This article titled “George Floyd protests: man killed in Detroit as demonstrations rage across US – as it happened” was written by Paul MacInnes (now), Martin Farrer, Vivian Ho, Julia Carrie Wong, Joan E Greve and Tom McCarthy (earlier), for theguardian.com on Saturday 30th May 2020 12.20 UTC
This blog is now closing, and will soon be replaced by new coverage led by our team in New York.
One final link, to a piece that puts last night’s unrest across the United States in context:
Thank you for reading.
Portland placed under curfew
The mayor of Portland, Oregon, has imposed a curfew after what he described as a ‘riot’ in the city overnight.
Ted Wheeler decried scenes of unrest in Portland in a series of tweets and, in the past hour, has declared that citizens must stay home between 8pm and 6am.
Earlier, in an interview with with local radio station KGW , Wheeler, a Democrat, described the situation in his city: “This is a riot. It’s a full-on riot. We see people burning cars, we see people damaging businesses large and small, including some businesses I believe which are owned by local African-American business owners. We’re seeing looting.”
Updated at 12.53pm BST
A summary of events on the streets of Oakland on Friday night, posted by a reporter from the local Mercury News
The leader of the opposition Labour party in the UK, Sir Keir Starmer, has said George Floyd’s death “must be a catalyst for change”.
He posted the following message on Twitter after a night of protests across the United States.
Updated at 12.03pm BST
US diplomats in Africa have said they are “profoundly troubled” by the death of George Floyd, in response to outrage from across the continent.
According to reporting by the Associated Press, ambassadors and embassies in five different African countries have issued statements following the death of 46-year-old Floyd this week at the hands of Minneapolis police.
Diplomats spoke up as the head of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, condemned the “murder” of Floyd and said his organisation rejects the “continuing discriminatory practices against black citizens of the USA”.
The US ambassador to Congo, Mike Hammer, highlighted a tweet from a local media entrepreneur who addressed him saying, “Dear ambassador, your country is shameful. Proud America, which went through everything from segregation to the election of Barack Obama, still hasn’t conquered the demons of racism. How many black people must be killed by white police officers before authorities react seriously?”
The ambassador’s response, in French, said: “I am profoundly troubled by the tragic death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The Justice Department is conducting a full criminal investigation as a top priority. Security forces around the world should be held accountable. No one is above the law.”
Similar statements were tweeted by the US embassies in Kenya and Uganda, while the embassies in Tanzania and Kenya tweeted a joint statement from the Department of Justice office in Minnesota on the investigation.
Updated at 12.05pm BST
Killer Mike addresses Atlanta mayor’s press conference
The musician Killer Mike has given an impassioned address to the citizens of his home town of Atlanta, calling for an end to looting.
The rapper was invited to speak at a press conference held by the mayor of Atlanta, Keisha Lance Bottoms, and used his speech to point out the successes of African-Americans in the city, as well as calling for structural change to combat racism.
Killer Mike, one half of the group Run the Jewels, was a leading voice during the Ferguson protests of 2014. His speech today has been widely shared on social media.
Updated at 11.19am BST
A DC based photographer, Matthew Rodier, has been streaming live pictures from protests outside the White House.
Crowds had been gathered outside the presidential residence for many hours. Earlier there were reports of some protesters hurling missiles at police, the police responding with pepper spray.
Police later declared the gathering “unlawful” and ordered everyone to leave Lafayette Square, a 7 acre public park located directly north of the White House.
Rodier brought his live stream to an end as the protesters dissipated. “For everyone that was on when the live stream cut out I’m good”, he wrote on Twitter. “I didn’t get arrested, all the protesters left so I did as well. Just got pepper sprayed a lot but that is a regular occurrence if you cover protests.”
Updated at 10.13am BST
I’m handing over to my colleague Paul MacInnes now. I’ll leave you with some images from the past few hours:
Updated at 9.08am BST
There is a lot of damage in downtown LA, where police are still trying to get protesters off the streets.
The Associated Press reports that police in Louisville, Kentucky, have apologised for targeting a news crew during protests.
A crew from WAVE-TV was downtown in the Kentucky city Friday night, covering demonstrations over the death of Breonna Taylor, a black woman killed by police in her own home in March. Police presence intensified around 9:45pm, as officers in riot gear stood shoulder-to-shoulder moving people down a key street near City Hall, the Courier Journal reported.
As WAVE-TV was on air, reporter Kaitlin Rust is heard yelling off-camera: I’ve been shot! I’ve been shot!” Video shows a police officer aiming directly at the camera crew, as Rust describes the projectiles as pepper bullets.
“I want to apologize”, Louisville police spokeswoman Jessie Halladay told the Courier Journal. “It’s not something that should have occurred if she was singled out as a reporter.”
Halladay said she couldn’t tell who the officer was at this time, but that police would review the video again and “if we need to do any investigation for discipline, we will do that”.
Updated at 10.15am BST
Here’s a look at the treatment that the events of Friday have been given by a couple of the US papers:
Some good news: it sounds from reporters on the ground that the protests in Oakland tonight are dwindling.
A post office is now on fire in Minneapolis:
Earlier on Friday night, Atlanta’s police chief said she understood the anger of African American communities across the United States over the repeated deaths of black men at the hands of police forces in the county.
“Whether it’s by police or other individuals, the reality is we’ve diminished the value on their life,” Erika Shields said.
Here’s our full story:
Portland’s mayor says he is returning to the city after having left to be with his dying mother.
Updated at 9.29am BST
Our reporter on the ground in Minneapolis has this update:
After Thursday night’s occupation and destruction of the 3rd precinct police station, protesters turned their attention to the 5th precinct station on Friday.
Thousands of people defied the city-wide curfew to surround the station. Mostly, the protest was peaceful, with chants and signs denouncing the police. But groups broke away to burn down a bank and attack other buildings.
The police watched from the station roof and decided there would be no repeat of the previous evening at the 3rd precinct. After midnight, a large column of officers in riot gear moved into the street and pushed back the crowd with rubber bullets and tear gas. People stampeded to get away. Others turned and tried to push back but were overwhelmed by the hundreds of officers.
About 50 people were arrested. The police said officers were shot at.
The city police chief, Medaria Arradondo, said more than 1,000 officers had been pulled in to defend the station.
“We will not have another repeat of what happened at the 3rd precinct,” he said.
It wasn’t immediately clear if this marked a shift in the police approach to begin to enforce the curfew after it was widely defied, or a move solely to defend the police station.
Updated at 8.38am BST
Protests in Oakland are ongoing – businesses have been targeted and fires lit.
More national guard troops are preparing to deploy to Minneapolis:
Meanwhile, there are ongoing clashes between police and protesters outside the White House, where demonstrators have removed some barricades.
Governor Walz is back. He says supports the federal government’s move to put the army on standby. He calls the situation “an unprecedented threat to our state”.
“Our goal is to do everything we can to start to restore order.”
Now he is answering questions.
Now a public safety official is speaking, calling protesters an “armed and more more entrenched group of rioters”.
He is calling for more police officers and more national guard support. A request has been made for more national guard officers, he says.
He says police officers have been shot at today and some have been injured.
Frey is giving an emotional performance:
“If you have a friend who is out now, call them and tell them to come home, it is not safe. Do the right thing now.”
Mayor Jacob Frey is now talking:
“Minneapolis I know you are reeling … I’m reeling too. We as a city are so much more than this. We can be so much better than this. There is no honour in burning down your city. There is no pride in looting.”
“It needs to stop.”
Updated at 7.44am BST
Minnesota governor Tim Walz is talking about the protests:
“This is not about George’s death, this is not about inequities that are real, this is about chaos.”
He says his priority is to protect lives, property and maintain law and order.
He says the same scenes will play out tomorrow unless something changes.
“The folks out there now want nothing more than to entice conflict.”
He says he is in touch with neighbouring states and the federal government and warns the situation tomorrow will be “more difficult” because the protests have spread across the country.
The night so far
And what a night it’s been, and there’s more to come.
- Derek Chauvin, the ex-Minneapolis police officer shown on video with his knee on George Floyd’s neck, was charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter in connection with Floyd’s death.
- Mayor Jacob Frey set an 8pm curfew for Minneapolis, which protesters promptly defied.
- The Pentagon issued a rare order that raises questions about a possible military presence in Minneapolis in the coming days.
