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May 31 coverage of nationwide unrest and ongoing protests

George Floyd's death has sparked protests across the country.
Protesters form a human chain near the 5th Police Precinct during a demonstration in Minneapolis on May 30, 2020.Chandan Khanna / AFP - Getty Images

This live coverage has now ended. Continue reading June 1 coverage of George Floyd's death and the nationwide protests.

Protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota last week continued to intensify across the U.S. Sunday, as protesters broke local curfews to voice frustration over policing in America.

In Minneapolis, a semi-truck was seen barreling toward a massive group of demonstrators on an interstate, though no protesters appear to have been injured in the incident.

Some elected leaders have blamed the violence that has broken out at some protests on organized extremists, though so far they have offered little evidence to support their claims.

President Donald Trump said Sunday that he would designate the radical lefitst group antifa a terrorist organization after earlier attributing the violence to “thugs” who he said were “dishonoring the memory of George Floyd." The comment drew criticism from Keisha Lance Bottoms, the Democratic mayor of Atlanta, and Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C, the Senate’s lone black Republican.

Download the NBC News app for the latest updates.

This live coverage has now ended. Continue reading June 1 coverage of George Floyd's death and the nationwide protests.

Fire set at D.C.'s historic St. John’s Episcopal Church

A fire was intentionally set at the historic St. John’s Episcopal Church in Washington amid protests Sunday, police said, and the fire in the basement has been extinguished, police and fire officials said.

The fire department had tweeted that there was a fire in the basement and that it was being extinguished, but that firefighters would be checking for any extension. Fire department spokesman Vito Maggiolo later said the fire has been put out.

St. John's Church is known as "the Church of the Presidents" and every president since James Madison has worshipped there on at least one occasion, according to the National Park Service.

Someone tore the flag from the church, built in 1816, amid the protests in Washington Sunday, NBC Washington reported. Police said multiple fires in the District have been set. The fire department was thanked on Twitter, with some calling St. John's Church irreplaceable.

Hundreds of peaceful protesters light candles, call for justice in Pasadena, California

Hundreds of peaceful protesters gathered Sunday evening outside Pasadena City Hall, some 20 minutes north of downtown Los Angeles, to show their solidarity with George Floyd demonstrations that have spread throughout the country. Organizers said they received permission from local authorities to peacefully gather despite a countywide curfew that went into effect at 6 p.m.  

Led by more than a dozen faith groups representing black, brown and Asian communities, crowds prayed together and lit candles in Floyd’s memory. Dozens of people gathered around a memorial for Jackie Robinson, the first black player to play Major League Baseball. 

“It’s too often that I see white people saying ‘What can I do?’” said 51-year-old Tom Harding. “You can do what everybody else is doing. You go out and represent.”

Orange County teacher Candace Teràn, 30, said she made the hour-plus drive to show solidarity with black communities.

As a Latina “we were taught that it wasn’t just their fight - it’s ours,” she said. “If you don’t fight for justice, then what are you doing?”

Trump dismissing advice to tone down rhetoric, address the nation

President Donald Trump has dismissed advice from his allies urging him to tone down his rhetoric and held back so far on a formal address to the nation as cities across the country faced another night of fiery protests.

Trump’s advisers have been divided over what role the president should take in responding to the most widespread unrest the country has seen in decades.

Some say Trump should focus his message on George Floyd, who died at the hands of Minneapolis police, and urge calm. Others say the top priority is stopping the violence and looting that have taken place in some areas, arguing the best path to that end is strong police tactics, not presidential speeches.

Senior adviser and presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner is not in favor of a high-profile presidential speech at this time, according to a person close to the White House.

Read the full story here.

Washington state governor activates 200 more Guard after Bellevue looting

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee activated 200 more members of the National Guard to help the city of Bellevue respond to looting and property damage.

"Guard personnel will be unarmed and work under the direction of local leadership," Inslee said, adding that King County requested the aid.

Bellevue police tweeted Sunday that, "Dozens of subjects broke into Bellevue Square and looted many stores." The looters were chased away but police said the situation downtown was still active and told people to avoid the area.

It's not the first time the governor has activated Guard personnel to respond to protests that have turned violent. With the latest activation, around 600 Guard personnel have been activated to help peacekeeping in Seattle and King County, the governor said.

There was violence in Seattle Saturday but no reports of violence in Bellevue, a city east of Seattle, until Sunday, NBC affiliate KING of Seattle reported.

'A devastating day' in Santa Monica amid looting and fires

Firefighters in Santa Monica, California, extinguished flaming cars, buildings and a dumpster on Sunday as people looted stores and protesters took to the streets.

Interim city manager Lane Dilg called Sunday “a devastating day for our city.”

Santa Monica Fire Department Chief Judah Mitchell said nine fires had been set throughout the day, with most of them in the city’s downtown area. NBC Los Angeles reported that dozens of stores were looted. Helicopter footage showed flaming vehicles, people running from stores with the merchandise in their hands and men in what appeared to be military-style gear with raised rifles in the streets.

