Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was formally charged Monday with murder in the death of George Floyd, appearing via videoconference during which a judge set his bail at $1.25 million without conditions or $1 million with conditions.

The hearing coincided with a final public memorial in Houston for Floyd, who will be buried next to his mother in a cemetery in Pearland, Tex., on Tuesday.

Floyd’s killing in Minneapolis police custody has sparked a nationwide debate over police department funding. President Trump defended police officers amid calls to “defund the police,” saying that most were “doing an incredible job.” Former vice president Joe Biden said Monday he opposes calls from activists to defund the police but added that federal aid should be conditional.

Here are some significant developments:

  • Attorney General William P. Barr said Monday that the Secret Service took President Trump to a secure bunker in the White House because “things were so bad” during the protests, a statement that contradicts Trump’s claim that he went to the bunker simply to inspect it.
  • One day after the majority of the Minneapolis City Council announced their intention to disband the city’s police department, a contingent of the council delved into the proposal on Monday and fielded questions from reporters about how their plan would come together.
  • Congressional Democrats unveiled sweeping police reform legislation Monday in response to Floyd’s killing. The Justice in Policing Act of 2020 would ban chokeholds, establish a national database to track police misconduct and prohibit certain no-knock warrants, among a range of steps.
  • A self-identified leader in the Ku Klux Klan was arrested after driving through peaceful protesters in Richmond late Sunday afternoon, prosecutors said. He was charged with assault and battery, attempted malicious wounding and destruction of property with intent.
  • Portland Police Chief Jami Resch announced that she is resigning and that her replacement will be Charlie Lovell, an African American lieutenant. The Portland Police Bureau faces criticism for its handling of demonstrations against police brutality.
  • In a now-deleted Facebook post, the Brevard County, Fla., chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police jokingly advertised openings available to 57 Buffalo Police officers who resigned from their assignments after two fellow officers were suspended over pushing a protester, as well as to six officers in Atlanta accused of using excessive force on two black college students.
June 9, 2020 at 6:10 AM EDT

Barr’s Four-Pinocchio claim: ‘Pepper spray is not a chemical irritant’

“Pepper spray is not a chemical irritant. It’s not chemical.”

— Attorney General William P. Barr, during an interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” June 7, 2020

The Trump administration’s June 1 effort to clear protesters from the area around Lafayette Square continues to draw controversy. The move came just before President Trump walked across the street to historic St. John’s Episcopal Church to hold up a Bible.

Initially, the National Park Service’s statement said “tear gas” was not used on protesters, just pepper balls, a projectile munition that lofts irritant powder into the air. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says “tear gas” is an umbrella term for a riot-control agent — “chemical compounds that temporarily make people unable to function by causing irritation to the eyes, mouth, throat, lungs, and skin.” Pepper spray was listed as a type of riot-control agent.

Now Barr is trying to argue that “pepper spray” is not a chemical irritant.

The Facts

Here’s the full exchange between Barr and interviewer Margaret Brennan.

BRENNAN: There were chemical irritants, the Park Police has said —
BARR: No, there were not chemical irritants. Pepper spray is not a chemical irritant. It’s not chemical.
BRENNAN: Pepper spray, you’re saying is what was used —
BARR: Pepper balls. Pepper balls.

But this is simply wrong. PepperBall’s website declares: “With multiple payload options and a proprietary chemical irritant that’s proven more effective from even greater distances, PepperBall® projectiles offer the protection and versatility for any situation.” (The company did not respond to a request for comment.)

What’s that ingredient? It’s called pelargonic acid vanillylamide, or PAVA, a “synthetic'' form of capsaicin, the active ingredient in hot peppers. Anyone who’s tried to insert contacts in their eyes after cutting hot peppers knows what that feels like. PAVA is mostly derived from synthesis rather than extraction from natural plant sources, according to the “Handbook of Toxicology of Chemical Warfare Agents.”

Read the full Fact Checker here.

By Glenn Kessler
June 9, 2020 at 5:40 AM EDT

Tom Cotton rallies conservatives, raises national profile as op-ed on military intervention causes uproar

With his call for the military to be deployed in U.S. cities gripped by protests over police brutality, Sen. Tom Cotton has found himself in a familiar position: rallying conservatives, enraging Democrats and further raising his national profile amid growing speculation over his future ambitions.

The Arkansas Republican has been minted as a political up-and-comer since he entered Congress in 2013, yet he cemented his status as a hero on the right when an op-ed he wrote for the New York Times on using the military to deter looting and violent unrest amid the demonstrations provoked an unusual public furor among its journalists, who called it inflammatory. The uproar led to the ouster of the newspaper’s powerful opinions editor.

That turmoil at the Times has only emboldened Cotton, 43, a relatively junior senator who has nonetheless demonstrated his influence in the Trump era by having the president’s ear and embracing key tenets of Trumpism that have, at times, put the men at odds with some in their own party.

Read more here.

By Seung Min Kim
June 9, 2020 at 4:58 AM EDT

Newly released video shows officer shooting and killing an unarmed black man during traffic stop

New Jersey’s attorney general released police dash-camera footage Monday that captured the fatal shooting of a 28-year-old unarmed black man by a white state trooper last month.

Maurice Gordon of Poughkeepsie, N.Y., had been pulled over by Sgt. Randall Wetzel on May 23 for allegedly speeding. Then, his car became disabled in the left shoulder of the Garden State Parkway in Bass River, N.J., according to the attorney general’s office, which is investigating the shooting. While they waited for a tow truck to arrive, Wetzel told Gordon to sit in his police cruiser to stay out of the way of traffic.

During a half-hour of dash-cam footage, the stop appeared routine. Wetzel got Gordon’s information and called a tow truck. The trooper offered to drive Gordon to a car dealership and offered him a mask.

Read more here.

By Meryl Kornfield
June 9, 2020 at 4:30 AM EDT

San Diego council votes to increase police funding, sending protests to mayor’s doorstep

As calls to defund the police resound across the country, the San Diego City Council passed a budget Monday night that increases funding for police, causing uproar among demonstrators who have been demanding for days that the city redirect millions into other community programs.

The council voted 8 to 1 to approve the mayor’s budget, which increases police funding by $27 million to a total of $566 million, representing about one-third of the city’s total budget.

The vote followed more than 10 hours of public comment from more than 4,000 people, nearly all of whom called in and emailed to urge the council to reject the funding boost for police, KPBS reported.

Immediately after the late-night vote, the local Black Lives Matter chapter mobilized protesters outside Republican Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s home, chanting, “Defund police!”

“There were 700 of us who called in, hundreds more of us left comments explicitly demanding police be defunded. And what they do?” said one organizer, according to video footage of the protest. “Therefore, we know Mayor Faulconer, even though his bootleg self is the one who came up with the plan, it’s also within his power to do the right thing.”

Some who took turns speaking at the protest asked how far that $27 million increase to police could go to help people who have been unemployed or have lost their homes because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Councilman Chris Ward (D) was the sole dissenting vote.

“I would have liked to have seen a reallocation of resources from police towards programs, policies and initiatives that support this work … because we need to be investing more in our people, proactive measures and less in reactive measures,” Ward said, according to KPBS.

He added on Twitter that the budget’s rental relief and small-business assistance programs amid the coronavirus crisis did not go far enough.

In a news briefing, the mayor acknowledged that he listened to hundreds of people during public comment Monday but did not address their demands to redirect police resources. He said he supported Councilwoman Monica Montgomery’s proposal to fund an office of race and equity to support minority businesses and improve the relationship between the city and minority communities.

By Meagan Flynn
June 9, 2020 at 3:58 AM EDT

How D.C.’s mayor went from a bland bureaucrat to a fresh voice of the resistance

LeBron James retweeted her. Civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis posed for pictures with her. “Morning Joe” wanted her on MSNBC.

Appearing on rapper Lil Wayne’s radio show — a show normally devoted to stars like Drake and Eminem — D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) could not help but crow about her duel with President Trump.

“When you’re the president, you’re supposed to swing up, you’re supposed to be beating up on foreign leaders,” Bowser said. “Not swinging down on chick mayors.”

In a city famous for political bombast, Bowser is known as a cautious leader who expresses herself in the forgettable words of a government bureaucrat. Now, in the span of a week, she has turned into a fresh voice of the resistance, buffeted by Trump’s threat of a federal takeover and his use of racist language to criticize street protests over the death of George Floyd in police custody.

Read more here.

By Paul Schwartzman and Fenit Nirappil
June 9, 2020 at 3:21 AM EDT

Seattle protesters march outside boarded-up police precinct after barricades are removed

Protesters have massed in downtown Seattle in recent days outside barricades set up by the police near the department’s East Precinct, creating a flash point that erupted into chaos on Sunday night when officers fired tear gas and flash bangs at the demonstrators.

On Monday night, those barricades were gone. The precinct was boarded up with plywood, though police pledged not to abandon or evacuate the facility, the Seattle Times reported.

Hundreds of protesters marched peacefully to the precinct and gathered outside to demand changes in the wake of George Floyd’s death.

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan (D), who has faced heavy criticism over the police’s use of force against protesters, said the decision by Police Chief Carmen Best to remove the barricades was meant to de-escalate tensions.

“In an effort to proactively de-escalate interactions between protesters and law enforcement outside the East Precinct, Chief Best and the Seattle Police Department officers have removed barricades surrounding the East Precinct while safely securing the facility,” Durkan wrote on Facebook. “Keeping demonstrations peaceful must be a joint effort between our community members and law enforcement. And our accountability system and Chief must hold officers accountable for any misconduct or excessive use of force.”

Outside the precinct, protesters chanted to defund the department.

“The question is, are we going to build a movement strong enough to overcome the power of those who are not on our side,” City Council member Kshama Sawant told the crowd early on Tuesday morning.

By Tim Elfrink
June 9, 2020 at 2:29 AM EDT

Richmond judge halts removal of Robert E. Lee statue for 10 days

RICHMOND — A Richmond judge on Monday temporarily blocked Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam from removing a towering statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from the Monument Avenue traffic circle where it has stood for 130 years.

A Richmond Circuit Court judge granted a 10-day injunction sought by an individual Virginian, William C. Gregory. He contends that the state promised to “affectionately protect” the statue when it annexed the land it stands on from Henrico County.

Read more here.

