June 4 coverage of nationwide unrest and ongoing protests

George Floyd's death has sparked protests across the country. Here are the latest updates.
Image: Reverend Al Sharpton speaks during a memorial service for George Floyd following his death in Minneapolis police custody, in Minneapolis
Reverend Al Sharpton speaks during a memorial service for George Floyd following his death in Minneapolis police custody, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S., June 4, 2020.Lucas Jackson / Reuters

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This live coverage has now ended. Continue reading June 5 coverage of George Floyd's death and the nationwide protests.

On Thursday, George Floyd’s family held a memorial in Minneapolis, with the Rev. Al Sharpton, who delivered a powerful eulogy and announced a march on Washington is scheduled for August.

An ex-Minneapolis police officer accused of aiding and abetting the alleged murder of George Floyd tried to warn his fellow officers when one of them put his knee on the man’s neck for more than eight minutes.

“You shouldn’t do that,” a lawyer for the officer, J. Alexander Kueng, said he told the officers.

Los Angeles, Oakland and San Francisco added their names Thursday to a growing list of cities that were lifting their curfews after a wave of nationwide protests that were sometimes accompanied by looting, property destruction and violence.

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NFL stars call on league to 'admit wrong in silencing our players from peacefully protesting'

Patrick Mahomes, Saquon Barkley and Michael Thomas are among more than a dozen NFL stars who united to send a passionate video message to the league about racial inequality.

The 70-second video was released on social media platforms Thursday night and includes Odell Beckham Jr., Deshaun Watson, Ezekiel Elliott, Jamal Adams, Stephon Gilmore and DeAndre Hopkins, among others.

Thomas, the New Orleans Saints wide receiver who has led the league in receptions the past two seasons, opens the video with the statement: “It’s been 10 days since George Floyd was brutally murdered.” The players then take turns asking the question, “What if I was George Floyd?”

The players then name several of the black men and women who have recently been killed, including Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and Eric Garner.

The video closes with the players insisting they “will not be silenced.” They also demand the NFL state that it condemns “racism and the systemic oppression of black people. ... We, the National Football League, admit wrong in silencing our players from peacefully protesting. ... We, the National Football League, believe black lives matter.”

The NFL has been a flashpoint for protests over police violence ever since Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during national anthems before games. Kaepernick has since gone unsigned — and emerged as a leading voice in opposition of police violence. 

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell spoke against Floyd's death but has been accused of hypocrisy and insincerity in his response, with critics pointing to the way the league handled Kaepernick's protest against police brutality in 2016.  

2 National Guard members hospitalized after D.C. lightning strike

Two people thought to be National Guard members deployed during protests in Washington, D.C. were hospitalized after lightning struck the area of their post not far from the White House early Friday, a fire official said.

The strike and possible injuries were reported shortly after midnight inside a perimeter anchored by Lafayette Square, the site of George Floyd demonstrations this week, according to Vito Maggiolo, spokesman for the district's fire and emergency medical services department.

The two were hospitalized in non-life-threatening condition, he said. 

Immediate information appears to indicate the pair wasn't struck directly. He said the victims "felt the effects of a nearby lightning strike."

Overnight White House social media director Dan Scavino retweeted imagery of lightning striking the capital.

'Nothing has changed': Protesters push for police reform

Buffalo officers suspended after shoving man to ground on video

Two Buffalo police officers were suspended without pay Thursday after a video showed authorities knocking down a 75-year-old man during a protest, Mayor Byron Brown said.

In a statement, Brown said the suspension came after the city’s police commissioner launched an investigation into the incident. Brown did not identify the officers.

Brown said he was "deeply disturbed" by the video, which was published by the local National Public Radio affiliate, WBFO.

The man, who has not been publicly identified, is in serious but stable condition at a local hospital, Brown said.

Read the full story here

Seattle chief says officers’ badge numbers will be easy to see

Seattle’s police chief said Thursday that officers’ badge numbers will be “prominently displayed” following complaints by people protesting the death of George Floyd that black bands over the shields obscured the digits.

