Cities and towns across the United States braced for an outpouring of protest Saturday amid a national pushback against law enforcement excess following the Memorial Day death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody. Although clashes between protesters and police have ebbed in recent days, and curfews in some places have been lifted, tensions remained high, with mayhem around a flash point in Portland, Ore., extending into early Saturday.

Earlier, Minneapolis voted Friday to ban chokeholds, National Guardsmen in the nation’s capital were ordered to disarm, and a federal judge told Denver police to stop pelting protesters with chemicals and projectiles. Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) ended nightly curfews for Minneapolis and St. Paul that had been in place for a week, and similar restrictions were lifted in Washington state, Los Angeles County and pockets of Southern California, along with much of the Bay Area.

In New York, police arrested protesters out after an 8 p.m. curfew in Brooklyn, and civil rights groups threatened to sue Mayor Bill de Blasio if he extends the nightly curfew past Monday morning.

Here are some significant developments:

June 6, 2020 at 5:05 AM EDT

Massive protests expected in D.C. as demonstrations continue nationwide

Officials in Washington, D.C., are preparing Saturday for the city’s largest protest so far following the death of George Floyd, with tens of thousands of people expected to start gathering in the early morning hours.

“We anticipate the largest demonstrations with regards to numbers that we’ve seen in the city to date,” D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham said. “And we anticipate that the protesters will continue to be as peaceful as they have been over the past couple of days.”

Newsham added that no arrests have been made in the District during protests since Tuesday, a streak his department hopes will continue. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) rescinded a curfew covering the nation’s capital but said she would make a decision Saturday morning on whether it would be reinstated for this weekend’s demonstrations for racial justice and against police brutality.

While the focus has been on large demonstrations in major cities, researchers say that more cities and towns across the country have held rallies than during the first Women’s March in 2017, which occurred in 650 locations nationwide, including a massive rally in D.C. They describe the Floyd protest rallies as the broadest in U.S. history, noting that they have spread to “white, small-town America.”

The Pentagon has scaled back the military presence in the District, a key point of contention between Bowser and President Trump. Defense officials ordered National Guard forces in Washington not to use firearms and sent home active-duty troops who were beginning to mass outside the city.

Outside the Beltway, protests are also scheduled across the country: in Philadelphia at its renowned art museum; in Jersey City outside its city hall; at a federal building outside Los Angeles; near Trump’s golf club in Doral, Fla.; and outside Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz’s official residence in St. Paul.

A public viewing and private second memorial service for Floyd, who the Rev. Al Sharpton said earlier this week has “changed the world,” will occur in Raeford, N.C., near his birthplace. North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) has ordered flags at all state facilities to fly at half-staff until sunset in honor of Floyd.

By Brent Griffiths
June 6, 2020 at 4:29 AM EDT

Protesters and police clash again in Portland

Protesters and police clashed early Saturday in Portland, Ore., where tensions have continued to escalate almost nightly around a county justice center that was set aflame last week.

Shortly before 11:30 p.m. Friday local time, the Portland Police Department declared that a demonstration there had become an unlawful assembly amid reports that bottles and fireworks were being thrown at officers. The department wrote on Twitter that lasers were being pointed at officers, while others were being hit with slingshot rounds.

The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office said it deployed gas and later tear gas as deputies tried to disperse the crowd.

Portland police reported later on Twitter that they had dispersed unruly protesters at the Multnomah County Justice Center and made “multiple arrests.” They displayed items they said were thrown at officers, including “full beverage cans, bricks, bottles, rocks, food.”

Before the confrontations spilled into early Saturday, a ninth day of protests in Portland following George Floyd’s death featured largely peaceful demonstrations throughout the city, local news reports said.

The Oregonian newspaper reported that local officials have closely scrutinized officers’ responses to earlier protests. Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler (D), the paper reported, hinted to some demonstrators that he may make an announcement later Saturday banning the use of tear gas, which would follow Seattle’s lead after the city enacted a ban on police use of the chemical agent for the next 30 days.

The use of tear gas against demonstrators has become an increasingly controversial tactic, especially after some medical experts said the respiratory responses it is designed to elicit could worsen the spread of the novel coronavirus.

By Brent Griffiths
June 6, 2020 at 3:27 AM EDT

Police face damage to their image from videos capturing brutality

Police in riot gear were marching across a mostly empty plaza in Buffalo when two officers shoved a lone 75-year-old man who stood in their way. He fell to the ground and hit his head on the concrete. Officers marched past him as he lay motionless and bleeding from the ear.

In New York, officers clubbed nonviolent protesters several nights running. In Philadelphia, a high-ranking police official hit an unarmed protester in the head with a metal baton. In Erie, Pa., a woman sitting in front of police was hit with gas, then kicked over by an advancing officer.

Both police and protesters believe that a steady stream of new videos revealing the confrontations has brought about a turning point and a question: Are these the tactics police in the United States should be using?

These were scenes not seen so widely in the United States in decades, scenes that police training, recruitment and reform were intended to prevent: officers striking unarmed protesters, in the heart of American cities, carrying out orders.

Even among police leaders, there is a sense that these incidents — and, in some cases, misleading official accounts given before the videos emerged — could do lasting damage to the image of American police, most of whom have never been involved in violent encounters with anyone.

Read more here.

By Kimberly Kindy, Shayna Jacobs and David Fahrenthold
June 6, 2020 at 2:43 AM EDT

New York mostly peaceful after dark, but some clashes reported

Protesters in New York mostly returned home Friday night, but New York Police Department officers made some arrests as political pressure mounted over the city’s continuing curfew.

In Brooklyn, a protester said he urged those around him engaged in a standoff with police to leave the site of their demonstration in Prospect Heights and go home. His hope was to avoid the violent clashes that were more common earlier this week.

“I’ve been out here every day since these protests started, and I’ve seen the worst of it,” Randy Williams told local TV station NY1. “And I don’t want anyone else to get hurt.”

In Clinton Hill, another neighborhood in the borough, one protester announced to the crowd, “You are nothing less to the cause if you’re not here after curfew,” the New York Times reported.

Nevertheless, some clashes with NYPD officers took place. A video posted on social media showed officers shoving a reporter after making arrests in Brooklyn.

The Times reported that on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, police blocked a march that started near Mayor Bill de Blasio’s official residence. About 20 people were arrested, and some were forced to the ground.

Many of the arrests reportedly came after the city’s curfew passed. De Blasio has defended his decision to leave a curfew in place each night until Monday morning as cities such as Washington begin to lift theirs.

New York civil rights groups threatened Friday night to sue de Blasio if he extends his order. A number of local politicians, including New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, have also called on the mayor to lift the curfew.

By Brent Griffiths
June 6, 2020 at 1:27 AM EDT

Federal judge orders Denver officers to stop firing tear gas and rubber bullets at peaceful protesters

A federal judge ruled late Friday night that the Denver Police Department must stop using “chemical weapons or projectiles against peaceful protesters” after four protesters filed suit against the city of Denver.

“If a store’s windows must be broken to prevent a protestor’s facial bones from being broken or eye being permanently damaged, that is more than a fair trade,” U.S. District Judge R. Brooke Jackson wrote. “If a building must be graffiti-ed to prevent the suppression of free speech, that is a fair trade. The threat to physical safety and free speech outweighs the threat to property.”

Jackson, an appointee of President Barack Obama, added that “the Denver Police Department has failed in its duty to police its own.” The protesters who brought the suit presented video evidence that showed officers using pepper spray on protesters, “none of whom appeared to be engaging in violence or destructive behavior,” the judge wrote. Jackson reviewed video evidence of projectiles knocking out a peaceful protester and hitting a protester’s eyes, causing serious injuries.

Police officers’ use of tear gas and other nonlethal crowd-control measures has come under intense national scrutiny, notably after largely peaceful protesters were forcibly cleared from Lafayette Square outside the White House on Monday so that President Trump could stage a photo op with a Bible in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church.

Jackson said he recognizes the difficulty in enforcing his order, so he is allowing force to be authorized by only high-ranking supervisors who are on the scene themselves and who personally witnesses violence or destruction.

The 11-page decision details other restrictions on Denver police officers or others who assist them at demonstrations. They stipulate that rubber bullets can never be aimed at the head, pelvis or back or shot indiscriminately into a crowd. Officers must also wear body cameras that are recording at all times, his decision said.

The Denver Police Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

By Brent Griffiths
June 6, 2020 at 1:14 AM EDT

Police arrest protesters after curfew in Brooklyn

New York police arrested several people protesting police brutality late Friday after the 8 p.m. curfew in Brooklyn. Here are some images of the night’s events.

June 6, 2020 at 12:28 AM EDT

Drew Brees says Trump is wrong about anthem protests

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees rejected President Trump’s assertion that he had nothing to apologize for after he changed his views on NFL players protesting during the national anthem amid a public outcry over comments the 2010 Super Bowl MVP made earlier this week.

“I realize this is not an issue about the American flag. It has never been. We can no longer use the flag to turn people away or distract them from the real issues that face our black communities,” Brees said in an Instagram post addressed to Trump’s account.

Trump said Brees should not have apologized when he reiterated his view earlier this week that players kneeling during the national anthem were disrespecting the American flag.

“We should be standing up straight and tall, ideally with a salute, or a hand on heart. There are other things you can protest, but not our Great American Flag - NO KNEELING!” Trump wrote on Twitter.

Saints teammate Michael Thomas among others slammed Brees for making such a statement in the wake of George Floyd’s death. Leading black players, including New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley and reining Super Bowl MVP and Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, later released a video saying “I am George Floyd” and calling on the league to apologize for its handling of the protests that began in 2016 with players such as San Francisco 49ers then-quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a video statement that the league erred in how it handled the protests. Trump put immense pressure on the league to punish such actions in 2017 and called on officials to get rid of players who knelt during the anthem.

By Brent Griffiths
June 5, 2020 at 11:36 PM EDT

Civil rights groups threaten to sue de Blasio over possible curfew extension

Four New York civil rights organizations threatened Friday night to sue New York Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) if he extends the city’s curfew past Monday morning.

“We have seen too many demonstrators, journalists, lawmakers, protest monitors, essential workers, and bystanders who have been callously beaten, threatened, and unlawfully arrested, all under the guise of enforcing the curfew,” the New York Civil Liberties Union, the Legal Aid Society, the Thurgood Marshall Civil Rights Center and the Center for Constitutional Rights said in a statement.

Curfews have been lifted in Washington, L.A. County and parts of Southern California as protests continue around the country 11 days after George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis.

De Blasio has resisted calls to curtail the curfew, stating that its “broad goals” have been accomplished. New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson called Thursday for the curfew to be lifted. The council’s Black, Latino and Asian Caucus echoed that argument in a statement that said the curfew “has already caused damage to our city that we fear may be irreparable.”

The mayor’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The curfew is set to be lifted Monday morning at 5 a.m.

By Brent Griffiths
June 5, 2020 at 11:10 PM EDT

Eleven days after Floyd’s death, protests continue around the country

Eleven days after George Floyd’s death, outrage over police violence continued to rally thousands Friday in protests that shut down highways, paused for moments of silence and in some places kept going strong as curfews took effect.

In Buffalo — where two police officers were suspended Friday for pushing an elderly man who fell to the ground with a head injury — protesters gathered again, as local officials sought to reassure people they would be protected.

WIVB reporter Marlee Tuskes captured a crowd kneeling silently for 8 minutes and 46 seconds — the amount of time Floyd was pinned under a Minneapolis police officer’s knee.

In Detroit, protesters clogged a bridge, joined by police officers. In Minneapolis, where the unrest sparked by Floyd’s death began, the Star-Tribune reported more than 1,000 people congregated outside the office of the state attorney general now leading the criminal case. Chaotic, tense scenes between demonstrators and police emerged Friday night in New York City as crowds outlasted the curfew.

Protests shut down highways in Iowa City and Miami, according to local news and police. But people eventually cleared Interstate 95 peacefully before 8:30 p.m., the Miami Herald reported.

“Another day of protest without violence in the books,” tweeted Herald journalist Samantha Gross, as many places did away with curfews and officials said unrest seemed to be easing.

