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LIVE UPDATES: Protests over death of George Floyd continue across the US

Orlando police use tear gas to disperse lingering crowd

ORLANDO, Fla. – Here’s the latest on the May 25 death in Minneapolis of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man who pleaded for air as a white police officer pressed a knee on his neck.

SAN FRANCISCO

California authorities have charged more than 100 people with looting, assault and other crimes committed during and around protests. More than 3,000 people have been arrested in Los Angeles County since protests began last week. The county produced the lion’s share of those charged with 61. Sacramento County has brought charges against 43 people and Orange County brought felony cases against two men. Thousands hit the streets in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and smaller cities Wednesday but the demonstrations were peaceful. Business break-ins and theft has been greatly reduced since the weekend.

MINNEAPOLIS

A full autopsy of George Floyd, the handcuffed black man who died after being restrained by Minneapolis police, has been released and provides several clinical details, including that Floyd had previously tested positive for COVID-19. The 20-page report released by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office came after the coroner's office released summary findings Monday that Floyd had a heart attack while being restrained by officers, and classified his May 25 death as a homicide. Bystander video showing Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pressing his knee on Floyd's neck, ignoring Floyd's pleas until he eventually stopped moving, has sparked nationwide protests. The report also said Floyd's lungs appeared healthy but he had some narrowing of arteries in the heart.

BREWER, Maine

The deputy mayor of a Maine city has resigned and was charged with filing a false report after he said someone hacked his social media account to make racist statements about the George Floyd killing. The Bangor Daily News reports Brewer police said Thomas Morelli was charged in relation to the incident. Morelli issued a statement in which he said he is "ashamed of my comments and behavior" and acknowledged his participation in "Facebook trolling." Morelli had told police on Monday that someone had gained access to his Facebook account to post racist comments about Floyd, a handcuffed black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis.

DECATUR, Ga.

Around 1,500 protesters gathered outside a Confederate monument in Decatur, Georgia, as demonstrations continued throughout the state against racism, police brutality and the killing of George Floyd. The march started Wednesday afternoon in Decatur Square, home to a Confederate monument built in 1908 and a “contextualized” marker explaining the racist history of the monument and the Civil War. The crowd moved through the streets of Decatur, stopping traffic at intersections as police and sheriff’s deputies looked on. Organizers said they would sit down in an intersection at 8:50 p.m and demand an audience with Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.

LOUISVILLE – An attorney says video released by Louisville police showing a black man’s fatal encounter with law enforcement raises more questions than it answers.

The comments come as people close to David McAtee wonder how he ended up a casualty of the unrest in the Kentucky city. Police say the video appears to show McAtee opening fire early Monday as officers approached his business. Police and National Guard soldiers were trying to clear a crowd from a parking lot to enforce a curfew.

Witnesses say the crowd was not protesting. Attorney Steve Romines is representing McAtee’s mother, Odessa Riley. He says she wants “the truth” of what led to her son’s death.

MINNEAPOLIS – Prosecutors are charging a Minneapolis police officer accused of pressing his knee against George Floyd’s neck with second-degree murder, and for the first time are leveling charges against three other officers.

Bystander video showing Floyd’s May 25 death has sparked violent protests nationwide and around the world.

The officer, Derek Chauvin, was fired May 26 and initially charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

Three other officers were also fired but weren’t immediately charged. The Star-Tribune reports that Attorney General Keith Ellison will charge Thomas Lane J. Kueng and Tou Thao with aiding and abetting murder.

ORLANDO – Gov. Ron DeSantis Wednesday addressed the state at Universal Orlando, where the theme park entered a soft reopening to annual passholders.

DeSantis began his announcement at noon and discussed the ongoing protests across the state.

“The gatherings that have been occurring statewide, there have been respectful gatherings of large crowds with isolated instances of individuals who take the opportunity to exploit these events usually at night to engage in unlawful activities,” DeSantis said.

The governor thanked local law enforcement for their assistance in monitoring demonstrations and keeping protesters safe.

