George Floyd: Trump security adviser denies systemic racism in US – live

UniqueThis 10 May 31

18:32

New York governor Andrew Cuomo has joined New York City mayor Bill De Blasio by refusing to condemn an incident captured on video in which two police cars drove into a crowd of protestors in Brooklyn.

George Floyd protests: New York police cars filmed driving into crowd – video

“I’m not going to judge it on just what I saw on the video ... as I said from what I saw on the video, I think it’s inexplicable but maybe there is an explanation and lets [remember] there’s always two sides,” he said. Cuomo added that “police are in an impossible situation in many ways. But their behavior is everything.”

Cuomo said that, rather than using violence, people should vote out leaders they are not happy with. “Demand that change and if government leaders won’t do it, or can’t do it, or don’t know how to do it then you vote them out,” Cuomo said.

18:17

Atlanta, Chicago and Philadelphia will be under curfew on Sunday night. Atlanta and Chicago’s curfew will start at 9pm and Philadelphia’s at 8pm. Meanwhile Chicago will close down its central business district except for business owners and residents of the immediate area.

Chicago was the scene of protests on Saturday night

Chicago was the scene of protests on Saturday night. Photograph: John J Kim/AP

“The City of Chicago today announced new precautionary measures to further ensure the health and safety of residents and the hundreds of peaceful protestors participating in rallies this Sunday,” Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office said in a statement. “As part of these efforts, the city announced that multiple routes to the Central Business District will be temporarily reduced today following multiple public safety incidents and property damage that occurred overnight.”

One person was killed in central Chicago on Saturday night and there were also incidents of looting. Lightfoot said violence undermined the protests and such actions mean “we all lose by giving the very same forces of racist oppression we are fighting the false validation that they crave”.

Lightfoot also reminded residents of Chicago to wear face coverings while attending demonstrations.

“It goes without saying that all this is occurring while we are still in a pandemic,” she wrote on Twitter. “So, to those who do go out peacefully, please – for your safety and the safety of our communities – please wear face coverings and maintain safe social distancing while you are marching.”

Updated

18:08

More signs that protests against the death of George Floyd have extended beyond the US. In Germany’s Bundeliga, French striker Marcus Thuram took a knee after scoring for Borussia Mönchengladbach against Union Berlin. Thuram’s action was a nod to the former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who started kneeling during the national anthem in 2016 to protest against racial injustice in the United States.

Marcus Thuram kneels after his goal on Sunday

Marcus Thuram kneels after his goal on Sunday. Photograph: Martin Meissner/PA

“He [Thuram] cut to the chase,” said the Borussia Mönchengladbach manager, Marco Rose, after the match. “He took a stand against racism, one that we wholeheartedly support.”

Marcus Thuram is the son of the World-Cup winner Lilian, who has become one of the most eloquent and powerful voices to speak out against racism in football.

Barry Glendenning (@bglendenning)

After Marcus Thuram took a knee earlier, Jadon Sancho celebrates scoring against Paderborn. pic.twitter.com/zQxfqg8Kg8

May 31, 2020

English forward Jadon Sancho also unveiled a message reading “Justice for Jadon Sancho” after scoring for Borussia Dortmund on Sunday.

Updated

17:57

Here’s Miranda Bryant again, with a look at what Maryland governor Larry Hogan told CNN’s State of the Union earlier:

Two weeks ago, like many states, Maryland was under a stay-at-home order. Now its Republican governor fears that gatherings across the country to protest the killing of George Floyd could lead to a rise in Covid-19 cases across the US.

Larry Hogan.

Larry Hogan. Photograph: Andrew Harnik/AP

“There’s no question that, when you put hundreds or thousands of people together in close proximity, when we have got this virus all over the streets, is, it’s not healthy,” Hogan told CNN.

There’s about a 14-day incubation period. So, two weeks from now across America, we’re going to find out whether or not this gives us a spike and drives the numbers back up again or not. But we went from a stay-at-home order, most states in America had rules about no crowds of 10 or more, and now we’re seeing thousands of people jammed in together in close proximity.”

On the subject of protests, Hogan, a popular Republican governor, said Donald Trump’s comments – including describing protesters as “thugs” and tweeting “When the looting starts, the shooting starts” – were “not helpful” and “continuing to escalate the rhetoric”.

He added: It’s just the opposite of the message that should have been coming out of the White House.”

Maryland’s biggest city saw serious rioting in 2015, over the death at the hands of police of Freddie Gray, who sustained fatal injuries in custody.

Hogan said he would advise other state leaders to “not let the situation get out of control”.

“Our theory was kind of peace through strength,” he said. “We did not let it escalate to violence, where crowds were overpowering police. But we separated the violent acts and the destructive acts from the peaceful protesting.”

