dragged them out of their vehicle amid a citywide curfew. She said in the Tuesday email that the officers had “escalated a low-level encounter into a space where we introduced violence” and said that “once this occurs, we need to own it.”

But she also said she was concerned by the charges, announced Tuesday by Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard, who has two challengers in next week’s Democratic primary. The officers face charges including aggravated assault and simple battery.

“Now that the charges have been announced, I’m very concerned with the space we find ourselves in, both tactically and emotionally,” the email said. “Multiple agencies that were assisting us in managing this incredibly volatile time have pulled out, effective immediately. They are not comfortable with their employees being leveraged politically by the potential of also facing criminal charges.

“The officers were fired because I felt that is what had to occur. This does not mean for a moment that I will sit quietly by and watch our employees get swept up in the tsunami of political jockeying during an election year.”

The email did not disclose which agencies had stopped helping the Atlanta Police Department, according to the Journal-Constitution. The city’s police force was being assisted amid the ongoing unrest.

Shields said in her email that the officers involved in the Saturday arrest were “good people and good cops.”

“But if we are ever going to change the narrative around policing, we must be committed to being accountable always, regardless of the situation or the additional stress it may bring,” she said.

By Brittany Shammas
June 3, 2020 at 11:52 AM EDT

Half of U.S. voters say race relations will factor into their vote for president this year

Half of the nation’s registered voters said race relations will be a factor in their vote for president this year, and more expressed confidence in former vice president Joe Biden’s ability in this area than in Trump’s ability, according to a poll.

In the Monmouth University Poll, conducted following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, 33 percent of voters said race relations will be a “major” factor in their vote in the presidential election and an additional 17 percent said it will be a “minor” factor. Forty-nine percent said it will not be a factor at all.

The poll found significant differences on this question based on race and partisan affiliation.

Fifty-one percent of Democrats said race relations will be a major factor in their vote, while only 7 percent of Republicans said the same. Meanwhile, more voters of color (44 percent) than white voters (27 percent) said race relations will be a major factor.

When asked about their confidence in Biden handling this issue, 52 percent of registered voters said they have either a great deal or some. For Trump, that figure was 40 percent.

By John Wagner
June 3, 2020 at 11:42 AM EDT

Facebook Live streams retired police captain being shot and killed protecting friend’s pawnshop in St. Louis

A retired St. Louis police captain and municipal chief whose death was caught on Facebook Live was trying to protect his friend’s pawnshop, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

David Dorn was at Lee’s Pawn & Jewelry to protect it from looting as riots broke out across the area following protests over George Floyd’s death, according to the newspaper.

Ann Marie Dorn, his widow, told the paper her 77-year-old husband worked for a friend who owned the shop and he would often respond to burglar alarms and make sure the store was safe.

Dorn’s final moments aired on Facebook Live early Tuesday.

Facebook initially yanked the graphic video showing him lying on the sidewalk in front of the pawnshop before deciding to keep the video on the website with a warning because it did not violate company policy, a Facebook spokesperson told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

His peers remember him as a man dedicated to his community.

St. Louis County Councilman and former St. Louis County police chief Tim Fitch called Dorn a “true public servant” who was “protecting and serving all the way to the end.”

The Ethical Society of Police, an organization founded by black officers to address race-based discrimination within the community and police department, said Dorn believed in being part of the community he once policed.

“We would often see him walking his dog in North St. Louis or shopping at a store nearby. Most current and retired officers leave the city as soon as they can,” the organization tweeted.

Dorn’s death has also drawn rebuke from the president and governor.

President Trump tweeted his thanks to Dorn’s family Tuesday night and said, “We honor our police officers, perhaps more than ever before.”

Gov. Mike Parson (R) condemned George Floyd’s and Dorn’s deaths and the Monday night shooting of four police officers in downtown St. Louis.

“What criminals have done in St. Louis and across Missouri the past few nights isn’t acceptable. They MUST be held accountable,” he tweeted Tuesday night. “Their conduct had nothing to do with protesting — nothing to do with George Floyd — it was criminal behavior.”

By Lateshia Beachum
June 3, 2020 at 11:16 AM EDT

Trump defends his photo op outside church: ‘Most religious leaders loved it’

In a Fox News Radio interview Wednesday, President Trump defended his photo op earlier this week outside St. John’s Episcopal Church near the White House, during which he held up a Bible after law enforcement cleared away peaceful protesters by using gas and rubber bullets.

Trump said it was “a good thing, not a bad thing” that he held up the Bible outside the church, even though his decision to stage the photo op with several aides and advisers sparked widespread condemnation.

