NYPD chief claims Cuomo has apologised for criticism
NYPD chief Terence Monahan has been doing the TV round this morning – appearing on Today
He said an earlier curfew helped take out of neighborhoods “people who didn’t belong there” and that officers had allowed peaceful protests to continue beyond 8pm. He said those who had broken off from the main groups “looking to cause mayhem” had been rapidly dealt with.
He also responded to criticism from Governor Andrew Cuomo, saying that he should never call his officers ineffective, and said that last night “[Cuomo’s] office called and apologised to me” and said the Cuomo had called the commissioner directly to apologise.
You can watch the full interview here:
Monahan’s comments don’t entirely square with Associated Press reports that two of their journalists were surrounded, shoved and had expletives yelled at them while simply trying to cover the protests in New York last night.
In a video clip, videojournalist Robert Bumsted is heard explaining to the officers that the press are considered “essential workers” and are allowed to be on the streets. An officer responds “I don’t give a shit.” Another tells Bumsted “get the fuck out of here you piece of shit.”
British PM Johnson says Floyd killing ‘appalling’ and ‘inexcusable’
British prime minister Boris Johnson has described the death of George Floyd as “appalling” and “inexcusable” in the British parliament – but he also cautioned protests to stay “lawful and reasonable”.
There is a weekly session in London where the prime minister is grilled by MPs, and this week Keir Starmer, the leader of the UK’s main opposition Labour party, opened by saying:
“Can I start by expressing shock and anger at the death of George Floyd. This has shone a light on racism and hatred experienced by many in the US and beyond.”
He want on to castigate Johnson for his lack of response so far, urging the UK to send a strong message to the US president:
“I’m surprised the prime minister hasn’t said anything about this yet, but I do hope that next time he speaks to President Trump he will convey to him the UK’s abhorrence about his response to the events.”
For his part, Johnson responded: “I think what happened in the United States was appalling, it was inexcusable. We all saw it on our screens, and I perfectly understand people’s right to protest, though obviously I also believe that protests should take place in a lawful and reasonable way.”
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Fatima Bhutto has written for us today about yesterday’s #blackouttuesday and #theshowmustbepaused campaigns, which she scathingly dismisses as “a facile attempt at armchair activism”.
At exactly the moment when power requires interrogation and urgent reckoning, social media users, celebrities and influencers rallied for silence.
Whereas 24 hours earlier, users had been posting legal information, names of pro bono lawyers and bail funds, filming videos of wanton cruelty and abuses of power, now they were shtum, save for the sanctimonious black squares.
You can read the full piece here: Fatima Bhutto – As responses to George Floyd’s death go, #BlackOutTuesday was embarrassing
More details are emerging about the death of retired police captain David Dorn in St Louis, Missouri, after his widow, St. Louis police Sgt. Ann Marie Dorn, spoke to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
He was apparently killed by people who had broken into a pawn shop. His widow said Dorn frequently checked on Lee’s Pawn & Jewelry when alarms went off, as he was a friend of the owner.
According to the Associated Press, Dorn’s last moments were caught on video and apparently posted on Facebook Live, though the video has since been taken down. His body was found on the sidewalk at about 2:30am. No arrests have yet been made.
77 year old Dorn had served 38 years on the St. Louis police force before retiring in October 2007.
The Ethical Society of Police, which represents black officers in St. Louis, said in a news release that Dorn was “the type of brother that would’ve given his life to save them if he had to.”
They’ve also just tweeted this message about Dorn.
Former St. Louis County police Chief Tim Fitch knew Dorn for 30 years, and he said: “He was very dedicated to youth, especially disadvantaged youth. He wanted to see them succeed. He wanted to be a role model for those young men and women to go into law enforcement.
“He was a fun guy, a happy guy. You never had to wonder what he was thinking when somebody did something incredibly stupid like a crime because he would just say it as he saw it.”
Eric Trump is up and tweeting as well – and he’s just retweeted a string of angry tweets from his father last night, where the president confirmed that this year’s Republican National Convention will not now be taking place in North Carolina.
