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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Police in New Orleans use tear gas on crowds on highway bridge
New Orleans police said they used tear gas on protesters Wednesday night after crowds approached in an apparent attempt to cross a Crescent City Connection highway bridge.
Police tweeted that they were "compelled" to use the irritant "in response to escalating, physical confrontation with our officers."
Video from NBC affiliate WDSU showed tear gas billowing over the bridge and crowds retreating. Maria Singer, who was in the back of the crowd, told NOLA.com that some people panicked. "I wasn't scared of the tear gas as I was the stampede of people," she told the outlet. No injuries had been reported by police.
There was no violence reported by police in the incident. NOLA.com reported that almost everyone was peaceful but a handful of protesters were more aggressive and began pushing into the police line just before police used the tear gas.
Earlier Wednesday, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards thanked the people of his state for holding peaceful demonstrations in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death, avoiding the violence and property damage seen in other parts of the country.
Reverend who marched with MLK in 1962 reflects on protests
Black Lives Matter sues L.A., county over curfews
Black Lives Matter and a group that includes protesters and a journalist on Wednesday sued the city and county of Los Angeles and San Bernardino in a bid to end nightly curfews that were ordered as a reaction to raucous demonstrations over the death of George Floyd.
The federal suit, filed by the ACLU of Southern California, argues the curfews, imposed in the city of Los Angeles since May 30, violate the First Amendment as well as the Constitution’s protection of freedom of movement.
"They are attempting to suppress our ability to fully mobilize and focus full attention on the true issue of concern in the protests — police violence against Black people," Melina Abdullah, a co-founder of the L.A. chapter of Black Lives Matter, said in a statement.
The suit states that the curfews "have given police an excuse to commit violence against BLM-LA’s members and others who have joined in the protests."
It seeks an injunction against such curfews, a declaration that they are constitutionally unlawful, an end to enforcement of unlawful assembly arrests related to the curfews, attorneys' fees and "any other relief" the court might grant.
The mayor on Wednesday said that as long as there isn't additional looting or violence in Los Angeles associated with the protests, he would end the curfews, NBC LA reported.
Los Angeles looks to cut $150M in police funding, invest in communities 'left behind'
The mayor of Los Angeles, whose city has seen days of protest as well as some looting and violence, said Wednesday that the city is committed to identifying $250 million in cuts that he wants to spend on black communities and others he said have been left behind.
The police commission president said it is committed to working with others to identify between $100 million and $150 million in cuts to the Los Angeles Police Department budget.
"We've made cuts because of COVID-19," Mayor Eric Garcetti said. "It's time to also make cuts because racial justice is something worth fighting for, and something worth sacrificing for."
Other changes eyed include requirements that police officers intervene when they see the inappropriate use of force; requirements that officers report misconduct immediately; and that a special prosecutor outside the district attorney's office will be appointed to prosecute officers who engage in misconduct.
Garcetti said he wants to spend the money investing in jobs, education and health in communities, and every department would be affected. There will also be an increase in police training, he said.
Armed troops remain at D.C. protest
Federal teams will help Minnesota investigate fires set during unrest
MINNEAPOLIS — The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has sent a national response team to Minneapolis and St. Paul to help investigate fires set during unrest following the death of George Floyd.
Local and state authorities requested the team’s help in investigating about 100 business fires in Minneapolis and about 35 in St. Paul.
Special Agent in Charge William Henderson of the ATF’s St. Paul Field Division said in a statement Wednesday “the cause of these fires is quite obvious. The task at hand now is to determine who is responsible.”
The team arrived earlier this week.
Seattle protesters use umbrellas to guard against possible pepper spray
San Francisco to lift curfew Thursday
Minnesota AG cites 'additional evidence' in new charges in Floyd case
Biden campaign asks supporters to donate to NAACP
In the first official fundraising email of the month, the apparent Democratic presidential nominee's campaign expressed support for those questioning police uses of force against African Americans like Floyd.
"What we do in this moment in history will define us, and we must all answer this call to action," the campaign said. "That’s why we’re asking you to support the NAACP’s work to bring justice for George Floyd and the countless other Black lives that have been cut short by systemic racism today."
A previous email told supporters that the campaign is not sending fundraising emails to those living in cities that have seen days of protests over Floyd's death.
Army leadership acknowledges racial divisions within military
Racial divisions at the forefront of recent protests across the nation exist in the military as well and must be addressed, U.S. Army leadership said in a letter Wednesday.