- Protests in Washington DC resulted in a brief lockdown of the White House, with demonstrators still outside sparring with secret service over barricades into the wee hours of the morning.
- Protesters damaged the CNN headquarters in Atlanta and set a police car ablaze, prompting governor Brian Kemp to declare a state of emergency and activate the Georgia National Guard.
- In Brooklyn, protesters and police clashed, with a state senator and state assemblymember getting pepper-sprayed and handcuffed.
- In Louisville, Kentucky, where protesters set the Hall of Justice on fire, police aimed and fired projectiles at a reporter and her cameraman during a live shot.
- In California, protesters across the state shut down four freeways: two in Oakland, one in San Jose and one in Los Angeles.
- A 19-year-old man was shot and killed in Detroit, Michigan after someone fired multiple times into a crowd of protesters.
That’s it from me tonight, my colleague Martin Farrer in Australia will be taking over from here.
Updated at 7.45am BST
Portland’s mayor has called on protesters to refrain from violence:
The Minnesota governor is due to give an update in the coming minutes:
19-year-old killed in Detroit protests
In Detroit, Michigan, where hundreds marched, a 19-year-old man was killed after someone in an SUV fired multiple times into a crowd of protesters, the Associated Press is reporting.
The shooting occurred at about 11:30pm Friday, near the Greektown entertainment district, according to Detroit police. The victim died at a hospital. No details on the victim or the suspect were immediately available.
The day’s march was relatively peaceful, but as events continued into the night, tensions grew.
A Detroit police commander was struck by a rock and hospitalized. Officers in riot gear held off protesters across streets, eventually shooting canisters of gas into the crowd.
Updated at 7.15am BST
The Guardian’s indefatigable Chris McGreal continues with his coverage on the ground in Minneapolis:
Many of the protesters who broke through the police lines near the 3rd precinct station earlier in the day and kept marching, regrouped in a Latino section of the city where the looting of what was reputed to be the biggest liquor store in the city turned into a big street party.
But there were still those determined to keep the focus on George Floyd and the demand for justice.
”We’re going to keep this going until all those cops are in jail,” said a young white woman dressed entirely in black who would only give her name as Serena. “It’s not good enough to charge one with third degree murder. That’s saying he didn’t mean to do it. It was first degree murder. He chose to kill George Floyd. And we want those other three cops arrested and convicted too. That’s what justice looks like.”
Another woman on a bike held aloft a sign: “3 cops left”.
The National Guard finally made an appearance around midnight but only to protect a group of firefighters dousing a blaze at a Shell gas station.
The crowd was relaxed, sensing that the soldiers were not there to interrupt their protests or their party. Some attempted to debate the shortcomings of policing in Minneapolis. Others posed for pictures next to the armoured vehicles.
But the protesters sensed that they owned the streets, at least in this part of the city and for this night.
The Associated Press is reporting that the Pentagon is ordering the Army to put several active-duty military police units on the ready to deploy to Minneapolis.
This comes after Donald Trump tweeted that he told Minnesota governor Tim Walz that “the Military is with him all the way”. Twitter hid that tweet behind a warning that it “glorifies violence” – Trump had ended that tweet with “when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” a nod to former Miami police chief Walter Headley, who in December 1967 promised violent reprisals to protests over stop-and-frisk tactics.
It’s incredibly rare for the Pentagon to order something of this sort, the AP noted.
In Phoenix, Arizona, protesters marched for not just George Floyd, but for Dion Johnson, a 28-year-old black man who was shot and killed by an Arizona Department of Public Safety officer in a “struggle” in which there are scant details.
A large group gathered peacefully for hours, discussing how the officer did not have his body camera on and chanting “Black lives matter”. They then marched to Phoenix police headquarters, where the situation devolved.
It is past 1am in Washington DC right now, and a whole new day, and protests are still going strong in front of the White House.
Protesters have spent the past hours tussling with secret service and law enforcement over barricades. Some said on the live stream that they had been tear-gassed. Others threw water on the secret service.
Georgia governor Brian Kemp declared a state of emergency in Fulton County, where Atlanta is located, because of the protests. The emergency declaration allows him to activate up to 500 Georgia National Guard to “protect people and property in Atlanta”.
From the Guardian’s Mario Koran, on the ground in Oakland:
Police formed a line outside the Oakland police headquarters, where demonstrators gathered, chanting “I can’t breathe” and “you are the virus” to the officers.
A black protester stepped forward toward the line of police, shouting “400 years!”.
Jesse and Jessica Hurtado, a husband and wife dressed in Brown Beret fatigues, joined the protest in solidarity with black protesters. They had just been to another protest in San Jose.
“They’re not just killing African Americans. They’re killing black and brown together,” said Jesse.
One man in the crowd stood atop the median as the remains of an American flag burned, while around him boomed flash grenades and fireworks.
The night remained largely peaceful after a fight broke out between a white and black protester, but tension mounted as some protestors began to hurl cans and bottles at law enforcement.
Police announced: “You have the right assemble peacefully but be advised this is now an unlawful protest. Please disperse from this area.”
Moments later, they fired teargas into the crowd.
Updated at 6.07am BST
Across California, police were declaring unlawful assemblies at their respective protests:
In Oakland, it appeared the police had added tear gas to the projectiles they fired into the crowd:
The Guardian’s Chris McGreal is speaking with local business owners in Minneapolis who express fears for their livelihood amid the growing unrest:
Sergio Pineda stood guard over his used car lot as a gas station burned a block away and crowds looted a liquor store and partied in the street.
“It’s all Latino businesses around here. I don’t support what the cops did but I don’t support what’s going on,” he said. “The National Guard should be here protecting. A lot of these are minority owned businesses that aren’t insured.”
He said he was prepared to defend his business.“I don’t want to kill nobody but if somebody disrespects my business… ” he said.
Updated at 5.45am BST
Jackie Renzetti reports for the Guardian on the scene in Minneapolis earlier on Friday afternoon, shortly after Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced he would charge Derek Chauvin with third-degree murder and manslaughter in the killing of George Floyd:
Demonstrators Friday focused their messages on continuing to hold the other three officers accountable, with chants including “all four” and “one down, three to go.”
Around 150 people were present during demonstrations following Freeman’s announcement. The crowd swelled to about 200 throughout the afternoon, where a steady stream of speakers gave talks and led chants.
Kenney Daniels, 57, is African American and has lived in Minneapolis for most of his life, including 22 years in the city’s southern neighborhoods. He expressed concern over the destruction and violence that took place during the last few nights of protests.
“It’s just terrible,“ he said, “but people are just fed up with it .. It just gets more intense every 20, 30 years.” Aside from the general danger of destroying properties, he said he worried how the resulting increased presence of law enforcement would affect the conflict. “I hope these officers can be held accountable so that this can stop,” he said. “This could go a whole another ugly way, for everybody.”
Aggie Heart, 59, has lived in south Minneapolis for 40 years. She came Friday with her 29-year-old daughter, Celia Thomas, and Thomas’ four and 12-year-old daughters. Thomas said she hadn’t attended the week’s previous protests because of danger, but wanted to bring her children to the safe environment of the intersection.
“I think the charges were a little bit lenient,” said Thomas, who is a person of color, “and I just hope they stick.”
She expressed dismay at the destruction over the past few days. “I cried for the last few nights, just looking at this place I grew up in – it’s ruined,” she said. “But maybe if something is actually happening, maybe it’s for good.”
Brett Davis, 60, is African American and grew up in south Minneapolis, where he has lived for most of his life. He said he thought that the protests, including ones that became destructive, provided necessary pressure for a relatively swift charging decision compared to previous police misconduct cases.
“What they did made this happen,” he said, adding that some of the destruction was done by people simply taking a “badge of opportunity” rather than for the cause. He knows young men involved with some of the destruction well, he said. A history of feeling discriminated against for jobs by area businesses, combined with anger over the pandemic’s disproportionate impact on people of color, contributed to their decisions, he said.
“They say, we’re not going to do it your old way. We’re not doing the peaceful marches. We’re not going to do all that … We’re gonna go out and destroy and destruct, because that’s the only time they listen,” he said. “That’s what I’ve been hearing a lot from these young guys.”
He said he’s been injured by police multiple times over the years. “Now, you have cameras to show you what the Minneapolis police have been doing for a long time.”
“It’s like a ticking time bomb,” he said.
In Oakland, California, protesters began with a downtown gathering as others shut down the Bay Bridge.