Police Chief Cynthia Renaud said she wasn’t sure if National Guard troops had already arrived. She didn’t how many people had been taken into custody but said arrests were “ongoing.”

Nancy Silverton restaurant among businesses looted in Los Angeles

Among the businesses looted on and around Los Angeles' Melrose Avenue in a night of violence Saturday was one of acclaimed chef Nancy Silverton's restaurants.

Pizzeria Mozza's interior was set on fire after looters broke in and stole bottles of wine. Silverton said she watched her restaurant be trashed and looted on television.

"It was so surreal. I don't know how else to describe it," Silverton said in an interview with MSNBC. After smashing in the window, the looters poured lighter fluid on the floor and set it on fire, she said.

The looting and vandalism in Los Angeles occurred amid protests following the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in Minneapolis on May 25 after a white police officer kneeled on his neck as Floyd said he could not breathe.

Silverton is a renowned chef and author who has been honored by the James Beard Foundation. She also founded La Brea Bakery, and institution that is beloved in Los Angeles.

NYC Mayor de Blasio's daughter arrested during Saturday night protests

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's daughter, Chiara de Blasio, was arrested Saturday night during the citywide protests over the death of George Floyd, a senior NYPD law enforcement official told NBC News.

Chiara de Blasio was arrested Saturday night at East 12th Street and Broadway, in Manhattan for “unlawful assembly”.

The official said de Blasio was taken into custody at 10:30 p.m. She has been released.

The news was first reported by the New York Post. 

Read the full story here.

  

 

Fires burning in NYC

There are multiple fires burning in Manhattan at this moment in the Union Square area and one in Midtown, city officials said.

At Union Square, in lower Manhattan a vehicle has been torched and there’s a large crowd. At W. 41st Street and Sixth Avenue, there are reports of multiple arrests and a fire that started there.

Protests could accelerate spread of coronavirus, experts say

Within the last few days, careful social distancing has been overturned by demonstrations against social injustice — as thousands of Americans congregate in cities across the country protesting the death of George Floyd.

The large gatherings, infectious disease experts said, could cause a catastrophic setback for controlling COVID-19 in the U.S. as cities and states try to reopen.

"It makes me cringe on a number of levels," said Dr. Katie Passaretti, medical director for infection prevention at Atrium Health in Charlotte, North Carolina.

"It's a setup for further spread of COVID," Passaretti added. "It's heartbreaking."

Read the full story here.

Protesters in Minneapolis gather peacefully near the interstate

Frozen water bottles thrown at Boston police

A Boston Police department spokesperson says that largely peaceful protests have turned violent and officers have had frozen water bottles, bricks and rocks thrown at them in the last hour or so.

Several BPD vehicles have been damaged, police say. Right now, the area of Downtown Crossing is where police are having the most confrontation with protestors and they are now asking peaceful protesters to go home.

Nashville police arrest suspect in arson of historic courthouse

A man accused of setting fire to Nashville's Historic Courthouse during protests Saturday night has been arrested, police announced Sunday.

Wesley Somers, 25, was arrested on charges of felony arson, vandalism and disorderly conduct, and was to be booked, the Metro Nashville Police Department tweeted.

The courthouse was set on fire Saturday night and police said they used tear gas to disperse crowds.

Police had earlier tweeted images of three people, two of whom were seen damaging the building and one who appeared reaching toward flames seen coming out of a window. Police said that "assistance from the community" helped lead to the identification of Somers.

Police said the investigation into the arson attack on the courthouse was continuing. Nashville's government said Sunday that at least 30 Nashville businesses or buildings were damaged Saturday night, and that 28 people were arrested on or after a 10 p.m. curfew in the city.

Flash-bang grenades in Seattle

Tennessee governor orders National Guard to support Murfreesboro amid protests

Tennessee's governor said he backs the mayor of Murfreesboro in imposing a curfew amid violent protests there and said he authorized the National Guard to provide support.

Gov. Bill Lee earlier Sunday mobilized the National Guard amid protests. The mayor of Murfreesboro declared a state of emergency and a curfew.

Murfreesboro police said that they deployed tear gas after protesters blocked an intersection, and that an armored vehicle was vandalized and a brick was thrown through the window or a business.

Police said a peaceful protest, held in the wake of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, was followed by violence.

In New York, some police take a knee with protestors

New York resident Aleeia Abraham captured a protest on Sunday afternoon at which some officers knelt with protestors. 

Trump was rushed to White House bunker during Friday night D.C. protests

Secret Service agents rushed President Donald Trump to the underground bunker at the White House Friday night, as protests outside the building intensified, NBC News has confirmed.

A senior administration official told NBC News Sunday that Trump was in the bunker for a “very short period” out of an abundance of caution. Trump was back in his residence within an hour, the official said.

The underground location was the same bunker that was used for former Vice President Dick Cheney during September 11, 2001, attacks.

The news was first reported by The New York Times. 