"Just as we reflect the best of America, we reflect its imperfections as well," the letter, addressed to soldiers, civilians, family members and "soldiers for life" reads.
"We need to work harder to earn the trust of mothers and fathers who hesitate to hand their sons and daughters into our care," the message reads. "How we respond to the anger that has ignited will chart the course of that trust."
The message from Army leaders also reminds members that every soldier and Army civilian has sworn an oath to support and defend the Constitution. "That includes the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances," the letter reads.
President Donald Trump has warned that active duty military may be used amid riots that have occurred in some cities.
Earlier Wednesday, Defense Secretary Mark Esper reversed his decision to send home some active-duty troops deployed to Washington, D.C.
During a news briefing Wednesday morning, he said that using active-duty military for law enforcement purposes "should only be used as a matter of last resort and only in the most urgent and dire situations," adding: "We are not in one of those situations now."
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley issued a memo that the rights of assembly and speech are guaranteed. "We in uniform – all branches, all components, and all ranks – remain committed to our national values and principles embedded in the Constitution," the memo says.
Gen. Joseph Lengyel, Chief of the National Guard Bureau, echoed that statement on Twitter Wednesday.
50 ATMs exploded in Philadelphia in attempt to steal them, money
PHILADELPHIA — Explosions have hit 50 cash machines in and near Philadelphia since the weekend in a coordinated effort to steal them or take the money inside, authorities said Wednesday.
A 25-year-old who’s accused of selling homemade dynamite on the streets with instructions on how to use it on ATMs has been arrested, though authorities aren’t yet sure whether the man is connected to the coordinated effort, the state attorney general said.
One theft resulted in the death of a 24-year-old man hours after he tried to break into an ATM early Tuesday, authorities said.
Cash machines in other cities also have been stolen from or damaged since civil unrest struck the nation after George Floyd died on Memorial Day.
Seattle lifts curfew after peaceful demonstrations
As crowds protest police violence, social distancing takes a back seat
California woman charged after video of protesters being sprayed from car
A Los Angeles-area woman has been arrested on a count of unlawful use of tear gas after video appeared to show her pepper-spraying "Black Lives Matter" protesters from her vehicle Sunday, officials said Wednesday.
Amy Atkisson allegedly pepper-sprayed a protester in Thousand Oaks, a city in Ventura County west of Los Angeles.
Video posted on Twitter captured the license plate of the vehicle and led to the arrest, the Ventura County Sheriff's Office said in a statement.
Sheriff's Capt. Denise Sliva said that pepper spray generally doesn't result in lasting physical injuries and she was not aware of any injuries from the incident.
Video posted in media outlets appeared to show a protester yelling "black lives matter" near a vehicle but not making any physical contact with the vehicle before the window is rolled down and the substance is sprayed at the group in bursts. A person recording one of the videos then goes to the rear and captures the license plate.
Atkisson was released under the California Judicial Council’s zero bail schedule, and her court date is scheduled for July 31, the sheriff's office said.
Online jail records show her age as 46. Online court records did not appear to have her case available Wednesday night, and it was not clear if she has an attorney. A message left at a phone number that might be connected to her was not immediately returned.
Possession of tear gas style devices are legal for self-defense purposes in California, but it is illegal to use them for anything other than self-defense, according to the criminal statute.
NYPD appears to push back protesters at Brooklyn Borough Hall
New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams called the New York Police Department’s use of force on nonviolent protesters “disgusting” Wednesday night.
Williams shared live video of the scene outside Brooklyn Borough Hall on Twitter, which showed law enforcement appearing to push back protesters.
“There’s no looting going on,” said a voice that appears to be Williams’. “There’s no looting. There’s no fires. Why are we pushing them? Why are we pushing them? Why are we pushing the protesters?”
Additional footage posted to social media appeared to show NYPD officers forcefully pushing protesters back, with some yelling, “Go home.”
“I can't believe what I just witnessed & experienced. The force used on nonviolent protestors was disgusting,” Williams wrote in a separate tweet. “No looting/no fires. Chants of ‘peaceful protest.’ @NYPDnews was simply enforcing an ill advised curfew.
What happened was completely avoidable. I'm so ashamed of @NYCMayor.”
Protesters and police could also be seen clashing at nearby Cadman Plaza Park in Brooklyn.
Flyer recruiting 'professional anarchist' is fake, George Soros foundation says
A photo circulating online claiming to show a job opportunity for a “professional anarchist” and funded through George Soros’ charity isn't real, the group said, calling it “false content.”