The large group met in front of City Hall in Frank Ogawa Plaza, which during the Occupy protests of 2011, was renamed for Oscar Grant, a 22-year-old local black man who was killed when a transit police officer shot him in the back while he laid handcuffed on the ground.
Protesters went on to block another freeway, this time Interstate 880.
For those keeping track, in California alone, protesters on Friday blocked four separate freeways: the 101 south in San Jose, Interstate 80 on the Bay Bridge at the Oakland/San Francisco border, Interstate 880 in Oakland and Freeway 110 in Los Angeles.
Outside Oakland police headquarters, protesters set off fireworks and threw bottles at police. Police responded by firing projectiles into the crowd.
Updated at 5.24am BST
Protesters shut down LA freeway
In Los Angeles, protesters marched through the downtown area before shutting the 110 freeway.
Some protesters apparently smashed some police car windows, prompting a scuffle in which other protesters tried to fend off an arresting officer by hitting him with signs.
Some protesters also appeared to make a road block out of scooters.
Here are some more images from the protest:
Updated at 5.02am BST
Kellie Chauvin, the wife of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged with killing George Floyd, is divorcing her husband because of his role in Floyd’s death.
New York state senator Zellnor Myrie and state assemblymember Diana Richardson were “pepper sprayed and handcuffed” tonight, apparently during the protests.
From the Guardian’s Chris McGreal, on the ground in Minneapolis:
Once again the police retreated. Once again the protesters took control.
Minnesota’s governor had pledged that Friday would be different to the previous night when the police abandoned the area around the 3rd precinct to thousands of people angry over the death of George Floyd.
But as the curfew came into force at 8pm, the protesters were back out in force and not giving ground. Defying repeated orders, and waves of tear gas, they kept pushing forward until the police gave way.
Within half an hour the police station, the symbol of what the protesters saw as their victory the previous evening, was back in their hands. They celebrated with selfies and tours of it wrecked interior.
As the sun went down, the protesters kept pushing the police back. The governor had threatened to send in the National Guard but they were nowhere to be seen. But neither, for now, was there a repeat of the looting and burning of buildings.
Still a long evening lay ahead.
Back in Louisville, Kentucky, local TV reporter Kaitlin Rust was on the air when police began firing projectiles at her and her cameraman.
Rust screamed, yelling, “I’m getting shot!” before correcting herself to note that they were either rubber bullets or pepper balls.
“Who are they aiming that at?” the anchor asked, as the police officer pointed the gun at camera.
“It’s directly at us,” Rust said.
“Why are they doing that?” the anchor asked.
The earlier protest in Washington DC that led to a lockdown of the White House consisted of several hundred demonstrators gathering and shutting down an intersection at U and 14th streets.
One man briefly clashed with secret service officers, but the lockdown was quickly lifted and the overall protest remained small in scope. More protests are scheduled in the capital on Saturday.
In San Jose, California, protesters blocked a major freeway and chanted George Floyd’s name in the downtown area.
Video showed a police officer apparently instigating a physical confrontation with a protester that ended in that protester’s arrest.
Former New York mayor and current Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani waded into the action to criticize Minneapolis mayor Jacob Frey the “criminal friendly policies” of all “so-called Progressive Democrat mayors and governors”.
Some photos from the protests:
Outside the White House:
The scene in New York:
In Kentucky, demonstrators are protesting the death of Breonna Taylor:
Updated at 2.50am BST
Protests in Louisville
In Louisville, Kentucky, demonstrators gathered again to protest the killing of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old black woman who was shot by police while sleeping in her apartment. The plainclothes officers had been serving a no-knock search warrant, searching for a suspect in a narcotics investigation who Taylor’s family believes was already in custody at the time of her death.
Tonight in Louisville, protesters burned flags outside the Hall of Justice before shattering windows and setting fire.
Police responded with tear gas.
This came after hours of peaceful marching.
Updated at 3.53am BST
Hey all, Vivian Ho taking over the blog tonight, as demonstrations over the killing of George Floyd continue to rage across the country.
In Brooklyn, we have voting rights editor Ankita Rao on the ground, and she is reporting that the police were clashing with protesters, forcing people – including multiple minors – onto sidewalks and arresting them. Later, despite no apparent violence other than some thrown water bottles, police fired a smoking projectile into the crowd. Some black protesters were urging white protesters to form a barrier between the police, who were trying to push them back.
Atlanta protesters deface CNN headquarters
Guardian reporter Vivian Ho has this update on the demonstrations in Atlanta:
Protests turned chaotic in downtown Atlanta, with some demonstrators defacing the CNN headquarters and others smashing police vehicles.
Protesters threw objects at the CNN building while chanting “no more police” and “fuck CNN”. Someone set a police car on fire.
Later, video showed law enforcement entering the fray and smoking projectiles being shot into the screaming crowd.
Updated at 3.56am BST
Minneapolis protesters remain as curfew begins
Thousands of protesters remained at Minneapolis’s third precinct police station as the curfew began at 8pm central time, the Guardian’s Chris McGreal reports.
The protesters have defied police orders to disperse in advance of the curfew, and police have fired tear gas.
The third precinct was the site of Thursday’s night’s fiery riot, when police abandoned their station and it was set on fire.
Star Tribune reporter Ryan Faircloth reports that community leaders say they won’t leave until all four of the officers involved are arrested and charged.
Updated at 3.53am BST
The Ramsey County jail has released former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin’s booking photo, according to KSTP.
Chauvin was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter in connection with the death of George Floyd.
Jackie Renzetti reports for the Guardian from Minneapolis, where she has just interviewed some of George Floyd’s friends.
“He put his arm around me and embraced myself and other brothers to really bring a change,” Nijalon Dunn told the Guardian while wearing a t-shirt bearing the last message he received from his friend “Big Floyd”.
Michael Staley said that his longtime friend was “an uplifting person”.
“He’s probably the only person who takes time out of his day to let you know how good you are, how great you are,” Staley said.
Follow Jackie on Twitter @JackieRenzetti for further updates as the protests continue.
Updated at 6.25am BST
Mark Zuckerberg has defended Facebook’s decision to allow Donald Trump to post the threat, “When the looting starts, the shooting starts,” in a blog post on Friday evening by arguing that Facebook has a policy to allow warnings of the use of force by state actors.
“Although the post had a troubling historical reference, we decided to leave it up because the National Guard references meant we read it as a warning about state action, and we think people need to know if the government is planning to deploy force,” Zuckerberg wrote in a post on his Facebook page.
“Our policy around incitement of violence allows discussion around state use of force, although I think today’s situation raises important questions about what potential limits of that discussion should be,” he added.
It was not immediately clear if that policy had ever been articulated by Facebook before. In 2019, a Facebook spokesperson declined to clarify the company’s policy around violence and hate speech by state actors on the record to the Guardian. The Guardian has contacted Facebook for comment.
This is not the first time that Facebook’s exemption of state actors from content rules has been questioned. During the campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya in Myanmar, Facebook banned an insurgent group fighting to defend the Muslim minority while allowing Myanmar’s military, the Tatmadaw, to continue using its platform to spread its propaganda.
Facebook subsequently banned a number of ethnic armed organizations in Myanmar, designating the officially recognized groups as the equivalent to terrorist organizations. The move prompted an outcry from human rights experts who said the company’s decision to favor state actors over non-state actors in armed conflict was inconsistent with both international law and human rights.
In his lengthy post, Zuckerberg also appeared to suggest that if Facebook had decided Trump’s post was intended to incite violence by civilians, they would have taken it down, writing, “Unlike Twitter, we do not have a policy of putting a warning in front of posts that may incite violence because we believe that if a post incites violence, it should be removed regardless of whether it is newsworthy, even if it comes from a politician.”
Zuckerberg also criticized Trump, saying: “I’ve been struggling with how to respond to the President’s tweets and posts all day. Personally, I have a visceral negative reaction to this kind of divisive and inflammatory rhetoric.”
He added: “I disagree strongly with how the President spoke about this, but I believe people should be able to see this for themselves, because ultimately accountability for those in positions of power can only happen when their speech is scrutinized out in the open.”
Guardian voting rights editor Ankita Rao reports from the protest in Brooklyn, New York.
Hundreds of protestors gathered at Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Friday evening chanting, “Fuck the police,” and “No justice no peace.” Protestors wore masks though many police did not.