Peace versus chaos on the streets: Protesters work to push their message through

Many protesters and those leading the marches this past week said that a nonviolent message was key to effectively share their disdain. Yet there is a growing feeling, fed in part by local, state and federal leaders, that there are outside groups attempting to undermine that message or take advantage of it for their own chaotic means.

This is a growing frustration for some demonstrators who feel their message is being hijacked and used as cover for more nefarious acts.

“People are aware of the fact that there are two different groups out there,” said Jay Maki, 39, a photographer in Minneapolis who went to the protests in his city this week. “And when there is one person in the crowd behind you who throws a bottle at the police, there’s a sense he’s using the other peaceful protesters as a human shield.”

Read the full story here.

Clouds of tear gas drift over protesters in Atlanta

Message from Minneapolis protester: 'Silence can be powerful.'

MINNEAPOLIS — As protesters returned to the streets of Minneapolis Sunday over the killing of George Floyd, one of them offered a message that was in contrast to the sometimes violent confrontation that has rocked cities across the United States. 

“This is a peaceful protest," said Jasmine Howell 27. "Silence can be powerful. That’s the message we’re trying to portray as far as unity, power and organization.”

Howell said the group marched through the government center and downtown with a goal of reaching the 35W Bridge, which spans the Mississippi River. 

Howell said she will not break a curfew that Mayor Jacob Frey imposed Saturday, but she prayed for everybody who does. Howell said she is marching because she believes that all four officers who were fired over the killing of George Floyd should be charged with his murder. Only Derek Chauvin, who was seen in a widely-viewed video with his knee in Floyd's neck, has been arrested.

"We need this all done and we’re going to keep protesting until there’s actually justice served," she said. "That’s the biggest message that everybody in this city is trying to prove.” 

Minnesota AG to join prosecution

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison will join the prosecution against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Sunday.

“There have been recent developments in the facts of the case where the help and expertise of the Attorney General would be valuable,” Freeman said.

Chauvin was arrested Friday and faces charges of third-degree murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd. 

Aggressive policing tactics called into question as national protests flare

Alongside the peaceful protests and images of destruction in the wake of the death of George Floyd, there have also been disturbing videos, photos and reports of police officers appearing to use excessive force and violence against demonstrators.

The incidents have raised questions about whether some officers are responding with an inappropriate use of force, forgoing training tactics and becoming overly hostile.

An arrest in Atlanta of two college students Saturday night, as a citywide curfew was going into effect, was so excessive, police officials said Sunday, that two officers involved were fired and three others were placed on desk duty.

video of the incident showed one of the students getting dragged from the car, while the driver, who remained behind the wheel, was tased and then pulled out of the vehicle. It's unclear what preceded the incident, but Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields told reporters that "how we behaved is unacceptable," reported NBC affiliate WXIA.

Read the full story here.

Senator says he will try to end transfer of military weapons to police

Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, tweeted Sunday that he wants to stop the transfer of military equipment to police departments. 

Police watchdogs have warned for the years about the militarization of police departments. Former President Barack Obama attempted to reform the military-to-police pipeline of equipment. 

President Donald Trump reversed those efforts in 2017. That included the transfer of heavily armored vehicles.

"I will be introducing an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act to discontinue the program that transfers military weaponry to local police departments," Schatz tweeted.

NYPD top terrorism cop says anarchist groups worked to orchestrate damage, violence

On Sunday night, New York's top terrorism cop, Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence and Counterterrorism John Miller, detailed his office's analysis and investigation into why the New York City protests have become so violent and damaging at times.

"No. 1, before the protests began," Miller said, "organizers of certain anarchist groups set out to raise bail money and people who would be responsible to be raising bail money, they set out to recruit medics and medical teams with gear to deploy in anticipation of violent interactions with police."

Miller said that a review of 686 arrests since Thursday found that one of out of seven were from outside New York City, including Iowa, Nevada, Texas and a number of other states.

Read the full story here.

Large truck drives through crowd of protesters on Minneapolis bridge

A large truck was seen driving into a crowd of protesters on a bridge in Minneapolis at full speed, sending people running for safety, during protests on Sunday.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety called it "very disturbing actions by a truck driver on I-35W, inciting a crowd of peaceful demonstrators."

The truck driver was injured and is under arrest, the department said. It doesn’t appear any protesters were hit by the truck, according to the department.

The truck was swarmed and video from the scene showed someone on the hood as it moved.

Read the full story here.

Crowds in Washington, D.C., chant 'No justice, no peace'

Biden visits protest site, tours damage in Delaware

Former Vice President Joe Biden visited the site of George Floyd protests in Delaware on Sunday — just the second time he's been seen in public in more than two months.

The apparent Democratic presidential nominee toured stores that had been damaged in the protests with Delaware Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester and posted video on Instagram posing for pictures with passersby. He also tweeted a picture of himself kneeling and speaking with a young African-American man. They were both wearing face coverings. 

“We are a nation in pain, but we must not allow this pain to destroy us. We are a nation enraged, but we cannot allow our rage to consume us. We are a nation exhausted, but we will not allow our exhaustion to defeat us,” the former vice president wrote in a post on Medium.