“Those protesting the death of Mr. Floyd and police brutality across the nation do so out of a deep and abiding concern for country; they don't do so for pay from these foundations or any other, as some cynics claim,” an Open Society Foundations spokesperson told NBC News.
“Such assertions are false, offensive, and do a disservice to the very bedrock of our democracy, as enshrined in the First Amendment," the spokesperson added.
The flyer also included incorrect contact information for the Thurston County Democrats of Washington, who also discredited the flyer in a Facebook post.
“If social media users come across this or other false content like this online, we recommend they report the content as suspicious to the social media platform,” an Open Society Foundations spokesperson said.
Mounted NYPD officers patrol high-risk areas to deter looters
The New York Police Department dispatched its Mounted Unit to patrol high-risk areas around the city in an effort to deter looting Wednesday evening.
Officers on horseback "will be assisting in identifying any businesses that may be vulnerable to looters," NYPD Chief of Special Operation Harry Wedin wrote on Twitter.
New York City's mayor, Bill de Blasio, blamed most of the looting and illegal acts in recent days on "a small anarchist element ... a small criminal element."
The mayor announced Tuesday that New York City's curfew will continue through Sunday.
Minneapolis council members says police unions block real police reform
Protesters sing 'Lean on Me' at demonstration near White House
Protesters sang “Lean on Me” during a demonstration Wednesday evening in Washington, D.C.
Videos posted on social media show crowds of demonstrators singing the Bill Withers song while swaying and waving phones with illuminated flashlights in the air.
The peaceful demonstration took place about two blocks from the White House.
Louisiana governor thanks residents for keeping demonstrations peaceful
BATON ROUGE, La. — Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards on Wednesday thanked the people of his state for holding peaceful demonstrations in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death, avoiding the violence and property damage seen in other parts of the country.
"Almost without exception, every single person who’s shown up to protest and demonstrated has done so in a way that is an appropriate expression of their concerns about this,” Edwards said.
The Democratic governor said he doesn’t expect to use the Louisiana National Guard to assist local and state police in their response to the future Floyd protests.
Experts say new charge in George Floyd case fits
As the murder case against former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin was upgraded from third-degree murder to "unintentional" second-degree murder Wednesdaym experts said the revised allegations appear to be appropriate in the death of George Floyd.
The upgraded charge comes with a maximum sentence of 40 years compared to 25 for third-degree murder.
University of Minnesota Law School Professor Susanna Blumenthal said the new count means prosecutors would have to prove that a felony assault led to death.
"Second-degree felony murder does not require proof of intent to kill," she said by email. "What the prosecutor would need to establish is that the officer caused death while committing or attempting to commit a felony offense, which has been charged in this case as assault in the third degree."
George Floyd's death resonates in Chicago
CHICAGO — For many activists and community organizers, George Floyd’s death under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer was a brutal reminder of Chicago's racial divide and history of police brutality against African Americans.
Many of those interactions also ended in death.
“Chicago has dealt with this over and over again,” said Carlil Pittman, founder of the youth-led anti-violence organization Good Kids Mad City. “This was literally the last straw not just in our city but for the whole black community in America. It's a repeated trauma to continuously watch police officers kill our black and brown brothers and sisters with no remedy for it taking place.”
Over 60 charged in Los Angeles County with looting, other crimes
More than 60 people have been charged with looting and other crimes for incidents in Los Angeles County that occurred amid protests following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, the district attorney said Wednesday.
Sixty-one people have been charged and the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office said it expects additional cases to be presented by law enforcement this week.
"A majority of the charges filed over the past two days have been for looting," the district attorney's office said in a statement. Other charges include assault and battery on police, robbery and possession of a destructive device.
Los Angeles and other cities in the county, including Santa Monica, have seen looting during protests following Floyd's death on May 25, although city officials have stressed that the majority of protesters have been peaceful.
At a police commission meeting on Tuesday, LAPD Chief Michel Moore said there had been around 2,700 arrests, with around 2,500 of those for failure to disperse or curfew violations, since the unrest began. Then on Tuesday law enforcement made around 900 arrests, also for mostly curfew violations, a law enforcement source familiar with the situation said.
George Floyd had coronavirus, autopsy shows
George Floyd had coronavirus, according to a full autopsy report released Wednesday.
The Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s full autopsy report said Floyd first tested positive for the virus on April 3, nearly two months prior to his death. An earlier autopsy report from the county attributed Floyd's cause of death as a "cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression."
