Protests resurged across the United States over the weekend, with clashes between activists and authorities erupting in major cities amid continuing unrest in Portland, Ore.

Here are some significant developments:

  • Police and protesters clashed in major cities, including Seattle and Los Angeles, on Saturday night.
  • A Black Lives Matter demonstrator in Austin was shot and killed.
  • A group of African American mayors has laid out a plan for overhauling police practices that avoids defunding departments.
July 27, 2020 at 7:54 PM EDT

What to expect when Barr is questioned by the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday

Attorney General William P. Barr is scheduled to testify Tuesday before the House Judiciary Committee, where he is expected to face critical questioning on his response to anti-police brutality protests across the nation, his controversial interventions in high-profile cases involving allies of President Trump and many other matters.

The hearing, which begins at 10 a.m., marks the first time Barr has appeared before the panel since Democrats took over the House majority in 2019, and there is no shortage of topics for him to address. Democrats, though, are hamstrung in their ability to impose practical consequences on Barr, as Republicans would short-circuit any bid to impeach him.

By Matt Zapotosky and Karoun Demirjian
July 27, 2020 at 6:15 PM EDT

When Black Lives Matter came to white, rural America

ROCKY MOUNT, Va. — Bridgette Craighead had almost reached the top of the hill when she stopped, teetering on leopard-print boots, to stare at the white marble soldier in a Confederate uniform.

He stood atop a granite obelisk, dedicated in engraved letters to “THE CONFEDERATE DEAD,” that dominated the grassy square outside the Franklin County courthouse. One of the soldier’s hands rested on his hip. The other gripped a rifle.

Craighead, 29, looked down at her own hands. She readjusted her grip on the megaphone she’d swathed in leopard-print tape, to match her boots and the Black Lives Matter logo on her T-shirt. She shook back her Afro and told herself she was a warrior. It did not matter that this was her first protest, organized four days before on Facebook. It did not matter that this was the first Black Lives Matter rally that white, rural Republican Rocky Mount had ever seen. She was ready to lead.

By Hannah Natanson
July 27, 2020 at 5:43 PM EDT

NYPD has arrested at least eight people for vandalizing city’s Black Lives Matter mural

The New York City Police Department has now arrested at least eight people for vandalizing a Black Lives Matter street mural outside Trump Tower in New York since its creation less than three weeks ago.

The NYPD twice arrested a white Rochester, N.Y., resident over the weekend, after he dumped paint on the mural on both Saturday and Sunday. The department charged Mark-David Hutt, 37, with criminal mischief on both occasions, Detective Denise Moroney said Monday.

A Facebook user, Marky Hutt — who identifies himself as the “founder of LGBTrump” and whose profile features pictures of himself wearing Trump memorabilia — posted on his and the LGBTrump Facebook page nearly a dozen videos of himself vandalizing the yellow-lettered mural, which covers the 700th block of New York’s Fifth Avenue in front of Trump Tower.

In the latest video, posted Monday morning, Hutt wrote: “Saturday, I splashed Red. Sunday, I splashed White. & on Monday … Mayor Bill de Blasio has ruined NYC & has put a target on the back of NYPD’s finest. We need to STAND UP and take our country back. #BlueLivesMatter ”

The NYPD did not respond to a request for comment on Hutt’s apparent threat to vandalize the mural a third time.

Moroney said police have so far arrested at least eight people for vandalizing the mural. All or most were residents of New York state, according to reporting from CNN and local news outlets.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) took part in painting the mural July 9. Conservative groups have filed lawsuits against the city and against D.C., which earlier painted an even larger Black Lives Matter mural on a street leading to the White House.

In his Facebook posts, Hutt bragged repeatedly about being arrested twice and having “NO REGRETS.” “Democrats are RUINING AMERICA!!” he wrote, urging people to “stand up” for their country. His LGBTrump Facebook page had previously referred to the Black Lives Matter movement as “terrorists,” and posted a meme that proclaimed Black Lives Matter “NO DIFFERENT than the KKK.”

Hutt said in an email that his name is, in fact, spelled Markdavid Hutt, and that he is 31, not 37. There was no immediate explanation for the discrepancy.

