- The United States has been gripped by protests over the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who died last week in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and police brutality nationwide.
- US President Donald Trump has outraged faith leaders and protesters for walking to a historic church near the White House and creating a photo opportunity, just minutes after police used tear gas and flash bangs on peaceful protesters to clear the way for the rare walk.
- Protesters are demanding all four officers involved be charged in Floyd’s death. So far, only one – white officer Derek Chauvin, who knelt on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes as the Black man pleaded, “I can’t breathe” – has been arrested and charged on Friday with third-degree murder and manslaughter. Medical examiners have ruled the death a homicide.
- Those protesting against police brutality have been met with, at times, excessive force by authorities. Journalists have also been targeted by police. Officers have also been injured in the protests.
- Protesters have remained undeterred by curfews and the presence of the US National Guard in some cities. Largely peaceful protests have turned violent, with looting and vandalism as the night raged on.
Tuesday, June 2
05:25 GMT – Democrats plan to introduce legislation in response to George Floyd killing
US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday promised legislation on racial profiling and other issues raised by the police killing of George Floyd, while other lawmakers warned against using troops to quell protests sweeping across the United States.
House Democrats are mulling proposals on a number of topics. But Pelosi described the racial profiling of suspects as a “universal” issue “that we must be rid of.”
“In a matter of just a short time … decisions will be made and I think the American people will be well served,” she said.
Pelosi and other Democrats attacked President Donald Trump’s handling of protests after tear gas and rubber bullets were used to clear peaceful protesters from outside the White House, just before he marched through the area and posed at a church with a Bible.
05:02 GMT – Biden levels blistering attack on Trump for church photo-op
In his first major address in weeks, former Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday promised not to “fan the flames of hate” if elected president and instead seek “to heal the racial wounds that have long plagued” the United States.
Biden, a Democrat who will most likely face the Republican Trump in the November 3 election, was particularly critical of the president’s decision on Monday to stand for a photo beside an historic church across from the White House after law enforcement authorities tear-gassed protesters to clear the area.
“When peaceful protesters are dispersed by the order of the president from the doorstep of the people’s house, the White House – using tear gas and flash grenades – in order to stage a photo op at a noble church, we can be forgiven for believing that the president is more interested in power than in principle,” Biden said.
Read more here.
04:50 GMT – Floyd public memorials, viewings announced
The lawyers for Floyd’s family have released the details for the public memorials and funeral for Floyd
Minneapolis, Minnesota, Memorial:
Date: Thursday, June 4
Time: 1pm (18:00 GMT)
Raeford, North Carolina, Public Viewing and Memorial:
Date: Saturday, June 6
Time: Public viewing 11am – 1pm (15:00-17:00 GMT)
Memorial 3pm (19:00 GMT)
Houston, Texas, Public Viewing:
Date: Monday, June 8
Time: 12 – 6pm CT (17:00 GMT-23:00 GMT)
Houston, Texas, Memorial:
Date: Tuesday, June 9
Time: 11am (16:00 GMT)
Please pray for the family as they prepare for #GeorgeFloyd‘s homegoing services. They will host public viewings and memorials in Minnesota, North Carolina, and Texas. #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd #SayHisName #JusticeForGeorge #JusticeForFloyd pic.twitter.com/cptxIvGrnr
— Benjamin Crump, Esq. (@AttorneyCrump) June 2, 2020
04:15 GMT – NYC will be under evening curfew all week
New York’s mayor extended an 8pm curfew all week in hopes of stopping destruction that continued overnight despite the city’s efforts to stop protests over George Floyd’s death from devolving into lawless mayhem.
“We’re going to have a tough few days. We’re going to beat it back,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a news conference Tuesday as he announced that an 8pm-to-5am curfew would hold through Sunday.
The plan came after a night when chaos broke out in midtown Manhattan and the Bronx.
On Monday, an 11pm curfew – the city’s first in decades – failed to prevent destruction as groups of people smashed their way into shops, including Macy’s flagship Manhattan store.
Police said nearly 700 people were arrested and several officers were injured during the chaos Monday night and early Tuesday.
04:00 GMT – Virginia governor rejects national guard request
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam rejected a request from Secretary of Defense Mark Esper to send between 3,000 to 5,000 of the state’s national guard to Washington, DC, as part of a massive show of force organised by the Trump administration in response to violent protests, according to Northam’s chief of staff, Clark Mercer.
Mercer said Trump’s comments to governors in a phone call Monday, in which the president said most governors were “weak” and needed to “dominate” the streets, played a role in the decision.
“The president’s remarks to the governors heightened our concerns about how the guard would be used,” he said.
03:34 GMT – Faith leaders decry Trump photo op, police actions
Faith leaders in Washington, DC, have continued to express outrage over Trump’s photo-op at the historic St John’s Episcopal Church.
“I am outraged. The president did not pray when he came to St John’s, nor as you just articulated, did he acknowledge the agony of our country right now,” Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde told CNN.
Wilton Gregory, the Archbishop of Washington, meanwhile decried Trump’s planned visit to Saint John Paul II National Shrine on Tuesday.
“I find it baffling and reprehensible that any Catholic facility would allow itself to be so egregiously misused and manipulated in a fashion that violates our religious principles, which call us to defend the rights of all people even those with whom we might disagree,” Gregory, the first African American Catholic Archbishop of Washington, said in a statement.