Biden also released a statement just after midnight Sunday morning, calling the protests “right and necessary” while urging peaceful demonstrations over violence.

The unannounced visit was the second time Biden has been seen publicly in the past week. He visited a local war memorial in New Castle, Del., on Memorial Day.  

Customs and Border Protection is deploying agents to confront 'lawless' protesters, acting commissioner says

Customs and Border Protection is deploying officers, agents and “aviation assets” across the country to help authorities confront “lawless” protesters, the agency’s acting commissioner, Mark Morgan, said Sunday.

Morgan said in a tweet that the announcement came after requests from federal, state and local authorities. It wasn’t immediately clear where the agency was deploying to or what Morgan meant by “aviation assets.” A spokesman didn’t respond to a request for clarification. 

The agency confirmed Friday that it used a drone during protests over the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis to help with “situational awareness” through live video. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and the American Civil Liberties Union denounced the agency’s use of the aircraft, saying that “no government agency should be facilitating the over-policing of the black community.” 

Morgan said the agency “carries out its mission nationwide, not just at the border.”

Federal officer killed in Oakland during George Floyd protest identified

Authorities on Sunday identified a contract federal officer who was shot to death in Oakland last week while working security during a protest over the killing of George Floyd.

The FBI’s San Francisco field office said in a statement that the officer, Dave Patrick Underwood, 53, died after someone fired at him from a vehicle.

A second officer who was with Underwood was injured in the Friday night shooting at the Ronald V. Dellums Federal Building in downtown Oakland, the FBI said. That officer has not been identified nor have any suspects.

The officers were working for the Federal Protective Service, an agency within the Department of Homeland Security that tries to prevent terrorists and other criminals from targeting government infrastructure. The FBI said it has not determined a motive for the shooting.

Read the full story here

Looting in Santa Monica, California, city extends curfew

The city of Santa Monica, California, famed for its beaches and pier, became the scene of looting Sunday amid another day of protests following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

News helicopter footage showed people looting stores before being chased away by police. People also broke into a large mall, and then ran out with arms full of merchandise. There were reports that protesters condemned looters during the day, chanting "shame! shame!"

At least one car was seen leaving the scene of looting with its license plate covered, apparently so it could not be identified. When a passing bicyclist ripped the covering off, a man got out and punched him.

Santa Monica extended its curfew for a second night, from 4 p.m. through Monday morning. 

Why are you rallying for George Floyd?

Image: A demonstrator during a rally near the White House in protest over the death of George Floyd on May 30, 2020.
A demonstrator during a rally near the White House in protest over the death of George Floyd on May 30, 2020.Eric Thayer / Reuters

Since George Floyd, a black man, was killed by police in Minneapolis last week, there has been nationwide outrage, with more than 100 protests, rallies and vigils across the country. NBC News wants to hear from black men and women about this moment in history: Why are you walking for George Floyd? What does it mean to you to rally? And what motivated you to join the protests? Tell us in the form below and please submit a photo. We’ll select a sampling of the responses and publish them.

Click here to make a submission. 

'Shame on you': NFL's Roger Goodell slammed for statement on George Floyd protests

Image: NFL commissioner Roger Goodell at a press conference in New York in 2014.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell at a press conference in New York in 2014.Alex Goodlett / Getty Images file

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is being slammed for a statement he issued Saturday in response to the death in police custody of George Floyd and the protests that have followed across the country.

"The NFL family is greatly saddened by the tragic events across our country," Goodell said Saturday, five days after Floyd’s death. "The protesters' reactions to these incidents reflect the pain, anger and frustration that so many of us feel."

Director Ava DuVernay, an ardent critic of the NFL, said the statement was hollow and disingenuous.

"Shame on you. This is beyond hollow + disingenuous," she tweeted. "This is a lie. Your actions show who you are. You’ve done nothing but the exact opposite of what you describe here. Keep Mr. Floyd’s name out of your mouth. Shame on you + the 'consultants' of this travesty of an organization."

Michael Shawn-Dugar, a writer for The Athletic, said, "Colin Kaepernick asked the NFL to care about the lives of black people and they banned him from their platform."

Read the full story here. 

Protests continue to spread throughout the country

Arizona governor issues statewide curfew for the entire week

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey on Sunday imposed a weeklong, statewide curfew after a night of intense protests in the state. 

Ducey issued a declaration of emergency that includes an 8 p.m. curfew, effective Sunday night and into the week, according to the governor's Twitter account. The order gives police an "additional tool" and will equip them to arrest protesters who plan to cause damage.

"Today’s declaration also authorizes an expanded National Guard mobilization to protect life and property throughout the state," Ducey said.  

Lawmakers say Trump's comments worsening a bad situation

Image: President Donald Trump disembarks Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on May 30, 2020.
President Donald Trump disembarks Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on May 30, 2020.Alex Brandon / AP

Democratic and Republican officials said Sunday that President Donald Trump's inflammatory tweets were unhelpful amid the weekend's protests.