“Most religious leaders loved it. Why wouldn’t they love it? I’m standing in front of a church that went through trauma. … It’s very lucky that church didn’t burn down,” Trump said, referring to a fire that was set in the basement of the historic church the previous day.

Host Brian Kilmeade also asked Trump about the spate of recent polls showing him losing to presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden. The president dismissed those figures and suggested, without evidence, that they had been fabricated by pollsters. “I saw another poll where I’m winning every swing state substantially,” Trump said. “And why wouldn’t I?”

By Felicia Sonmez
June 3, 2020 at 11:11 AM EDT

Online extremists make a worrying move to real-life protests

A Tampa television reporter was broadcasting live from protests last weekend when two young men in Hawaiian shirts moved in front of the camera and began chanting the name of an obscure white nationalist slogan, drowning out protesters shouting “No Justice, No Peace!”

The incident was one of a growing number in which far-right extremists who once organized mainly online have been inserting themselves into the real-world protests roiling much of the nation, sowing confusion about the nature of the protests and seeking attention for their causes.

They have appeared, sometimes carrying assault rifles, at protests in Minneapolis, Salt Lake City, Dallas, Atlanta, Philadelphia and dozens of other cities, often wearing Hawaiian shirts — a seemingly goofy uniform that, within the ranks of their movement, signals adherence to a violent, divisive anti-government ideology.

This increasingly visible spillover from radical online forums has alarmed researchers, who for months have tracked surging support for groups advocating armed rebellion as their conversations have spread from fringe platforms such as 4chan and Gab to mainstream forums on Facebook, Instagram, Telegram, Twitter and YouTube. The largest groups have hundreds of thousands of followers.

Read the story here.

By Craig Timberg, Elizabeth Dwoskin and Souad Mekhennet
June 3, 2020 at 11:05 AM EDT

Pentagon chief says he does not support use of Insurrection Act to quell unrest, in break from Trump

Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper said Wednesday that he does not support the use of the Insurrection Act to quell unrest in the country, advocating instead for limits on how much active-duty forces can be used.

“The option to use active-duty forces in a law enforcement role should only be used as a matter of last resort and only in the most urgent and dire of situations,” Esper said. “We are not in one of those situations now. I do not support invoking the Insurrection Act.”

The comments came after President Trump has threatened to send the U.S. military to quell protests following the death of George Floyd, a black man who was killed by a white police officer on video last week in Minneapolis. The Pentagon repositioned some 1,400 active-duty troops outside Washington in recent days.

Pentagon officials have said that they were discussing whether some complementary role for active-duty troops was required to assist National Guard and law enforcement authorities. The invocation of the Insurrection Act would allow U.S. troops to carry out arrests and other law enforcement functions that they do not currently have.

By Dan Lamothe
June 3, 2020 at 10:56 AM EDT

Houston police chief offers funeral escort for George Floyd’s family

Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo has offered the family of George Floyd an official escort for Floyd’s funeral, which will be held June 9.

“This is a homegrown young man whose life was taken without excuse or justification,” Acevedo told Hoda Kotb on the “Today” show Wednesday morning. “We want to make sure that as his body is brought here, that he’s safe, that his family is safe, and most importantly that the people know that our funeral escorts, if we do them for the rest of the community, we most certainly need to do it for Mr. Floyd and his family.”

The police chief said he wanted Floyd’s family to be able to “put their loved one to rest in a dignified matter.”

For days now, Houston and dozens of other cities around the country have been filled with peaceful, pained and outraged demonstrations over Floyd’s death in Minneapolis police custody. Floyd’s death was caught on video, prompting conversations in cities such as Houston about the role video footage plays in holding officers accountable when they use lethal force.

Houston police officers have fatally shot six people since mid-April, Kotb told Acevedo during their conversation. She pointed out that during one demonstration in the city, protesters called on Acevedo to release body-camera footage of the killings. He told Kotb that they would be heeding that call for one of the shootings but that the Houston Police Department believes the video for other incidents needed to stay private to prevent prejudicing a jury should the case go to trial.

Then Acevedo called for the implementation of national body-camera standards.

“What we need moving forward is a national response to the critical policies in law enforcement,” he said. “We need some national standards and laying out the circumstances and processes for the release of videos so people understand and it’s always the same.”

By Katie Mettler
June 3, 2020 at 10:40 AM EDT

Boris Johnson calls death of George Floyd 'inexcusable’ as protests grow in London

LONDON — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday called the death of George Floyd “inexcusable” and said he backed people’s right to protest peacefully.

“What happened in the United States was appalling, it was inexcusable,” Johnson said at the weekly session of Prime Minister’s Questions. Johnson’s comments came after the opposition Labour Party leader, Keir Starmer, pointed out Johnson’s silence on the issue and urged him to speak to President Trump to “convey to him the U.K.'s abhorrence about his response to the events.”

