US President Donald Trump has been criticised for a photo opportunity at a famous Washington DC church in the midst of sustained protests against police brutality across the United States.
Police used tear gas and force to clear protesters out of Lafayette Park near the White House, assaulting, among others, Channel Seven news team on Monday morning (local time).
The removal of the protesting crowd allowed Mr Trump, flanked by members of his administration and Secret Service agents in full riot gear, to walk to St John’s Church, which had been burned during the previous night’s protests.
He held up a Bible for the cameras outside the 204-year-old building and then stood alongside Defense Secretary Mark Esper, Attorney-General William Barr, press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, national security adviser Robert O’Brien and chief of staff Mark Meadows.
Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, were also seen making the walk from the White House, as was the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley.
After the brief photo opportunity, Mr Trump and his entourage returned to the White House while protests continued around the nation.
The National Guard and US Army were deployed in numerous cities on the seventh night of protests against police brutality in the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis.
Mr Trump said he wanted military and law enforcement to “dominate the streets” and labelled state governors “weak” over what he claimed was their inability to clamp down on protests.
Thousands of people have been arrested for a variety of offences, but not all protests have been violent, with thousands of people taking part in peaceful protests against police brutality across the country.
Arlington County in Virginia, which borders Washington DC, has withdrawn all of the officers it sent to the capital due to Mr Trump’s church photo opportunity.
Protesters at Lafayette Park near the White House were cleared out by police so Mr. Trump could walk to St John’s Church for a photo opportunity with the Bible.
Arlington County had sent officers to the District of Columbia to help with the protests, but all of those officers have now been withdrawn.
“The county is re-evaluating the agreements that allowed our officers to be put in a compromising position that endangered their health and safety, and that of the people around them, for a purpose not worthy of our mutual aid obligations,” the statement from the county read.
Arlington County board member Libby Garvey tweeted that she was “appalled” that the agreement between DC and Arlington had been “abused to endanger” the safety of officers and others for a “photo op”.
Mr Trump’s trip to the church, known as the Church of the Presidents due to its frequent use by various commanders in chief, has also been criticised by the bishop who oversees St John’s.
Reverend Mariann Budde, the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, said she was “outraged” by the visit and the actions by police that facilitated it.
“The President just used a Bible and one of the churches of my diocese as a backdrop for a message antithetical to the teachings of Jesus and everything that our church stands for,” she said.
“To do so, he sanctioned the use of tear gas by police officers in riot gear to clear the church yard. I am outraged.
“The President did not pray when he came to St. John’s; nor did he acknowledge the agony and sacred worth of people of colour in our nation who rightfully demand an end to 400 years of systemic racism and white supremacy in our country.”
What was a peaceful and orderly protest in Seattle, Washington turned ugly as police moved to disperse growing crowds in the city.
Footage at capital hill, near Seattle’s east police precinct, showed the protesters getting hit with capsicum spray and what appeared to be flash and gas grenades.
Crowds streamed to a nearby sporting complex, where MSNBC reporter Jo Ling Kent was hit with a projectile that she said singed her sleeve during a live cross from the field.
“Thankfully, our whole team is OK and safe,” she tweeted after the fact.
“I’m totally fine — my jacket sleeve got singed and that’s it. So sorry for the curse words … and thank you for the sweet texts, calls and tweets.”
She had reported as late as 8:15pm that the scenes were “peaceful and patient” and said during the previous day of demonstrations in the region that a police line had parted and allowed protesters at one point to progress on their march.
Washington Governor Jay Inslee earlier in the day condemned President Donald Trump’s threat to deploy the military and bolster the National Guard if governors and mayors did not get protests under control.
“This President has repeatedly proven he is incapable of governing. He has shown nothing but false bravado throughout the chaos that has accompanied his time in office,” Mr Inslee wrote in a statement.
“His admiration of authoritarians around the world should not allow him to violate 200 years of American tradition of local law enforcement. We have activated the National Guard in our state and made them available to any community who requests it.
“Our country is defined by our collective character and democratic ideals, not by reactionary calls for division and not by threatening Americans with their own military.”
The St Louis Police Department (SLMPD) said four of its officers were shot on Monday night (local time).
The department tweeted that all four were transported to a nearby hospital and were all conscious and breathing with what are believed to be non-life-threatening injuries.
SLMPD Chief John Hayden said two of the officers were shot in the leg, one was shot in the arm and another was shot in the foot.
