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

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
SUBSCRIBE

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.

Los Angeles won't prosecute curfew violations

Demonstrators in front of the District Attorney's office protest in Los Angeles on June 3, 2020.Frederic J. Brown / AFP - Getty Images

Prosecutors in the city and county of Los Angeles said Monday they will not prosecute those arrested for curfew violations or failure to disperse in peaceful protests following the death of George Floyd.

On Monday, Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey said her office would not prosecute those cases and City Attorney Mike Feuer said his office would take a “nonpunitive” approach that's “outside of the courts."

"I believe whole-heartedly in free speech and support the right of protesters to demonstrate peacefully against historic racial injustice in our criminal justice system and throughout our nation,” Lacey said in a statement.

Feuer also said Monday that his office "has developed a non-punitive approach, outside of the Court system" for all violations that do not involve violence, looting or vandalism, which he said primarily involves failure to disperse or curfew violations.

The city and county of Los Angeles imposed curfews on May 30 following violence and looting, but by Thursday they were lifted. There were thousands of arrests in Los Angeles. LAPD Chief Michel Moore said last week that the majority of arrests that had been for curfew violations or failure to disperse.

Seattle police reopening streets to allow protests

The Seattle Police Department announced they will reopen streets around the East Precinct on Monday night to allow protesters to march peacefully on Capitol Hill. 

On Sunday night, protesters took to the area surrounding the precinct to protest the death of George Floyd when a man drove into a group of protesters and shot one man, who was taken to an area hospital.

Assistant Chief of Patrol Operations Tom Mahaffey sent a letter to officers that said, “The decision has been made to allow demonstrators to march past the East Precinct later today. Your safety and the security of our facilities are my highest priorities. Additional measures are currently underway to enhance our ongoing efforts to insure the security of our East Precinct and provide for the safety of all our officers.”

Video posted on Twitter showed officers removing barriers and equipment from the area.

George Floyd remembered at public memorial in his hometown of Houston

A massive crowd went to George Floyd's public viewing on Monday including many who had never met him, to pay their final respects.

Democratic leaders clash with Black Lives Matter activists over 'defund the police'

People walk on the words 'defund the police' that was painted in bright yellow letters on 16th Street as demonstrators protest on June 7, 2020, near the White House.Maya Alleruzzo / AP

WASHINGTON — Painted in bright yellow letters outside the White House are the words "DEFUND THE POLICE”: A rallying cry for a movement to combat police brutality and racism that has exploded across the nation — and caused nervousness among Democrats.

Protesters around the country demanding justice for George Floyd's death waved “Defund the police!” signs at rallies in major cities on a weekend when Joe Biden officially became the presumptive Democratic nominee to face President Donald Trump this fall.

As Trump seizes the slogan as an opportunity to paint his opposition as radicals who envision a world of lawlessness and anarchy, Biden and most Democrats are resisting the left's calls and floating more modest measures to curtail bad police behavior.

"Vice President Biden does not believe that police should be defunded," campaign spokesman Andrew Bates said in a statement Monday

Read the full story here. 

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.”