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June 2 coverage of nationwide unrest and ongoing protests

George Floyd's death has sparked protests across the country.
Image: Protest against the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, in New York
Demonstrators gather after curfew during a protest in New York City on June 2, 2020.Brendan McDermid / Reuters

This live coverage has now ended. Continue reading June 3 coverage of George Floyd's death and the nationwide protests.

Protests over the in-custody death of George Floyd passed the one-week mark Tuesday with no signs of slowing down. From New York to North Carolina and Los Angeles to Minnesota, thousands hit the streets while Floyd’s family called for the arrests of three other officers involved in the Memorial Day incident.

As authorities across the country respond to destructive and chaotic demonstrations with curfews and mass arrests, there’s been one notable exception: Baltimore.

In Minnesota, Gov. Tim Walz announced a sweeping civil rights investigation of the police department in Minneapolis, where Floyd was killed, saying the inquiry will root out "systemic racism that is generations deep."

Download the NBC News app for the latest updates.

6 Atlanta officers charged after students pulled from car

765d ago / 4:12 PM UTC

ATLANTA — Six Atlanta police officers have been charged over excessive use of force during a protest arrest incident involving two college students, a prosecutor said Tuesday.

Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard announced the charges during a news conference.

The Saturday night incident first gained attention from video online and on local news.

Five of the officers are charged with aggravated assault, in addition to other charges. Two of the officers, Investigator Ivory Streeter and Investigator Mark Gardner, were fired earlier this week.

Bottoms said the woman, Taniyah Pilgrim, was released without charges. She said the man, Messiah Young, was released, too, and she’s ordering the charges against him dropped. She didn’t specify what charges he faced. A police report says Young was charged with attempting to elude police and driving with a suspended license.

What is a president's authority to send in federal troops?

765d ago / 4:10 PM UTC

President Donald Trump has vowed to use the U.S. military to quell the riots and unrest across the country in the wake of George Floyd's death if cities or states "refuse to take the actions that are necessary to defend the life and property of their residents.”

But what is the president's authority to send in troops?

The Constitution says Congress has the power "to provide for the calling forth of the militia ... to suppress insurrections," and it has given that authority to the president in various forms since 1792.

As currently worded, the Insurrection Act allows the president to call up the active military or federalize the national guard under three circumstances.

Read more about Trump's Insurrection Act authorities.

45 percent of registered voters say Trump’s handling of the protests is 'poor'

765d ago / 3:59 PM UTC

In a new poll released by market research company Morning Consult, voters were asked between May 31 and June 1 in an online poll how thought they President Trump was handling the protests and demonstrations in dozens of U.S. cities in response to the killing of George Floyd.

21 percent of registered voters responded “excellent" or “very good,” 22 percent responded “good” or “only fair” and 45 percent responded “poor.” 12 percent of responded said they didn’t know or didn’t have an opinion.

Among African Americans polled, 69 percent rated the president’s handling of the protests “poor.”

NYC curfew extended for rest of the week

765d ago / 3:12 PM UTC

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Tuesday said an 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. citywide curfew would be extended through Sunday, June 7.

Extra police officers would be added to monitor protests where needed and to work "actively and strategically to stop any disorder," de Blasio said.

"If you choose to protest today, do it in daytime hours and then please go home because we have work to do this evening to keep a peaceful city," de Blasio said. He added that he worried more days of protests increased the potential for greater coronavirus spread. 

Joe Biden: Floyd's final words 'I can't breathe' are a wake-up call 'for all of us'

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765d ago / 2:43 PM UTC

PHILADELPHIA — Joe Biden on Tuesday praised the nationwide peaceful protests to the death of George Floyd, calling his killing in police custody a "wake-up call for our nation" and drawing a stark contrast between President Donald Trump's tactics and how he would respond.

In a speech from Philadelphia City Hall, Biden repeated Floyd's final words before he died after a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes — and said it was time "to listen to those words ... and respond with action."

“I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. George Floyd’s last words," the apparent 2020 Democratic presidential nominee said. "But they didn’t die with him. They’re still being heard. They’re echoing across this nation."

Read the full story here.

Washington resident houses dozens of protesters who cops wanted to arrest for breaking curfew

765d ago / 2:17 PM UTC

Dozens of protestors took refuge in a Washington resident’s home over night after police boxed them in and tried to arrest them for violating curfew.

One protester, who goes by Meka, said on Twitter that police surrounded the group of peaceful protesters and started hitting and macing them on Monday evening. A local resident, Rahul Dubey, took the protesters into his home, and let them stay there until curfew let up the next morning as police continued to arrest people outside. Video posted by Meka, who confirmed the account to NBC News, also showed another neighbor letting protesters into their home.

