The Rev. Al Sharpton on Tuesday used his eulogy at George Floyd’s funeral service to take aim at President Trump after former vice president Joe Biden in a somber video linked Floyd’s death in police custody to the nation’s enduring struggle for civil rights.

Floyd — whose final words, “I can’t breathe,” became a rallying cry, sparking widespread protests against police brutality and racial injustice — will be laid to rest at Houston Memorial Gardens.

Here are some significant developments:

  • Sharpton said that the outcome for the now-fired Minneapolis police officer who was filmed kneeling on Floyd’s neck would be very different if their races were flipped.
  • The New York state legislature on Tuesday passed a bill that would disclose years of law enforcement disciplinary records. Those in support of the bill say it will help rebuild public trust in law enforcement and increase accountability.
  • Trump sparked another uproar with a morning tweet endorsing the baseless conspiracy theory that a 75-year-old protester in Buffalo could have been part of a “set up” coordinated by anti-fascist demonstrators.
  • A New York police officer who was caught on video violently shoving a woman to the ground during a recent protest is facing criminal charges, prosecutors said.
  • A Chicago police officer who was pictured flipping off a crowd of protesters is on desk duty, the police department announced Tuesday.
  • Joe Biden said in an interview with CBS News that there is “absolutely” systemic racism in policing, but also in housing, in education and “in everything we do.”
June 9, 2020 at 9:42 PM EDT

Bubba Wallace: NASCAR needs to ‘get rid of’ Confederate flags in stands

NASCAR has long banned the use of the Confederate flag on its racecars and licensed merchandise, but it hasn’t entirely eradicated what many see as a racist symbol.

In 2015, when photos surfaced of Dylan Roof posing with the flag after he murdered nine black churchgoers in Charleston, S.C., NASCAR requested that fans not bring the Confederate flag to its tracks “in a renewed effort to create an all-inclusive, even more welcoming atmosphere for all who attend our events.” It even offered a trade-in program in which fans could swap a flag of their choice for the U.S. flag.

Still, the Confederate flag persists when fans are allowed into the tracks. Bubba Wallace, the circuit’s lone African American driver, thinks that needs to change.

“We are trying to figure out next steps. My next step would be to get rid of all Confederate flags,” Wallace told CNN’s Don Lemon on Monday night. “There should be no individual that is uncomfortable showing up to our events to have a good time with their family that feels some type of way about something they have seen, an object they have seen flying."

By Matt Bonesteel
June 9, 2020 at 9:32 PM EDT

Chicago police officer placed on desk duty after flipping off protesters

A Chicago police officer who was pictured flipping off a crowd of protesters is on desk duty, the police department announced Tuesday.

Police Superintendent David O. Brown reassigned the officer because of “conduct unbecoming,” according to a statement released by the Chicago Police Department. The name of the officer wasn’t released.

“The officer used a vulgar, offensive gesture directed at a member of the public while on duty and in uniform,” the statement said.

A photo of the officer holding his middle fingers up at protesters was shared over 1,400 times on Twitter, infuriating protesters and people demonstrating against police misconduct.

The police department responded to the tweet, saying that it would open an investigation.

“CPD strives to treat all individuals our officers encounter with dignity & respect. We do not tolerate misconduct of any kind, & have opened an investigation into this incident,” according to the department’s tweet.

In a news briefing Friday, Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) called for the officer to be fired.

“In my view, that person needs to immediately be stripped of their police powers and start the process for firing him,” Lightfoot said. “We will not tolerate that kind of abusive, offensive conduct on the part of police officers. Period.”

By Meryl Kornfield
June 9, 2020 at 9:10 PM EDT

How the Black Lives Matter movement went mainstream

The three words were once a controversial rallying cry against racial profiling and police violence. Now, “Black lives matter” is painted in bright yellow letters on the road to the White House. Celebrities and chief executives are embracing it. Even Sen. Mitt Romney, a Republican former presidential candidate, posted the phrase on Twitter.

As consensus grows about the existence of systemic racism in American policing and other facets of American life, longtime organizers of the Black Lives Matter movement are trying to extend its momentum beyond the popularization of a phrase. Activists sense a once-in-a-generation opportunity to demand policy changes that once seemed far-fetched, including sharp cuts to police budgets in favor of social programs, and greater accountability for officers who kill residents.

“It’s now something where the Mitt Romneys of the world can join in, and that was something unimaginable back in 2014. That is the result of six years of hard work by people who are in the movement and have put forward so many discussions that really changed people’s hearts and minds,” said Justin Hansford, who was an activist in Ferguson, Mo., during the unrest after the police killing of an unarmed black teen there. He is now the executive director of the Thurgood Marshall Civil Rights Center at Howard University.

By Jose Del Real, Robert Samuels and Tim Craig
June 9, 2020 at 9:04 PM EDT

Video released of Austin-area black man dying in deputies’ custody after chase

Austin police on Saturday released body-camera video of a 2019 car chase that led to a black man’s death in the custody of sheriff’s deputies while a TV crew from the reality show “Live PD” filmed.

In the early morning of March 28, 2019, Williamson County, Tex., sheriff’s deputies tried to pull over Javier Ambler for failing to dim his headlights, according to the footage, released to the Austin American-Statesman and KVUE.

When Ambler did not stop, the deputies chased him for about 20 minutes — with Austin police joining — before his car crashed. They used a Taser on him several times and tried to move him onto his stomach as he told them that he had congestive heart failure and couldn’t breathe, the video shows.

The deputies handcuffed Ambler, 40, and he eventually became unresponsive. They tried unsuccessfully to revive him.

A custodial death report from the state attorney general’s office indicates the manner of death was homicide and says that designation includes justifiable homicides. The cause of death was determined to be congestive heart failure and hypertensive cardiovascular disease in combination with forcible restraint.

Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore told the American-Statesman her office intends to present the case to a grand jury. On Tuesday, the newspaper reported two county commissioners were pushing for Sheriff Robert Chody to resign.

Representatives from the sheriff’s office did not immediately return a call from The Washington Post but declined to comment on Ambler’s death to the American-Statesman.

A&E Networks, which produces “Live PD,” said in a statement that its footage of the death was not aired because it involved a fatality.

“As with all calls we follow, we are not there to be an arm of the police or law enforcement but rather to chronicle what they do and air some of that footage and our policies were in place to avoid having footage used by law enforcement against private citizens," the statement said.

By Marisa Iati
June 9, 2020 at 9:02 PM EDT

New York passes bill to release police disciplinary records

The New York state legislature on Tuesday passed a bill that would disclose years of law enforcement disciplinary records — a moment that comes on the heels of statewide protests and calls for bolstered police transparency across the nation.

The bill, which passed in both chambers of the legislature, repeals a section of the state’s civil rights law adopted in 1976. The exemption creates a “special right of privacy” for personnel records, including performance evaluations for members of the state’s law enforcement.

Due to the exemption, “records of complaints or findings of law enforcement misconduct that have not resulted in criminal charges against an officer are almost entirely inaccessible to the public or to victims of police brutality, excessive use of force, or other misconduct,” a summary of the bill reads.

The Associated Press notes that eliminating the law would make public complaints against officers, as well as transcripts and final dispositions of disciplinary proceedings. Versions of this bill were proposed in years past.