It also listed other "significant" conditions, including hypertensive heart disease, fentanyl intoxication and recent methamphetamine use.
San Diego sheriff bans carotid restraint
San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore said Wednesday he's banning the use of the carotid restraint in the wake of criticism.
"In light of community concerns, and after consultation with many elected officials throughout the county, I am stopping the use of the carotid restraint by my deputies effective immediately," the sheriff in the nation's fifth largest county said in a statement.
It follows a Monday announcement by San Diego city police Chief David Nisleit that city officers would immediately cease using the restraint that involves wrapping an arm around a suspect's neck and squeezing.
George Floyd died after a Minneapolis police officer pushed his knee into Floyd's neck for 8 minutes, 46 seconds on May 25, sparking nationwide unrest, prompting new scrutiny of techniques police use to forcefully detain people.
‘It felt like I was going to die’: Video shows Florida knee-on-neck arrest
Before George Floyd, video shows officer kneeling on Florida man’s neck during arrestVideo shows a Sarasota, Fla., police officer kneeling on the neck of 27-year-old Patrick Carroll, one week before a similar arrest resulted in the death of George Floyd. SNN's Samantha Sonner reports.
Mugshots released of former Minneapolis officers charged with aiding and abetting murder
Three former officers — Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng — are in custody Wednesday after being charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder in the death of George Floyd.
'He tries to divide us': Former Defense Secretary Mattis compares Trump's protest response to Nazi tactics
Former Defense Secretary James Mattis on Wednesday slammed President Donald Trump's response to the protests over the death of George Floyd as divisive and calling "bizarre photo-op" in front of St. John's Episcopal Church "an abuse of executive authority."
“Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people — does not even pretend to try. Instead, he tries to divide us,” Mattis wrote in a statement published by the Atlantic.
"Instructions given by the military departments to our troops before the Normandy invasion reminded soldiers that 'The Nazi slogan for destroying us … was ‘Divide and Conquer.’ Our American answer is ‘In Union there is Strength.’ We must summon that unity to surmount this crisis—confident that we are better than our politics, Mattis wrote.
In the stunning rebuke of his former boss, the former general noted that he'd sworn to defend the Constitution when he was sworn into the Marine Corps "some 50 years ago."
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U.S. Park Police officers placed on administrative duty over assault on Australian journalists
Two U.S. Park Police officers who were seen clubbing and punching Australian journalists in video footage from a demonstration outside the White House have been placed on administrative duty, officials said Wednesday.
In a statement, United States Park Police acting Chief Gregory T. Monahan said the move came while the June 1 incident in Lafayette Square is investigated. The announcement also came one day after the U.S. Ambassador to Australia, Arthur B. Culvahouse Jr., released a statement saying he takes "the mistreatment of journalists seriously.”
One of the journalists, Network Seven reporter Amelia Brace, told the Sydney Morning Herald on Tuesday that the experience was “absolutely terrifying.” Footage showed an officer hitting Brace’s cameraman, Tim Myers, with a shield before grabbing his camera. Another officer can be seen swinging a baton at Brace’s back.
The journalists are among several who say authorities attacked them as they cover anti-police violence protests. Bruce Brown, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, has called the assaults “reprehensible and clear violations of the First Amendment.”
Denver police officer fired over 'Let’s start a riot' social media post
A Colorado police officer was terminated after posting a photo with a controversial caption on social media, the Denver Police Department said in a statement.
The department launched an investigation on Monday after Officer Thomas McClay reportedly shared a photo of himself and two other Denver officers in riot gear with the caption “Let’s start a riot,” referencing the city’s nights of protests over the death of George Floyd.
An investigation revealed McClay’s post violated the department’s social media policy and was inconsistent with the values of the department, leading to his termination, the Denver Police Department said. The other two officers in the photo remain with the department and are not under investigation, NBC News affiliate KUSA reported.
Facebook's Oversight Board pushes to become operational
Facebook’s Oversight Board said Wednesday that it is not ready for action — but that it's pushing to get set up.
“We are not in an immediate position to make decisions on issues like those we see unfolding today,” the board, which will make decisions about thorny content issues on Facebook and Facebook-owned Instagram, said in its third update.
The entity said training was beginning for its 20 initial members, which include former world leaders, academics and human rights advocates from all corners of the globe.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he would create the body in a post last November. The Oversight Board has been dubbed a kind of Supreme Court for a global organization that reaches two billion users.