By Laura Vozzella and Gregory S. Schneider
June 9, 2020 at 2:00 AM EDT

‘I am viewed not as a child but as a color’: Black teen spit on by white woman at protest speaks out

A Milwaukee-area school district is calling on prosecutors to file hate crime charges after a white woman spat on a black teenager during a peaceful Black Lives Matter demonstration in Shorewood, Wis.

The woman, 64-year-old probate lawyer Stephanie Rapkin, interrupted the protest on Saturday when she parked her car in the middle of the street to go to a store, blocking the marchers’ path, video shows.

Eric Lucas, a 17-year-old high school student who helped organize the demonstration, was among the protesters demanding that Rapkin move her car so the protest could proceed. Just as he approached her, Rapkin spat on him, video shows.

“I continue to be mentally and physically shaken to be assaulted by an adult in my own community during a pandemic — it was traumatic,” Lucas said Monday at a news conference organized by leaders of the Shorewood School District. “Again and again I am viewed not as a child but as a color.”

Rapkin was arrested Saturday following the spitting incident — and arrested a second time on Sunday following a related incident. Protesters wrote messages such as “I spit on a child!” outside her home. Rapkin emerged and pushed one, a 21-year-old college student, video shows, and later kneed an officer in the groin when they were called to the scene, Shorewood police said.

Rapkin, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment, is facing charges of battery, disorderly conduct, battery of a police officer and resisting arrest. Calling the spitting incident an “appalling display of racial hatred,” Shorewood School District Superintendent Bryan Davis said the district has asked the Milwaukee County district attorney to file hate-crime enhancements.

Rapkin also faces a complaint of professional misconduct in the state’s Office of Lawyer Regulation submitted by another attorney, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

By Meagan Flynn
June 9, 2020 at 1:30 AM EDT

Protesters in Madison paint ‘Defund Police’ on street leading to Wisconsin State Capitol

In the latest public statement of its kind, protesters in Madison, Wis., painted “Defund Police” in yellow letters Monday night on a street leading up to the Wisconsin State Capitol.

The words cover a portion of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard that runs between the City-County Building and the Madison Municipal Building, WMTV reported. In photos shared to social media, the block lettering stretches toward the brightly lit capitol.

Madison is the latest city where activists have painted the streets with pointed messages in recent days. The first mural started taking shape Friday morning on 16th Street NW in Washington, directly north of the White House, where city work crews joined local artists and volunteers to paint “Black Lives Matter” in yellow. The painting was sanctioned by Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D), who also renamed a portion of the thoroughfare Black Lives Matter Plaza.

Over the weekend, protesters in the District added to the message, painting “Defund the Police” in matching yellow letters.

Similar slogans supporting the ongoing protests have also been painted on streets in Sacramento, Oakland, Calif., and Raleigh, N.C.

By Allyson Chiu
June 9, 2020 at 1:00 AM EDT

Court bans Minneapolis police from using chokeholds, neck restraints

Minneapolis police officers must stop using chokeholds and neck restraints, a county court in Minnesota ordered late Monday, prohibiting the tactic used by former officer Derek Chauvin for nearly nine minutes before George Floyd’s death.

As video of the incident has sparked protests nationwide, the order appears to address some specific concerns raised by activists. Demonstrators have decried the lack of intervention from the three nearby police officers, including two rookies who said they did not want to challenge their superior.

But under the preliminary injunction, any officer who witnesses another using a chokehold or neck restraint must stop their colleague, both verbally and physically, and report the situation to the Minneapolis police department. The order applies regardless of rank and tenure.

Rebecca Lucero, Minnesota’s human rights commissioner, said in a statement that the preliminary injunction will “create immediate change” for communities of color that have suffered “systemic and institutional racism and long-standing problems in policing."

The order was filed by Lucero’s office and then signed by Karen A. Janisch, a district judge in Hennepin County, and includes several other policy changes. Lucero’s agency will also continue to investigate Minneapolis police for violations of the state’s human rights law.

Under the order, only the police chief or their designee will be able to approve crowd control weapons, including tear gas, rubber bullets and flash bangs — all of which have been used by officers against protesters in Minneapolis over the past two weeks.

The ruling also requires the Minneapolis police chief to “make timely and transparent discipline decisions” for officers who violate the order. Civilian and municipal investigators will be allowed to review body camera footage proactively.

Since 2015, Minneapolis police have rendered people unconscious with neck restraints 44 times, NBC News reported.

By Teo Armus
June 9, 2020 at 12:30 AM EDT

Buffalo police dispatcher suspended for Facebook post demanding officers be allowed to ‘shoot to kill’

A Buffalo Police Department dispatcher has been suspended without pay and is under investigation after allegedly writing on Facebook that officers should be allowed to “shoot to kill” during the protests gripping the nation.

Buffalo Police Commissioner Byron C. Lockwood condemned the “reprehensible” post in a statement Monday night announcing the disciplinary action against the dispatcher, who was only identified as a civilian employee of the department.

A spokesperson for the department confirmed that the employee is a police dispatcher and directed The Washington Post to local media outlets that posted images of a Facebook post recently shared by a man named Bob Marth to his personal page.

In the post, which contained expletives, Marth wrote, “Enough is enough!!! What is going on is uncalled for.”

“F----- WILD ANIMALS … and what do you do to an animal that’s rabid out of control — you take it out!!” he continued.

He went on to demand that Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown (D) “stop being a patsy” and give the order to allow officers to use deadly force.

The suspension and internal investigation comes days after the Buffalo Police Department became the focus of nationwide outcry after officers last week were seen on video shoving a 75-year-old protester, who fell to the ground and hit his head on the concrete. Two officers have since been charged with assault.

By Allyson Chiu
June 8, 2020 at 11:55 PM EDT

Seattle man accused of shooting protester after speeding toward crowd claims self-defense

The Seattle man accused of shooting a protester who was trying to stop his car from speeding toward a peaceful crowd made his first appearance in court on Monday on charges of first-degree assault, while insisting that he was defending himself.

Nikolas Fernandez told police Sunday as he surrendered that he “just had to shoot somebody” because “they tried to jack my car,” according to a probable cause statement. Fernandez, whose brother works at the Seattle Police Department’s East Precinct, said he thought he could drive down 11th Avenue, the heart of the protests near the precinct. Protesters surrounded his car and began yelling at him, which led him to fear for his life, he said.

The shooting victim, identified as Daniel Gregory, told police that Fernandez sped straight for the crowd. Gregory tried to reach through the window to stop him when Fernandez shot him, he said.

Fernandez’s bail was set at $150,000, the Stranger reported.

Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best cast doubt on Fernandez’s story during an interview on MSNBC on Monday. She questioned why Fernandez would have thought he could access a street overtaken by thousands of people.

“It’s very difficult to say this person didn’t see the large crowd of people, literally in the thousands, when he drove his vehicle straight into that crowd,” Best said.

Fernandez claimed in an interview with police that his car stalled and that he couldn’t start the engine, so he decided to get out of the car with his gun, alarming protesters. Best said police found nothing mechanically wrong with the car.

It does not appear that the incident was “random or accidental,” she said, stressing that a possible motive is still under investigation.

By Meagan Flynn
June 8, 2020 at 11:28 PM EDT

Two Atlanta officers who used Tasers on college students sue for their jobs

Two Atlanta police officers who were fired after video showed them pulling two college students from a car and shooting them with stun guns filed a lawsuit Monday for their jobs, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Ivory Streeter and Mark Gardner were among six officers fired after video showed them using their Tasers on the students. Their attorney, Lance LoRusso, argues in the lawsuit filed against Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields and Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (D) in Fulton County State Court that the officers’ use of force was lawful and that they were fired without an investigation.

“Petitioners have suffered irreparable injury to their personal and professional reputations as a result of their unlawful dismissal,” the complaint said.

Morehouse College student Messiah Young, 22, and his girlfriend, 20-year-old Taniyah Pilgrim, who attends Spelman College, were stuck in traffic on May 30 caused by protests over George Floyd’s death. Live TV and body-cam footage showed the officers using a club to smash the windows and pulling them from Young’s car after the city’s 9 p.m. curfew. The officers used their Tasers on them and threw them to the ground, according to video.

Young suffered a fractured arm and a gash requiring 24 stitches.

Bottoms announced that the officers were fired a day after the incident. Criminal charges were also filed against the six officers.

In an interview with WSB-TV, LoRusso said that the firings were politically motivated and that Tasers should not be classified as deadly weapons.

“A lawful use of force will never look good on camera, no matter how you see it, no matter what angle,” he said.

More than 1,000 people in the United States have died after police stunned them with Tasers, Reuters reported in 2017.

Bottoms’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

By Meryl Kornfield
June 8, 2020 at 10:49 PM EDT

GOP struggles with message amid national debate over police and racial justice

Amid a public backlash over the militarized federal response to mass protests, President Trump is seeking to turn the national movement for racial justice into a debate over law and order, presenting Democrats as inflaming chaos in American cities.

But as the White House and the president’s reelection campaign begin that messaging, they are already facing difficulty navigating the line between exhibiting toughness and straying into the kind of offensive rhetoric and race-baiting that have often defined Trump’s tenure.

In recent days, Texas Republican leaders shared racist social media posts. A Trump campaign adviser promoted a viral video of a violent man spewing a racist epithet. And Trump himself retweeted a prominent black conservative’s criticisms of George Floyd, the Minnesota man whose killing in police custody two weeks ago sparked the protests.

Read more here.

By David Nakamura and Ashley Parker
June 8, 2020 at 10:16 PM EDT

Defense Secretary Mark Esper open to renaming bases bearing names of Confederates

Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper and Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy are “open to having a bi-partisan discussion” over renaming several bases that carry the names of Confederate leaders, a Pentagon official said Monday, in a move tied to the police killing of George Floyd.

Floyd’s death “made us start looking more at ourselves and the things that we do and how that is communicated to the force as well as the American public,” an Army official told Politico.

There has been a years-long effort to rename some of the most prominent bases in the United States that bear the names of Confederate leaders, such as Forts Benning, Hood and Bragg. Those bases, nearly a dozen in all, are all in former Confederate states and were named with input from locals. Their buy-in was courted by the Army to accumulate large swaths of land.

The Army has fought efforts to rename the installations and even road names on its posts, saying it would be “controversial and divisive” to remove names of leaders who killed American soldiers by the hundreds of thousands.

McCarthy believes he can unilaterally change the names but would need input from the White House, lawmakers and state and local officials, CNN reported.

The Marine Corps has banned all Confederate symbology, it announced Friday.

Activists have recommended a number of options for renaming bases, tied to local heroes.