Those in support of the bill say it will help rebuild public trust in law enforcement and increase accountability.

“This is no time for rejoicing,” State Sen. Kevin Parker, a Brooklyn Democrat, told the AP. “This bill has been around for over a decade. … And the only reason why we’re bringing it to the floor now is because the nation is burning.”

New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) has said he would sign the repeal, the AP reported. After passing through both chambers Tuesday, the bill now moves to his desk.

By Michael Brice-Saddler
June 9, 2020 at 8:55 PM EDT

CrossFit CEO retires after comments making light of George Floyd’s death

CrossFit’s founder and CEO, Greg Glassman, announced his retirement Tuesday evening, following a multi-day firestorm over remarks he made on Twitter that appeared to make light of the death of George Floyd.

“On Saturday I created a rift in the CrossFit community and unintentionally hurt many of its members,” Glassman, 63, said in a statement released by the company. "I cannot let my behavior stand in the way of HQ’s or affiliates’ missions. They are too important to jeopardize.”

Glassman was replying to a health research institute’s declaration on Twitter Saturday that “racism is a public health issue,” when he tweeted, “It’s FLOYD-19.”

By Sunday, gyms across the country were dropping their affiliations with the brand — one informal count provided to The Washington Post put the number at well over 1,100. Many gym owners took to social media to make it clear that, as one facility put it, the tweet was “just the last straw” for it, following years of disillusionment with CrossFit’s corporate leadership.

Gym owners also expressed disgust with what they saw as CrossFit’s unacceptable silence over on issues of racial justice in the wake of the death of Floyd, a black man, at the hands of a white police officer. Adding to the furor was a BuzzFeed report Tuesday which said that Glassman told some owners, "We’re not mourning for George Floyd,” in a Zoom call Saturday, a few hours before his tweet.

At the same time as it posted Glassman's retirement announcement, CrossFit released a separate, lengthy statement in which it apologized for his "incredibly insensitive and hurtful" actions and said, "We failed catastrophically by not effectively communicating care for the Black community, all as the online world was watching and experiencing extreme pain."

Replacing Glassman as CEO is Dave Castro, who has served as the director of the CrossFit Games.

“Our shared bond brings together millions of people with differing opinions, viewpoints, and experiences,” Castro said in a statement. “Friction is inevitable. Common ground, mutual respect, and fellowship must also be inevitable.”

By Des Bieler
June 9, 2020 at 8:45 PM EDT

Activists around the world protest their own countries’ police killings

Tens of thousands of people around the world have flouted stay-at-home orders to flood the streets in solidarity with protesters in the United States calling for justice and change.

But as demonstrators from Canada to France to Australia have held up Floyd’s photograph and chanted “Black lives matter” and “I can’t breathe,” they’ve also used the moment to draw attention to cases in their own countries.

All involve the deaths of people of color, migrants or indigenous people during interactions with police or prison guards. From Mark Duggan to David Dungay Jr., here are some of their stories.

By Amanda Coletta
June 9, 2020 at 8:31 PM EDT

For 48 hours, the nation’s capital was gripped by chaos. Then everything changed.

The crowd swarming the fence north of the White House turned its attention from the rows of riot police on the other side of the barrier to one of their own. A young man had scaled the street sign at 16th and H streets last Tuesday night and was trying to tear it down.

Boos erupted around him, and he was pelted with water bottles. A chant — “Peaceful protest” — rumbled to life in the same place where, a day earlier, demonstrators had been tear-gassed and shot with rubber bullets to clear the way for President Trump’s visit to St. John’s Episcopal Church. The young man climbed down and was carried out of the crowd.

The scene captured the warring impulses that gripped the nation’s capital early last week during demonstrations over the death of George Floyd. For 48 hours, Washington teetered on the brink of chaos, with the city poised to descend into the kind of civil unrest last seen in 1968 after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. Instead something very different happened.

By Peter Jamison, Marissa Lang and Fenit Nirappil
June 9, 2020 at 8:22 PM EDT

Barr to D.C.: Massive federal response due to impression U.S. was ‘on the brink of losing control of its capital city'

Attorney General William P. Barr on Tuesday wrote to officials in D.C. to defend federal law enforcement’s blitzing of their city in the past week to quell unrest, saying that the television images of what was happening “conveyed the impression that the United States was on the brink of losing control of its capital city” and that the massive response was meant to ensure “that law and order in the Nation’s capital would be restored.”

“Surely you understand that the President could not stand idly by when unrest at the seat of the federal government threatened the safety of federal law enforcement officers and the operations of the United States government,” Barr wrote in a letter to D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser and D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine. “By the same token, now that federal and local law enforcement personnel — assisted by the citizen soldiers of the National Guard — have successfully stemmed further rioting, the President has made clear that our response should be adjusted accordingly.”

Bowser has clashed with President Trump over the federal response in D.C., which included deploying national guardsmen and mobilizing every federal law enforcement agency that works under the Department of Justice, including Drug Enforcement Administration agents and Bureau of Prisons riot teams. Barr, though, has consistently defended the Justice Department's moves, and in the letter Tuesday, pointed to the burning of a historic structure in Lafayette Square and the setting of a fire inside nearby St. John’s Church as reasons for them.

Barr insisted that all those deployed in D.C. were operating under proper legal authorities, and his letter spelled out more specifically how some agencies had their normal functions expanded. For example, he wrote, the Justice Department had given “additional law enforcement responsibility” to the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the U.S. Marshals Service had deputies officers from the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

By Matt Zapotosky
June 9, 2020 at 8:06 PM EDT

Biden says there is ‘absolutely’ systemic racism in law enforcement

Joe Biden said in an interview with CBS News that there is “absolutely” systemic racism in policing, but also in housing, in education and “in everything we do.”

“It's real. It's genuine. It's serious. Look, not all law enforcement officers are racist. My lord, there are some really good, good cops out there. But the way in which it works right now is we've seen too many examples of it,” Biden said.

In the same interview, the former vice president and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee reiterated his campaign’s position that he does not favor “defunding” the police but supports tying federal police funds to certain standards “of decency and honorableness.”

By Colby Itkowitz
June 9, 2020 at 7:59 PM EDT

Court denounces use of deadly force by police and says, ‘This has to stop’

A federal appeals court sent a powerful message Tuesday against deadly police force when it refused to dismiss a lawsuit from the family of a mentally ill man shot 22 times by officers and concluded: “This has to stop.”

Wayne Jones, a black man diagnosed with schizophrenia, was shot as he lay motionless on the ground after he was stopped by the police for walking in the road, rather than on the sidewalk, in Martinsburg, W.Va.

The case was filed long before the death George Floyd in police custody prompted massive protests across the country. But the judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit took notice in ruling that the officers who shot and killed Jones are not shielded from his family’s lawsuit.

“Although we recognize that our police officers are often asked to make split second decisions, we expect them to do so with respect for the dignity and worth of black lives,” wrote Judge Henry F. Floyd, who also detailed the killing by police of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., in 2014.

Read more here.

By Ann Marimow
June 9, 2020 at 7:44 PM EDT

Long-running series ‘Cops’ canceled at Paramount Network

Paramount Network has canceled “Cops,” the unscripted, long-running reality show centered on policing, Variety and Hollywood Reporter reported Tuesday.

