IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

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.

Police implored to take a knee near Union Square as NYC curfew nears

In Manhattan, a large, peaceful demonstration marched from Union Square down to Washington Square Park before returning, gathering just south of Union Square.

Juan, 32, said the protests so far have been “very loud, but there’s been no pillaging and are going very peaceful.” The crowd, possibly in the thousands earlier in the evening, began to thin out a bit as New York City's curfew — 8 p.m. ET — neared. When phones blared an alert telling everyone to go home, chats of "f--- the curfew" broke out.

Meanwhile, on the Upper East Side near Lenox Hill Hospital, protesters and hospital workers cheered for each other.

Hospital workers cheer on protesters as they walk near Lenox Hill Hospital in New York on June 2, 2020.Patrick Chovanec

Long Island restaurant owner faces backlash over racist remarks about peaceful protesters

A Long Island, New York, restaurant owner was being slammed as racist Tuesday after he recorded himself in a Facebook video calling people who were peacefully protesting the death of George Floyd "animals" and "savages" and saying he would throw watermelons at them.

Luigi Petrone, the co-owner of Tutto Pazzo restaurant, recorded a Facebook Live on Monday afternoon as protesters approached New York Avenue in Huntington Village, where his business is located.

"Bunch of kids, little punks, they look like little animals, savages,” he said at the beginning of the video.

He estimated in the video, first reported by Huntington Now, that there were 100 police officers present. A Suffolk County police spokeswoman told NBC News the protest was peaceful and drew up to 200 people.

Sabrina Chavez, 22, a lifelong Huntington resident, saved the video and posted it to Facebook.


Read the full story here.

Democratic Rep. Engel caught on hot mic: 'If I didn't have a primary, I wouldn’t care'

Rep. Eliot Engel, a New York Democrat facing a tough primary challenge and questions about his absence from his district, was caught on a hot mic at a district event responding to unrest saying twice that he only wanted press coverage because of an electoral threat.

“If I didn’t have a primary, I wouldn’t care,” Engel said to Ruben Diaz Jr., the Bronx borough president, at a Tuesday press conference responding to unrest and vandalism in his district related to the recent death of George Floyd.


The moment was captured on a hot mic by a local television station and quickly went viral in a tweet that has nearly 1 million views as of Tuesday evening.

It comes as Engel has faced his toughest primary since being elected to Congress in 1988. He represents New York’s 16th Congressional District, which includes portions of the Bronx and Westchester as well as Mount Vernon, Yonkers and New Rochelle, which was one of the epicenters of the COVID-19 outbreak. Engel has faced growing criticism about his lack of presence in his district, particularly since the beginning of the pandemic, and now given the demonstrations and vandalism in his district.

Click here for the full story. 

Protesters take a knee outside Trump Hotel in New York City

Mother of George Floyd's daughter gives emotional plea for justice

The mother of George Floyd’s 6-year-old daughter broke down crying during an emotional plea for justice at City Hall in Minneapolis on Tuesday, lamenting that he would never watch his child grow up.

“I wanted everybody to know that this is what those officers took from me,” Roxie Washington said, her voice breaking, while she stood with her daughter, Gianna. “At the end of the day they get to go home and be with their families. Gianna does not have a father.”

"If there's a problem that she's having and she needs her dad, she does not have that anymore," she said. 

“He will never see her grow up, graduate, he will never walk her down the aisle,” she said, wiping away tears.

“I'm here for my baby and I'm here for George because I want justice for him. I want justice for him because he was good. No matter what anybody thinks, he was good,” she said, later adding that Floyd was a good father. “He loved her, he loved her so much,” she said.

Houston protesters honor George Floyd, push for changes

HOUSTON — Protest organizers estimate that more than 60,000 people marched on Tuesday through downtown Houston, the city where George Floyd grew up and lived most of his life.

Eighteen members of Floyd’s family stood on the steps of City Hall and thanked protesters for coming out. Floyd’s brother, Terrence Floyd, called on the marchers to remain peaceful.

“You’re shaming all our names, not just his name,” he said, referring to protests that have turned violent in other parts of the country. “It’s bigger than my brother.”

The Houston rally, endorsed by city and police officials, was advertised as a peaceful protest to honor Floyd’s family. But many in the crowd said the anger driving people to violence across the country is real — and justified.

Keondra Cooper, 26, carried a sign with the words, “Sick of this s---!” painted in bright red letters. She said she’s tired of watching viral videos of black men and women killed by police — every few weeks, it feels like — followed by social media hashtags but no policy changes.

Cooper, who worked in finance, says she lost her job as a result of the coronavirus crisis. In the midst of a pandemic stripping black people of their lives and jobs at disproportionate rates, Cooper said she wanted to make sure her voice was heard.

“We’re tired of black men and black women being killed senselessly,” Cooper said. “I have brothers. I have sisters. I’m a sister, and I’m going to be a mother one day. I don’t want that for my people or my family.”