In Providence, R.I., police declared an unlawful assembly about an hour before the 9 p.m. curfew, WPRI reported. The police chief estimated earlier to reporters that some 10,000 people had gathered, as protesters chanted and marched from a plaza to the Rhode Island State House.

WPRI reporter Kim Kalunian tweeted that she did not know why the order to disperse had come so early. Some left, she wrote later, but many stayed.

Stormy weather did not deter protesters in the nation’s capital, where some peaceful demonstrations have started to resemble block parties. When big heavy drops of rain began falling just before 6:30 p.m., few among the roughly 1,000 protesters in front of the White House moved.

“George Floyd! George Floyd!” they chanted.

They then marched a few steps, faced the White House and roared: “Black lives matter!”

Perry Stein and Antonio Olivo contributed to this report.

By Hannah Knowles
June 5, 2020 at 10:49 PM EDT

Two NYPD officers suspended without pay after videos show violence toward people at protests

Two New York City police officers have been suspended without pay after videos of them behaving violently toward people at protests led to internal investigations, Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said Friday.

Police departments nationwide have come under fire for their treatment of demonstrators who have turned outrage over George Floyd’s death into a movement against violence by law enforcement. Viral videos like the one that captured Floyd’s last moments have prompted a flurry of condemnations, inquiries, suspensions and firings in recent days.

One of the suspended officers in New York City was filmed pushing a woman to the ground last Friday in Brooklyn, Shea said in a statement. Another pulled down a man’s face mask and pepper-sprayed him, he said.

NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau has concluded its investigations for both incidents, according to Shea, who has given forceful defenses of his officers amid heightened scrutiny. He said both cases have been “referred to the Department Advocate for disciplinary action.”

The incidents “are disturbing and run counter to the principles of NYPD training, as well as our mission of public safety,” Shea wrote Friday. “The actions by these officers stand apart from the restrained work of the thousands of other officers who have worked tirelessly to protect those who are peacefully protesting and keep all New Yorkers safe.”

The police department said a probe is ongoing into officers’ decisions last weekend to drive through a crowd of demonstrators.

“There are other matters that we are actively investigating, and we will be transparent as the process continues,” Shea said.

By Hannah Knowles
June 5, 2020 at 10:38 PM EDT

D.C.’s massive Black Lives Matter street art captured from space

In yellow capital letters, the freshly painted message on D.C.’s 16th Street NW reads: “Black Lives Matter.”

Before daybreak Friday, local artists and city workers authorized by D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) began painting the two-block-long slogan. Before night fell, the art had been photographed from space.

A satellite operated by the private imaging company Planet Labs Inc. snapped the street art along the newly christened “Black Lives Matter Plaza.” The White House, where the message points, can be seen from orbit through a break in the clouds.

Planet Labs did not immediately respond to a request for comment. In a June 1 tweet, the San Francisco-based company wrote that it stood “in solidarity with the Black community and all people of color who are peacefully voicing their anger.”

A spokesperson for Google said of the new name for the portion of 16th Street: “Consistent with our policies, given a formal announcement from the mayor and a new street sign being installed, we’ve reflected this street name in Google Maps.”

By Ben Guarino
June 5, 2020 at 10:26 PM EDT

California governor orders chokehold to be removed from police training

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced Friday that he has ordered the state’s police training program to stop teaching officers how to use a certain type of chokehold that can block the flow of blood to the brain, known as a “carotid hold.”

“We train techniques on strangleholds that put people’s lives at risk,” Newsom said. “That has no place any longer in 21st century practices and policing.”

“We are not seeing people treated equally all across the state of California,” he said. “We need to standardize those approaches.”

California’s Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training provides the curriculum for training law enforcement officers throughout California. Police agencies are solely responsible for deciding whether to continue the use of the hold.

By Miranda Green
June 5, 2020 at 10:06 PM EDT

Barr seeks to dissociate himself from move on demonstrators outside Lafayette Park

Attorney General William P. Barr sought to dissociate himself Friday from a move by security forces earlier this week to push back a crowd of largely peaceful demonstrators using horses and gas, claiming that he did not give the “tactical” order for law enforcement on the scene to move in.

The Associated Press reported that Barr told the news organization that the move against the protesters — which has been widely condemned — was already in process when he was spotted at the scene near the White House early Monday evening conferring with law enforcement on the ground.

“I’m not involved in giving tactical commands like that,” Barr told the AP. “I was frustrated and I was also worried that as the crowd grew, it was going to be harder and harder to do. So my attitude was get it done, but I didn’t say, ‘Go do it.’”

Read more here.

By Matt Zapotosky
June 5, 2020 at 9:48 PM EDT

California National Guard removes soldier after violent Snapchat remarks

The California National Guard removed a soldier from duty Friday after a Snapchat image he posted included language about killing “rioters.”

“We have removed the Soldier from duty. His words and actions are not a reflection of the California National Guard or its members,” the California Guard posted on Twitter, replying to a screenshot of the image. “We apologize for what was said and we hold the Soldier accountable. We are here to serve you.”

The soldier wrote: “Bout to put some rioters faces on those RIP shirts,” according to a tweet the California Guard responded to, along with a response from the National Guard Bureau.

It is unclear if the soldier was actively participating in crowd-control measures. The California Guard did not respond to a request for comment.

A Ohio National Guardsman mobilized for duty in Washington was removed after he “expressed white-supremacist ideology on the Internet” before his duty there, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) said during a news conference Friday. The FBI is investigating.

By Alex Horton
June 5, 2020 at 9:27 PM EDT

Maryland cyclist arrested after video shows him assaulting teens posting fliers

A 60-year-old Maryland man was arrested on three counts of misdemeanor assault Friday night amid allegations he attacked three people who were trying to post anti-police brutality fliers along a bicycle trail in Bethesda.

Anthony B. Brennan, of Kensington, came across the trio — ages 18, 19 and 19 — while riding his bike Monday along the Capital Crescent Trail just before 1 p.m., authorities said.

One of the three recorded part of the ensuing encounter, which exploded across the Internet on Thursday as social media users spent two days trying to learn the man’s identity. Two men, including a retired police officer, were publicly named by Twitter users as the assailant — even though authorities would later say they had nothing to do with the incident.

It was not until after 9 p.m. Friday that police announced the arrest of Brennan, shortly after he turned himself in at the Montgomery County Detention Center in Rockville. Based on the nature of the charges, he was expected to be released from custody on little or no bond.

Read more here.

By Dan Morse and Dana Hedgpeth
June 5, 2020 at 9:20 PM EDT

Death of man restrained by New Mexico police officer ruled a homicide

A New Mexico police officer who used a neck restraint on a man who died will be charged with involuntary manslaughter.

The Las Cruces officer, Christopher Smelser, had been on administrative leave since the February incident. Smelser was fired on Friday.

In the early-morning hours of Feb. 29, 40-year-old Antonio Valenzuela was stopped by Las Cruces police, who had a warrant for his arrest. Valenzuela fled on foot, according to New Mexico state police, who are investigating.

Two police officers chased Valenzuela. One fired a stun gun. Smelser used a “vascular neck restraint” to subdue Valenzuela, the state police said. Valenzuela was unresponsive by the time emergency medical technicians arrived, and he was declared dead at the scene.

New Mexico’s medical investigator’s office ruled Valenzuela’s death was a homicide on Thursday.

Doña Ana County District Attorney Mark D’Antonio will charge Smelser with involuntary manslaughter, local news station KOB4 reported.

“Words are insufficient to bring comfort to Antonio Valenzuela’s family, but I extend my sincere condolences for their loss,” Las Cruces police chief Patrick Gallagher said in a statement on Friday. “It is a tragic day for everyone involved when there is an in-custody death or a death as a result of a police apprehension. Once we learned of the findings in the Medical Investigator’s report, we felt it necessary to immediately initiate termination proceedings.”

The Las Cruces police department has since banned the chokehold technique.

By Ben Guarino
June 5, 2020 at 9:12 PM EDT

Washington governor pledges an independent review of Manuel Ellis’s death

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) said Friday the state will conduct an independent review of the in-custody death of Manuel Ellis, a black man filmed being beaten by police while handcuffed on the ground.

Tacoma, Wash., leaders had asked Inslee to involve the state in a local case that’s drawn comparisons to George Floyd’s.

“We have no reason to doubt the work underway, and my decision does not in any way pre-judge an outcome," Inslee wrote in a statement, "but the family of Mr. Ellis, the City of Tacoma and every Washington resident deserves the confidence that an extra level of scrutiny will bring.”

Video footage that emerged Thursday night has intensified condemnations of Ellis’s death in March, which the Pierce County medical examiner ruled a homicide. Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards called Friday for all four officers involved to be fired and asked the district attorney to prosecute them “to the fullest extent of the law.”

Responding to the mayor’s call for firings, Tacoma City Manager Elizabeth Pauli told the Tacoma News Tribune on Friday she would swiftly review information and make “decisions necessary to hold individuals accountable for their actions."

The family of the 33-year-old Ellis has called for criminal convictions.

“Every single officer involved needs to be in a jumpsuit,” Ellis’s sister, Monet Carter-Mixon, said during a Thursday news conference.

Read more here.

By Hannah Knowles, Meagan Flynn and Lateshia Beachum
June 5, 2020 at 8:51 PM EDT

Teens have been gassed and hit with rubber bullets at protests. They keep coming back.

Aly Conyers was supposed to spend the summer competing at track-and-field meets.

Instead, the 17-year-old all-American sprinter stood in front of a crowd of hundreds near Howard University earlier this week. Her older brother, Ace, had planned on leading the Sunday afternoon protest, but he had lost his voice from shouting in front of the White House. So Aly, who attends a private high school in South Carolina, stepped onto a brick platform, grabbed the megaphone, and started speaking.

“We are the face of this movement,” she shouted to the crowd. “We are the face of this generation. We will not let this stand. Enough is enough.”

Hours laters, Aly coughed and wheezed in a cloud of chemical gas near the White House. On Monday, she ran as federal law enforcement officers fired rubber bullets to clear demonstrators from Lafayette Square. On Thursday, she returned to the protests yet again, leading a crowd of more than a thousand people at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in a moment of silence.

Across the country, thousands of teenagers like Aly are on the front lines of the protests demanding justice for George Floyd and other victims of police brutality.

Read more here.

By Samantha Schmidt
June 5, 2020 at 8:39 PM EDT

A guide to the less-lethal weapons that law enforcement uses against protesters

Footage from recent protests throughout the country, even some of the peaceful ones, shows ominous plumes of gas rising above fleeing crowds or streets littered with projectiles. Both are evidence of crowd-control measures that were once called “nonlethal” but are now dubbed “less lethal,” a nod to the fact that they sometimes kill.

These types of weapons are often included in police department “use of force” continuums, which attempt to assign an appropriate response to the level of risk an officer might encounter. There is no national standard for police use of force, so these continuums vary among departments.

For the Civil Disturbance Unit of the D.C. police, the use-of-force continuum begins with the simple presence of uniformed police and ends with deadly force. Between these are less-lethal weapons.

Tear gas, for instance, is considered a higher level of force than kinetic projectiles such as rubber bullets, which are in turn a higher level of force than pepper spray.

Tear gas

“Tear gas” refers to crowd-control chemicals that irritate the mucus membranes and the eyes, causing tearing, coughing, difficulty breathing and skin irritation.

One of the most commonly used chemicals is 2-chlorobenzalmalononitrile, (nicknamed “CS” for the initials of the chemists who created it), which was used by the U.S. military in the Vietnam War.

This “gas” is actually solid pellets that become aerosolized when they are deployed — fired in shells over crowds or thrown as grenades. Pepper spray is sometimes used this same way.

By Alyssa Fowers, Aaron Steckelberg and Bonnie Berkowitz
June 5, 2020 at 8:32 PM EDT

Manhattan DA will not prosecute many arrested protesters, joining others declining to press charges

The Manhattan district attorney said Friday that his office would not prosecute those arrested on charges of unlawful assembly or disorderly conduct amid protests against excessive police force and the death of George Floyd.