One is Roy Benavidez, a Green Beret who received the Medal of Honor for action in Vietnam. He rescued wounded soldiers in a fierce battle where he held in his own intestines.

Benavidez, a native Texan, should replace John Bell Hood as the namesake of the base in Central Texas, activists have said, pointing to his treason, ineptitude and roots in Kentucky.

By Alex Horton
June 8, 2020 at 10:09 PM EDT

Report: Man accused in fatal shooting of Santa Cruz sheriff’s deputy posted criticism of police

Steven Carrillo, the Air Force staff sergeant accused of killing a Northern California sheriff’s deputy and wounding two others in a Saturday ambush, reportedly posted criticism of law enforcement on social media before the attack, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Monday.

Carrillo was arrested Saturday on suspicion of fatally shooting Sgt. Damon Gutziller, 38, of the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Department. He is expected to be charged with first-degree murder, according to the Associated Press. Carillo, 32, reportedly used a combination of firearms and homemade bombs to attack officers who were at the bottom of a hillside. Two other officers were injured in the ambush. Officials say Carrillo hijacked a car in an attempt to escape and tried to harm others before he was apprehended by a civilian.

The Chronicle on Monday reported that in the two days before the attack, Carrillo posted several items to Facebook that were critical of law enforcement’s response to Black Lives Matter protests and police brutality, once writing, “Who needs antifa to start riots when you have the police to do it for you…”

On Monday, Santa Cruz County Sheriff Jim Hart said that Carrillo was “very intent on killing these police officers.” Carrillo was an active-duty staff sergeant and served as the team leader for the Phoenix Ravens at Travis Air Force Base outside of San Francisco, the AP reported.

“He’s an angry man intent on bringing harm to police officers,” Hart said at a news conference, according to the Chronicle. “I trust that our district attorney is going to bring justice for Damon’s murder.”

The Chronicle noted that Hart said it was too soon to say whether Carrillo had antagonized police before but called him “dangerous” and said the attack appeared to be premeditated. The FBI is investigating whether Carrillo has ties to the killing of a federal law enforcement officer who died during a protest in Oakland in late May.

By Michael Brice-Saddler
June 8, 2020 at 9:56 PM EDT

Florida police organization advertises jobs for officers who were fired or resigned over police misconduct

With mounting protests calling for police reform and accountability, at least one police organization is interested in rehiring officers associated with misconduct, further prompting outrage.

In a now-deleted Facebook post, the Brevard County chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police jokingly advertised openings available to 57 Buffalo Police officers who resigned from their assignments after two fellow officers were suspended over pushing a protester and six officers in Atlanta accused of using excessive force on two black college students.

“We are hiring in Florida. Lower taxes, no spineless leadership, or dumb mayors rambling on at press conferences... Plus... we got your back!” the Florida police organization wrote in a post Saturday.

The FOP chapter made a similar offer Sunday to Minneapolis officers.

“Minneapolis officers... we will not disband our [law enforcement] agencies or give in... we are hiring in Florida,” the post said.

Brevard County FOP President Bert Gamin, a 28-year law enforcement veteran, took credit for the posts, saying that the officers in Buffalo and Atlanta were within their legal authority, according to local newspaper Florida Today.

“Our citizens have a right to protest peacefully and legally. They do not have a right to block roadways, trespass on private property or disobey lawful commands from law enforcement officers,” he told the newspaper.

Brevard Sheriff Wayne Ivey distanced himself from the posts and, in a statement shared on Facebook, called them “extremely distasteful and insensitive to current important and critical issues that are occurring across our country.”

“The comments made by their members do not in any way represent the views of our agency and were made as individuals who were not acting in the capacity of a Law Enforcement Officer!!” Ivey wrote.

The Fraternal Order of Police, the largest organization of sworn law enforcement officers in the country, representing about 330,000 members in about 2,200 local chapters, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

By Meryl Kornfield
June 8, 2020 at 9:16 PM EDT

Unarmed black man shot, killed in tussle with N.J. trooper during routine stop, video shows

New Jersey’s attorney general released police dash-camera footage Monday that captured the fatal shooting of a 28-year-old unarmed black man by a white state trooper last month.

Maurice Gordon of Poughkeepsie, N.Y., had been pulled over by Sgt. Randall Wetzel on May 23 for allegedly speeding. Then, his car became disabled in the left shoulder of the Garden State Parkway in Bass River, N.J., according to the attorney general’s office, which is investigating the shooting. While they waited for a tow truck to arrive, Wetzel told Gordon to sit in his police cruiser to stay out of the way of traffic.

The attorney general’s office said Gordon tried to enter the driver’s seat of Wetzel’s patrol car twice. The first time, Wetzel pepper-sprayed him, and in the second instance, Wetzel pulled Gordon out of the driver’s seat and during a struggle shot him six times.

Read more here.

By Meryl Kornfield
June 8, 2020 at 9:14 PM EDT

Biden says he doesn’t support defunding the police

In a “CBS Evening News” interview Monday night, former vice president Joe Biden said he opposes calls from some activists to defund the police but said that federal aid should be conditional.

“No. I don’t support defunding the police," Biden told CBS's Norah O'Donnell. "I support conditioning federal aid to police based on whether or not they meet certain basic standards of decency and honorableness and, in fact, are able to demonstrate they can protect the community, and everybody in the community.”

The full interview will air Tuesday night, but excerpts were released Monday. The presumptive Democratic presidential candidate spoke with O’Donnell in Houston, where he met with Floyd’s family for more than an hour and is expected to attend the private funeral for Floyd Tuesday.

Asked about the meeting, Biden said he and his wife, Jill, spoke with the Floyds about the process of having to grieve in public.

“Jill and I talked to them about – it’s hard enough to grieve but it’s much harder to do it in public," Biden said. "It’s much harder with the whole world watching. They’re an incredible family. His little daughter was there, the one who said, ‘Daddy’s going to change the world.’ And I think her daddy is going to change the world. I think what’s happened here is one of those great inflection points in American history, for real, in terms of civil liberties, civil rights, and just treating people with dignity.”

By Felicia Sonmez and Matt Viser
June 8, 2020 at 8:53 PM EDT

Health official suggests protesters get tested for covid-19, consider self-quarantine

Protests against systematic racism within law enforcement continue to be held in communities from coast to coast as health officials worry about the spread of covid-19 among large groups of people. Though officials are still encouraging social distancing, protests with thousands of people aren’t necessarily set up to adhere to those guidelines.

Barbara Ferrer, director of public health for L.A. County, has asked people to take the proper measures if they attend the protests. She encouraged the continued use of face covering and continued to stress the value of social distancing. Ferrer also asked anyone who has attended a protest and was unable to social distance, and think they may have been exposed, to self-quarantine for 14 days.

“Every single social interaction that happens outside your household,” Ferrer said, “comes with risk to both the people who interact and if anyone should get infected, to the people they live, work and play with into the future.”

Ferrer added that it is appropriate to get tested if a person believes they were exposed to someone infected at the protests. She also warned against false positive tests and suggested remaining in self-quarantine even if the results are negative. Those exposed may want to wait a few days before getting tested, she advised.

“If the virus has entered your system and is starting to replicate, you do technically have the infection, but it won’t show up in the nasal or mouth swab test immediately, which means your result will come back as a false negative (and be a false sense of security).”

“Since testing depends on having a certain amount of the coronavirus present in your nose (or nasopharynx), it can take several days from the time you’re exposed to when you will be able to be tested,” according to the University of Chicago School of Medicine.

By Kareem Copeland
June 8, 2020 at 8:30 PM EDT

St. Paul man charged in burning of Minneapolis Police 3rd Precinct Station

A man from St. Paul, Minn., was charged with aiding and abetting arson at the Minneapolis Police Department’s Third Precinct late last month, U.S. Attorney Erica H. MacDonald announced Monday. The Precinct building went up in flames on the night of May 28, after demonstrators breached a door and went inside, generating viral imagery that underscored the unrest in Minneapolis in the days immediately following Floyd’s death.

In a news release, MacDonald said investigators had identified multiple fires that were started inside the building that night. On June 3, police officers were notified that a man, identified as Branden Michael Wolfe, was trying to enter the home improvement store where he previously worked as a security guard while “wearing body armor and a law enforcement duty belt and carrying a baton.” The belt featured handcuffs, an earphone piece, a baton and a knife, according to the release.

According to MacDonald, Wolfe was fired earlier from the store earlier that day after posting to social media about stealing items from the Third Precinct. Wolfe was wearing the belt when he was arrested, and law enforcement reportedly found other items from the station in Wolfe’s apartment, including a riot helmet, a 9mm pistol magazine and a police radio.

Wolfe admitted to being inside the Third Precinct on May 28, taking property from the building and pushing a wooden barrel into the fire, officials said. MacDonald said Wolfe told law enforcement that he pushed the barrel “knowing that it would help keep the fire burning.”

Wolfe will make his initial appearance in U.S. District Court Tuesday, according to the release. It was not immediately clear if he had an attorney.

By Michael Brice-Saddler
June 8, 2020 at 8:10 PM EDT

Visitors pay respects to George Floyd in Houston, say his death has touched the world

HOUSTON — The first time Austayne Brown walked by George Floyd’s open casket, his grief boiled over as he whispered “thank you” to the man the world saw killed beneath the weight of a white police officer’s knee and the burden of this country’s long history of racial injustice.

But the interaction felt incomplete. So Brown rejoined the throngs of thousands who lined up beneath the scalding sun here to catch a final glimpse of the man so many saw in his final, brutal, moments. He contemplated what Floyd would have him do next.

“The first time was kind of like me talking to him, sharing with him what he was able to do for the world,” said Brown, 30, a youth rehabilitation counselor who drove 22 hours from Dover, Del., to be there for the visitation on Monday afternoon. “The second time I wanted to listen . . . and it was like him saying: ‘You saw what I was able to do on accident, what can you do on purpose?’ ”

In life, George Floyd was mostly anonymous to all except those who loved him best. In death, his name and image are now synonymous with a worldwide call for racial reconciliation. Countless protesters of all backgrounds marched, chanted and cried his name in nearly every major city of the United States and in numerous locations around the world. Families are having difficult conversations. People are wondering what role they can play in a changing nation. Some elected leaders are proposing sweeping changes to law enforcement, including a demolition of the Minneapolis Police Department, whose custody Floyd was in when he died.