17:45

Trump says Antifa will be designated 'a terrorist organization'

Donald Trump has tweeted that “The United States of America will be designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization.” This continues the president’s habit of blaming violence during this week’s protests on Antifa and leftwing organisations despite the fact that it is unclear who is responsible for the looting and violence that has taken place at some demonstrations.

Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)

The United States of America will be designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization.

May 31, 2020

It may be tough for Trump to follow up on his action anyway as Antifa is not a single entity but a loosely linked group of individuals and organisations. And, as the Washington Post reported last year, when two Republican senators moved to label Antifa as domestic terrorists, Trump’s plan could have damaging effects:

“The lack of a central governing system for antifa creates the risk of wrongly applying the label to all counterprotesters of white supremacists, according to the Anti-Defamation League, an organization that opposes anti-Semitism,” according the Washington Post’s report. “This kind of mislabeling, the ADL said, could cause police to violate the civil rights of peaceful activists.”

Updated

17:28

Minnesota, where George Floyd was killed last week and the scene of some of the country’s largest protests, will have its curfew extended into Sunday evening. The state’s governor, Tim Walz, said the curfew will start at 8pm on Sunday and continue until 6am Monday. “We are not done yet,” the governor said.

Minnesota’s public safety commissioner, John Harrington, said that a “large number” of arrests made during Saturday night’s protests were due to weapons violations. “We took AR-15s off of people, we took guns off of people,” Harrington said.

Walz said that state computers had also been the subject of a cyberattack but it was unclear who was behind the attack.

“Before our operation kicked off last night, a very sophisticated denial of service attack on all state computers was executed,” Walz said. “That’s not somebody sitting in their basement.”

Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)

Congratulations to our National Guard for the great job they did immediately upon arriving in Minneapolis, Minnesota, last night. The ANTIFA led anarchists, among others, were shut down quickly. Should have been done by Mayor on first night and there would have been no trouble!

May 31, 2020

Donald Trump, meanwhile, has maintained his stance of blaming violence during the Minnesota protests on Antifa. “Congratulations to our National Guard for the great job they did immediately upon arriving in Minneapolis, Minnesota, last night. The ANTIFA led anarchists, among others, were shut down quickly. Should have been done by Mayor on first night and there would have been no trouble!,” he wrote on Twitter on Sunday. He also blamed, with no evidence, “radical Left Anarchists” for the violence.

17:18

Miranda Bryant has news from Minnesota on a possible investigation into some of the protesters…

Minnesota attorney general Keith Ellison has said there is evidence of “very suspicious behaviour” among some protesters and called for an investigation into their motives.

Keith Ellison.

Keith Ellison. Photograph: John Autey/AP

It comes after US attorney general William Barr claimed on Saturday that much of the protest violence was being driven by “far left extremist groups using Antifa-like tactics” and crossing state lines to do so.

Ellison told NBC’s Meet the Press: “There’s been a lot of videotape taken by demonstrators of people who are very suspicious, who really did start breaking windows, particularly at the AutoZone, and there have been other, you know, photographs and cars with, you know, no license plates, very suspicious behaviour.

“But the real point is we do need to investigate it. Because you know the truth is nobody really knows. I’ve talked to people who are demonstrating. Some of them say they think some of those folks are from Minnesota, and they also say some people have come from out of town. What the exact political motivation is unclear at this point.”

He accused Barr and the president of trying to “walk back” their involvement in policing in key states that existed under the Obama administration and said: “They have not brought a single pattern or practice lawsuit against a major municipality where there’s systemic police abuses in America.”

Ellison added: “They have actually tried to walk back their involvement in key states where they existed under the Obama administration. They have not moved forward, when it comes to 21st-century policing which the Obama administration started.”

The federal government, he said, needs to forge “a better relationship” between cities and police departments, instead of making “incendiary comments”.

“We need their help to be more constructive and less assigning, you know, blame on matters that, actually, we don’t know the truth of yet.”

Ellison also said charges against ex-police officer Derek Chauvin could be amended to include higher charges for George Floyd’s killing and that the three other officers involved are “not out of the woods”. Chauvin was charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter on Friday.

Ellison said officials were still “early in the process”. He said he does not know what charges the three other officers might face, but that charges of aiding and abetting were “a possibility”. He said county attorney Mike Freeman was looking into the matter and that he expects to hear something in the “near future”.

Updated

17:08

Minnesota’s governor, Tim Walz, has apologised to journalists “everywhere” after a number of arrests of members of the media covering the protests.

“I want to once again extend my deepest apologies, to the journalists who were once again in the middle of this situation were inadvertently, but nevertheless, detained, to them personally and in to the news organizations and to journalists everywhere,” Walz said at a press conference on Sunday.

