George Floyd protest updates: Nearly 60 police resign from team over suspension of officers who shoved protester – National News
Written by admin on June 5, 2020
By WILLIAM MANSELL and CATHERINE THORBECKE, ABC News
(NEW YORK) — The death of George Floyd, a black man who died on Memorial Day after he was pinned down by a white Minnesota police officer, has sparked outrage and protests in Minneapolis and across the United States.
Second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter charges have been filed against Derek Chauvin, the officer who prosecutors say held his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes. The three other officers have been charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting manslaughter. All four officers have been fired.
Governors in 32 states and Washington, D.C., have activated more than 32,400 members of the National Guard.
This story is being updated throughout the day Friday. Please check back for updates. All times Eastern:
5:37 p.m. Buffalo police attack suspect releases statement
An attorney representing Martin Gugino released a statement on behalf of this client who is in serious but stable condition after he was shoved by Buffalo police officers during a protest.
Gugino is alert and oriented, according to his attorney Kelly V. Zarcone.
“Mr. Gugino has been a longtime peaceful protester, human rights advocate and overall fan of the U.S. Constitution for many years,” Zarcone said.
“He appreciates all of the well wishes he has received and requests that any further protests continue to be peaceful,” Zarcone added.
5:13 p.m. Canadian PM takes a knee at demonstration
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attended a protest in Parliament Hill in Ottawa.
The prime minister didn’t make a speech but clapped with the group and then took a knee while holding a Black Lives Matter t-shirt.
3:45 p.m.: Manhattan District Attorney says they will not prosecute protesters for low-level offenses
Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance’s offices said Friday afternoon that they will decline to prosecute protesters arrested for low-level offenses like unlawful assembly or disorderly conduct.
The policy aims to minimize unnecessary interactions with the criminal justice system.
“The prosecution of protestors charged with these low-level offenses undermines critical bonds between law enforcement and the communities we serve,” the office said in a statement. “Days after the killing of George Floyd, our nation and our city are at a crossroads in our continuing endeavor to confront racism and systemic injustice wherever it exists.”
“Our office has a moral imperative to enact public policies which assure all New Yorkers that in our justice system and our society, black lives matter and police violence is a crime,” the statement added. “We commend the thousands of our fellow New Yorkers who have peacefully assembled to demand these achievable aims, and our door is open to any New Yorker who wishes to be heard.”
If there is evidence that individuals personally participated in violence against police officers, destruction or looting, they will be charged with appropriate crimes, the office added.
4:20 p.m.: Gov. Newsom says he will look into ban on use of strangleholds
In a news conference Friday calling for “change,” California Gov. Gavin Newsom said he will look into a ban on the use of strangleholds similar to the one that killed Floyd. The governor said that he wants to standardize the engagement protocols throughout the state instead of having different protocols across local jurisdictions.
He added that “chokeholds” have been illegal in California, but “strangleholds” have continued to be allowed.
“The black community does not need to change. We need to change. We have a responsibility to change,” Newsom said. “Our institutions need to change. Our capacity of understanding needs to change.”
“Protestors have the right to not be harassed,” he added. “They have the right to protest peacefully. They have the right to not be arrested, gassed, shot at by projectiles. That’s a simple value statement and I want to make that crystal clear.”
3:45 p.m.: San Francisco implementing police reforms to safeguard against false accusations from police
San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin said the city is implementing a new policy requiring that prosecutors review all available evidence before charging any case involving allegations of resisting, obstructing police officers or assault on officers.
The district attorney’s office said the new policies are meant to safeguard against false accusations by police to cover up misconduct.
The announcement comes a day after city leaders said they are determined to shift funds from the police department to instead go toward the black community.
3:30 p.m.: Nearly 60 Buffalo police resign from Emergency Response Team in protest of suspension of officers who shoved older man
57 members of the Buffalo Police Department have resigned from the Emergency Response Team, but remain on the force, according to an official from their union.