The post comes during fierce debates about whether Faceebook should do anything about inflammatory statements made by President Trump. The board said it would begin to operate later this year, hearing issues such as how Facebook treats posts by public figures that might violate its standards. It did not say whether that would be ahead of the upcoming U.S. elections.
Minneapolis officers charged in George Floyd’s death could face up to 40 years in prison if convicted
The former Minneapolis police officers charged in the death of George Floyd each face a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison if convicted of the charges against them, according to criminal complaints.
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. He still faces both the third-degree and manslaughter charges as well, according to an amended complaint.
All four officers were fired on May 26, after a video showing Floyd's arrest went viral.One of the officers was in custody while another two were in the process of being put in custody, officials said Wednesday.
Houston's police chief wins national praise — but faces local anger over shootings
HOUSTON — As protesters clash with riot squads in cities across the country, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo has drawn national praise for his willingness to march with activists and call for officers to be held accountable when they kill without justification.
But on Tuesday, some protesters in Houston confronted Acevedo over his record on police violence. They wanted to know why his department had refused to release body camera footage from six recent deadly police shootings in Houston. Some in the crowd shouted insults, calling Acevedo a “f------ liar” and a “hypocrite.”
The tense moment highlighted a growing frustration simmering among activists in Houston who have accused Acevedo of striking a conciliatory tone during national media interviews, but then failing to back up his words with reforms in his own department.
D.C. National Guard opens investigation after helicopters flown low over protesters
The D.C. National Guard has opened an investigation after military helicopters were flown low over protesters on Monday evening, the agency announced Wednesday.
A video of the maneuver, which has gone viral on Twitter and garnered over 1.8 million views, shows a helicopter flying lower than building height, kicking up debris and knocking branches off trees.
"I hold all members of the District of Columbia National Guard to the highest of standards,” Commanding General Major General William J. Walker said in a statement. “We live and work in the District, and we are dedicated to the service of our nation.”
Specifically, Walker said that the agency is investigating the use of medical evacuation helicopters as part of the Joint Task Force DC operation. The D.C. National Guard was mobilized earlier in the week to assist in the response to protests that have gripped the nation over the death of George Floyd.
Former President Carter: ‘Silence can be as deadly as violence’
Former President Jimmy Carter issued a statement Wednesday about the nationwide protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd in police custody, calling for people of privilege and power to stand up against racism.
"Since leaving the White House in 1981, Rosalynn and I have strived to advance human rights in countries around the world. In this quest, we have seen that silence can be as deadly as violence," Carter said in the statement.
“People of power, privilege, and moral conscience must stand up and say 'no more' to a racially discriminatory police and justice system, immoral economic disparities between whites and blacks, and government actions that undermine our unified democracy,” he added. “We need a government as good as its people, and we are better than this.”
Carter was quick to condemn violence — "But violence, whether spontaneous or consciously incited, is not a solution," the former president said — but also pointed to discriminatory policing as a key issue. He also acknowledged “with sorrow and disappointment” that he was repeating the same calls for an end to discrimination that he’d made nearly 50 years ago when he was inaugurated governor of Georgia.
The former president won strong support from black voters during his time in politics, but came under fire during his first presidential bid for saying the federal government shouldn’t try to change the “ethnic purity” of neighborhoods by putting public housing in middle-class parts of the cities. Afterward, Carter apologized profusely: "I would sooner withdraw from the race then use racist appeals to win it," he said.
'Not being fully free': The toll of everyday racism on black Americans
In the parlance of the internet, the past week has been a year. So much has happened to shock those optimistic about the state of racial equity and affirm those always in tune with the persistence of racism in American life that the strain of the last 10 days has been extraordinary.
But black Americans are exhausted. They are grieving. They are angry. They have, in many cases, grown tired of being forced to make the case for their citizenship, their humanity, their very survival — again and again over the course of generations.
Police killing of 'BBQ Man' Dave McAtee renews a familiar anguish in Louisville
Louisville, Kentucky, a city already grappling with the police shooting death of Breonna Taylor nearly three months ago, faced renewed anguish this week with another police shooting that killed beloved business owner David McAtee.
McAtee was in a parking lot next to his barbecue stand, YaYa's Barbecue, early Monday when Louisville police officers and the National Guard went to break up a crowd in violation of a recently mandated curfew.
The crowd that the police and National Guard was trying to disperse wasn’t part of protests, according to NBC Louisville affiliate WAVE, and people often congregate in the parking lot of McAtee’s restaurant to eat and play music.