Donald Trump says it is because the Democrat state governor Roy Cooper won’t guarantee that all coronavirus restrictions will be lifted in the state in time for the event.
Trump had been threatening to move the location of the event for some time.
British police leaders ‘appalled and horrified’ at Floyd death
In a rare statement of condemnation of the actions of officers in a fellow democracy, British police leaders have said they are “appalled and horrified” by the killing of George Floyd.
The statement is from Martin Hewitt, chair of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, Mike Cunningham, Chief Executive of the College of Policing and Paul Griffiths, President of the Police Superintendents’ Association. It says: “We stand alongside all those across the globe who are appalled and horrified by the way George Floyd lost his life. Justice and accountability should follow.
“We are also appalled to see the violence and damage that has happened in so many US cities since then. Our hearts go out to all those affected by these terrible events and hope that peace and order will soon be restored.
“In the UK we have a long established tradition of policing by consent, working in communities to prevent crime and solve problems. Officers are trained to use force proportionately, lawfully and only when absolutely necessary. We strive to continuously learn and improve. We will tackle bias, racism or discrimination wherever we find it.
“Policing is complex and challenging and sometimes we fall short. When we do, we are not afraid to shine a light on injustices or to be held to account.”
The statement urges those in the UK who want to protest to obey lockdown rules restricting how many people can gather together.
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My colleague Matthew Teague has been in Fairhope, Alabama, speaking to evangelical Christians about that controversial Donald Trump photo with the bible from earlier in the week.
“It was the coolest thing he could do. What more could he do, wear blue jeans and ride in on a horse?” said one of them, interpreting it with the symbolism of the Israelites walking seven times around Jericho, whose walls then came crashing down.
You can read Matthew’s full report here:
Turkey’s state-run news agency has reported that at least 29 demonstrators were detained in Istanbul who had gathered to denounce police violence and to stand in solidarity with protesters in the United States.
Anadolu Agency said riot police broke up the demonstration late Tuesday after the group of about 50 activists ignored calls to disperse.
Reports says that they were carrying images of George Floyd – and photos from the event show the pictures of him left behind on the ground in the Turkish capital.
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One political development overnight that you might have missed with all the attention on street protests, is that controversial Iowa Republican congressman Steve King lost his re-election race to the state senator Randy Feenstra.
The nine-term conservative congressman, who was repeatedly reprimanded by leaders in his own party for racist rhetoric and interactions with white nationalists faced four Republican primary challengers – and lost.
You can read more about it here:
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The president is up and tweeting, and attacking “poorly run & managed” states in comparison to Texas, which he is praising while also touting the southern border wall which he says is going up “fast”.
There’s some interesting sports stories related to the protests and police violence floating around already today.
Real Salt Lake defender Nedum Onuoha has come out to say that he never goes out and feels 100% safe while in the US.
“In the UK I’m more comfortable because if something happens it probably will not be deadly. But over here because of their rights it’s more common that altercations become deadly,” the 33-year-old added.
“I’m comfortable but when it comes to any kind of brutality, if it’s from the police, if they read me the wrong way then my life could be taken. I feel that every single day.”
Winnipeg Jets captain Blake Wheeler, meanwhile, has added further to his words on the situation, telling reporters: “We have to be as involved in this as black athletes. It can’t just be their fight. I wish that I was more involved sooner than I was. I wish that it didn’t take me this long to get behind it in a meaningful way. I want to be part of the change going forward.”
And there’s a worrying development with Oklahoma State linebacker Amen Ogbongbemiga announcing on social media that he has tested positive for Covid-19 after attending a protest in Tulsa. There are concerns that the widespread protests in the US and elsewhere will reverse attempts to get the coronavirus under control.
Meanwhile back in the US, the US Park Police (USPP) has defended its forceful clearing of protesters for a controversial Trump photo-op on Monday.
In a statement, the agency accused “violent protestors” of “throwing projectiles including bricks, frozen water bottles and caustic liquids”.
It denied that tear gas was used and said officers instead “employed the use of smoke canisters and pepper balls”.
As my colleague Oliver Holt pointed out in our earlier live blog, that statement does not tally with multiple reports on the ground that day. This nearly-two hour video from Reuters shows a peaceful protest pushed back.