Floyd did not set out to be a martyr, but that is what mourners who came to pay their respects say he has become. That scene, those sounds, and the way it has touched Americans, particularly black Americans, has triggered the kind of uncomfortable reckoning that brought thousands of strangers to southwest Houston to lament and repent.

Read more here.

By Arelis Hernández
June 8, 2020 at 7:48 PM EDT

Facing the ‘Defund the Police’ movement, mayors launch national police reform group

With temperatures still rising over the need to curb police brutality, the U.S. Conference of Mayors on Monday launched a police reform and racial justice working group to devise recommendations on policing and “to help end the injustices facing black Americans.”

The mayors of Chicago, Tampa and Cincinnati were named to the group, along with the police chiefs of Baltimore, Phoenix and Columbia, S.C. Former D.C. police chief Charles Ramsey and the former executive director of President Barack Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing will also participate, the mayors said in a news release.

The working group arises as cities and counties are facing growing pressure from those calling to “defund the police.” In Minneapolis, where George Floyd was killed in police custody last month, city council members have said they will begin the process of dismantling the city police department.

By Tom Jackman
June 8, 2020 at 7:25 PM EDT

Minneapolis City Council members speak out on efforts to disband police department

One day after the majority of the Minneapolis City Council announced their intention to disband the city’s police department, a contingent of the council on Monday delved into the proposal and fielded questions from reporters about how their plan will come together.

The proposal still lacks a timeline or specifics, but the four council members who spoke Monday generally agreed on one sentiment: The city will be better served redirecting funds from the police department to other agencies that can help community members, notably education and health care.

Council members also said they want the community to be involved in all aspects of that discussion.

“We owe to ourselves to put our resources [into programs] that we already know are working,” Ward 5 councilmember Jeremiah Ellison said. “We won’t hit the eject button without a fully realized plan.”

The Minneapolis Police Department operates with more than $180 million in its budget, according to council member Alondra Cano. Conversations around the city’s budget will continue in the summer when Mayor Jacob Frey (D) is scheduled to present an amended budget to the council.

On Saturday, Frey was booed out of a protest after he would not commit to defunding the city’s police department.

Council members were also asked questions pertaining to who would respond to emergencies in the absence of a police force. In response, they said those systems would be established with the help of the community.

“I don’t think the challenge will be who will respond to a fatal shooting,” Cano said. “The challenge will be ... having too many ideas on the table. It’ll be about the process to get to a consensus.”

Lisa Bender, the council president, said that looking back on the city’s policing system over the past 150 years, “we know it isn’t working to keep every member of our community safe.”

“Hopefully it will not take us 150 years to build that new system, but it won’t happen overnight,” she added. “The answers lie in the community.”

By Michael Brice-Saddler
June 8, 2020 at 7:16 PM EDT

Barr says Secret Service told Trump to go to bunker because ‘things were so bad’ during protests

Attorney General William P. Barr said Monday that the Secret Service told President Trump to go down to a secure bunker in the White House because “things were so bad” during the protests over George Floyd’s death, a statement that appears to contradict Trump’s claim that he went to the bunker simply to inspect the secure location.

"On Monday, we were reacting to three days of extremely violent demonstrations -- right across from the White House, a lot of injuries to police officers, arson," Barr said in an interview with Fox News Channel's Bret Baier. "Things were so bad that the Secret Service recommended the president go down to the bunker. We can't have that in our country."

Trump said in an interview with Fox Radio host Brian Kilmeade last week that it was "false" that he had been told to go to the bunker for his safety.

“I went down during the day, and I was there for a tiny, little short period of time, and it was much more for an inspection. ... They said it would be a good time to go down, take a look, because maybe some time you’re going to need it," Trump said.

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

By Felicia Sonmez
June 8, 2020 at 7:08 PM EDT

Barr: Protests raise questions about coronavirus restrictions

Attorney General William P. Barr said Monday that the protests over police violence roiling America should raise questions about coronavirus-related restrictions that state and local leaders have imposed on their residents to stem the virus’s spread.

In an interview with Fox News’s Brett Baier, Barr, as he has in the past, voiced skepticism of the broad restrictions on business and social activity that various states have imposed to help quell the spread of the novel coronavirus. He said while the initial measures were appropriate, “as time has gone by, the degree of impingement on fundamental liberties has never been anything like this in the United States.”

Baier asked whether the protests — which sometimes have packed thousands close together — had “changed that dynamic.”

“It raises a fundamental question, which is, why should some people who are enjoying their First Amendment rights by going out and protesting have broader rights than other people who may want to exercise their, for example, religious First Amendment rights and go to church, as long as social distancing rules and things like that are complied with,” Barr responded.

Under Barr’s leadership, the Justice Department has pushed — sometimes in formal court action and sometimes in letters to state and local officials — to make sure that churches, in particular, face no greater restriction than other businesses. The coronavirus is persisting in some places in the United States, and public health officials have been closely monitoring the data to see whether the demonstrations will cause another surge in infections.

By Matt Zapotosky
June 8, 2020 at 6:56 PM EDT

Kentucky Gov. Beshear says he wants health-care coverage for entire black community

Acknowledging racial inequality in the health-care system, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) said Monday that the state will seek to provide coverage for everyone in the black community.

“The inequalities have been exposed by this covid-19 epidemic and the results of inequality in health care have been shown: It’s death,” Beshear said at a news conference in Frankfort, Ky.

“It simply can’t be allowed to continue any longer and it shouldn’t have taken this type of pandemic — or it shouldn’t have taken this type of demonstrations — for us to committing to ending it. ”

Beshear did not offer specifics but the Louisville Courier Journal reported he could use a mix of Medicaid, Medicare and private insurance.

Blacks make up 8 percent of the state’s population but have had 15.7 percent of its novel coronavirus cases and 16.4 percent of covid-19 related deaths, according to state data. The death total in the state is 472.

“My commitment today is we are going to begin an effort to cover 100 percent of our individuals in our African-American communities. Everybody,” he said. “We are going to be putting dollars behind it. We are going to have a multifaceted campaign to do it. But it’s time, especially during covid-19, when we see what happens when you don’t have coverage, we are going to make sure that everybody does. ”

By Steven Goff
June 8, 2020 at 6:24 PM EDT

What video and other records show about the clearing of protesters outside the White House

Late in the day on June 1, demonstrators gathered near the White House, on the edge of Lafayette Square, to protest police abuse following the death in custody of Minneapolis resident George Floyd. Similar protests had erupted across the country. Many were peaceful, but some included property destruction and clashes with police.

Earlier in the day, President Trump berated local and state leaders as “weak” for not doing more to quell unrest, and in a call with governors he pledged decisive action. “We’re going to do something that people haven’t seen before,” he said, “but you got to have total domination, and then you have to put them in jail.”

At about 6:30 p.m., just north of the White House, federal police in riot gear fired gas canisters and used grenades containing rubber pellets to scatter largely peaceful demonstrators. Their actions cleared the way for the president, surrounded by the nation’s top law enforcement and military leaders, to walk to the historic St. John’s Church for a three-minute photo op.

Drawing on footage captured from dozens of cameras, as well as police radio communications and other records, The Washington Post reconstructed the events of this latest remarkable hour of Trump’s presidency, including of the roles of the agencies involved and the tactics and weaponry they used.

Watch the reconstruction above to see how it unfolded.

By Washington Post Staff, Dalton Bennett, Sarah Cahlan, Aaron Davis and Joyce Lee
June 8, 2020 at 5:56 PM EDT

Turkish president blames antifa for violence in U.S. during call with Trump

The Trump administration’s unsupported claim that a far-left anti-fascist network is largely to blame for the violence during nationwide protests over police brutality received an unexpected boost Monday from a foreign ally: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey.

Erdogan, wading into U.S. domestic politics during a phone call with Trump on Monday, voiced concerns about “groups” that he said were behind “acts of violence and looting in the United States” — an apparent reference to the loose-knit movement known as antifa that Trump has blamed for the rioting and vowed to designate as a terrorist organization, according to a Turkish readout of the phone call.

The readout does not make clear whether Erdogan referred to antifa by name. But Turkey’s government, seizing on the unrest in the United States, has tried in recent days to highlight what it says are links between Western leftists associated with antifa and Kurdish fighters in northern Syria whom Turkey regards as part of a terrorist group.

“The presence of antifa members at the George Floyd protests is profoundly concerning for Ankara — not only because of their destructive actions toward our NATO ally, but also for the loose links they have with terror organizations that threaten Turkey’s national security,” a narrator says in a recent Turkish government video that was shared online by Fahrettin Altun, a spokesman for Erdogan.

Trump administration officials have yet to present evidence linking antifa activists to violent acts during the protests.

Erdogan and Trump have managed to maintain a warm personal relationship, even as their governments have argued over numerous issues over the past few years. Before criticizing antifa, Erdogan had appeared to blame the U.S. authorities for Floyd’s death. “The racist and fascist approach” that led to the death, he wrote on Twitter, was “one of the most painful manifestations of the unjust order we stand against across the world.”

By Kareem Fahim
June 8, 2020 at 5:23 PM EDT

Law enforcement punctured the tires of parked cars during Minneapolis protests

Some protesters in Minneapolis found themselves unable to drive home last month after law enforcement slashed the tires of their cars, according to video compiled by Mother Jones.

Officers punctured tires of cars parked outside a Kmart on May 30 and under a highway overpass May 31, the news outlet reported.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety acknowledged Monday that State Patrol troopers at times “strategically deflated tires to keep vehicles from being used in attacks, and so we could tow the vehicles later for collection of evidence if necessary.”

Bruce Gordon, a spokesman for the department, said the tactic was meant to stop motorists from driving dangerously or at high speeds around other people and to stymie cars containing objects that could be used as weapons, such as rocks and concrete. In one case, Gordon said someone pushed a running, unoccupied car without keys inside toward law enforcement.

“While not a typical tactic, vehicles were being used as dangerous weapons and inhibited our ability to keep areas safe where violent protests were occurring,” Gordon said.

Anoka County sheriff’s deputies also cut tires. Lt. Andy Knotz said in a statement that the deputies were following orders from the state-led Multiagency Command Center, which led law enforcement’s response to the protests after George Floyd’s killing.

Sheriff’s deputies slashed the tires of two cars on May 31 “to preserve life and safety of both the protestors and law enforcement that were present at this location,” Knotz said.

“These vehicles were illegally abandoned on the roadway and a potential hazard that could have been used as mobile weapons,” he added.