Chief Carmen Best said officers sometimes wear bands over badges to honor colleagues who have been killed while on duty. Best said she would issue a directive ensuring the numbers are visible while also trying to find a way for police to mourn.

“We’ve heard people, we understand,” Best said at a news conference Thursday with Mayor Jenny Durkan following the first peaceful night of protests in the Northwest’s largest city since rallies began last week.

“It was a good night in the city,” Best said.

Durkan said authorities continue to speak to community leaders about ways to reduce tensions and improve communication and police policies. Wednesday’s protests were among the largest Seattle has seen in years, but authorities reported no problems following days of unrest. Durkan abruptly Wednesday night ended a city-wide curfew in place for days amid the massive demonstrations over the death of Floyd while in police custody in Minnesota.

Atlanta Mayor Lance Bottoms: 'We are serious about policy changes'

New York officers could face suspension after street clashes

Some New York Police Department officers are facing suspension after violent interactions with people protesting the death of George Floyd, New York City Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said Thursday.

Shea pleaded with politicians to calm the rhetoric against the NYPD, noting that officers have not seriously injured any protesters, but officers have been shot at, stabbed, hit over the head with a fire extinguisher, and other forms of violence.

The impromptu news conference held without Mayor Bill de Blasio and at a police headquarters surrounded by barricades and officers in riot helmets was conciliatory and direct. It included a detailed discussion of Wednesday night's stabbing that is under review as a possible terror attack against officers.

In the last two weeks, New York police officers have repeatedly been accused of abusing protesters, including driving into a crowd and using excessive force to push them back. On Wednesday, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams posted video on Twitter showing police officers in Brooklyn forcibly using their batons against peaceful protesters to get them to move down the street.

Read the full story here.

Paul, Harris, Booker debate on anti-lynching bill erupts on Senate floor

Enraged N.Y. driver who chased protesters with blades attached to arm is arrested

An enraged New York driver who allegedly rushed a group of protesters with two long blades attached to his arms, then chased them in his SUV, was arrested Thursday on suspicion of menacing and other crimes, authorities said.

Frank Cavalluzzi, 54, of Queens, faces multiple counts of reckless endangerment, menacing and criminal possession of a weapon, the New York Police Department said.

Video footage of the June 2 incident showed the man speeding toward a small group of protesters on an expressway overpass in Queens. He can be seen leaping from his SUV with a device affixed to his arm that has machete-like blades extending from it.

A second video shows Cavalluzzi allegedly drive onto the overpass' sidewalk and speed after them. The protesters can be heard screaming and sprinting away from the vehicle.

Read the full story here.

Biden: George Floyd's death must prompt action, police reform

Joe Biden continued his de facto listening tour on race issues in America on Thursday night, telling a virtual town hall that the tragic death of George Floyd in police custody must be a moment for action.

"I see you, I hear you, and I'm angry as well. But we have to turn our anguish into purpose,” Biden said during an online town hall hosted by The Shade Room, an entertainment media company focused on the African American community.

“If we just let this wound scab over again, it's never going to heal,” he added during the event, which was moderated by actor Don Cheadle.

A short while after the event, President Donald Trump tweeted about the 1994 crime bill Biden supported — criticism he has faced throughout the campaign, including from other Democratic presidential candidates — calling it a "total disaster."

Click here to read the full story.

Heavy rain brings early end to Washington march

WASHINGTON — Protests in the nation’s capital over George Floyd’s death broke up before dark Thursday as a heavy rain began to fall.

The law enforcement presence at the Lincoln Memorial, where protesters gathered, was much smaller than it had been near the White House during the previous nights’ demonstrations.

Tomora Wright, 29, of Washington, said her parents were concerned that she was coming down to protest but she wasn’t worried. “I know that my people are peaceful and I’m not scared to be around people who believe in the same thing, the same cause. I definitely felt the need to come down here and protest in solidarity.”

She wants to see the killers of George Floyd brought to justice but also reopening of past cases such as Sandra Bland in Texas. “These are unimaginable times. “