Michael Safi has more on the targeting of journalists - by police and protesters - during the demonstrations over George Floyd’s death:

Journalists covering the protests and riots that have erupted in US cities after the killing of George Floyd have reported being shot at, teargassed and arrested, as well as being intimidated by crowds.

More than 30 incidents of violence and harassment against media workers were reported on social media and in news outlets on Friday and Saturday, according to a tally the Guardian collated.

They included the blinding of Linda Tirado, a freelance photojournalist and activist who has contributed to the Guardian, who was hit in the eye with a nonlethal round while covering unrest in Minneapolis; the arrest of the HuffPost US reporter Chris Mathias during protests in New York; and the shooting of the Swedish foreign correspondent Nina Svanberg, who was struck in the leg by several rubber bullets on Friday night.

“They’re sighting us in,” a member of a CBS News crew was heard saying in another incident in Minneapolis on Saturday, as police fired rubber bullets at the team, who said they were wearing press credentials and carrying large cameras. A sound engineer was struck in the arm, a journalist from the outlet said.

A Canadian Broadcasting Corporation journalist, Susan Ormiston, was hit with a gas canister also while covering the protests in the city. “The thing is, we were in that parking lot all by ourselves,” she said in a broadcast. The police “fired at us to clear us away but we clearly had our camera equipment visible”.

Minneapolis was the scene of especially acute unrest on Saturday night as authorities imposed a curfew and deployed the Minnesota state national guard to clear the streets and prevent the rioting and looting of the previous night.

You can read the full story here:

16:58

More from Miranda Bryant, this time watching Washington DC mayor Muriel Bowser, whose city has seen protests outside the White House for two nights running, talk to NBC’s Meet the Press:

Protesters have the right to exercise their first amendment rights, Bowser said, but “not to destroy our city”.

On Saturday night, protests outside the White House saw wastebins and a car set on fire and windows of businesses smashed. Bowser said the damage done to the city was “maddening”.

“We’re sending a very clear message to people that they have a right to exercise their first amendment rights, but not to destroy our city. So we saw a level of just destruction and mayhem among some that was maddening,” she said.

“Our crews are out right now cleaning up our city, and we are working with all of our law enforcement partners to ensure calm in our city.”

Criticising the president’s handling of the crisis, Bowser urged Donald Trump to help “calm the nation”.

“The president has a responsibility to help calm the nation, and he can start by not sending divisive tweets that are meant to hearken to the segregationist past of our country. And he can start by doing that right now. We certainly urge him to do that.”

She said there are “systematic issues” that need addressing – at both a federal and local level.

“What you see in cities across our nations, what we saw last night, there are people who are angry and people who are hurting. And some not, not doing it in ways that are helpful to our cause. But we still have to acknowledge that hurt and that anger,” she added.

Here’s David Smith’s report from Washington on Saturday night:

16:42

De Blasio is asked about two police cars that drove into a crowd of protesters on Saturday night in Brooklyn. He says the incident will be investigated. “I don’t ever want to see a police officer do that but I also know it was an incredibly dangerous situation [for the officers],” he said.

George Floyd protests: New York police cars filmed driving into crowd – video

On Saturday night, De Blasio defended the officers’ decision to drive at protesters. “If those protesters had just gotten out of the way and not created an attempt to surround that vehicle, we would not be talking about this,” he said, in comments that were widely criticized.

He says, more generally, that the “culture” of policing must change in New York and the US. He adds: “I see more and more officers who see that” and says the current NYPD commissioner, Dermot Shea, also wants to see a change in policing culture and calls him a “great leader”.

Updated

16:34

Updated

16:24

Updated

16:18

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has appeared on ABC News’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos and opened by urging unity in the United States. “Let’s come together. Let’s be prayerful, especially on Sunday morning, about how we can put our differences aside because this is the greatest country in the world and we want to live up to the legacy of America,” she said.

Pelosi also described the death of George Floyd as an execution after she was asked if all four officers present at his death should be held responsible (so far only one officer has been charged with a crime). “I said right from the start that it was murder. We saw an execution of a person on TV. We saw it happened, a knee to the neck,” she said. There are others there who witnessed it who were – would be considered in other circumstance accomplices to it.”

Pelosi said many of Donald Trump’s inflammatory comments - the president described some protesters as “thugs” – should be ignored.

“The president of the United States should bring dignity to the office that he serves. He should be a unifying force in our country. We have seen that with Democratic and Republican presidents all along. They have seen their responsibility to be the president of the United States, to unify our country, and not to fuel the flame, not to fuel the flame. Not to fuel the flame,” she said.

“And I think to take his bait time and time again is just a gift to him because he always wants to divert attention from what the cause of the response was rather than to describe it in his own terms, sadly.”

