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June 3 coverage of nationwide unrest and ongoing protests

George Floyd's death has sparked protests across the country.
Protesters hold up their hands during a demonstration outside the White House on June 3, 2020.Eric Baradat / AFP - Getty Images

This live coverage has now ended. Continue reading June 4 coverage of George Floyd's death and the nationwide protests.

As protesters nationwide continued to hit the streets Wednesday, three more former Minneapolis police officers were charged in the death of George Floyd.

The three former officers, Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng, were charged with aiding and abetting murder, according to criminal complaints filed by the state of Minnesota. The murder charge against the fourth, Derek Chauvin, was also elevated to second-degree, from third-degree.

Curfews and arrests have done little to deter determined protesters in cities like New York, Los Angeles and Washington. Overall, however, demonstrations on Tuesday night and Wednesday have passed more peacefully than those held in previous days.

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Why is Wall Street soaring while Main Street is burning?

The divide between Wall Street and Main Street has grown sharply in recent weeks, amid the coronavirus pandemic and widespread civil unrest. To many, the market’s rise appeared as both cause and symptom of the widening gap between the country's haves and have-nots.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose by more than 400 points on Wednesday, with the S&P 500 now recovering a full 40 percent from its March lows. Yet millions of workers and small business owners are struggling to cope with the one-two punch of an economically devastating pandemic and unrest following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police that have filled America’s TV screens and news feeds with images of burned police cars, smashed store windows and looting in cities across the country.

“The stock market represents the fortunes of the fortunate… consolidating their power over the economy,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics. “As long as they feel like the economy isn't going to be disrupted significantly by the riots, they’re not going to price that in the stock market,” he said.

“I think it’s just an assumption at this point that it will be isolated to a few cities or won't last long enough to have an impact, or it’s a function of some of the other things the markets already discounted in terms of economic weakness,” said Willie Delwiche, investment strategist at Baird.

Read the full story here.

'Blessed are the peacemakers': Cuomo reads from Bible in jab at Trump

At the start of his news briefing Wednesday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo took aim at President Donald Trump's photo op in front of St. John's Episcopal Church in the nation's capital on Monday night.

“The president held up the Bible the other day in Washington, D.C.," Cuomo said. "Here in New York, we actually read the Bible."

Cuomo then proceeded to read a handful of Bible passages.

"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God," the governor read from the Book of Matthew. 

Religious leaders and lawmakers voiced outrage after police and the National Guard stormed into a peaceful protest outside the White House before Trump posed for a photo holding the Bible in front of St. John's Church.

Cuomo on Wednesday also praised the New York Police Department and Mayor Bill de Blasio over the law enforcement response to looting and vandalism in parts of New York City on Tuesday night. 

"I want to applaud the local police who have done a great job," Cuomo said, a day after he said he did not believe the city had used enough police to address the situation Monday night. "The protests were mainly peaceful all across the state." 

The governor said New York City was "much better" and that police officers had the resources and the capacity to to do their jobs and the results were much different than the night before. 

Cement-filled water bottles hurled at police, NYPD commissioner says

New York City police officers are being targeted in an  "orchestrated attack," often with cement-filled water bottles, during ongoing protests, the city's top law enforcement official said Wednesday.

"If anyone is questioning what is happening, your head is either in the sand or you're not paying attention," NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea told reporters. "There is an orchestrated  attack, specifically  on members of law enforcement across the country. And we're seeing it, unfortunately, alive and well in New York City." 

Plastic water bottles have been regularly hurled at officers during on-going George Floyd protests. But Shea said it's not clear to casual observers that those innocuous containers are often weighted down with cement. 

"We had vehicles, that it would appear as if our doors are hit with  a Louisville Slugger swung by Mark McGwire, leaving dents in the car doors by a simple water bottle filled  with cement,"  Shea said.

Earlier in the day, Shea tweeted video he claimed showed bricks and rocks left in storage containers. He wrote that "organized looters" were "strategically placing caches of" those projectiles to be used against officers.

But City Councilman Mark Treyger said that footage was from his Brooklyn district and he pushed back on Shea's claims, tweeting: "This is in my district. I went to the site. This construction debris was left near a construction site on Ave X in Gravesend. Could be evidence of a developer breaking law since phase 1 hasn’t begun, but there was no evidence of organized looting on X last night that I’m aware of." 