"He should just stop talking," Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, a Democrat, told CNN's "State of the Union. "This is like Charlottesville all over again. He speaks and he makes it worse. There are times when you should just be quiet. And I wish that he would just be quiet."

"Or, if you can't be silent, if there's somebody of good sense and good conscience in the White House, put him in front of a teleprompter and pray that he reads it and at least says the right things," she added. "Because he is making it worse."

Read the full story here. 

Los Angeles extends curfew for another night

Los Angeles will be under curfew for a second night as city officials announced Sunday that it would extend its 8 p.m. restriction. 

The city advised all residents to stay inside except those going to and from work and anyone seeking or giving emergency care, according to Mayor Eric Garcetti's official Twitter account. Los Angeles faced a fourth night of intense protest Saturday, as demonstrators overtook buses and multiple police cars were set on fire. 

European soccer stars use goal celebrations to pay tribute to George Floyd

Myrtle Beach mayor declares civil emergency after threat to police department

Myrtle Beach Mayor Brenda Bethune declared a civil emergency Sunday after officials said a violent threat was made in relation to the protests following George Floyd's death. The city announced the cancellation of a 1 p.m. protest and imposed a 6 p.m. curfew on Sunday, forcing city businesses to close.

The decision was made after officials received information about a  "credible threat" against the local police department, according to NBC affiliate WMBF. 

Photo: Washington cleans up in the aftermath of protests

Image: A man cleans a wall of graffiti after a night of demonstrations in Washington, D.C., on May 31, 2020.
A man cleans a wall of graffiti after a night of demonstrations in Washington, D.C., on Sunday.Tom Brenner / Reuters

Detroit implements Sunday curfew as weekend protest arrests top 100

Mayor Mike Duggan announced the city will be under a curfew Sunday night beginning at 8 p.m. and ending at 5 a.m. as officials anticipate another night of protests.

“People cannot be on public streets or in public areas” during those hours, Duggan said at a press conference, according to NBC Detroit affiliate WDIV.

84 people were arrested on Saturday night and 60 people were arrested on Friday night during protests, WDIV reported.

Volunteers gather across the nation to clean up cities after protests

Volunteers gathered across the nation to clean up their prospective cities after the George Floyd protests. Steve Patterson reports from Minneapolis on the aftermath of the protests.

Philadelphia prepares to lock down Center City

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney plans to extend the city's curfew and impose a lockdown on the City Center area of downtown in an effort to prevent further looting and destruction. 

The city saw at least nine fires and 109 arrests around the city Saturday night into Sunday morning as protesters demonstrated against police violence following the death of George Floyd in Minnesota, according to NBC Philadelphia. 

"We're locking down Center City today and tonight and probably extend the curfew," Kenney told the station Sunday.

Groups of people were seen carrying armloads of merchandise from businesses in Port Richmond on Sunday afternoon. Businesses were asked to help close early to help enforce the city's 8 p.m. curfew as looting continues to hit the area, NBC Philadelphia reported

ANALYSIS: Trump envisioned 'American carnage.' Now, he's got it.

Image: Secret Service and park police face off with protesters outside of the White House on May 30, 2020.
Secret Service and park police face off with protesters outside of the White House on May 30, 2020.Eric Baradat / AFP - Getty Images

WASHINGTON — American carnage isn't just one of President Donald Trump's catchphrases anymore.

When Trump first addressed the nation as its president on Jan. 20, 2017, he depicted the nation's cities as domestic combat zones and declared "this American carnage stops right here and stops right now."

Back then, it was hyperbole at best. But it's become reality on his watch, and he has encouraged further violence.

More than 100,000 Americans have lost their lives, and another 40 million have lost their livelihoods, amid a coronavirus pandemic to which Trump was slow to react. Against that backdrop, cities across the country are now combustible cauldrons of fear, anger, fire and tear gas as Trump has responded to the violence with threats and little evidence of understanding its cause.

Read the full analysis here. 

YouTuber Jake Paul says he wasn't looting after viral video shows him at vandalized Arizona mall

Image: Jake Paul attends an event in Los Angeles on May 8, 2019.
Jake Paul attends an event in Los Angeles on May 8, 2019.Rich Fury / Getty Images file

YouTuber Jake Paul released a statement on Sunday after footage of him at a looted Arizona mall surfaced amid claims he and his friends were among those doing the looting.

"To be absolutely clear, neither I nor anyone in our group was engaged in any looting or vandalism," Paul said in a statement.

Paul said he and his friends spent the day joining in peaceful protests of "one of the most horrific injustices our country has ever seen," according to the statement.

Read the full story here. 

Photos: See the fire and fury in protests across America

Fury sparked by George Floyd's death in Minneapolis police custody spawned massive protests and chaos across the country over the weekend.

See the full photo gallery here.

Image: A protester stands on top of a damaged police car in the Fairfax district of Los Angeles on May 30, 2020.
A protester stands on top of a damaged police car in the Fairfax district of Los Angeles on May 30, 2020.Brock Stoneham / NBC News

Opinion: George Floyd couldn't breathe. We protest because now all of Black America can't either.

