- Protests continue over police brutality as several cities hold memorials to honour George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who was killed by police in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 25.
- Twitter has removed President Donald Trump’s campaign tribute video to George Floyd on its platform, citing a copyright complaint.
- Rights groups in the US have sued the Trump administration, claiming officials violated the civil rights of protesters when it removed peaceful demonstrators outside the White House earlier this week.
- Mayor of Washington, DC, called for the withdrawal from the city of military units sent from other states to deal with protesters. She also renamed a section of a street near the White House, “Black Lives Matter Plaza”
Friday, June 5
19:05 GMT – US Park Police admit ‘mistake’ in saying tear gas wasn’t used on peaceful protesters
US Park Police spokesperson Sergeant Eduardo Delgado admitted on Friday that it was a “mistake” to deny that tear gas was used to disperse peaceful protesters ahead of a controversial photo-op in front of a DC church.
Media reports challenged a Tuesday statement from the Park Police that said tear gas was not used to “secure” the area in downtown DC where Trump took a photo in front of a church that was damaged during protests against police brutality.
The statement said smoke bombs and pepper spray projectiles were used, but did not consider these to be tear gas.
“I’m not saying it’s not a tear gas, but I’m just saying we use a pepper ball that shoots a powder”, Delgado said in an interview with Vox.
“The point is we admitted to using what we used,” Delgado said. “I think the term ‘tear gas’ doesn’t even matter anymore. It was a mistake on our part for using ‘tear gas’ because we just assumed people would think CS or CN”.
CS and CN are two common types of tear gas, Vox reported.
Delgado said the USPP statement was correct in relation to the conduct of the park police.
17:57 GMT – Remaining National Guard troops in DC to return to home base: reports
The Pentagon will be sending back the remaining 900 active-duty troops who were sent to the Washington DC area to potentially respond to civil unrest, and they are expected to start heading back to their home bases, a US official told Reuters news agency.
The official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the order had been signed by US Defense Secretary Mark Esper and that the troops would be heading back to Fort Bragg in North Carolina and Fort Drum in New York.
The report came after Utah Senator Mike Lee tweeted that DC Mayor Muriel Bowser was ‘kicking’ National Guard troops out of hotels in the US capital.
Just heard that Mayor Bowser is kicking the Utah National Guard out of all DC hotels tomorrow. More than 1200 troops from 10 states are being evicted. This is unacceptable. 1/2
— Mike Lee (@SenMikeLee) June 5, 2020
17:30 GMT – Minneapolis to ban chokeholds by police
Negotiators for the city of Minneapolis have agreed with the state to ban the use of chokeholds by police, and to require police to report and intervene any time they see an unauthorized use of force by another officer.
The moves are part of a stipulation between the city and the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, which launched a civil rights investigation this week in response to the death of George Floyd in police custody. The City Council is expected to approve the agreement Friday.
The agreement, which will be enforceable in court, would require any officer, regardless of tenure or rank, to immediately report the use of any neck restraint or chokehold from the scene to their commander or their commander’s superiors.
Similarly, any officer who sees another officer commit any unauthorized use of force, including any chokehold or neck restraint, must try to intervene verbally and even physically. If they don’t, they’d be subject to discipline as severe as if they themselves had used the prohibited force.
The agreement also requires authorization from the police chief or a designated deputy chief to use crowd control weapons, including chemical agents, rubber bullets, flash-bangs, batons, and marking rounds. And it requires more timely decisions on disciplining officers.
17:00 GMT – Outrage in Canada after police killing of Indigenous woman
The Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council in Canada has called for an independent investigation into the fatal police shooting of Chantel Moore.
Moore, 26, was reportedly killed as police carried out a wellness check in northwestern New Brunswick.
Police say Moore ran out of her home with a knife and threatened the officer who shot her.
These deaths happened within the past month, two in the past week. Who do we call when our family members are in need help? We obviously can’t call the police, I’m not comfortable with calling the police.