In response to a separate question, Johnson told Parliament, “of course black lives matter, and I totally understand the anger, the grief that is felt not just in America but around the world.”

On Wednesday afternoon, thousands of demonstrators descended on London’s Hyde Park, many wearing masks and chanting “Black Lives Matter.” Organizers said they hoped that Wednesday’s protests will be the largest yet in Britain.

Hundreds marched Monday through neighborhoods in south London, and demonstrators gathered over the weekend in Trafalgar Square and outside of the new U.S. Embassy.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said in a video post that the “brutal killing of George Floyd has rightly ignited fury, not just in America, but around the world.”

He urged those who were protesting in the British capital to do so “peacefully, lawfully and safely” and in line with social distancing guidelines.

By Karla Adam
June 3, 2020 at 10:12 AM EDT

Trump denies being rushed to bunker during protest, says he went during the day ‘for an inspection’

President Trump on Wednesday disputed multiple reports that Secret Service agents rushed him to an underground bunker as hundreds of protesters gathered outside the White House on Friday night, asserting he went down earlier in the day “more for an inspection.”

“It was a false report. I wasn’t down,” Trump said during an appearance on “Brian Kilmeade Show” on Fox Radio. “I went down during the day, and I was there for a tiny little short period of time, and it was much more for an inspection. There was no problem during the day.”

Pressed by Kilmeade about whether Secret Service agents were concerned for his safety, Trump insisted that wasn’t the case.

“Nope, they didn’t tell me that at all,” he said. “They said it would be a good time to go down, take a look, because maybe some time you’re going to need it.”

Trump said he had been in the bunker, previously used during terrorist attacks, “two or three times, all for inspection.”

“You go there, and some day you may need it,” he said.

By John Wagner
June 3, 2020 at 9:56 AM EDT

Philadelphia’s Frank Rizzo statue, a ‘monument to racism’ and target of protesters, removed overnight

The monument to a notorious Philadelphia mayor and top cop, which became a flash point of the city’s protests, was removed from its perch outside a government building before the sun rose Wednesday.

Mayor Jim Kenney, a Democrat, said he ordered the hauling off of the 10-foot, 2,000-pound bronze statue of the late Frank Rizzo because it was “a deplorable monument to racism, bigotry, and police brutality for members of the Black community, the LGBTQ community, and many others.”

The city erected the statue in 1999 as a tribute to a man beloved by Philadelphia’s white conservatives for his tough-on-crime approach. But for many — especially the city’s black and gay communities — it is a painful symbol of oppression and injustice.

“The treatment of these communities under Mr. Rizzo’s leadership was among the worst periods in Philadelphia’s history,” Kenney said in a statement. “The battle for equal rights and justice is still being fought decades later, and our city is still working to erase that legacy.”

Rizzo presided over the police force from 1967 to 1971 and served as mayor from 1972 to 1980. His tenure was marked by frequent raids on gay businesses, a public strip search of Black Panther members, his casual use of the n-word and violent responses to student protesters. During one mayoral run, he urged supporters to “vote white.” Rizzo died in 1991 but remains a deeply polarizing figure.

Activists have been calling for the monument’s removal for years, and the push intensified in recent days as thousands took to the streets in protest after the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd. On Saturday, demonstrators defaced the statue and tried to tear it down themselves. The next day, a city crew was spotted cleaning off the graffiti, further enraging those who called for its removal.

Protesters cheered its uprooting, but some argued that Kenney — who has long said he wanted to see the statue gone — took too long.

“You don't get a thank you for doing what you're already supposed to do in your job as mayor,” tweeted Queen Muse, a La Salle University professor.

“Instead, direct your thanks to the protestors, black activists and writers who fought FOR YEARS to make this happen. They’re the ones who deserve your applause.”

By Reis Thebault
June 3, 2020 at 9:31 AM EDT

Trump says he’s done more for ‘our Black population’ than Biden

President Trump asserted Wednesday that he has done more during his tenure as president “for our Black population” than former vice president Joe Biden has done over four decades in public service — adding that the only Republican president to have done more was Abraham Lincoln.

Trump’s comments, in morning tweets, came a day after Biden delivered an address in which he promised to secure the nation’s unmet promises to minority Americans, drawing a sustained contrast with Trump as he vowed not to “traffic in fear and division” and “fan the flames of hate.”

Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, is increasingly seeking to distinguish himself from Trump by portraying himself as sympathetic to the anger in the streets over the police killing of a Minneapolis man, George Floyd, and generations of other abuses.