“‘Cops’ is not on the Paramount Network and we don’t have any current or future plans for it to return,” a Paramount Network spokesperson told Variety.

Both A&E and Paramount Network recently pulled episodes of “Live PD” and “Cops” from their schedules in the wake of protests after Floyd’s death, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Paramount Network’s decision to cancel the iconic series, which began on Fox in 1989, may signal a moment of reckoning for unscripted policing TV shows.

Austin Police on Saturday released body-camera video of a 2019 car chase which led to the death of a black man who was in the custody of sheriff’s deputies. At the time, a TV crew from the reality police show “Live PD” filmed.

A&E Networks, which produces “Live PD,” did not return a request for comment from The Post.

By Michael Brice-Saddler
June 9, 2020 at 7:42 PM EDT

Protesters sue Seattle, alleging ‘unnecessary violence’ by police

A Black Lives Matter chapter, protesters and a journalist are suing the city of Seattle, alleging violations of their constitutional rights over Seattle Police Department officers’ use of what they say was “unnecessary violence” against crowds.

The lawsuit filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court in Seattle alleges that Mayor Jenny Durkan (D) and Police Chief Carmen Best allowed the police to deploy chemical agents and projectiles such as tear gas and rubber bullets to crack down on the protests against police brutality. The filing describes how several protesters and a journalist were injured or in fear of even attending the demonstrations.

“In response to these protests, the SPD has exercised an overwhelming and unconstitutional use of force to discourage these protesters from exercising their constitutional rights,” the complaint alleges. “On an almost nightly basis, the SPD has indiscriminately used excessive force against protesters, legal observers, journalists, and medical personnel.”

Although Durkan and Best have largely stood by the practices of law enforcement during the demonstrations, Durkan apologized to protesters during a Sunday news briefing and vowed reform. The mayor previously called for the Office of Police Accountability and the Office of Inspector General to investigate the use of force by police against protesters. She also suspended the use of tear gas for 30 days.

“I know that safety was shattered for many by images, sounds and gas more fitting of a war zone: I am sorry,” Durkan said. “To all those who came peacefully and had their constitutional right to protest impacted: I am sorry.”

Durkan’s spokeswoman, Kamaria Hightower, wrote to The Post that it’s “fitting” that the lawsuit “lifts the voices and experiences of Black Lives Matter and longtime civil rights leaders,” naming one of the plaintiffs, Sharon Sakamoto.

“Today’s lawsuit represents another step by the community to hold the City accountable for its response to the recent events,” Hightower wrote. “From the onset, the Mayor has been clear that she believes that people are righteously marching to fight systemic racism. The City will protect every individual’s First Amendment right to safely protest their government and demand action.

"The Mayor and Chief Best have acknowledged that the city can and must do better for crowd management,” Hightower added.

By Meryl Kornfield
June 9, 2020 at 7:33 PM EDT

D.C. National Guard members test positive for coronavirus after deploying to protests

Multiple D.C. National Guard members have tested positive for the coronavirus following their deployment to respond to protests over the police killing of George Floyd, a spokeswoman for the Guard told the Associated Press on Tuesday.

Air Force Lt. Col. Brooke Davis, the Guard’s spokeswoman, didn’t specify how many Guardsmen were infected. U.S. officials told the AP they believe it is not a large number.

The news comes as public health experts have expressed concern over possible exposure from the national protests, especially as it’s largely impossible to maintain social distancing amid large demonstrations.

The AP reported that most D.C. Guardsmen were not wearing face coverings. Davis said unit commanders were responsible for ensuring their troops adhered to health guidelines.

The coronavirus cases within the D.C. National Guard were first reported by McClatchy.

The Guardsmen who tested positive or are at high risk of becoming infected by the virus will be quarantined, Davis told McClatchy.

“All Guardsmen who are suspected to be at high risk of infection or have tested positive for covid-19 during demobilization will not be released from Title 32 orders until risk of infection or illness has passed," Davis said.

About 1,300 D.C. National Guard members were deployed to assist local police respond to rioting May 31. Eleven other states deployed National Guardsmen to Washington.

Two members of the Nebraska National Guard who responded to protests in Lincoln also tested positive for the virus, the Lincoln Journal Star reported.

By Meryl Kornfield
June 9, 2020 at 7:12 PM EDT

Virginia governor vows to fight temporary injunction against removing Robert E. Lee statue

RICHMOND — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam on Tuesday vowed to fight a temporary injunction from a Richmond Circuit Court judge that prevents the state from immediately removing the statue of Robert E. Lee that towers 60 feet above this city's Monument Avenue.

“We’ve been preparing for this for a year,” Northam said during a news briefing. “This is a statue that is divisive; it needs to come down and we are on very legal solid grounds to have it taken down.”

Northam (D) announced plans last week to remove the bronze figure of the Confederate general from its granite base and put it in storage amid protests in Richmond and across the country against police brutality toward African Americans.

Preparations began Monday, when state surveyors used a bucket truck to examine the figure and the city prohibited parking on the street around it through Friday. But efforts came to an abrupt halt with the judge’s ruling Monday night, which prevents any further action for 10 days.

Read more here.

By Laura Vozzella and Gregory S. Schneider
June 9, 2020 at 6:57 PM EDT

Report: Pennsylvania woman charged with assault after driving through protesters

A Sharon, Pa., woman was charged Tuesday with reckless endangerment, assault and careless driving after she drove her car through a crowd of protesters Friday, the Herald reported.

The charges, filed against 33-year-old Amanda Hogenmiller, mark the latest development in days of tension around the incident, which took place Friday evening at a shopping plaza in Mercer County and was captured on video.

Police told the Herald that Hogenmiller initially stopped when she encountered several protesters in the road, but honked her horn. One of the protesters jumped onto the hood of her car, according to the Herald. She continued to drive forward with her view obstructed, colliding with another protester who “stood his ground” in front of her car.

Patrolmen who were in the area directing traffic stopped her car and removed her. The victim reportedly suffered a sprained right knee and right ankle from the collision. Hogenmiller was initially released without charges. It wasn’t clear Tuesday if she had retained an attorney.

The three-day delay between the incident and charges caused tension in the county, fueling chants of “No charges, no peace” among protesters, according to the Herald. Mercer County District Attorney Peter C. Acker told the publication that his office also plans to file charges against some of the protesters involved.

Police told 21 News that both Hogenmiller and the protesters had acted illegally, though they did not specify what the protesters might be charged with.

“We look at every individual to see if actions warrant being charged,” Acker said. “Everyone who blocked the street could be charged.”

By Michael Brice-Saddler
June 9, 2020 at 6:33 PM EDT

Bullet that killed Louisville restaurant owner came from National Guard, officials say

State officials said the bullet that killed David McAtee, a black Louisville restaurant owner, on June 1 was fired by a Kentucky National Guard member.

McAtee died of a single shot to the chest after an exchange of gunfire with two National Guardsmen and two Louisville police officers, who were called to the area to disperse a crowd.