— DC Archdiocese (@WashArchdiocese) June 2, 2020
“Saint Pope John Paul II was an ardent defender of the rights and dignity of human beings,” he added “His legacy bears vivid witness to that truth. He certainly would not condone the use of tear gas and other deterrents to silence.”
03:30 GMT – Music industry heavyweights vow to observe ‘Black Out Tuesday’
The music industry is turning off the music on Tuesday and suspending business as usual to reflect and implement change in response to the death of George Floyd and the killings of other Black people.
Several top record labels organised Black Out Tuesday as violent protests erupted around the world, sparked by Floyd’s death as well as the killings of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor. MTV and BET went dark for eight minutes and 46 seconds (the amount of time a white police officer knelt on Floyd’s neck before he died) in support of Black Lives Matter and racial injustice. Music-based companies Live Nation, as well as the Recording Academy, posted to social media that they planned to support and stand with the Black community.
Read more here.
03:28 GMT – Minnesota attorney general working as fast as possible on decision on additional charges
Minnesota’s attorney general says prosecutors are working as fast as they can to determine whether more charges will be filed against officers involved in the death of George Floyd, but they also have to work carefully and methodically.
Attorney General Keith Ellison was appointed lead prosecutor in the case Sunday. He told the television news programme Good Morning America on Tuesday that those who have culpability will be held accountable.
Ellison says despite the widely viewed bystander video of Floyd’s final moments, cases against police are hard. He pointed to the deaths of Freddie Gray and Philando Castile, and the beating of Rodney King, as examples of cases where striking video of an incident did not lead to convictions of officers.
Ellison did not give a timeline for any new charges. All four officers have been fired.
03:18 GMT – Democratic leaders push back on Trump threat to deploy military
Kansas Governor Laura Kelly says that bringing the military “into this contentious moment” would do more harm than good.
Kelly on Monday expressed sympathy for George Floyd’s family, families of other people killed by police and people outraged by Floyd’s “tragic murder”. She promised to work to address systemic racism.
“We need our leaders – myself included – to listen to those who felt their only means of being heard was to take to the street in protest,” Kelly said after President Donald Trump threatened to deploy the military to states if they did not stamp out violent protests.
“We need action to change the systemic inequalities we have ignored for far too long. We need to stop with the divisive language and instead, come together and do what’s right for our state,” Kelly added.
She noted that Kansas protests have been peaceful and promised to work closely with local officials to ensure public safety.
Mayor Muriel Bowser, the Democratic mayor of Washington, DC, meanwhile, said on CNN on Tuesday that it is inappropriate for the military to be used for police work on DC streets.
“We don’t think that the active-duty military should be used on American streets against Americans,” she said.
“It’s an inappropriate use of our military. And we have police in Washington, DC. We have federal police in Washington, DC, to focus on the federal properties, and that is an appropriate use. Police have policing power, and bringing in the military to do police work is inappropriate in any state in the United States of America without the consent of the governor, and it would be inappropriate in Washington, DC.”
Trump has threatened to deploy the military if states don’t take harsher measures to quell unrest.
03:00 GMT – Area around White House sealed off
The streets around the White House complex were shut Tuesday morning, guarded by a mix of Secret Service officers and FBI agents.
Overnight, a fence was constructed around Lafayette Park and along 17th Street at Pennsylvania Avenue, two areas that have been focal points for protests.
02:50 GMT – Man gives shelter to 70 protesters
A man in Washington, DC said he sheltered about 70 protesters in his home all night after they got caught between police lines after curfew.
Rahul Dubey told WJLA-TV he was sitting on his porch around 8:30pm last night when law enforcement officers began corralling protesters on his street. He let some sit with him, and helped others out through his back alley, but the situation then escalated when officers started pushing protesters to the ground and releasing pepper spray, creating a “human tsunami” that flooded into his home.
“I was hanging on my railing yelling, ‘Get in the house! Get in the house!'” he told The Washington Post.
Officers also released pepper spray through the window after he closed the door, Dubey told WJLA-TV. The protesters inside the home screamed, and started pouring water and milk into their eyes, which were reddened by tear gas, in a scene he described as “pure mayhem”.
The protesters left the home after 6am Tuesday when the district’s curfew ended.
02:45 GMT – St Louis police fired on
Police in St Louis say officers in a marked police car were fired on early Tuesday from a car occupied by suspected looters.
The incident led to a chase that ended in the suburb of Jennings, where one of the suspects was shot. Police said the incident was separate from a shooting around midnight Monday in which four St Louis officers were shot and injured.
The Jennings shooting began when officers in a marked police car on the north side of St Louis – who were searching for looting suspects – were fired on from men inside a car, police said. That led to a chase that ended in Jennings, just north of St. Louis, when the three suspects bailed out of the car, and one was shot by a St Louis County officer, police said.
One man, identified only as 21 years old, was taken to a hospital with life-threatening injuries. Police said another man who had been in the car was arrested, and a third escaped.
No officers were injured in the Jennings shooting.
Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the protests in the US over the deadly arrest of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This is Laurin-Whitney Gottbrath in Louisville, Kentucky.
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. Derek Chauvin, the white officer who pinned Floyd down, has been arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. Protesters demand the three other officers be charged as well.
- 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 Sunday’s protests here.