Knotz told the Star Tribune that the deputies could not tow the cars because of the mass of people in the area.

By Marisa Iati
June 8, 2020 at 5:06 PM EDT

Biden’s compassion in meeting with Floyd’s family ‘meant the world,’ attorney says

Former vice president Joe Biden on Monday met with George Floyd’s family for more than an hour, according to their attorney, Benjamin Crump, where Biden “listened, heard their pain, and shared in their woe.”

Biden, who Friday secured the delegates needed to become the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, traveled to Houston — where Floyd grew up — and met with the family for more than an hour, Crump said. The attorney tweeted a picture Monday afternoon that showed him standing with Biden, the Rev. Al Sharpton, Rep. Cedric L. Richmond (D-La.) and Floyd’s uncle, Roger Floyd.

“Listening to one another is what will begin to heal America,” Crump tweeted. “That compassion meant the world to this grieving family.”

In a Monday afternoon tweet, Republican Sen. John Cornyn (Texas) also said he’d spoken to Floyd’s family, adding that he is “dedicated to rooting out racial injustices so no other family has to experience what George Floyd’s family has.”

“I gave them my deepest condolences and offered to help however I can,” he said. “But mostly I listened — it’s critical now more than ever that we all take time to listen.”

Biden is planning to attend Floyd’s Tuesday funeral, Crump said. The former vice president is also recording a video message that will play at Floyd’s funeral, his campaign told The Washington Post.

By Michael Brice-Saddler
June 8, 2020 at 4:55 PM EDT

‘We won’t be defunding our police,’ Trump says

At a law enforcement roundtable Monday afternoon, President Trump pushed back against proposals in some cities to defund the police.

“We won’t be defunding our police,” Trump said. “We won’t be dismantling our police. … You might have some cities that want to try, but it’s going to be a very sad situation.”

He added that the police, in general, are “doing an incredible job.”

His comments came hours after congressional Democrats unveiled new police reform legislation.

Despite the nationwide protests over police brutality and systemic racism, several members of Trump’s administration have in recent days dismissed the notion that there is systemic racism in U.S. policing.

In an appearance Sunday on CBS News’s “Face the Nation,” Attorney General William P. Barr said that “there’s racism in the United States still, but I don’t think that the law enforcement system is systemically racist.”

Asked at Monday’s news briefing whether Trump believes there is systemic racism in U.S. law enforcement, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany declined to say, noting instead that the president believes that most police officers are “good people.”

“He definitely believes there are instances of racism,” McEnany said. “But look, he believes our law enforcement are the best in the world. He believes that, by and large, they are good people.”

“There is a lot of evidence of that, and he has great faith in our police departments,” she added.

By Felicia Sonmez
June 8, 2020 at 4:26 PM EDT

Portland police chief announces resignation amid protests

Portland Police Chief Jami Resch announced Monday that she was resigning and that her replacement will be Charlie Lovell, an African American lieutenant.

At a news briefing, Resch, who has been on the job for six months, said Lovell is “the exact right person at the exact right moment.”

The announcement comes as the Portland Police Bureau faces criticism for its handling of demonstrations against police brutality and the killing of George Floyd.

Videos of Portland police using tear gas against protesters — considered a controversial tactic given its health impact — spurred Mayor Ted Wheeler (D) to instruct officers Saturday to use tear gas only as a last resort.

After Resch’s announcement Monday, Wheeler told reporters he would release further policy changes for the Portland Police Bureau in an effort to de-escalate unrest and improve community relations.

The Portland Committee on Community-Engaged Policing passed two recommendations Sunday to defund the Portland Police Bureau and ban tear gas. Wheeler said Monday those proposals are being considered.

Lovell said that he found out about the promotion from Resch the previous day.

“This is going to be hard,” Lovell said. “I don’t have any illusions about that. But meeting every day at Revolutionary Square and marching to downtown Portland, standing up to injustice, that’s hard.”

By Meryl Kornfield
June 8, 2020 at 4:03 PM EDT

Pedestrian dies after being hit by car at protest in California

A pedestrian who was hit by a vehicle last week during a protest against police violence in Bakersfield, Calif., has died, the police department said in a statement on Twitter.

The person, whose identity was not released by the coroner’s office or police, was crossing an eastbound lane of traffic after dark on June 4 — headed toward the center median — when he was struck by oncoming traffic, authorities said. A group of demonstrators was marching in the westbound lane.

Video shows the collision. Authorities were called to the scene at 10:24 p.m., police said. The victim was taken to a hospital and the driver of the car, who also has not been identified, was taken into custody. The department’s major collision team is investigating the incident, police said.

Authorities said the driver did not show any signs of being under the influence, nor was he using “excessive speed.”

“A final determination for this collision will be made once all the evidence has been collected, and investigative reports have been completed and reviewed,” the department said.

By Katie Mettler
June 8, 2020 at 3:55 PM EDT

Pelosi, Schumer call on Trump to reopen Lafayette Square after authorities pushed back largely peaceful protesters

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Monday called on President Trump to reopen Lafayette Square, one week after authorities pushed back largely peaceful protesters by charging at them with mounted police and firing canisters that sent plumes of noxious smoke into the crowd.

In a letter to Trump, the two Democratic leaders emphasized that the square “has long been a venue where Americans can gather to freely exercise their constitutional rights in close proximity to the White House.”

“You have now erected heavy, semi-permanent steel fencing to wall off the Square,” Pelosi and Schumer wrote. “Your conversion of this unique public park in the heart of our Nation’s capital to what looks like a militarized zone denies citizens access to the park and sends the worst possible message to the American public and people around the world.”

Read more here.

By Felicia Sonmez
June 8, 2020 at 3:08 PM EDT

Self-identified KKK leader arrested after driving through protesters, prosecutors say

A self-identified leader of the Ku Klux Klan was arrested after driving through peaceful protesters in Richmond late Sunday afternoon, prosecutors said.

The man, Harry H. Rogers, 36, of Hanover County has been charged with assault and battery, attempted malicious wounding and destruction of property with intent, according to online court records and prosecutors.

Police said the incident occurred around 5:45 p.m. Sunday, when protesters were marching on Lakeside Avenue near Vale Street over the death of George Floyd, a black man killed while in the custody of law enforcement in Minneapolis. Witnesses told police that Rogers revved his engine and drove through the protesters in the street, according to a statement released by Henrico County police.

By Emily Davies
June 8, 2020 at 3:05 PM EDT

Judge sets Chauvin’s bail at $1.25 million in brief first court hearing

MINNEAPOLIS — Former officer Derek Chauvin on Monday appeared via videoconference at his first court hearing, where a judge set his bail at $1.25 million without conditions or $1 million with conditions.

The conditions include avoiding contact with George Floyd’s family, surrendering firearms and not working in law enforcement or security, among other things. Chauvin, 44, is being held at a state prison in Oak Park Heights, Minn., about 26 miles northeast of the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis.

Chauvin was formally charged at the hearing with second-degree murder without intent, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

State Prosecutor Matthew Frank said he was requesting $1.25 million in bail because of the “severity of the charges,” and he expressed concern that Chauvin might be a flight risk because of the “strong reaction of the community” to Floyd’s death.

Eric Nelson, an attorney for Chauvin, did not object to the requested bail amount or indicate whether his client would pay it. Judge Jeannice Reding said Chauvin will not be allowed to leave Minnesota if he posts bail.

A video screen inside the courtroom showed Chauvin being led into a small conference room — handcuffed and wearing an orange jumpsuit — where he was seated alone at a table. The former officer spelled his name for the court record, listed his former address and answered “yes” when Reding asked whether he could hear her.

The proceedings lasted about 14 minutes.

Chauvin is scheduled to appear in court again on June 29 and will probably make a plea then. He indicated Monday that he had waived his right to appear in person at his proceedings, and his attorney did not say whether he would do so.

By Holly Bailey and Marisa Iati
June 8, 2020 at 1:58 PM EDT

Brits cheer toppling of slave trader statue but are divided over tagging of Winston Churchill as racist

LONDON — When Black Lives Matter protesters toppled a bronze statue of the 17th-century British philanthropist, politician and slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol on Sunday, many cheered. Even the mayor of the city acknowledged that he had never liked its public placement, which he called “an affront.”

But after demonstrators in London’s Parliament Square tagged a prominent statue of Winston Churchill with graffiti branding him “a racist,” the reaction was much more heated and divided.

For his wartime leadership, his role in the salvation of the British Isles and the defeat of the Nazis, Churchill remains, by popular acclaim, one of the greatest Britons of all time.

But his legacy is as complex and contradictory as it is sprawling. Born in 1874 during the height of the British Empire, Churchill is viewed as villain by many in the former colonies, and his words and actions provide fodder for his critics today to label him a racist.

By Karla Adam and William Booth
June 8, 2020 at 1:30 PM EDT

Hundreds expected to pay last respects to Floyd in Houston

Hundreds are expected to pay their last respects in southwest Houston to George Floyd, whose violent death reawakened the country to the persistent and pervasive inequities of American society.

Floyd, who was killed May 25 when a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes during an arrest, grew up in Houston’s historically African American Third Ward. Mourners from all over the region have gathered at a mural near the Third Ward housing project where Floyd lived to pray and leave messages and tokens of affection.

Floyd’s remains arrived in Houston on Saturday, and the general public will be allowed, 15 people at a time, to enter the Fountain of Praise church sanctuary to honor his memory. Diverse groups of visitors gathered hours before in the blistering heat to catch shuttle buses from a nearby shopping center to the church. Each group will have 10 minutes to reflect before being ushered out because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Necther Harvey, 67, of Houston didn’t know Floyd but brought her 9-year-old granddaughter to mark this historic moment, which she said she hopes will result in substantive societal change. The video of Floyd under the officer’s knee stopped her cold. It’s an old story, she said.

“People are tired of it,” said Harvey, her voice choking and tears streaming down her face. “Something should be done, and I’m game for anything.”

Organizers required people to wear gloves and masks and have their temperature taken to enter. The heat was beginning to overpower people in line. Police and organizers began bringing people inside the church an hour earlier than scheduled to avoid heat spells and medical emergencies.

Monday’s viewing will be followed by a private funeral Tuesday. The commemorations in Houston this week are the third and final part of Floyd’s journey to his final resting place next to his mother in a cemetery in Pearland, Tex.