“In 3 1/2 years, I’ve done much more for our Black population than Joe Biden has done in 43 years,” Trump tweeted. “Actually, he set them back big time with his Crime Bill, which he doesn’t even remember. I’ve done more for Black Americans, in fact, than any President in U.S. history, with the possible exception of another Republican President, the late, great, Abraham Lincoln...and it’s not even close. The Democrats know this, and so does the Fake News, but they refuse to write or say it because they are inherently corrupt!”

Biden, who has faced criticism from liberals for spearheading a 1994 law that some view as unduly harsh when he was a senator, has sought to distance himself from some provisions as a presidential candidate.

By John Wagner and Annie Linskey
June 3, 2020 at 9:29 AM EDT

What Floyd’s 6-year-old daughter was told about his death

The mother of George Floyd’s daughter said she explained his death by telling the 6-year-old that her father couldn’t breathe.

Roxie Washington, mother of Gianna Floyd, said she found out about Floyd’s death after receiving a phone call and then watching some of the video in horror. She was in disbelief, she told “Good Morning America,” and struggled to explain what had happened.

“She doesn’t know what happened. I told her her dad died because he couldn’t breathe,” Washington said in tears.

“My heart is broke for my baby; it’s broke,” she said.

Gianna, Washington said, doesn’t fully understand the details surrounding her father’s death but is hearing his name more often.

“I miss him,” Gianna said.

By Lateshia Beachum
June 3, 2020 at 9:20 AM EDT

Photos from another night of protests across the nation

See more photos from last night’s protests across the United States here.

By Olivier Laurent, Nick Kirkpatrick and Haley Hamblin
June 3, 2020 at 9:02 AM EDT

MTV and Comedy Central pause to honor George Floyd, but much of Hollywood remains on the sidelines

At 5 p.m. on most Mondays, the cable landscape dominated by ViacomCBS is filled with familiar sights: Jim playing pranks on Dwight on “The Office”; the host Rob Dyrdek mocking viral-video wannabes on “Ridiculousness,” actor Tim Allen unsuccessfully trying to rule his roost on “Last Man Standing.”

But viewers tuning in on Monday were greeted with something different: a black screen with the words “I Can’t Breathe” flashing in rhythm to the sounds of loud, labored breathing.

The piece, one part tribute, one part video art, honored George Floyd, the Minnesota man who died at the hands of police, and the national wave of Black Lives Matter protests his death has jump-started. It lasted the same amount of time — 8 minutes 46 seconds — that police officer Derek Chauvin kept his knee on Floyd’s neck. Ten ViacomCBS cable channels, including Comedy Central, MTV and CMT, carried the message, preempting regular programming.

Read more here.

By Steven Zeitchik
June 3, 2020 at 8:45 AM EDT

NYPD chief says Cuomo’s office apologized for previous criticism

New York Police Department Chief Terence A. Monahan said Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s office apologized for criticizing his department after Monday night’s protests grew unruly.

“His office called and apologized to me. I know he called the commissioner directly to apologize that that’s not what he meant [and] that he didn’t mean to put down the police officers,” he told “Today” show co-anchor Savannah Guthrie.

Monahan said he hopes Cuomo (D) will publicly express the same sentiments in a scheduled news conference Wednesday.

Cuomo called the police department and Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) “ineffective” and a “disgrace” at handling Monday’s protests.

Monahan rebutted the governor’s accusations and said his officers have done a “remarkable job in unprecedented times.”

He credited an early 8 p.m. curfew for a tamer night of protests Tuesday.

Monahan emphasized that most demonstrators were peaceful, even those who were out after the curfew.

The department has arrested many people from “outside the New York area,” he said. He cited intelligence that various groups of anarchists and agitators have been out among protesters to push their agenda, attack officers and to “hijack the movement.” Monahan did not provide evidence to support this claim.

“This is about people protesting something that they found unjustified, that was unjustified in Minnesota,” he said. “There’s not a police officer in this country that doesn’t condemn what happened in Minnesota.”

By Lateshia Beachum
June 3, 2020 at 8:35 AM EDT

Obama to speak out on policing in wake of Floyd’s death

Former president Barack Obama is scheduled Wednesday to make his first on-camera comments about the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the nationwide protests that have occurred in its aftermath.

Obama plans to take part in a virtual town hall hosted by My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, a program of the Obama Foundation, on “Reimagining Policing in the Wake of Continued Police Violence.”

He will be joined by a panel of activists and elected officials, including former attorney general Eric Holder, according to the group. The town hall is scheduled to be streamed live on the Obama Foundation’s website at 5 p.m. Eastern.