“I hope they continue to fight and I hope they go out there today peacefully as they did yesterday,” Dubey said of the protesters on ABC 7 News Tuesday morning. “Our country needs them and needs you and everybody more than ever right now.”

Police chief says officers ‘will be disciplined’ after tear gas deployed in Richmond, VA

765d ago / 1:54 PM UTC

Police officers have been pulled from the field after “unwarranted use” of tear gas on demonstrators, Richmond Police Department said in a statement

Footage shared on social media showed demonstrators running away from Monument Avenue as smoke engulfed Robert E. Lee Monument Monday evening. Demonstrators claim that the gas was deployed fifteen minutes before curfew. 

Richmond Police Department Chief William Smith apologized and said that officers “will be disciplined because their actions were outside department protocols and directions given”.

Shootings on Las Vegas Strip leave one dead and a police officer injured

765d ago / 1:44 PM UTC

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department confirmed Tuesday morning that it was investigating two shooting incidents that took place on Monday night. The first was an officer-involved shooting that occurred after a man carrying firearms and appearing to be wearing body armor approached local  and federal officers guarding the Lloyd D. George U.S. Courthouse on the Las Vegas Strip from protesters.

The department said that officers engaged with the man after he reached for a firearm, and the man was struck by gunfire. He was then transported to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead. Videos filmed near the courthouse showed a man who appeared to be wearing body armor walking toward the building, while gunfire can be heard in another video. 

Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said that an officer was gravely injured in a separate shooting when attempting to disperse a large crowd of protesters in front of the Circus Circus hotel, also on the Strip. Lombardo said that a suspect had been identified and taken into custody.

About 700 arrests made in NYC, NYPD Sgt. struck by car

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765d ago / 1:31 PM UTC

Around 700 people were arrested as a result of looting and destroying property during Monday night's protest in New York City, a New York Police Department spokesperson told NBC News.

The Midtown and Union Square areas in Manhattan and Fordham Road section of the Bronx were particularly hard hit.

An NYPD sergeant who was run over by a car in the Bronx has serious injuries and is expected to survive. 

765d ago / 1:24 PM UTC

Confederate monuments removed or defaced in several cities amid unrest

765d ago / 1:20 PM UTC

Confederate monuments and statues across the U.S. have been removed or defaced amid unrest over the killing of George Floyd in recent days, putting the nation's fraught and contentious history in the spotlight.

In some cases, Confederate symbols have been removed by city officials or owners.

  • The statue of a Confederate soldier in Alexandria, Virginia, was taken down Tuesday morning and reportedly will be moved elsewhere by its owners, the United Daughters of the Confederacy, according to NBC Washington.
  • The mayor of Birmingham, Alabama, ordered the removal of the 115-year-old Confederate Soldiers & Sailors Monument in Linn Park on Monday, one day after protesters there defaced it, according to The New York Times.

In other cases, symbols of the Confederacy or racist historical figures were targeted by people who participated in protests and demonstrations. 

  • The statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in Richmond, Virginia, was graffitied on Sunday, covered in phrases such as "No More White Supremacy," "Blood On Your Hands" and "Black Lives Matter," according to The Washington Post.
  • The statue of Edward Carmack, an early 1900s Tennessee politician who espoused racist views and denigrated the civil rights journalist Ida B. Wells, was toppled by protesters in Nashville on Saturday.

Chinese state newspaper calls U.S. handling of protests 'ruthless'

765d ago / 12:56 PM UTC

The editor-in-chief of a Chinese state newspaper, a mouthpiece of the country's ruling Communist Party, has called the U.S. handling of the mass protests sparked by the death of George Floyd "ruthless," saying American authorities showed zero tolerance for unrest at home despite supporting protests in other countries.

"How ruthless these US politicians are!" wrote Hu Xijin in an op-ed in the paper on Tuesday. "They talk about humanity, justice, and morality all the time. They condemned Hong Kong police simply for the latter's use of tear gas and water cannon against violent rioters. The U.S. unrest just began a few days ago, but police already fired shots at protesters before efforts for peaceful dialogue were even made."

The Chinese government has been accused by many countries, including the U.S., of violently cracking down on protesters in Hong Kong during last year's months-long demonstrations against a controversial extradition bill. Human rights groups have raised alarms about peaceful protesters in Hong Kong having been attacked with tear gas and batons, arrested under vague charges and beaten in custody.

Hu alluded to President Donald Trump's announcement Monday that he would use the U.S. military to stop the riots across the country if state officials are unable to contain protest violence, saying U.S. politicians can't tolerate domestic unrest. 

"When riot breaks out in the U.S., they want to use all means necessary, and cannot stand the loss of order for even one more day," he added. 