Colonel Hayden said a peaceful protest of thousands of people started in the city at about 3:00pm but later in the day a group of about 200 people arrived and escalated things, looting and attacking police.
“They were throwing fireworks on officers, there were officers who had [gasoline] thrown on them,” he said.
He said police “used some munitions” on gathering crowds that were trying to get into police headquarters.
The city of St Louis borders St Louis County in Missouri, which was the site of the 2014 Ferguson protests in the wake of the death of black teenager Michael Brown at the hands of a police officer.
A vehicle ploughed through a group of law enforcement officers at a demonstration in Buffalo, New York, injuring at least two.
Video from the scene shows riot police and people in military attire dispersing protesters on a street corner, apparently tackling a person on the street and handcuffing him before fanning out across the street on Buffalo’s east side.
The officers then suddenly scatter as an SUV is seen accelerating through the intersection, appearing to drive over one officer.
Other officers are then seen tending to the injured officers on the sidewalk.
The officers were taken to Erie County Medical Center, where authorities said their condition was stable.
Riot police firing tear gas scattered several hundred protesters from Jefferson Square in downtown Louisville, Kentucky, violently capping a day of mostly peaceful protests.
Police with batons at the ready stood shoulder to shoulder as they advanced down key streets before breaking up the protest after a brief stand-off shortly after 10:00pm.
Demonstrators shouted at police as authorities on a microphone ordered the crowd, which had been described as rowdy but peaceful, to disperse before loud bursts of tear gas crackled and spread smoke over the area.
Protesters began running and military-style vehicles could later be seen occupying the key square fronting a courthouse complex.
Some protesters gasped and held wet cloths to their faces as they ran from the wafting gas and advancing police. A helicopter flew overhead amid bursts of tear gas, and the streets appeared to largely empty out.
Louisville is the site of one of the police killings that sparked the protests, when African-American woman Breonna Taylor died after being shot at least eight times by police executing a search warrant on her house.
Mayor Greg Fischer announced a 9:00pm to 6:30am curfew would be extended for another week.
New York City has imposed an 11:00pm curfew as the biggest city in the US tries to avoid another night of destruction amid protests against police brutality over George Floyd’s death.
With an 11:00pm-to-5:00am curfew, New York is joining other cities around the country in imposing such measures after days of unrest.
Mayor Bill de Blasio pleaded with protesters to return home after looting hit the city, with the doors of Macy’s flagship Manhattan store breached and windows smashed. Police pulled two handcuffed men out and put them in a van.
“We support peaceful protest in this city, but right now it’s time to go home,” he tweeted.
“Some people are out tonight, not to protest but to destroy property and hurt others, and those people are being arrested. Their actions are unacceptable and we won’t allow them in our city.”
The limit on a city of more than 8 million people comes after months of restrictions already imposed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
But Mr de Blasio did not feel 11:00pm was early enough, extending the curfew to Tuesday night (local time) and announcing on Twitter it would start at 8:00pm instead because “as the night wears on, we are seeing groups use [the protests] to incite violence and destroy property”.
Big crowds rallied in Times Square and Brooklyn on Monday afternoon and marched through the streets for several hours.
As in previous days, the demonstrations held in daylight hours were peaceful, with officers mostly keeping their distance from marchers.
One Times Square demonstrator, Giselle Francisco, agreed the curfew could stop “people who have ulterior motives” who are “trying to hijack the message”.
Police fired non-lethal bullets and tear gas at hundreds of protesters who spilled onto an interstate highway in the heart of Philadelphia on Monday just before a 6:00pm curfew took effect.
The crowds on Interstate 676 also led to the closure of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, the main link from downtown Philadelphia to New Jersey suburbs across the Delaware River.
Some climbed a steep embankment and scaled a fence as police acted.
More than two dozen were arrested as a few hundred other protesters moved to block the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, a grand thoroughfare leading from downtown to the city’s imposing art museum.
Hundreds have attended a peaceful “kneel in” protest in San Francisco led by interfaith leaders, Mayor London Breed and actor Jamie Foxx.
Protesters demonstrated against the killings of George Floyd, Breanna Taylor, and other African-American people by police.
Mr Foxx — wearing a black hoodie that read “busy making my ancestors proud” — told hundreds of people that police officers needed to know there would be consequences for taking the life of a black person.
“They have to be worried that, ‘I could go to jail for this,'” Mr Foxx said.
“They have to respect us. They have to love us. That man [George Floyd] cried out for his mom.”
