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.

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San Diego sheriff bans carotid restraint

San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore said Wednesday he's banning the use of the carotid restraint in the wake of criticism.

"In light of community concerns, and after consultation with many elected officials throughout the county, I am stopping the use of the carotid restraint by my deputies effective immediately," the sheriff in the nation's fifth largest county said in a statement.

It follows a Monday announcement by San Diego city police Chief David Nisleit that city officers would immediately cease using the restraint that involves wrapping an arm around a suspect's neck and squeezing.

George Floyd died after a Minneapolis police officer pushed his knee into Floyd's neck for 8 minutes, 46 seconds on May 25, sparking nationwide unrest, prompting new scrutiny of techniques police use to forcefully detain people.

‘It felt like I was going to die’: Video shows Florida knee-on-neck arrest

Before George Floyd, video shows officer kneeling on Florida man’s neck during arrestVideo shows a Sarasota, Fla., police officer kneeling on the neck of 27-year-old Patrick Carroll, one week before a similar arrest resulted in the death of George Floyd. SNN's Samantha Sonner reports.

Mugshots released of former Minneapolis officers charged with aiding and abetting murder

Thomas Kiernan Lane, Alexander Kueng, and Tou Nmn Thao.Hennepin County Sheriff

Three former officers — Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng — are in custody Wednesday after being charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder in the death of George Floyd.

'He tries to divide us': Former Defense Secretary Mattis compares Trump's protest response to Nazi tactics

Former Defense Secretary James Mattis on Wednesday slammed President Donald Trump's response to the protests over the death of George Floyd as divisive and calling "bizarre photo-op" in front of St. John's Episcopal Church "an abuse of executive authority."

“Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people — does not even pretend to try. Instead, he tries to divide us,” Mattis wrote in a statement published by the Atlantic.

"Instructions given by the military departments to our troops before the Normandy invasion reminded soldiers that 'The Nazi slogan for destroying us … was ‘Divide and Conquer.’ Our American answer is ‘In Union there is Strength.’ We must summon that unity to surmount this crisis—confident that we are better than our politics, Mattis wrote.

In the stunning rebuke of his former boss, the former general noted that he'd sworn to defend the Constitution when he was sworn into the Marine Corps "some 50 years ago."

Click here for the full story. 

U.S. Park Police officers placed on administrative duty over assault on Australian journalists

Two U.S. Park Police officers who were seen clubbing and punching Australian journalists in video footage from a demonstration outside the White House have been placed on administrative duty, officials said Wednesday.

In a statement, United States Park Police acting Chief Gregory T. Monahan said the move came while the June 1 incident in Lafayette Square is investigated. The announcement also came one day after the U.S. Ambassador to Australia, Arthur B. Culvahouse Jr., released a statement saying he takes "the mistreatment of journalists seriously.”

One of the journalists, Network Seven reporter Amelia Brace, told the Sydney Morning Herald on Tuesday that the experience was “absolutely terrifying.” Footage showed an officer hitting Brace’s cameraman, Tim Myers, with a shield before grabbing his camera. Another officer can be seen swinging a baton at Brace’s back.

The journalists are among several who say authorities attacked them as they cover anti-police violence protests. Bruce Brown, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, has called the assaults “reprehensible and clear violations of the First Amendment.”

Denver police officer fired over 'Let’s start a riot' social media post

A Colorado police officer was terminated after posting a photo with a controversial caption on social media, the Denver Police Department said in a statement. 

The department launched an investigation on Monday after Officer Thomas McClay reportedly shared a photo of himself and two other Denver officers in riot gear with the caption “Let’s start a riot,” referencing the city’s nights of protests over the death of George Floyd. 

An investigation revealed McClay’s post violated the department’s social media policy and was inconsistent with the values of the department, leading to his termination, the Denver Police Department said. The other two officers in the photo remain with the department and are not under investigation, NBC News affiliate KUSA reported.

Facebook's Oversight Board pushes to become operational

Facebook’s Oversight Board said Wednesday that it is not ready for action — but that it's pushing to get set up. 