His mother said he would give out free meals to community members, including officers of the same police department that fired shots at him.
Books about race dominate Amazon's best sellers list
The majority of the books at the top of Amazon's best sellers list on Wednesday were about race and racial inequality, with "White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism" in the top slot.
Besides author Robin DiAngelo's 2018 exploration of the difficulties of promoting thoughtful racial dialogue, other top-selling books included "So You Want to Talk About Race," "The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America" and the "Sesame Street" children's classic "We're Different, We're the Same."
Amazon's list shows the top 100 best-selling books on its website and is updated hourly. Books about race dominated the top 20 spots and were sprinkled among the rest of the list among novels, self-help books and educational workbooks for children.
3 more Minneapolis officers charged in George Floyd death, Derek Chauvin charges elevated
Three more former Minneapolis police officers were charged on Wednesday in the deadly arrest of George Floyd, five days after charges were brought against a fourth officer who was seen in a video kneeling on Floyd’s neck.
Former officers Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng are facing charges of aiding and abetting murder, according to criminal complaints filed on Wednesday. The murder charge against another former officer, Derek Chauvin, were also elevated to second-degree murder.
Chauvin, the officer who place knee on Floyd’s neck for about eight minutes while detaining him on May 25, was initially charged Friday with third-degree murder and manslaughter by the Hennepin County prosecutor.
All four officers were terminated from their positions with the department on May 26, after a video showing the detainment went viral.
Two Missouri college students withdraw over video appearing to mock George Floyd's death
Two incoming students at public Missouri universities have withdrawn from their schools after a video they were involved in appeared to mock the death of George Floyd.
And in a separate incident, the private Marquette University in Wisconsin rescinded an admission offer to a student over social media comments that compared a police officer's kneeling on Floyd to athletes kneeling during the National Anthem.
In the video by the Missouri students, one girl who is held down on a couch by another girl laughs and says, "I can't breathe." Both girls appear to be white.
Black corporate, nonprofit leaders say protests point to America's racial wealth gap, offer solutions
Corporate and nonprofit leaders are echoing the anger, pain and frustration expressed by many Americans after the death of George Floyd, the 46-year-old black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25 after a white officer kneeled on his neck for more than eight minutes.
On Monday several black leaders in business and finance voiced their reaction to CNBC over the incident, agreeing the unrest that has transpired across America over the past several days is a result of both racial injustice and racial disparity in income and wealth between African Americans and whites in the U.S.
“So much of this unrest, this civil unrest, is tied to economic inequality. That’s just a fact. We need to move the needle on this economic inequality,” said Mellody Hobson, president and co-CEO of Ariel Investments and a member of the board of directors at Starbucks, JPMorgan Chase and Quibi.
“The role of the CEO and the role of the corporation has changed, and while many may want to sit out on these issues, they can’t. They literally can’t,” she said.
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.
'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.
In Their Words: Protesting for George Floyd
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.
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.
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.
Ella Jones elected first black mayor of Ferguson nearly six years after death of Michael Brown
Ella Jones was elected on Tuesday as the first female and black Mayor of Ferguson — the St. Louis suburb where 18-year-old Michael Brown was killed almost six years ago.
Brown's death sparked protests in 2014, solidified the nascent Black Lives Matter movement, and put Ferguson under the national spotlight.
Jones, 65, beat fellow council member Heather Robinett in Tuesday's non-partisan election for a three-year term, which starts later this month.
Retired black officer David Dorn killed by looters in St. Louis, police say
David Dorn, a retired black police captain in St. Louis, died during widespread unrest on Tuesday.
Dorn, 77, was "murdered last night by a looter," while guarding a pawn shop, city officials told reporters, adding that surveillance tools would be used to identify the criminals.
St. Louis' "Ethical Society of Police," founded in 1972 by black officers to address corruption and racial discrimination, mourned the captain's loss.
"He was the type of brother that would’ve given his life to save them if he had to. Violence is not the answer, whether it’s a citizen or officer. RIP Captain!" the organization tweeted.
President Trump also offered his condolences to Dorn's family. Tweeting that Dorn had been "viciously shot and killed by despicable looters." Trump also shared a memorial fund set up for Dorn's family, which had raised over $150,000 Wednesday morning.
Separately in St. Louis, four officers were shot at on Tuesday after a peaceful protest turned violent. Two officers were hit in the leg, one in the foot and one in the arm, St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department Commissioner Col. John W. Hayden said at a news conference.
