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June 8 coverage of nationwide unrest and ongoing protests

George Floyd's death has sparked protests across the country. Here are the latest updates.
Image: Pallbearers bring George Floyd's casket into the Fountain of Praise Church for a memorial and viewing services in Houston, Texas, on June 8, 2020.
Pallbearers bring George Floyd's casket into the Fountain of Praise Church for a memorial and viewing services in Houston, Texas, on June 8, 2020.Mario Tama / Getty Images

This live coverage has now ended. Continue reading June 9 coverage of George Floyd's death and the nationwide protests.

Friends and family of George Floyd, the Minneapolis man whose death touched off a national debate about systemic racism, were joined at a Houston memorial on Monday by thousands of strangers who showed up to pay their final respects.

On Sunday night, a majority of the Minneapolis City Council agreed to dismantle the city's police department after the death of Floyd in police custody, Councilman Jeremiah Ellison told NBC News. He said the council would work to disband the department in its "current iteration."

Speaking Sunday at a community meeting before the vote, the council's president, Lisa Bender, vowed to "re-create systems of public safety that actually keep us safe."

In Washington, Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, joined demonstrators marching to the White House on Sunday in protest of Floyd's death.

“We need a voice against racism. We need many voices against racism and against brutality. And we need to stand up and say black lives matter,” Romney, the GOP presidential nominee in 2012, said.

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Los Angeles police chief orders moratorium on carotid hold

LAPD Chief Michel Moore on Monday issued a moratorium on the training and use of the "carotid restraint control hold," a type of neck restraint that had already been restricted by department rules.

The memo follows the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody on May 25.

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday called for the end of the carotid hold and other techniques like it and ordered that it be removed from the state police training programs and state training manuals.

The LAPD in 1982 banned bar-arm chokeholds and other techniques following a federal lawsuit.

The Los Angeles Police Commission followed up the bar-arm ban weeks later by restricting the carotid chokehold, designed to immobilize a suspect by blocking the neck artery and, by extension, the flow of blood to the brain.

The department still allowed officers to use a carotid restraint but limits those situations to immediate danger to life. The memo ordering the moratorium says that the Board of Police Commissioners will conduct a detailed review.

2 Atlanta officers charged with assault during protests seek jobs back

Two Atlanta police officers who were fired and criminally charged in connection with pulling two college students from a car during protests late last month have filed a lawsuit seeking their jobs back.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms on May 31 announced that the two officers, Ivory Streeter and Mark Gardner would be fired immediately after what she called "an excessive use of force."

The suit, which says the officers were denied due process, seeks the reinstatement of both officers and back pay.

Video showed officers forcibly pulling Messiah Young and Taniyah Pilgrim from their car around 9:40 p.m. May 30 during protests following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

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'They're chanting his name ... but they didn't know him like we knew him,' Floyd's classmates say

HOUSTON — On Memorial Day, Jonathan Veal was at home in Oklahoma City, getting ready to start up the grill, when he saw a disturbing video circulating on social media. It showed a black man struggling for breath under the knee of a white police officer in Minnesota.

"No, no, not again," Veal remembers thinking.

He felt the same sickening tightness in his chest that hits him every time a new viral video shows a black man or woman being killed by a police officer. That could have been him or one of his five children — or a friend.

At first, he didn't recognize the man whose face was pressed against concrete, gasping for his mama. It wasn't until the following morning, when the name George Floyd started appearing in social media posts and news articles, that Veal, 45, made the connection. Afterward, he locked himself in his office at the leadership consulting company he owns and sat in silence, trying to process the realization — memories of "Big Floyd" rushing through his mind.

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President takes aim at NFL after league says it was wrong to not let players protest

Calls for racial justice reshaping media landscape

Less than 24 hours after Editorial Page Editor James Bennet resigned from The New York Times, the ongoing social upheaval over racial injustice continues to force changes across the media industry.

On Monday, editors at Bon Appétit and Refinery29 resigned amid staff protest over their leadership, various outlets faced scrutiny over their treatment of black staffers and one publication said it would support its journalists' right to protest.

The changes come as media companies are being forced, often by their own staff, to reassess their role in the fight for racial justice, whether that means rethinking diversity inside the company or re-examining their commitment to editorial "objectivity."