Pelosi ended by saying that injustices faced by black people in American are not limited to police brutality.

“This is happening at a time of other injustices. The fact is that the coronavirus has taken undue tool among people of color. This again is an injustice,” she said. “...Why should there have been more disproportionate deaths among people of color?Because we’re not really testing in those communities to treat and save lives.”

16:00

Val Demings, a member of Congress and potential running mate with Joe Biden in November’s presidential election, has appeared on NBC’s Meet The Press. Her comments carried added weight as she is the former police chief for Orlando. She said Minnesota’s chief of police should be praised for quickly firing the officers involved in George Floyd’s death.

“While I know that it seemed like the days that passed before the officer was arrested – if you look historically, that was a pretty swift arrest that was made,” she said.

Demings added that the federal government had a large part to play in ensuring law enforcement are trained properly. “While I know that our government does not have direct jurisdiction, I certainly believe that we do have a major role to play in terms of helping law enforcement agencies throughout the nation maybe come up with some standards for hiring and training, especially use of force training,” she said.

Demings said she was not confident Donald Trump is the correct person to lead the United States through a time in which the country is dealing with civil unrest and a pandemic. “If there was ever a time we need leadership in the White House, it is now, to help heal our nation, but I don’t know why I would expect this president to do something that he has never done before and we have never seen before,” she said.

She was asked what the president could say to heal the nation’s wounds. “I would tell him to begin with showing some compassion for the persons who and the families that have lost their loved ones ... and maybe we begin today by acknowledging the sins of the past and even said things that he has said and done that caused harm and brought pain to the American people,” she said.

15:44

Ilhan Omar: US has 'two-tiered justice system'

More from Miranda Bryant, who has been watching the Minnesota congresswoman Ilhan Omar speak to ABC’s This Week:

Ilhan Omar has called for nationwide reform following the killing of George Floyd and criticised some protesters’ use of violence. Speaking from Minneapolis, she told ABC News there was “real work to do, to heal” and that a new system is needed “that works for all of us”.

Ilhan Omar.

Ilhan Omar. Photograph: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Omar, an immigrant from Somalia who was one of the first two Muslim women elected to the US House, called for justice – including action against the police officers present when Floyd died who have not yet been charged, with one charged with murder – and nationwide reforms following “social and economic neglect”.

She added: ”We are living in a country that has a two-tiered justice system and people are … sick and tired of being sick and tired. And we need to really step back and say to ourselves, where do we actually from here? And that can’t just be getting justice for George Floyd. It needs to be bigger than that.”

Omar said Minneapolis residents were feeling “terrorised” by the threat of their homes and businesses burning down – but also by the presence of tanks and national guard troops.

“What we are trying to do is try to figure out something between extreme aggression and ways to figure out how to not get our city burned down. And it’s a challenge.”

Omar spoke out against those causing destruction in the city, saying: “When we see people setting our buildings and our businesses ablaze, we know those are not people who are interested in protecting black lives.”

Donald Trump, she said, has failed to understand “the kind of pain and anguish many of his citizens are feeling.”

She added: “When you have a president who really is glorifying violence and was talking about the kind of vicious dogs and weapons that could be unleashed on citizens, it is quite appalling and disturbing.”

Here’s Charles Kaiser’s review of Omar’s new book, This Is What America Looks Like:

15:33

Boston Celtics star Jaylen Brown drove 15 hours to Atlanta to take part in a peaceful protest on Saturday.

“I drove 15 hours to get to Georgia, my community,” said Brown, who is from Georgia, and is also a vice president of the National Basketball Players Association. “This is a peaceful protest. Being a celebrity, being an NBA player don’t exclude me from no conversations at all. First and foremost, I’m a black man and I’m a member of this community. ... We’re raising awareness for some of the injustices that we’ve been seeing. It’s not OK.

“As a young person, you’ve got to listen to our perspective. Our voices need to be heard. I’m 23 years old. I don’t know all of the answers. But I feel how everybody else is feeling, for sure. No question.”

Another NBA player, the Indiana Pacers’ Malcolm Brogdon, was also at the protest with Brown.

“This is a moment. We have leverage right now,” he said. “We have a moment in time. People are going to look back, our kids are going to look back at this and say, ‘You were part of that.’ I’ve got a grandfather that marched next to [Martin Luther King Jr.] in the ‘60s, and he was amazing. He would be proud to see us all here. We got to keep pushing forward. Jaylen has led this charge, man, and I’m proud of him. We need more leaders.”

Brown recently wrote an op-ed for the Guardian on how US society should unite to combat Covid-19. He also spoke to us about how sports are used as a mechanism of control in the States. Brogdon spoke to the Guardian last year about sports and race.


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