George Floyd should have been alive today. George Floyd would have been alive today if his humanity was recognized, valued and respected. George Floyd should have been protected by those who swore an oath to uphold the law and help the communities they serve. George Floyd is no longer with us because even in the middle of a global pandemic, police brutality has not ceased, writes Rev. Al Sharpton for NBC News THINK.

COVID-19 is ravaging us, making it difficult to breathe, and yet systemic racism has been tightening its grip on our throats for years, Sharpton writes. Racism is trauma, passed from generation to generation. Enough is enough.

Read Sharpton's full opinion piece here.

Trump says he will designate Antifa a terrorist organization as GOP points fingers at extremists

President Donald Trump tweeted that he was designating Antifa as a terrorist organization.

That followed Trump and Attorney General William Barr earlier pointing to anti-fascist organizers and anarchists as culprits behind the violent protests following the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, at the hands of Minneapolis police.

Others said right-wing extremists such as Boogaloo followers, who hope to bring about a second Civil War, were pushing for such uprising in the protests.

Read the full story here.

Illinois activates National Guard after protests leave six shot, one dead

The Illinois National Guard has been activated to “support” Chicago amid continued protests that led to 240 arrests, six people shot and one death, the Illinois governor and Chicago mayor announced on Sunday.

“At the request of Mayor Lori Lightfoot, I am activating the Illinois National Guard to support the City of Chicago in protecting our communities and keeping people safe,” Governor J.B. Pritzker said in a statement. 

The news come after the mayor put Chicago under a curfew on Saturday from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. “until further notice."

Lightfoot said on Twitter she requested “a small contingent of the National Guard to maintain a limited presence and support our police.”

Minnesota governor praises peaceful protesters, more than 50 arrests in Minneapolis area

Gov. Tim Walz on Sunday morning commended peaceful protesters in Minnesota as a celebration of diversity, even as the state reconciles with the destruction that occurred overnight with more than 50 arrested by the early hours of the morning.   

"The beautiful expression of solidarity and community that we saw played out by peaceful protesters, by that beautiful tapestry that is Minnesota," Walz said. "Indigenous dancers leading in the middle while the crowed kneeled around in reverence in making sure that justice was served." 

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey on Sunday noted that the violent incidents Saturday happened alongside joyous protests of people "rallying around a common cause, which is each other," and communities coming out together to clear the debris in the morning. 

"Even though the whole world has seen us at out worst, we can still be at our best," Frey said.

About 25 people were arrested in Hennepin County and another 30 in Ramsey County by 2 a.m., Minnesota Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington said Sunday. More arrests were made between then and about 6 a.m., but Harrington did not have an exact count. 

 

Photo: Chicago River bridges remain upright after night of unrest

Image: Several street bridges over the Chicago River remain closed after a night of unrest and protests on May 31, 2020.
Several street bridges over the Chicago River remain closed on Sunday after a night of protests.Charles Rex Arbogast / AP

Mayor Bill de Blasio announces probe after video shows NYPD SUVs driving into protest crowd

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Sunday announced an investigation into a video appearing to show a New York Police Department cruiser driving into a crowd of protesters. The announcement came a day after De Blasio defended the alleged police action caught on camera. 

"I didn't like what I saw one bit. I did not want to ever see something like that, I don't want to ever see it again," de Blasio said. "And clearly, we need to do a full investigation and look at the actions of those officers and see what was done and why it was done and what could be done differently."

The mayor announced the launch of an independent review into the video led by Corporation Counsel James Johnson and New York City Department of Investigation Commissioner Margaret Garnett. The results are expected to come in during the month of June, he said.

Still, de Blasio chastised protesters, calling their tactic of surrounding police vehicles dangerous. 

Read the full story here. 

Protests and National Guard response draw comparisons to unrest in 1968

As of Saturday at least 10 states had called up the National Guard to enforce curfews in cities around the country. The decision mirrors that of state leaders in 1968 when multiple cities erupted in civil unrest following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in Memphis. 

National Guard troops were also called into action in California in 1992, after a jury’s decision to acquit the police officers caught on tape beating black motorist Rodney King.

While the Watts Riot in 1965 was sparked by police action, it’s the multi-city uprisings that followed the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968 that represent the most direct comparison, said Gerald Horne, author of the book, “Fire This Time: The Watts Uprising."

But even then, people were relatively optimistic, or had reason to be, about the federal government, he said. This time, some of those who have taken to the streets have focused their ire on the buildings and institutions that represent power, Horne said. That includes police stations in Minneapolis, a state house in Ohio, several Trump hotel properties and, last night, the White House. 

"That is quite remarkable,” said Horne, who is also a professor of African American studies at the University of Houston. “That makes me worry about what is going to happen tonight. These are direct challenges to the power of the state, a state that has operated in grossly unjust ways but a challenge."