The bullet that killed McAtee was a military bullet distinguishable by its green tip, shot by one of the two National Guardsmen, Secretary of the Executive Cabinet J. Michael Brown said during a news briefing Tuesday. Brown said forensics was unable to identify which Guardsmen fired the fatal bullet, but Kentucky State Police and the FBI are investigating the incident, including reviewing frames of videos taken that night.

The Louisville officers had not activated their body cameras, The Washington Post previously reported.

Brown said he believes McAtee fired first. He said that a 9-millimeter pistol that McAtee was carrying earlier had fired at least two shots and that gunpowder residue was found on him.

When asked if McAtee thought he was being shot at, as video has suggested, Brown said a Louisville officer was firing pepper balls, which don’t make the same sound as gunfire.

The two Guardsmen were removed from active duty pending the investigation.

By Meryl Kornfield
June 9, 2020 at 5:36 PM EDT

Families of other black victims recognized at George Floyd funeral

During his eulogy at Floyd’s funeral, Sharpton paused and asked those in attendance to recognize the family members of other black victims of violence, some of whose names have become synonymous with racial injustice and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Applause in the room built to a crescendo as Sharpton asked them to stand one by one: the mother of Trayvon Martin, the mother of Eric Garner, Botham Jean’s sister, the family of Pamela Turner, the father of Michael Brown and the father of Ahmaud Arbery.

“All of these families came to stand with this family,” Sharpton said. “Because they know better than anyone else the pain they will suffer from the loss they have gone through.”

By Michael Brice-Saddler
June 9, 2020 at 5:17 PM EDT

Navy to ban display of Confederate flag, following similar order in Marine Corps

The Navy is planning to ban the Confederate battle flag and its derivatives from public spaces and work stations, following a similar directive issued in the Marine Corps, a Navy spokesman said on Tuesday.

Adm. Mike Gilday, the chief of naval operations, has directed his staff to “begin crafting an order” that would ban the display of the flag on installations, ships, aircraft and submarines.

“The order is meant to ensure unit cohesion, preserve good order and discipline, and uphold the Navy’s core values of honor, courage and commitment,” said Cmdr. Nate Christensen, a Navy spokesman.

The announcement follows the adoption of a similar plan in the Marine Corps. Gen. David Berger, the service’s commandant, said in April that he wanted to “cultivate an environment which promotes unity and security by limiting offensive or divisive displays.”

By Dan Lamothe
June 9, 2020 at 5:03 PM EDT

Philonise Floyd, conservative radio host Dan Bongino to testify at Wednesday hearing on police brutality

Philonise Floyd, the brother of George Floyd, and conservative radio host Dan Bongino are among the witnesses expected to testify Wednesday at a House Judiciary Committee hearing on racial profiling and police brutality.

The hearing, which is expected to begin at 10 a.m., will also include testimony from Floyd family attorney Ben Crump, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo, pastor Darrell Scott, the leaders of several civil rights groups and others. Some witnesses will be testifying in person, while others will be appearing virtually, the committee said.

Bongino is a frequent guest on Fox News Channel and a vocal Trump ally. In recent days, he has spoken out against calls by some activists to defund the police.

“It’s political malpractice if we do not get every single Democrat running for office, on the record, about this ‘defund the police’ abomination,” he tweeted Monday. “This is a suicidal proposition.”

According to the House Judiciary Committee, the hearing will “examine the crisis of racial profiling, police brutality and lost trust between police departments and the communities they serve.”

By Felicia Sonmez
June 9, 2020 at 5:01 PM EDT

The scene at George Floyd’s funeral

George Floyd, whose death sparked weeks of protests across the nation against police violence and racial injustice, is being laid to rest today at Houston Memorial Gardens, next to his mother’s grave. The service began at Fountain of Praise Church and is featuring multiple speakers, including civil rights leaders who will call for justice and social reform.

See more photos from the funeral here.

By Washington Post Staff
June 9, 2020 at 4:45 PM EDT

Lawyer for fired Minneapolis police officer blames bystanders in George Floyd case

Earl Gray, a lawyer for one of the former Minneapolis police officers charged with aiding and abetting in Floyd’s death, responded to criticism of his client by pointing the finger at the bystanders who took video of the incident.

“If all these people say, why didn’t my client intercede?” Gray, who is representing former officer Thomas Lane, said in an interview on CNN on Monday night. “Well, if the public is there and they’re so in an uproar about this, they didn’t intercede either.”

CNN host Chris Cuomo immediately pushed back, noting that if an officer “is doing something that is dangerous to a civilian, you have a duty to intervene. And he did not intervene.”

Cuomo added: “And the idea that the civilians should have rushed into a policing situation in the inner city of Minneapolis, against four police officers that have weapons and are kneeling on the neck of a man — don’t you think that’s asking a little much of civilians and a little too little of your client?”

Gray then appeared to backtrack.

“Absolutely,” he said. “I’m not, I just brought that up —.”

“Yeah. I know,” Cuomo responded.

By Felicia Sonmez
June 9, 2020 at 4:23 PM EDT

Sharpton calls out Trump for response to Floyd’s death, church photo op

The Rev. Al Sharpton issued a sharp rebuke of President Trump in his eulogy for George Floyd, who died in police custody after an officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

“When some kids wrongly start violence that this family doesn’t condone, the president talks about bringing in the military,” Sharpton said. “But he’s not said one word about eight minutes and 46 seconds of police murder of George Floyd.”

Trump has repeatedly called for the National Guard to be called in to quell unrest across the country in the aftermath of Floyd’s death.

Sharpton accused Trump of prioritizing ending protests over figuring out solutions to end police brutality, and he particularly criticized him for his photo op in front of a Washington church.

“You’re scheming on how you can spin the story rather than you can achieve justice,” he said. “… To clear out peaceful protesters and then take a Bible and walk in front of a church and use a church as a prop — wickedness in high places.”

“You ain’t been walking across that street when the church didn’t have the boards up,” he added.

Sharpton’s criticism closely mirrored that of Floyd’s niece Brooke Williams, who earlier in the service made an impassioned demand for changes.

“Someone said, ‘Make America great again,’ but when has America ever been great,” she said.

By Lateshia Beachum
June 9, 2020 at 4:08 PM EDT

Sharpton slams NFL’s mea culpa: ‘Don’t apologize, give Colin Kaepernick a job back’

The Rev. Al Sharpton used his eulogy at Floyd’s funeral to take aim at the National Football League and its commissioner, Roger Goodell, who in a surprising reversal last week acknowledged that the league had been wrong to not listen to players who spoke out against police brutality.

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

But Sharpton said the apology fell flat. He specifically cited former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who first sat, then knelt during the national anthem in protest of police brutality in 2016. He has not played a game since Jan. 1, 2017.

Sharpton spoke about the NFL and other people and organizations that have seemed to change their tune in the wake of Floyd’s killing.

“Well, don’t apologize. Give Colin Kaepernick a job back,” Sharpton said, to thunderous applause. “Don’t come with some empty apology, take a man’s livelihood, strip a man down of his talents — and four years later, when the whole world is marching, you go and do a FaceTime, talking about ‘you’re sorry.’ ”

“You’re sorry? Then repay the damage you did to the career you stood down,” he concluded. “Because when Colin took a knee, he took it for the families in this building. We don’t want an apology — we want him repaired.”