John Evans, president of the Buffalo Police Benevolent Association, said the move was meant to protest the suspensions of two officers involved in the caught-on-video shove of an older man at a protest.
The 75-year-old protester was seen shoved by police to the ground and bleeding from his head in a now-viral video.
Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz said he had not heard about the 57 officers resigning from the Emergency Response Team at a press conference Friday afternoon. He added, however, that if they resigned that indicates to him that the officers didn’t see anything wrong with actions taken last night.
3:20 p.m.: DC Chief of Police says no arrests made in Thursday’s protests
Peter Newsham, the Washington, D.C. chief of police, announced that for the second consecutive day, there were no arrests made in the nation’s capital during Thursday’s protests.
Newsham said they are gearing up for what they expect to be the largest demonstration yet on Saturday, but he is hopeful it will be a peaceful one.
3 p.m.: Ohio National Guard member removed for ‘white supremacist ideology’
A member of the Ohio National Guard has been removed from an assignment in Washington, D.C., after the FBI uncovered that they had expressed white supremacist ideology on the internet.
The FBI is investigating and the individual has been suspended from all missions at this time. Gov. Mike DeWine said on Twitter that it is “highly likely” the individual will be permanently removed from the Ohio National Guard.
“While I fully support everyone’s right to free speech, Guardsmen and women are sworn to protect all of us, regardless of race, ethnic background, or religion,” he added.
2:20 p.m.: Minneapolis temporarily bans police using chokeholds
The Minneapolis City Council has voted unanimously to approve a temporary restraining order which would ban police officers from using chokeholds and other neck restraints.
It would also require officers to report any unauthorized use of force by their colleagues while still on the scene, regardless of rank.
Moreover, according to the language in the temporary restraining order, if officers don’t intervene, they will be disciplined as though they themselves are the ones who used unauthorized force.
Going forward, the Minneapolis police chief will have to authorize the use of crowd control weapons, including chemical agents such as tear gas.
The police department will now have 45 days to clear out a current backlog of complaints against officers. After that, complaints have to be addressed within 30 days.
Currently, body camera footage is only reviewed when a complaint against an officer is made. The temporary restraining order would require all footage to be audited.
“This is a moment in time where we can totally change how our police department operates,” Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said. “We cannot fail.”
2:04 p.m.: Trump blasts DC mayor as ‘incompetent’
As the tensions between Trump and D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser escalate, the president blasted her as “incompetent” on Twitter Friday after she asked that he remove all federal law enforcement and military presence from the city.
“The incompetent Mayor of Washington, D.C., @MayorBowser, who’s budget is totally out of control and is constantly coming back to us for “handouts”, is now fighting with the National Guard, who saved her from great embarrassment over the last number of nights,” Trump wrote. “If she doesn’t treat these men and women well, then we’ll bring in a different group of men and women!”
1:39 p.m.: Remaining active duty troops in D.C. area ordered home
Active duty troops stationed just outside of Washington D.C., have been ordered to return to their home bases at Fort Bragg and Fort Drum.
The 1600 troops were never positions in D.C. Instead, they remained on standby at Joint Base Andrews.
1:00 p.m.: Biden calls Trump’s comments about Floyd ‘despicable’
Former vice president and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said the remarks Trump made earlier about Floyd looking down and seeing a “great day” for the country were “despicable.”
“Before I speak to the economic situation, I have to take a moment to address something that the president said this morning. Toward the end of his remarks, President Trump said that he hopes that, quote, ‘George Floyd is looking down and seeing this is a great day for our country,'” Biden said at a news briefing in Dover, Delaware.
“We’re speaking of a man who was brutally killed by an act of needless violence and by a larger tide of injustice that has metastasized on this president’s watch as he’s moved to split us based on race and religion, ethnicity,” Biden added. “George Floyd’s last words, I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe, have echoed all across this nation and quite frankly around the world.”
He continued: “For the president to try to put any other words in the mouth of George Floyd I frankly think is despicable.”
