Tens of thousands of protesters streamed into the nation’s capital and other major cities over the weekend in another huge mobilization against police brutality, while George Floyd was remembered in his North Carolina hometown by mourners who waited hours for a glimpse of his golden coffin.
Military vehicles and officers in fatigues closed off much of downtown Washington to traffic before massive marches. Large protests also took place across the U.S. and overseas, including in London, Paris, Berlin and Sydney, collectively producing perhaps the largest one-day mobilization since Floyd’s death 12 days ago at the hands of police in Minneapolis.
The dozens of demonstrations capped a week of nearly constant protests that swelled beyond anything else the nation has seen in at least a generation. After frequent episodes of violence in the early stages following Floyd’s death, the crowds in the U.S. shifted to a calmer tenor in recent days.
Here are the latest developments in the death of George Floyd:
Sen. Mitt Romney Joins Black Lives Matter Protest in DC
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U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney marched in a protest against police mistreatment of minorities in the nation’s capital, making him the first Republican senator to do so.
Romney, who represents Utah, posted a tweet showing him wearing a mask as he walked with Black Lives Matter protesters in Washington on Sunday. Äbove the photo he wrote: Black Lives Matter.
On Saturday, Romney tweeted a photo of his father, George, who was the governor of Michigan from 1963 to 1969, marching with civil rights protesters in the 1960s in a Detroit suburb.
Above the photo, Mitt Romney wrote: "This is my father, George Romney, participating in a Civil Rights march in the Detroit suburbs during the late 1960s — Force alone will not eliminate riots," he said. "We must eliminate the problems from which they stem."
Minneapolis Council Majority Backs Disbanding Police Force
A majority of the members of the Minneapolis City Council said Sunday they support disbanding the city's police department, an aggressive stance that comes just as the state has launched a civil rights investigation after George Floyd's death.
Nine of the council’s 12 members appeared with activists at a rally in a city park Sunday afternoon and vowed to end policing as the city currently knows it. Council member Jeremiah Ellison promised that the council would "dismantle" the department.
"It is clear that our system of policing is not keeping our communities safe," Lisa Bender, the council president, said. "Our efforts at incremental reform have failed, period."
Bender went on to say she and the eight other council members that joined the rally are committed to ending the city’s relationship with the police force and “to end policing as we know it and recreate systems that actually keep us safe."
Biden to Meet With George Floyd's Family Before Funeral
Former Vice President Joe Biden plans to travel to Houston to meet with the family of George Floyd and will provide a video message for Floyd's funeral service.
A Biden aide on Sunday described the plans of the Democratic presidential candidate. They did not include attending the service.
Biden expects to give the family his condolences, said the aide, who discussed Biden's plans on condition of anonymity.
Funeral services Monday will follow a six-hour viewing for Floyd, who was raised in Houston. Burial is set for Tuesday in the Houston suburb of Pearland.
Trump Orders National Guard Troops to Withdraw From US Capital
President Donald Trump says he’s given the order for National Guard troops to begin withdrawing from the nation’s capital, saying everything now is "under perfect control."
The District of Columbia government requested some Guard forces last week to assist law enforcement with managing protests after the death of George Floyd. But Trump ordered thousands more troops and federal law enforcement to the city to “dominate” the streets after some instances of looting and violence.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser last week called on Trump to withdraw National Guard troops that some states sent to the city.
Trump tweeted Sunday that "They will be going home, but can quickly return, if needed." He also ordered more than 1,000 active duty troops to be flown to the D.C.-area in reserve, but they have begun returning to their home bases after days of peaceful protests.
Crowds Rally Outside US Embassy in London for Second Day
Thousands of people are congregating around the U.S. embassy in London to protest against racial injustice in the wake of the brutal killing of George Floyd last month.
Protesters gathered Sunday for a second day running around the gleaming new glass building on Nine Elms Lane, just south of the River Thames.
There are concerns that Sunday's demonstration could take a violent turn, following clashes on Saturday at another demonstration in central London that saw 14 police officers injured.
Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, says violence is “simply not acceptable” and has urged those protesting to do so lawfully while also maintaining social distancing of remaining 2 meters (6.5 feet) apart.