“We are not in an immediate position to make decisions on issues like those we see unfolding today,” the board, which will make decisions about thorny content issues on Facebook and Facebook-owned Instagram, said in its third update

The entity said training was beginning for its 20 initial members, which include former world leaders, academics and human rights advocates from all corners of the globe. 

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he would create the body in a post last November. The Oversight Board has been dubbed a kind of Supreme Court for a global organization that reaches two billion users.  

The post comes during fierce debates about whether Faceebook should do anything about inflammatory statements made by President Trump. The board said it would begin to operate later this year, hearing issues such as how Facebook treats posts by public figures that might violate its standards. It did not say whether that would be ahead of the upcoming U.S. elections.

Minneapolis officers charged in George Floyd’s death could face up to 40 years in prison if convicted

The former Minneapolis police officers charged in the death of George Floyd each face a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison if convicted of the charges against them, according to criminal complaints.

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. He still faces both the third-degree and manslaughter charges as well, according to an amended complaint.

All four officers were fired on May 26, after a video showing Floyd's arrest went viral.One of the officers was in custody while another two were in the process of being put in custody, officials said Wednesday.

Read the full story here.

Houston's police chief wins national praise — but faces local anger over shootings

Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo talks to protesters at a march in downtown Houston on June 2, 2020.Mike Hixenbaugh / NBC News

HOUSTON — As protesters clash with riot squads in cities across the country, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo has drawn national praise for his willingness to march with activists and call for officers to be held accountable when they kill without justification.

But on Tuesday, some protesters in Houston confronted Acevedo over his record on police violence. They wanted to know why his department had refused to release body camera footage from six recent deadly police shootings in Houston. Some in the crowd shouted insults, calling Acevedo a “f------ liar” and a “hypocrite.” 

The tense moment highlighted a growing frustration simmering among activists in Houston who have accused Acevedo of striking a conciliatory tone during national media interviews, but then failing to back up his words with reforms in his own department. 

Read the full story here. 

D.C. National Guard opens investigation after helicopters flown low over protesters

The D.C. National Guard has opened an investigation after military helicopters were flown low over protesters on Monday evening, the agency announced Wednesday

A video of the maneuver, which has gone viral on Twitter and garnered over 1.8 million views, shows a helicopter flying lower than building height, kicking up debris and knocking branches off trees.

"I hold all members of the District of Columbia National Guard to the highest of standards,” Commanding General Major General William J. Walker said in a statement. “We live and work in the District, and we are dedicated to the service of our nation.”

Specifically, Walker said that the agency is investigating the use of medical evacuation helicopters as part of the Joint Task Force DC operation. The D.C. National Guard was mobilized earlier in the week to assist in the response to protests that have gripped the nation over the death of George Floyd.

Former President Carter: ‘Silence can be as deadly as violence’

Former President Jimmy Carter issued a statement Wednesday about the nationwide protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd in police custody, calling for people of privilege and power to stand up against racism.

"Since leaving the White House in 1981, Rosalynn and I have strived to advance human rights in countries around the world. In this quest, we have seen that silence can be as deadly as violence," Carter said in the statement.

“People of power, privilege, and moral conscience must stand up and say 'no more' to a racially discriminatory police and justice system, immoral economic disparities between whites and blacks, and government actions that undermine our unified democracy,” he added. “We need a government as good as its people, and we are better than this.”

Carter was quick to condemn violence — "But violence, whether spontaneous or consciously incited, is not a solution," the former president said  — but also pointed to discriminatory policing as a key issue. He also acknowledged “with sorrow and disappointment” that he was repeating the same calls for an end to discrimination that he’d made nearly 50 years ago when he was inaugurated governor of Georgia.

The former president won strong support from black voters during his time in politics, but came under fire during his first presidential bid for saying the federal government shouldn’t try to change the “ethnic purity” of neighborhoods by putting public housing in middle-class parts of the cities. Afterward, Carter apologized profusely: "I would sooner withdraw from the race then use racist appeals to win it," he said.