In an address charged with emotion, Ms Breed, who is the first African-American woman to lead the city, said she too knew the pain of losing family to police.
San Francisco police killed a close cousin in 2006, she said.
Mr Foxx was invited to the kneel-in by the San Francisco branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
The police chief of Kentucky’s largest city has been fired after the mayor learned officers involved in a shooting that killed the popular African-American owner of a barbecue spot failed to activate body cameras during the chaotic scene.
David McAtee, a man known for offering meals to police officers, was killed early on Monday while police officers and National Guard soldiers were enforcing a curfew amid waves of protests over a previous police shooting in Kentucky’s largest city.
Police said they were responding to gunfire from a crowd that had gathered there.
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer revealed that authorities lacked body camera video for the investigation just hours after Kentucky’s governor demanded the release of police video.
“This type of institutional failure will not be tolerated,” Mr Fischer said. “Accordingly, I have relieved Steve Conrad of his duties as chief of Louisville Metro Police Department.”
Mr Conrad had previously announced his resignation, which was to take effect at the end of June.
Police said they did retrieve video from other cameras which showed how the shooting unfolded.
Mr Trump declared himself “the president of law and order” and threatened to deploy the United States military in American cities to quell a rise of violent protests.
While Mr Trump addressed the nation in the White House’s Rose Garden, a series of military vehicles rolled in front of the building along the Pennsylvania Avenue and military police and law enforcement clashed with protesters at Lafayette Park.
Mr Trump said he would mobilise “thousands and thousands” of soldiers to keep the peace if governors did not use the National Guard to shut down the protests.
Loud tear gas explosions could be heard as authorities moved what appeared to be peaceful protests in the park.
The escalation came just after Attorney-General William Barr came to the park to survey the demonstrators.
Between 600 and 800 National Guard members from five states were being sent to Washington to provide assistance with troops either already on the ground or to arrive by midnight, senior defence officials said.
Federal US troops are prohibited from performing domestic law enforcement actions such as making arrests, seizing property or searching people.
However, in extreme cases the president can invoke the civil war-era Insurrection Act, which allows the use of active-duty or National Guard troops for law enforcement.
The officials said that some of the National Guard in Washington DC would be armed and others would not. They said the DC guard members did not carry non-lethal weapons.
The cause of George Floyd’s death was homicide, the Hennepin County Medical Examiner has found.
It comes after the office released a preliminary report which determined he died due to a combination of underlying conditions, police restraint and potential intoxicants.
The updated report released on Monday found Mr Floyd “experienced a cardiopulmonary arrest while being restrained by law enforcement officer”.
Other significant conditions noted in the report included heart disease, fentanyl intoxication and recent methamphetamine use.
The office said the report was not a legal determination.
“Manner of death is not a legal determination of culpability or intent, and should not be used to usurp the judicial process. Such decisions are outside the scope of the Medical Examiner’s role or authority,” it reads.
“Under Minnesota state law, the Medical Examiner is a neutral and independent office and is separate and distinct from any prosecutorial authority or law enforcement agency.”
n autopsy commissioned by George Floyd’s family has found he died of asphyxiation due to neck and back compression when a Minneapolis police officer held his knee on Mr Floyd’s neck for several minutes and ignored his cries of distress, the family’s lawyers have said.
The autopsy by a doctor who also examined thebody of Eric Garner — a black man who died in New York in similar circumstances in 2014 — found the compression cut off blood to Mr Floyd’s brain, and weight on his back made it hard to breathe, attorney Ben Crump said.
He called for the third-degree murder charge against officer Derek Chauvin to be upgraded to first-degree murder and for three other officers to be charged.
The family’s autopsy differs from the official autopsy as described in a criminal complaint against the officer.
That autopsy included the effects of being restrained, along with underlying health issues and potential intoxicants in Mr Floyd’s system, but also said it found nothing “to support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation”.
Mr Floyd, a black man who was in handcuffs at the time, died after Mr Chauvin, who is white, ignored bystander shouts to get off him and Mr Floyd’s cries that he could not breathe.
The official autopsy last week provided no other details about intoxicants, and toxicology results can take weeks.
In the 911 call that drew police, the caller described the man suspected of paying with counterfeit money as “awfully drunk and he’s not in control of himself”.
Mr Floyd’s family, like the families of other black men killed by police, wanted an independent look because they did not trust local authorities to produce an unbiased autopsy.
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz announced on Sunday that Attorney General Keith Ellison would take the lead in any prosecutions in Mr Floyd’s death.