In a Medium post earlier this week, Obama urged those angered by Floyd’s death to focus their efforts on state and local elections and to push officials on those levels for specific reforms to the criminal justice system.

“If, going forward, we can channel our justifiable anger into peaceful, sustained, and effective action, then this moment can be a real turning point in our nation’s long journey to live up to our highest ideals,” Obama wrote.

By John Wagner
June 3, 2020 at 7:54 AM EDT

Large protests against police violence again fill streets of U.S. cities

Large protests against police violence again filled the streets of several U.S. cities on Tuesday, as elected leaders struggled to cope with the damage already done — civilians injured by police, police hurt by civilians, and looters who used the protests as cover.

One of the largest peaceful protests on Tuesday was in Houston, hometown of George Floyd — the African American man whose death in Minneapolis police custody ignited an unprecedented national wave of marches and demonstrations. Journalists on the scene estimated there were 25,000 marchers, including Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner (D), some of Floyd’s childhood friends and a group of black cowboys on horseback.

As night began to fall on the East Coast, protests appeared to be peaceful and growing. In Washington, huge crowds remained near the White House, in defiance of a 7 p.m. citywide curfew and a vast law enforcement and military presence. In New York, a group of doctors in white coats led a march through Midtown. There were no reports of significant looting or clashes between protesters and police — but on past evenings, those often occurred much later.

Read more here.

By David Fahrenthold
June 3, 2020 at 7:31 AM EDT

Thousands descend on D.C. to push back against Trump’s show of force

As many as 2,000 demonstrators descended on Washington on Tuesday, the largest and most boisterous crowd to gather in the nation’s capital during five straight days of protests over George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis police custody.

Banging on fences erected near the White House and marching through the city to the U.S. Capitol, the largely peaceful protesters included high schoolers and stay-at-home moms, young parents and toddlers, elderly couples and large families. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) spoke with protesters, joined by her husband, Bruce Mann, and her golden retriever, Bailey.

But tensions also flared at multiple flash points during the day, as protesters faced an even larger contingent of federal law enforcement authorities than on Monday. Some turbulent gatherings Tuesday were hit with pepper spray and other shows of force as armored vehicles blocked city streets.

Read more here.

By Michael Rosenwald, Rachel Chason, Marissa Lang and Perry Stein
June 3, 2020 at 6:46 AM EDT

Trump says he agrees with a decision by Texas’s governor not to accept military help

President Trump, who has chastised Democratic governors who have declined to call in the National Guard, said Wednesday he agrees with a decision by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) to refuse military assistance to contain protests taking place in his state.

“We will not be asking the United States military to come into the state of Texas because we know that Texans can take care of Texans,” Abbott said during a news conference Tuesday in Dallas. “We have tremendous police forces in Dallas, in Fort Worth, in the surrounding suburbs, across the entire state. We have an abundance of resources that are being provided by the Texas Department of Public Safety.”

In an early-morning tweet on Wednesday, Trump voiced his approval.

“I agree, unlike other states that are poorly run & managed, Texas is in great shape,” Trump said. He also asserted “the Southern Border Wall, which is going up FAST, puts it in even better position!”

Trump did not elaborate on how the construction of a border wall would impact the actions of protesters in cities such as Dallas and Austin.

Trump has suggested sending in the military to address continuing unrest and berated governors — including New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) — who have so far declined to take the more conventional step of activating National Guard troops in their state.

“New York was lost to the looters, thugs, Radical Left, and all others forms of Lowlife & Scum,” Trump said in a tweet Tuesday. “The governor refuses to accept my offer of a dominating National Guard. NYC was ripped to pieces.”

By John Wagner
June 3, 2020 at 5:10 AM EDT

‘We cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism’: Pope Francis calls for ‘reconciliation’ in U.S. protests

In his first public remarks on the U.S. protests, Pope Francis urged people not to “tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form” and called for “national reconciliation and peace.”

“Dear brothers and sisters in the United States, I have witnessed with great concern the disturbing social unrest in your nation in these past days, following the tragic death of Mr. George Floyd,” he said in Italian during a live-streamed general audience Wednesday morning. “My friends, we cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form and yet claim to defend the sacredness of every human life.”

But he stressed the need to recognize that violence “is self-destructive and self-defeating,” quoting Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The pope went on to say he is “praying for the repose of the soul of George Floyd and of all those others who have lost their lives as a result of the sin of racism.”

“Let us pray for the consolation of their grieving families and friends and let us implore the national reconciliation and peace for which we yearn,” he said.

Chico Harlan contributed to this report.

