June 3 coverage of nationwide unrest and ongoing protests

George Floyd's death has sparked protests across the country.
Image: US-POLITICS-RACE-UNREST
Protesters hold up their hands during a demonstration outside the White House on June 3, 2020.Eric Baradat / AFP - Getty Images

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This live coverage has now ended. Continue reading June 4 coverage of George Floyd's death and the nationwide protests.

As protesters nationwide continued to hit the streets Wednesday, three more former Minneapolis police officers were charged in the death of George Floyd.

The three former officers, Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng, were charged with aiding and abetting murder, according to criminal complaints filed by the state of Minnesota. The murder charge against the fourth, Derek Chauvin, was also elevated to second-degree, from third-degree.

Curfews and arrests have done little to deter determined protesters in cities like New York, Los Angeles and Washington. Overall, however, demonstrations on Tuesday night and Wednesday have passed more peacefully than those held in previous days.

Download the NBC News app for the latest updates.

U.S. legislatures slow to limit use of force

COLUMBUS, Ohio — A wave of police killings of young black men in 2014 prompted 24 states to quickly pass some type of law enforcement reform, but many declined to address the most glaring issue: police use of force. Six years later, only about a third of states have passed laws on the question.

The issue is at the heart of nationwide protests set off by the May 25 death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a white police officer in Minneapolis pressed a knee into Floyd's neck for several minutes while he pleaded for air.

Now, some lawmakers and governors are hoping to harness the renewed wave of anger to push through changes on the use of force they couldn't manage after 2014, a year that included the deaths at the hands of police of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, Eric Garner in New York and 12-year-old Tamir Rice in Cleveland.

“We’re absolutely at a point in time where we have to do more,” said Maryland state Del. Vanessa Atterbeary, a Democrat who will chair a working group announced this week that will take up use-of-force standards for that state.

Read more about state-level action on use of force.

Barack Obama to make first on-screen comments on George Floyd

Former President Barack Obama will on Wednesday make his first on-screen comments about the killing of George Floyd while in police custody and subsequent unrest.

Obama is expected to speak at 5 p.m. ET in a virtual town hall hosted by My Brother's Keeper Alliance, a program that is part of his charitable Obama Foundation. 

The discussion, entitled "Reimagining policing in the wake of continued police violence," will be livestreamed on Obama.org and will center around the recurrent problem of racial bias in the criminal justice system.

Last week the former president issued a statement on the killing, saying that such events "shouldn’t be normal in 2020 America." He later penned a longer essay on how to make this moment a "turning point" for change. 

 

Barack Obama speaks at a town hall with young European leaders in Berlin.John Macdougall / AFP via Getty Images file

U.K. police chiefs 'appalled' by Floyd death, say 'there is always more to do'

Police forces across Britain issued a joint statement of solidarity with protesters on Wednesday. 

"We stand alongside all those across the globe who are appalled and horrified by the way George Floyd lost his life. Justice and accountability should follow," the statement said. "The relationship between the police and the public in the U.K. is strong, but there is always more to do."

In 2011, British police shot and killed Mark Duggan, who was black, in London. An inquest found the police had acted lawfully but Duggan's death sparked a wave of rioting in 2011 in the worst civil unrest in the country in decades.

Also on Wednesday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson was called out by the opposition Labour Party leader Kier Starmer for not speaking out sooner on the death of George Floyd, during weekly questions in Parliament. 

Starmer urged Johnson to convey the "U.K.'s abhorrence" over the killing, when he next spoke to President Donald Trump. Johnson then said that Floyd's death was "appalling" and "inexcusable," and that he was "happy to look into any complaints" over the export of riot equipment from Britain to the United States.

Fiery clashes at huge Paris protest against police violence

Outrage over George Floyd’s death in the United States has rippled throughout the world, prompting messages of solidarity from far-flung countries and people to reflect on racial injustice and police violence in their own societies.

In France, Floyd’s death has reignited anger over the death of Adama Traoré, a black man who died in police custody four years ago, as well as decades of strained police relations with immigrant communities in Paris’ suburbs.

Thousands of French protesters defied a coronavirus-related ban on large gatherings on Tuesday evening to denounce Traoré’s death, speak out against racism and police violence and to pay homage to Floyd who died in custody in Minneapolis on May 25.

Read the full story here.

U.K. cities turn out in solidarity with George Floyd protests

Protesters in the northern English city of Liverpool, home of the Beatles band, came out Tuesday in solidarity with demonstrations sparked by the police killing of George Floyd in the United States. 

In nearby Manchester, colorful murals of Floyd were painted in the town center and the city's historic Wythenshawe Hall was lit-up purple as a symbol of solidarity. "Manchester will always stand beside those who face inequality," city officials said online.

At least two separate protests are set to take place in the capital, London, on Wednesday, after protests there over the weekend.

Chicago to 'cautiously' restore access to its central business district, mayor says

Chicago will "cautiously" restore access and reopen its central business district and Loop area on Wednesday, the mayor's office said in a statement.

The area has been closed off for several days to everyone apart from local residents and workers to maintain public safety after protests against the police killing of George Floyd turned violent over the weekend, officials said. Some property in the area had been damaged by looting and unrest. 

"We will clean up these broken windows. But we can’t stop there. We must also repair and clean up our broken systems," Mayor Lori Lightfoot said at a press briefing on Tuesday. 

Train and bus services will be restored, and bridges reopened in the downtown area. But a citywide curfew will remain in place for all residents and visitors, effective from 9:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. "until further notice," according to the mayor's office.

New York police say 200 protest-related arrests were made Tuesday

More than 200 protest-related arrests were made in New York city Tuesday night, the New York Police Department told NBC News' local affiliate, WNBC.

An 8.00 p.m. city-wide curfew is in place until June 8, excluding essential workers. Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted that "so far, the curfew is certainly helping." 

Demonstrators in the city marched along the Manhattan Bridge that leads to Brooklyn on Tuesday. Meanwhile, sections of Grand Central Terminal were boarded up and restaurants and shops remained closed.

After night fell, the Empire State Building also went dark "to recognize injustice in all its forms and all its victims," its owners said in a statement.

Pope Francis calls racism a 'sin,' and says he has 'great concern' over social unrest

Pope Francis called racism a sin and urged national reconciliation during his weekly general audience on Wednesday.Vatican Media / Reuters

Pope Francis said he had witnessed with "great concern" the social unrest sweeping the United States, calling racism intolerable and the recent violence "self-destructive and self-defeating." 

"My friends, we cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form," he said at the Vatican in Rome on Wednesday.

The leader of the Catholic Church said he would pray for Floyd and all those who had lost their lives as a result of "the sin of racism" and urged Americans to move toward "national reconciliation and peace."

the violence of recent nights is self-destructive and self-defeating. 

German foreign minister warns that 'threatening with violence only triggers further violence'

Germany's Minister of Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas warned Wednesday that "threatening with violence only triggers further violence," in a series of tweets with the hashtag BlackLivesMatter.

He also warned that “democrats must never escalate — not even with words."

In a separate tweet posted on the German Foreign Office twitter feed, Maas called George Floyd's death "gruesome" and "shocking," and said the protests were "understandable and legitimate."

He also stressed that "journalists must be able to carry out their reporting duties without jeopardizing their security." On Tuesday, the Committee to Protect Journalists said that at least 125 press freedom violations were reported by journalists across the U.S. between Friday and Monday.