Protests are expected to continue Friday demanding justice for George Floyd, with multiple demonstrations planned in Washington, D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham said an event planned for Saturday “may be one of the largest that we’ve had in the city.”
Minneapolis local officials plan to vote Friday on the first changes to the police department. City Council President Lisa Bender said that they will “dismantle” the agency and “replace it with a transformative new model of public safety.”
Thousands across the nation commemorated Floyd’s life on Thursday as his first memorial took place in Minneapolis. There was a moment of silence that lasted 8 minutes and 46 seconds, the length of time a police officer pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck as he lay handcuffed.
A second memorial service is scheduled for Saturday in Raeford, North Carolina, before a viewing Monday and private funeral Tuesday in Houston.
ACLU, Black Lives Matter sue Trump, Barr over clearing of Lafayette Square
The American Civil Liberties Union, Black Lives Matter D.C. and others civil rights groups have sued President Donald Trump, Attorney General William Barr and other administration officials over the clearing of Lafayette Square with force and chemical irritants, which the groups allege was “the manifestation of the very despotism against which the First Amendment was intended to protect.”
The suit was filed in federal court in Washington on Thursday and says that federal park police, secret service, military police and national guardsmen fired “tear gas, pepper spray capsules, rubber bullets and flash bombs into the crowd to shatter the peaceful gathering, forcing demonstrators to flee the area.”
“Defendants had no legitimate basis to destroy the peaceable gathering,” the lawsuit says. Trump has faced sharp criticism, including from D.C. mayor Muriel Bowser, over his handling of the incident that ended with his photo-op in front of St. John’s Church.
Many police go unpunished for violence during protest
A white Fort Lauderdale, Florida, police officer who shoved a black protester face-first into the ground has used force at least a dozen times and brandished his weapon at least 50 times during his four years with the force.
Despite that history and several videos showing his violent response to the protester on Sunday, Officer Steven Pohorence has not been fired from the department. He has been suspended – with pay – while the state investigates his actions during the protest.
In the protests that have erupted across the U.S., police officers have been caught on video shoving, hitting and ramming their vehicles into protesters.
Police officers have been subjected to attacks, as well, but while those officers have the power to immediately respond and arrest their attackers, protesters who have filmed their violent encounters with police are learning that holding officers accountable when they cross the line is a far different story.
‘Black lives matter’ being painted on DC street outside White House
The words “Black lives matter” were being painted onto the streets of Washington near the White House early Friday, local TV stations reported.
Images showed artists with yellow paint forming massive letters on 16th Street NW, near where protests have been held for several days and federal law enforcement authorities cleared groups of peaceful demonstrators with force and chemical irritants earlier this week ahead of President Donald Trump’s controversial visit to St. John’s Church.
NBC Washington reporter Mark Segraves tweeted Friday that the painting came at the direction of Mayor Muriel Bowser, who has been at odds with Trump and federal authorities over the presence of national guard troops in Washington and threats of a federal takeover of D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department.
Twitter blocks Trump campaign video featuring George Floyd
Twitter blocked a video shared by President Donald Trump’s campaign that shows images of George Floyd and recent protests over a copyright claim, the company says.
The company put a label on the video posted by the @TeamTrump account that said, “This media has been disabled in response to a claim by the copyright owner.”
The video, still on Trump’s YouTube page, shows Floyd and images of peaceful protests with Trump’s voice dubbed over commending the demonstrations. The video then shows images of destruction some protests saw as Trump condemns those actions, before turning to images of police officers and demonstrators embracing.
“Per our copyright policy, we respond to valid copyright complaints sent to us by a copyright owner or their authorized representatives,” Twitter said in a statement. It’s the latest action that Twitter has taken against Trump, who has threatened to retaliate against social media companies.
Minneapolis city council seeks to ‘dismantle’ police department
Minneapolis officials plan to vote Friday on the some of the first changes to the police department in the wake of George Floyd’s death, The Star Tribune reported.
City officials are working with the state’s Department of Human Rights on a stipulated restraining order that would require immediate changes to the agency. The order would also set up an investigation into whether the department participated in racial discrimination in the last 10 years.
On Thursday, City Council President Lisa Bender tweeted that they will “dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department and replace it with a transformative new model of public safety.”
2 New York police officers suspended after injuring 75-year-old man
Two New York police officers have been suspended after a viral video showed them shoving a 75-year-old man to the ground on Thursday night.
The graphic video shared on Twitter shows a man walking up to Buffalo Police Department officers. It is unclear if he exchanged words with the officers before he is shoved to the sidewalk. The man stumbles back and falls and the video shows him motionless and bleeding from his head.
After the man falls, a person shouts, “He’s bleeding from his ears!” Someone else shouts, “Get a medic!” The reporter recording the video is then told to back up. Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown issued a statement late Thursday, saying the man in the video is 75 years old and at the hospital in “serious but stable” condition.