“The prosecution of protesters charged with these low-level offenses undermines critical bonds between law enforcement and the communities we serve,” District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said in a statement, joining a growing group of officials declining to move forward with charges for many demonstrators.

Previously, Vance said, the DA’s office offered people the chance to get those kinds of charges dismissed within six months.

The Brooklyn DA’s office also told Forbes it has been declining to prosecute charges of disorderly conduct or unlawful assembly arising from the demonstrations. San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin — a progressive elected on vows to combat mass incarceration and police misconduct — tweeted Thursday, “We will not prosecute peaceful protest.”

In Dallas, police said they would not pursue charges against hundreds of protesters arrested Monday, the Dallas Morning News reported. Chief Reneé Hall continued to defend the arrests — denounced by many as escalating a peaceful gathering — as necessary to protect people on an open road.

The announcement in Manhattan came a day after a New York judge said he would not free protesters who have waited for more than a day in jail. New York’s Legal Aid Society had filed a lawsuit against the New York Police Department on behalf of more than 100 protesters who were detained beyond the state’s standard for release.

New York County Supreme Court Justice James M. Burke called the situation a “crisis within a crisis,” attributing the delay to the increased volume of arrests as well as the need to conduct arraignments virtually because of the coronavirus outbreak.

By Hannah Knowles and Ben Guarino
June 5, 2020 at 8:04 PM EDT

Texas man arrested after chain saw is brandished toward protesters

A man who allegedly brandished a chain saw at protesters in Texas has been arrested, police said Friday.

Video posted to Twitter shows a man screaming “move” and revving a chain saw at a small group of protesters assembled on a sidewalk in the city of McAllen, Tex.

He can be seen shouting at the demonstrators to “go home” while waving the blade, screaming about “antifa” and hurling racist insults. The protesters swiftly moved out of the way. McAllen police described the demonstration as otherwise peaceful.

The man was detained and the “incident is being investigated,” an officer in the McAllen police department told The Washington Post. The officer declined to provide additional details.

He was not the only man recently caught on video wielding blades and menacing protesters. On Thursday, New York police arrested a man who was filmed in Queens approaching a peaceful demonstration with blades strapped to his arms. The man, who was charged with attempted murder, entered his car and accelerated toward the crowd. No one was injured.

By Ben Guarino
June 5, 2020 at 8:02 PM EDT

High-ranking Philadelphia officer charged with felony aggravated assault after video of beating

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw confirmed Friday that a high-ranking police officer was taken off street duty after videos emerged of him brutally beating protesters this week. The officer was identified by WHYY as Staff Inspector Joseph Bologna Jr., operations commander of the department’s Patrol Bureau.

Later in the day, Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner announced Bologna was charged with two felony counts of aggravated assault, misdemeanor assault, possession of an instrument of a crime, and reckless endangerment.

“We are trying to be fair. Accountability has to be equal," Krasner said in a statement. “This moment demands a swift and evenhanded response to violent and criminal acts based on the facts and evidence."

A video widely circulated on social media shows Bologna striking a protester in the head with his baton on Monday, and another officer holding his head to the ground with his knee. The victim, 21-year-old college student Evan Gorski, had been arrested that day and charged with assaulting a police officer. However, he was released from jail on Wednesday after prosecutors reviewed the video.

Gorski was hospitalized and required staples in the back of his head, said his civil attorney Jonathan Fineberg, who is collecting evidence to file a lawsuit against the Philadelphia Police Department.

“He is home now, and trying to understand why this happened,” Fineberg said. “I’m deeply concerned what appears to be brazen misconduct. This raises in my mind concerns about this officer’s history, if you act this way in front of so many people tells me that you’re used to getting away with it.”

Bologna was again filmed assaulting a protester on Tuesday, WHYY reports — two incidents of many drawing rebuke for aggressive policing in Philadelphia this week, including multiple incidents of protesters being tear-gassed, and officers being slow to respond when a group of white vigilantes ‘patrolled’ a police precinct armed with bats and assaulted residents.

By Maura Ewing
June 5, 2020 at 7:36 PM EDT

LAPD says it is reviewing video of officers hitting a homeless man in a wheelchair

The Los Angeles Police Department is launching an investigation into officers who were caught on camera using batons on protesters and officers who were photographed hitting a homeless man in the face, according to department spokesman Joshua Rubenstein.

Rubenstein told The Washington Post in a statement that the department is reviewing the video and the pictures to understand more about their context.

“An administrative investigation has been initiated, and if Department policy was violated officers will be held accountable,” he said.

In a statement to The Post later on Friday, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti (D) said the civilian Police Commission’s inspector general was reviewing the footage, which he said depicted “excessive uses of force” that “could lead to officer discipline or removal.”

“These harsh police tactics have no place in Los Angeles and tarnish the professionalism and care that thousands of officers — who work to end injustice — show each day,” Garcetti said. “Every incident has a larger context, but our officers must keep the peace, without violence. This is a transformative moment for our city and I’m very pleased that the protests this week have been a peaceful and powerful call to tear down structural racism — in our communities and our institutions.”

Video of officers hitting protesters with surrendered hands and those holding signs in a Saturday demonstration has been circulating across social media and written about in local news outlets.

Rubenstein said that weekend protests grew dangerous for officers and demonstrators.

“In some cases, they devolved into chaos with rocks, bottles and other projectiles being launched at police officers, who have sustained injuries that range from cuts and bruises to a fractured skull,” he said.

Images of a homeless man bleeding from his face in a wheelchair have also sparked online outrage, with claims that he had been shot in the face with rubber bullets.

Rubenstein encouraged the public to make complaints with a department supervisor or by contacting the Professional Standards Bureau if they believe they have experienced misconduct on the part of an officer or any other perceived wrongs.

Complaints can also be lodged through the Office of the Inspector General, he said.

By Lateshia Beachum
June 5, 2020 at 7:30 PM EDT

NFL says it was wrong in handling of protests over racial injustice

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Friday he and the league strongly support players expressing their opposition to inequality and police misconduct, saying the league’s leadership was “wrong” for ignoring players earlier and that it now endorses their peaceful protests.

“We, the National Football League condemn racism and the systematic oppression of black people,” Goodell said in a video released by the NFL. “We, the National Football League admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier, and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest. We, the National Football League believe black lives matter.”

Goodell’s message came amid the nationwide protests over George Floyd’s death and with the controversy over NFL players’ protests during the national anthem having been reignited this week by comments by New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees. President Trump said earlier Friday that Brees should not have apologized for saying during an interview Wednesday with Yahoo Finance that he opposes players protesting during the anthem, calling such protests disrespectful to the flag and country.

Goodell also spoke after a group of prominent NFL players released a video Thursday night, calling for the league to express much of what Goodell expressed Friday.

Read more here.

By Mark Maske
June 5, 2020 at 7:17 PM EDT

Chicago police board president says officers beat him with batons

The president of the Chicago Police Board, a body of civilian appointees who decide disciplinary cases involving officers, said that officers struck him multiple times on the legs on Sunday.

Ghian Foreman was protesting in Chicago’s Hyde Park when officers hit him in the legs five times with their batons, he told Chicago news station WTTW.

“I don’t know what was the straw that broke the camel’s back” that triggered the violence, he told WTTW. Foreman said he had attempted to stop officers from cursing at protesters and also tried to calm tense demonstrators.

He told WTTW he was not angry with the police. Anger, he said, “would not get us anywhere.”

In a statement to The Washington Post, the Chicago Police Department said that the incident was reported to Chicago’s Civilian Office of Police Accountability, which will conduct an investigation. “If any officer is found to have participated in excessive force, they will be held accountable,” the statement read.

Police Superintendent David O. Brown and Operations Chief Fred Waller spoke with Foreman after the incident, the department said.

In a televised address earlier on Sunday, Foreman had praised Chicago officers for their restraint, saying there “was a lot of professionalism displayed” by police during Saturday night protests.

By Ben Guarino
June 5, 2020 at 7:12 PM EDT

D.C. National Guard grounds helicopters after low-flying maneuvers

The D.C. Army National Guard has grounded its fleet of helicopters, a spokesperson said Friday, following a Monday incident in which two helicopters flew low in an apparent show of force, blasting protesters below with the powerful downward force of their blades.

No flight operations will be conducted until an investigation is complete, Air Force Lt. Col. Brooke Davis, a spokesperson for the D.C. Guard, told The Washington Post.

Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper ordered the investigation after learning the details of the maneuvers, which he described as “unsafe” to reporters Wednesday.

The maneuvers stunned protesters, sending them scurrying for cover as the powerful gust, known as rotor wash, snapped tree limbs and swept broken glass into the air like shrapnel.

They also provoked criticism from military justice experts over the use of red crosses that are globally synonymous with a mission of mercy and care, not force. The helicopters involved, a UH-72 Lakota and UH-60 Black Hawk, were both medevac helicopters, Davis said.

Defense officials have not said what the helicopters were doing, but Esper said they were not on a medical mission.

Flying low on people and vehicles is a common military tactic to incite fear, disperse crowds and warn of other capabilities, like rockets and guns, Kyleanne Hunter, a former Marine Corps pilot who flew Cobra attack helicopters in Iraq and Afghanistan, told The Post.

By Alex Horton
June 5, 2020 at 6:58 PM EDT

Two Chicago officers stripped of police powers following black woman’s violent arrest

Two officers involved in a black woman’s violent on-camera arrest in Chicago have been stripped of their “police powers” pending an outside investigation, the Chicago Police Department said Friday evening.

Chicago Police Superintendent David O. Brown made the decision after reviewing a recommendation from the city’s Civilian Office of Police Accountability, the department said in a statement posted to Twitter. The Cook County State’s Attorney Office is also reviewing police conduct during the arrest.

Mia Wright said she was pulled from a car by the hair, thrown on the ground and then pinned by an officer who knelt on her neck on May 31. Video captured a group of officers beating on the car’s windows in a parking lot outside the Brickyard Mall, then yanking two women from the vehicle and holding them down on the ground.

Wright said officers pinned her to the asphalt for no reason. Police charged her with disorderly conduct.

The incident quickly drew comparisons to the arrest of George Floyd, who died after a now-fired and criminally charged Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes as Floyd protested he could not breathe.

“All I thought about was George Floyd, and it could have been another situation like that,” Wright said in a Thursday news conference. “I have anxiety now. I can’t sleep. I had to go to a doctor.”

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx said in a statement Thursday that she is “currently conducting a thorough, independent review of the matter, including the conduct of the police officers involved.”

Chicago police have provided few details about the incident. ABC 7 cited a witness who said police pointed to the car Wright was riding in after people tried to loot a store.

By Hannah Knowles
June 5, 2020 at 6:57 PM EDT

N.Y. attorneys charged with throwing molotov cocktail into NYPD vehicle taken back into custody

NEW YORK — Two attorneys charged in federal court with throwing a molotov cocktail into a New York police vehicle during a recent George Floyd protest have been taken back into custody while an appellate court decides if they should be granted bail at all.

The court issued a stay in favor of the U.S. attorney’s office for the Eastern District of New York, which argued that Colinford Mattis and Urooj Rahman were a danger to the community and should not be free on bail in light of their violent conduct during a May 29 demonstration.

Both had been free since Monday, upon posting bail bonds, and were taken back into custody Friday afternoon.

A federal magistrate judge initially ruled that they could be placed on home confinement with a $250,000 bond, a decision upheld by a U.S. District Court judge in Brooklyn after it was appealed by government lawyers the same day.

“The defendants’ criminal conduct was extraordinarily serious,” Brooklyn prosecutors wrote in their brief to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit. “Amid the largely peaceful demonstrations taking place on Friday night, Mattis and Rahman committed an act of potentially deadly violence.”

The 2nd Circuit also agreed to expedite its ultimate decision on bail for Mattis and Rahman.

Mattis, a Princeton University graduate, has reportedly been fired by the private law firm he worked for at the time of their arrest. Rahman had worked on behalf of tenants in housing court in the Bronx. They were arrested with materials to make molotov cocktails in Mattis’s vehicle and had attempted to distribute the explosives to other protesters, authorities said.