D.C., Atlanta mayors call for calm, say 'solution is not to destroy our cities'

WASHINGTON — Amid nationwide protests sparked by the death of George Floyd while in custody of a Minneapolis police officer, the mayors of two major cities Sunday urged those participating to remain peaceful, calling the destruction of property something that's not a productive solution to the frustrations.

“We’re sending a very clear message to people that they have a right to exercise their First Amendment rights, but not to destroy our city," Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said in an exclusive interview on "Meet the Press."

"We saw a level of just destruction and mayhem among some that was maddening.”

Read the full story here. 

Target to close 175 stores amid protests

Target announced Sunday that it will temporarily close approximately 175 stores across the U.S. as some stores have been at risk of looting. 

The Minneapolis-based chain said in a statement Sunday it was heartbroken by the death of George Floyd and the pain his death has rippled through communities around the country. Stores closing include more than 30 locations in Minnesota and dozens in states such as California, Illinois and New York. 

"We are providing our team members with direct communications updates regarding any store impact where they work," the company said. "Additionally, team members impacted by store closures will be paid for up to 14 days of scheduled hours during store closures, including COVID-19 premium pay." 

NYPD Commissioner decries 'mob' out to co-opt equality movement

NYPD Police Commissioner Dermot Shea on Sunday morning denounced the "willful destruction of property" in New York City in a Twitter thread.

Shea praised officers in his statement and denounced those who he said were not out to protest police brutality, but were a "mob" that wished to co-opt the death of George Floyd to inflict harm. 

"What it was, quite frankly, was a mob bent solely on taking advantage of a moment in American history, to co-opt the cause of equality that we all must uphold, to intentionally inflict chaos, mayhem, and injury just for the sake of doing so," Shea tweeted.

Netflix, Amazon, Hulu say black lives matter

Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and other major Hollywood players are using their corporate social media accounts to take a stand and support the Black Lives Matter movement, amid nationwide protests decrying the police killing of George Floyd.

Netflix tweeted on Saturday: "To be silent is to be complicit. Black lives matter. We have a platform, and we have a duty to our Black members, employees, creators and talent to speak up."

While, CEO of ViacomCBS-owned Paramount Jim Gianopulos sent an internal memo to employees, expressing that "too many members of the Black community have had their breath stolen from them through racial injustice."

Alphabet-owned YouTube on Friday also posted that: "We stand in solidarity against racism and violence. When members of our community hurt, we all hurt. We're pledging $1M in support of efforts to address social injustice."

Thousands gather at London protest

Thousands gathered in London’s Trafalgar Square to express their outrage over the death of George Floyd on Sunday, as demonstrators clapped and waved placards as they offered support to U.S. protestors.

The crowd gathered despite U.K. government rules barring large crowds gathering because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Social media posts show a number of protests have been planned for the coming week in the U.K.’s capital city. 

Even so, the protests do not originate from the official Black Lives Matter U.K. group, which said on Twitter that while the coalition "stands in solidarity with all those whose hearts feel broken," it is still "discussing the implications of calling a mass march in the middle of a pandemic that is killing us the most."

At least 27 protesters arrested on Saturday night in Seattle

At least 27 people were arrested while protesting in Seattle on Saturday night, the city's police chief said in a news release Sunday. 

The alleged offenses varied from assault to arson, destruction and looting, Chief Carmen Best said.

“In the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd we all are rightfully angry, sad, frustrated, and heartbroken,” Best said.

She added that while the protest began peacefully at noon on Saturday, they became increasingly violent as the afternoon went on, "due to the actions of some groups who wanted to take advantage of this situation."

Target announces temporary store closures in Minnesota, other states

Image: Protests Continue Over Death Of George Floyd, Killed In Police Custody In Minneapolis
Tear gas spreads through a Target parking lot after a confrontation between police and demonstrators on Thursday, May 28 in St. Paul, Minnesota.Stephen Maturen / Getty Images

Target said Saturday it's closing 70 of its stores in Minnesota because of the protests over the death of George Floyd.

It is also closing stores in other states, including California, Illinois, New York and Oregon among others. 

"We anticipate most stores will be closed temporarily," the company said in a statement. "Our focus will remain on our team members’ safety and helping our community heal."

It said employees impacted by store closures will be paid for up to 14 days of scheduled hours during store closures, including COVID-19 premium pay. They will also be able to work at other nearby Target locations, the company added. 

13 Philadelphia Police officers injured in protests

Philadelphia Police said 13 of its officers have been injured as the result of violence that broke out during protests sparked by George Floyd's death. 

It said seven of the officers sustained chemical burns to their faces, two had head injuries and four were left with injuries to their extremities. 

All were treated at area hospitals, the police force said. 

San Francisco mayor announces curfew

San Francisco's mayor has said the city will be implementing a curfew starting at 8 p.m. on Sunday. 

"To be clear, this is the last thing I want to do as a mayor," London Breed said in a briefing. "I want peace. I want protest. But I don't want the kind of violence and crime we see playing itself across the streets of our city to continue."

Encouraging the city's residents to stay at home, she said those from out town should go back to their homes. 