“I also want to thank the peaceful demonstrators who have engaged in lawful first amendment activity, some of whom have helped to stymie attempts of some protesters seeking to engage in violent activity. We really appreciate their commitment to non-violence,” Desantis said. “I also announced that at the request of the Secretary of Defense I’ve authorized 500 National Guardsmen to deploy to the National Capital Region, most of them will be arriving in the region today.”

NEW YORK -- New York City Mayor says that the city has taken a “step forward” in restoring order with the help of an early curfew. Tuesday night brought more big protests over the death of George Floyd and sporadic reports of vandalism, but much less of the widespread plundering of stores amid a huge police presence. The citywide curfew from 8 p.m. Tuesday to 5 a.m. was imposed to prevent the nighttime chaos and destruction that followed peaceful protests for several days in a row. De Blasio condemned police for roughing up journalists covering the protests, including two from the Associated Press. De Blasio called for an investigation and said he wants to “make sure there are ramifications for that.”


NEW YORK -- New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says that the city has taken a “step forward” in restoring order with the help of an early curfew. Tuesday night brought more big protests over the death of George Floyd and sporadic reports of vandalism, but much less of the widespread plundering of stores amid a huge police presence. The citywide curfew from 8 p.m. Tuesday to 5 a.m. was imposed to prevent the nighttime chaos and destruction that followed peaceful protests for several days in a row. De Blasio condemned police for roughing up journalists covering the protests, including two from the Associated Press. De Blasio called for an investigation and said he wants to “make sure there are ramifications for that.”


ORLANDO -- For a fourth day in a row, Floridians held rallies on Tuesday to protest racism and police brutality following the death of George Floyd, who pleaded for air while a white Minneapolis police officer put his knee on the handcuffed man’s neck for several minutes.

Around 2,000 peaceful demonstrators outside Orlando City Hall chanted “Black Lives Matter!" and “George Floyd" as cloudy skies threatened rain. They then walked more than a mile to the Orlando Police Department headquarters.

Nearly 50 minutes after the city’s 10 p.m. curfew went into effect, Orlando police said officers deployed tear gas and smoke after “a few remaining participants” started throwing rocks and bottles at them.

ST. PETERSBURG -- Protests became heated Tuesday evening in St. Petersburg, about two hours southwest of Orlando. The St. Petersburg Police Department said 23 people were arrested for various crimes during the demonstrations.

Officers said the protests, involving more than 300 people, began around 2 p.m. and continued until at least 12 a.m. The protest remained mostly peaceful and police allowed demonstrators to take over major intersections, stopping traffic for several minutes, according to the department.

Later that night, however, police said they became aware that some protesters were using “incendiary devices” as they walked along roads, which officials said posed a threat because it was unknown what type of devices they were using.

At nearly midnight the crowd was told to disperse, and just moments later, police launched smoke bombs at protesters while several demonstrators threw large fireworks, or mortars, back toward the building, police said.

No injuries were reported.

Photo courtesy St. Petersburg Police Department
Photo courtesy St. Petersburg Police Department (Copyright 2020 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

NEW YORK -- Thousands of demonstrators protesting the death of George Floyd remained on New York City streets on Tuesday after an 8 p.m. curfew put in place by officials struggling to stanch destruction and growing complaints that the nation’s biggest city was reeling out of control night after night.

Mayor Bill de Blasio had doubled down on a citywide curfew, moving it up from 11 p.m. a night earlier, but rejected urging from President Donald Trump and an offer from Gov. Andrew Cuomo to bring in the National Guard.

Protests had resumed Tuesday during the day over the death of Floyd, a black man who died on May 25 after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed a knee on his neck even after he stopped moving and pleading for air.

People marched in groups of thousands in parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn, as merchants boarded up their businesses. As the the curfew time arrived, many were still in the streets and continued marching, with officers initially standing by and allowing them.

But officers started ordering people to move along, and began taking people into custody. Demonstrators who had been on the West Side Highway in lower Manhattan were herded off, with parts of the roadway blocked off behind them.