“Police violence is one of the biggest health issues in our country,” said Kimberly Sue, a physician who has also been treating coronavirus patients. “Whether it’s Covid or cops it lowers the life expectancy of black people in this country.”
Atlanta native Jabari also said he thought about the risks of Covid-19 when coming but said police brutality and Covid-19 were “two viruses killing black people.”
White House locked down amid protests
Guardian reporter Vivian Ho reports:
With protesters outside the gates, it appears that the White House is now under lockdown orders from the Secret Service.
Though CNN reporter Jim Acosta used the word “volatile” to describe the protest, video that he tweeted from outside the White House shows protesters gathered calmly outside, some chanting “Black lives matter” and others chanting, “No justice, no peace’.
Updated at 3.55am BST
Guardian reporter Vivian Ho reports on the criminal complaint against Derek Chauvin, which provides new details on the killing of George Floyd.
Derek Chauvin, the ex-Minneapolis police officer charged today with third-degree murder and manslaughter in connection with the killing of George Floyd, had his knee on Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds total, according to the complaint.
For two minutes and 53 seconds, Floyd was “non-responsive”.
“Police are trained that this type of restraint with a subject in a prone position is inherently dangerous,” the complaint states.
As captured in the now-viral video, Floyd repeatedly told the officers “I can’t breathe” before pleading with them, saying “Mama” and “please”. One of the officers responded, “You are talking fine” as he struggled.
The other three officers, identified by authorities as Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J Alexander Kueng, were also fired. According to the complaint, Lane had asked, “Should we roll him on his side?”
Chauvin responded, “No, staying put where we got him.”
“I am worried about excited delirium or whatever,” Lane said.
“That’s why we have him on his stomach,” Chauvin said.
The medical examiner’s autopsy report is still pending, but preliminary findings have determined that a combination of the police hold on Floyd, his underlying health conditions of coronary artery disease and hypertensive heart disease, as well as “any potential intoxicants” likely contributed to his death.
Floyd ended up on the ground after Lane pointed his gun at him and instructed him to step out of a car. Lane and Kueng had been responding to a report that someone had used a counterfeit bill at a nearby store, and the store owner identified the person as sitting in a parked car around the corner. There were three people in the car.
The officers had handcuffed Floyd and were walking him to their police cruiser when he “stiffened up, fell to the ground, and told the officers he was claustrophobic.”
Chauvin and Thoa arrived at about 8:14pm. Within five minutes, Chauvin had his knee on Floyd’s neck.
At 8:25pm, the video “appears to show Mr Floyd ceasing to breathe or speak”.
“Want to roll him on his side?” Lane asked. Kueng then checked Floyds wrist for a pulse. “I couldn’t find one.”
“None of the officers moved from their positions,” the complaint states.
At 8:27pm, Chauvin removed his knee.
While the imagery of fires and broken windows have dominated the news, reporters in the Twin Cities have also been documenting acts of community, solidarity and mutual aid.
Chris McGreal is in Minneapolis reporting for the Guardian, where he has spoken with community members volunteering to clean up the neighborhood or keep watch over their neighbors.
A reporter for the local newspaper, the Star Tribune, has also just retweeted this video of a local mental health clinic that is distributing food to the community. Hunger in the US has spiked in recent months, as the coronavirus pandemic has ravaged the economy, putting more than 40 million people out of work.
The Star Tribune has also reported on the owner of a local restaurant, Gandhi Mahal, that was damaged by fire in the rioting on Thursday night. Hafsa Islam wrote on Facebook that her father, Ruhel Islam, responded to news that the restaurant was damaged by staying, “Let my building burn. Justice needs to be served. Put those officers in jail.”
As Trump touted hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine Covid-19 cures, prescriptions for the drugs shot up to 214 times higher than normal, according to a new analysis the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The number of short-term prescriptions for the dug spied even more: from 2,208 prescriptions over a week in March 2019, to 45,858 from 15 to 21 March this year, according to the research by researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, the Boston Veteran’s Administration Healthcare System and GoodRx.
The president has repeatedly promoted hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for Covid-19, despite spotty early evidence that it’s effective.
France this week banned the used of Trump’s favorite coronavirus drug after preliminary research suggested that hydroxychloroquine didn’t seem to improve outcomes for Covid-19 patients. The WHO also discontinued the drug’s use in a clinical trial.
Although the antimalarial drug is often safely prescribed to treat conditions including lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, it can have serious side effects, including life-threatening heart rhythm problems.
Trump said he took a short course of the drug as a preventative measure abasing the coronavirus, despite any evidence that it works. The FDA has warned against using the drug to treat Covid-19 outside hospital settings or as part of clinical trials.
Protests continue in cities across US
Protests are taking place in cities across the US over the alleged police murder of George Floyd.
It’s the fourth straight night of protest in Minneapolis, the site of Floyd’s killing and demonstrations are also underway in cities including New York, Atlanta, San Jose, Houston, and elsewhere.
Protesters in Atlanta are facing off against police in front of the CNN headquarters, while in New York a large demonstration has convened at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. In San Jose, it appears that protesters have marched onto the highway.
We’ll be doing our best to stay on top of the news from around the country as we head into the evening hours.
Updated at 3.55am BST
The Trump administration’s new national intelligence chief declassified transcripts of the 2016 phone call between Michael Flynn and then Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
The phone call took place during the transition period between the Trump and Obama administrations, and Flynn pleaded guilty to lying about the details of the call to the FBI.
More from the Associated Press:
The extraordinary decision to release transcripts of Flynn’s calls with a foreign country’s ambassador, a closely guarded secret for more than three years, is part of an ongoing Trump administration effort to disclose information from the Russia investigation in hopes of painting Obama-era officials in a bad light and suggesting they acted improperly.
The transcripts of calls with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador at the time, provide opportunities for partisans on both sides to advance their perspectives of the investigation.
They appear to show, as prosecutors have alleged, that Flynn urged Kislyak to refrain from escalating tensions with the US in response to newly imposed sanctions against Russia. Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about that call.
But Republicans who maintain that Flynn was simply trying to avoid aggravating the situation with the Kremlin quickly pointed to the transcripts to say the calls were proper. Trump’s Justice Department dismissed the case this month, saying the FBI didn’t have a basis to question Flynn in the first place.
The documents were released Friday by Senate Republicans after being declassified by John Ratcliffe, a former Texas congressman and loyalist of President Donald Trump who was sworn into the job earlier this week.
Donald Trump claimed ignorance about the racist origins of the threat he used last night, “When the looting starts, the shooting starts,” in a response to a reporter’s question at an event at the White House.
Asked how he could “know that phrase and not know it’s racially charged history,” Trump claimed that the phrase was common and has a different, non-threatening meaning.
“Well I’ve heard that phrase for a long time. I don’t know where it came from or where it originated … I’ve heard it for a long time as most people have … and frankly it means when there’s looting people get shot and they die. And if you look at what happened last night and the night before, you’ll see that it’s very common and that’s the way that was meant … It’s very accurate in the sense that when you do have looting like last night people often get shot and that’s not good and we don’t want that to happen.”
As has been reported widely today, the phrase has a specific historical origin that is not consistent with the interpretation Trump is now claiming. It was used by Walter Headly, police chief of Miami in the 1960s, as a threat against black residents during times of racial unrest.
Representative Jim Clyburn appears to have responded to the new video showing three officers kneeling on George Floyd by calling for “everyone involved” to be “brought to justice immediately”. Clyburn is the House Majority Whip and an influential African American Democratic politician.
Though all four officers involved in Floyd’s arrest have been fired, only one, Derek Chauvin, has been arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.
Do Facebook’s rules against incitement to violence apply to Donald Trump?
While Twitter has for the second time this week taken an unprecedented action against a tweet by Donald Trump that violate its rules, Facebook has declined to take any enforcement action against the president’s inflammatory threat against grieving protesters reacting to the alleged police murder of George Floyd.
Trump’s threatening statement on Thursday night, “Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” echoed a racist 1960s police chief known for ordering patrols of black neighborhoods with shotguns and dogs. It has been widely interpreted as a threat and potential incitement to violence against residents of the Twin Cities who have erupted in protest against the alleged police killing of Floyd, a black man who begged for his life as a white police officer knelt on his neck for several minutes.
Twitter responded by invoking a policy it enacted in June 2019 to address the then-hypothetical situation of a major world leader violating its rules in a way that could cause real world harm. The policy allows the company to maintain the tweet for the purpose of accountability and the public record, but hide it behind a warning label.