By Shayna Jacobs
June 5, 2020 at 6:55 PM EDT

Walmart pledges $100 million to create center for racial equity

Walmart, the nation’s largest retailer, is pledging $100 million to create a center for racial equity that would “address systematic racism in society head-on.”

“The racial violence in the U.S. — in particular, the murder of George Floyd — is tragic, painful and unacceptable,” chief executive Doug McMillon wrote in a blog post on Friday. “We are going to invest resources and develop strategies to increase fairness, equity and justice in aspects of everyday life.”

The center, he said, would fund efforts to support the nation’s financial, health care, education and criminal justice systems. He did not provide many details, such as where it would be based or how soon it would be in operation. The retailer, based in Bentonville, Ark., had $524 billion in revenue last year and is the nation’s largest private employer. McMillion said he also would make an effort to hire and promote more African Americans and people of color.

“As an associate at Walmart, you are expected to truly, authentically and more deeply embrace inclusion,” he wrote to the company’s 1.5 million U.S. employees. “We want all of you to exercise your voice to make every part of our company even better.”

Also on Friday, Target — which is based in Minneapolis, where Floyd was killed while in police custody — said it would donate $10 million to the National Urban League, the African American Leadership Forum and other social justice organizations.

By Abha Bhattarai
June 5, 2020 at 6:44 PM EDT

Trudeau takes a knee on Parliament Hill, calls to ‘stand up’ to Trump

TORONTO — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took a knee with protesters at a demonstration against racism and police brutality in Ottawa on Friday, capping a week in which he came under pressure to more directly criticize President Trump’s rhetoric and specific reports of police violence in Canada.

The protest in Ottawa is one of several events organized in solidarity with similar demonstrations held in the United States and around the world. Trudeau attended with some of his cabinet ministers. He wore a cloth mask, nodding and clapping during some of the speeches.

The prime minister made international headlines this week after he took a 21-second pause before answering a question about Trump’s threat to unleash military troops against protesters. He said Canada was watching the events in “horror and consternation,” but avoided direct criticism of the president.

Analysts have debated whether the pause was a spontaneous delay or a calculated one designed to make a point without provoking the president. Jagmeet Singh, leader of the left-of-center New Democrats, said Trudeau’s “silence reveals hypocrisy.” Some protesters in Ottawa urged him to “stand up” to Trump.

Several incidents this week raised questions about violent police conduct closer to home.

On Monday, British Columbia’s civilian police watchdog recommended charges against five officers in the death in 2017 of an indigenous man. On Thursday, a 26-year-old indigenous woman was shot and killed in New Brunswick by an officer who was called to her house for a wellness check. The incident is being probed.

Trudeau faced criticism for not responding directly to a video that showed a Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer in Nunavut using the open door of a moving police vehicle to knock down an Inuk man before arresting him. The man was arrested for public intoxication, but was released without charges, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. He was placed in a cell with a man who beat him so severely that he had to be airlifted to hospital. The events are the subject of several investigations and the officer has been placed on administrative leave.

By Amanda Coletta
June 5, 2020 at 6:29 PM EDT

Park Police acknowledge chemical agents used on Lafayette Square protesters are similar to tear gas

Three days after the U.S. Park Police claimed that tear gas was never used on protesters outside the White House, the organization’s spokesman acknowledged that the chemical agents shot into the largely peaceful crowd have similar painful effects.

A spokesman for the Park Police said in an interview with Vox that his agency regretted using the term “tear gas,” noting that officers threw pepper balls containing an irritant powder and chemical agents that are designed to produce tears. Their use causes people to experience difficulty breathing and burning sensations on the skin.

“The point is, we admitted to using what we used,” Sgt. Eduardo Delgado, the spokesman, told Vox. “I think the term ‘tear gas’ doesn’t even matter anymore. It was a mistake on our part for using ‘tear gas’ because we just assumed people would think CS or CN,” two common forms of tear gas.

Read more here.

By Carol D. Leonnig
June 5, 2020 at 6:19 PM EDT

Curfew ends in Twin Cities

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) ended the curfew for Minneapolis and St. Paul, the epicenter of the protests over the killing of George Floyd, he said Friday.

Nightly curfews had been in place over the previous seven days after looting and destruction followed peaceful demonstrations.

The curfew hours have grown shorter in recent days, the Pioneer Press reported, and state public safety commissioner John Harrington attributed the rollback to Minnesotans complying with the order.

The decision follows other places where curfews have ended, including Washington, Los Angeles County and pockets of Southern California, along with much of the San Francisco Bay area.

By Alex Horton
June 5, 2020 at 6:00 PM EDT

Oregon chief apologizes after officer tells armed white men how to bypass curfew

An Oregon police chief has apologized after an officer was filmed telling armed white men guarding a salon amid protests to go inside stores or vehicles after curfew “so we don’t look like we’re playing favorites.”

“My command wanted me to come talk to you guys and request that you guys secrete people inside the businesses or in your vehicles somewhere where it's not a violation … so we don't look like we're playing favorites,” the officer tells the camouflage-clad men, who appear to be white, in the video shot earlier this week.

The moment drew a backlash online as people accused police of singling out those protesting George Floyd’s death with their curfew enforcement.

“A streaming video many of you have seen has resulted in phone calls and emails decrying the words which were spoken by one of our officers,” Salem Police Chief Jerry Moore said Wednesday night as a clip of the encounter went viral. “The message we have received is a concern that we are treating people differently.”

“For that I tell you, I am sorry,” Moore said. “Sorry that there is even a thought that this department would treat some different than others.”

Joe Smothers, the Salem man who shot the video, said the men had gathered outside Glamour Salon in “SWAT gear” because of property damage in the area and “rumors antifa was going to show up.”

Moore said the police officer, whom he did not identify, “had not been fully briefed about enforcement of the curfew before he spoke with this group” and that all officers doing that work will now be “properly educated.”

That did not sit well with some critics.

“They should not be able to send out police to enforce an order that they don’t fully understand,” Jonathan Jones, a Salem business owner who has been organizing demonstrations, told the Statesman Journal. “They should not be able to send police to enforce anything If they’re not fully capable of doing it with subtlety, nuance and understanding.”

By Hannah Knowles
June 5, 2020 at 5:55 PM EDT

Protesters in Mexico City throw rocks and molotov cocktails at U.S. Embassy

MEXICO CITY — Protesters threw rocks and molotov cocktails at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City on Friday as they marched through one of the capital’s main thoroughfares.

They appeared to be protesting police brutality in both the United States and Mexico. Some protesters carried a banner that read “Antifa.”

On Thursday in Guadalajara, protesters gathered around the state government palace to express their outrage against the killing of Giovanni Lopez, who was allegedly murdered by police this week. His family claims he was detained for not wearing a mask; police dispute that account.

Some Guadalajara protesters set government vehicles on fire. In one case, a police officer was set aflame.

In Mexico City on Friday, about 100 protesters marched near the U.S. Embassy, on Paseo de la Reforma, throwing rocks over a perimeter fence and tagging graffiti. They destroyed the glass entrances of nearby banks and stores and tore down street signs. Mexican commentators referred to them as “encapuchados” or “hooded people” because some wore hoodies. Antifa does not have a well-known presence in Mexico.

After some time, riot police arrived and the protesters began throwing rocks at them, too. One protester chased a police officer with a bicycle. The police pushed the protesters into a residential neighborhood where they continued throwing rocks.

Earlier in the day, the U.S. Embassy had warned that the protest could turn dangerous.

“Demonstrations are expected to take place on June 5, 2020, beginning at 12:00 p.m. (noon), to protest current events in the United States,” the embassy wrote in a message on its website.

By Kevin Sieff
June 5, 2020 at 5:50 PM EDT

Mayors to remove Confederate statues from their cities: ‘Time is up’

A growing number of mayors oppose the display of Confederate monuments in their parks.

On Thursday, Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett (D) announced plans to remove a marker to Confederate troops who died in a Union prison camp there.

A statue that stood in downtown Mobile, Ala., for 120 years was removed early Friday after demonstrators protested the death of George Floyd for days.

Those cities join Birmingham, Ala., Richmond and others that recently removed or plan to to take down Confederate structures that symbolize racist history.

Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson (R) did not directly acknowledge the recent protests but said in a statement early Friday that he decided this week to remove the statute of Confederate Adm. Raphael Semmes removed. Semmes commanded a Confederate warship and lived in Mobile after the Civil War until his death in 1877, according to the University of South Alabama’s archives.

Stimpson said the statue was a “distraction." It was moved to a “secure location” that the mayor did not disclose.

The mayor’s abrupt action came after the base of the statue was vandalized Monday. Protesters calling for the statue’s removal scheduled a demonstration for Sunday, according to the Alabama news site Reckon.

“This decision is not about Raphael Semmes, it is not about a monument and it is not an attempt to rewrite history,” Stimpson tweeted early Friday. “Moving this statue will not change the past."

Six hundred miles north, an Indianapolis memorial to dead Confederate soldiers, moved to a public park in 1928 with support of the Klu Klux Klan, will be taken down.

“For far too long it has served as nothing more than a painful reminder of our state’s horrific embrace of the Ku Klux Klan,” Hogsett wrote on Twitter. “Time is up, and this grave marker will come down.”

As of Thursday, no organization had volunteered to take possession of the marker.

By Kim Bellware and Ben Guarino
June 5, 2020 at 5:33 PM EDT

Four Indianapolis officers reassigned after video shows police striking woman with batons during arrest

INDIANAPOLIS — Four Indianapolis police officers were reassigned and the city’s police chief promised a speedy investigation after video emerged Thursday of two police officers striking a woman with a baton and another officer grabbing the woman’s chest as he tried to restrain her during a May 31 arrest.

Mayor Joe Hogsett (D) addressed the video in a Friday news conference where he announced a new proposed use-of-force policy that would include a ban on chokeholds.

“I don’t think there’s anyone that should be able to watch that video and not be moved to emotion,” Hogsett said. “Anytime that our officers deploy force against anyone, that moment is a reminder of the work that we have yet to do to bring peace to our city.”

Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Chief Randal Taylor said that he has launched an internal investigation into the incident and that he expects to announce results sometime next week.

“Looking at that video, I have some concerns as well,” said Taylor.

The chief said he didn’t know the identity of the woman involved or of another woman seen in the video. The officers have been taken off the streets and placed in support roles until the investigation concludes, according to IMPD spokeswoman Aliya Wishner.

The video shows an officer holding a woman with his left hand hooked under her armpit near her chest before she wrestles out of his grip, prompting an officer to immediately yell: “Hit her! Hit her!” Several pops are heard and a puff of smoke appears on the woman’s back as an officer fires a pepper ball at her, just before two other officers rush toward her and hit her legs with batons until she drops to the ground.

A bystander is heard asking the police, “Why her?” With the woman now on the ground, an officer pulls her hands behind her back and flips her face down with a baton in his hand. Another officer shoves a second woman, who lands flat on her back.

By Adam Wren and Kim Bellware
June 5, 2020 at 5:24 PM EDT

Minnesota says too soon to tell if cases will increase amid reopenings and protests

Minnesota is pushing ahead to roll back virus-related restrictions on the economy even as protests over the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody continue. Health officials, however, remain concerned they could see a rise in cases as more people mix outside their homes.

On Friday, state health officials did report an increase in people testing positive for the coronavirus: 712 cases confirmed in the past day, as well as 33 covid-19-related deaths. The day before the state reported 404 new infections and 29 deaths. But at a news conference, Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said the spike was in keeping with a recent pattern of small rises and dips as the state ramps up testing.

Calling it “an encouragingly stable situation,” Malcolm added that it was too soon to tell if it would continue this way — or if the number of cases, as some fear, will significantly rise.

“We won’t know the impact of recent events for another two to three weeks,” she said.

Minnesota authorities continue to recommend people wear non-medical-grade face masks in public. But they have intensified their messaging around testing amid the coinciding influx of people to salons and the streets. People generally develop covid-19 symptoms within five to seven days of exposure to the novel coronavirus.

Malcolm is recommending that even protesters not showing symptoms take a test five to seven days after attending a demonstration (as sometimes the virus is not initially detected). She’s also urged those who test negative to return for a follow-up test around 12 days after the possible exposure to make sure it wasn’t a false negative.