“Something has to break, and it’s not going to be us,” said Evan Kutcher, one of hundreds of demonstrators who stood outside the Barclays Center chanting Floyd’s name Tuesday evening. "We’re here because something needs to change.

WASHINGTON -- The protest in the nation’s capital on Tuesday night lacked the tension of the previous nights’ demonstrations.

The crowd outside Lafayette Park near the White House was peaceful, polite even, as they protested the death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minnesota.

Instead of the spray-painted tags, the protesters Tuesday favored colorful children’s street chalk, writing Black Lives Matter slogans on the asphalt in front of St. John’s Church.

Protesters chanted and talked among themselves, most wearing masks, but not social distancing in the age of COVID-19. One protester, Mati Yiheyis, a 21-year-old college student at the University of Virginia, speculated that fears of coronavirus kept many older people away.

When one protester climbed a lamp post and removed a street sign he was roundly booed by others. “It’s not what we’re about,” said protester George “T.J.” Pierce of Washington.

The crowd started thinning out on its own after 8 p.m., an hour after a curfew went into place, although a core group of several hundred remained at the fence, chanting at the line of police and soldiers in riot gear on the other side.

On Monday, law enforcement officers on foot and horseback aggressively drove protesters away from Lafayette Park, clearing the way for President Donald Trump to do a photo op at St. John’s Church, known as the church of presidents. On Tuesday, pastors at the church prayed with demonstrators and handed out water bottles.

LOS ANGELES -- Thousands have taken to the streets of Los Angeles in peaceful protests Tuesday, and smaller demonstrations dotted other California cities while authorities renewed overnight curfews in LA and other areas that have seen clashes with police and groups of thieves wreck hundreds of businesses.

There were several sizable demonstrations in Los Angeles and Mayor Eric Garcetti took a knee at one while in a crowd outside police headquarters. However, later in the day, hundreds gathered outside the mayor’s house and protested.

Elsewhere in the city, police cordons backed by National Guard troops kept a tight watch on marchers in Hollywood, where hundreds were arrested a day earlier, and at a crowd of thousands at City Hall.

In San Francisco, a mass of people marched up the Great Highway along San Francisco’s Ocean Beach. At San Jose’s City Hall, several hundred people showed up for a demonstration and speeches organized by the local branch of the NAACP.

San Francisco Police Chief William Scott asked supervisors Tuesday to keep an overnight curfew order for at least the “next few days” to get ahead of people bent on using peaceful protests to pilfer stores and commit violence. Mayor London Breed ordered the 8 p.m. curfew Sunday following a night of thefts downtown, including at a major shopping mall where several fires were set.

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minneapolis school board has voted to end its contract with the Minneapolis Police Department following the death last week of George Floyd.

The Star Tribune reports the vote was unanimous Tuesday.

Minneapolis Public Schools will stop further negotiations with the Police Department. Schools Superintendent Ed Graff must come up with a new plan for school safety by the board’s Aug. 18 meeting.

School board chairwoman Kim Ellison said in an interview that she values “people and education and life.” Ellison said she’s now convinced, “based on the actions of the Minneapolis Police Department, that we don’t have the same values.”

The Minneapolis and St. Paul school districts have faced criticism over the use of school resource officers. Both districts have sought to transform the role to be more of a mentor than an enforcer.

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Park Police denied using tear gas to disperse a crowd of protesters outside the White House on Monday night, saying officers instead used smoke canisters and pepper balls to aggressively push back the demonstrators.

Protesters scrambled as smoke filled the streets and AP journalists witnessed people reacting to their eyes and throats becoming irritated. Journalists covering the protest reported the crowd was largely peaceful at the time; the Park Police said they were responding to protesters throwing items, including bricks and frozen water bottles at law enforcement.

Justice Department officials offered a different explanation, saying officers were carrying out Attorney General William Barr’s order to expand the security perimeter outside the White House.

Officers repelled the crowd nearly 30 minutes ahead of a 7 p.m. curfew in Washington. Shortly after the crowd was pushed back, President Donald Trump walked through the park where they had gathered for a photo opportunity at a nearby church.