“We’ve taken action in the interest of preventing others from being inspired to commit violent acts, but have kept the Tweet on Twitter because it is important that the public still be able to see the Tweet given its relevance to ongoing matters of public importance,” the company explained.
Facebook also has explicit rules against speech that could inspire or incite violence, but it has taken no action against Trump’s statement, which was also published on his Facebook and Instagram accounts. As of midday Friday, the Facebook post had been shared more than 53,000 times and received 186,000 likes, 31,000 heart emojis, and 6,300 laughing emojis.
The text was also overlaid on a photo of Trump for the president’s Instagram account, where it has received more than 380,000 likes.
And while Facebook has made a controversial decision to exempt politicians from its third-party fact-checking process, there is no such exception for incitement to violence.
“Even for politicians we don’t allow content that incites violence or risks imminent harm — and of course we don’t allow voter suppression,” Zuckerberg said in a speech on the company’s philosophy about free expression in October 2019.
Facebook has not responded to multiple requests for comment.
The company has a catastrophic track record in handling incitement to violence by government officials. Facebook was used by Buddhist extremists and military officials in Myanmar to incite hatred and violence against that country’s Muslim minority, the Rohingya, in 2017 – a campaign of ethnic cleansing that culminated in the killing of 25,000 Rohingya and the forced displacement of 700,000 more.
Facebook admitted to failings in Myanmar in 2018 and eventually banned many of the hate preachers and military leaders who had used the platform to inspire genocide.
Hello everyone, this is Julia Carrie Wong in Oakland picking up the blog.
CNN has just published video with a new angle of George Floyd’s final moments. The footage appears to show three officers kneeling on Floyd.
Floyd can be heard begging for the officers to let him up and stating that he cannot breath.
Derek Chauvin, the officer who was captured on video shot from another angle kneeling on Floyd’s neck for several minutes, allegedly killing him, was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter today.
Three other officers present at the incident were fired earlier this week, but have not yet been charged with any crimes.
The video is posted on CNN and can be found here. Warning: many people will find the footage upsetting.
Today so far
That’s it from me today. My west coast colleague, Julia Carrie Wong, will take over the blog for the next few hours.
Here’s where the day stands so far:
- The police officer who put his knee on the back of George Floyd’s neck was charged with murder. The Hennepin county attorney announced Derek Chauvin had been charged with third-degree murder and mansalughter in connection to Floyd’s death.
- The Minneapolis mayor issued a curfew order starting at 8 pm tonight. Mayor Jacob Frey said the curfew would be enforced from 8 pm to 6 am starting tonight, although the order exempts law enforcement officers, medical personnel and the National Guard (among others) from the curfew.
- Barack Obama said Americans needed to create a “new normal” to address structural racism. “This shouldn’t be ‘normal’ in 2020 America,” the former president said of Floyd’s death. “It can’t be ‘normal.’”
- Trump said the US was terminating its relationship with the World Health Organization. The president made the announcement during a Rose Garden press conference, but he took no questions from the press about the protests breaking out in response to Floyd’s death, prompting criticism from Democrats.
- Trump denied that his tweet about the Minneapolis protests was threatening violence against the demonstrators. The president wrote in a widely criticized tweet, “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.” Twitter later hid the tweet because the platform said it glorified violence against protesters.
Julia will have more coming up, so stay tuned.
Updated at 10.50pm BST
Trump says he has spoken to Floyd’s family
Trump said he has spoken to George Floyd’s family, as protests continue in response to Floyd’s death while in police custody.
Opening a roundtable on reopening the US economy, the president said Floyd’s family members were “terrific people,” and he emphasized that “looters” should not become the focus of the protests.
“The looters should not be allowed to drown out the voices of peaceful protesters,” Trump said.
Of course, Trump himself put the focus on looting when he said in a tweet about the protests, “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.” Twitter later hid the tweet because the platform said it glorified violence against the protesters.
Senate judiciary committee chairman Lindsey Graham announced the panel would hold a hearing on police use of force.
In a statement, Graham said both he and Democratic ranking member Dianne Feinstein were “appalled” by the video of a police officer putting his knee on George Floyd’s neck and decided they needed to hold a hearing “as soon as possible as to how to combat this outrage.”
“The Committee intends to call a wide variety of witnesses on the topics of better policing, addressing racial discrimination regarding the use of force, as well as building stronger bonds between communities and police,” Graham said.
“We intend to shine a bright light on the problems associated with Mr. Floyd’s death, with the goal of finding a better way forward for our nation.”
Minneapolis mayor sets 8pm curfew
Minneapolis mayor Jacob Frey has issued a curfew order that goes into effect at 8pm tonight after days of protests in response to the death of George Floyd.
Between 8pm tonight and 6am Saturday morning, residents may not travel on any public street or in any public place, according to Frey’s order. The curfew will also be in effect Saturday night to Sunday morning.
The order exempts law enforcement officers, medical personnel, the national guard, and “individuals seeking exempt care, fleeing dangerous circumstances, or experiencing homelessness” from the curfew.
The initial order did not exempt journalists, but Frey said that oversight would quickly be resolved.
For more updates on the situation in Minneapolis, follow the Guardian’s Chris McGreal, who is tweeting from the city as it grapples with this crisis:
Updated at 10.05pm BST
Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer said Trump’s Rose Garden press conference this afternoon was “pathetic,” arguing the event demonstrated the president’s “inability to lead when our nation needs it most.”
“The only question is whether President Trump is afraid to lead or just doesn’t know how,” the New York Democrat said in a statement.
“America is reeling from 100,000 deaths and rising. 40 million have filed for unemployment. Our communities are hurting from senseless murders and years of racism and injustice. But President Trump is only interested in scapegoating and divisiveness when he should be leading.”
Trump left the Rose Garden event, which was billed as a press conference, without taking any questions from reporters about the death of George Floyd or the protests breaking out across the country.
Derek Chauvin had his knee on George Floyd’s neck for nearly three minutes after Floyd was non-responsive, according to the criminal complaint against the former Minneapolis police officer.
“The defendant had his knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds in total,” the complaint reads. “Two minutes and 53 seconds of this was after Mr. Floyd was non-responsive.”
The Hennepin county attorney announced this afternoon that Chauvin had been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter and that more charges may be forthcoming.
A tearful California governor Gavin Newsom reflected in his biweekly press conference on the death of George Floyd and the protests across the county.
Newsom recounted the conversations he’s been having with his children around the events, explaining his daughter first encountered the video of Floyd’s killing on TikTok and has been deeply distraught about the incident since.
Newsom argued that the US needs a fundamental culture change to deal with structural racism and the meaningless loss of life. “I sit here deeply humbled, a bit emotional, and deeply resolved to do more and do better,” Newsom said.
Updated at 9.18pm BST
The Trump campaign accused Democrats and the media of twisting the president’s words about the Minneapolis protesters, even though news outlets (including this one) have been directly quoting from the president’s tweets.
“We have witnessed again the media’s relentless twisting of President Trump’s words, and the Democrats seizing on that, to take the entire nation down the worst road imaginable,” Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale said in a statement. “Twitter also played a role by mislabeling the President’s tweet and fueling the misinformation.”
Trump wrote in a tweet about the demonstrators who are protesting in response to the death of George Floyd, “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.” Twitter hid the tweet from the president’s timeline with the warning that it glorified violence against the protesters.
“The facts show that the President expressed horror over the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and ordered the Department of Justice to get involved,” Parscale said. “When riots erupted in that city and elsewhere, he warned on Twitter that looting could quickly turn into violence.”
But Trump’s warning about looting was a direct quote from former Miami police chief Walter Headley, who said his officers “know what to do” when unrest broke out in black neighborhoods during the 1968 Republican National Convention. “When the looting starts, the shooting starts,” Headley told his officers. So the expression that Trump repeated was less of a warning and more of a directive.
Donald Trump has announced he is pulling the US out of the World Health Organisation, three weeks ahead of an ultimatum he laid down earlier this month.
On May 19, Trump sent a four-page letter to the WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warning he would permanently cut US funding of the WHO and reconsider US membership if the organisation did “not commit to major substantive improvements within the next 30 days.”
He has made the break only ten days later, falsely claiming that “China has total control over” the global health body.