LAPD arrests more than 1,000 on Monday, breaking records

A driver shows her support for demonstrators as they march in protest in Los Angeles, on June 2, 2020.Jae C. Hong / AP

The Los Angeles Police Department made 1,200 arrests Monday, a law enforcement source familiar with the numbers told NBC News. Most of the arrests were for curfew violations and a lessor extent looting Department did not have specific breakdown.

That number is about seven time greater than the average daily number of arrests since March 15, when the coronavirus stay at home order was issued, and several times higher than typical daily arrests for Spring — nearly 250 arrests. The number of people arrested Monday is equivalent to a typical arrest number in single week.

The LAPD Hollywood Division broke its one-day record for arrests with a total of at least 585 arrests per department officials. In Hollywood, most were for curfew violations and 20 arrests for looting, At least 50 vehicles were impounded.

Officials said they expected the number of looting arrests to jump this week as police continue to learn the looters' tactics and react accordingly.

LAPD Chief Michel Moore said at a Police Commission meeting earlier Tuesday that since the unrest began there have been more than 2,700 arrests, around 2,500 of which were for failing to disperse or violating a curfew. The rest include burglaries, looting and assault on police, including one attempted murder case.

Sixty-six police vehicles have been damaged, with seven of them burned, and 27 LAPD personnel have been injured, with two requiring hospitalization. Those two cases involved a fractured skull and a broken knee, and both officers have been released and are recovering at home, Moore said.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, her husband (and Bailey) seen at protest near White House


George W. Bush: 'It is time for America to examine our tragic failures'

Former President George W. Bush released a lengthy statement on Tuesday calling on the country to listen to black Americans and “examine our tragic failures.”

“It is a strength when protesters, protected by responsible law enforcement, march for a better future," he wrote in a lengthy statement. "This tragedy — in a long series of similar tragedies — raises a long overdue question: How do we end systemic racism in our society?”

Bush called on people to listen to “grieving” African Americans, saying it was critical to seeing the country's reality honestly and improving on it. 

Bush did not speak out publicly on police killings during his two terms as president, despite two major cases, according to the New York Times. And he did not reference policy brutality specifically, instead speaking of racism and that black Americans "are harassed and threatened in their own country."

Click here for the full story.

'Exhausting, traumatizing': Minneapolis protests push peace amid police confrontations

MINNEAPOLIS — Ashley Phelps and Ahmad Eltawely developed a fast bond on Saturday night while fleeing tear gas and running from advancing police who were macing protesters.

They had met for the first time earlier in the day at a peaceful protest and sit-in with thousands of demonstrators who were not involved in the burning of businesses and a police station on previous nights, said Eltawely, who had a microphone and passed it around for people to speak.

“That’s not a demonstration," he said of the violence. Instead, their sit-in "was so peaceful to the point we wouldn’t even allow anybody to yell out any chants that were anti-police."

But less than an hour after the 8 p.m curfew passed on Saturday, a wall of Minnesota State Patrol officers warned the crowd to disperse or face arrests. The officers then immediately began advancing into the crowd, using tear gas and pepper spray and filling the streets with smoke. People were seen running, throwing up and crying as police fanned out. Shots rang out in the distance.

“We were running from the cops attacking us,” said Phelps, 32, who earlier had led the crowd in the sit-in.

Read the full story here.

Clip of Biden blasting apartheid in 1986 goes viral amid broader race conversation

A decades-old video clip of Joe Biden went viral Tuesday showing the then-senator angrily blasting South Africa’s apartheid system and tearing into the Reagan administration over not taking a stronger position against it.

The two-minute clip, from a July 23, 1986, Senate hearing involving George Schultz, Reagan’s secretary of state at the time, made the rounds on Twitter Tuesday, during a time where the conversation over racism, civil rights, protesting and police brutality has sizzled following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody.

“Damn it, we have favorites in South Africa. The favorites in South Africa are the people who are being repressed by that ugly white regime,” Biden, then a Democratic U.S. senator from Delaware, is seen saying. “Our loyalty is not to South Africa, it’s to South Africans. And the South Africans are majority black. And they are being excoriated,” adds Biden, pounding his fist.

He then praises black South African citizens for rising up in opposition to the racist apartheid policy, noting that it was their last resort.

“They’re rising to with the only thing left available to them, with that repulsive, repugnant regime,” Biden says in the video. “They tried everything for the last 20 years. They begged, they borrowed, they crawled, and now they're taking up arms.”

“These people are being crushed, and we’re sitting here with the same kind of rhetoric,” he said.

Reagan’s administration was notoriously patient with the South African regime. Reagan himself vetoed the Comprehensive Apartheid Act, which put in place economic sanctions against South Africa over its apartheid policy. The veto, however, was overridden in both the House and the Senate.