Hundreds of people also formed a densely packed crowd in a square in central Manchester, kneeling in silence as a mark of respect for George Floyd.
New York Mayor Lifts Curfew 'Effective Immediately'
New York City's mayor is lifting the city's curfew ahead of schedule, spurred on by protests against police brutality.
The 8 p.m. citywide curfew, New York’s first in decades, had been set to remain in effect through at least Sunday, with the city planning to lift it at the same time it enters the first phase of reopening after more than two months of a coronavirus shutdown.
But Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Sunday morning in a tweet that the curfew will end “effective immediately.”
“Yesterday and last night we saw the very best of our city,” de Blasio tweeted “Tomorrow we take the first big step to restart.”
The move followed New York City police pulling back on enforcing the curfew Saturday as thousands took to the streets and parks to protest police brutality, sparked by the May 25 death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.
More than two hours after the curfew had passed Saturday night, groups of several hundred demonstrators continued to march in Manhattan and Brooklyn, while police monitored them but took a hands-off approach.
Protesters Topple Confederate Statue in Virginia Capital
A small group of demonstrators toppled a statue of a Confederate general in the the former capital of the Confederacy late Saturday, following a day of largely peaceful protests in the Virginia city.
The statue of Gen. Williams Carter Wickham was pulled from its pedestal in Monroe Park, a Richmond police spokeswoman said. She said she did not know if there were any arrests or damage done to the statue.
A rope had been tied around the Confederate statue, which has stood since 1891, The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported, adding that someone urinated on the statue after it was pulled down. Photos and video from the newspaper showed the what appeared to be red paint splashed or sprayed on the statue.
Top Editor Out at Philly Newspaper After Headline Controversy
The Philadelphia Inquirer's top editor is resigning after an uproar over a headline lamenting damage to businesses amid turbulent protests denouncing police brutality against people of color, the paper announced Saturday.
The newspaper said Stan Wischnowski, 58, was stepping down as senior vice president and executive editor.
The Inquirer had apologized for a “horribly wrong” decision to use the print headline, “Buildings Matter, Too,” on a column Tuesday about looting and vandalism on the margins of protests of George Floyd's death in Minneapolis at the hands of a white police officer.
Trump Nixes Golf Trip Over Potential for 'Bad Optics'
President Donald Trump had planned to spend this weekend in New Jersey at his Bedminster golf resort, but the White House opted to change course and cancel the trip a few days ago in large part due to the potential for “bad optics” of the president at one of his private clubs as national protests continue, according to two people familiar with the decision-making.
The original idea was to travel from Maine — where he visited a plant manufacturing coronavirus testing supplies — to New Jersey on Friday and spend it as “working weekend,” but the president ultimately agreed with his advisers that the plan could be problematic as thousands of demonstrators descended on the White House on Saturday for another day to protest the killing of George Floyd in police custody, the people familiar with Trump's choice said.
This would have been the president’s first time back at Bedminster since last August. Trump is currently scheduled to be there, at least for one day, next weekend when he is slated to host an in-person fundraiser for his reelection effort.
NFL Condemns Racism, Admits ‘We Were Wrong’ Not to Listen to NFL Player Protests
National Football League commissioner Roger Goodell admitted the league was “wrong” for failing to listen to players who protested social injustice, he said on Friday in a video.
In his second statement released since the May 25 death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man in Minnesota, Goodell used the roughly 1:20 recorded message to not only “condemn the systemic oppression of black people” but admit fault for not listening to its players “earlier.”
'Gaslighting an Entire City': Critics Call Out Mayor for Downplaying Rough Police Treatment of NYC Protesters
Mayor Bill de Blasio on Friday said he had personally seen “no use of force around peaceful protests” and cast doubt on people who had, belying social media posts and witness accounts of officers moving on demonstrators without provocation and bashing them with batons.
De Blasio made the comment in response to questions at his morning news briefing about teams of officers aggressively breaking up a rally in the Bronx as the city's 8 p.m. curfew kicked in Thursday, leading to scores of arrests and cries of brutality. He said officers were using “lots of restraint” with protesters.