– Jordan Culver
California mayor resigns after controversial email about police killings
The mayor of a Southern California city has resigned after apologizing for an email that stated he didn’t “believe there’s ever been a good person of color killed by a police officer” locally, saying he never meant to use the word “good.”
Temecula Mayor James Stewart said he is dyslexic and used voice text to send his late-night message on Tuesday but failed to notice the added word.
“Unfortunately I did not take the time to proofread what was recorded. I absolutely did not say that,” Stewart told the Riverside Press-Enterprise on Thursday. “What I said is and I don’t believe there has ever been a person of color murdered by police, on context to Temecula or Riverside County. I absolutely did not say ‘good.’ I have no idea how that popped up.”
Stewart said he was replying to someone “concerned about our police officers and their sensitivity training.” Stewart said the message started a firestorm of criticism and asked people to forgive “for this egregious error.”
George Floyd remembered at Minneapolis memorial service
Hundreds streamed into a Minneapolis memorial service Thursday for George Floyd, who was recalled as a gentle soul and commanding presence.
Family members, activists and other mourners paid tribute to Floyd, whose death in police custody was captured on a video that horrified much of the country and precipitated widespread protests.
Benjamin Crump, a lawyer representing the family, focused his remarks on the need for justice, not just for Floyd but others who encountered a similar fate.
“What we saw in that video was evil. So, America, we proclaim as we memorialize George Floyd, do not cooperate with evil. Protest against evil,” Crump said, his voice rising along with those in attendance, who applauded. “Join the young people in the streets protesting against the evil, the inhumane, the torture that they witnessed on that video.”
– Jorge L. Ortiz, Nora G. Hertel, Mark Emmert
Kanye West appearance at Chicago protest results in disorder
Kanye West joined public protests Thursday night in response to the death of George Floyd. The rapper appeared in Chicago at a “Justice for George Floyd/CPD out of CPS” rally on city’s South Side.
Organizers with Good Kids Mad City told USA TODAY that West called them yesterday and said he wanted to join a protest. But the orderly rally devolved as West got out of a black SUV wearing a face mask and a hoodie.
Organizers became frustrated with the disorder. Taylore Norwood, 20, grabbed a megaphone and told the crowd that this Chicago march was a youth-led protest and that she didn’t want a “celebrity” hijacking it.
– Grace Hauck
North Carolina mayor condemns police destruction of medics’ tent
The Asheville Police Department’s aggressive dismantling of a volunteer medical station 15 minutes after curfew has set off calls for accountability across the city and beyond.
Video by the Citizen Times of the Tuesday incident shows Asheville police officers in riot gear and holding shields, forming a protective circle around officers stomping and stabbing water bottles. Other officers destroyed medical supplies such as bandages and saline solution.
North Carolina Mayor Esther Manheimer called it “senseless,” in a Thursday speech. She said police destruction of the medics’ tent was “wrong, it was senseless, and it only serves to reinforce those feelings of mistrust, hurt and anger.”
– Mackensy Lunsford, Asheville Citizen Times
Protesters surround MLK Memorial
The Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial was the scene of protest Thursday in response to the death of George Floyd. The group knelt at the memorial for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, to remember how long Floyd was being pinned down by a Minneapolis police officer while saying he couldn’t breathe.
While kneeling, the demonstrators listened as the names of people who died in police custody were read through a speaker system.
Maya Taybron, a 15-year-old high school student from Washington, D.C., said she had joined the group rallying because so many African Americans had been treated “badly for no reason, just for the color of our skin.”
Her brother, Keyon Taybron, a 19-year-old college student, said there “couldn’t have been a better place” to rally because of King’s legacy.
Robert E. Lee statue in Richmond to come down ‘as soon as possible’
The statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee that has towered over this Virginia city for more than 100 years will be removed “as soon as possible,” Gov. Ralph Northam announced Thursday.
The news came after days of protest surrounding the Lee statue and other Confederate monuments on the city’s Monument Avenue, sparked by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and protests against racial inequality around the country.
Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney said he would propose to the city council that the four other Confederate memorials be removed, too.
“Ladies and gentleman, it’s time. It’s time. It’s time to put an end to the lost cause and fully embraced the righteous cause. It’s time to replace the racist symbols of oppression and inequality,” Stoney said at a news conference.
– Ryan W. Miller, Ledyard King and Sarah Elbeshbishi
Florida protester arrested for spray-painting security cameras at governor’s mansion
A man who was involved in several large gatherings in Tallahassee last weekend was arrested after police say he spray-painted the lenses of security cameras at the Florida Governor’s Mansion.
Nicholas Denney, 24, faces one count of damage to property criminal mischief. He was taken into custody Thursday on a warrant and will appear before a judge Friday.
Police watched Denney pull a can of paint from his backpack as protesters gathered in front of the executive mansion on Saturday and spray over two security cameras and a push to talk box.
– Karl Etters, Tallahassee Democrat