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:
- Washington, D.C., officials on Saturday expect the largest crowds of anti-police-brutality demonstrators to date to converge on the city, where National Guardsmen have been ordered not to use firearms or ammunition and active-duty troops are being sent home.
- A federal judge ruled late Friday that the Denver Police Department must stop using “chemical weapons or projectiles against peaceful protesters” after four protesters filed suit against the city.
- 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.
- 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.
- In Washington, D.C., artists and city staff painted “Black Lives Matter” in massive yellow letters over a two-block area on 16th Street near the White House, and D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) renamed it “Black Lives Matter Plaza.”
- 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. The comments came as Trump touted better-than-expected unemployment numbers for May.