St. Louis County PD shares photos of damage at Ferguson police station

Police officers kneel during rally in Coral Gables, Florida

Image: TOPSHOT-US-POLITICS-POLICE-JUSTICE-RACISM
Police officers kneel during a rally in Coral Gables, Florida on Saturday in response to the recent death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died while being arrested by a Minneapolis police officer.Eva Marie Uzcategui / AFP - Getty Images

Iran's foreign minister criticizes U.S. over death

Iran's foreign minister has criticized the U.S. over the death of George Floyd.

“Some don’t think #BlackLivesMatter,” Mohammad Javad Zarif wrote on Twitter. “To those of us who do: it is long overdue for the entire world to wage war against racism. Time for a #WorldAgainstRacism.”

The tweet also featured a screenshot of U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's statement from 2018, addressing protests in Iran, but with elements crossed out and replaced to include references to the ongoing protests in the U.S. 

U.S. police failing to respect right to peaceful protest: Amnesty International

U.S. police across the country are failing their obligations under international law to respect and facilitate the right to peaceful protest, rights group Amnesty International warned Saturday, adding that this was exacerbating a tense situation and endangering the lives of protesters. 

“In city after city, we are witnessing actions that could be considered unnecessary or excessive force," said Rachel Ward, national director of research at Amnesty International USA. "We call for an immediate end to any excessive use of force and for law enforcement to ensure and protect the legal right to protest.” 

She added that the use of heavy-duty riot gear and military-grade weapons and equipment to police largely peaceful demonstrations may intimidate protesters who are practicing their right to peaceful assembly. 

“Equipping officers in a manner more appropriate for a battlefield may put them in the mindset that confrontation and conflict are inevitable,” she said. 

Crowds hit with tear gas in Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS — Demonstrations appeared to get rowdier in downtown Las Vegas Saturday as the night unfolded.

Shortly before 10:30 p.m., many demonstrators set off fireworks near the federal courthouse on Las Vegas Boulevard. About a block down the same street, a group of looters appeared to break into a pawn shop.

Demonstrators in other locations reported that police cars windows were being smashed. Police officers in riot gear rushed down the streets, setting off flash bangs. Officers released tear gas into the air.

"I’m a peaceful protester and I don’t know why I’m getting hit with tear gas,” said Ace Michaud, 35.

He was marching with other demonstrators near the Fremont Street Experience when he heard a smashing sound and saw gas.

“It was everywhere," he said.

Man points hunting bow at Salt Lake City protesters

A man armed with a hunting bow pointed the weapon at protesters in Salt Lake City on Saturday and police said he'll be facing charges.

"So we have identified the subject in the video and will be screening charges on him for his part in the unrest," according to a police statement. "We are aware of the incident because of the video that was shared with us and that will be part of the evidence."

Video posted to Twitter appeared to show protesters rushing the man and disarming him before he could fire it. 

Video shows man disarming person with stolen Seattle police rifle

Dramatic video showed an armed man disarming an apparent protester who had a stolen Seattle police rifle taken after police vehicles were burned Saturday.

Two rifles were stolen from Seattle police patrol cars that were burned amid the chaos, and both were recovered by a security guard working with a Q13 Fox News reporter, police said in a tweet.

The video from KOMO shows a man with what appeared to be a handgun taking the rifle from a bandanna-masked man, and then releasing the magazine. A Seattle police spokeswoman confirmed that rifle was one of the two stolen from the SPD vehicles, but did not confirm who disarmed the man.

The reporter, Brandi Kruse, tweeted that "our security guard felt that the public was in danger" and took the rifle from what she described as a rioter and disabled it.

Seattle police tweeted their thanks to the man for "safely recovering both rifles and potentially saving lives." One rifle had been fired but police said there were no reports of injury and they were unsure who fired it. Kruse tweeted that a person took the rifle and fired into vehicles, but no one appeared hurt.

Police said no arrests had been made.

California governor declares state of emergency in L.A. County, sends in National Guard

California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in Los Angeles County and deployed the National Guard as tensions between protesters and police flared. 

Up to 1,000 troops were expected to arrive in the LA-area by midnight, NBC Los Angeles reported.

"Whether you wear a badge or whether you hold a sign, I’m asking all of Los Angeles to take a deep breath and step back for a moment," Mayor Garcetti said during a Saturday press conference. "To allow our firefighters to put out the flames. To allow our peace officers to re-establish some order. And, to let them protect your rights to be out there."

Businesses in popular shopping sections of L.A., including near Melrose Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue, were looted throughout the day and into the night.

A citywide curfew was imposed Saturday starting at 8 p.m. but thousands of people ignored the order.

Los Angeles shuts down COVID testing centers due to protests

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Saturday that all of the city's COVID-19 testing centers were closed as of 3 p.m. local time.

Garcetti also said that the city would be under curfew from 8 p.m. till 5:30 a.m. Sunday. Protests in the city were already underway on Saturday as buses were overtaken and multiple police cars were set on fire in the city's 4th day of protests.