Distress/mental health home services are needed, so we protect our famiy.
— IndigenousXca – @jjsylvester04 (@IndigenousXca) June 5, 2020
According to Canadian media, an ex-boyfriend of Moore called police to do a wellness check on the 26-year-old. He was reportedly concerned because she had been harassed, including by receiving “strange” messages on Facebook.
Quebec’s independent police watchdog group have sent several investigators to the area to determine the circumstances surrounding the shooting.
“The family and community of Chantal need answers as to why she was shot on a health check by the police,” the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council said. “Justice must not wait and every power must be exerted to ensure that justice is served in an appropriate immediate, and respectful way.”
The Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council is calling for an immediate independent investigation into the death of Chantel Moore.
“The family and community of Chantel needs answers as to why she was shot on a health check by police. Justice must not wait…” pic.twitter.com/HeFlwvEy8u
— Silas Brown (@silasjvbrown) June 5, 2020
16:30 GMT – Officers suspended after man, 75, is shoved to ground; man remains in serious condition
Two police officers in Buffalo, New York, have been suspended after pushing a 75-year-old man who then fell down and cracked his head.
The video from WFBO of Thursday night’s encounter, which happened near the conclusion of protests over the death of George Floyd in Minnesota, quickly sparked outrage.
It showed an officer pushing a man who approached a line of officers clearing demonstrators from Niagara Square around the time of an 8pm curfew. The man falls backward and hits his head on the pavement. Blood leaks out as officers walk past.
The mayor, Byron Brown, said in a statement that the man, who hasn’t been publicly identified, was in serious condition. A hospital official said he was “alert and oriented”, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz tweeted Friday morning.
The district attorney’s office “continues to investigate the incident”, officials said in a news release.
Governor Andrew Cuomo endorsed the suspensions, tweeting that what was seen on video was “wholly unjustified and utterly disgraceful.”
16:25 GMT – Witness: Floyd didn’t resist arrest, tried to defuse things
A man who was with George Floyd on the night he died said his friend did not resist arrest and instead tried to defuse the situation before he ended up handcuffed on the ground and pleading for air as an officer pressed a knee against his neck.
Maurice Lester Hall, a longtime friend of Floyd’s, was a passenger in Floyd’s car when police approached him May 25 as they responded to a call about someone using a forged bill at a shop. Hall told the New York Times that Floyd was trying to show he was not resisting.
“I could hear him pleading, ‘Please, officer, what’s all this for?'” Hall told the newspaper.
Hall is a key witness in the state’s investigation into the four officers who apprehended Floyd. Derek Chauvin, the white officer who continued pressing his knee into Floyd’s neck even after Floyd became motionless, is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter. The three other officers are charged with aiding and abetting. All four officers were fired.
15:50 GMT – DC mayor renames street near White House ‘Black Lives Matter Plaza’
Muriel Bowser, the mayor of Washington, DC, has renamed a section of a street near the White House “Black Lives Matter Plaza”.
The move comes just days after peaceful protesters were forcefully cleared to make space for a Trump photo-op. Rights groups, including Black Lives Matter, have sued Trump and several officials with his administration over the incident.
The section of 16th street in front of the White House is now officially “Black Lives Matter Plaza”. pic.twitter.com/bbJgAYE35b
— Mayor Muriel Bowser #StayHomeDC (@MayorBowser) June 5, 2020
15:45 GMT – Trump slammed for ‘this is great day’ for George Floyd remarks
President Donald Trump is facing further criticism after making remarks about George Floyd during his news conference on job gans in the US.
“Hopefully George is looking down right now and saying this is a great thing that’s happening for our country. This is a great day for him. It’s a great day for everybody”, Trump said.
The remarks drew immediate ire from observers and journalists present, who questioned how Floyd would enjoy unemployment numbers after being killed.
