Relative calm descended on Minneapolis and other U.S. cities Monday after protesters and police across the nation clashed for a sixth straight night in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
More than 4,400 arrests have been made at protests nationwide since viral video emerged showing former Minneapolis Officer Derek Chauvin holding his knee to Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes on Memorial Day, resulting in Floyd’s death. Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo apologized to Floyd’s family Sunday, saying that firing Chauvin and the other three officers involved in the incident was the right thing to do.
Peaceful protests continued to be marred by violence. The Minneapolis Department of Public safety confirmed a semi-truck drove into a group of peaceful protesters on Interstate 35. The driver of the truck was taken into custody, but not before protesters pulled him from the truck’s cab. The driver was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.
Elsewhere, vandalism and looting continued across the country, as did the use of tear gas and rubber bullets by police in confrontations with protesters.
Reports: President Trump hustled to bunker amid Washington protests
President Donald Trump was briefly moved to the White House’s underground bunker Friday night to shelter in place as the protest grew outside the Executive Mansion, according to multiple outlets. The protests over George Floyd’s death hit the nation’s capital Friday night as angry protesters arrived at Pennsylvania Avenue, leading to a lockdown at the White House. Dozens of Secret Service agents were injured in clashes with protesters over the weekend, and videos showed a large group of protesters – some burning flags and knocking over barricades.
CNN reported that the president remained in the bunker for about an hour before returning to the residence, and it is currently unknown whether the First Lady and their son, Barron, were with him.
– Savannah Behrmann
2 Atlanta officers fired, accused of excessive force against protesters
Atlanta officials fired two police officers and placed three on desk duty pending review over the alleged use of excessive force against protesters in a clash Saturday night. Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said she saw a video, which she called “disturbing,” of five officers pulling two college students out of a car downtown. Bottoms and police Chief Erika Shields made the announcement at a press conference after reviewing body-camera footage.
“We understand that our officers are working very long hours under an enormous amount of stress,” Bottoms said. “But we also understand that the use of excessive force is never acceptable.”
– Jessica Flores
At least 4,400 arrests since George Floyd’s death: AP data
At least 4,400 people nationwide have been arrested over days of protests since George Floyd’s death on Memorial Day, according to a tally compiled by The Associated Press. About 150 people were arrested in Minnesota after violating curfew amid protests Sunday night, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety tweeted. DPS continued to tweet about arrests late into the night and added, “Even peaceful protesters who are breaking curfew are subject to arrest. Please go home and stay there.”
DPS announced the arrests of more than 155 people Saturday night across multiple agencies. A dozen firearms were confiscated between the State Patrol and the Minneapolis Police Department.
Historic St. John’s Church near White House set ablaze amid DC protests
As protesters gathered near the White House, flames were seen at Washington, D.C., landmark that bills itself as “the church of the presidents.” The fire, apparently an act of arson, was in the basement of St. John’s Church, across from the White House, The Washington Post reported, and was extinguished. It occurred as a demonstration was taking place outside. The gathering had attracted as many as 1,000 Sunday, who faced off against officers in riot gear.
The Episcopalian church in Lafayette Square boasts on its website that every U.S. president since James Madison has attended services. Consecrated in 1816, the church also says the bell in its steeple, weighing almost 1,000 pounds, was cast in 1822 by Paul Revere’s son Joseph.
Illinois governor calls on National Guard to assist Chicago police
Vandalism and fires were reported in several Chicago neighborhoods and some suburbs Sunday night after Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot severely restricted access to downtown following nights of violent protests. The communities of Tinley Park, Crestwood and Oak Lawn alerted residents to stay home due to civil unrest. Many businesses boarded up. Gov. J.B. Pritzker said he activated 375 Illinois National Guard soldiers to assist local law enforcement with street closures.
“This has been a scary and unsettling time, but I know we will get through this and begin the process of healing together,” Lightfoot said in a midnight Twitter post. “Please stay safe, and stay home.”
Minneapolis police chief: George Floyd’s death ‘a violation of humanity’
Minneapolis Police Department Chief Medaria Arradondo told CNN that George Floyd’s death was “a violation of humanity.” Speaking at the site where Floyd died after fired police officer Derek Chauvin held his knee to Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes, Arradondo apologized to Floyd’s family and said he had a “visceral” and “emotional” reaction to the video that has sparked outrage across the nation.
“There are absolute truths in life,” Arradondo told CNN. “We need air to breathe. … I did not need days or weeks or months or processes or bureaucracies to tell me what occurred out here last Monday, it was wrong.”
When asked why he fired the four officers involved in the incident that led to Floyd’s death, Arradondo said: “In my mind, this was a violation of humanity. This was a violation of the oath the majority of the men and women that put this uniform on — this goes absolutely against it. This goes contrary to what we believe in.”
Protesters vandalize, set fire to police SUVs in New Jersey
A group of people was captured on video destroying police SUVs in Trenton, New Jersey. In the video, the people vandalize three police vehicles, smashing windows and hitting and kicking the vehicles. One of the people opens a door to the SUV and those at the scene start lighting things inside of it on fire.
Police eventually got to the scene and began pushing back protesters as the vehicles burned behind them.
Minnesota AG Keith Ellison to lead prosecution of Derek Chauvin
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz announced Sunday that state Attorney General Keith Ellison will lead the prosecution in the Floyd case. Ellison called the case “unusual because of the way that Mr. Floyd was killed and who did it — at the hands of the defendant who was a Minneapolis police officer.” He said he expects to work together with Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman on the case. Ellison didn’t announce additional charges for Chauvin or charges for the three other officers involved in the incident. He added “prosecuting police officers for misconduct, including homicide and murder, is very difficult.”
“Every single link in the prosecutorial chain will come under attack as we present this case to a jury or a fact finder and we need to make sure that we be absolutely prepared. We intend to be absolutely prepared.”