By Allyson Chiu
June 3, 2020 at 4:47 AM EDT

An hours-long peaceful protest turned into chaos after Portland police fired tear gas, stun grenades

Thousands of people lay facedown in the street, arms drawn together behind their backs as if restrained with handcuffs, blocking traffic on Tuesday night on a major bridge that connects the east and west sides of Portland, Ore.

The images recalled the deadly arrest of George Floyd, who died after an officer knelt on his neck for several minutes. The protesters later crossed the bridge into downtown Portland, gathering in a public square.

For hours, the protest remained largely peaceful as it stretched late into Tuesday night.

Eventually, the large crowd marched to the city’s Justice Center, a structure that in recent days has been set ablaze, defaced with graffiti and broken into by protesters.

But on Tuesday, police, backed by the 50 troops from the Oregon National Guard, erected a chain-link fence to keep the crowd at bay.

The strategy worked for a time, as protesters stood in front of the fence, arms held aloft. They asked the officers to kneel and offered to go home if they all complied.

A few officers did kneel, and then they promptly put on gas masks before firing tear gas and stun grenades into the crowd. Video captured by journalists showed a few protesters throwing projectiles at police. Many people in the crowd still had their hands up in the air.

The Portland Police Bureau said on Twitter that authorities declared the demonstration an unlawful assembly after projectiles were thrown, and then began firing riot-control agents. Officers also spray-painted vehicles trying to leave the scene.

At 12:15 a.m. local time, aerial video showed a police SUV plow through metal barricades and nearly run over people in the street. Several other police cars followed, at a much slower pace.

The chaos continued as police deployed force and made arrests through the night and early morning Wednesday.

By Katie Shepherd
June 3, 2020 at 4:29 AM EDT

After days of unrest, Minneapolis begins to rebuild

MINNEAPOLIS — Ash and broken glass still litter parts of Lake Street, where some burned-out husks of buildings continued to smolder after violent protests last week over the killing of George Floyd led to fires, looting and destruction.

But as unrest has spread to other parts of the country, including Washington and New York, something else has emerged on the streets here in the past two days: relative calm.

The fires and looting, which damaged or destroyed at least 300 businesses across South Minneapolis and parts of neighboring St. Paul, have largely stopped. While protests continue, they have been peaceful. State officials said 120 people were arrested Monday and early Tuesday, mostly protesters for violation of the region’s 10 p.m. curfew, and all were taken into custody without incident.

Read more here.

By Holly Bailey, Sheila Regan and Tarkor Zehn
June 3, 2020 at 3:36 AM EDT

Charlotte police trap protesters, shooting tear gas and pepper balls into crowd

Police in Charlotte cornered dozens of peaceful demonstrators next to a parking garage Tuesday evening while pelting them with tear gas, pepper balls and stun grenades from multiple sides and above, according to video of the incident.

The crowd of thousands that had gathered earlier on Tuesday afternoon to peacefully protest in North Carolina’s largest city thinned out by nightfall. Although city officials had not imposed a curfew, the Charlotte Observer reported, police used a loudspeaker to urge those remaining to disperse or face arrest, firing some pepper spray into the crowd.

Officers, who had previously kept protesters from going onto a nearby highway, said they had been assaulted with bottles and rocks and gave the crowd “multiple avenues” to leave, police said on Twitter.

Then, a line of riot police formed behind the crowd and marched forward as they corralled the dozens of people remaining down Fourth Street in Uptown Charlotte, according to a live stream by the alt-weekly newspaper Queen City Nerve.

“They’re going to push us up the street, fast,” journalist Justin LaFrancois said while filming the live stream. “They’re going to shoot pepper balls if we stop. People will run.”

He then added: “It’s already happening.”

A small group sprinted down the street, away from the officers behind them. As the bulk of the demonstrators moved forward, they ran into another riot line that kept them from advancing.

Police officers then hit the crowd, trapped on the narrow street, with stun grenades, pepper balls and what LaFrancois estimated were about seven or eight canisters of tear gas. In total, 150 officers appeared to surround the remaining protesters, including some perched above on the parking structure.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Washington Post. But on Twitter, the agency said it was “internally reviewing the circumstances that developed this evening on 4th Street to ensure policy and protocol were followed.”

By Teo Armus
June 3, 2020 at 3:24 AM EDT

Philadelphia neighborhood hoping to show its better side after ‘disgusting’ attacks on protesters

PHILADELPHIA — A crowd of several hundred protesters marched through the streets of Kensington on Tuesday, in response to incidents the previous night in which a group of baseball bat-wielding white men violently clashed with peaceful protesters, residents and a journalist.

The men said they were protecting the Philadelphia police precinct and local businesses from rioters on Monday night, although there had been no such disruption in the area. Police have faced criticism for responding much slower and less severely to this group than they had to peaceful protesters who shut a stretch of highway on Monday.