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Los Angeles won't prosecute curfew violations

Demonstrators in front of the District Attorney's office protest in Los Angeles on June 3, 2020.Frederic J. Brown / AFP - Getty Images

Prosecutors in the city and county of Los Angeles said Monday they will not prosecute those arrested for curfew violations or failure to disperse in peaceful protests following the death of George Floyd.

On Monday, Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey said her office would not prosecute those cases and City Attorney Mike Feuer said his office would take a “nonpunitive” approach that's “outside of the courts."

"I believe whole-heartedly in free speech and support the right of protesters to demonstrate peacefully against historic racial injustice in our criminal justice system and throughout our nation,” Lacey said in a statement.

Feuer also said Monday that his office "has developed a non-punitive approach, outside of the Court system" for all violations that do not involve violence, looting or vandalism, which he said primarily involves failure to disperse or curfew violations.

The city and county of Los Angeles imposed curfews on May 30 following violence and looting, but by Thursday they were lifted. There were thousands of arrests in Los Angeles. LAPD Chief Michel Moore said last week that the majority of arrests that had been for curfew violations or failure to disperse.

Seattle police reopening streets to allow protests

The Seattle Police Department announced they will reopen streets around the East Precinct on Monday night to allow protesters to march peacefully on Capitol Hill. 

On Sunday night, protesters took to the area surrounding the precinct to protest the death of George Floyd when a man drove into a group of protesters and shot one man, who was taken to an area hospital.

Assistant Chief of Patrol Operations Tom Mahaffey sent a letter to officers that said, “The decision has been made to allow demonstrators to march past the East Precinct later today. Your safety and the security of our facilities are my highest priorities. Additional measures are currently underway to enhance our ongoing efforts to insure the security of our East Precinct and provide for the safety of all our officers.”

Video posted on Twitter showed officers removing barriers and equipment from the area.

George Floyd remembered at public memorial in his hometown of Houston

A massive crowd went to George Floyd's public viewing on Monday including many who had never met him, to pay their final respects.

Democratic leaders clash with Black Lives Matter activists over 'defund the police'

People walk on the words 'defund the police' that was painted in bright yellow letters on 16th Street as demonstrators protest on June 7, 2020, near the White House.Maya Alleruzzo / AP

WASHINGTON — Painted in bright yellow letters outside the White House are the words "DEFUND THE POLICE”: A rallying cry for a movement to combat police brutality and racism that has exploded across the nation — and caused nervousness among Democrats.

Protesters around the country demanding justice for George Floyd's death waved “Defund the police!” signs at rallies in major cities on a weekend when Joe Biden officially became the presumptive Democratic nominee to face President Donald Trump this fall.

As Trump seizes the slogan as an opportunity to paint his opposition as radicals who envision a world of lawlessness and anarchy, Biden and most Democrats are resisting the left's calls and floating more modest measures to curtail bad police behavior.

"Vice President Biden does not believe that police should be defunded," campaign spokesman Andrew Bates said in a statement Monday

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Trump: ‘We won't be defunding or dismantling our police’

President Trump strongly denounced the notion of defunding police departments while hosting a roundtable discussion with law enforcement leaders at the White House. His Attorney General Barr maintained a more hopeful rhetoric that police reform could be achieved.

University of Alabama to remove Confederate plaques from campus

The University of Alabama announced Tuesday that it plans to remove three Confederate Army plaques from their current locations on the Tuscaloosa campus. 

The plaques commemorated three University of Alabama students who served in the Confederate Army during the Civil War, as well as members of the student cadet corps involved in protecting the campus, the university said in a news release. The university said that the plaques, which are currently located in front of Gorgas Library, will be placed at a more appropriate historical setting in consultation with the university’s president Dr. Stuart Bell. 

In addition to the Confederate Army plaques, the Board of Trustees president has selected a group of Trustees to review and study names of buildings within the entire university system and report back with any recommended changes. 

This comes as nationwide protests over the death of George Floyd have led to the planned removal of confederate monuments in cities like Richmond, Virginia and a statue of prominent slave trader Edward Colston was pushed into a harbor by demonstrators in Bristol, England.