Trump said: “We have detailed the reforms that it must make and engage with them directly, but they have refused to act because they have failed to make the requested and greatly needed reforms. We will be today terminating our relationship with the World Health Organization and redirecting those funds to other worldwide and deserving urgent global public health needs.”
The move will confirm the suspicions of many in the WHO and in western capitals that the US was seeking reforms and a dialogue was a smokescreen for a politically-motivated break with the WHO.
Beth Cameron, a biologist and former senior official in the National Security Council said on Twitter: “There aren’t words for how much this decision will hurt the US, our global partners, and our ability to to impact the #COVID19 pandemic that is a threat to our national and global peace and security.”
Civil rights leaders say they warned Minnesota authorities many times about community anger building at unfair policing, inequalities.
At an impassioned, measured and powerful rally earlier, Leslie Redmond, president of NAACP Minneapolis, said civil rights leaders in the city had succeeded many times in stopping anger boiling over into violence.
“I cannot tell you how many governors and how many mayors we have sat down with and warned them that Minneapolis was going to burn. We stoped it from burning so many times,” she said.
But she protested that the “poverty and oppression” that too many black residents are subjected to did not change.
She raged against “disrupters in our midst” who marred what she termed an uprising by turning instead to looting.
And Redmond addressed the US president. “Trump, you have not sent resources to Minnesota [to assist in tackling the coronavirus crisis] but you were quick to send in troops. This is not just a black people’s issue, this is a human right issue.”
She accused Donald Trump of promoting white nationalism and even police bias and brutality by declaring himself a nationalist at election rallies and, during the 2016 campaign, encouraging violence against protesters at his rallies.
Updated at 8.48pm BST
Democratic lawmakers criticized Trump after he left his press conference without taking any questions about George Floyd’s death or the protests breaking out across the country.
Congressman Bobby Rush said Trump has “objectively failed as a leader” and congressman Danny Davis referenced the proverb, “Without vision, the people perish.”
Trump finishes press conference without taking questions
Trump made another announcement during his Rose Garden event, expanding upon secretary of state Mike Pompeo’s announcement earlier this week that the US no longer considers Hong Kong to be autonomous of China.
The president said his administration will begin the process of eliminating policy exemptions that give Hong Kong “different and special treatment.”
After making his two announcements, Trump left the event without taking any questions, an unusual choice for a president who has consistently answered reporters’ queries since the start of the coronavirus crisis.
Trump opened the event by saying, “I am here to talk about China,” indicating he would not be addressing the death of George Floyd or the protests breaking out across the country.
As the president departed, he ignored questions about the protests and whether he has spoken to Floyd’s family, as Joe Biden has.
Updated at 9.08pm BST
Trump says the US is terminating its relationship with WHO
Trump has just announced that the US will be “terminating” its relationship with the World Health Organization.
The president blamed China for the spread of coronavirus and accused the WHO of failing to hold China accountable.
“When was murder ever worth it?”
Retired NBA basketball player Stephen Jackson, who was such a close friend of the late George Floyd that he described the man as his twin, spoke out fiercely at a rally in Minneapolis a little earlier.
He said of the police in a killing like Floyd’s: “The first thing they try to do is cover it up and bring up your background, to make it seem like the bullshit that they did was worth it. When was murder ever worth it?”
He added: “You can’t tell me that when that man had his knee on my brother’s neck, taking his life away, with his hand in his pocket and a smirk on his face that I’m protected.”
Updated at 10.56pm BST
Trump’s original tweet about looting was hidden by Twitter because the platform said the message glorified violence against the Minneapolis protesters.
The president said of the original tweet, “Nobody should have any problem with this other than the haters, and those looking to cause trouble on social media.”
But the president’s warning was met with widespread shock and horror, and Trump did not offer any kind of apology for the tweet.
The president will soon hold a press conference on China at the White House, where he will almost certainly be bombarded with questions from reporters about the tweet.
Trump denies his tweet was threatening violence against protesters
Trump has sent another tweet about his menacing warning to Minneapolis protesters last night that, “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.”
“Looting leads to shooting, and that’s why a man was shot and killed in Minneapolis on Wednesday night – or look at what just happened in Louisville with 7 people shot. I don’t want this to happen, and that’s what the expression put out last night means,” Trump said.
The president added, “It was spoken as a fact, not as a statement.”
However, former Miami police chief Walter Headley absolutely meant the expression as a statement when he first used it in 1967, as unrest broke out in black neighborhoods.
When violence started up again in 1968, Headley said his officers “know what to do” and repeated, “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.” The expression was a clear directive to police officers on how to respond to unrest.
Chauvin has been charged with third-degree murder, prosecutor says
The Hennepin county attorney said Derek Chauvin has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.
“There may be subsequent charges later,” Mike Freeman told reporters at a press conference. He said a detailed complaint would be made available this afternoon.
When asked why the other three fired police officers had not yet been arrested, Freeman said, “We felt it appropriate to focus on the most dangerous perpetrator.” He later said he anticipated charges to be filed against them, but he did not get into details.
Freeman noted Chauvin was arrested less than four days after George Floyd’s death. “That’s extraordinary,” said Freeman, who has been criticized for not arresting Chauvin more quickly. “We have never charged a case in that kind of time frame.”
Freeman emphasized he and his team would not have moved ahead with the case if they were not confident they had evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that the officer was guilty. “As of right now, we have that,” Freeman said.
Updated at 7.16pm BST
Biden condemns complicity over George Floyd’s death
Joe Biden called for justice in the death of George Floyd and warned that silence in the wake of his death amounted to complicity.
“The original sin of this country still stains our nation today and sometimes we managed to overlook it,” Biden said, speaking from a lectern at his home in Wilmington, Delaware. “But it’s always there. And in weeks like this, we see it plainly that we are a country with an open wound.”
“None of us can be silent,” he continued. “None of us can … hear the words ‘I can’t breathe’ and do nothing.”
During his nearly six-minute remarks, which were hastily arranged on Friday, Biden announced that he had spoken to Floyd’s family and vowed to do “everything in our power to see to it that justice is had.”
Biden never mentioned Trump by name, but he assailed the president’s response on Twitter, which called the protestors “thugs” and warned that additional violence could ensue: “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.”
“This is no time for incendiary tweets. It’s no time to encourage violence,” he said. “This is a national crisis. We need real leadership right now.”
Quoting Martin Luther King, who warned of the “appalling silence” of good people, Biden urged the nation to imagine the pain and fear felt by many black Americans on a daily basis.
“With our complacency, our silence, we are complicit in perpetuating these cycles of violence. Nothing about this will be easy or comfortable. But if we simply allow this wound to scab over once more without treating the underlying injury, we’re never truly heal.
“We need justice for George Floyd,” Biden said. “We need real police reform that holds cops to a higher standard that so many of them actually meet, that holds bad cops accountable.”
Senator Kamala Harris said the other three police officers who were fired over George Floyd’s death must also be brought to justice.
The California senator said of the arrest of Derek Chauvin, “A start, but every single officer involved must be held accountable for George Floyd’s murder.”
Harris has been named as a potential running mate to Joe Biden, but some progressives have expressed concern about her criminal justice record, citing her tenure as California’s attorney general.
Senator Amy Klobuchar confirmed Derek Chauvin has been arrested in connection to the death of George Floyd and is in the custody of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.
The Minnesota senator called Chauvin’s arrest “the first step towards justice.” Klobuchar has been criticized for not prosecuting police officers involved in fatal encounters while she was serving as Hennepin county attorney.
Kenya Evelyn reported yesterday:
Between 1999 and 2007, Klobuchar, the state’s then top prosecutor, declined to press charges against more than a dozen officers accused of killing civilians.
In 2006, Chauvin was one of several officers involved in the shooting death of a man who stabbed others before turning on the police.
Although Klobuchar was the Hennepin county attorney at the time of an October 2006 police shooting involving Chauvin, she did not prosecute and instead the case went to a grand jury that declined to charge the officers with wrongdoing in 2008.
In an interview with MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell this afternoon, Klobuchar said it was “absolutely false” she declined to prosecute Chauvin.
Police officer arrested in connection to Floyd’s death
Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who has been identified as the man who put his knee on George Floyd’s neck, has been arrested in connection to Floyd’s death.
John Mark Harrington, the Minnesota department of public safety commissioner, announced the news shortly after a press conference about the Minneapolis protests ended.
