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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California woman charged after video of protesters being sprayed from car

A Los Angeles-area woman has been arrested on a count of unlawful use of tear gas after video appeared to show her pepper-spraying "Black Lives Matter" protesters from her vehicle Sunday, officials said Wednesday.

Amy Atkisson allegedly pepper-sprayed a protester in Thousand Oaks, a city in Ventura County west of Los Angeles. 

Video posted on Twitter captured the license plate of the vehicle and led to the arrest, the Ventura County Sheriff's Office said in a statement.

Sheriff's Capt. Denise Sliva said that pepper spray generally doesn't result in lasting physical injuries and she was not aware of any injuries from the incident.

Video posted in media outlets appeared to show a protester yelling "black lives matter" near a vehicle but not making any physical contact with the vehicle before the window is rolled down and the substance is sprayed at the group in bursts. A person recording one of the videos then goes to the rear and captures the license plate.

Atkisson was released under the California Judicial Council’s zero bail schedule, and her court date is scheduled for July 31, the sheriff's office said.

Online jail records show her age as 46. Online court records did not appear to have her case available Wednesday night, and it was not clear if she has an attorney. A message left at a phone number that might be connected to her was not immediately returned.

Possession of tear gas style devices are legal for self-defense purposes in California, but it is illegal to use them for anything other than self-defense, according to the criminal statute.

NYPD appears to push back protesters at Brooklyn Borough Hall

New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams called the New York Police Department’s use of force on nonviolent protesters “disgusting” Wednesday night. 

Williams shared live video of the scene outside Brooklyn Borough Hall on Twitter, which showed law enforcement appearing to push back protesters. 

“There’s no looting going on,” said a voice that appears to be Williams’. “There’s no looting. There’s no fires. Why are we pushing them? Why are we pushing them? Why are we pushing the protesters?” 

Additional footage posted to social media appeared to show NYPD officers forcefully pushing protesters back, with some yelling, “Go home.”

“I can't believe what I just witnessed & experienced. The force used on nonviolent protestors was disgusting,” Williams wrote in a separate tweet. “No looting/no fires. Chants of ‘peaceful protest.’ @NYPDnews was simply enforcing an ill advised curfew. 

What happened was completely avoidable. I'm so ashamed of @NYCMayor.” 

Protesters and police could also be seen clashing at nearby Cadman Plaza Park in Brooklyn. 

Flyer recruiting 'professional anarchist' is fake, George Soros foundation says

A photo circulating online claiming to show a job opportunity for a “professional anarchist” and funded through George Soros’ charity isn't real, the group said, calling it “false content.”

“Those protesting the death of Mr. Floyd and police brutality across the nation do so out of a deep and abiding concern for country; they don't do so for pay from these foundations or any other, as some cynics claim,” an Open Society Foundations spokesperson told NBC News.

“Such assertions are false, offensive, and do a disservice to the very bedrock of our democracy, as enshrined in the First Amendment," the spokesperson added.

The flyer also included incorrect contact information for the Thurston County Democrats of Washington, who also discredited the flyer in a Facebook post.

“If social media users come across this or other false content like this online, we recommend they report the content as suspicious to the social media platform,” an Open Society Foundations spokesperson said.

Mounted NYPD officers patrol high-risk areas to deter looters

The New York Police Department dispatched its Mounted Unit to patrol high-risk areas around the city in an effort to deter looting Wednesday evening. 

Officers on horseback "will be assisting in identifying any businesses that may be vulnerable to looters," NYPD Chief of Special Operation Harry Wedin wrote on Twitter. 

New York City's mayor, Bill de Blasio, blamed most of the looting and illegal acts in recent days on "a small anarchist element ... a small criminal element." 

The mayor announced Tuesday that New York City's curfew will continue through Sunday. 

Minneapolis council members says police unions block real police reform

Protesters sing 'Lean on Me' at demonstration near White House

Protesters sang “Lean on Me” during a demonstration Wednesday evening in Washington, D.C.

Videos posted on social media show crowds of demonstrators singing the Bill Withers song while swaying and waving phones with illuminated flashlights in the air.

The peaceful demonstration took place about two blocks from the White House.

Louisiana governor thanks residents for keeping demonstrations peaceful

BATON ROUGE, La. — Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards on Wednesday thanked the people of his state for holding peaceful demonstrations in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death, avoiding the violence and property damage seen in other parts of the country.

"Almost without exception, every single person who’s shown up to protest and demonstrated has done so in a way that is an appropriate expression of their concerns about this,” Edwards said. 

The Democratic governor said he doesn’t expect to use the Louisiana National Guard to assist local and state police in their response to the future Floyd protests.

Experts say new charge in George Floyd case fits

As the murder case against former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin was upgraded from third-degree murder to "unintentional" second-degree murder Wednesdaym experts said the revised allegations appear to be appropriate in the death of George Floyd.

The upgraded charge comes with a maximum sentence of 40 years compared to 25 for third-degree murder.

University of Minnesota Law School Professor Susanna Blumenthal said the new count means prosecutors would have to prove that a felony assault led to death.

"Second-degree felony murder does not require proof of intent to kill," she said by email. "What the prosecutor would need to establish is that the officer caused death while committing or attempting to commit a felony offense, which has been charged in this case as assault in the third degree."

Read the whole story here.

George Floyd's death resonates in Chicago

CHICAGO — For many activists and community organizers, George Floyd’s death under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer was a brutal reminder of Chicago's racial divide and history of police brutality against African Americans.

Many of those interactions also ended in death.

“Chicago has dealt with this over and over again,” said Carlil Pittman, founder of the youth-led anti-violence organization Good Kids Mad City. “This was literally the last straw not just in our city but for the whole black community in America. It's a repeated trauma to continuously watch police officers kill our black and brown brothers and sisters with no remedy for it taking place.”

Read the whole story here.

Over 60 charged in Los Angeles County with looting, other crimes

More than 60 people have been charged with looting and other crimes for incidents in Los Angeles County that occurred amid protests following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, the district attorney said Wednesday.

Sixty-one people have been charged and the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office said it expects additional cases to be presented by law enforcement this week.

"A majority of the charges filed over the past two days have been for looting," the district attorney's office said in a statement. Other charges include assault and battery on police, robbery and possession of a destructive device.

Los Angeles and other cities in the county, including Santa Monica, have seen looting during protests following Floyd's death on May 25, although city officials have stressed that the majority of protesters have been peaceful.

At a police commission meeting on Tuesday, LAPD Chief Michel Moore said there had been around 2,700 arrests, with around 2,500 of those for failure to disperse or curfew violations, since the unrest began. Then on Tuesday law enforcement made around 900 arrests, also for mostly curfew violations, a law enforcement source familiar with the situation said.

George Floyd had coronavirus, autopsy shows

George Floyd had coronavirus, according to a full autopsy report released Wednesday. 

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s full autopsy report said Floyd first tested positive for the virus on April 3, nearly two months prior to his death. An earlier autopsy report from the county attributed Floyd's cause of death as a "cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression."

It also listed other "significant" conditions, including hypertensive heart disease, fentanyl intoxication and recent methamphetamine use.