12:45 p.m.: FBI claims law enforcement and public being threatened with explosives at or near protests
The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Explosive Task Force issued a bulletin to police agencies across the country warning that law enforcement is being threatened with explosives at or near protests.
They say the most common type of devices being used are Molotov cocktails and fireworks.
“The danger posed to law enforcement officers and the general public from both (improvised incendiary devices) and fireworks is substantial,” the bulletin notes. “Both tactics can cause serious injury and death, and significant damage to infrastructure and automobiles.”
A week ago today, NYPD vehicles in New York City were targeted with Molotov cocktails during protests in Brooklyn. No cops were injured, but three people were charged with federal riot offenses.
12:00 p.m.: US Attorney for the Western District of New York reacts to Buffalo police shoving older protester to the ground
In a statement reacting to the viral video of an older American protester who was shoved to the ground by police in Buffalo, New York, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of New York James Kennedy said the officers involved have been suspended pending further investigation.
“Last night, after seeing the video of the incident occurring in front of City Hall, I was concerned and immediately contacted both BPD Commissioner Lockwood and FBI Acting SAC Guyton. The officers involved have been suspended pending further investigation,” Kennedy said. “On behalf of the entire law enforcement community, I offer our sincere best wishes to the injured gentleman, as we hope and pray for his speedy and complete recovery.”
Earlier Friday, the Erie County District Attorney’s office confirmed they were investigating the incident, and said the man seen in the video bleeding from his ear was being treated for a head injury at the Erie County Medical Center.
10:50 a.m.: Trump references death of Floyd in speech touting job gains
In a last-minute news conference to discuss this morning’s job report, President Trump said he hoped Floyd was “looking down” from heaven “and saying, ‘This is a great thing happening for our country.'”
“We all saw what happened last week. We can’t let that happen. Hopefully, George is looking down right now and saying, ‘this is a great thing happening for our country,'” the president said. “This is a great day for him, this is a great day for everybody. This is great day for everybody. This is a great, great day in terms of equality. It’s really what our Constitution requires, and it’s what our country is all about.”
The president’s comments about Floyd came after he said governors should use the National Guard to “dominate the streets,” adding from scripted remarks that “every American receives equal treatment in every encounter with law enforcement regardless of race, color, gender, or creed.”
10:30 a.m.: Bill de Blasio pledges ‘change in the NYPD’
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has come under fire for his handling of the Floyd protests in New York City, pledged in a news conference Friday: “You will see change in this city, you will see change in the NYPD.”
“We simply have not gone far enough. The status quo is still broken, it must change,” he added.
The mayor said this “will be the work for the next year and a half of this administration — to make more change, to make it urgently, to make it powerfully and to make it clear.”
He said that work will “proceed immediately,” and “you will see those results and you will judge for yourself, as all New Yorkers do.”
“Even though we say that phrase words matter and words do matter, actions matter more and that’s what we have to achieve,” he said. He also promised increased transparency.
De Blasio said that the protests in New York City Thursday were “overwhelmingly peaceful” and that there was little to no property damage. He added that there is no circumstance in which a member of the news media doing their job and covering the protests should be arrested. He also urged everyone who attended protests in New York City to get tested for COVID-19.
Finally, the mayor said that essential workers who are doing their jobs amid the ongoing COVID-19 crisis will be exempt from the citywide curfew.
10:15 a.m.: Vice President Mike Pence to attend ‘listening session’ in Maryland
The vice president will attend a “listening session with faith and community leaders” in Beltsville, Maryland, today at 12 p.m. ET.
The announcement comes as calls for President Trump to listen to the messages of the protesters across the nation mount and as the president has remained largely defensive and out of sight as the country reels from the death of Floyd.
Pence on Thursday met with a group of black conservative leaders, a White House official said. He shared a photo of the meeting on his Twitter account, saying he was grateful to “hear their insights about how we can move our Nation forward in the wake of the tragic death of George Floyd and the protests and rioting that have ensued.”