Harrington did not offer any information about the specific charges filed against Chauvin, and it’s unclear whether the three other officers who were also fired after Floyd’s death will be arrested.
Despite his strong words condemning structural racism, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell dodged a question about Trump’s tweet threatening violence against the Minneapolis protesters.
“I generally don’t comment on the President’s tweets,” McConnell told reporters on Capitol Hill. “I can speak for myself.”
In contrast, Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer condemned Trump’s tweet, which read in part, “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.”
“President Trump is pouring gasoline on the flames by quoting a racist police chief,” Schumer wrote in a tweet.
Trump’s tweet appeared to be referencing a quote from former Miami police chief Walter Headley during unrest among black residents in 1967. Headley repeated the quote when violence broke out in a black neighborhood as Miami hosted the Republican National Convention.
In response to criticism of his policies, Headley said, “Don’t these people know that most of the crimes in the Negro districts are against Negroes? Don’t they know we’re trying to protect Negroes as well as whites?”
Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell released a statement condemning violence amid the protests and demanding structural change to avoid more deaths like George Floyd’s.
“The killings of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, George Floyd in Minneapolis, and Breonna Taylor in my hometown of Louisville, Kentucky have shaken our nation,” McConnell said.
“For millions and millions of outraged Americans, these tragedies do not appear as isolated incidents, but as the latest disturbing chapters in our long, unfinished American struggle to ensure that equal justice under law is not conditional on the color of one’s skin.”
But the Kentucky Republican stressed that the protests in response to the deaths of Arbery, Floyd and Taylor should remain peaceful. McConnell expressed dismay about seven people being shot in Louisville last night during a protest over Taylor’s death.
“Our city, our state, and our country have to pull together,” McConnell said. “Violence does not make our streets safer. Injustice does not promote justice. Destruction does not build a better society. We will only be able to chart the future we want if we do it together.”
Today so far
Here’s where the day stands so far:
- Twitter said Trump’s tweet threatening Minneapolis protesters glorified violence. The platform has hidden the president’s tweet about the protests in reaction to the death of George Floyd, which read in part, “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.”
- Barack Obama said Americans needed to create a “new normal” to address structural racism. “This shouldn’t be ‘normal’ in 2020 America,” the former president said of Floyd’s death. “It can’t be ‘normal.’”
- Minnesota governor Tim Walz pledged “swift” justice for Floyd. Walz said the four police officers who were fired over Floyd’s death must be held accountable, but he argued the state needed to “restore order” before addressing the issues that led to Floyd’s death.
The blog will have more coming up, so stay tuned.
Leading civil rights attorneys call for national response to killings
Leading civil rights attorneys Ben Crump and Lee Merritt have called on the US Congress and the United Nations to become involved in addressing the killings of black Americans in recent weeks that have further inflamed deep-seated anger and grief in the country over entrenched racism and systemic inequality.
The two lawyers held a virtual press conference this morning with representatives of three families who recently lost their loved ones – George Floyd in Minnesota, Breonna Taylor in Kentucky and Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia. The first two victims were killed by police while Arbery was gunned down by two white men as he went jogging in their neighborhood.
“We need a national response. Civil rights attorneys around the country say we can no longer do this on a case by case basis,” Merritt said. “We know there are, on average, 1,000 police officer involved shootings a year. We live in the most incarcerated nation on planet Earth,” he said, adding there was a weariness of getting mere “trickles of justice”.
Merritt said he would be requesting that the United Nations Human Rights Committee hear the cases of the three killings. The lawyers plan to present a case to the UN calling for sweeping changes to America’s criminal justice system – which Crump earlier in the week equated to two, far from equal, systems “one for black America and one for white America”.
The two lawyers called for a congressional hearing and the creation of a national task force to craft bipartisan legislation aimed at “ending racial violence and increasing police accountability” in the US.
Crump said it was “so necessary that we have this action today to finally address this national pandemic. We have coronavirus, but communities of color have been dealing with another pandemic for far too long.”
He said Breonna Taylor, an EMT, was killed for “sleeping while black in the sanctity of her own apartment”, after police shot wildly during a plain-clothes raid on her address in March; Ahmaud Arbery was cut down for “jogging while black” and George Floyd died “just trying to breathe while black”.
Floyd was pinned to the street with a white police officer’s knee on his neck for almost nine minutes on Monday, with him losing consciousness about halfway through, according to witnesses.
Merritt concluded: “Every other modern nation in the world has figured out a way of policing its citizens without killing so many of them and without incarcerating so many of them.”
The White House has just announced Trump will hold a press conference in the Rose Garden at 2 pm ET.
The president said yesterday that he would hold a press conference on China, as Trump has tried to blame the country for the spread of coronavirus.
Trump has also involved China in his ongoing spat with Twitter, accusing the platform of targeting him for fact-checking while ignoring false claims from Chinese officials. (Twitter has since added fact-check labels to some tweets from Chinese officials.)
Even though the press conference is meant to focus on China, the president will almost certainly be bombarded with questions from reporters about his tweet threatening violence against the Minneapolis protesters.
Echoing Barack Obama’s words, Minnesota governor Tim Walz said the pre-coronavirus normal is not neessarily a place the state should return to.
“Normal was not working for many communities,” Walz said at his press conference. “Normal was not working for George Floyd.”
A number of state and local officials have talked about the need to “build back better,” as New York governor Andrew Cuomo has said, as states start to reopen their economies.
Obama: ‘This shouldn’t be ‘normal’ in 2020 America’
Former president Barack Obama has issued a statement on the death of George Floyd, saying the country needed to create a new normal for Americans of color.
Obama said that despite many Americans’ desire to return to “normal” amid the coronavirus pandemic, racial discrimination is “maddeningly” normal for people of color.
“This shouldn’t be ‘normal’ in 2020 America,” Obama said. “It can’t be ‘normal.’”
The former president called on Americans to come together to create a “new normal” in order to root out institutional racism.
Walz: Justice for Floyd will be ‘swift’
Minnesota governor Tim Walz said justice would be served for George Floyd, saying he was “confident” in the prosecutors involved in the case.
“It is my expectation that justice for the officers involved in this will be swift, that it will come in a timely manner, that it will be fair,” Walz said. “That is what we’ve asked for.”
The Democratic governor said he had been in contact with the Hennepin county attorney to ensure the officers will be held accountable.
Musician Taylor Swift has now weighed in on the president’s tweet threatening violence against protesters in Minnesota, vowing to help defeat Trump in November.
“After stoking the fires of white supremacy and racism your entire presidency, you have the nerve to feign moral superiority before threatening violence?” Swift wrote in a tweet to her 86 million followers. “We will vote you out in November.”
The pop star has been relatively quiet about politics in the past, but she has recently gotten more involved, endorsing Democratic Senate candidate Phil Bredesen in 2018.
Updated at 5.25pm BST
Walz: ‘We have to restore order’ before addressing issues
Minnesota governor Tim Walz said the state had to “restore order” to Minneapolis, which has been rocked by protests, before addressing the structural issues that led to the death of George Floyd.
“We have to restore order to our society before we can start addressing the issues,” Walz said at a press conference.
The Democratic governor said he would not “patronize you as a white man,” but he asked the protesters to help restore peace to the city.
Walz also apologized for the arrests of CNN reporter Omar Jimenez and his camera crew, saying he had spoken to CNN president Jeff Zucker moments after learning of the incident.
“I take full responsibility,” Walz said, emphasizing that the arrests should never have occurred.
The National Association of Black Journalists condemned the Minneapolis police for arresting CNN reporter Omar Jimenez while he was covering the George Floyd protests.
NABJ president Dorothy Tucker said in a tweet that it was “unfathomable and upsetting to witness this structural racism in real time.”
Tucker later added, “We are relieved to see Omar has been released, but we are still disturbed by the apparent violation of First Amendment rights that are the bedrock of journalism.”
Casey says he has tested positive for coronavirus antibodies
Democratic senator Bob Casey said he has tested positive for coronavirus antibodies, indicating he had a mild case of the virus and recovered.
“Earlier this spring, I experienced a low-grade fever and some mild flu-like symptoms for a number of days. I consulted my physician over the phone, who suggested that I quarantine at home in Scranton for a period of two weeks,” Casey said in a statement.
The Pennsylvania senator noted he intends to donate blood plasma, which has been used to help treat coronavirus patients.
Casey’s announcement comes a day after senator Tim Kaine said he had also tested positive for coronavirus antibodies, and senator Rand Paul tested positive for the virus in March.
