'Defund the police' movement gets traction, NYC opens up and prosectors want to talk to Prince Andrew about Epstein

Minneapolis City Council pledges to dismantle "toxic" police department.
Image: US-POLITICS-RACE-UNREST
Protesters sit in the street during a demonstration against racism and police brutality in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on Saturday. MARANIE R. STAAB / AFP - Getty Images

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By Petra Cahill

Good morning, NBC News readers.

Minneapolis has conceded to protester demands and pledged to dismantle its police department, New York City is set to open after three months of shutdown and prosecutors convey a message to Prince Andrew: It's time to talk about Jeffrey Epstein.

Here's what we're watching this Monday morning.


'Defund the police' rallying cry gets traction in Minneapolis

A majority of the Minneapolis City Council agreed Sunday to dismantle the city's police department after the in-custody killing of George Floyd.

Council President Lisa Bender called the city's relationship with the department "toxic" and vowed to "re-create systems of public safety that actually keep us safe."

What exactly the next steps are is unclear. Bender also told CNN "the idea of having no police department is certainly not in the short term."

The move in Minneapolis, where Floyd was killed two weeks ago after a police officer pressed his knee into Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes, comes amid growing calls for deep structural reform of policing across America.

Protesters have taken to the streets demanding their cities shrink police departments, and "defund the police" has become a frequent rallying cry.

Supporters of the movement say they are not trying to eliminate police departments, but rather calling for budgets to be realigned so that the emphasis is on community programs rather than strictly enforcement.

On NBC News "Meet the Press" on Sunday, Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza explained that the phrase "defund the police," means "invest in the resources that our communities need." She went on to say that means "increased funding for housing, increased funding for education, increased funding for quality of life for communities that are over policed and over surveilled."

Other cities have floated ideas to heed the call.

After saying that the New York City curfew would be lifted Sunday, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a proposal to shift funding from the New York Police Department to youth and social services. And Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti vowed to slash up to $150 million of the police budget. The proposals are expected to face stiff resistance from police leaders and unions.

Here are some other developments:


Colin Powell's criticism means four ex-chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have now bashed Trump

After a week in which President Donald Trump threatened to use military force against protesters, Colin Powell was the latest high ranking retired military leader to blast the commander in chief on Sunday for taking steps he said would harm the relationship between the military and U.S. citizens.

Powell, who served as secretary of state under former President George W. Bush and was previously chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told CNN's "State of the Union" that Trump is "drifting" away from the Constitution and said he's a habitual liar.

Powell, who did not vote for Trump in 2016, said he would vote for Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, this fall.

Trump responded to Powell on Twitter, calling him "highly overrated" and "a real stiff who was very responsible for getting us into the disastrous Middle East Wars."

Powell is the fourth former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to speak out publicly against the sitting commander in chief — an unprecedented move, according to several military experts contacted by NBC News.


80 percent of voters say things are out of control in the U.S., NBC/ WSJ poll

Eight out of 10 voters believe that things are out of control in the United States, with majorities still concerned about the spread of the coronavirus, pessimistic about the economy's return to normal before next year and down on Trump's ability to unite the nation.

Those are the major findings of a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll that was conducted May 28 to June 2, during the aftermath of Floyd's death in Minneapolis, as the U.S. death toll from the coronavirus surpassed 100,000 and after millions of people have lost their jobs.

"Out of control — that's America in 2020," said Democratic pollster Jeff Horwitt of Hart Research Associates, who helped conduct the survey with Republican pollster Bill McInturff and his GOP colleagues at Public Opinion Strategies.

The new findings come as the GOP recruits an army of poll watchers to fight voter fraud that no one can prove exists.


New York City is set to reopen after coronavirus lockdown

As the global death toll from COVID-19 sails past the 400,000 mark, U.S. cities and European nations are this week relaxing measures that have seen millions confined to their homes.

Shops will partially reopen and thousands are expected to go back to work in New York City on Monday, for many weeks the worst-affected city in the U.S.

But Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D-NY, warns "it doesn't mean we're going to back to the way we were."

In a hopeful sign, New Zealand has declared itself free of coronavirus and will fully reopen the economy.

Prime Minister Jacinda Adern said she "did a little dance" of joy upon hearing that there were no more active cases in her country.

Check out our live blog for the latest updates.


Prosecutors formally request to talk with Prince Andrew in Epstein investigation

Federal prosecutors in New York have formally requested through the British government to speak with Prince Andrew as part of their criminal investigation into Jeffrey Epstein's history of sexual abuse, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The request, made under a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty, or MLAT, is similar to a subpoena in this case for Prince Andrew's testimony.

It's a rare move to seek an interview like this through MLAT, officials say, and it's focused on making sure the investigation is as thorough as possible.


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Plus

  • Two Buffalo officers were charged with assault over the video showing police shoving a 75-year-old man to ground.
  • “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling was accused of transphobia after mocking a headline about "people who menstruate."
  • Former NFL wide receiver Donald Reche Caldwell died at age 41 over the weekend.

THINK about it

The dirty truth about police departments? They're lying to us, historian Matthew Guariglia writes in an opinion piece.


BETTER

Here's how to stay safe while attending protests.


Shopping

Looking for an electric toothbrush? We consulted dental experts for shopping tips and toothbrush recommendations.


One fun thing

Somebody had a good weekend.

After a controversial, decade-long chase, New Mexico multimillionaire Forrest Fenn revealed someone has finally found the treasure that he hid in the Rocky Mountains in 2010.

“I can confirm it’s been found," Fenn told TODAY. "It was found by a man from back East, but he’s shy. He doesn’t want his name released.”

The treasure is believed to include a windfall valued at more than $2 million, including gold coins, diamonds and emeralds, among other gems.


Thanks for reading the Morning Rundown.

If you have any comments — likes, dislikes — drop me an email at: petra@nbcuni.com

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Thanks, Petra Cahill