By Arelis Hernández
June 8, 2020 at 12:49 PM EDT

Biden does not support ‘defunding’ the police, spokesman says

Former vice president Joe Biden does not believe police should be “defunded,” a spokesman said Monday, distancing the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee from a growing number of liberal activists who have embraced the slogan “defund the police” in the wake of George Floyd’s death.

“As his criminal justice proposal made clear months ago, Vice President Biden does not believe that police should be defunded,” spokesman Andrew Bates said in a statement. “He hears and shares the deep grief and frustration of those calling out for change, and is driven to ensure that justice is done and that we put a stop to this terrible pain.”

Different officials and activists have defined the slogan “defund the police” differently, with some advocating police departments be abolished and others suggesting more modest steps to shift some funding from police departments to other government agencies.

In the statement, Bates echoed some of the more modest calls but also said Biden wants to spend more money in some areas, including for body-worn cameras.

“Biden supports the urgent need for reform — including funding for public schools, summer programs, and mental health and substance abuse treatment separate from funding for policing — so that officers can focus on the job of policing,” Bates said. “This also means funding community policing programs that improve relationships between officers and residents, and provides the training that is needed to avert tragic, unjustifiable deaths. This funding would also go towards diversifying police departments so that they resemble the communities in which they serve. We also need additional funding for body-worn cameras.”

By John Wagner
June 8, 2020 at 12:44 PM EDT

Following massive protests, France’s Interior Minister forbids police from using chokeholds

PARIS — French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said Monday that French police would no longer use chokeholds, following days of demonstrations in which tens of thousands marched through French cities in honor of George Floyd and against police brutality in France.

“This cry, I hear it,” Castaner said in Monday news conference.

“I have a special requirement for our police forces,” he said. “I say it firmly: racism has no place in our society and even less in our republic’s police.”

Castaner also announced that officers would be suspended for racist words or actions, that officers would be given new instructions about how to conduct identity checks, and that police should be sure to wear cameras to record these exchanges.

The announcement followed pressure from President Emmanuel Macron, who had urged his government to present clear proposals for improving police ethics after massive demonstrations took place in Paris and across the country, according to French media reports.

According to Interior Ministry statistics, more than 23,000 people took part in demonstrations on Saturday. Last week, approximately 20,000 people marched in Paris alone.

The reverberation of the Floyd case in France was a testament to the lingering perception among many French people of color that police brutality is also a problem in France that rarely receives as much attention as it does in the United States.

A central component of the French response has been the “Justice For Adama” movement, a group that seeks to raise awareness about police brutality through the case of a 24-year-old black man who died in police custody in 2016.

“Today, when we fight for George Floyd, we fight for Adama Traoré,” said Assa Traoré, Adama Traoré’s sister, at a large Paris demonstration last Tuesday.

By James McAuley
June 8, 2020 at 12:25 PM EDT

Pelosi says whether to ‘defund the police’ is a local decision

Pressed about growing calls from liberal activists to “defund the police,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Monday that such decisions are in the hands of local governments.

“There are some issues that we ask police to do, like mental health issues or policing in schools and all the rest that perhaps we can shuffle some of that money around. But those are all local decisions,” Pelosi said during an interview on MSNBC, in which she echoed points made during a Democratic news conference to unveil a sweeping policing reform bill.

Different officials and activists have defined the slogan “defund the police” differently, with some advocating wholesale abolishment of police departments and others suggesting more modest steps to shift some funding from police departments to other government agencies.

President Trump and other Republicans have seized on the phrase to paint Democrats as weak on crime.

“This year has seen the lowest crime numbers in our Country’s recorded history, and now the Radical Left Democrats want to Defund and Abandon our Police,” Trump said in a tweet Monday shortly after the Democratic news conference, adding: “Sorry, I want LAW & ORDER!”

Asked on MSNBC what the phrase means to her, Pelosi said: “What it means is the resources that we have, let us spend it in a way that gives the most protection to the American people, protection for their safety, protection for their rights. Funding of police is a local matter, as you know. From the standpoint of our legislation, we’re not going to that place. What we’re doing is talking about how we change policies and make our policing more just.”

By John Wagner
June 8, 2020 at 11:24 AM EDT

Philadelphia officers applaud police inspector charged with assaulting a protester

Dozens of Philadelphia officers applauded their department’s staff inspector Monday as he left a Fraternal Order of Police lodge to turn himself in on allegations of assaulting a protester last week.

The officers cheered for Joseph Bologna, who was charged with aggravated assault and related offenses Friday after a video emerged of him beating a Temple University student and other protesters with a metal baton while trying to disperse a demonstration June 1.

The same day that Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw told reporters that she had launched an internal investigation into Bologna’s behavior, District Attorney Larry Krasner announced that he would prosecute the inspector. The Temple student experienced “serious bodily injury,” including a head wound that required staples and sutures, from the beating, Krasner said.

John McNesby, president of FOP Lodge 5, defended Bologna on Friday and said Krasner had rushed to judgment in filing criminal charges.

“The FOP is disgusted to learn of the arrest of one of its most decorated and respected police leaders,” McNesby wrote in a news release. “Inspector Bologna’s dedication to our city for over 30 years is unmatched. He was engaged in a volatile and chaotic situation with only milliseconds to make a decision.”

A GoFundMe page for Bologna had collected more than $22,000 as of Monday morning, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported. The FOP lodge is also selling T-shirts to support Bologna.

By Marisa Iati
June 8, 2020 at 10:57 AM EDT

Congressional Democrats unveil sweeping police reform legislation in response to protests

Congressional Democrats on Monday unveiled broad police reform legislation, pledging to transform law enforcement across the country in the wake of the death of George Floyd in the custody of Minneapolis police, which has sparked nationwide protests.

The Justice in Policing Act of 2020 would ban chokeholds, establish a national database to track police misconduct and prohibit certain no-knock warrants, among other steps.

Leaders of House and Senate Democrats released the legislation, which was drafted by members of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.), chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, said the legislation presents “a bold, transformative vision of policing in America.”

“Never again should the world be subjected to witnessing what we saw on the streets in Minneapolis: the slow murder of an individual by a uniformed police officer,” she said at the outset of a news conference.

Bass said the legislation has more than 200 co-sponsors in the House and the Senate.

It remains unclear how receptive Republicans and President Trump will be to the bill, which Pelosi pledged to pass swiftly in the Democratic-led House.

Pelosi urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to take up the legislation soon after it clears her chamber.

“The president must not stand in the way of justice,” she said. “Congress and the country will not relent until this legislation is made into law.”

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said he would push McConnell to move toward debate and a vote on the bill in July.

“A divided nation cannot wait for healing, for solutions,” Schumer said.

Read more here.

By John Wagner
June 8, 2020 at 10:43 AM EDT

CrossFit founder jokes about George Floyd as Reebok, gyms drop the brand

A tweet Saturday from CrossFit founder Greg Glassman that appeared to make light of both the death of George Floyd and the novel coronavirus pandemic resulted in a widespread backlash within the CrossFit community. On Sunday, Reebok announced that it was ending its corporate partnership with the popular fitness company, and after some gyms said they were cutting ties to the CrossFit brand, and others said they’re considering doing so, Glassman issued an apology.

Glassman was responding Saturday to a tweet posted by the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), in which the research center declared, “Racism is a public health issue.”

“It’s FLOYD-19,” replied Glassman, 63.

That sparked outrage among some owners of CrossFit gyms, or “boxes,” as they’re called, that pay fees of several thousands of dollars annually to license the brand. A few of those gyms made it clear that, as expressed by Pacific Crest CrossFit in Portland, Ore., the tweet was “just the last straw” after they had been long disillusioned by the company’s leadership.

By Des Bieler
June 8, 2020 at 10:41 AM EDT

Pelosi leads lawmakers in extended moment of silence

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) led about two dozen lawmakers, most of them kneeling and wearing kente cloth, in an extended moment of silence Monday at the Capitol.

The observance lasted 8 minutes, 46 seconds, the exact length of time that a Minneapolis police officer held his knee on George Floyd’s neck before he died on May 25.

Pelosi was joined by members of the House leadership, committee chairs and members of the Congressional Black Caucus, as well as Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.).

Before most lawmakers dropped to kneel, Pelosi read the names of Floyd and others who have died in recent years in police custody and noted that the observance was taking place in Emancipation Hall, which was named for the enslaved workers who helped to build the U.S. Capitol.

“You see how long it was to have that knee on his neck,” Pelosi said after rising, referring to Floyd’s encounter with the police.

Senate Democrats held a similar ceremony last week at which many of them dropped to a knee. The symbolic protest started with National Football League quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneeling during the national anthem before games to draw attention to police violence, but it has taken on added significance because of Floyd’s death.

By John Wagner
June 8, 2020 at 10:14 AM EDT

Minneapolis mayor says he is pro-reform but does not support disbanding police department

After facing intense scrutiny over the weekend from protesters, who booed him at a crowded demonstration after he declined to commit to defunding the Minneapolis Police Department, Mayor Jacob Frey (D) said Monday morning on ABC News that he supports reform — but not disbanding police.

“Let me be clear. I am for massive, structural and transformational reform to an entire system that has not for generations worked for black and brown people. We have failed them,” he said on ABC’s “Good Morning America” program. “We need a full-on cultural shift in how our Minneapolis Police Department and departments throughout the country function. Am I for entirely abolishing the police department? No, I am not.”

Nine members of the Minneapolis City Council said at a rally Sunday afternoon that they would begin to dismantle the police department through budget cuts and other means, working to reimagine a new system for managing public safety in the city. On Twitter, the nine said their support for such measures was veto-proof because they represent a majority of the council.

Frey said Monday that he would be working with the council and “deciphering what particularly they need when they say ending and abolishing” the department. He said he will be “talking with them directly.”

“Everything is on the table at this point,” Frey said, advocating for structural reform. He said municipalities, mayors and police chiefs have been “hamstrung for generations” because strong police union contracts make it difficult for departments to fire officers for bad behavior, even if the chief supports the terminations.

“We’re going after the police union, the police union contract, the arbitration process,” Frey said.

By Katie Mettler
June 8, 2020 at 9:48 AM EDT

Family and lawyer ask U.N. to probe Floyd’s killing, suggest police reforms for the U.S.

George Floyd’s family and their attorney, Benjamin Crump, sent an urgent appeal to the United Nations on Wednesday, asking the intergovernmental organization to investigate Floyd’s death, advocate for federal charges against the involved officers and recommend police reforms for the United States, according to a statement from Crump.