Fishtown residents came out on Tuesday night to show that those men did not represent the neighborhood.

Fishtown, a historically white, working-class neighborhood, has recently seen significant gentrification, which has created tension. Mike Ski has called Kensington home for more than a decade and showed up to say the vigilantes did not represent longtime residents.

“I was disgusted by the people who came out here last night,” said Ski, who is white. A tattoo artist sporting a tattoo of a large skull on his neck, Ski said he was “super proud” to show that Fishtown is “a good-hearted neighborhood.”

On Tuesday, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenny (D) told the Philadelphia Inquirer that the city does not condone “armed vigilantism,” and he criticized the police response. “We tolerated it last night for too long, and that was a mistake.”

Earlier in the day, Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner told The Washington Post he “didn’t feel like he had enough information to comment” on the police response. But Krasner was more forceful later Tuesday.

“The sight of armed vigilantes in Philadelphia streets shames the entire city,” Krasner wrote in a statement. “And, if confirmed, reports that some police officers witnessed and tolerated this conduct without arresting them only add to the hurt arising from George Floyd’s killing by police.”

By Maura Ewing
June 3, 2020 at 2:46 AM EDT

Trump again calls protesters ‘thugs’ in tweet targeting Democrats and journalists

President Trump again drew criticism early Wednesday for using the word “thugs” to describe Black Lives Matter protesters and people who have damaged property and looted stores in cities around the United States.

The term has been widely denounced by Democrats and Trump opponents as racist, and the president was recently criticized after using it in a Sunday tweet in which he also said that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” — a phrase that prompted Twitter to flag the tweet for “glorifying violence.”

Trump again maligned the “Radical Left, looters and thugs” early Wednesday while criticizing Democratic leaders in cities affected by protests and riots after George Floyd died in police custody in Minneapolis.

The president also took aim at the news media, accusing reporters of “playing down the gravity and depravity” of property damage and theft occurring amid large protests across the country.

The tweet follows posts in which the president and his campaign team have used the divisive language to characterize protesters opposing racial injustice and police brutality against black people.

Trump’s campaign on Monday called protesters who lit a fire in the basement of St. John’s Episcopal Church on Sunday night “thugs” in a tweet that showed the president speaking in front of the church, holding up a Bible, after peaceful protesters were driven out of the area using tear gas and rubber bullets. Trump retweeted that message.

The president called protesters “thugs” in two more tweets on Tuesday, while criticizing New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) and presidential candidate and former vice president Joe Biden for their responses to protests and riots.

Trump also sought to justify tear-gassing peaceful protesters in Lafayette Square on Monday by blaming them for the fire set inside St. John’s Church the night before.

By Katie Shepherd
June 3, 2020 at 1:55 AM EDT

‘Don’t kill them, hit them hard,’ Washington state trooper tells officers in viral protest video

Even muffled by a gas mask, the Washington state trooper’s words of advice to his fellow officers about how to deal with protesters in Seattle were audible: “Don’t kill them, hit them hard.”

The trooper’s comments were caught in a viral video shared to Twitter on Tuesday night, drawing swift condemnation online and exacerbating concerns about the force being used against protesters in Seattle and nationwide by law enforcement officials policing the demonstrations.

“We’re aware of the video, and we apologize for the poor choice of words by one of our team leaders,” said Chris Loftis, director of communications for the Washington State Patrol. Loftis said the trooper was not encouraging his team to harm protesters but “preparing his troops for a confrontative situation.”

In the video, the trooper walks between officers in riot gear. “Don’t kill them, get them out of the way,” the trooper said, making a pushing motion with his fists.

The trooper then continued giving what one critic called “a Vince Lombardi speech,” repeatedly directing the other officers to “hit them hard,” referring to the protesters.

Loftis told The Washington Post that the team leader had been demonstrating a “push tactic,” which is meant to “move a group of noncompliant or aggressive protesters.”

“This is not, ‘Go out and strike people,’” Loftis said. “This is move them away from the situation and from danger.”

As the video circulated widely Tuesday night, critics slammed the trooper’s words as “repulsive” and “completely unacceptable.” The short clip added fuel to bubbling discontent over numerous instances of law enforcement officials using tear gas, rubber bullets and stun grenades against groups of largely peaceful protesters in cities nationwide.

In Seattle alone, the city’s Office of Police Accountability said Monday that it had received roughly 12,000 complaints against the Seattle Police Department stemming from demonstrations held over the weekend.

