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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.

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Trump: ‘We won't be defunding or dismantling our police’

President Trump strongly denounced the notion of defunding police departments while hosting a roundtable discussion with law enforcement leaders at the White House. His Attorney General Barr maintained a more hopeful rhetoric that police reform could be achieved.

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.

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.

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.

Seattle beefs up security as unrest continues

Mayor of Houston pays his respects to George Floyd

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.