By Michael Brice-Saddler
June 9, 2020 at 3:51 PM EDT

Al Sharpton says officers involved in Floyd tragedy would be in jail if they were black

The Rev. Al Sharpton said in his eulogy for George Floyd that the outcome for Derek Chauvin, the now-fired Minneapolis police officer who was filmed kneeling on his neck, and other officers who stood by without intervening would be very different if their races were different.

“If four black cops had done to one white what was done to George, they wouldn’t have to teach no new lessons," Sharpton said at Floyd’s funeral. “They would send them to jail.”

Sharpton called for a commitment to seek justice for Floyd’s death “because lives like George’s will not matter until somebody pays the cost.”

He said it has long been the practice to fail to deliver consequences for ending black lives.

“This was not just a tragedy,” Sharpton said. “It was a crime. This family has borne this.”

By Lateshia Beachum
June 9, 2020 at 3:22 PM EDT

McConnell asks only black GOP senator to lead Republican effort on policing reforms

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he asked Sen. Tim Scott (S.C.), the lone black Republican U.S. senator, to take the lead on drafting legislative proposals to address racial discrimination in law enforcement.

McConnell, addressing reporters on Capitol Hill, said “absolutely” it was “important that we have a response” to the protests and outrage following Floyd’s death.

He said that he tapped Scott because no one else in the Senate GOP caucus has had “the experience as an African American dealing with this discrimination that persists some 50 years” after the civil rights movement.

“The best way is to listen to one of our own who has had these experiences,” McConnell said, adding it will be under Scott’s “guidance and leadership” that the Senate GOP will produce a proposal “that we think makes the most sense for the federal government in the wake of what we’ve seen and experienced in the last several weeks.”

By Colby Itkowitz
June 9, 2020 at 3:00 PM EDT

Floyd’s niece: ‘As long as I’m breathing, justice will be served for Perry’

George Floyd’s family members took to the stage at his funeral to reflect on his life and offer thanks to those who have shown support.

Kathleen McGee, Floyd’s aunt, told attendees at the Fountain of Praise church in Houston that she wanted to “thank the world for what they have done for my entire family.” She added: “The world knows George Floyd. I know Perry Jr.”

Family and friends often referred to Floyd as “Perry,” his middle name, and McGee jokingly described him as a “pesky little rascal.”

“But we all loved him,” she added.

Floyd’s niece, Brooke Williams, spoke strongly about the actions of Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis police officer who knelt on her uncle’s neck for nearly nine minutes. “As long as I’m breathing, justice will be served for Perry,” she said.

“These laws need to be changed. No more hate crimes, please,” she added. “Someone said make America great again, but when has America ever been great?”

Williams recounted some of her favorite memories of her uncle and underscored the deep affection he held for his mother. Williams called Floyd a comedian and recalled how she lovingly scratched his head after her uncle had a long day at work.

Williams said Floyd encouraged her often, telling his niece, “You’re going to go so far with that smile and brain of yours.”

“Now that’s all I have, are memories,” she said.

By Michael Brice-Saddler
June 9, 2020 at 2:50 PM EDT

Rep. Green calls for new government office on race relations with black Americans

Democratic Rep. Al Green (Tex.) said the aftermath of George Floyd’s death can’t be “like other times” and called for a new government office specializing in race relations with black Americans.

“We have a responsibility to not only George Floyd, but to those other persons, to … ensure the future generations that this won’t happen again,” he said at Floyd’s funeral in Houston. The congressman represents parts of Houston and its suburbs.

Green also mentioned the Justice in Policing Act, introduced Monday by the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus and other senators, that would make it illegal for law enforcement to put a foot on someone’s neck. Green also condemned other policing tactics that are being increasingly criticized.

“You can’t have a no-knock law. It’s against the law,” he said. “You’re going to have to wear your body cameras.”

Green demanded a resolution between the country and its “differences” with black Americans.

“We survived slavery, but we didn’t reconcile. We survived segregation but we didn’t reconcile,” he said. “It’s time for a Department of Reconciliation in the highest land, in the highest office. It’s time to have someone who is going to make it his or her business to seek reconciliation for black people in the United States of America.”

By Lateshia Beachum
June 9, 2020 at 2:30 PM EDT

Houston mayor announces ban on police chokeholds at Floyd funeral

Houston police will no longer be allowed to use chokeholds on people in their custody, Mayor Sylvester Turner (D) announced at Floyd’s funeral.

As the crowd applauded, Turner said he planned to sign an executive order formalizing the ban when he returned to city hall.

Chokeholds are neck restraints meant to make uncooperative civilians stop resisting without seriously injuring or killing them. Several other cities, including Minneapolis, and states have banned chokeholds since Floyd was killed.

Turner said his executive order will also require police to deescalate confrontations, exhaust all alternatives before using their guns and give a warning before shooting, among other mandates.

The mayor also declared Tuesday “George ‘Perry’ Day” in Houston.

“We honor him today because when he took his last breath, the rest of us were able to breathe," Turner said.

By Marisa Iati
June 9, 2020 at 2:10 PM EDT

Trump touts African American military appointment during Floyd’s funeral

As George Floyd’s funeral aired on national television, President Trump took to Twitter to tout a Senate vote to approve his appointment of an African American man as chief of staff of the United States Air Force.

“My decision to appoint @usairforce General Charles Brown as the USA’s first-ever African American military service chief has now been approved by the Senate,” Trump tweeted. “A historic day for America! Excited to work even more closely with Gen. Brown, who is a Patriot and Great Leader!”

His tweet came more than a half-hour before the Senate was scheduled to vote on the nomination.

Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, was among those who spoke at Floyd’s funeral. The former vice president appeared via a recorded video message.

By John Wagner
June 9, 2020 at 1:59 PM EDT

‘Now is the time for racial justice,’ Biden says in speech played at Floyd’s funeral

In a somber video played at George Floyd’s funeral, former vice president Joe Biden quoted from scripture and linked Floyd’s death in police custody to the nation’s enduring struggle for civil rights.

Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, directed part of his remarks at Floyd’s 6-year-old daughter, Gianna. Too many black children like her have had to ask what happened to their fathers, he said.

“Why, in this nation, do black Americans wake up knowing they can lose their life just for living their life?” Biden asked.

Quoting Thurgood Marshall, the first African American Supreme Court justice, Biden said now is the time for the country to “dissent from indifference” and refuse to turn away from evidence of racism. He said his Catholic upbringing taught him that faith requires working for justice.

Biden expressed sympathy for the Floyds, who are grieving the loss of their loved one under an international spotlight. Addressing Gianna, Biden reminded her of the times her father carried her on his shoulders and played whatever she wanted because he cared only about making her happy.

“Now is the time for racial justice,” Biden said. “That’s the answer we must give to our children when they ask, ‘Why?’ Because when there’s justice for George Floyd, we will truly be on our way to racial justice in America. And then, as you said, Gianna, your daddy will have changed the world.”

By Marisa Iati
June 9, 2020 at 1:07 PM EDT

Confederate markers begin to come down in Jacksonville, Fla.

Confederate monuments and markers in Jacksonville, Fla., are beginning to come down amid a national anti-racism uprising. The first was partially dismantled overnight Monday, according to local news outlets, and officials said at a rally Tuesday morning that the rest will be removed soon.

