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.

Voices from the Houston funeral of George Floyd

Joey Lucio Sanjavier, a 26-year-old son of Mexican immigrants, used a black marker to write, “las vidas negras importan” — black lives matter — on his mask.

“I feel like, as a Latino, I have to be here,” Lucio Sanjavier said, while waiting in line to view Floyd’s golden casket. “If we’re not here to support our black community, how are we going to stand up for our own rights?”

Dolly Spencer, 72, brought flowers.

“Mr. Floyd gave his life, not intentionally, but I wanted to pay my respects,” said Spencer, who is black. “And maybe we’ll get something out of this, that something bad will lead to something good.”

The long goodbye to George Floyd reaches his hometown of Houston

Childhood friends of George Floyd, the Minneapolis man whose death touched off a national debate about systemic racism, paid their final respects to the Houston native on Monday.

Floyd's casket arrived at Fountain of Praise church, where mourners braved 90-degree-plus heat to wait outside before coming in for their personal tributes.

Well-wishers, wearing masks as a precaution against the coronavirus, filed into two lines as ushers directed them to Floyd's gold-colored casket where they said their goodbyes.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner were among those paying tribute at the church on Monday. More than 200 people lined up before the doors opened, as Red Cross volunteers outside distributed water on one of Houston's hottest days of 2020.

Read the full story here.

Rev. Al Sharpton posts picture with Joe Biden and family of George Floyd

New fence around the White House becomes a canvas for protesters

Msafiri, 5, of Baltimore, stands among signs along the fence constructed at Lafayette Park including drawings of Breonna Taylor, Emmett Till, and Trayvon Martin, as demonstrators protest Sunday, June 7, 2020, near the White House.Jacquelyn Martin / AP

New fencing put up around the White House in an effort to keep protesters at bay has become a magnet for demonstrators, who've been decorating it with signs honoring George Floyd and demanding police reform.

The new taller fencing started going up around the White House complex last Monday, after federal officials forcibly cleared a part of the area of peaceful protesters shortly before President Donald Trump toured the area en route to a church that had suffered fire damage during rioting over the weekend.

The extra security measure was also implemented after The New York Times reported, and NBC News confirmed, that the president had been taken to a secure bunker during demonstrations on Friday.

Biden comes out against defunding police departments

Joe Biden opposes the defunding of police departments, his presidential campaign said Monday — putting the presumptive Democratic nominee at odds with a position that has grown popular among protesters demonstrating nationwide against police brutality and racism.

Biden "does not believe that police should be defunded," campaign spokesperson Andrew Bates said in a statement. Bates said Biden instead supports reforming policing across the country and pointed to Biden’s previously-released criminal justice reform plan that proposed new funding for community policing and diversifying police departments.

"As his criminal justice proposal made clear months ago, Vice President Biden does not believe that police should be defunded. He hears and shares the deep grief and frustration of those calling out for change, and is driven to ensure that justice is done and that we put a stop to this terrible pain,"  Bates said. "Biden supports the urgent need for reform, including funding for public schools, summer programs, and mental health and substance abuse treatment separate from funding for policing, so that officers can focus on the job of policing. This also means funding community policing programs that improve relationships between officers and residents, and provides the training that is needed to avert tragic, unjustifiable deaths."

A movement calling to "defund the police" has gained traction at protests across the nation in recent weeks, including in Minneapolis, where George Floyd was last month killed in police custody. 

Philadelphia couple marries amid peaceful protests

France to abandon police chokeholds, security chief says

France’s top security offical says police will no longer conduct chokeholds that have been blamed for multiple cases of asphyxiation and have come under renewed criticism after George Floyd’s death in the United States.

With the French government under increasing pressure to address accusations of brutality and racism within the police force, Interior Minister Christophe Castaner announced Monday that “the method of seizing the neck via strangling will be abandoned and will no longer be taught in police schools.”

He said that during an arrest, “it will be now forbidden to push on the back of the neck or the neck.”

Pelosi, top Democrats unveil police reform bill

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and other congressional Democrats are unveiling comprehensive legislation Monday that seeks to hold police departments accountable, track misconduct and outline ways for law enforcement to change their tactics.

The bill, dubbed the “Justice in Policing Act,” would ban chokeholds, including the kind used by a police officer in the Minneapolis death of George Floyd last month, as well as no-knock warrants such as the one that led to the death of Breonna Taylor in Louisville in March, according to a bill summary obtained by NBC News and a House Democratic aide.

The legislation would also require local police departments to send data on the use of force to the federal government and create a grant program that would allow state attorneys general to create an independent process to investigate misconduct or excessive use of force, according to the five-page summary of the bill. Further, it would make it easier for people to recover damages when police departments violate their civil rights.

Read the full story here.

Philadelphia police union cheers embattled officer

The Philadelphia police officer who was charged with assaulting a college student during a George Floyd protest last week marched through a crowd of cheering supporters on Monday before surrendering to authorities.

Inspector Joseph Bologna Jr. is charged with aggravated assault for allegedly beating a Temple University student with his baton in an confrontation caught on video, prosecutors said.

Before he formally turned himself in to be booked on Monday, Bologna, his lawyer and union president John McNesby walked through supporters from their Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5. Bologna did not answer any questions before getting into a car to surrender.

Martin Luther King III lays flowers at site where George Floyd was killed

St. Louis man charged with murder in fatal shooting of retired police captain

A 24-year-old man was charged with murder in the fatal shooting of a retired St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department captain who was killed while protecting a friend's pawn shop from looters last week, authorities said Sunday.

Stephan Cannon of St. Louis faces one count of first-degree murder, one count of first-degree burglary, one count of unlawful possession of a firearm, and two counts of armed criminal action in connection with retired captain David Dorn's death. He is being held without bond, according to St. Louis police. 

Jimmie Robinson, 27, was also charged with first-degree burglary, armed criminal action and stealing in connection with Dorn's death. He's being held on $30,000 cash-only bond.

The arrests were announced five days after Dorn was shot and killed after responding to an alarm at Lee Pawn and Jewelry Store amid protests and unrest over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Four other officers were shot that night and 55 businesses were burglarized or damaged.

Read the full story here.