'Blackout Tuesday' hits music industry, social media for day of reflection

765d ago / 12:45 PM UTC

Social media users filled feeds on Tuesday with blacked-out images as part of what is being called "Blackout Tuesday."

It's not clear when the movement, spearheaded by two black women in the music industry as a way to pause and reflect, became associated with the black boxes, which have become most prominent on Instagram. 

Jamila Thomas, senior director of marketing at Atlantic Records, and Brianna Agyemang, a former Atlantic executive, birthed the concept after posting to Instagram that the music industry had to reflect on what was happening to Black and brown people in America, according to The Verge

Because of Thomas and Agyemang, many participating in Blackout Tuesday are using the hashtag "TheShowMustBePaused."

They've also created the website "The Show Must Be Paused," which explains that the industry "will not continue to conduct business as usual without regard for Black lives."

"Our mission is to hold the industry at large, including major corporations and their partners who benefit from the efforts, struggles and successes of black people accountable. To that end, it is the obligation of these entities to protect and empower the black communities that have made them disproportionately wealthy in ways that are measurable and transparent," the pair states on the website.

Major labels, streaming services, radio stations, musicians and other players in the music industry, such as Columbia Records, Atlantic Records, Spotify and others had pledged participation in the movement.

While "Blackout Tuesday" is labeled as a day meant to "intentionally disrupt the work week" and inspire reflection and hold the music industry "accountable," its specific goal is unclear, according to Rolling Stone. "The Show Must Be Paused" said a long-term initiative would be announced.

Additionally, on social media, participants urged those posting black squares not to include the hashtag "BlackLivesMatter" as that tag is used to distribute information and the black boxes could potentially drown that information out. 

A calmer night in Atlanta

765d ago / 12:14 PM UTC

Australian TV crew struck by police during protest outside White House

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765d ago / 11:38 AM UTC

A news director of an Australian TV network whose reporter and cameraman were struck by police during protests sparked by the death of George Floyd in Washington, D.C., on Monday called the incident "nothing short of wanton thuggery."

Channel 7 News U.S. correspondent Amelia Brace and cameraman Tim Myer were filming live amid the protests outside the White House when police began moving the crowd. An officer hit Myer with a shield and punched him. Brace also appears to have been struck by a baton.

“They weren’t in anyone’s way just simply doing their job," Craig McPherson, network director of news at 7 Network Australia, said in a statement. Brace later told the station she and Myer were OK, but sore, as they were also hit by rubber bullets. "We'll have a few bruises tomorrow," she said, adding that they now feel safe. 

McPherson said Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has informed them that he has been in touch with the Australian Embassy in Washington to have the matter urgently investigated. NBC News has reached out to Morrison's office for further comment, but has not heard back. 

The U.S. Embassy in Australia's capital, Canberra, issued a statement on Twitter Tuesday, saying it takes "mistreatment of journalists seriously."

765d ago / 11:34 AM UTC

White House releases video of Trump walking to church set to triumphant music

765d ago / 11:09 AM UTC

The White House released a video of President Donald Trump striding to fire-damaged St. John's Episcopal Church set to triumphant music after a speech in which he said that he would use the U.S. military to stop the riots across the country.

While Trump spoke, sirens wailed and flashbang grenades popped across the street where police backed by the National Guard stormed into a peaceful protest being held before curfew outside the White House. But the video posted by the White House on Twitter contains no images of the violence, and instead shows Trump striding — accompanied by members of his administration and the military — to the church where he held a Bible and posed for photos.   

The Episcopal bishop of Washington blasted Trump on Monday night, saying it was "deeply offensive" for him to use the St. John's "as a backdrop and the Bible as a prop" for a photo-op.

Police shot, hit by vehicles in George Floyd protests

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765d ago / 10:58 AM UTC

Police officers were among those injured across the U.S. overnight amid continuing protests and violence sparked by the in-custody death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last week.

Four officers in St. Louis, Missouri, were shot after a peaceful protest turned violent in the early hours Tuesday. 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 during a news conference.

"Some coward fired shots at officers," he said. "Thankfully, they're alive. They're alive."

Read the full story here.

765d ago / 10:53 AM UTC

E.U. foreign policy chief says he's 'appalled' by Floyd's death

765d ago / 10:49 AM UTC

The European Union is "shocked and appalled" by the death of George Floyd in police custody, the bloc's top diplomat said on Tuesday, calling it "an abuse of power" and warning against further excessive use of force.

"Like the people of the United States, we are shocked and appalled by the death of George Floyd ... all societies must remain vigilant against the excessive use of force," Josep Borrell, the E.U.'s foreign policy chief, told reporters.

Borrell called Floyd's death a "very, very unhappy" one and said it showed "an abuse of power" by law enforcement. "We condemn racism of any kind ... we trust in the ability of the Americans to come together, to heal as a nation."