“The Confederate monument is gone, and the others in this city will be removed as well,” said Mayor Lenny Curry (R), according to the Florida Times-Union. “We hear your voices. We have heard your voices.”

The monument stood in Hemming Park, a city plaza in downtown Jacksonville sandwiched between City Hall and a federal courthouse. Named for Civil War veteran Charles C. Hemming, the park featured a statue of a Confederate soldier that was erected in 1898.

The Visit Jacksonville website lists 17 “historical markers” in the area connected to the Civil War, including the monument that formally stood in Hemming Park. For years, residents of Jacksonville have been pressuring elected officials to remove Confederate markers in the city. In 2017, then-City Council President Anna Lopez Brosche commissioned the parks and recreation department to conduct an inventory of all Confederate tributes on city property.

It found three monuments and eight markers, News4Jax reported.

Brosche called for them to be removed at the time, but Curry said he would not weigh in on the issue, according to the Times-Union. She then proposed installing memorials dedicated to the victims of lynching to be erected alongside Confederate monuments, but the council rejected the idea.

By Katie Mettler
June 9, 2020 at 12:29 PM EDT

They came from another state to support Floyd and family at funeral: ‘It’s a world changer’

HOUSTON — Just before 9 a.m., six black men in black suits and matching face masks unloaded George Floyd’s gold casket from the back of a hearse. Silence fell among the hundreds of reporters and photographers who watched. Their clicking cameras were the only thing to be heard as the pallbearers carried Floyd’s body into the Fountain of Praise Church ahead of his private funeral.

Floyd’s body will be laid to rest next to his mother’s at Houston Memorial Gardens cemetery in Pearland, Tex., about 12 miles away.

More than 6,000 people attended Floyd’s viewing on Monday, which was open to the public.

Brandy Pickney, 33 and Kersey Biagase, 30, drove in from Louisiana on Tuesday morning to show their support for Floyd and his family. The couple wore matching black shirts with gold lettering that said “I can’t breathe.”

“We came here to be a part of it,” Pickney said.

Even though they knew they wouldn’t be allowed in the church, they wanted to come out to show their support.

“We wanted to support Floyd of course and what happened and a movement that’s being made, Pickney said. “And that black lives matter.”

“It’s a world changer,” Biagase said. “I hope it’s for the better. If everybody sticks together we can make things happen together.”

A few dozen people outside the church were similarly showing support.

Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo arrived around 10:30 a.m. and spoke briefly to reporters.

“We all saw, the world saw what happened to George Floyd and we know that without a doubt that what happened was criminal, it was not consistent with the expectations of the modern 21st-century police officers,” Acevedo said.

Asked how he could guarantee that one of his officers wouldn’t behave similarly, Acevedo said there are no guarantees.

“We know that we have problems here like everywhere else,” he said. “but we’re second to none and that’s because we’re a home-grown department that’s reflective of this community.”

By Brittney Martin
June 9, 2020 at 12:08 PM EDT

Floyd funeral begins: What to expect

The funeral of George Floyd has begun at Fountain of Praise Church in Houston. Floyd will be laid to rest later Tuesday in Pearland, Tex., next to his mother.

Here are the details:

  • The funeral will feature multiple speakers, including civil rights leaders who will call for justice and social reform, Fountain of Praise co-pastor Mia K. Wright told CNN.
  • The Rev. Al Sharpton is expected to deliver the eulogy, according to CBS News.
  • Former boxing champion Floyd Mayweather is covering the expenses for the memorial, following earlier services in Minneapolis and North Carolina.
  • High-profile guests are expected to include Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner (D), Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Tex.), Rep. Al Green (D-Tex.) and rap stars Paul Wall and Slim Thug, according to KHOU.
  • Around 1 p.m. local time, Floyd’s body will be taken in a horse-drawn carriage to Houston Memorial Gardens. The Houston Police Department will provide an escort.
  • Floyd will be buried next to his mother’s grave.

“We want to have a home-going celebration. We want to remember his name,” Wright, the pastor, told CNN.

By Lateshia Beachum
June 9, 2020 at 11:34 AM EDT

South Carolina officer who knelt on protester’s neck didn’t violate policy, police chief says

A white police officer filmed kneeling on a black man’s neck in Columbia, S.C., did not violate Columbia Police Department policy, according to chief W.H. “Skip” Holbrook.

“The officer did not violate CPD policy and remains on duty,” Holbrook told WIS News 10. “The officer’s knee unintentionally shifted during the handcuffing of the suspect while in a prone position. Although very brief, it was an incorrect position which was quickly corrected.”

The news station aired an image of the arrest of a man lying face down and being handcuffed by multiple officers.

A passerby recorded the May 30 arrest with his cellphone, and body-camera footage of the arrest was released by Mayor Steve Benjamin, the outlet reported.

Holbrook maintains that during the arrest, which lasted less than 60 seconds, police used “less-than-lethal” force on the unnamed man, who was violating curfew following civil unrest.

The unidentified officer received a refresher course on handcuffing techniques, and the other officers have been reminded to intervene when they see colleagues engaging in unsafe practices, Holbrook told the station.

By Lateshia Beachum
June 9, 2020 at 11:24 AM EDT

Lawyer for 75-year-old Buffalo protester pushed to ground says Trump made a ‘dark, dangerous and untrue accusation’

A lawyer for Martin Gugino, a 75-year-old protester who was captured on video being pushed to the ground by police in Buffalo, on Tuesday condemned President Trump for making “a dark, dangerous and untrue accusation” that the man had been part of a “set up" coordinated by anti-fascist demonstrators.

“Martin has always been a PEACEFUL protester because he cares about today’s society," attorney Kelly V. Zarcone said. "He is also a typical Western New Yorker who loves his family. No one from law enforcement has suggested otherwise so we’re at a loss to understand why the president of the United States would make such a dark, dangerous and untrue accusation against him.”

Her statement came shortly after Trump suggested without foundation in a tweet that Gugino, who remains hospitalized, could have been part of a set-up last week.

“I watched, he fell harder than was pushed,” Trump said. “Was aiming scanner. Could be a set up?”

Twitter later said that it considered Trump’s tweet speculative and that did not violate the platform’s rules.

Two Buffalo police officers have been charged with assault in the episode after footage showed them shoving Martin Gugino to the ground and blood pooling on the sidewalk below his head.

In his tweet, Trump cited a report by One America News Network, a tiny conservative cable outlet that based its reporting on speculation that appeared on a blog called the Conservative Treehouse.

A post on the blog suggests that Gugino appeared to be using a police scanner on his phone, which it said is a common tactic of antifa, a radical anti-fascist movement that Trump has blamed for violence at protests of the death of George Floyd. The post provided no evidence that Gugino was actually affiliated with antifa.

In his tweet, Trump said Gugino “could be an ANTIFA provocateur,” writing that he was “pushed away after appearing to scan police communications in order to black out the equipment.”

Zarcone said last week that her client is a “longtime peaceful protester and human rights advocate.” Gugino is a member of two nonprofits: PUSH Buffalo, which focuses on affordable housing, and Western New York Peace Center, a human rights organization. He is also part of the Catholic Worker Movement.