Black Minnesotans, like other minority communities around the country, have been disproportionately hit by the virus: Though less than 7 percent of the state’s population, they account for more than 20 percent of people hospitalized with covid-19, according to the Star Tribune.

By Miriam Berger
June 5, 2020 at 4:58 PM EDT

Tensions between the L.A. mayor and police grow heated

Tensions escalated between Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti (D) and the union for the Los Angeles Police Department, with a union leader calling the mayor “unstable” during a Friday news conference.

Jamie McBride, director of the Los Angeles Protective League, lambasted the mayor’s proposal to cut $150 million from police funding and direct the money toward the black community. He also blasted Garcetti’s description of police institutions as “killers.”

“He smeared every single police officer in Los Angeles and across the nation by calling us killers,” McBride said. “That’s offensive, it’s wrong and it's despicable.”

Garcetti made the remark Thursday at an event with black community leaders and elected officials where he discussed police accountability and called the proposed budget cut a move toward change. “We say we are going to be who we want to be," Garcetti told the audience, “or we’re going to continue being the killers that we are.”

McBride accused Garcetti of being a political panderer who was incapable of making decisions in difficult times. Garcetti has switched his tune about the police force after calling upon them to quell unrest and to provide security, according to McBride.

Sgt. Jerretta Sandoz, told Los Angeles City Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez earlier in the day that officials were catering to Black Lives Matter activists.

“You bow down to Black Lives Matter. These police officers that are out here protecting this city," she said. “If it wasn’t for them, this city would be burnt down right now.”

McBride rebuffed accusations of police standing in the way of reform and said that the department has implemented many reforms recommended by the former Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners president.

“We’re worried and concerned about Mayor Eric Garcetti. He is clearly unstable,” McBride said.

A spokesperson for Garcetti did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

By Lateshia Beachum
June 5, 2020 at 3:55 PM EDT

Ohio National Guard member sent to D.C. investigated for ‘white-supremacist ideology’

The FBI is investigating a possible white supremacist member of the Ohio National Guard who was deployed to quell protests in Washington, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) said during a news conference Friday.

The guardsman “expressed white-supremacist ideology on the Internet” before being sent to the national capital, DeWine said. After the FBI uncovered that information, the guardsman “was removed from the mission in Washington, D.C.,” DeWine said.

The Ohio National Guard immediately suspended the man from all missions. DeWine said that “following due process, it is highly likely, when these facts are confirmed” that the man will be permanently removed from the force. The state guard and the Ohio Department of Public Safety are cooperating with the FBI investigation.

“Guardsmen and women are sworn to protect all of us, regardless of race, ethnic background or religion,” DeWine said. “Anyone who displays a malice toward specific groups of Americans has no place in the Ohio National Guard.”

DeWine said that Ohio sent 100 National Guard troops to Washington at the request of Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper.

By Ben Guarino
June 5, 2020 at 3:50 PM EDT

57 Buffalo officers resign from emergency squad in protest after two others are suspended

Fifty-seven members of the Buffalo Police Department resigned from the riot squad on Friday to protest the suspension of two officers shown on video shoving a 75-year-old protester to the ground, causing him to hit his head on the sidewalk and suffer a serious injury, officials said.

On Friday, the police department’s entire emergency response team resigned in protest of their colleagues’ suspension, according to several local news reports. The team was formed in 2016 to respond to civic unrest. “Fifty-seven resigned in disgust because of the treatment of two of their members, who were simply executing orders,” Buffalo Police Benevolent Association president John Evans told WGRZ.

“If they resigned, I’m exceptionally disappointed by it because it indicates to me that they did not see anything wrong with the actions last night,” Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said in a news conference.

The footage, shot by local NPR affiliate WBFO on Thursday evening, shows the man walking up to uniformed officers in Buffalo’s Niagara Square during an anti-police-brutality demonstration after George Floyd’s death. The officers, who had begun enforcing curfew, yell what sounds like “move!” and “push him back!” One officer can be seen pushing the man with an outstretched arm, while another shoves a baton into him. A third officer appears to shove colleagues toward the man.

The man falls to the ground. His head whips backward onto the pavement, and then he lies motionless.

“He’s bleeding out of his ear!” someone yells as blood pools beneath the man’s head.

The officers then keep walking, leaving the man on the ground, before two state police officers step in to render aid.

By Meagan Flynn, Hannah Knowles and Marisa Iati
June 5, 2020 at 3:37 PM EDT

Bowser pushes back against Trump’s claim

The war of words between President Trump and D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser escalated Friday with the president blasting the mayor for her treatment of members of the National Guard, who he said “saved her from great embarrassment."

On Thursday, Bowser (D) asked the president in a letter to “withdraw all extraordinary federal law enforcement and military presence from Washington, D.C.”

During a news conference underway when the president sent his tweet, Bowser said the city did not call for the eviction of all Guard members, but instead objected to the use of a hotel the city used to house personnel responding to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Our message to the hotel is if they were going to use the rooms that we reserved, then they have to pay for them or refund us our money,” Bowser said. “That we understand would just be a matter of our Guard or the Army making those arrangements. Those out-of-state troops would be covered either by the Army or their home states, not by D.C. residents.”

Bowser said she had no objection to out-of-state troops staying in D.C. hotels but that they should not use rooms the city government paid for for other purposes. “We don’t have any issue with them being accommodated in D.C. hotels, but they have to be taken care of by the Department of the Army,” she said.

The mayor said the commander of the D.C. Guard told her he was working with hotels on a contract to address the issue.

Responding to the tweet more broadly, Bowser said, “We all have to just refocus on what’s in front of us, and that is that our nation is hurting, it’s in need of healing and leadership at all levels, all the way from the top to mayors like me, to all of us, to focus on how we bring people together.”

Asked to respond to being called “incompetent” by the president, Bowser responded, “You know the thing about the pot and the kettle?"

By Fenit Nirappil
June 5, 2020 at 3:35 PM EDT

U.N. ambassador defends administration’s response to protests

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations on Friday defended the Trump administration’s response to peaceful protests that have occasionally been marred by acts of violence, saying there is “no moral equivalence” between tough security measures taken and the suppression of free speech by authoritarian governments.

“Of course, we denounce this awful killing of George Floyd,” Kelly Craft told reporters in a briefing when asked whether clearing protesters from Lafayette Square in Washington had made it more difficult for her to defend democratic values at the United Nations. She said Floyd’s death at the hands of police “is intolerable. It is brutality. There’s no other way to define it.”

“However, there is no moral equivalence between our free society, which works through tough problems like racism, and other societies which do not allow anything to be discussed because they are authoritative regimes.”

Craft, a former ambassador to Canada who replaced Nikki Haley at the U.N. last year, spoke as a number of world leaders have expressed what Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called “horror and consternation” at what is occurring in the United States. Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Trump’s threat to deploy the military to quash protests over the police killing of Floyd in Minnesota was akin to “pouring oil on the fire.”

But Craft said she had heard nothing critical from her fellow U.S. ambassadors.

“And I think what’s been really important that I have seen are the people in the council that have called and reached out in support of the fact that the U.S. is allowing the freedom of speech,” she said.

By Carol Morello
June 5, 2020 at 3:28 PM EDT

Pentagon disarms guardsmen in Washington, D.C.

The Pentagon has told the District of Columbia National Guard and guardsmen from other states who have arrived in the nation’s capital as backup to not use firearms or ammunition, a sign of de-escalation in the federal response to protests in the city after the killing of George Floyd, according to officials familiar with the decision.

The Department of Defense, led by Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper, appears to have made the decision without consulting the White House, where President Trump has ordered a militarized show of force on the streets of Washington D.C. since demonstrations in the city were punctured by an episode of looting on Sunday. Trump specifically had encouraged the National Guard to be armed.

Initially, a small group of the guardsmen deployed in the city had been carrying guns while standing outside monuments, but the bulk of the forces, such as those working with federal park police at Lafayette Square in front of the White House, didn’t carry firearms out of caution. Now, all of the roughly 5,000 guardsmen who have been deployed or are deploying to Washington, D.C., have been told not to use weaponry or ammunition, according to four officials familiar with the order.

“The whole purpose behind that was a purposeful show of de-escalation,” said one U.S. defense official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss an order that hasn’t been made public yet. “We’re here, but we’re walking things down.”

Read more here.

By Paul Sonne, Fenit Nirappil and Josh Dawsey
June 5, 2020 at 3:01 PM EDT

Kelly, former White House chief of staff, says military shouldn’t be deployed against Americans

Former White House chief of staff John F. Kelly, a retired Marine Corps four-star general before he was hired by President Trump, issued veiled criticism Friday of Trump’s leadership and disagreed with the idea of deploying the military on American streets, as Trump has said he is considering.

“The idea that you would unleash American active-duty folks, unless it’s an extremist situation,” is unwise, Kelly said during an interview with former White House communications adviser Anthony Scaramucci, now a Trump critic. “The troops hate it. They don’t see it as their job,” Kelly said.

“These are domestic issues,” Kelly added, referring to racial unrest and protests on American streets in the wake of the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis last month. Kelly did not directly mention the Floyd case or comment on Trump’s rhetoric that the response must be to “dominate” the streets with a law-and-order response.

“These are civilian responsibilities and we should be very, very careful before we contemplate sending in” uniformed military, whose primary responsibility is the “away game” of defending U.S. interests abroad, Kelly said.

Appearing by video link on Scaramucci’s new “SALT Talks” forum, Kelly said he agrees with former defense secretary Jim Mattis’s concerns about Trump as a danger to the country’s political system. In an op-ed this week, Mattis said Trump is a threat to the Constitution.

“No president, ever, is a dictator or a king,” and must be checked by Congress and the courts, Kelly said, by way of agreeing with Mattis’s overall critique. “I think we need to look harder at who we elect. I think we should start, all of us, regardless of what our views are on politics, I think we should look at people that are running for office and put them through the filter of, ‘what is their character like? What are their ethics? Are they willing if they are elected to represent all of their constituents, not just the base?’”

Kelly acknowledged tension with Trump before he left the White House job in January last year, although he declined to directly criticize Trump or comment on whether he agrees with Trump’s self-assessment that he is a “very stable genius.”

Scaramucci thanked Kelly for firing him in 2017 after less than two weeks on the job.

By Anne Gearan
June 5, 2020 at 2:54 PM EDT

In Britain, protests over the death of George Floyd revive memories of others killed by police

LONDON — As protests spread across the United States over the two weeks following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, at the hands of a white Minneapolis police officer, British activists took to the streets in solidarity.

Protesters chanted Floyd’s name. But other names stood out among the shouts and signs: those of black people killed by police in the United Kingdom.

“Who killed Mark Duggan? The police killed Mark Duggan,” demonstrators chanted at a protest in London over the weekend. Duggan was 29-year-old black man who was shot dead by an unidentified Metropolitan Police officer in Tottenham, North London, during his attempted arrest on Aug. 4, 2011.

While protests were initially peaceful, the days that followed saw some of the most extensive rioting in modern British history.

“The images of violence — with hundreds of youths looting shops, setting businesses ablaze and clashing with police in almost a dozen neighborhoods — deeply shocked Londoners, dealing the city an enormously damaging blow,” The Post’s Anthony Faiola wrote at the time. The unrest soon spread to other cities, including Birmingham and Manchester.

Read more here.

By Jennifer Hassan
June 5, 2020 at 2:52 PM EDT

Chicago mayor says police officer who flipped off protesters should be fired

CHICAGO — Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) said Friday that police aggression “won’t be tolerated” and she is pursuing the dismissal of officers caught on video in different instances verbally or physically assaulting protesters this week.

“In my view, they forfeited their right to be Chicago police officers,” she said.

Lightfoot has been confronted all week with media reports of officers tangling with protesters at marches throughout the city. One widely circulated report showed an officer raising both of his middle fingers on Wednesday to a group of protesters on the North Side. Lightfoot said she saw the photo.

“We’ll find that person and, in my view, that person should be immediately stripped of their police powers and we should start the process in firing them,” she said.

