June 8 coverage of nationwide unrest and ongoing protests

George Floyd's death has sparked protests across the country. Here are the latest updates.
Image: Pallbearers bring George Floyd's casket into the Fountain of Praise Church for a memorial and viewing services in Houston, Texas, on June 8, 2020.
Pallbearers bring George Floyd's casket into the Fountain of Praise Church for a memorial and viewing services in Houston, Texas, on June 8, 2020.Mario Tama / Getty Images

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This live coverage has now ended. Continue reading June 9 coverage of George Floyd's death and the nationwide protests.

Friends and family of George Floyd, the Minneapolis man whose death touched off a national debate about systemic racism, were joined at a Houston memorial on Monday by thousands of strangers who showed up to pay their final respects.

On Sunday night, a majority of the Minneapolis City Council agreed to dismantle the city's police department after the death of Floyd in police custody, Councilman Jeremiah Ellison told NBC News. He said the council would work to disband the department in its "current iteration."

Speaking Sunday at a community meeting before the vote, the council's president, Lisa Bender, vowed to "re-create systems of public safety that actually keep us safe."

In Washington, Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, joined demonstrators marching to the White House on Sunday in protest of Floyd's death.

“We need a voice against racism. We need many voices against racism and against brutality. And we need to stand up and say black lives matter,” Romney, the GOP presidential nominee in 2012, said.

Download the NBC News app for the latest updates.

Thousands expected to pay final respects to George Floyd in Houston

What does protester rallying cry 'defund the police' mean?

Protesters have taken to the streets demanding their cities shrink police departments, and "defund the police" has become a frequent rallying cry.

Supporters of the movement say they are not trying to eliminate police departments, but rather calling for budgets to be realigned so that the emphasis is on community programs rather than strictly enforcement. 

On NBC News "Meet the Press" on Sunday, Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza explained that the phrase "defund the police," means "invest in the resources that our communities need." She went on to say that means "increased funding for housing, increased funding for education, increased funding for quality of life for communities that are over policed and over surveilled."

Other cities have floated ideas to heed the call.

After saying that the New York City curfew would be lifted Sunday, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a proposal to shift funding from the New York Police Department to youth and social services. And Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti vowed to slash up to $150 million of the police budget. The proposals are expected to face stiff resistance from police leaders and unions.

George Floyd's family appeals to U.N. for support for police reform

George Floyd’s family and his legal team released on Monday a letter they sent to the United Nations requesting recommendations for police reform in the U.S.

The group sent a letter on June 3 to one of the international body’s working groups asking for support for the end of the provision of military equipment and military-type training for police, the teaching of deescalation techniques, independent prosecutions and autopsies for “extrajudicial” police killings, and more.

“When a group of people of any nation have been systemically deprived of their universal human right to life by its government for decades, it must appeal to the international community for its support and to the United Nations for its intervention,” Floyd’s family attorney Ben Crump said in a press release.

The Minneapolis Police Department announced last month that the FBI would be part of the investigation into Floyd’s death.

On May 28, the United Nations' High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, called Floyd's death the "latest in a long line of killings of unarmed African Americans by U.S. police officers and members of the public," and urged "serious action." 

Man drives into Seattle George Floyd protest, shoots one protester

A man drove into a Seattle crowd protesting the death in police custody of George Floyd before shooting one of the demonstrators on Sunday, police said.

The suspect was detained and the 27-year-old man who was shot in the arm was taken to hospital by firefighters, police said in a tweet. Officials did not name the shooter or the victim.

Police confirmed a gun was recovered and no other people were injured.

Read the full story here.

New York City begins to reopen after coronavirus lockdown, curfew lifted

New York City is set to begin the first phase of re-opening on Monday after nearly three months of coronavirus lockdown restrictions that were capped off last week with a curfew enacted in the wake of protests.

In the wake of the protests that roiled the city after the death of George Floyd, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Sunday a series of new reforms to the New York City Police Department. He also said the city will shift funding from the police force to youth and social services for communities of color. 

As many as 400,000 people are expected to return to work on Monday, NBC New York reported. Full subway service and construction work are also set to resume. As of Sunday, the city had 210,166 confirmed coronavirus cases and 21,752 deaths, approximately one-fifth of the entire U.S. death toll. 

Cincinnati Reds great Joey Votto says #BlackLivesMatter

Cincinnati Reds great Joey Votto on Sunday penned a scathing column - targeting himself and admitting he's turned a blind eye to systemic racism and police brutality.

In a guest column posted by The Cincinnati Enquirer, the star first baseman said George Floyd's death has forced him to open "my eyes to the realities of being a black man in America."

"That privilege kept me from understanding the 'why' behind Colin Kaepernick’s decision to kneel during the national anthem. That privilege allowed me to ignore my black teammates’ grievances about their experiences with law enforcement, being profiled, and discriminated against," wrote Votto, who grew up just outside of Toronto. "And that privilege has made me complicit in the death of George Floyd, as well as the many other injustices that blacks experience in the U.S. and my native Canada. " 

Votto, 36, said supports the Black Lives Matter movement and added: "Only now am I just beginning to hear. I am awakening to their pain, and my ignorance. No longer will I be silent."

 

Protesters call to defund the police

Majority of Minneapolis City Council commits to dismantling city's police department

Demonstrators calling to defund the Minneapolis Police Department march on University Avenue on June 6, 2020 in Minneapolis.Stephen Maturen / Getty Images

A majority of the Minneapolis City Council agreed Sunday to dismantle the city’s police department after the in-custody killing of George Floyd, a council member said.

In an interview with NBC News, councilman Jeremiah Ellison said the council would work to disband the department in its "current iteration."

"The plan has to start somewhere," he said. "We are not going to hit the eject button without a plan so today was the announcement of the formulation of that plan."

Read the full story.