By John Wagner
June 9, 2020 at 11:00 AM EDT

Houston chief says police reform is not an ‘either-or proposition’

As demonstrators nationwide and prominent advocacy groups call for local officials to “defund” police departments, the Houston police chief said Tuesday that reform should not be an “either-or proposition.”

During an interview on the “Today” show, Chief Art Acevedo said that calls to defund police departments are making a “false equivalence.” The movement, which has been around for decades but has only now gained mainstream traction, promotes the idea that the millions of dollars allocated each year to police departments should be redistributed to other community initiatives that help prevent crime and strengthen poor communities and communities of color.

But Acevedo said that in Houston, the most diverse city in the United States and George Floyd’s hometown, residents “don’t want less police.”

“They don’t want less police. They want good policing, they want professional policing, they want committed policing, respectful policing,” he said.

Acevedo echoed what some mayors in other cities have said, that the communities most affected by violence are the ones that “need police the most.”

The chief also resumed his calls for nationwide reform of the institution of policing, saying that all 18,000 departments in the country should play by the same rules — including adopting policies that ban chokeholds, codify a duty to intervene and create universal guidelines for the use of body cameras.

He said policing “is not broken, but it does need to do better.”

“This is different,” he said. “The nation has united against police misconduct and some of the socioeconomic challenges in this country, and that their son’s death, their brother’s death, their father’s death, uncle’s death, will not be in vain. I really believe we’re in a watershed moment, and I’m really hopeful that we’re going to see some real change, some systemic change, in our country.”

By Katie Mettler
June 9, 2020 at 10:54 AM EDT

NYPD officer charged with violently shoving protester

NEW YORK — A New York Police Department officer who was caught on video violently shoving a woman to the ground during a recent protest over George Floyd’s death is facing criminal charges, Brooklyn prosecutors announced Tuesday.

Officer Vincent D’Andraia was charged with assault, criminal mischief, harassment and menacing in the May 29 altercation, which sent protester Dounya Zayer to the hospital, causing what she said was a concussion and a seizure after she hit her head on the pavement.

D’Andraia is expected to be arraigned Tuesday, according to Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, who said he was “deeply troubled by this unnecessary assault.”

A message seeking comment was left with D’Andraia’s union. It was not immediately known whether he had retained a lawyer. The police department suspended the 28-year-old officer last week without pay. He had been assigned to Brooklyn’s 73rd Precinct.

Footage of D’Andraia manhandling the woman was viewed millions of times on Twitter and generated outrage among protesters and elected officials. The altercation underscored the same concerns about police misconduct that have prompted nationwide demonstrations following Floyd’s May 25 death at the hands of Minneapolis police.

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) called for D’Andraia’s firing and praised the reassignment of his commanding officer, who witnessed the shoving and did not intervene.

“Violent police officers who brutalize civilians must be held accountable for their behavior,” Jeffries said in a statement. “It’s my hope this is the beginning of transformational change in the largest police department in the nation.”

Zayer, 20, said D’Andraia was a coward and said that the officer’s actions would only deepen mistrust of law enforcement.

“I was protesting for a reason,” she said in a video tweeted from her hospital bed. The officer, she added, “should have had the self-restraint to not hurt the people he’s supposed to be protecting.”

By Associated Press
June 9, 2020 at 10:21 AM EDT

Bernie Sanders on ‘defund’ movement: Police departments need ‘well-paid professionals’

In an interview with the New Yorker published Tuesday, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) appeared to push back on the “defund the police” movement, arguing that police departments need to have enough funding to train and pay their officers well.

The interview came after Sanders, a democratic socialist and former presidential candidate, received some criticism from the left for a letter to Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) in which he argued in favor of “ensuring that the resources are available to pay wages that will attract the top tier officers we need to do the difficult work of policing.”

“Do I think we should not have police departments in America? No, I don’t,” Sanders told the New Yorker. “There’s no city in the world that does not have police departments. … I didn’t call for more money for police departments. I called for police departments that have well-educated, well-trained, well-paid professionals.”

By Felicia Sonmez
June 9, 2020 at 9:57 AM EDT

Most fencing around park near White House will be removed

The National Park Service will remove most of the tall metal fencing surrounding Washington’s Lafayette Square by Wednesday, the agency said.

Officials erected the fence early last week to bar access to the park near the White House, which sits south of it. The fencing first appeared shortly after police aggressively cleared a crowd of largely peaceful demonstrators from the area of the square using chemical irritants and rubber bullets.

Since then, crowds have continued to gather outside the park daily to protest.

When night fell days ago, demonstrators occasionally rattled the fence, shouting at law enforcement officers lined up behind it. More recently, protesters have converted the fencing to a crowdsourced memorial wall, filled with posters, names and paintings of black men and women who died during encounters with police.

An NPS spokeswoman did not immediately respond Tuesday to a question about what would happen to the artwork when the fence comes down. She said some fencing will remain in areas that suffered damage during demonstrations or where safety hazards exist.

Officials have also lined the entirety of the Ellipse — the sweeping green lawn south of the White House — with more than a mile of fencing, reinforced by white concrete barriers. The Park Service plans to remove that fencing by Wednesday as well, the spokeswoman said.

By Hannah Natanson
June 9, 2020 at 9:18 AM EDT

Liberty’s Jerry Falwell Jr. apologizes for tweet; director of diversity resigns

Faced with outrage from black alumni and the resignation of at least three African American staffers, Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. has deleted and apologized for a two-week-old tweet that showed a face mask decorated with a photo of a person in Ku Klux Klan robes and another in blackface.

The images were intended to mock the mask requirement implemented by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D), who nearly resigned from his office in the past year amid revelations that the racist photo had been featured on his medical school yearbook page.

But it upset many of the African American students, staff and alumni at Liberty, which was founded in Lynchburg, Va., in 1971 by Falwell’s father, Jerry Falwell Sr., and is one of the largest Christian universities in the world.

LeeQuan McLaurin, who began as a student at Liberty in 2012 and has worked there since, resigned from his position as director of diversity retention in the past week.

Read more here.

By Sarah Pulliam Bailey
June 9, 2020 at 8:51 AM EDT

Tucker Carlson says protests are ‘definitely not about black lives,’ prompting backlash

Fox News host Tucker Carlson faced intense backlash after he argued that the unrest sparked by George Floyd’s death “is definitely not about black lives.”

Carlson’s comments came during a fiery monologue that kicked off his prime time show Monday, following another day of large demonstrations against police brutality and systemic racism. For roughly 25 minutes, Carlson criticized the Black Lives Matter movement and growing calls for cities to defund police departments or completely get rid of them.

“This may be a lot of things, this moment we’re living through, but it is definitely not about black lives,” Carlson said. “Remember that when they come for you, and at this rate, they will.”

Carlson did not make clear who he was referring to when he said “they,” leading critics online to suggest that the host was, as one person put it, telling his audience “black people are coming to get you, white people.” A short clip of Carlson’s segment quickly went viral Monday night, prompting some to again urge advertisers to boycott his show.

“Tucker’s warning about ‘when they come for you’ was clearly referring to Democratic leaders and inner city politicians,” a Fox News spokesperson told The Washington Post in an emailed statement Tuesday morning.