Hutt did not respond to questions about his motives for the vandalism, but suggested over email that he would deface the mural again Monday evening, and invited publicity for the event.

“I’d suggest if you want an ‘exclusive’ then to show up around 6pm,” he wrote.

By Abigail Hauslohner
July 27, 2020 at 4:14 PM EDT

Wall of Moms, Black Lives Matter protesters sue Trump administration for use of tear gas, force in Portland

PORTLAND, Ore. — Protesters who say they were tear-gassed, shot at, pepper-sprayed and assaulted outside a federal courthouse while peacefully demonstrating and rendering aid to others sued the Trump administration Monday over its use of force during nightly demonstrations in downtown Portland.

A group of five women and two organizations, including longtime Black Lives Matter protesters and the yellow-clad Wall of Moms group that assembles nightly to stand between protesters and federal law enforcement officers, filed a lawsuit alleging that several agencies — the Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Federal Protective Service — have violated their constitutional rights of free speech, assembly and due process and against unreasonable seizures.

Read more here.

By Marissa Lang
July 27, 2020 at 3:02 PM EDT

Trump administration sends more federal agents to Portland

The Trump administration is sending more federal agents to Portland, Ore., as officials consider pushing back harder and farther against the growing crowds and nightly clashes with protesters, vandals and rioters, The Washington Post has learned.

To strengthen federal forces arrayed around the city’s downtown courthouse, the U.S. Marshals Service decided last week to send 100 deputy marshals to Portland, according to an internal Marshals Service email reviewed by The Post. The personnel began arriving Thursday night.

The Department of Homeland Security is also considering a plan to send 50 additional U.S. Customs and Border Protection personnel to the city, but a final decision on the deployment has not been made, according to senior administration officials involved in the federal response who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe internal deliberations.

By Devlin Barrett and Nick Miroff
July 27, 2020 at 2:27 PM EDT

Mayors to Congress: Stop deployment of federal forces

In a letter addressed to congressional leaders Monday, the Democratic mayors of six cities — Albuquerque, Chicago, Kansas City, Mo., Portland, Ore., Seattle and Washington, D.C. — urged legislators to pass a law to establish that the recent deployment of federal troops to cities is “unlawful and repugnant.”

The letter criticized the Trump administration for sending federal agents to cities such as Portland that have been the site of widespread demonstrations against police brutality. Those troops have patrolled streets “way outside of their lawful jurisdiction,” said the letter, which Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler (D) posted to Twitter on Monday afternoon.

“We are outraged that the administration has responded to these First Amendment-protected gatherings by authorizing the deployment of riot-gear clad forces … without the consent of local authorities,” the letter read.

The mayors requested that congressional action require federal agents, excepting those in field offices working on current cases, to obtain consent from local authorities; visibly identify themselves and their vehicles unless undercover; and limit “crowd control” actions to protecting federal property.

The letter was sent to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.).

By Ben Guarino
July 27, 2020 at 1:14 PM EDT

On a quiet Northern Virginia street, protesting federal tactics in Oregon

At a triangular park in a tranquil neighborhood in Alexandria, Va., a group of about 30 gathered Sunday morning and awaited directions for a disruptive mission.

They would protest the detaining and removal of demonstrators in Portland, Ore., by federal officers in the past week, and they would do it outside the home of acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf.

“A block and a half together, everyone,” Jeff Ordower, an organizer said, as he led the group up a street.

Read more here.

By Justin George
July 27, 2020 at 12:44 PM EDT

Portland protesters are fighting back against tear gas and forming ‘walls’ of veterans, lawyers, nurses

PORTLAND, Ore. — The tear gas started early Friday night, interrupting a line of drums and dancing, chanting protesters, an artist painting in oils underneath a tree in the park and a man with a microphone speaking about the issues of racial justice and policing at the center of these nightly demonstrations.

“Hey, guys, don’t panic, don’t panic,” the man said from the steps of the Multnomah County Justice Center, one block over from the federal courthouse in downtown Portland. “All you first-timers out here, it’s just tear gas. Everybody just relax.”