DALLAS -- Former President George W. Bush criticized any effort to squelch protests of George Floyd’s death while in Minneapolis police custody.

In a statement issued Tuesday by his office in Dallas, the former Republican president said he and wife Laura Bush “are anguished by the brutal suffocation of George Floyd and disturbed by the injustice and fear that suffocate our country.”

Bush did not refer specifically toward President Donald Trump, but he called the harassment and threats toward African American protesters “a shocking failure.”

“It is a strength when protesters, protected by responsible law enforcement, march for a better future. ... Those who set out to silence those voices do not understand the meaning of America -- or how it becomes a better place,” he said.

MINNEAPOLIS -- The mother of George Floyd’s 6-year-old daughter, Gianna, said Tuesday that she wanted the world to know that her little girl lost a good father who would never get to see his daughter grow up.

“I want everybody to know that this is what those officers took. At the end of the day, they get to go home and be with their families,” Roxie Washington said during a Minneapolis news conference with her young daughter at her side. “I’m here for my baby and I’m here for George because I want justice for him. I want justice for him because he was good. No matter what anybody thinks, he was good.”

Floyd died on Memorial Day after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into the black man’s neck for several minutes even after he stopped moving and pleading for air.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson declared a state of emergency Tuesday in response to continued demonstrations to protest the death of George Floyd in the custody of Minneapolis police.

A statement from the governor’s spokeswoman said the action will unify command of local and state police, the Arkansas National Guard and the state Department of Emergency Management.

The spokeswoman minimized the significance of the move, however. “This is a normal executive order issued when the National Guard is activated under state control in regard to civil disturbance. Under this executive order, sheriff offices and police departments maintain command and operational control of their respective jurisdictions,” Katie Beck said in her statement.

Also Tuesday, Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott expanded the city’s curfew a day after Arkansas authorities again used tear gas to break up protests outside the state Capitol. Scott said the city’s nighttime curfew will begin 8 p.m.

ATLANTA -- Hundreds of protesters lingered on the streets of downtown Atlanta on Tuesday night ahead of another 9 p.m. curfew imposed by Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.

Authorities used armored vehicles to form a cordon at the state Capitol nearby.

Bottoms has implemented the curfew every night, starting Saturday.

As the curfew took effect, police and National Guard troops moved in, firing tear gas. The crowd quickly dispersed, and television footage showed police leading some people away in zip ties.

SEATTLE -- Mayor Jenny Durkan addressed a large crowd protesting George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis, telling them their “voices holding me accountable are important.”

Tuesday was the fifth day of protests in the Northwest’s largest city over the death of Floyd in police custody. Monday’s protests were largely peaceful but turned chaotic as officers dispersed the crowd at night using tear gas and flash-bang devices. Authorities said demonstrators threw fireworks and tried to storm a barricade, but citizen video showed the chaos began when an officer grabbed a pink umbrella that a demonstrator was holding just across a barricade.

Standing next to the city’s police chief at the downtown Emergency Operations Center, Durkan said she supported the crowd’s right to rally against injustice.

“We want you to march, we want you to raise your voices, we want you to continue on your path of justice,” Durkan said over a microphone as the crowd listened, mostly in silence. “But we need you, please, to do it peacefully.” The mayor, a former U.S. attorney, then took questions from some in the crowd.

ST. PAUL, MINN. -- Thousands of protesters gathered on the front lawn of the Minnesota Capitol as part of a youth protest for George Floyd on Tuesday afternoon.

The crowd listened to speakers and periodically chanted slogans like, “Say his name: George Floyd.”

William Ray, 22, said his protest was about more than just George Floyd’s death last week. His grandparents were civil rights activists in the 60s and also members of the Black Panther Party.

“I grew up with an understanding of what needs to be done, growing up with them and seeing the change that they brought to the community. ... America was built off of slaves -- my ancestors. A lot of the systems that were in place then are still here,” he said.