“How is this a great day for George Floyd?” I shouted to President Trump, before he turned and exited the Rose Garden without taking a single question. https://t.co/ks60ONgeUn
— Peter Alexander (@PeterAlexander) June 5, 2020
Trump finished his news conference without taking questions, a move that observers have also criticised.
US unemployment figures dropped to slightly over 13 percent, new figures from May show.
Trump attributed these figures to his administration’s response to the coronavirus, including pushing states to reopen their economies.
The US has nearly 1.9 million confirmed coronavirus cases. There have have over 108,000 US deaths since the pandemic began spreading in March.
14:50 GMT – Minnesota eyes changes for how police killings are handled
Minnesota’s county attorneys want to give the state attorney general the authority to handle all cases of police-involved deaths.
The Minnesota County Attorneys Association voted Thursday in transferring that power during an emergency meeting, which included Attorney General Keith Ellison. The attorney general is leading the state’s case against the four police officers involved in George Floyd’s death instead of the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office.
State lawmakers would need to pass legislation during this month’s special session to give the attorney general the ongoing authority.
The county attorneys are also calling on the Legislature to provide additional funding to the state Attorney General’s Office and create a unit within Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to investigate police killings of civilians.
“If this is the path the Legislature and governor choose to take, my office will accept the responsibility,” Ellison said. “But it must come with resources sufficient to do the job thoroughly and to do justice in the way Minnesotans have a right to expect.”
Ellison is one of 18 Democratic attorneys general who are asking Congress to grant their offices “clear statutory authority under federal law” to investigate “unconstitutional policing by local police departments” in their respective states, the Star Tribune reported.
14:48 GMT – Large letters spelling out ‘Black Lives Matter’ painted on busy DC street
Parts of a major Washington, DC, street was blocked off so that large, yellow letters that spell out “Black Lives Matter” could be painted on the road.
On the road that leads to the White House, the #WashingtonDC government is painting “Black Lives Matter” with local muralists. They expect to be done by 11am. pic.twitter.com/sLDJWkqfUT
— Daniella Cheslow (@Dacheslow) June 5, 2020
14:40 – Minneapolis City Council prepares to vote on changes to police department
The Minneapolis City Council is preparing to vote on changes to the city’s police department in response to the death of George Floyd.
City leaders and the Minnesota Department of Human Rights are working out an agreement for a temporary restraining order to force some immediate changes and set a timeline for the state’s civil rights investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department.
The council meets Friday afternoon. If the council approves the agreement, the order would require court approval.
The state human rights department opened a civil rights investigation into allegations of racial discrimination by the police department on Tuesday. The investigation into policies, procedures and practices seeks to determine if the force has engaged in systematic discriminatory practices toward people of color and ensure that any such practices are stopped.
14:30 – Slave action block removed in Virginia city’s downtown
A 176-year-old slave auction block has been removed from a Virginia city’s downtown and will be displayed in a museum.
The 800-pound stone was pulled from the ground at a Fredericksburg street corner early Friday after its removal was delayed for months by lawsuits and the coronavirus pandemic, The Free Lance-Star reported.
The weathered stone was sprayed with graffiti twice and chants of “move the block” erupted this week during local demonstrations over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, city officials said in a statement announcing the removal.
The slave auction block in Fredericksburg, Virginia has been removed. pic.twitter.com/NBYNlzRNNA
— Kevin M. Levin (@KevinLevin) June 5, 2020
A local chapter of the NAACP called for the stone’s removal in 2017, saying it was a relic of “a time of hatred and degradation.”
In 2019, the City Council voted for its removal and relocation to the Fredericksburg Area Museum. A judge upheld that decision in February after two businesses near the auction block sued to stop the relocation.
The museum plans to display the knee-high stone in an exhibit chronicling the “movement from slavery to accomplishments by the local African American community.”
14:25 GMT – EU express concerns about policing in US
European Union lawmakers are expressing concern about U.S. police action linked to the death of George Floyd.
