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 Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) rescinded a curfew covering the nation’s capital but said she would make a decision Saturday morning on whether it would be reinstated for this weekend’s demonstrations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