“What an absolute disgrace. This is just not true," City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer tweeted afterward. "You are gaslighting an entire City.”
Protesters marched through the city again Friday by the thousands. The violent flareups that characterized some demonstrations last weekend have almost entirely given way to peaceful affairs. Looting that occurred on Sunday and Monday also appears to have ceased.
Minneapolis to Ban Police Chokeholds in Wake of Floyd Death
Negotiators for the city of Minneapolis agreed with the state Friday to ban the use of chokeholds by police and to require officers to report and intervene anytime they see an unauthorized use of force by another officer.
The changes are part of a stipulation posted online between the city and the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, which launched a civil rights investigation this week in response to the death of George Floyd. The City Council was expected to approve the agreement Friday.
The agreement would require court approval and would become enforceable in court, unlike the department's current policies on the use of force and duties to intervene. The agreement would require any officer, regardless of tenure or rank, to immediately radio or phone in from the scene the use of any neck restraint or chokehold to their commander or their commander’s superiors.
Similarly, any officer who sees another officer commit any unauthorized use of force, including any chokehold or neck restraint, must try to intervene verbally and even physically. If they don’t, they’d be subject to discipline as severe as if they themselves had used the prohibited force.
The agreement also would require authorization from the police chief or a designated deputy chief to use crowd control weapons, including chemical agents, rubber bullets, flash-bang grenades, batons, and marking rounds. And it would require more timely decisions on disciplining officers.
Republican Utah Lawmaker to Back NAACP Police-Reform Plan
A Republican lawmaker in Utah said Friday he'll support police reform legislation championed by the NAACP aimed at ending brutality and racial profiling in the wake of George Floyd's death.
Utah was among the first states to publicly respond to a call from the group's national headquarters for branches to pursue reform legislation, said Jeanetta Williams, president of NAACP’s tri-state conference area of Idaho-Utah-Nevada. Priorities include the demilitarization of law enforcement, tracking and reporting data, and education and training of all officers.
GOP state Sen. Daniel Thatcher has agreed to pursue three of the items brought forth by the NAACP: limiting use of force, increasing transparency in discipline records and strengthening citizen review boards. Williams said she hopes the state's racial and ethnic minority legislators will agree to propose others.
“The best way for us to support the NAACP right now is to listen to them, hear them and follow their lead,” Thatcher said.
He successfully sponsored a hate-crimes law in Utah last year, pushing though a bill that had stalled in the GOP-dominated legislature for years.
Seattle Mayor Bans Police Use of Tear Gas
Seattle's mayor has banned the police use of tear gas as protests continue over the killing of George Floyd.
Mayor Jenny Durkan said at a news conference Friday that the ban would last for 30 days.
The move came hours after three civilian police watchdog groups urged city leaders to ban the use of tear gas to control demonstrators. The groups said the move would build public trust and should remain in place until the department adopts policies and training for use of the chemical agent.
Death of Tacoma Man Who Said 'I Can't Breathe' in Police Custody Ruled a Homicide
The mayor of Tacoma, Washington, called for the city manager to fire four police officers after the death of a black man in custody was ruled a homicide.
Manuel Ellis, 33, died on March 3 after being handcuffed and restrained by officers. He could be heard on police scanner traffic saying “I can’t breathe,” after he was handcuffed, and he died at the scene, according to NBC News affiliate KING in Seattle.
Mobile, Alabama, Removes Confederate Statue Without Warning
The city of Mobile, Alabama removed a Confederate statue early Friday without making any public announcements beforehand.
The bronze figure of Admiral Raphael Semmes had become a flash point for protest in the city. George Talbot, a spokesman for the city, confirmed Friday morning that the statue was removed by the city.
The removal of the 120-year-old figure follows days of protests in Alabama and across the nation over killings by police of African Americans.
Semmes was a Confederate commerce raider, sinking Union-allied ships during the Civil War.
Other Confederate symbols are coming down around the South. The city of Birmingham removed a towering obelisk after another statue was toppled by protesters. Virginia's governor has decided to remove a huge statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee in Richmond, Virginia, after city authorities said they'll remove other Confederate monuments from Monument Avenue.