Local civil rights activists have said another county attorney slated for the case, Attorney Mike Freeman, doesn’t have the trust of the black community.
They have pressed him to charge the other three officers, including protesting outside his house.
Mr Freeman remains on the case.
US President Donald Trump has labelled the country’s state governors “weak” and demanded tougher crackdowns on protesters in the aftermath of another night of violent protests in dozens of American cities.
Mr Trump spoke to governors on a Monday morning video conference with law enforcement and national security officials, telling the local leaders they “have to get much tougher”.
“Most of you are weak,” Mr Trump said. “You have to arrest people”.
American cities have been reeling from sometimes violent protests in the wake of the death of George Floyd, an unarmed African American man, who died after a white Minneapolis police officer pinned his knee into Floyd’s neck.
The President urged governors to deploy the US National Guard, which he credited for helping calm the situation Sunday night in Minneapolis.
He demanded that similarly tough measures be taken in other cities such as New York, Philadelphia and Los Angeles.
“You’ve got to arrest people, you have to track people, you have to put them in jail for 10 years and you’ll never see this stuff again,” Mr Trump said.
“We’re doing it in Washington, DC. We’re going to do something that people haven’t seen before.”
The President told the governors they were making themselves “look like fools” for not calling up more of the National Guard as a show of force on city streets.
Attorney General Bill Barr, who was also on the call, told governors that a joint terrorist task force would be used to track agitators and urged local officials to “dominate” the streets and control, not react to crowds, and urged them to “go after troublemakers.”
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has confirmed his daughter Chiara was arrested while participating in protests against police brutality.
“She only wants to do good in the world,” Mr de Blasio said about his daughter Chiara, 25, whose mother is African-American.
“I’m proud of her,” he continued, adding that “she was acting peacefully, and believes everything she did was in the spirit of peaceful protests”.
Ms de Blasio was one of hundreds who took to the metropolis’s streets on Monday, with some targeting the city’s luxury shopping district.
Mobs of people rampaged down the sidewalks in Soho and other neighbourhoods including Union Square, breaking into Rolex, Kate Spade and Prada boutiques as well as electronics stores.
“This is like a dream. Like a movie,” said New York City resident Sean Jones as he watched the destruction.
“People are doing this so next time, before they think about trying to kill another black person, they’re going to be like, ‘Damn, we don’t want them out here doing this … again.”
New York Police Commissioner Dermot Shea told NBC that police made “hundreds and hundreds of arrests” in that area.
Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who was supposed to face court today, was moved to a maximum security prison as it was revealed his hearing would now be next week.
Mr Chauvin, who was shown in video footage kneeling on George Floyd’s neck, has been transferred to a maximum security jail as he awaits his first court appearance for third-degree murder and manslaughter.
The other three officers on scene, like Mr Chauvin, were fired the day after the incident but have not been charged.
The Minnesota Correctional Facility at Oak Park Heights is the third jail Mr Chauvin has been moved to since his arrest on Friday.
At a press conference on Sunday night, the state’s Department of Corrections commissioner said Mr Chauvin was transferred for two reasons — to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at the Hennepin County Jail where he was previously being kept and because of an expected influx of protesters at that jail.
Mr Chauvin’s first court appearance was scheduled for today, but has been pushed back to June 8.
US media have also reported that Mr Chauvin’s wife has filed for divorce.
His bail has been set at $US500,000 [$736,000].
Protests against the death of George Floyd continued for a third day in Berlin, though the gathering outside the US embassy Monday was significantly smaller than earlier rallies.
Police said about 1,500 people took part in a march Sunday in the German capital’s Kreuzberg district, after about 2,000 people staged a protest in front of the embassy Saturday.
Paul Schreiner, 69, originally from the US state of Wisconsin, was among a dozen people holding a vigil outside the embassy Monday.
“It’s my duty, I feel, to be here,” he said.
“There’s a very interesting phrase that ‘white silence is violence,’ and that moved me to make sure I came today.”
Holding a sign with the names of George Floyd, Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner and others, American citizen Carmen Osorio Rodrigues said she was concerned about the direction the United States is heading.
“We have to confront these social injustices,” she said, adding: “We need clear leadership on how to act.”
They are actually protesting in BERLIN GERMANY… Our Police behavior has become a Global embarrassment.. wow. https://t.co/wYCmtnkJgF
— ICE T (@FINALLEVEL) May 30, 2020