NYPD officer hit by car in the Bronx

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765d ago / 10:06 AM UTC

A New York police officer was hit by a car in the Bronx early on Tuesday, the NY Police Department confirmed after a video of the incident was posted on social media. However, it's unclear from the video whether the police officer was intentionally targeted.

The New York Police Department told NBC News that the officer was hit by a black sedan when he got out of an unmarked car while checking reports of break-ins in the neighborhood.

Video footage on Twitter (warning: contains profanity) appears to show the moment the officer was struck. The sedan fled the scene, the department said.

NYPD said the officer was taken to a local hospital with serious injuries, but is in stable condition. No arrests have been made. 

765d ago / 9:42 AM UTC

St. Louis police say 4 officers hit by gunfire amid violent protests

765d ago / 6:49 AM UTC

Four police officers were struck by gunfire in St. Louis amid violence that followed protests, police said early Tuesday. None of the injuries were believed to be life-threatening and all the officers were conscious, police said. They have been taken to area hospitals.

St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department Commissioner John W. Hayden said at a news conference that the four officers were near a police line when they felt pain and realized they were injured. People had pelted officers with rocks and fireworks throughout the night, he said, and looted stores.

"I believe some coward randomly shot at the police line," Hayden said. Two officers were hit in the leg, one in the foot and one in the arm, Hayden said, adding that police have not made any arrests, and did not immediately know if there was a single shooter or more than one. 

ACLU urges governments to ignore Trump comments on military

765d ago / 6:10 AM UTC

The American Civil Liberties Union on Monday urged governors, mayors and police chiefs to ignore President Donald Trump's comments on using the military amid violent protests on cities across the country.

"This country does not need authoritarian tactics like military intervention to silence dissent," the ACLU said in a statement. "It needs the political will to dismantle the deep-seated racism and inequity that permeates our institutions — especially our police departments."

"Governors, mayors, and police chiefs would do well to heed and hear the voices of the protesters, while ignoring the words of Donald Trump," he ACLU said.

Trump in a Rose Garden address earlier Monday said in part: "If a city or state refuses to take the actions necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them."

The National Guard has been activated by several governors in order to support law enforcement in violence amid protests sparked by the death of George Floyd. Curfews have been imposed in some areas.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo tweeted: "The president is calling out the American military against American citizens" and said that peaceful protests were forced back so that the president could have what Cuomo called a "photo op at a church."

"It's all just a reality TV show for this president," Cuomo, a Democrat, wrote. "Shameful." New York City has seen violent clashes and vandalism  amid protests over Floyd's death. To activate the military to operate in the U.S., Trump would have to invoke the 213-year-old Insurrection Act. 

Committee to Protect Journalists: 125 press freedom infringements since Friday

765d ago / 5:58 AM UTC

At least 125 press freedom violations were reported by journalists across the U.S. in the last three days of protest, the Committee to Protect Journalists said.

The independent non-profit said in a statement that the infringements include 20 arrests and several accounts of journalists being hit with tear gas, pepper spray and rubber bullets, and called on local and state authorities to stop targeting media workers.

“We are horrified by the continued use of harsh and sometimes violent actions of police against journalists doing their jobs. These are direct violations of press freedom, a fundamental Constitutional value of the United States,” said CPJ Program Director Carlos Martinez de la Serna. “We call on local and state officials to explicitly exempt the news media from curfew regulations so that journalists are able to report freely.”

Hundreds detained on bridge in Dallas protest

765d ago / 5:56 AM UTC

Nearly 200 people were detained after police surrounded protesters in Dallas on the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, confronting them and firing what appeared to be rubber bullets, NBC DFW reported.

Police illuminated the bridge at 7 p.m. Monday and hemmed in the protesters, who originated their march at the nearby Frank Crowley Courts Building. Dallas police Chief U. Renee Hall issued a curfew in parts of the city for 7 p.m., but the order did not include the courthouse or the bridge.

People began yelling at officers, which is when the police started firing rubber bullets, according to NBC DFW.

NBC News' Jo Ling Kent hit by flash-bang grenade as Seattle protest gets chaotic

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765d ago / 4:45 AM UTC

NBC News correspondent Jo Ling Kent was hit by a flash-bang grenade while she was reporting from a demonstration in Seattle on Monday. 

While the NBC News crew initially thought that Kent had been hit by a firework, after reviewing footage of the incident from multiple angles the team concluded it was a flash-bang grenade.

NBC News reached out to the Seattle Police Department for comment, but hasn't heard back. 

Seattle Police declared the demonstration in the Capitol Hill neighborhood a riot Monday evening after people in the crowd threw rocks, bottles and fireworks at officers and attempted to breach barricades, a tweet by the department said.