As if on cue, a brigade of orange-shirted men with leaf blowers descended on the cloud, revved their engines and blew the tear gas away. The crowd cheered.

Read more here.

By Marissa Lang
July 27, 2020 at 11:49 AM EDT

Scenes from the Portland protest

Here are some scenes from the protests late Sunday in Portland:

By Marissa Lang
July 27, 2020 at 10:59 AM EDT

Couple wearing Nazi flag masks at Walmart filmed in viral clash

Raphaela Mueller was strolling through Walmart on Saturday morning when a brief glimpse of two other shoppers in the Marshall, Minn., store stopped her dead in her tracks.

Fighting through disbelief that nearly rendered her speechless, Mueller, 24, who was born and raised in Germany, turned to her partner and blurted out a single question: “Wait, are those people wearing swastikas on their masks?"

When the young couple again encountered the man and woman, who were indeed sporting bright red facial coverings that resembled the Nazi flag, Mueller had no trouble finding her voice.

Read more here.

By Allyson Chiu
July 27, 2020 at 10:21 AM EDT

National Guard commander says police used ‘excessive’ force to clear Lafayette Square ahead of Trump

An Army National Guard commander who witnessed protesters being forcibly removed from Lafayette Square last month is contradicting claims by the attorney general and the Trump administration that they did not speed up the clearing to make way for the president’s photo opportunity minutes later.

A new statement by Adam DeMarco, an Iraq War veteran who now serves as a major in the D.C. National Guard, also casts doubt on the claims by acting Park Police Chief Gregory Monahan that violence by protesters spurred Park Police to clear the area at that time with unusually aggressive tactics.

DeMarco said that “demonstrators were behaving peacefully” and that tear gas was deployed in an “excessive use of force.”

Read more here.

By Tom Jackman
July 27, 2020 at 10:12 AM EDT

Tom Cotton, describing slavery as ‘necessary evil’ at country’s founding, assails New York Times’s ‘1619 Project’

Nearly a year after “The 1619 Project” was unveiled, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) is trying to start a congressional debate over the New York Times series that examined slavery in U.S. history.

The conservative lawmaker proposed Thursday a bill seeking to ban schools from adopting the project in their curriculum. The Pulitzer Prize-winning series of essays, poetry and fiction created the notion, falsely, he claimed, that America is a “systemically racist country” with slavery irredeemably trapped inside its core.

“As the Founding Fathers said, it [slavery] was the necessary evil upon which the union was built,” he told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette over the weekend. “The union was built in a way, as Lincoln said, to put slavery on the course to its ultimate extinction.”

By Teo Armus
July 27, 2020 at 9:08 AM EDT

African American mayors lay out plan for police reform without ‘defunding’

The nation’s black mayors gathered last month and formed a group they called the Mayors Peace Pact for Community Centered Policing.

The plan outlined by the African American Mayors Association calls for providing transparency in policing, reevaluating police policies and union contracts, advocating for federal policy changes, improving community engagement and creating city budgets reflecting community values.

In interviews, the leaders of the African American mayors’ group said they want to build on the momentum of the police reform movement ignited by the death of George Floyd — and that they do not favor “defunding the police.”

Read more here.

By Tom Jackman
July 27, 2020 at 9:08 AM EDT

An armed Black Lives Matter protester confronted a car that drove toward a march. The driver fatally shot him.

The protesters were crossing Fourth Street on Congress Avenue in downtown Austin on Saturday night when a motorist sped toward the crowd and laid on the horn. Most of the Black Lives Matter marchers scattered, but not Garrett Foster. The 28-year-old white man wearing a military green T-shirt, baseball cap, black bandanna and an AK-47 type assault rifle strapped across his chest approached the driver’s side window.

Seconds later, the driver fired five shots and sped off, leaving Foster to bleed out.

On Sunday, Austin police said they had interviewed the driver, who had turned himself in after fleeing the scene. The man had a license for his handgun and claimed he fired after Foster pointed his weapon at the car. The police, who declined to identify the driver, released the man as they continue investigating.

Read more here.

By Jaclyn Peiser