By Allyson Chiu
June 3, 2020 at 1:45 AM EDT

Even with Ferguson electing its first black mayor, some protesters don’t see much to celebrate

FERGUSON, Mo. — About 10 minutes after Ella Jones was elected as Ferguson’s first black mayor, a driver pulled a Cadillac STS into the middle of South Florissant Road to block traffic and protesters walked across the street to a police station bearing boarded-up windows.

As police officers emerged in riot gear, protesters raised their arms in the air.

“We ready, we ready, we ready for y’all,” they said.

Stephen Hampton had a gas mask resting atop his head and waited at the metal railing blocking protesters from entering the police parking lot.

Hampton, who is black, said he has been harassed by Ferguson police officers.

“I’m here because I have kids now; my family, my brothers. I’m here to represent us as a people,” he said.

Hampton didn’t see the election of Jones, also the first female mayor of the city, as a reason to celebrate.

“Those political moves, they don’t move me anymore,” said Hampton, a 28-year-old maintenance worker who also protested after the 2014 police shooting of Michael Brown. “Putting a black political figure in your neighborhood or Senate or even the White House gets nothing. Not to say a black candidate can’t make change happen, but it’s not a move to be like, ‘Okay, let’s jump for joy.’”

After police officers left the entrance, protesters started to walk north on Florissant Road as a helicopter circled overhead. As Hampton walked, he shook his head at the violence and destruction that occurred Monday night in St. Louis and said he only protests in a nonviolent manner.

“At this point, we need our leader, the leader of the free world, Donald Trump, to really be able to sit down and at least talk to us millennials who are out here running these protests, getting arrested and tear-gassed,” he said.

By Eric Berger
June 3, 2020 at 1:27 AM EDT

Pepper bullets and fireworks set off near White House

Hours of peaceful protests Tuesday gave way to pepper bullets and fireworks at Lafayette Square around 12:45 a.m. Wednesday.

Protesters threw water bottles and shook the fence separating them from a line of law enforcement officers near the White House nearly six hours after the citywide curfew took effect. The officers quickly approached and started firing pepper bullets and pepper spray.

A firework that appeared to be launched by the protesters hit near the base of a fence toward the west side of 16th Street NW.

“I was trying to shake the fence. They just kept shooting me,” said Adam Campbell, 31, a software engineer from Frederick, Md., who was struck by pellets filled with an irritant powder. He sat cross-legged on a curb afterward, having trouble catching his breath as others offered water to flush his eyes. He was then helped to a “medic station” near St. John’s Episcopal Church.

Zoe Wilocutts, 18, from Takoma Park, Md., said she wasn’t provoking anyone before she was struck.

She said she was kneeling and holding her hands in the air 10 feet away from the fence when an officer fired a pepper ball that struck her in the face. Her nose and eyes began burning intensely, she said in an interview minutes later, as a golf ball-size welt rose up from her jaw.

A friend poured water into her bloodshot eyes.

The crowd at Lafayette Square dispersed minutes later.

By Fredrick Kunkle, Samantha Schmidt, Jessica Contrera, Steve Thompson and Peter Jamison
June 3, 2020 at 12:10 AM EDT

Hundreds gather outside Los Angeles mayor’s home chanting ‘defund the police’

Hundreds of protesters massed outside Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s official residence Tuesday evening, demanding that the Democratic leader defund the police and fire the city’s police chief, Michel R. Moore.

The peaceful protest came at the end of yet another day of unrest in Los Angeles over police-community relations — tensions that were further inflamed by Moore, who on Monday said looters deserved equal responsibility for the death of George Floyd as the Minneapolis police officers involved in the fatal incident.

Facing intense backlash, Moore apologized and walked back his comments, but that did little to soothe protesters. Many also voiced their frustrations during a virtual L.A. Police Commission meeting and called for Moore to resign, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Outside Garcetti’s residence, the crowd shouted “Defund the police” and “Peaceful protest.” Though the demonstration continued past the countywide 6 p.m. curfew, police did not break it up, according to the Los Angeles Daily News. A number of the protesters quietly dispersed at around 7:30 p.m. local time, KTLA reported. Garcetti was not home.

Earlier in the day, the mayor joined protesters downtown and took a knee. By Tuesday evening, police arrested at least 250 of those protesters who stayed past curfew.

During his Tuesday briefing, Garcetti again condemned Moore’s comment, but defended the chief.

“I’ve known this man’s heart for decades. When I heard him say what he said, I knew that he did not mean that and I know that he corrected it right away,” Garcetti said. “If I believed for a moment that the chief believed that in his heart, he would no longer be our chief of police.”

When asked about the protesters who had shown up to his residence, Garcetti stressed that he was aware of their demands.

“I want people to know that I hear them,” he said. “I hear them loud and clear.”

By Allyson Chiu