'What is this, a banana republic?': Pelosi unloads on Trump over gassing of protesters outside White House
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., expressed dismay Wednesday at what happened outside the White House on Monday evening when security forces used tear gas and flash bangs against a crowd of peaceful demonstrators to clear the area for the president.
In an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Pelosi said that her daughter Alexandra, a filmmaker and journalist, was at the scene that night and called her mom to tell her about what she had witnessed.
“She said, 'Mom, you wouldn't even believe it. These people were demonstrating peacefully. And all of a sudden, this barrage of security came through using clubs to beat people and these explosive scat little bullets that explode into stuff that burns your eyes,’” the speaker said.
“What is this, a banana republic?” Pelosi added.
As protests continue, so does the coronavirus
WASHINGTON — As the country turned its attention to one crisis, it turned away from another.
In the last 24 hours, there were nearly 20,000 confirmed coronavirus cases inside the United States, as well as more than 1,000 reported deaths — bringing the total to nearly 107,000 Americans killed by the virus.
And the question becomes: Is the lack of social distancing in cities across the country going to lead to a spike in new cases?
U.S. legislatures slow to limit use of force
COLUMBUS, Ohio — A wave of police killings of young black men in 2014 prompted 24 states to quickly pass some type of law enforcement reform, but many declined to address the most glaring issue: police use of force. Six years later, only about a third of states have passed laws on the question.
The issue is at the heart of nationwide protests set off by the May 25 death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a white police officer in Minneapolis pressed a knee into Floyd's neck for several minutes while he pleaded for air.
Now, some lawmakers and governors are hoping to harness the renewed wave of anger to push through changes on the use of force they couldn't manage after 2014, a year that included the deaths at the hands of police of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, Eric Garner in New York and 12-year-old Tamir Rice in Cleveland.
“We’re absolutely at a point in time where we have to do more,” said Maryland state Del. Vanessa Atterbeary, a Democrat who will chair a working group announced this week that will take up use-of-force standards for that state.
Barack Obama to make first on-screen comments on George Floyd
Obama is expected to speak at 5 p.m. ET in a virtual town hall hosted by My Brother's Keeper Alliance, a program that is part of his charitable Obama Foundation.
The discussion, entitled "Reimagining policing in the wake of continued police violence," will be livestreamed on Obama.org and will center around the recurrent problem of racial bias in the criminal justice system.
Last week the former president issued a statement on the killing, saying that such events "shouldn’t be normal in 2020 America." He later penned a longer essay on how to make this moment a "turning point" for change.
U.K. police chiefs 'appalled' by Floyd death, say 'there is always more to do'
Police forces across Britain issued a joint statement of solidarity with protesters on Wednesday.
"We stand alongside all those across the globe who are appalled and horrified by the way George Floyd lost his life. Justice and accountability should follow," the statement said. "The relationship between the police and the public in the U.K. is strong, but there is always more to do."
In 2011, British police shot and killed Mark Duggan, who was black, in London. An inquest found the police had acted lawfully but Duggan's death sparked a wave of rioting in 2011 in the worst civil unrest in the country in decades.
Also on Wednesday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson was called out by the opposition Labour Party leader Kier Starmer for not speaking out sooner on the death of George Floyd, during weekly questions in Parliament.
Starmer urged Johnson to convey the "U.K.'s abhorrence" over the killing, when he next spoke to President Donald Trump. Johnson then said that Floyd's death was "appalling" and "inexcusable," and that he was "happy to look into any complaints" over the export of riot equipment from Britain to the United States.
Fiery clashes at huge Paris protest against police violence
Outrage over George Floyd’s death in the United States has rippled throughout the world, prompting messages of solidarity from far-flung countries and people to reflect on racial injustice and police violence in their own societies.
In France, Floyd’s death has reignited anger over the death of Adama Traoré, a black man who died in police custody four years ago, as well as decades of strained police relations with immigrant communities in Paris’ suburbs.
Thousands of French protesters defied a coronavirus-related ban on large gatherings on Tuesday evening to denounce Traoré’s death, speak out against racism and police violence and to pay homage to Floyd who died in custody in Minneapolis on May 25.
U.K. cities turn out in solidarity with George Floyd protests
Protesters in the northern English city of Liverpool, home of the Beatles band, came out Tuesday in solidarity with demonstrations sparked by the police killing of George Floyd in the United States.