An investigative reporter in DC, Nathan Baca, also picked up a canister at the scene that does appear to cause irritation.
There’s no doubting the international impact of the protests over George Floyd’s killing. Last night a new mural by street artist Akse was unveiled in the Northern Quarter of England’s Manchester. Local council buildings in the area were also lit up in purple in Floyd’s memory.
Several US news organisations are reporting that Tuesday night’s protests have been the calmest in days.
Clearly that is not the case in Portland and Seattle, where police have been dispersing people with force, but it may point towards a nationwide drop in confrontations.
The New York Times reported that while protesters defied curfews, the violence has ebbed.
Crowds in Washington DC, it said, “remained peaceful in a mood that appeared to be taking hold in other cities, too. When a few demonstrators began to rock the fence, they were quickly stopped. ‘Use your words,’ two women yelled. ‘Don’t do that.’”
The Washington Post has also reported an easing of tensions, while the Associated Press said the nation’s streets were the “calmest in days”.
It is unclear if this is due to the protesters themselves or more due to a change in law enforcement strategies. There have certainly been some striking photos of uniformed officers “taking the knee” at demonstrations coming in from around the country.
Pope Francis isn’t the only foreign voice speaking about the protests and violence in the US today. If you missed it from our earlier live blog, my colleague Philip Oltermann in Germany reported that Germany’s foreign minister has criticised Donald Trump’s threat to use the US military against protesters in his own country, saying “democrats must never escalate – even with their words”.
“Instead of pouring oil into the fire, we should seek reconciliation”, Heiko Maas told Der Spiegel news website. “Instead of allowing ourselves to be divided, we should stand shoulder to shoulder against radical extremists.”
Earlier in the week, the Social Democrat politician had described the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police as “cruel and shocking”.
Associated Press reports that in the Vatican, Pope Francis has addressed the killing of George Floyd, saying he has “witnessed with great concern the disturbing social unrest” in the United States, and calling for national reconciliation.
“My friends, we cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form and yet claim to defend the sacredness of every human life,” he said during his weekly Wednesday audience, which was being held in the presence of bishops alone due to the coronavirus restrictions on gatherings.
At the same time, the pontiff warned “nothing is gained by violence and so much is lost.”
The pope said he was praying “for the repose of George Floyd and all those who have lost their lives as a result of the sin of racism” and issued his condolences for all those who grieve their loss.
Last night was the first public appearance in Minneapolis from the people most closely affected by the death of George Floyd: his immediate family.
“I wanted everybody to know that this is what those officers took from …” George Floyd’s widow Roxie Washington struggled to find the words while holding back sobs last night. As her daughter Gianna looked up at her, she said: “At the end of the day, they get to go home and be with their families. Gianna does not have a father. He will never see her grow up, graduate. He will never walk her down the aisle.”
Protests continued across the country – and around the world. Here are the key points:
- Tens of thousands attended a memorial for George Floyd in his home town of Houston. Members of Floyd’s family were in attendance, alongside the mayor, the police chief and a group of protesters on horseback, with attendees paying respects to a “gentle giant”
- Although details of each incident are still unclear, the death toll from the protests in the US has reached at least 11.
- Protests in Washington were responded to more peacefully than in recent days, however, the capital remains on high alert, with about 1,600 US soldiers moved to the DC region, according to the Pentagon.
- Derrick Johnson, the president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), has written for the Guardian saying: “The expendability of Black lives is not a flaw in the system; it is the system. We are meant to die or, at the very least, we are not meant to be protected, to be respected, to be valued, to be considered fully human.
- The NFL has been accused of hypocrisy with its public anti-racism statements after the high profile treatment of Colin Kaepernick’s protests.
- Inspired by the US demonstrations, 20,000 people defy a ban to rally in the streets of French capital Paris, with a focus on justice for Adama Traore, whose death four years ago has been a rallying cause against police brutality in France.
I’m Martin Belam in London and I’ll be keeping our live blog coverage running until my colleagues in New York take over later in the day. You can contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org
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