Earlier in the week, Lightfoot said she was implementing several reform measures at the police department, including putting officers through training that involved feedback from members of the community. Many of the measures are part of a federal consent decree that outlined needed changes in 2017. Attorney General Kwame Raoul released a statement Friday blasting the police department from being too slow in adopting reforms.

“We cannot let another day go by where the CPD hides behind a broken accountability system, inexcusably misses dozens of court-ordered deadlines with no plan in place to catch up,” he said.

Lightfoot said that all matters involving police brutality will be thoroughly investigated and she urged residents to call 311 to report officers they see police antagonism toward the police.

The Chicago Teacher’s Union is among many organizations that is demanding that Lightfoot defund the police budget and remove officers from schools. Rappers Kanye West and Vic Mensa, both Chicago natives, joined the union in a march Thursday to deliver that message.

Lightfoot said she refused to remove police from schools.

“Unfortunately we need security in our schools,” she said. “That balance worked well over the course of the school year if it hadn’t we would have heard about it.”

By Mark Guarino
June 5, 2020 at 2:49 PM EDT

Minneapolis moves to ban police chokeholds and require officers to intervene in excessive use of force

The Minneapolis City Council on Friday approved a measure prohibiting police from using chokeholds and requiring officers to report and intervene when they witness other officers using unauthorized force.

The new rules arose from an agreement between city officials and the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, which filed a charge this week accusing the city and police department of discriminating in public services based on race following the death of George Floyd in police custody.

“Black, Indigenous, and communities of color have suffered generational pain and trauma as a result of systemic and institutional racism and long-standing problems in policing,” the document read. “This continuous harm was once again highlighted by the in-custody death of George Floyd. The Parties agree that many previous efforts have not resolved the historic problems in policing in this community.”

The agreement still needs to be approved by a judge, as the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.

Floyd, 46, died after former officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes.

The measure would ban all police neck restraints or chokeholds “for any reason."

It would also require all officers who see an unauthorized use of force to immediately report the incident to their superiors while still on the scene.

Additionally, officers who witness an unauthorized use of force would be required to “safely intervene by verbal and physical means,” according to the agreement. If they do not, they will face discipline “as if they themselves engaged in the prohibited use of force.”

The changes would apply to all officers regardless of tenure or rank.

“This is a moment in time where we can totally change the way our police department operates,” Mayor Jacob Frey (D) said during Friday’s meeting, according to the Star Tribune. “We can quite literally lead the way in our nation enacting more police reform than any other city in the entire country and we cannot fail.”

By Derek Hawkins
June 5, 2020 at 2:31 PM EDT

De Blasio calls on every New Yorker who protested to get a coronavirus test

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) said Friday that he wants every resident to get a free test for the novel coronavirus — a recommendation he stressed for the tens of thousands of protesters marching shoulder to shoulder, or mask to mask, throughout the city this past week.

His comments echoed those of New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D), who said Thursday that all protest attendees in the state should get a free coronavirus test, regardless of symptoms. De Blasio and Cuomo have warned that the demonstrations could become “super spreaders” of the virus in hard-hit New York. They have urged all attendees to act as if they have been exposed.

De Blasio announced Wednesday that coronavirus testing would be free for city residents and added Friday that two new mobile clinics will soon offer testing in the Soundview and Kew Gardens neighborhoods.

This week, de Blasio told protesters they should stay home to avoid catching or transmitting the coronavirus, and thereby contributing to another surge. Some criticized his comments as trying to use the global pandemic to restrict anti-racism and anti-police speech.

New York City is the last part of the state to start a phased reopening, which is scheduled to begin on Monday.

By Miriam Berger
June 5, 2020 at 1:32 PM EDT

Michigan lieutenant governor chides Trump for referencing Floyd in jobs remarks

Michigan Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist (D) chastised President Trump on Friday for invoking the name of George Floyd as Trump touted a better-than-expected jobs report for May and argued that a strong economy is the best way to improve race relations.

“I’ve never seen a genuine effort from the Trump administration to reach out to the black community in a solution-oriented way,” Gilchrist said on CNN. “They’ve used rhetoric, but it has been failed.

“I mean, even this morning, when the president said that George Floyd should look on these unemployment numbers that continue to rise in the black community as a good thing and a good day, you cannot ask a dead black man to look at failed economic policies from this administration as a good thing.”

During remarks in the Rose Garden, Trump said, “Hopefully George is looking down right now and saying this is a great thing that’s happening for our country,” referencing the black man who was killed recently in Minneapolis while in police custody.

A Labor Department report released Friday showed the unemployment rate for white people went down from 14.2 percent in April to 12.4 percent in May, but the unemployment rate for black people ticked up, from 16.7 to 16.8 percent.

A Trump campaign spokesman said many people had misinterpreted the president’s remarks when he mentioned Floyd.

“The president was obviously speaking of the idea that Americans are coming together to call for equal treatment under the law,” spokesman Tim Murtaugh said.

By John Wagner
June 5, 2020 at 1:27 PM EDT

A white Illinois mayor scuffles with black protesters on video, prompting calls for his resignation

The white mayor of a Chicago suburb is under fire for allegedly attacking a black protester.

In two videos that surfaced Tuesday, Mayor Robert O’Dekirk of Joliet, Ill., can be seen grabbing and shoving a young man, amid what appears to be a chaotic scene of police confronting protesters in the parking lot of a strip mall.

“Go! Go home,” O’Dekirk (R) says, waving his hand at a group of people, one of whom is recording the moment on a cellphone. In the video, published by the Chicago Tribune, O’Dekirk then disappears from the frame amid flashing police lights, shouting protesters and a line of honking cars along the road. When the mayor comes back into the frame, he’s holding a man by the collar and shoving him backward. Another man appears to try to pull the mayor off the first man, and all three topple to the ground, followed by police officers.

In the second video, published online by local radio station WJOL 1340, several police officers can be seen piled on someone, punching downward.

“Why they beating him? Why they beating him?” a man can be heard shouting.

Two brothers required medical attention following the incident, the Tribune reported.

O’Dekirk did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

He told the Tribune that the altercation took place Monday night, as police sought to clear demonstrators, after destruction and looting had shaken the city the previous night. He said the first man in the video had pushed him, and the second man had tackled him and punched him. He said both were arrested.

He also rebuffed a trio of local pastors who have since called for his resignation. O’Dekirk, a former Joliet police officer, told the Tribune: “I’m not going to resign and I’m not going to apologize for standing up for the people of Joliet and doing what I can to restore order.”

By Abigail Hauslohner
June 5, 2020 at 1:11 PM EDT

Tacoma Police Union rebukes mayor and argues that officers didn’t murder Manuel Ellis

The Tacoma Police Union issued a sharp rebuke of the city’s mayor’s calls for the firing of officers involved in the death of an unarmed black man, Manuel Ellis.

The union said in a statement that Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards made her remarks based on “short, blurry, partial Twitter videos” and an absence of due process.

The labor organization for the four officers involved in the arrest that has since been ruled a homicide by the Pierce County Medical Examiner’s Office rejected notions that the Ellis case had parallels to that of George Floyd, the black man who died after a police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

“What happened in Minneapolis to George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police was wrong,” the union said. “Tacoma officers [Christopher] Burbank, [Matthew] Collins, [Masyih] Ford and [Timothy] Rankine did not murder Mr. Ellis.”

The union said Woodard’s comments showed her lack of knowledge about the involved officers who have since returned to duty. It identified one of the officers as black and pointed out that others have served in the military. These facts demonstrate the mayor’s “hyperbolic storyline that four Tacoma officers murdered an African-American man,” the statement read.

A thorough investigation will prove to the public that the officers did no wrong in their arrest of Ellis that led to his death, the union contended.

“This is not the time to sacrifice dedicated public servants at the altar of public sentiment, especially when that sentiment is almost wholly fueled by the uninformed anger of a theatrical politician,” it concluded.

The Tacoma News Tribune reported that the Ellis case is being investigated by the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office and is expected to be sent to the Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office sometime next week.

By Lateshia Beachum
June 5, 2020 at 12:53 PM EDT

Vice President Pence to discuss racial injustice with local leaders at mostly black church in Maryland

Vice President Pence is meeting Friday with community leaders at a church in Prince George’s County, Md., where the pastor has long-standing ties to conservative activist groups and President Trump.

The vice president will speak with about 15 faith, political and business leaders from the Washington metro area about the protests happening around the nation to address racial injustice, said Bishop Harry Jackson, pastor of Hope Christian Church. He said Pence’s staff reached out to him earlier this week to arrange the “listening session.”

Jackson, 67, said he wanted to fill up his predominantly African American church in Beltsville, which seats about 1,200. But because of local restrictions in place to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, Friday’s meeting is small.

Part of the session is being live-streamed on the White House’s YouTube page and the Harry Jackson Ministries YouTube account. The remainder of the meeting will be private.

Read more here.

By Sarah Pulliam Bailey
June 5, 2020 at 12:44 PM EDT

Video shows man motionless, bleeding from the head after Buffalo police shove him; two officers suspended and DA is investigating

A 75-year-old man pushed to the ground by Buffalo police officers during protests in the area Thursday who was then seen lying motionless and bleeding from the head remains in serious but stable condition, Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz (D) said Friday.

The Erie County District Attorney’s Office is investigating the incident captured outside of City Hall on Thursday that severely injured a man later identified by the Buffalo News as Martin Gugino, a longtime peace activist from nearby Amherst, NY.

Two officers involved have been suspended without pay, Capt. Jeff Rinaldo with the Buffalo Police Department said Thursday night, declining to identify them. Officers who were not directly involved but witnessed the incident initially described the man as “tripping and falling” before the police commissioner saw video and launched an investigation, Rinaldo said. Police announced the suspensions after the video began circulating widely.

Footage posted by local news station WBFO shows Gugino walking up to uniformed officers in Niagara Square. The officers yell what sounds like “Move!” and “Push him back!” An officer can be seen pushing him with arm outstretched, while another shoves a baton into him. A third officer appears to shove colleagues toward Gugino.

Gugino falls back on the pavement with a thud, his head whipping back on the pavement. Then he is still.

Officers file past him. One of the officers who struck Gugino stops to bend down, then is pushed forward by a colleague.

“He’s bleeding out of his ear,” someone yells, as blood pools beneath the Gugino’s head.

Officers grab another person in the area, and a woman tells the person filming to back up, as Gugino is obscured.

A second video captured the incident from across the street.

State police medics gave Gugino aid, Rinaldo said.

Poloncarz tweeted Thursday night that he had seen the videos in which an “older protester appears to have been shoved by police” before suffering “a serious head injury” and said, “It sickens me."

Police told WIVB that four people were arrested at the Niagara Square protests on disorderly conduct charges, four of them for allegedly blocking traffic.

The incident occurred about 8 p.m., according to WBFO.

Read more here.

By Hannah Knowles, Meagan Flynn and Kim Bellware
June 5, 2020 at 11:41 AM EDT

Trump says his plan to address racism is a strong economy, as he touts lower than expected jobless claims

President Trump said Friday that the greatest thing that can happen for race relations in the United States is a strong economy, after he was pressed on whether he has a plan to end systemic racism in the country.

Trump’s comments came as he touted new unemployment numbers for May during remarks at the White House. He argued that the better-than-expected numbers are a good thing for minority communities at a time when the country has been roiled by protests in response to the death of a black man killed last month in Minneapolis while in police custody.

“It's the greatest thing that can happen for race relations, for the African-American community, for the Asian American, for the Hispanic-American community, for women, for everything,” Trump said when asked if he had a plan to address systemic racism. “Because our country is so strong. And that's what my plan is. We're going to have the strongest economy in the world. We almost are there now. … And now we’re going to have an economy that’s even stronger.”

Earlier during his news conference, Trump called Friday a good day for the man killed in Minneapolis, George Floyd: but it was unclear what he meant.

"Equal justice under the law must mean that every American receives equal treatment in every encounter with law enforcement, regardless of race, color, gender or creed,” Trump said. “They have to receive fair treatment from law enforcement. … We all saw what happened last week. We can't let that happen. Hopefully George is looking down right now and saying this a great thing that's happening for our country. There's a great day for him. It's a great day for everybody. It's a great day for everybody. There's a great, great day in terms of equality."