The two announcements indicate several more senators may have become infected with the virus several weeks ago.
Congresswoman Val Demings, a former police chief, wrote a Washington Post op-ed calling for the officers who were fired over the death of George Floyd to be held accountable.
We all know that the level of force must meet the level of resistance. We all can see that there was absolutely zero resistance from George Floyd. He posed no threat to anyone, especially law enforcement. …
In Minnesota, we have no choice but to hold the officers accountable through the criminal-justice system. But we cannot only be reactive. We must be proactive. We must work with law enforcement agencies to identify problems before they happen.
Demings has been named as a potential running mate to Joe Biden, who said this morning that he was “furious” at Trump for threatening violence against the protesters in Minneapolis.
Melania Trump struck a notably calmer note about the George Floyd protests than her husband, urging the demonstrators in Minneapolis to avoid engaging in violence.
“I’ve seen our citizens unify & take care of one another through COVID19 & we can’t stop now,” the first lady wrote in a tweet, going on to offer condolences to Floyd’s family.
The tweet was a rather stark contrast from Trump, who threatened violence against the protesters and said, “When looting starts, shooting starts.”
Biden says he is ‘furious’ about Trump glorifying violence
Joe Biden has weighed in on Trump’s tweet glorifying violence against protesters and the arrest of a CNN reporter in Minneapolis.
“This is not abstract: a black reporter was arrested while doing his job this morning, while the white police officer who killed George Floyd remains free. I am glad swift action was taken, but this, to me, says everything,” the presumptive Democratic nominee wrote in a tweet.
Biden said he would not “lift” Trump’s tweet that partly reads, “When looting starts, shooting starts.”
“I will not give him that amplification. But he is calling for violence against American citizens during a moment of pain for so many. I’m furious, and you should be too,” Biden wrote.
Updated at 3.39pm BST
Who was George Floyd?
Before his death beneath a Minneapolis police officer’s knee on Monday, George Floyd was suffering the same fate as millions of Americans during the coronavirus pandemic: out of work and looking for a new job.
Floyd moved to Minneapolis from his native Houston several years ago in hopes of finding work and starting a new life, Christopher Harris, Floyd’s lifelong friend, told the Associated Press.
As a teen in Texas he was a football star many nicknamed “gentle giant”.
But he lost his job as a bouncer at a restaurant when Minnesota’s governor issued a stay-at-home order.
Floyd, 46, grew up in Houston’s Third Ward, one of the city’s predominantly black neighborhoods, where he and Harris met in middle school.
At 6 feet, 6 inches, Floyd emerged as a star football player, positioned as the tight end for Jack Yates High School team, and played in the 1992 state championship game in the Houston Astrodome.
Donnell Cooper, one of Floyd’s former classmates, said he remembered watching Floyd score touchdowns. Floyd towered over everyone and earned the nickname “gentle giant.”
“Quiet personality but a beautiful spirit,” Cooper said.
His life later took a different turn and in 2007 Floyd was charged with armed robbery in a home invasion in Houston and in 2009 was sentenced to five years in prison as part of a plea deal, according to court documents.
Harris, Floyd’s childhood friend, said he and some of their mutual friends had moved to Minneapolis in search of jobs around 2014. Harris said he talked Floyd into moving there as well after he got out of prison.
“He was looking to start over fresh, a new beginning,” Harris said. “He was happy with the change he was making.”
Just hours after being arrested while covering the Minneapolis protests, CNN reporter Omar Jimenez and his crew are back on the air, reporting live about the death of George Floyd.
White House tweet flagged for glorifying violence
Twitter has hidden a White House tweet for glorifying violence, applying the same label to an official government account that it did to Trump’s account.
The White House account had reshared the president’s tweet about the Minneapolis protests, which read in part, “When the looting starts, shooting starts.”
Twitter hid Trump’s original tweet and has now taken the same course of action with the White House’s tweet, a disappointing illustration of the current state of affairs.
A Democratic congressman from Minnesota criticized police officers for arresting a CNN crew amid the Minneapolis protests.
“I can neither understand nor accept that a crew of credentialed reporters were arrested for doing their jobs while a crew of officers have not been arrested for the killing of a defenseless man by violating the most fundamental responsibility of their jobs,” wrote Dean Phillips, who represents the Minneapolis suburbs.
The arrests of Omar Jimenez and his crew, wbo have since been released, appear to have heightened pressure on Minnesota officials to press charges against the four police officers who were fired over the death of George Floyd.
This is Joan Greve, taking over for Tom McCarthy.
CNN reporter Omar Jimenez, who was arrested while live on air in Minneapolis, described his ordeal after being released from police custody.
Jimenez said he and his crew had been in “verbal contact” with some of the police officers before he was arrested to determine where they should stand as they reported.
He noted there had been no police presence shortly before the arrest, but another person had raced past the crew and been apprehended before officers turned to Jimenez and his crew.
When Jimenez asked the officer why he was placing him under arrest, the officer said, “I’m just following orders.”
Trump social media director: ‘Twitter is full of shit’
Dan Scavino Jr, Trump’s longtime social media director, has come out swinging against Twitter after the site hid a tweet by Trump overnight that it said violated its rules against glorifying violence.
Tweeting on Twitter, Scavino accuses the site of “targeting the president”.
In a further escalation of the social media sideshow, the White House twitter account, which Scavino runs, has re-posted the president’s posts blocked by Twitter.
Trump signed an executive order yesterday that could erode legal protections for Twitter and other social media platforms against liability for content posted on their sites. That followed an unprecedented action by Twitter in which the company slapped a fact-check on Trump lies about the integrity of mail-in voting.
Beneath it all is the question of who needs whom more: the US president, or Twitter?
The Trump campaign has weighed in on the arrest by Minnesota law enforcement of CNN journalist Omar Jimenez and his crew.
In a cynical somersault, for a campaign trying to reelect a president who has done more to undermine trust in the American media including CNN than any public figure in memory, the Trump campaign comes down on CNN’s side, calling the arrest “outrageous.”
The Trump campaign accuses the local and state Democratic elected leaders of failed leadership. There is visible daylight between this campaign statement, which spotlights the federal investigation of Floyd’s killing, and Trump’s own statements, including his tweet overnight about shooting protesters.
Updated at 2.36pm BST
The Minnesota state patrol releases a statement suggesting there was some doubt as to whether Jimenez and his crew were journalists at the time of their arrest.
That’s hard to square with the footage. Jimenez was holding out his press credentials, identified himself as a journalist and his crew had a professional TV camera as they broadcast the scene live.
Updated at 2.37pm BST
CNN reporter Omar Jimenez has been released from police custody in Minneapolis and is describing his ordeal on air. He says that arresting officers told him, “I’m just following orders.” In video of his arrest he asks officers where they want him to be and identifies himself as a journalist. No charges were filed and the governor of Minnesota has apologized to Jimenez:
Updated at 2.37pm BST
Hello and welcome to our continuing coverage of protests across the United States at the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota this week.
Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, died in police custody after a white officer handcuffed him and kneeled on his neck for several minutes as Floyd pleaded that he could not breathe.
The protests spread across the nation Thursday night, with people taking the streets from Denver to Kentucky to Oakland to New York. Donald Trump poured fuel on the conflagration with a late-night tweet threatening protesters with a violent military crackdown: “When the looting starts, the shooting starts,” Trump tweeted.
Twitter responded by hiding the tweet behind a warning saying the message violated the site’s “rules about glorifying violence.”
The center of protest activity remained in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St Paul, where prosecutors have declined so far to bring charges in Floyd’s killing. Both the FBI and the US attorney’s office are investigating the killing, and charges could result.
Protesters demanding justice for Floyd set fire to a police precinct building and local businesses, with some reports of looting. The city’s mayor, Jacob Frey, ordered the precinct evacuated. No injuries were reported.
Police in Minneapolis arrested a CNN reporter live on air overnight. The reporter, Omar Jimenez, had just shown a protester being arrested when about half a dozen white police officers surrounded him.
“We can move back to where you like,” he told the officers wearing gas masks and face shields, before explaining that he and his crew were members of the press. “We’re getting out of your way.”
The governor of Minnesota, Tim Walz, a Democrat, said he “deeply apologizes” for the arrest. Walz mobilized the state’s National Guard on Thursday to respond in Minneapolis.
Updated at 2.37pm BST
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