On the day the brother of George Floyd and mother of Breonna Taylor called for protesters to abstain from violence, demonstrations continued in the wake of the Floyd’s death last week.
Curfews have been announced again in New York, Philadelphia, Washington, Atlanta, Chicago and Los Angeles. Amid the tension and faceoffs were scenes of police officers kneeling with protesters.
• Across the street from the White House, demonstrators gathered again in Lafayette Square. Video showed heavy smoke from tear gas in the crowd of hundreds of people. Officers, some on horseback, moved protesters off one street ahead of President Trump’s walk to a historic church where there was a fire in the basement overnight.
• Before posing for photos in front of St. John’s Church, Trump spoke in the Rose Garden, calling himself “your president of law and order” and an ally of all peaceful protesters.
• A large crowd has packed the street in front of the Minnesota governor’s residence.
• After a heated negotiation between different groups, a few hundred protesters in Atlanta crossed the street and knelt in front of the police line. Police responded by kneeling with them.
• There was a similar scene in Philadelphia. But just five minutes after protesters and police took a knee together, police in tactical gear in armored vehicles moved in because of the city’s curfew.
• Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a disaster proclamation for nine counties and activated 250 members of the National Guard.
Autopsies find Floyd’s death was a homicide
Floyd’s death on May 25 was caused by what the police officers did to him, an independent autopsy and attorneys for the family say.
Floyd, 46, died a week ago after a now-fired Minneapolis officer pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes, 46 seconds. His final words included “Mama” and “I can’t breathe.” A video of the incident shows two other officers helping to hold down Floyd, who was on his stomach and was handcuffed.
“George died because he needed a breath. He needed a breath of air,” attorney Ben Crump said.
Floyd died from “asphyxiation from sustained pressure” — a finding in the family-commissioned autopsy that is at odds with the medical examiner.
Preliminary autopsy results cited in a criminal complaint last week against one officer said combined effects of being restrained, any potential intoxicants in Floyd’s system and his underlying health issues, including heart disease, probably contributed to his death.
But on Monday, the medical examiner’s office in Hennepin County released the report that said Floyd’s death was a homicide resulting from being restrained.
The statement said that the cause of death is “cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restrain, and neck compression.” It further adds that Floyd died from experiencing a “cardiopulmonary arrest while being restrained by law enforcement officers.”
Be peaceful, families say
Terrence Floyd traveled from New York to Minneapolis to the street where his brother died while being arrested and called on people to stop smashing windows and setting things on fire.
“If I’m not over here wildin’ out, If I’m not over here blowing up stuff, if I’m not over here messing up my community, then what are y’all doing? What are y’all doing?” he shouted Monday while surrounded by people gathered at the memorial site. “Y’all doing nothing. Because That’s not going to bring my brother back at all.”
In Louisville, where Taylor was shot in her home by police, her mother, Tamika Palmer, asked for justice while also pleading for calm demonstrations.
“We can’t get justice with violence. It doesn’t make sense, it doesn’t help,” Palmer said. “It doesn’t help her, it doesn’t help us, it doesn’t help the world we live in. You can’t fight violence with violence.”
Chauvin court date moved
The former officer who pinned Floyd to the ground, Derek Chauvin, was initially expected in court Monday. But that appearance has been rescheduled for June 8.
Chauvin is charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. If convicted, he faces up to 25 years in prison on the murder charge and up to 10 years on the manslaughter charge.
But those charges aren’t enough to quell protests across the country. Many activists say they want charges for the three other officers who were near Chauvin but did not intervene.
23 states have activated the National Guard
More than 17,000 National Guard members across the country are responding to civil disturbances in support of local authorities, a National Guard official said Monday.
At least 23 states and the District of Columbia have activated guard members.
In Long Beach, California, some crowds defied the nightly curfew and began raiding and vandalizing stores Sunday night.
The entire DC National Guard — about 1,350 members — was called out Sunday night to assist police with protests in the city after several fires were set, including in a church just blocks from the White House.
An additional 600 to 800 National Guard members from five states have been requested to supplement the DC National Guard, a defense official said.
Officials are investigating extremist groups
The FBI and other agencies are tracking groups from both the extreme right and left that are involved in the violence and attacks on police.
Federal law enforcement officials said they’re aware of organized groups who are seeking to carry out destruction and violence using the cover of the legitimate protests in Minneapolis and elsewhere.
Those domestic extremist groups include anarchists, anti-government groups often associated with far-right extremists and white supremacy causes, and far-left extremists who identify with anti-fascist ideology.
In the past, some of the groups have been known to organize and travel specifically to confront police and destroy property, federal law enforcement officials said.
Minnesota officials said white supremacists and others were mixing in with legitimate protestors. Authorities there are looking at connections between those arrested and white supremacist organizers who have posted online about coming to Minnesota.
On Sunday, President Trump tweeted that the US will designate Antifa as a terrorist organization — though experts say that might not be constitutional.
Antifa, short for anti-fascists, describes a broad group of people whose political beliefs lean toward the left — often the far left — but do not conform with the Democratic Party platform.
Acting Senate Intelligence Chairman Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, said outsiders included “a rogues gallery of terrorists from Antifa to ‘Boogaloo’ groups encouraging and committing violence.” Boogaloo is a group often associated with far-right extremist ideology that wants to initiate a civil war.
“Many of these professional agitators don’t fit a simple left vs right identity,” Rubio said. “They are part of a growing anti-government extremist movement. They hate law enforcement & want to tear the whole system down even if it requires a new civil war.”‘
By Holly Yan, Steve Almasy and Christina Maxouris, CNN