9:30 a.m.: Mayor asks Trump to remove federal law enforcement and military presence from Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser sent a letter to President Donald Trump asking the president to remove “extraordinary federal law enforcement and military presence from our city” as tensions escalate in the nation’s capital.
Bowser said she has ended the state of emergency in the nation’s capital due to the demonstrations.
“The protestors have been peaceful, and last night, the Metropolitan Police Department did not make a single arrest,” Bowser wrote. “Therefore, I am requesting that you withdraw all extraordinary federal law enforcement and military presence from Washington, DC.”
Bowser said that the lack of an identifying insignia among the law enforcement officers in D.C. adds confusion for protesters, and “creates unnecessary risks for both protesters and officers.”
— Mayor Muriel Bowser #StayHomeDC (@MayorBowser) June 5, 2020
7:19 a.m.: NYPD arrests at least 250 protesters Thursday
The New York City Police Department arrested at least 250 people during largely peaceful protests that extended beyond the 8 p.m. curfew Thursday.
In a break from the previous night’s practice in which police issued an hour of warnings, officers Thursday night immediately began making arrests in the Bronx at 8 p.m.
There was a second group of arrests on the Upper West Side and more in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
For a second straight night, officials said there was little if any looting/vandalism and only minor injuries to just a few officers. However, Mayor Bill de Blasio was upset a delivery man was detained in the Upper West Side roundup.
“Just got off the phone with @NYPDShea after seeing the troubling video of a delivery worker arrested by police while doing his job. This is NOT acceptable and must stop,” de Blasio tweeted. “Food delivery is essential work and is EXEMPTED from the curfew. Same goes for journalists covering protests and out doing their jobs. They are essential workers, too. We WILL protect their rights. The public depends on the information they provide.”
5:56 a.m.: 66% of US disapproves of Trump’s response to George Floyd’s death
Nearly two-thirds of the country disapproves of President Donald Trump’s response of George Floyd’s death, according to a new ABC News/Ipsos poll.
Only 32% of Americans approve of Trump’s reaction in the aftermath of Floyd’s death, which has sparked thousands and thousands of protesters in dozens of cities demanding racial justice.
Troubling for Trump is that only 69% of Republicans approve of his response to Floyd’s death. Democrats were nearly unanimous in their response, with 96% of poll respondents disapproving of Trump’s handling of the protests.
Majorities across racial groups, too, disapprove of the president’s response to Floyd’s death, with the sharpest rebuke of the president coming from blacks, with 90% disapproval, compared to 59% of whites and 74% of Hispanics.
4:25 a.m.: North Dakota National Guard activated ahead of Friday demonstrations
More than 250 Minnesota and North Dakota National Guard members are being sent to their states’ borders ahead of planned protests Friday in Fargo, North Dakota.
“The North Dakota National Guard is ready to assist local authorities to protect lives, property and critical infrastructure, preserve peace, and ensure public safety,” a North Dakota National Guard spokesman told ABC News. “We have a company sized element from the 131 Military Police Battalion supporting this mission. Roughly 160 Soldiers.”
North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum made the call on Wednesday to activate the troops after authorities received credible threats.
The mayor’s office in Fargo said the North Dakota Guard would be on hand to help keep the peace during demonstrations planned for Friday.
“Based on received threats, Fargo City Hall, the downtown Fargo Public Library and Fargo Municipal Court will be fully closed on Friday with all employees working remotely,” the city of Fargo said in a statement. “The North Dakota National Guard has been activated to protect public infrastructure.”
The city said multiple organizations will take part in the “OneFargo” event Friday at a local park that is intended to be a family and community event. The city, however, said no protesters would be allowed to block public rights of way in any part of the city.
“The City will not tolerate violent acts targeting any individuals or property. The department will continually monitor any threats. We believe threats may exist but we don’t have information suggesting there are specific targets regarding downtown businesses,” the city said in a statement Thursday. “Business and property owners may make their own decisions as to what precautions they believe are best for them.”