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June 4 coverage of nationwide unrest and ongoing protests

George Floyd's death has sparked protests across the country. Here are the latest updates.
Image: Reverend Al Sharpton speaks during a memorial service for George Floyd following his death in Minneapolis police custody, in Minneapolis
Reverend Al Sharpton speaks during a memorial service for George Floyd following his death in Minneapolis police custody, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S., June 4, 2020.Lucas Jackson / Reuters

This live coverage has now ended. Continue reading June 5 coverage of George Floyd's death and the nationwide protests.

On Thursday, George Floyd’s family held a memorial in Minneapolis, with the Rev. Al Sharpton, who delivered a powerful eulogy and announced a march on Washington is scheduled for August.

An ex-Minneapolis police officer accused of aiding and abetting the alleged murder of George Floyd tried to warn his fellow officers when one of them put his knee on the man’s neck for more than eight minutes.

“You shouldn’t do that,” a lawyer for the officer, J. Alexander Kueng, said he told the officers.

Los Angeles, Oakland and San Francisco added their names Thursday to a growing list of cities that were lifting their curfews after a wave of nationwide protests that were sometimes accompanied by looting, property destruction and violence.

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Social distancing efforts inside, outside George Floyd's memorial service

People gathering outside George Floyd's memorial service practice social distancing.Janell Ross

George Floyd's memorial service is being played on loudspeakers for a crowd of several hundred people who have gathered outside.

Most of those gathering are wearing masks and there are navy blue stickers along the sidewalks outside that read "PRACTICE SOCIAL DISTANCING," placed about 6 feet apart but people are not adhering to that kind of spacing.

The Rev. Al Sharpton wore black surgical gloves at the pulpit where he preached from Ecclesiastes 3:1, which reads, "To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven."

Sharpton later said, "Because of the pandemic I'm not going to ask you to hold hands," as he guided those at the memorial to stand and begin an 8-minute, 46-second moment of silence, reflecting the length of time an officer pressed his knee into Floyd's neck.

Navy blue stickers were placed along the sidewalks outside George Floyd's service that read "PRACTICE SOCIAL DISTANCING."Janell Ross

An earlier speaker mentioned that the memorial service has to stick to a strict schedule to comport with social distancing rules.

More than 700 active-duty Army soldiers leaving Washington, D.C., returning to Ft. Bragg

More than 700 active-duty soldiers from Fort Bragg who have been in Washington, D.C., since Monday waiting to be deployed in case President Donald Trump invoked the Insurrection Act are being sent back to North Carolina tonight, a senior defense official told NBC News.

A decision to send the soldiers from the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division back south to their base was made on Wednesday, but then reversed. The decision to send them home was made again Thursday. The soldiers, who have been waiting at Fort Belvoir in Virginia and at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, were never called into the city to confront protestors.

More than 1,600 active-duty troops from Fort Bragg, Fort Drum in New York and Fort Riley in Kansas began arriving in the capital area on Monday. They have been staying at multiple military installations in the capital area.

Read the full story here.

The complicated racial history behind 'Amazing Grace'

"Amazing Grace," which was performed by Liwana Porter during George Floyd's memorial service in Minneapolis Thursday, is one of the best known hymns across a variety of Protestant denominations and also has a complicated racial history.

Written in 1773 by John Newton, a white, English slave trader, the song was originally known as "Faith's Review and Expectation." Newton had been moved to craft the song after a near-death experience aboard a slave ship which sailed into a storm. Newton became a Christian and in 1778 spoke out publicly against slavery.

In 2015, President Barack Obama, a man with no previous history of public singing, sang the hymn at a memorial service for the nine African Americans killed by a white supremacist shooter inside one of the nation's oldest black churches, Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. The moment seemed to resonate with a wide variety of Americans.

In 2015, President Barack Obama, a man with no previous history of public singing, sang the hymn as a memorial service for the nine African Americans killed by a white supremacist shooter inside one of the nation's oldest black churches, Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.

After the song brought mourners to their feet, Obama went on to deliver a eulogy for the church's slain pastor, the Rev. Clementa Pinckney. As he delivered it, Obama said the killer assumed he "would deepen divisions that trace back to our nation's original sin.""But God works in mysterious ways," Obama said. "God had different ideas."

Judge sets $750K bail for 3 ex-officers accused in Floyd's death

MINNEAPOLIS — A judge set bail at $750,000 apiece Thursday for three fired Minneapolis police officers who have been charged with aiding and abetting in the killing of George Floyd.

Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng were making their first appearances in Hennepin County District Court since their arrests Wednesday.

The Minneapolis Police Department fired them last week, along with Derek Chauvin, who is charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd's May 25 death. Widely seen bystander video shows the white police officer pressing his knee into Floyd’s neck, ignoring the African American man’s pleas that he can't breathe, until he stopped moving.

Defendants don't normally enter pleas during their first appearances in Minnesota courts, which tend to be brief proceedings. Judge Paul Scoggin set their next court dates for June 29.

Joy Reid: At some point, this country needs to let black people stop crying. But until then, we'll keep teaching.

'He will not die in vain': People in Houston's Third Ward pay tribute to George Floyd

Trump invoking Insurrection Act could undo years of police reform, experts warn

Those who remember the last time the Insurrection Act was used, during the 1992 Los Angeles riots, warn that President Donald Trump could undo decades of progress between police and the communities they serve if he invokes it now.

Calling governors weak and urging them to "dominate" American cities, Trump threatened Monday to invoke the little-known law against people protesting the death of George Floyd under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer. The Insurrection Act, which dates to 1807, allows the president to call up active-duty military units or federalize the National Guard under certain circumstances.

"We don't need to be telling people that we're going to dominate them. That language doesn't work," said professor Erroll Southers, a former law enforcement officer who specializes in national and homeland security issues at the University of Southern California. "It just reinforces where we were decades ago."

California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Defense Secretary Mark Esper both signaled distaste this week for using the Insurrection Act. Newsom said Wednesday that he would reject any attempt by Trump to militarize the response in California.

"It won't happen," Newsom told reporters while visiting a cafe in South Los Angeles. "It's not going to happen. We would reject it."

Read the full story here.

Los Angeles Mayor lifts curfew

NYPD officer appears to make white power sign at protest, prompting probe

A video of a uniformed New York City police officer appearing to make a white power symbol at a George Floyd protest Saturday in New York City has prompted an internal review.

The video showing the officer making the apparent "OK" hand gesture — touching the thumb and index finger to make a circle, with the remaining three fingers held outstretched — was posted to social media over the weekend.

NBC News is not publishing or linking to the video to avoid providing a platform to apparent expressions of hate or white supremacy.

The "OK" gesture has been used by people around the world for centuries, typically to signal consent, according to the Anti-Defamation League. Recently, the hand signal has also been appropriated to represent the letters w and p to signify "white power," stemming from a hoax in 2017 by members of the website 4chan, an anonymous and unrestricted online message board, the ADL says.

Read the full story here.