June 1 coverage of nationwide unrest and ongoing protests

George Floyd's death has sparked protests across the country.
Image: People run as police disperse demonstrators during a protest amid nationwide unrest following the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, in Washington
People run as police disperse demonstrators during a protest amid nationwide unrest following the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, in Washington, May 31, 2020.Jim Bourg / Reuters

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This live coverage has now ended. Continue reading June 2 coverage of George Floyd's death and the nationwide protests.

After a weekend of protests over the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota, Americans on Monday began the process of cleaning up after riots left damage in major cities, including Chicago and Philadelphia.

President Donald Trump expressed his ire over the protests to governors during a White House videoconference, telling them that “most of you are weak” and calling them "fools." He announced from the Rose Garden on Monday that he would use the U.S. military to stop the riots as sirens wailed and flash-bang grenades popped just across the street.

Floyd's younger brother, Terrence, cried and knelt in prayer at the site of the man's death, along with expressing hope that protests would continue peacefully.

"If I’m not over here wilin’ out, if I’m not over here blowing up stuff, if I’m not over here messing up my community — then what are y’all doing? Nothing, because that’s not going to bring my brother back at all," he said.

An independent autopsy requested by Floyd's family declared his cause of death to be mechanical asphyxia, contradicting a report Hennepin County medical examiner. The county's report said Monday that his cause of death was “cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression."

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At least 4,400 people arrested in protests nationwide

More than 4,400 people were arrested in relation to protests across the country this weekend, according to a tally by the Associated Press. 

The tally from at least 36 cities includes arrests for a range of reasons, from breaking curfews to blocking highways and theft. 

Los Angeles had the highest number of arrests at 931, followed by New York City with 790. In Minneapolis, where the death of George Floyd sparked the national violence, the Associated Press reported that 155 people were arrested.

Washington's Gov. Inslee asks for expanded National Guard presence

Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee has called on the National Guard to expand its presence in the state in response to "destructive protests and looting."

A statement from the governor's office said Spokane County requested support after "a rogue group began looting and damaging property" in the city's downtown core Sunday evening after thousands took part in peaceful protests. Other counties and cities have made similar requests.

“We must not let these illegal and dangerous actions detract from the anger so many feel at the deep injustice laid so ugly and bare by the death of George Floyd,” Inslee said. “But we also will not turn away from our responsibility to protect the residents of our state.”

Already 600 unarmed troops were brought into Seattle and Bellevue earlier in the weekend to curb protests from turning dangerous. 

 

Some police step out to show support for George Floyd demonstrators

Police kneel during a rally in Coral Gables, Florida, on Saturday in response to the death of George Floyd.Eva Marie Uzcategui / AFP - Getty Images

The viral video of New York police kneeling with demonstrators Sunday dramatically documented the cracks that have formed in the thin blue line of America's law enforcement agencies as some officers denounced the death of George Floyd and sometimes joined the protests.

A white former Minneapolis police officer is charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter after Floyd, an African American man, died pleading for his life as the officer pinned his neck to the ground for more than 8 minutes. Protests, many of them violent, have convulsed the country for almost a week.

Some police and sheriff's officials across the country have said the behavior of the Minneapolis officers on May 25 was unacceptable. Typical of the responses was one from Art Acevedo, the police chief in Houston, Floyd's hometown, who said two days later that Floyd's death should be "condemned by all in law enforcement and our extended community."

Read the full story here. 

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.