The Labor Department reported that the federal unemployment rate declined to 13.3 percent in May from 14.7 percent in April, a surprising turnaround after months of job losses that was hailed as a sign that the economy is recovering more quickly than projected.

The economy gained 2.5 million jobs in May, as many states and counties began to reopen with the slowing of coronavirus cases nationwide.

But the gains were not spread evenly.

Of particular concern to economists as the country has seen an outburst of protests about racism, black Americans saw their unemployment rate, already higher than white people, increase. Whereas the employment rate for white people went down from 14.2 to 12.4 percent, the unemployment rate for blacks ticked up, from 16.7 to 16.8 percent.

Read more here.

By John Wagner
June 5, 2020 at 10:41 AM EDT

D.C. mayor urges Trump to withdraw federal forces from city

Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) has formally asked President Trump to “withdraw all extraordinary federal law enforcement and military presence from Washington, D.C.”

Her Thursday letter to the president came after a sixth night of demonstrations ended in no arrests. The Thursday night demonstrations, interrupted by thunderstorms, were also largely peaceful.

The Trump administration this week deployed military police and federal law enforcement to respond to demonstrations, drawing widespread criticism from activists and local officials that the tactics were making the situation worse.

“The deployment of federal law enforcement personnel and equipment are inflaming demonstrators and adding to the grievances of those who, by and large, are peacefully protesting for change and for reforms to the racist and broken systems that are killing Black Americans,” Bowser wrote.

The mayor criticized unidentified federal law enforcement officials patrolling the streets of her city and operating outside “established chains of commands.”

“The multiplicity of forces can breed dangerous confusion, such as when helicopters are used in a war-like tactic to frighten and peaceful protestors,” Bowser wrote. “My view is that law enforcement should be in place to protect the rights of American citizens, not restrict them.”

By Fenit Nirappil
June 5, 2020 at 10:16 AM EDT

Huge letters that read ‘Black Lives Matter’ are being painted on street near the White House

Local artists and city staff are painting “Black Lives Matter” in massive yellow letters on 16th Street near the White House in Washington, D.C.

Artists arrived to begin painting about 4 a.m., said local artist Rose Jaffe, who was among dozens still working at 9:30 a.m.

The art will take up two blocks on 16th Street, between K and H streets.

An organizer said Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) planned to announce the display at an 11 a.m. news conference.

“I’m conflicted about doing it. It’s about wanting to reclaim the streets, but I also know that it is a little bit of a photo op,” said Jaffe, a D.C. native. “Where is the action behind this?”

She said she would like Bowser to decrease funding for the police department and to see officers express more support for protests, which began a week ago in the District.

Bah-Pna Dahane, who is originally from Chad, said he was finishing up a run near the White House when he saw the painting. Dahane, 45, said he decided to volunteer because he has been a victim of police brutality in New York and knows that change won’t happen if people don’t act.

“I said, ‘you know what, let’s do it, let’s make it happen,’ ” he said as he painted.

By Rachel Chason, Dana Hedgpeth and Fenit Nirappil
June 5, 2020 at 10:02 AM EDT

Photos from night of peaceful protests across U.S.

See more photos from a night of peaceful protests across the nation here.

By Olivier Laurent and Nick Kirkpatrick
June 5, 2020 at 9:27 AM EDT

Two ex-officers involved in Floyd’s death blame veteran officer in first court appearance

Attorneys for two of the fired Minneapolis police officers involved in George Floyd’s death cast their clients on Thursday as rookies who were ignored by their superior, the Star Tribune reported.

At the former officers’ first appearance in Hennepin County Court, lawyers for J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane argued that their clients tried to stop Officer Derek Chauvin from kneeling on Floyd’s neck but were ignored.

“At all times Mr. Kueng and Mr. Lane turned their attention to that 19-year veteran,” said Thomas Plunkett, Kueng’s attorney, according to the Star Tribune. Kueng “was trying — they were trying to communicate that this situation needs to change direction.”

Kueng, Lane and Tou Thao face charges of felony aiding and abetting second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. They are being held on bail at $750,000 each with conditions, or $1,000,000 without.

The attorneys told Judge Paul R. Scoggin that on the day of Floyd’s killing, Kueng, 26, was working his third shift as a full-time officer and Lane, 37, was working his fourth day as a full-time officer, the Star Tribune reported. Chauvin was a 19-year veteran of the force.

“What was [Lane] supposed to do … go up to Mr. Chauvin and grab him and throw him off?” Lane’s attorney, Earl Gray, told the court, according to the Star Tribune.

An attorney for Thao, Robert Paule, did not try to blame Chauvin.

A criminal complaint against Chauvin says Lane held Floyd’s legs and Kueng held his back while Chauvin knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes. Lane allegedly asked Chauvin twice if they should roll Floyd onto his side, and Chauvin rejected the suggestion. Kueng checked Floyd’s pulse and reported that he could not find one, according to the complaint.

By Marisa Iati
June 5, 2020 at 9:16 AM EDT

Two-thirds of Americans disapprove of Trump’s handling of response to Floyd’s death

Only about one-third of Americans approve of President Trump’s handling of the response to the death in police custody of George Floyd in Minneapolis, while about two-thirds disapprove, according to a new poll.

The ABC News-Ipsos poll finds that 32 percent approve of Trump’s response compared to 66 percent who disapprove. The poll was fully conducted in the days after largely peaceful protesters were forcibly cleared Monday near the White House.

Majorities across racial groups disapprove of the president's response to Floyd's death, according to the poll. The strongest rebuke comes from African Americans, with 90 percent disapproval. That compares to 59 percent disapproval from whites and 74 percent disapproval from Hispanics.

The poll also finds that nearly three-fourths of Americans view the death of Floyd as a sign of an underlying racial injustice problem.

By John Wagner
June 5, 2020 at 8:28 AM EDT

Tacoma mayor calls for officers to be fired over death of black man who yelled, ‘I can’t breathe!’

Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards called Friday for four officers involved in the death of a 33-year-old black man to be fired, hours after the county medical examiner ruled the death of Manuel Ellis in March a homicide.

New video footage of the violent March 3 arrest emerged late Thursday, showing police officers beating Ellis on the side of the road, repeatedly striking him while he was restrained in handcuffs on the ground. The footage, provided by the Tacoma Action Collective, shows officers telling him to “just put your hands behind your back” while they were already on top of him.

In a video statement, Woodards said the video only confirmed what the Pierce County medical examiner had made apparent: that Ellis died because of the actions of the four city police officers. The exact cause was respiratory arrest due to hypoxia — a lack of oxygen reaching body tissues — which was due to physical restraint.

Woodards demanded that the city manager fire the officers.

“Tonight, [the family] asked, why does it always take a video for the public to believe when a black person’s life is taken unjustly? As an African American woman, I didn’t need a video to believe,” Woodards said. “As I watched that video I became even more enraged and angered and disappointed.”

Tacoma demonstrators have drawn parallels between Ellis’s death and George Floyd’s.

In addition to demanding the officers’ firing, the mayor said she also instructed the city manager to allocate funds for body cameras immediately.

She asked that the district attorney prosecute the officers “to the fullest extent of the law.”

By Meagan Flynn
June 5, 2020 at 7:47 AM EDT

Trump shares letter referring to forcibly removed peaceful protesters as ‘terrorists’

As the White House security perimeter continued to expand, President Trump on Thursday night shared a letter on Twitter that referred to the largely peaceful protesters who were forcibly removed earlier in the week as “terrorists.”

The letter was purportedly written by Trump’s former attorney John M. Dowd to former defense secretary Jim Mattis. Trump released it as part of an effort to discredit Mattis in the wake of a statement in which the retired Marine general took exception to Trump’s threats to use military force on American streets and praised those demanding justice following the police killing of George Floyd.

“The phony protesters near Lafayette [Square] were not peaceful and are not real,” Dowd’s letter claimed, without citing any evidence. “They are terrorists using idle hate filled students to burn and destroy. They were abusing and disrespecting the police when the police were preparing the area for the 1900 curfew.”

Dowd, who was a captain in the Marine Corps and a member of the Judge Advocate General Corps, also wrote to Mattis that his critique of Trump as intentionally divisive left him “appalled and upset.”

“I thought this letter from respected retired Marine and Super Star lawyer, John Dowd, would be of interest to the American People. Read it!” Trump said in the tweet in which he shared the letter.

In the days since Monday’s melee near Lafayette Square park, the White House has been turned into a veritable fortress, with an expanding security perimeter, tall black fencing and Army guards and sharpshooters omnipresent.

By John Wagner
June 5, 2020 at 7:04 AM EDT

Trump heading to Maine despite cautions from governor about security

President Trump is scheduled to head to Maine on Friday afternoon to tour a company that manufactures cotton swabs for coronavirus testing despite concerns voiced by the state’s Democratic governor that his visit could spark unrest as the nation continues to grapple with the death in police custody of Minneapolis man George Floyd.

Gov. Janet Mills (D) cautioned Trump earlier in the week against coming to her state, and in a statement Thursday she asked him “to check his inflammatory rhetoric at the door and abandon the divisive language that sows seeds of distrust among our people.”

“I hope he will heed this call and appeal to the best in all people and lead us with courage and compassion through this difficult time,” Mills said.

A local television reporter posted a photo on Twitter early Friday showing trailers with large logs that have been placed around the perimeter of the property of Puritan Medical Products in Guilford, Maine, as a security precaution.

The visit is the latest by Trump and Vice President Pence to highlight the administration’s response to the pandemic.

Maine is also significant politically. In the presidential election, it awards electoral college votes by congressional district. Despite losing statewide in 2016, Trump carried the state’s 2nd Congressional District.

While in Maine, Trump is also scheduled to hold a roundtable discussion with commercial fisherman in Bangor.

By John Wagner
June 5, 2020 at 5:22 AM EDT

Maryland police searching for man filmed accosting group posting ‘KILLER COPS’ fliers

Park police in Maryland are searching for a man who appeared to assault a group of people while they were putting up fliers about George Floyd’s death along a portion of a popular trail that runs between Washington and Bethesda.

The tense confrontation that played out Monday on the Capital Crescent Trail was captured in a now-viral video, which began circulating widely Thursday, sparking furious calls for the man to be identified and the incident investigated. Members of the group in the video told WJLA on Thursday that they had been posting fliers bearing the all-caps message, “KILLER COPS WILL NOT GO FREE.”

The 34-second video opens with a man dressed in cycling gear, his eyes obscured by a pair of mirrored sunglasses, advancing toward a young woman.

“Hey, leave her alone,” the person filming says.

Without speaking, the man abruptly turns and strides over to a different young woman standing nearby. A person off-camera repeatedly shouts, “Do not touch her!” Ignoring the commands, the man tries to wrestle what looks like a roll of tape off her arm.

After the man moves back to his bike, the person filming tells him to “get out of here.” The man then picks up the bike and charges at the camera’s operator, appearing to send the person crashing to the ground.

On Tuesday, the park police tweeted images of the man asking for the public’s assistance to identify him. Authorities did not provide many details about the incident, referring to it only as “an assault.”

Demands for the man to be identified and investigated were renewed Thursday amid the outcry. Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh (D) eventually weighed in, asking people on Twitter to contact him or the Montgomery County state’s attorney with information.

By Allyson Chiu
June 5, 2020 at 5:03 AM EDT

Dallas police adopt policy requiring officers to intervene when they see abuse

Members of the Dallas police department who see another officer use inappropriate physical force are now required to step in and stop their colleagues, the city’s police chief said early Friday.

The rule, known as a “duty to intervene” policy, applies to both sworn and non-sworn officers. Police Chief Reneé Hall said the order is meant to create a police culture that would have prevented a death like that of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

“His fellow co-workers either assisted or stood by and watched Mr. Floyd take his last breath. Had the officer’s partners intervened, the outcome might have been different,” the Dallas Police Department said in a statement, according to the Dallas Morning News.

As protesters across the nation have called for greater police accountability following Floyd’s death, activists in many cities — including Dallas — have called on law enforcement to adopt “duty to intervene” policies.

Police in Charlotte implemented a similar rule earlier this week, the Charlotte Observer reported, while Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) called on police forces in her state to do the same Thursday.

