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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

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.

972d ago / 10:26 PM UTC

University of Alabama to remove Confederate plaques from campus

The University of Alabama announced Tuesday that it plans to remove three Confederate Army plaques from their current locations on the Tuscaloosa campus. 

The plaques commemorated three University of Alabama students who served in the Confederate Army during the Civil War, as well as members of the student cadet corps involved in protecting the campus, the university said in a news release. The university said that the plaques, which are currently located in front of Gorgas Library, will be placed at a more appropriate historical setting in consultation with the university’s president Dr. Stuart Bell. 

In addition to the Confederate Army plaques, the Board of Trustees president has selected a group of Trustees to review and study names of buildings within the entire university system and report back with any recommended changes. 

This comes as nationwide protests over the death of George Floyd have led to the planned removal of confederate monuments in cities like Richmond, Virginia and a statue of prominent slave trader Edward Colston was pushed into a harbor by demonstrators in Bristol, England.

972d ago / 9:57 PM UTC

McConnell: ‘Call me old fashioned,’ but we need police to stop criminals

Senate Majority Leader McConnell spoke on the Senate floor, criticizing the nationwide message from protesters to defund police departments in the wake of George Floyd's death.

972d ago / 9:00 PM UTC

Derek Chauvin's bail set at $1.25M in first court appearance in George Floyd death

Former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin, who is facing murder charges in the fatal arrest of George Floyd, was granted bail Monday at his first court appearance.

Chauvin is facing charges of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter in Floyd’s death. The former officer appeared in the Hennepin County court through video conferencing from prison, wearing an orange jumpsuit and blue mask.

Judge Jeannice Reding granted the prosecution’s request for a $1.25 million unconditional bail or a lower bail of $1 million with conditions. The $1 million bail conditions would require Chauvin to turn in his firearms and gun permits, have no contact with Floyd’s family, and not work in a security capacity or as an officer while out on bail.

Read the fully story here.

972d ago / 8:50 PM UTC

Seattle beefs up security as unrest continues

972d ago / 8:03 PM UTC

Mayor of Houston pays his respects to George Floyd

972d ago / 6:50 PM UTC

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.”

972d ago / 6:48 PM UTC

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.

972d ago / 6:10 PM UTC

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

972d ago / 5:24 PM UTC

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.

972d ago / 5:15 PM UTC

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. 

972d ago / 4:20 PM UTC

Philadelphia couple marries amid peaceful protests

972d ago / 3:42 PM UTC

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.”

972d ago / 2:57 PM UTC

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.

972d ago / 2:23 PM UTC

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.

972d ago / 2:02 PM UTC

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

972d ago / 1:27 PM UTC

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. 

972d ago / 1:22 PM UTC

NYPD misconduct often involves minority youth, report says

The vast majority of complaints about mistreatment of youths by New York Police officers involved children of color, according to a report released Monday by the city’s police watchdog agency. 

The New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board released an analysis of more than 100 complaints involving young New Yorkers between January 2018 and last June that showed that young males of color between the ages of 10 and 18 were a complainant and/or victim in nearly 65 percent of complaints involving youth, despite only accounting for less than five percent of New York City’s population.

The report added that several youth-NYPD interactions involving New Yorkers between the ages of 10 and 18 involved officers stopping youth for "seemingly innocuous activities," such as playing, high-fiving, running, carrying backpacks and jaywalking. 

The report comes amid mounting calls for police reform in the wake of in-custody death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last month. 

972d ago / 12:45 PM UTC

Thousands expected to pay final respects to George Floyd in Houston

972d ago / 12:13 PM UTC

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.

972d ago / 11:57 AM UTC

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." 

972d ago / 11:41 AM UTC

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.

972d ago / 9:54 AM UTC

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. 

972d ago / 2:48 AM UTC
972d ago / 2:16 AM UTC

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."


972d ago / 1:34 AM UTC

Protesters call to defund the police

972d ago / 1:28 AM UTC

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


Image: Anti-Racism Protests Held In U.S. Cities Nationwide
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.