May 31 coverage of nationwide unrest and ongoing protests

George Floyd's death has sparked protests across the country.

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This live coverage has now ended. Continue reading June 1 coverage of George Floyd's death and the nationwide protests.

Protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota last week continued to intensify across the U.S. Sunday, as protesters broke local curfews to voice frustration over policing in America.

In Minneapolis, a semi-truck was seen barreling toward a massive group of demonstrators on an interstate, though no protesters appear to have been injured in the incident.

Some elected leaders have blamed the violence that has broken out at some protests on organized extremists, though so far they have offered little evidence to support their claims.

President Donald Trump said Sunday that he would designate the radical lefitst group antifa a terrorist organization after earlier attributing the violence to “thugs” who he said were “dishonoring the memory of George Floyd." The comment drew criticism from Keisha Lance Bottoms, the Democratic mayor of Atlanta, and Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C, the Senate’s lone black Republican.

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This live coverage has now ended. Continue reading June 1 coverage of George Floyd's death and the nationwide protests.

Fire set at D.C.'s historic St. John’s Episcopal Church

A fire was intentionally set at the historic St. John’s Episcopal Church in Washington amid protests Sunday, police said, and the fire in the basement has been extinguished, police and fire officials said.

The fire department had tweeted that there was a fire in the basement and that it was being extinguished, but that firefighters would be checking for any extension. Fire department spokesman Vito Maggiolo later said the fire has been put out.

St. John's Church is known as "the Church of the Presidents" and every president since James Madison has worshipped there on at least one occasion, according to the National Park Service.

Someone tore the flag from the church, built in 1816, amid the protests in Washington Sunday, NBC Washington reported. Police said multiple fires in the District have been set. The fire department was thanked on Twitter, with some calling St. John's Church irreplaceable.

Hundreds of peaceful protesters light candles, call for justice in Pasadena, California

Hundreds of peaceful protesters gathered Sunday evening outside Pasadena City Hall, some 20 minutes north of downtown Los Angeles, to show their solidarity with George Floyd demonstrations that have spread throughout the country. Organizers said they received permission from local authorities to peacefully gather despite a countywide curfew that went into effect at 6 p.m.  

Led by more than a dozen faith groups representing black, brown and Asian communities, crowds prayed together and lit candles in Floyd’s memory. Dozens of people gathered around a memorial for Jackie Robinson, the first black player to play Major League Baseball. 

“It’s too often that I see white people saying ‘What can I do?’” said 51-year-old Tom Harding. “You can do what everybody else is doing. You go out and represent.”

Orange County teacher Candace Teràn, 30, said she made the hour-plus drive to show solidarity with black communities.

As a Latina “we were taught that it wasn’t just their fight - it’s ours,” she said. “If you don’t fight for justice, then what are you doing?”

Trump dismissing advice to tone down rhetoric, address the nation

President Donald Trump has dismissed advice from his allies urging him to tone down his rhetoric and held back so far on a formal address to the nation as cities across the country faced another night of fiery protests.

Trump’s advisers have been divided over what role the president should take in responding to the most widespread unrest the country has seen in decades.

Some say Trump should focus his message on George Floyd, who died at the hands of Minneapolis police, and urge calm. Others say the top priority is stopping the violence and looting that have taken place in some areas, arguing the best path to that end is strong police tactics, not presidential speeches.

Senior adviser and presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner is not in favor of a high-profile presidential speech at this time, according to a person close to the White House.

Read the full story here.

Washington state governor activates 200 more Guard after Bellevue looting

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee activated 200 more members of the National Guard to help the city of Bellevue respond to looting and property damage.

"Guard personnel will be unarmed and work under the direction of local leadership," Inslee said, adding that King County requested the aid.

Bellevue police tweeted Sunday that, "Dozens of subjects broke into Bellevue Square and looted many stores." The looters were chased away but police said the situation downtown was still active and told people to avoid the area.

It's not the first time the governor has activated Guard personnel to respond to protests that have turned violent. With the latest activation, around 600 Guard personnel have been activated to help peacekeeping in Seattle and King County, the governor said.

There was violence in Seattle Saturday but no reports of violence in Bellevue, a city east of Seattle, until Sunday, NBC affiliate KING of Seattle reported.

'A devastating day' in Santa Monica amid looting and fires

Firefighters in Santa Monica, California, extinguished flaming cars, buildings and a dumpster on Sunday as people looted stores and protesters took to the streets.

Interim city manager Lane Dilg called Sunday “a devastating day for our city.”

Santa Monica Fire Department Chief Judah Mitchell said nine fires had been set throughout the day, with most of them in the city’s downtown area. NBC Los Angeles reported that dozens of stores were looted. Helicopter footage showed flaming vehicles, people running from stores with the merchandise in their hands and men in what appeared to be military-style gear with raised rifles in the streets.

Police Chief Cynthia Renaud said she wasn’t sure if National Guard troops had already arrived. She didn’t how many people had been taken into custody but said arrests were “ongoing.”

Nancy Silverton restaurant among businesses looted in Los Angeles

Among the businesses looted on and around Los Angeles' Melrose Avenue in a night of violence Saturday was one of acclaimed chef Nancy Silverton's restaurants.

Pizzeria Mozza's interior was set on fire after looters broke in and stole bottles of wine. Silverton said she watched her restaurant be trashed and looted on television.

"It was so surreal. I don't know how else to describe it," Silverton said in an interview with MSNBC. After smashing in the window, the looters poured lighter fluid on the floor and set it on fire, she said.

The looting and vandalism in Los Angeles occurred amid protests following the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in Minneapolis on May 25 after a white police officer kneeled on his neck as Floyd said he could not breathe.

Silverton is a renowned chef and author who has been honored by the James Beard Foundation. She also founded La Brea Bakery, and institution that is beloved in Los Angeles.

NYC Mayor de Blasio's daughter arrested during Saturday night protests

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's daughter, Chiara de Blasio, was arrested Saturday night during the citywide protests over the death of George Floyd, a senior NYPD law enforcement official told NBC News.

Chiara de Blasio was arrested Saturday night at East 12th Street and Broadway, in Manhattan for “unlawful assembly”.

The official said de Blasio was taken into custody at 10:30 p.m. She has been released.

The news was first reported by the New York Post. 

Read the full story here.



Fires burning in NYC

There are multiple fires burning in Manhattan at this moment in the Union Square area and one in Midtown, city officials said.

At Union Square, in lower Manhattan a vehicle has been torched and there’s a large crowd. At W. 41st Street and Sixth Avenue, there are reports of multiple arrests and a fire that started there.

Protests could accelerate spread of coronavirus, experts say

Within the last few days, careful social distancing has been overturned by demonstrations against social injustice — as thousands of Americans congregate in cities across the country protesting the death of George Floyd.

The large gatherings, infectious disease experts said, could cause a catastrophic setback for controlling COVID-19 in the U.S. as cities and states try to reopen.

"It makes me cringe on a number of levels," said Dr. Katie Passaretti, medical director for infection prevention at Atrium Health in Charlotte, North Carolina.

"It's a setup for further spread of COVID," Passaretti added. "It's heartbreaking."

Read the full story here.