Hall’s order applies to any member of the Dallas police department “present at any scene where physical force is being applied,” the Morning News reported. It is unclear if or how officers who fail to adhere to the rule will be reprimanded.

In the days immediately following Floyd’s death, demonstrators in Minneapolis and nationwide demanded consequences for the three police officers who watched Derek Chauvin press his knee against Floyd’s neck.

Prosecutors announced stepped-up murder charges Wednesday for the officers, who have also been fired.

By Teo Armus
June 5, 2020 at 4:52 AM EDT

Texas GOP county chairs face calls to resign over posts calling Floyd’s death a hoax

One Facebook post falsely claimed that George Floyd’s death was a “staged event,” meant to rile up opposition to President Trump. Another showed a quote from Martin Luther King Jr. juxtaposed on a banana — an established racist trope.

And a third claimed that George Soros, the liberal billionaire, paid “white cops to murder black people” and that “black people to riot because race wars keep the sheep in line.”

All of the posts were shared in recent days by Republican county leaders in Texas, who are now facing calls to resign from top state officials within their party, the Texas Tribune reported.

“I have said it before and I will say it again now: the GOP must not tolerate racism. Of any kind. At any time,” George P. Bush, the state’s land commissioner, wrote on Twitter late Thursday. “I urge them to do the honorable thing and step aside now.”

The earliest, loudest and most damning condemnations were directed at the two GOP party chairs who shared a Facebook post floating a conspiracy theory about Floyd’s death.

Cynthia Brehm, the Bexar County chair, wrote on Facebook that Floyd’s death could have been a “filmed public execution” with “the purpose of creating racial tensions.”

Nueces County chair Jim Kaelin then posted the same text, calling it an “interesting perspective.”

Their posts drew immediate calls to resign from top Texas Republicans, including Gov. Greg Abbott, who called the posts “disgusting,” and Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn.

“Spreading conspiracy theories that the murder was staged simply defies reality; it is irresponsible,” a spokesman for Abbott said in a statement to the Tribune.

Brehm, however, told Spectrum News San Antonio that she would not resign.

Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) and Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) both called for the resignation of Keith Nielsen, the GOP chairman-elect in Harris County, who earlier this week had posted the image of the MLK quote and the banana, according to the Tribune.

“The Facebook post made by the Harris County GOP Chair-elect was racist and unacceptable,” McCaul tweeted. “Racism has no place in the Republican Party, the state of Texas or the United States of America.”

Sue Piner, GOP chair in Comal County, outside San Antonio, shared the post with conspiracy theories about Soros.

By Teo Armus
June 5, 2020 at 4:48 AM EDT

Sen. Cory Booker fights tears while reflecting on personal experiences with racism, police

Following an emotional Senate session Thursday, when tensions ran high over a stalled anti-lynching bill, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) fought back tears as he recalled his own experiences growing up black in America, dealing with police and fighting for racial justice.

“I am emotionally raw,” Booker said in an interview with CBS late-night host Stephen Colbert.

Booker told Colbert that he wished he had been with the protesters in Lafayette Square on Monday, decrying federal authorities’ use of chemical agents and less-lethal rounds to clear out the crowd so President Trump could walk from the White House to a nearby church and pose outside with a Bible.

“I almost feel embarrassment that I wasn’t there with the protesters to confront what has been, in my opinion, in my lifetime one of the greatest affronts of our most sacred principles and ideals,” he said, calling the widely condemned moment “deeply offensive” and an “assault” on all Americans.

Booker became visibly moved as he opened up about being worried for his safety walking at night through Washington in recent days, remembering conversations he had when he was 12 or 13 years old with adult family members who warned him that he “would make people feel scared or uncomfortable.”

“I’m a United States senator, and I left here late last night, and I literally thought twice about putting on my shorts and T-shirt to walk home,” he said.

He also noted his experience protesting the Rodney King verdict in 1992.

“I think the thing that’s made a lot of my friends just break down in tears this week is 30 years ago at Rodney King, when we were marching at Stanford, we thought we could change this and that we wouldn’t have to have these same conversations with our kids,” Booker said, his voice growing thick. “You have kids now in our streets again, like I was in my 20s, who are really questioning this nation.”

By Allyson Chiu
June 5, 2020 at 4:38 AM EDT

Merkel condemns Floyd’s killing but avoids criticizing Trump over protest response

BERLIN — German Chancellor Angela Merkel condemned the killing of George Floyd in a television interview, but held back from directly criticizing President Donald Trump for stoking tensions.

“The murder of George Floyd is very, very terrible,” she said in the interview with the German channel ZDF. “Racism is terrible. American society is very polarized.”

She sidestepped several questions on whether she believes President Trump is inflaming those divisions, saying she did not want to draw a direct connection. But she described his “political style” as “controversial."

“Racism has always existed,” she said. “Sadly it exists here too.”

By Loveday Morris and Luisa Beck
June 5, 2020 at 3:12 AM EDT

Mayor resigns after email claim that local police never killed a ‘good person of color’

A Southern California mayor resigned Thursday after sending an email earlier in the week claiming that police in his city had never killed a “good person of color.”

Temecula Mayor James “Stew” Stewart sent the email Tuesday night, responding to a constituent asking what he and his administration were doing to address systemic racism in policing. After the email became public, Stewart said the word “good” had been added by mistake by the talk-to-text software he used to compose the message because of his dyslexia. He said he did not proof-read the email after working a 12-hour shift at his barbershop in Temecula, about 80 miles southeast of Los Angeles.

“As you know the City of Temecula does not have its own Police Department,” Stewart wrote in the brief email. “We contract with Riverside County Sheriff’s Department. And I don’t believe there’s ever been a good person of color killed by a police officer. So I’m kind of confuse what you are looking for.”

Some of Stewart’s critics accepted his apology for the mistake, the Press-Enterprise reported, but still considered his message troubling in the context of major protests demanding changes to address disparities in policing after Floyd’s death.

Many pointed out that police have killed people of color in Riverside County, where Temecula is located, including 19-year-old Tyisha Miller, who was shot and killed in 1998 by police responding to a 911 call from family members who could not wake her as she sat in a locked car with a handgun on her lap.

“City of Temecula, I hear you, I agree with you, and I am deeply sorry,” Stewart said in a statement announcing his resignation from the city council on Thursday, the Press-Enterprise reported.

He added: “I understand that even my sincerest apologies cannot remedy this situation. Because actions speak louder than words, I will step down as your Mayor and City Council Member effective immediately.”

By Katie Shepherd
June 5, 2020 at 2:18 AM EDT

New York mayor says arrests of essential workers after curfew are ‘NOT acceptable and must stop’

Amid crackdowns on protesters and others violating curfew, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) urged the city’s police department to protect the rights of essential workers after a pair of videos surfaced Thursday night showing the arrest of a food delivery worker out past 8 p.m.

“This is NOT acceptable and must stop,” de Blasio tweeted shortly after midnight, noting that he had just spoken to New York City Police Commissioner Dermot Shea about the “troubling” incident. “Food delivery is essential work and is EXEMPTED from the curfew.”

In one of the videos, a man carrying an orange insulated backpack bearing the logo of Caviar, a food delivery company, is standing in the street surrounded by at least six police officers. A bicycle lays on its side at the man’s feet.

“Are you serious? Look, look, look I’m not even doing anything,” the man shouts. One officer can be heard telling him that he’s violating curfew as two others start removing his backpack.

The cops appear to ignore the man’s pleas to check his phone for proof that he is an essential worker, only telling him to “relax.” Another video shared minutes later shows the man being loaded into a police van.

NYPD officials said the man was taken to a nearby precinct where his credentials were verified and he was released.

DoorDash, the parent company of Caviar, told the Verge in a statement that it was “alarmed” by Thursday’s arrest and is in contact with city officials.

Thursday’s arrest fueled more backlash against the NYPD over its aggressive curfew enforcement. Videos have captured numerous confrontations as officers have clashed with protesters and journalists, who are also considered essential workers.

De Blasio stressed on Twitter that reporters covering the demonstrations would also be protected, writing, “Will get NYPD to fix this immediately.”

By Allyson Chiu
June 5, 2020 at 1:33 AM EDT

NYPD arrests protesters after hundreds violate curfew to march through Manhattan

NEW YORK CITY — More than 200 peaceful protesters walked, biked and skateboarded up 6th Avenue at about 9 p.m. on Thursday. As the Tupac song “Changes” played from a speaker on a bicycle, the group ventured through the quiet, dark streets of Manhattan.

As the 8 p.m. curfew set in, the New York Police Department quickly broke up groups attempting to defy the order, which has come under harsh criticism this week. But this vibrant group outlasted most of their counterparts.

The group was mostly in their early 20s and came from diverse backgrounds. A white couple held hands as they marched, a woman with a headscarf made her way on a CitiBike, and a black woman directed marchers to take a knee as she spoke about defunding the NYPD.

“We’re just trying to be out here. We’re trying to not just enjoy ourselves, but also do this for a cause. We’re not doing this for no reason,” said 22-year-old Bronx resident John Bonilla.

Throughout the march, several dozen cyclists helped the group navigate around police and safely pass through intersections. Officers trailed the group for most of the walk, hanging back without intervening even after curfew.

But that all changed just after 10 p.m., when the group reached the southeastern corner of Central Park, where dozens of police officers awaited their arrival.

Standing at 5th Avenue and 59th Street, with the glow of the Plaza Hotel and the Pulitzer Fountain behind them, the demonstrators raised their arms and chanted “Hands up, don’t shoot.”

But within minutes, they were swarmed by police, who took protesters to the ground to arrest them.

As one young man was pinned to the ground and an officer zip-tied his hands behind his back, he screamed out to another protester, whom he had just met that evening, and relayed his brother’s phone number so he could be alerted.

By Kayla Ruble
June 5, 2020 at 12:41 AM EDT

Two National Guardsmen injured in a lightning strike during D.C. protests

Two National Guardsmen were hurt late Thursday night after a lightning strike in Washington, D.C.

The guardsmen were taken to a hospital with serious injuries that are not believed to be life-threatening, according to Vito Maggiolo, a spokesman for the D.C. fire department.

The lightning came during a thunderstorm that intermittently dropped rain and blew hefty winds across the city for hours.

There were no reports of injuries to the hundreds of protesters who continued to march and demonstrate in the severe weather.

By Clarence Williams
June 5, 2020 at 12:05 AM EDT

Twitter removes George Floyd video shared by Trump campaign, citing copyright claim

Twitter on Thursday took down a video shared by President Trump’s reelection campaign that was dedicated to George Floyd and the protests over his death in police custody, citing a violation of copyright.

The roughly four-minute video, titled “Healing, Not Hatred,” was first posted by the official Team Trump account Wednesday evening. In the clip, which was retweeted by Donald Trump Jr., audio from the president’s Saturday remarks on Floyd’s death provides narration for photos and videos of demonstrations that have taken place nationwide in recent days. Somber music plays quietly in the background.

While the video includes many images of peaceful protests and memorials for Floyd, it also highlights acts of violence and looting. Those scenes are paired with Trump decrying “anarchists” and “radical left wing groups” for “terrorizing the innocent, destroying jobs, hurting businesses and burning down buildings.”

On Thursday, Twitter removed the video.

The action did not go over well with the Trump campaign. Trump and conservatives have accused Twitter and other social media giants of political censorship, a charge the company has repeatedly denied.

“This incident is yet another reminder that Twitter is making up the rules as they go along,” Trump campaign spokesman Andrew Clark said in a statement. “From the dubious removal of the hilarious Nickelback video to capricious fact checks and manipulated media labels to questionable claims of copyright, Twitter has repeatedly failed to explain why their rules seem to only apply to the Trump campaign but not to others. Censoring out the President’s important message of unity around the George Floyd protests at a critical time is an unfortunate escalation of this double standard.”

A spokesperson for Twitter told The Post that the platform responds to “valid copyright complaints sent to us by a copyright owner or their authorized representatives.” According to the Lumen copyright database, a DMCA takedown notice regarding the video was sent to Twitter on Thursday.

By Allyson Chiu