The incidents were debated by the EU parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights as the protest movement since Floyd’s death gathered pace in Europe and around the world.
Finnish Greens lawmaker Heidi Hautala says “the police should not be there to shoot when some loot. The police should be there to protect, and it is clear that widespread reforms in the law enforcement in the United States are needed.”
Irish EU lawmaker Sean Kelly says some of the problem is due to a failure of leadership. He says what happened in the United States is “chilling in the extreme. I think it indicates what can happen when you have poor leadership.
“Leaders can either divide or unite. Good unite. Bad divide. That’s what we see unfortunately in America at the moment.”
Swedish liberal parliamentarian Karin Karlsbro says “America has a long and tragic history on police brutality. At the heart of this lies racism and segregation based on history. This is a systematic problem that needs to be addressed at all levels in the U.S.”
14:20 GMT – Another Confederate statue comes down
The city of Mobile, Alabama, removed a Confederate statue early Friday.
The bronze figure of Admiral Raphael Semmes had become a flashpoint for protests. It was removed from its pedestal after being vandalized this week and before demonstrations announced for Sunday calling for it to be taken down.
The removal of the 120-year-old figure follows days of protests in Alabama and across the nation over killings by police of African Americans.
Mobile removes Confederate statue without warning overnight after days of George Floyd protests.
It’s not yet clear why the statue was taken down. The Alabama city is expected to release more details today. Follow reporter @Charress for the latest info. https://t.co/Z3XWBSZeJ7 pic.twitter.com/9CZqqwHpmA
— AL.com (@aldotcom) June 5, 2020
Semmes was a Confederate commerce raider, sinking Union-allied ships during the Civil War. He later became a “Lost Cause” hero to Southerners who lamented the end of the Confederacy.
The city of Semmes, Alabama, outside Mobile, was incorporated in 2010 and named for him.
14:00 GMT – Alabama police investigating cross burning
Police are investigating a cross burning on a bridge in Macon County.
Macon County Sherriff Andre Brunson says the burning cross was seen on top of a bridge over Interstate 85 on Thursday night. Brunson says deputies arrived and helped extinguish the fire.
John Bolton, a motorist who called 911, told WRBL-TV there was a cross, burning tire and fuel canister.
The sheriff says there are no suspects so far.
13:55 GMT – Twitter blocks Trump campaign video tribute to Floyd
Twitter has blocked a Trump campaign video tribute to George Floyd over a copyright claim, in a move that adds to tensions between the social media platform and the U.S. president, one of its most widely followed users.
The company put a label on a video posted by the @TeamTrump account that said, “This media has been disabled in response to a claim by the copyright owner.” The video was still up on President Donald Trump’s YouTube channel and includes pictures of Floyd, whose death sparked widespread protests, at the start.
“Per our copyright policy, we respond to valid copyright complaints sent to us by a copyright owner or their authorized representatives,” Twitter said in a statement.
The three minute and 45 second clip is a montage of photos and videos of peaceful marches and police officers hugging protesters interspersed with some scenes of burning buildings and vandalism, set to gentle piano music and Trump speaking.
It’s the latest action that Twitter has taken against Trump, who has threatened to retaliate against social media companies.
Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the protests in the US over the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Here are a few things to catch up on:
- George Floyd, an unarmed 46-year-old Black man, died on May 25 after a white officer used his knee to pin Floyd’s neck to the ground for nearly nine minutes. Floyd can be heard on a bystander video repeatedly pleading with officers, saying: “I can’t breathe.” He eventually lies motionless with the officer’s knee still on his neck. You can read about the deadly incident here.
- The four officers involved in the incident were fired, and all have been charged.
- Protests – some violent – have since erupted nationwide as demonstrators rally for justice for Floyd and all unarmed Black people killed by police.
See the updates from Thursday’s protests here
www.aljazeera.com 2020-06-05 19:21:25