In nearby Manchester, colorful murals of Floyd were painted in the town center and the city's historic Wythenshawe Hall was lit-up purple as a symbol of solidarity. "Manchester will always stand beside those who face inequality," city officials said online.
At least two separate protests are set to take place in the capital, London, on Wednesday, after protests there over the weekend.
Chicago to 'cautiously' restore access to its central business district, mayor says
Chicago will "cautiously" restore access and reopen its central business district and Loop area on Wednesday, the mayor's office said in a statement.
The area has been closed off for several days to everyone apart from local residents and workers to maintain public safety after protests against the police killing of George Floyd turned violent over the weekend, officials said. Some property in the area had been damaged by looting and unrest.
"We will clean up these broken windows. But we can’t stop there. We must also repair and clean up our broken systems," Mayor Lori Lightfoot said at a press briefing on Tuesday.
Train and bus services will be restored, and bridges reopened in the downtown area. But a citywide curfew will remain in place for all residents and visitors, effective from 9:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. "until further notice," according to the mayor's office.
New York police say 200 protest-related arrests were made Tuesday
More than 200 protest-related arrests were made in New York city Tuesday night, the New York Police Department told NBC News' local affiliate, WNBC.
An 8.00 p.m. city-wide curfew is in place until June 8, excluding essential workers. Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted that "so far, the curfew is certainly helping."
Demonstrators in the city marched along the Manhattan Bridge that leads to Brooklyn on Tuesday. Meanwhile, sections of Grand Central Terminal were boarded up and restaurants and shops remained closed.
After night fell, the Empire State Building also went dark "to recognize injustice in all its forms and all its victims," its owners said in a statement.
Pope Francis calls racism a 'sin,' and says he has 'great concern' over social unrest
Pope Francis said he had witnessed with "great concern" the social unrest sweeping the United States, calling racism intolerable and the recent violence "self-destructive and self-defeating."
"My friends, we cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form," he said at the Vatican in Rome on Wednesday.
The leader of the Catholic Church said he would pray for Floyd and all those who had lost their lives as a result of "the sin of racism" and urged Americans to move toward "national reconciliation and peace."
the violence of recent nights is self-destructive and self-defeating.
German foreign minister warns that 'threatening with violence only triggers further violence'
Germany's Minister of Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas warned Wednesday that "threatening with violence only triggers further violence," in a series of tweets with the hashtag BlackLivesMatter.
He also warned that “democrats must never escalate — not even with words."
In a separate tweet posted on the German Foreign Office twitter feed, Maas called George Floyd's death "gruesome" and "shocking," and said the protests were "understandable and legitimate."
He also stressed that "journalists must be able to carry out their reporting duties without jeopardizing their security." On Tuesday, the Committee to Protect Journalists said that at least 125 press freedom violations were reported by journalists across the U.S. between Friday and Monday.
Portland uses 'riot control agents' on group that splintered off peaceful protest
Police in Portland, Oregon, declared an unlawful assembly and used "riot control agents" after a crowd threw bottles and other objects near a government building that was targetted last week.
Police Chief Jami Resch said that thousands protested peacefully Tuesday, but a smaller group of a several hundred split off and approached the fenced-off Multnomah County Justice Center.
"Attempts were made to tear down and breach the fencing. Projectiles including bottles, bats and mortars have been thrown at the police," she said in a video statement.
News helicopter footage from NBC affiliate KGW appeared to show smoke or tear gas being used and what a reporter from the station described as flash bangs.
A fire was set at the Multnomah County Justice Center after it was broken into in a night of violence late last week that the city's mayor described as a "full-on riot."
More than 200 arrested in Houston
L.A. police use Jackie Robinson Stadium as 'field jail' without UCLA's consent
UCLA on Tuesday night said Los Angeles police used its Jackie Robinson Stadium, named for Major League Baseball's first African American player, to temporarily house people who had been detained.
"We’re troubled by accounts of Jackie Robinson stadium being used as a 'field jail,'" the university said on Twitter. "This was done without UCLA’s knowledge or permission. As lessee of the stadium, we informed local agencies that UCLA will NOT grant permission should there be a request like this in the future."
The Los Angeles Police Department acknowledged using the field in West L.A. for suspects arrested during the city's George Floyd protests. "We are no longer using it," Officer Mike Lopez said.
The field, home of the men's UCLA baseball team, is leased and occupies federal Veterans Affairs land. It's not clear what exactly the lease allows or disallows the city to do. The V.A. land is on an island of unincorporated Los Angeles County that is not in the city's jurisdiction.