Read more here.

By Allyson Chiu
June 9, 2020 at 8:39 AM EDT

Lawmakers seek end to government surveillance of protesters

Thirty-five Democratic members of Congress on Tuesday wrote to leaders of the FBI and other federal agencies demanding that they stop surveillance of demonstrators protesting in response to the death of George Floyd.

“While the job of law enforcement is to protect Americans, limited actions may be necessary if a demonstration turns violent,” the letter said. “However, this authority does not grant the agencies you lead to surveil American citizens or collect vast amounts of personal information.”

The lawmakers, led by Reps. Anna Eschoo (Calif.) and Bobby L. Rush (Ill.), cited several recent news reports about surveillance by manned and unmanned aircraft and tracking of cellphones, as well as efforts by protesters to evade such initiatives.

In addition to the FBI, the letter was sent to leaders of the National Guard Bureau, the Drug Enforcement Administration and Customs and Border Protection.

“We demand that you cease any and all surveilling of Americans engaged in peaceful protests,” the letter said, voicing support for those “peacefully calling for transformational changes to better our nation by addressing the systemic racism and injustice embedded in our society.”

By John Wagner
June 9, 2020 at 8:38 AM EDT

Filmmaker Ava DuVernay launches project to spotlight police brutality

In late May, “Selma” director Ava DuVernay tweeted a clip of Tye Anders, a 21-year-old black man in Texas, lying on the ground, terrified and in tears, as police stood over him with guns drawn. He had allegedly run a stop sign.

“Can anyone identify these cops for me?” she asked. “I’m starting a new project.”

Now DuVernay, whose acclaimed 2019 “When They See Us” miniseries documented the lives of the five teenagers wrongly imprisoned in the 1989 Central Park jogger case, is revealing that project, meant to spotlight police officers who have abused and murdered black people.

DuVernay told The Washington Post she had an epiphany after repeatedly watching the horrifying video of George Floyd’s death.

“I’m used to watching racist, violent images,” DuVernay said. “So why did George Floyd’s final moments devastate me like it did? I realized that it was because this time the cop isn’t hidden behind a body cam or distorted by grainy surveillance video. This time, I can see the cop’s face. As a viewer, there are several times when he even looks right at me. Then . . . I started to realize how rare that is.

“And that led me to think, ‘How many of these police officers do we never see?’ They disappear, end up leaving town and show up in another department. Their names are said, but it’s never amplified, and it’s kind of like this group contract. Somehow, we, as American citizens, have agreed to not speak their names. I do not agree to that anymore.”

Read more here.

By Geoff Edgers
June 9, 2020 at 7:25 AM EDT

Big majorities support protests and say police need to change

Americans overwhelmingly support the nationwide protests that have taken place since the killing of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis, and they say police forces have not done enough to ensure that blacks are treated equally to whites, according to a Washington Post-Schar School poll.

President Trump receives negative marks for his handling of the protests, with 61 percent saying they disapprove and 35 percent saying they approve. Much of the opposition to Trump is vehement, as 47 percent of Americans say they strongly disapprove of the way the president has responded to the protests.

The poll highlights how attitudes about police treatment of black Americans are changing dramatically. More than 2 in 3 Americans (69 percent) say the killing of Floyd represents a broader problem within law enforcement, compared with fewer than 1 in 3 (29 percent) who say the Minneapolis killing is an isolated incident.

Read more here.

By Scott Clement and Dan Balz
June 9, 2020 at 7:04 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 that the city redirect millions to 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 due to 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 covid-19 did not go far enough.

In a news briefing, the mayor said he listened to hundreds of people during public comment Monday, but he 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 6:59 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 police near the department’s East Precinct, creating a flash point that erupted into chaos on Sunday night when officers fired tear gas and stun grenades at the demonstrators.

On Monday night, those barricades were gone. The precinct was boarded up with plywood, although 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 use of force by police 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 Tuesday.

By Tim Elfrink
June 9, 2020 at 6:53 AM EDT

Abbott raises possibility of ‘George Floyd Act’ in Texas targeting police brutality

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is raising the possibility of a “George Floyd Act” in his state aimed at preventing the kind of police conduct that led to the death of the Minneapolis man whose funeral will take place in Houston on Tuesday.

“George Floyd has not died in vain,” the Republican governor told reporters Monday as he attended a public visitation for Floyd. “His life will be a living legacy about the way that America and Texas responds to this tragedy. I’m here to tell you today that I am committed to working with the family of George Floyd to ensure we never have anything like this ever occur in the state of Texas.”

Abbott said a history of legislative responses to troubling episodes, citing the cases of Sandra Bland, who died in jail in 2015 following an arrest prompted by a lengthy argument with a trooper; and Timothy Cole, a Texas Tech University student exonerated more than two decades after being wrongfully convicted of raping a fellow student in 1985.

“Remember this: Texas has a legacy of success, whether it be the Timothy Cole Act, the Sandra Bland Act and now maybe the George Floyd Act, to make sure that we prevent police brutality like this from happening in the future in Texas,” Abbott said.

His comments came on the same day that Democrats in Washington unveiled a sweeping police reform bill. President Trump and Republicans on Capitol Hill are discussing what reforms they might support.

Abbott, who met privately with Floyd’s family on Monday, told reporters that his death was “the most horrific tragedy I’ve ever personally observed.”

By John Wagner
June 9, 2020 at 4:58 AM EDT

Video shows police killing of black man in New Jersey

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.

After 20 minutes of sitting in the patrol car, Gordon unfastened his seat belt and appeared to get out of the car. Wetzel then yelled “Get in the car!” several times while they seemed to tussle outside the cruiser.

Read more here.

By Meryl Kornfield
June 9, 2020 at 2:29 AM EDT

Judge temporarily blocks removal of Richmond’s Robert E. Lee statue

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.

Richmond Circuit Court Judge Bradley B. Cavedo granted a 10-day injunction sought by William C. Gregory, who contends in a lawsuit that the state promised to “affectionately protect” the statue when it annexed the land it stands on from Henrico County. The suit identifies Gregory as a great-grandson of a couple who were signatories to the deed.

Northam (D) announced plans to remove the monument and put it in storage last week amid protests in Richmond and across the country against police brutality toward African Americans. The state appeared to be preparing to move forward with the removal this week, with “no parking” signs posted nearby and neighbors notified that work was expected to begin in the coming days.

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,’ says teen who was spit on by white woman at protest

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 organized 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 paint ‘Defund Police’ on street leading to Wisconsin State Capitol

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

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 posted on social media, the block lettering is seen stretching toward the brightly lit capitol.

Madison is the latest city where streets have been painted 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 choke holds, neck restraints

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

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

But under the preliminary injunction, any police who witness another using a choke hold 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 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 ‘shoot to kill’ Facebook post

A Buffalo police 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 ongoing protests against police brutality.

Buffalo Police Commissioner Byron C. Lockwood condemned the “reprehensible” post in a statement 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 come days after two officers from the department were seen on video shoving a 75-year-old protester, who fell to the ground and hit his head on the concrete.

The city suspended the officers, prompting the Buffalo Police Department’s entire riot-control team — 57 officers — to quit the unit.

The two officers have since been charged with assault.

By Allyson Chiu