The Latest: Thousands on New York City streets after curfew
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:
TOP OF THE HOUR:
— Thousands of protesters on New York City streets after curfew.
— Protest in Washington on Tuesday lacking tension of previous night’s demonstrations.
— Thousands march in protest in Los Angeles and other California cities.
— The Minneapolis school board votes to end its contract with the Minneapolis Police Department.
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.
MELBOURNE, Australia — Police are urging thousands of demonstrators planning to attend a protest rally in Australia’s second-largest city over George Floyd’s death to reconsider due to social distancing rules.
Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Luke Cornelius on Wednesday described the rally planned for Saturday as the largest mass gathering in Melbourne since pandemic restrictions were introduced in March.
Public gatherings are limited to 20 people in Victoria state, and people must keep 1.5 meters (5 feet) apart.
Australia has recorded 7,221 coronavirus cases with 26 in hospitals on Wednesday. There have been 102 deaths.
Cornelius did not say whether police plan to fine protesters, but told reporters that “police would prefer people obey the law.”
Police have not enforced social distancing regulations when thousands gathered peacefully in Sydney and Perth in solidarity with U.S. demonstrators and to protest against the over-representation of indigenous Australians in prisons.
Protesters attempted to get around social distancing rules by demonstrating over an unrelated issue in their cars in Melbourne in April. But police fined 26 of them 1,652 Australian dollars ($1,145) each and arrested their organizer for breaching a ban on non-essential travel. That ban has since been lifted.
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.
BEIJING -- An official Chinese Communist Party newspaper is hammering President Donald Trump’s call to send in troops to put down protests and rioting with an editorial published Wednesday entitled “Quelling Protests With Troops Self-Contradictory For US.”
The paper, known as strongly nationalist and for its anti-American views, wrote: “This could be argued as the most extreme response to disorder among governments across the world.”
“Then why did Washington arrogantly and unreasonably accuse other countries of quelling riots? Why did politicians in Washington overbearingly portray the U.S. as the beacon of democracy and human rights? Have they really not anticipated that the U.S. could one day confront the situation as it does today and that their previous big talk could become a slap on their face?”
The editorial attacked the U.S. for continuing to criticize Hong Kong’s heavy-handed approach to sometimes violent anti-government protests, and for Beijing’s move to enact national security legislation for the territory, while the U.S. failed to respond earlier to the coronavirus pandemic and police now battle protesters on American city streets.
“The hooligan nature of Washington makes it a complete nuisance,” the paper said.
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.
PARIS — Riot officers have fired tear gas as scattered protesters threw projectiles and set fires during an unauthorized demonstration against police violence and racial injustice.
Several thousand people had previously rallied peacefully for two hours Tuesday around the main Paris courthouse in homage to George Floyd and to Adama Traore, a French black man who died in police custody.
Police had banned the protest because of coronavirus restrictions that forbid any gathering of more than 10 people.
As the demonstration wound down, police fired tear gas and protesters could be seen throwing projectiles. Two small fires broke out.
Tensions also erupted at a related protest Tuesday in the southern city of Marseille.
CHICAGO -- Authorities in a Chicago suburb where two people were fatally shot in unrest following George Floyd’s death are issuing fresh safety precautions Tuesday.
Cicero officials cautioned residents to “stay home and stay off the streets” a day after violence and destruction erupted in the town of about 84,000 west of Chicago. Police say most of Monday’s chaos stemmed from residents trying to defend businesses. Roughly 60 people were arrested, mostly for burglary and weapons violations.
Two men in their 20s were fatally shot around 6 p.m. in separate incidents related to the violent clashes.
TRENTON, N.J. — Citing George Floyd’s death, New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said Tuesday the state will update its guidelines governing the use of force by police for the first time in two decades and will move to require a statewide licensing program for all officers.
At least 43 other states require some licensing requirement for officers, Grewal said, adding he wants to bring law enforcement in line with other professions that require licensing.
The announcements also include a pilot program in a handful of cities across the state to conduct training programs aimed at promoting safe interactions between police and communities and the implementation of a statewide database to document when police use force, Grewal said.
MINNEAPOLIS — The state of Minnesota has filed a civil rights charge against the Minneapolis Police Department in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
The state says it will investigate the department’s policies and practices over the last 10 years to determine whether it has engaged in “systemic” discrimination against people of color. The complaint comes from the state Department of Human Rights, which enforces the state’s human rights act. It targets a police department that has faced decades of allegations of brutality and other discrimination against African-Americans and other minorities including within the department itself.
Critics say the department has a culture that resists change and the department has come under fresh criticism after Floyd died after a white officer knelt on his neck and ignored his cries of “I can’t breathe” until Floyd eventually stopped moving.
WASHINGTON — Attorney General William Barr ordered law enforcement officials to clear Lafayette Park and push back the perimeter around the White House when he arrived there Monday evening, leading to police using tear gas to disperse protesters.
A person familiar with the matter tells The Associated Press that Barr expected the perimeter to have been extended much earlier Monday. The person could not discuss the matter publicly and spoke to AP on condition of anonymity.
The person said officials had met that morning and decided the perimeter had to be moved by at least one full block after multiple fires were set in the park the night before. They said that was expected to happen by Monday afternoon.
The person said Barr was surprised it hadn’t been done when he arrived in the early evening and directed action to be taken. They said he assumed police would use “typical crowd control measures” against protesters who resisted commands to clear the area.
MINNEAPOLIS — Prosecutors are delaying the case against a man who drove his semitrailer into a crowd of protesters on a closed Minneapolis freeway.
The 35-year-old man drove his tanker truck into the midst of thousands of people who had gathered on Interstate 35W near downtown Minneapolis on Sunday. Authorities said it appeared no one was hurt and the man was arrested.
Gov. Tim Walz said the man became confused and somehow got on the freeway before traffic officials closed it.
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Tuesday that the case against the man has been deferred pending further investigation and he’ll be released from jail. Freeman said investigators are working to gather additional information to help in making a charging decision.
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump ordered military aircraft to fly above the nation’s capital Monday night as a “show of force” against demonstrators protesting the death of George Floyd, according to two Department of Defense officials.
Show-of-force missions are designed to intimidate and, in combat zones, warn opposing forces of potential military action if provoked. The officials, who insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss ongoing operations publicly, did not say how many or what type of aircraft had been mobilized.
Videos and photographs posted on social media showed helicopters flying low over buildings and hovering just above groups who were on the street despite a district-wide curfew.
On Tuesday, roughly 700 members of the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division had arrived at two military bases near Washington. Another 1,400 soldiers are ready to be mobilized within an hour, the two Pentagon officials said. The soldiers are armed and have riot gear as well as bayonets.
The officials said the mission has been named “Operation Themis.” In Greek mythology, Themis was a titaness of divine law and order, whose symbols are the scales of justice.
-- Reporting by James LaPorta