NAACP urged Minneapolis police to ban neck restraints for suspects years ago

Several years before George Floyd died after being placed in a controversial knee-on-neck hold by a former Minneapolis police officer, the NAACP began prodding the police department to permanently ban the use of the practice, according to an official with the civil rights group.

Trovon Williams, the vice president of marketing and communications for the NAACP national office in Baltimore, told NBC News the group took issue with a number of “use of force” procedures at police departments across the country, including in Minneapolis.

“We demanded that the police department ban those uses, knee holds, as an acceptable use of force … well before this ever came into play,” he said, adding that the talks were part of a nationwide push and have been ongoing for years. “We have focused on de-escalation of tense situations with police.

“Our Minneapolis chapter has been working very very closely with [police Chief Medaria] Arradondo but with respect to it being banned, that has not transpired yet,” Williams added.

Read the full story here.

In Their Words: Protesting for George Floyd

NBC News

Thousands of people of all ages and races have marched for George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis on Memorial Day. From Washington to Los Angeles, from Chicago to Houston — George Floyd's hometown — there has been collective outrage across the country, with nearly 400, rallies and vigils.

While most demonstrations have been peaceful, tensions between police and protesters frustrated over racial injustices have led to violent confrontations in several cities in the evening hours.

We asked to hear from black men and women around the U.S. about why they walk for George Floyd. Here's what they said.

Stolen U-Haul truck used by looter in New York City

At least one ambitious New York City looter used a stolen U-Haul truck to transport looted merchandise, officials said Wednesday.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea insisted that thousands of peaceful protesters, decrying the death of George Floyd, outnumber a handful of criminals, citing as example the a looter who was using a hot truck.

"The U-Haul truck, that did happen," Shea told reporters. "We see a number of vehicles to transport stolen property, to scout out locations, to transport people to commit these crimes. So vehicles is not rare, the U-Haul truck aspect is more of an aberration."

Family-friendly protest events find traction on Facebook

In addition to the evening protests now occurring in hundreds of American cities and towns, family-friendly protest events are being organized to allow children and parents with young kids to take to the streets during the day to speak out against the recent death of George Floyd at the hands of law enforcement, as well as the broader issues of racial and social injustice.

Such events have already taken place in Oakland — with another scheduled for Wednesday evening — as well as others set for New York City, Culver City, Calif,; Seattle, Columbus, Ohio; Dallas, and Lakeland, Florida, among many others.

In the Dallas neighborhood of Oak Cliff, attendees are encouraged to “talk with kids and neighbors and create some bold, artful messaging for everyone who walks by. What do you want them to know and do right now? What kind of change do you want to see in the world?”

George Floyd: From aspiring rapper to symbol of police violence against black men

Before his name became a rallying cry for Americans fed up with the police killings of unarmed black men, he was an aspiring Houston rapper nicknamed “Big Floyd” whose lines were steeped in the lore of his beloved Third Ward neighborhood.

George Floyd was part of an influential hip-hop collective called the Screwed Up Click that emerged in the 1990s with a distinct slowed-down sound that some say moved at the pace of the steamy city on a hot summer night.

His deep-voiced drawl was featured on at least a dozen mixtapes created by the group’s leader, Robert Earl Davis Jr., aka DJ Screw. And always, the focus of Floyd’s freestyling was on the things that mattered most to him: hanging with friends, dreaming about making his mark, home.

But when Floyd died on May 25, beneath the knee of a Minneapolis police officer, he was five years and more than a thousand miles removed from the historic center of African American culture in Houston where he grew up in the Cuney Homes housing project.

And when Floyd returns home to Houston on Monday for a public memorial, it will be in a coffin. “It’s going to be a big deal for our city to bring him home,” said Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo.

Read the full story here.

NYC curfew to stay in place until Monday

New York City's curfew will continue through this week and upcoming weekend, until some coronavirus-shuttered businesses reopen on Monday morning, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

The 8 p.m.-to-5 a.m. shutdown is still necessary, according to City Hall, as thousands of protesters take to the streets to decry the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis

A host of New York businesses, such as non-essential retail and wholesale, partially come back Monday after months of coronavirus-forced shutdown.

Mayor de Blasio told reporters on Wednesday that businesses should have enough time to prepare their facilities during daytime hours, leading up to 5 a.m. Monday.

"I’m sorry that it’ll be an additional challenge for those who might be having to do some repairs right now because of those bad couple of nights, but I know they can get it done," he said.