The letter to the United Nations requested suggestions regarding de-escalation techniques, independent prosecutions and autopsies for extrajudicial police killings, among other topics, “in an effort to stop further human rights abuses including torture and extrajudicial killings of African Americans to protect their inherent and fundamental human right to life,” the statement said.

Crump wrote that U.S. officials consistently fail to hold police accountable for killings — including those of Martin Lee Anderson, Michael Brown, Breonna Taylor and Floyd — and deprive black citizens of the fundamental right to life.

“When a group of people of any nation have been systemically deprived of their universal human right to life by its government for decades, it must appeal to the international community for its support and to the United Nations for its intervention,” Crump wrote.

On May 28, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said she welcomed U.S. federal authorities’ investigation into Floyd’s death.

“But in too many cases in the past, such investigations have led to killings being deemed justified on questionable grounds, or only being addressed by administrative measures,” she said in a statement. “The role that entrenched and pervasive racial discrimination plays in such deaths must also be fully examined, properly recognized and dealt with,” she added.

By Marisa Iati
June 8, 2020 at 9:45 AM EDT

U.S. police have shot and killed at least 463 people this year

In 2015, as protests against the use of deadly force by police swept across the country, The Washington Post began tallying how many people were shot and killed by police. By the end of that year, officers had fatally shot nearly 1,000 people, twice as many as ever documented in one year by the federal government.

With the issue flaring in city after city, some officials vowed to reform how police use force. But the next year, police nationwide again shot and killed nearly 1,000 people. Then they fatally shot about the same number in 2017 — and have done so for every year after that, according to The Post’s ongoing count. Since 2015, police have shot and killed 5,400 people.

This toll has proven impervious to waves of protests, such as those now flooding American streets in the wake of George Floyd’s death at the hands of police in Minneapolis. The number killed has remained steady despite fluctuating crime rates, changeovers in big-city police leadership and a nationwide push for criminal justice reform.

Even amid pandemic restrictions that kept millions at home for weeks, police shot and killed 463 people through the first week of June — 49 more than during the same period in 2019.

Read more here.

By Mark Berman, John Sullivan, Julie Tate and Jennifer Jenkins
June 8, 2020 at 9:20 AM EDT

Trump mocks Romney for marching with protesters on Sunday

President Trump took to Twitter on Monday to mock Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) for marching with protesters against racism over the weekend in Washington, D.C., writing sarcastically “what a guy.”

Romney on Sunday became the first Republican to march in one of the demonstrations in the nation’s capital following the death of George Floyd. The senator wore a mask and drew little notice from fellow protesters. He tweeted a picture of himself in the march with the words, “Black Lives Matter.”

“Tremendous sincerity, what a guy,” Trump tweeted Monday. “Hard to believe, with this kind of political talent, his numbers would ‘tank’ so badly in Utah!”

As of last month, polling in Utah continued to show that more than half of the state’s voters approve of Romney’s performance and that he is more popular than the state’s other Republican senator, Mike Lee.

Romney has been more willing than most Republicans to speak out against Trump and has drawn the president’s ire in particular for having been the only GOP senator to vote to convict him in his impeachment trial.

Romney was among those who criticized Trump after federal authorities forcibly removed protesters near Lafayette Square ahead of a photo op at St. John’s Church near the White House. He also praised former defense secretary Jim Mattis after the Marine general accused Trump last week of being a deliberately divisive president.

By John Wagner
June 8, 2020 at 9:17 AM EDT

Photos show tense overnight protests in Seattle

See more photos from a tense confrontation between police and protesters in Seattle here.

By Olivier Laurent and Nick Kirkpatrick
June 8, 2020 at 8:43 AM EDT

Democrats to roll out policing reform legislation as Trump huddles with law enforcement officers

Democrats in Congress plan to roll out broad policing reform legislation Monday on Capitol Hill, while President Trump is scheduled to hold a roundtable with law enforcement officers at the White House.

The Democratic measure, called the Justice in Policing Act of 2020, includes an array of measures aimed at boosting law enforcement accountability, changing police practices and curbing racial profiling, according to an outline circulated Saturday on Capitol Hill and obtained by The Washington Post.

“Persistent, unchecked bias in policing and a history of lack of accountability is wreaking havoc on the Black community,” reads the outline, which lists George Floyd’s name along with those of other African Americans who have been killed in encounters with officers.

The measure will be formally introduced at a news conference featuring Democratic leaders in both chambers and members of the Congressional Black Caucus.

The White House has yet to announce participants in Trump’s law enforcement roundtable, which is scheduled for Monday afternoon in the State Dining Room. As of Sunday night, the White House was advertising the conversation with Trump, who has cast himself as a law-and-order president amid protests over Floyd’s death, as closed to the media.

On Monday morning, Trump took to Twitter, writing: “LAW & ORDER, NOT DEFUND AND ABOLISH THE POLICE.”

That was a reference to growing calls to shift law enforcement funding to social programs and other initiatives.

“The Radical Left Democrats have gone Crazy!” Trump added.

Both events are taking place as a public viewing is held in Houston for Floyd, a who died last month in police custody in Minneapolis. Former vice president Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, plans to meet Monday with Floyd’s family in Houston, where Floyd grew up.

Biden is also recording a video message that will play at Floyd’s funeral on Tuesday, according to his campaign. He is not planning to attend in person, citing his Secret Service detail and not wanting to disrupt the service.

By John Wagner and Derek Hawkins
June 8, 2020 at 7:57 AM EDT

Most Americans say Trump’s response to protests more harmful than helpful, poll finds

Nearly two-thirds of Americans think President Trump’s response to recent protests has been more harmful than helpful, and more than 8 in 10 say the peaceful protests that have occurred are justified, according to a poll released Monday.

In the CNN-SSRS poll, 65 percent say Trump’s response to the protests have been more harmful than helpful, while 26 percent say it has been more helpful than harmful. Nine percent have no opinion.

The poll finds that Americans overwhelmingly think that peaceful protests are justified in the wake of the death in police custody of Minneapolis man George Floyd, while significantly fewer think violent protests are justified.

In the poll, 84 percent say peaceful protests are justified, while 12 percent say they are not. Meanwhile, 27 percent say violent protests that have occurred are justified, while 69 percent say they are not.

A Wall Street Journal-NBC News poll released over the weekend found that voters by a 2-to-1 margin are more troubled by the actions of police in the killing of Floyd than by violence at some protests.

The CNN-SSRS poll also found limited support for Trump’s idea of deploying the U.S. military in response to the protests. Sixty percent of Americans say that is inappropriate, while 36 percent say it is appropriate.

By John Wagner
June 8, 2020 at 7:28 AM EDT

Derek Chauvin to make first court appearance today

Derek Chauvin, the fired Minneapolis Police Department officer who placed his knee on the neck of George Floyd on Memorial Day until the man stopped breathing, will make his first appearance in court Monday.

Chauvin, 44, is scheduled to appear before Judge Jeannice M. Reding at the Hennepin County District Court at 12:45 p.m. Central time, according to court documents.

Chauvin faces charges of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter — all felonies.

By Katie Mettler
June 8, 2020 at 7:21 AM EDT

Armed driver barrels toward Seattle protesters, shooting one before surrendering to police

A chaotic scene unfolded Sunday night in Seattle when an armed driver barreled toward a crowd of protesters, shooting one person who apparently tried to stop him, before ultimately surrendering to police, according to authorities and video footage of the incident.

The violence interrupted a peaceful protest in the name of George Floyd near the Seattle Police Department’s East Precinct just before 8:30 p.m. Sunday.

Videos showed protesters appearing to chase after a black Honda Civic as it sped down the street toward a larger crowd, slowing just as it crashed into a metal barrier near an intersection. One protester caught up to the vehicle, video by the Seattle Times shows. The man appeared to try to reach inside the driver’s side window, when a shot rang out.

Read more here.

By Meagan Flynn
June 8, 2020 at 7:00 AM EDT

On historic day of protests, D.C.'s Metro ridership hit highest level since coronavirus pandemic

Washington, D.C.'s Metro public transit system had its busiest day in nearly three months Saturday as thousands of protesters returned to the nation’s capital to protest police brutality and systemic racism.

Metro carried nearly 70,000 passengers Saturday, the highest number of riders the rail system has carried since ridership plummeted and the transit agency reduced operations due to the novel coronavirus crisis in mid-March.

The last time Metro trains carried more than 70,000 passengers was March 20, according to available ridership data. Saturday’s ridership was up by about 153 percent when compared to the previous Saturday, when 24,000 people used the region’s rail system.

Read more here.

By Luz Lazo
June 8, 2020 at 6:12 AM EDT

George Floyd’s last public memorial and private funeral service set for Monday and Tuesday

The final public memorial for George Floyd will take place Monday, between noon and 6 p.m. at the Fountain of Praise church in Houston.

Because of social distancing recommendations, only 15 people will be allowed inside the church at a time for about 10 minutes to remember Floyd, whose death in police custody in Minneapolis has sparked nationwide protests. The church is asking guests to wear masks and take measures, such as washing or sanitizing hands, to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus during the services.

On Monday evening, Houston’s Jack Yates Senior High School, where Floyd graduated in 1993, will hold a candlelight vigil starting at 7:30 p.m. on the football field. The alumni association also asked participants to honor social distancing recommendations and wear masks.

A final private service will take place on Tuesday, followed by Floyd’s burial at Houston Memorial Gardens cemetery. Fountain of Praise will stream the memorial services online.

By Katie Shepherd
June 8, 2020 at 6:06 AM EDT

D.C.’s ‘Black Lives Matter’ street art inspires similar giant murals in cities nationwide

The sun had only been up for about an hour Sunday morning when Charman Driver and about a dozen other people convened on a street in downtown Raleigh, N.C., for another day of protesting against racism. But instead of signs and banners, the group showed up with a different means of spreading their message: paint.

Within hours, three giant words written out in marigold yellow block lettering stretched the length of a city block near the Contemporary Art Museum of Raleigh. “End Racism Now.”

“This is what I’m doing for my child,” Driver, a community activist and local business owner, told WRAL. “Her and her friends need to know the real truth about this country that we live in.”

Read more here.

By Allyson Chiu
June 8, 2020 at 5:15 AM EDT

Seattle police fire tear gas at protesters, days after city announced temporary ban

Seattle police cracked down on a large protest early Monday by firing riot control agents including flash-bangs and tear gas, days after the city announced a temporary ban on the chemical irritant.

