Police and protesters unite to grieve George Floyd’s death while violent instigators spark new clashes
Floyd, 46, died one week ago after a Minneapolis officer pressed his knee on Floyd's neck for 8 minutes, 46 seconds. His final words included "Mama" and "I can't breathe." Outrage and protests spread rapidly from coast to coast — not just over Floyd's death, but also those of other unarmed black men in police custody. Most protesters have been peaceful, with people carrying "Black Lives Matter" and "I can't breathe" signs.But some have turned violent, torching buildings, destroying police cars, smashing windows and looting stores. Federal law enforcement officials said groups including white supremacists and anarchists have fueled the violence. About 4,000 people have been arrested across the country since Tuesday, according to CNN's tally from officials nationwide. There have been aggressive actions by officers, too. In New York City, a police vehicle was seen plowing through a crowd of protesters. In Atlanta, two officers were fired after their violent arrest of two college students was caught on video. And dozens of officers across the country have been injured by rocks or other objects hurled at them. "We have officers with broken bones and bruises," Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown said Sunday. "More than 20 officers went to the hospital. At least two of these required surgery."The former officer who pinned Floyd to the ground, Derek Chauvin, was initially expected in court Monday. But that appearance has been rescheduled for June 8. Chauvin is charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. If convicted, he faces up to 25 years in prison on the murder charge and up to 10 years on the manslaughter charge.But those charges aren't enough to quell protests across the country. Many activists say they want charges for the three other officers who were near Chauvin but did not intervene.In Atlanta, protester Michelle Sheffield wore a face mask with the words "I can't breathe" — a mask she actually made after the death of Eric Garner, who died in 2014 after a New York City police officer wrapped his arm around Garner's neck.She said it's disappointing that six years later, she's protesting again. And she's upset that agitators have sparked violence."If my kid can't go to the store and (safely) get me a gallon of milk, then what's the point? We're fighting a losing battle," Sheffield said. "It has to stop somewhere, and it has to stop with us."
23 states have activated the National Guard
More than 17,000 National Guard members across the country are responding to civil disturbances in support of local authorities, a National Guard official said Monday. At least 23 states and the District of Columbia have activated guard members. In Long Beach, California, some crowds defied the nightly curfew and began raiding and vandalizing stores Sunday night. The entire DC National Guard — about 1,350 members — was called out Sunday night to assist police with protests in the city after several fires were set, including in a church just blocks from the White House.
Protesters are sick of the violence, too
"The protesters are people who are well-intentioned and overwhelmingly peaceful," Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said Monday.But their civil demands for justice have been marred byagitators of different races and ideologies who do not appear to be protesting for Floyd.Footage of a protest outside Baltimore City Hall late Saturday showed two white men covered in black clothing at the front barricade. One had most of his head and face concealed. "We were peacefully protesting, and those two guys came to the front and started kicking the barricade and throwing things at the cops," said Denicia B., who posted the video on Twitter. Denecia said she did not want her last name publicized because "as a black woman, I'm afraid of retaliation. But at this point, the world needs to know what's happening.""They would then run away, and seconds later the protesters were being tear gassed."The video, which contains profanity, shows Denicia telling the two white men to stop."Don't push the gate! Stop! Stop!" Denicia said. "When you do that, they don't come after you. They come after us!"Another protester also tells the instigators to stop. "They're going to kill us if you don't chill," he said."That's what they already do," one of them replies.
Police chiefs unite with grieving relatives and protesters
Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo went to the site of Floyd's death Sunday night, where he spoke to protesters. What happened to Floyd "was a violation of humanity," Arradondo said. The day after Floyd's death, Arradondo fired four of the officers who were at the scene."This was a violation of the oath that the majority of the men and women that put this uniform on, this goes absolutely against it."Through a video feed Sunday, the chief spoke directly to Floyd's brother, Philonese Floyd. Arrandonado removed his hat and said, "I am absolutely, devastatingly sorry."Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo also denounced what happened to Floyd. He said he wants his department to provide a police escort when the body is returned to Houston, Floyd's hometown.And in Flint Township, Michigan, Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson put down his baton to listen to protesters. They chanted "walk with us," so he did.
Officials are investigating extremist groups
The FBI and other agencies are tracking groups from both the extreme right and left that are involved in the violence and attacks on police.Federal law enforcement officials said they're aware of organized groups who are seeking to carry out destruction and violence using the cover of the legitimate protests in Minneapolis and elsewhere. Those domestic extremist groups include anarchists, anti-government groups often associated with far-right extremists and white supremacy causes, and far-left extremists who identify with anti-fascist ideology.In theRead More – Source