Christine Ohenzuwa, 19, of Blaine, Minnesota, said she’s felt disheartened by the “endless cascade of hashtags of black people dying.” Of the unrest that has gripped cities across the nation, she said, “there’s always going to be a breaking point.”

“It’s really painful to see what’s going on, but it’s also really important to understand that it’s connected to a system of racial violence,” she said.

WASHINGTON -- A former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff says he was “sickened” to see National Guard troops and other security personnel forcibly clear protesters from a square near the White House to facilitate President Donald Trump’s walk to a nearby church to pose for photographers.

Calling the visit Monday a “stunt,” Mike Mullen, a retired Navy admiral who headed the military from 2007 to 2011, wrote in The Atlantic on Tuesday it laid bare what he called Trump’s “disdain” for the rights of peaceful protesters. He said it also risked further politicizing the military.

Mullen cautioned against an overly aggressive use of the military to restrain the sometimes-violent protests around the country. He said he has confidence in the professionalism of the troops but worries about the soundness of the orders they would be given by Trump.

MIAMI -- A demonstration in Miami grew to about 400 people as protesters marched from a courthouse to a historically black neighborhood north of downtown.

Demonstrators sat on one knee during several stops to listen to organizers shouting instructions that they were to remain peaceful and hydrated in the 80-degree weather. They shouted “No justice, no peace, no racist police” as more than 30 officers followed the group a few blocks behind wearing body armor.

Twenty-two-year-old Trinity Auberry arrived at the demonstration with four other friends. It was the first time protesting for the young black model who said the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis is not isolated and cases of “police brutality” are also common in Florida.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The West Virginia National Guard is pursuing disciplinary action against a guardsman who posted on social media that he would shoot at people protesting the death of George Floyd, officials said Tuesday.

The guardsman, Noah Garcelon, has already resigned his position as an officer with the Winfield Police Department after making the comments. In a series of now-deleted posts, Garcelon wrote that he would “start firing live rounds” at protesters and “see how many I can run over before my car breaks down.”

Maj. Gen. James Hoyer, who leads the state’s National Guard, said officials will be taking the appropriate disciplinary action related to Garcelon and any others “who make inflammatory comments related to protests going on across the nation.”

Winfield Police Department Chief Ron Arthur said Garcelon acknowledged that he made the comments and stressed that he wasn’t a racist before resigning.

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice, a Republican, has urged people to remain peaceful but said he would not hesitate to call in the National Guard if demonstrations in the state became violent.

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- About 100 people gathered in front of the state capitol building in downtown Columbia, South Carolina, on Tuesday afternoon as medics passed out water bottles and snacks and volunteers passed out voter registration forms.

Participants raised their fists in unison as passing commuters showed their solidarity with honks and waves.

An outreach minister emphasized the need to sustain demonstrations past the initial events over the weekend and also urged a peaceful nature in the afternoon’s demonstrations. Minister Danielle Ford told the crowd, “they’re waiting on us to give up, they’re waiting on us to get tired, they’re waiting on us to give in. We need you out here.”

A 21-year-old college student said she was protesting for justice for George Floyd as well as Joshua Ruffin, a 17-year-old shot to death by a Columbia police officer after a foot chase in April.

HOUSTON -- Houston rappers Bun B and Trae Tha Truth organized a march on Tuesday and told the crowd it would be peaceful.

After asking the crowd of several thousand to look for anybody who could cause trouble, Bun B then led them on a chant. He said “What’s his name?” and the crowd replied, “George Floyd.”

The crowd later got down on one knee and was silent for 30 seconds.

Among those participating was a group of about 60 people on horseback from a riding club in Houston.

LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore said Tuesday more than 2,700 people have been arrested since protests and violence began in the nation’s second-largest city.

The chief told the city Police Commission that about 2,500 of those arrests were for failure to disperse or curfew violations. The remainder were for crimes including burglary, looting, assaults on police officers and other violence.

The chief gave the figures during a report to the Police Department’s civilian oversight board. Several new demonstrations in Los Angeles on Tuesday over the death of George Floyd have remained peaceful.


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