The protesters resisted orders to disperse that had been issued at midnight, regrouping at the site of a vigil for George Floyd where, several hours earlier, a man had driven through a barrier and into the crowd, shot a protester in the arm and then approached the police line to be taken into custody.

Police on Twitter said officers asked the crowd to move back after a glass bottle struck a Washington National Guardsman in the head. The police did not say whether the bottle caused any injuries. Minutes later, police claimed protesters were throwing fireworks, rocks and bottles at officers. They responded with pepper spray and “blast balls” or bullets filled with a pepper spray-like substance.

A short time later, police said officers spotted a person with a gun, and authorized the use of CS gas, more commonly known as tear gas. Seattle’s mayor and police chief had agreed Friday to temporarily ban the use of tear gas for 30 days.

Although officials suspended the use of tear gas for crowd control purposes, the city’s SWAT team retained the ability to use the riot control agent during “lifesaving circumstances," the police chief told the Seattle Times.

Video of the tense interactions between protesters and police show officers fired explosive rounds and gas into the crowd, which refused to move. Some protesters lobbed canisters releasing smoke back at the police line.

One protester was hit directly with a munition that appeared to explode as it struck. The injured person collapsed, before being carried away by other protesters.

The Seattle Police Department did not immediately respond to questions about whether Monday morning’s use of tear gas was in compliance with the temporary ban.

By Katie Shepherd
June 8, 2020 at 4:46 AM EDT

Jeff Bezos says he’s ‘happy to lose’ Amazon customers upset by Black Lives Matter support

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos publicly supported the Black Lives Matter movement last week, pledging $10 million to support racial justice and adding a banner to the top of the online retailer’s homepage declaring that “Amazon stands in solidarity with the Black community.”

The move swiftly drew criticism from some shoppers who personally emailed Bezos, who also owns The Washington Post. Bezos responded Sunday by posting two of those letters on Instagram, sharing messages peppered with racial slurs and cries that “all lives matter.

He called the angry and racist responses “sickening, but not surprising” and responded to one writer who threatened to boycott Amazon: “Dave, you’re the kind of customer I’m happy to lose.”

“This sort of hate shouldn’t be allowed to hide in the shadows,” Bezos wrote in response to one email he made public. “It’s important to make it visible. This is just one example of the problem.”

Amazon joined a large cohort of American companies declaring support for the Black Lives Matter protests that have been unfolding across the United States. Facebook, Intel, Apple and Alphabet have also pledged donations to support organizations dedicated to racial justice and supporting black communities.

Some critics have suggested that such corporate declarations do no go far enough, are motivated by profit, and are undermined by labor practices.

By Katie Shepherd
June 8, 2020 at 4:45 AM EDT

John Oliver slams the ‘absolutely unforgivable’ systemic racism of policing black people

As the number of times police have used tear gas, batons and pepper spray during the nationwide protests over George Floyd’s death flashed across the screen, John Oliver reflected on how such incidents have long been present in American culture.

“It didn’t start this week or with this president,” he said on his Sunday-night show. “It always disproportionately falls on black communities.”

To mark the two weeks that have passed since Floyd’s death in Minneapolis, Oliver spent the entirety of “Last Week Tonight” unpacking the history of the systemic racism in policing that has some critics pushing to defund police departments.

“This clearly isn’t about individual officers,” he said. “It’s about a structure built on systemic racism that this country created intentionally and now needs to dismantle intentionally and replace with one that takes into account the needs of the people that it actually serves.”

Oliver, who also slammed President Trump for invoking Floyd’s name when announcing the job numbers on Friday, noted that while images of police officers kneeling in solidarity with the protesters was a start, much more change was needed.

“We need so much more than that because ours is a firmly entrenched system in which the roots of white supremacy run deep, and it is critical that we all grab a f------ shovel,” he said. “To do anything less would be absolutely unforgivable.”

He ended the show playing a clip of author Kimberly Jones talking about the protests.

“There’s a social contract that we all have that if you steal or if I steal, then the person who is the authority, they come in and fix the situation. But the person who fixes the situation is killing us,” she said. “So the social contract is broken.”

She added, “You broke the contract when you killed us in the streets and didn’t give a f---.”

(Note: The video below contains explicit language.)

By Timothy Bella
June 8, 2020 at 4:15 AM EDT

‘Defund the police’ gains traction as cities seek to respond to demands for a major law enforcement shift

A movement to slash funding for police departments or to disband them entirely has surged in the wake of George Floyd’s killing in Minneapolis police custody last month, with activists, local leaders and elected officials calling to drastically reshape public safety amid nationwide protests of police brutality.

Demonstrators have chanted “defund the police” at rallies outside the homes of mayors, and they have printed the slogan on face masks and spray-painted it on walls in numerous cities. In Washington, D.C., the phrase now appears in huge yellow letters on the newly named Black Lives Matter Plaza on 16th Street near the White House.

Though long a concept floated among left-leaning activists and academics, officials from Washington to Los Angeles are now seriously considering ways to scale back their police departments and redirect funding to social programs. The moves would be a strong show of solidarity with protesters, who are clamoring for social justice and to strike back at what they see as an oppressive force across the country.

Read more here.

By Derek Hawkins, Katie Mettler and Perry Stein
June 8, 2020 at 2:15 AM EDT

Trump bashes Colin Powell, questions NFL in late-night tweets over George Floyd protests

As widespread demonstrations against police brutality continued Sunday, President Trump took to Twitter late in the day to lash out at former secretary of state Colin Powell — his latest GOP critic — and to question whether NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will sanction players kneeling during the national anthem.

Powell drew Trump’s ire for an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, where the retired general joined the chorus of former military officials who have bashed the president’s threats to use the armed forces to quell protests.

“We have a Constitution. And we have to follow that Constitution. And the president has drifted away from it,” Powell said.

In his tweet, Trump called Powell “weak” and “pathetic,” citing his discredited testimony in the lead-up to the Iraq War claiming that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.

Goodell, meanwhile, apologized Friday for the league’s past handling of protests for racial equality and encouraged players to speak out. The league had previously sent quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who knelt during the national anthem to protest racism, into a virtual exile over his stance.

On Twitter, Trump questioned whether Goodell’s statement meant “it would now be O.K. for players to KNEEL” during the anthem. Trump again claimed the protests were “disrespecting to our Country & Flag,” though Kaepernick and others have been clear their intention is to demand changes to policing.

By Tim Elfrink
June 8, 2020 at 1:45 AM EDT

‘That’s the snapshot. That’s America’: Sherrilyn Ifill says Floyd’s death reflects the soul of the country

For Sherrilyn Ifill, the image of a white police officer kneeling on the neck of George Floyd for nearly nine minutes until the 46-year-old black man died in police custody was a snapshot of the soul of the country.

Speaking to “60 Minutes” on Sunday, Ifill, president of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, said the visuals surrounding Floyd’s death last month served as a reminder of where the U.S. is at in its history.

“There are moments in this country when there are photographs that are snapshots of the soul of this country,” she said. “They almost hold up a mirror to this country. And when we see this picture of the nonchalance with which America will put its knee on the neck of black people and make itself deaf to our suffering, deaf to our cries, deaf to our desperation — that’s the snapshot. That’s America.”

Ifill’s comments come as cities nationwide continue to protest two weeks after Floyd’s death.

She also criticized President Trump for allowing Attorney General William P. Barr to authorize federal officers and armed troops to gas protesters in Washington to clear the streets.

“It is not strong to [tear] gas people and to stand in front of a building with a Bible,” said Ifill, a Trump critic. “That’s not strength; that is a performance.”

By Timothy Bella
June 8, 2020 at 1:15 AM EDT

Man charged with leaving molotov cocktails in downtown Pittsburgh amid protests

A Pennsylvania man was arrested after he allegedly left a backpack of molotov cocktails in downtown Pittsburgh amid the ongoing protests prompted by George Floyd’s death, authorities announced this weekend.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania said that Matthew Michanowicz, 52, faces federal charges for illegal possession of an unregistered destructive device.

The charges stem from a June 1 incident, when Pittsburgh police responded to a suspicious bag left at a bike rack downtown, according to a criminal complaint. When police found the “military, green backpack,” they noticed a foul odor and three devices, which were later confirmed by a bomb squad to be suspected “homemade molotov cocktails.”

Surveillance footage allegedly captured Michanowicz placing the backpack under some trees. According to the complaint, he told investigators that he had ridden his bike to the area to observe the “aftermath” of the protests last week.

He denied possessing any destructive devices, police say. But when authorities searched Michanowicz’s home, they say, they found 10 additional camouflage backpacks in his garage, along with equipment such as fuses, latex gloves, spray foam insulation and ignitable liquid.

Scott Brady, the U.S. attorney overseeing the case, said Michanowicz was only present at the protests to “incite and destroy.”

“Once again, we see that certain participants in the protests in Pittsburgh were only present to serve as agitators and to incite violence,” Brady said. “Let’s call them what they are: criminals.”

He added, “I hope that any organizers or protesters who are participating consistent with the First Amendment will help identify and stop agitators who seek to manipulate their protest for violent ends.”

By Timothy Bella
June 8, 2020 at 12:02 AM EDT

Mural removed of former Philadelphia mayor Frank Rizzo, widely seen as a symbol of police brutality

Workers on Sunday painted over a large mural in South Philadelphia depicting former mayor and police commissioner Frank Rizzo, who has been seen as a symbol of police brutality and racial discrimination by many in the city for decades.

With the permission of the building’s owner, Mural Arts Philadelphia said, it painted over the mural of Rizzo and is considering new artwork that better reflects the community.

“We know that the removal of this mural does not erase painful memories and are deeply apologetic for the amount of grief it has caused,” Mural Arts Philadelphia tweeted Sunday. “We believe this is a step in the right direction and hope to aid in healing our city through the power of thoughtful and inclusive public art.”

The mural’s erasure comes days after a statue of Rizzo was removed from the city’s downtown civic center.

Rizzo served as police commissioner from 1968 to 1971 and then as mayor from 1972 to 1980, building a reputation as the “the toughest cop in America” after using aggressive policing tactics, especially against the LGBT community and communities of color, in the 1960s and 1970s.

He infamously urged Philadelphia residents to reelect him for a third term by asking them to “Vote White.” He died in 1991.

In recent years, the statue and mural have been repeated targets for vandalism. Campaigns to remove them gained increasing support, and recent protests sped the city’s decision to get rid of them.

By Katie Shepherd