- United States congressional Democrats unveil a sweeping package of legislation to combat police violence and racial injustice after two weeks of protests across the nation sparked by George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis police custody.
- The public will be able to view George Floyd’s casket on Monday in his hometown of Houston, the final stop in a series of memorials in his honour.
- Floyd’s funeral will be held on Tuesday, followed by burial, where he will be laid to rest next to his mother, Larcenia Floyd.
Monday, June 8:
22:44 GMT – US Attorney General William Barr: ‘Dangerous to demonise police’
US Attorney General William Barr has criticised calls to defund or dismantle police forces following the death of George Floyd.
As demonstrations against police brutality continue, and activists call to defund or dismantling of police forces, the top US legal official in the US criticised calls to use police budgets for community projects.
“I think defunding the police, holding the entire police structure responsible for the actions of certain officers is wrong and I think it is dangerous to demonise police,” Barr told the Fox News Channel.
“If you pull back the police from these communities there will be, there will be more harm done in these communities,” Barr said.
Watch: @BretBaier: If you had to do Monday over again, would you do something different?
AG Barr: Based on what I know now, no.. Things were so bad, the secret service recommended the President go down to the bunker. We can’t have that in our country. pic.twitter.com/jPxqhYyO7a
— TV News HQ (@TVNewsHQ) June 8, 2020
22:08 GMT – Police in Minneapolis ‘strategically deflated’ tires of protestors, journalists during recent unrest
State officials in Minnesota confirmed on Monday that police officers patrolling Minneapolis during the recent unrest slashed the tires of unoccupied vehicles in at least two locations in order to, as they put it, “stop behaviours such as vehicles driving dangerously and at high speeds in and around protesters and law enforcement”.
Videos and still photographs obtained by Mother Jones magazine showed officers in tactical clothing stabbing the tires of multiple vehicles in a Kmart car park during the unrest. The Minneapolis Star Tribune identified the officers as being from Anoka County Sheriff’s office.
A spokesman for the Department of Public Safety, Bruce Gordon, confirmed that tires were cut in “a few locations”.
Cops slashed car tires at protests in Minneapolis.
The officers punctured the tires to “stop behaviors such as vehicles driving dangerously and at high speeds in and around protesters and law enforcement,” a Minnesota DPS spokesperson said. https://t.co/qO0fe8wNhK pic.twitter.com/v9CmZymWr7
— Mother Jones (@MotherJones) June 8, 2020
“State Patrol troopers strategically deflated tires,” Gordon told the paper. “While not a typical tactic, vehicles were being used as dangerous weapons and inhibited our ability to clear areas and keep areas safe where violent protests were occurring.”
Among the vehicle owners whose tires were damaged was Star Tribune reporter Chris Serres, who was covering the protests the night of May 30 and returned to his car about 1am. His was among a few dozen with flattened tires, he said.
21:45 GMT – Black legislators in Pennsylvania disrupt state House of Representatives voting in call for police reform
Black Democrats in the Pennsylvania state House of Representatives commandeered the podium for about 90 minutes at the start of voting session on Monday, disrupting the day’s business in an effort to force action on police reform bills.
The dramatic takeover went on pause when the Republican House speaker said he would consider putting proposals up for votes and that he supports a special session to consider the legislation.
The protesters, including veteran black lawmakers from Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, hung a “BLACK LIVES MATTER” banner from the speaker’s dais and vowed they would not leave without movement on the stalled proposals.
The Speaker has agreed to support a special session to address law enforcement reforms. This is how civil disobedience makes a difference. pic.twitter.com/2zuE5OybkO
— Jordan A. Harris (@RepHarris) June 8, 2020
21:11 GMT – Joe Biden meets with Floyd family in Houston
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden showed compassion that “meant the world” to George Floyd’s family on Monday, according to a lawyer for the family.
Biden met with Floyd’s relatives in Houston for more than an hour, said lawyer Benjamin Crump, who posted a picture of himself on Twitter after the meeting with Biden, Floyd’s uncle Roger, civil rights activist Reverend Al Sharpton and Representative Cedric Richmond.
— Benjamin Crump, Esq. (@AttorneyCrump) June 8, 2020
“He listened, heard their pain, and shared in their woe,” Crump said of the private meeting. “That compassion meant the world to this grieving family.”
Trump has also spoken with Floyd’s family in a call that Floyd’s brother Philonise said in interviews was brief and did not provide him with an opportunity to say much.
18:50 GMT – Trump mulling proposals in response to Floyd’s death -White House
US President Donald Trump is “appalled” by calls for police to be defunded and is looking at a number of proposals in response.
“The president is appalled by the defund the police movement,” White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany told a media briefing. She said Trump is “taking a look at various” proposals in response to George Floyd’s death, but she offered no specifics as to what measures he was considering.
Demonstrators’ anger over the May 25 death of George Floyd, 46, is giving way to a growing movement to make his case a turning point in race relations and policing, with some protesters calling for police budgets to be slashed.
But the proposal has received mixed reviews from some Democrats, with Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey running a gauntlet of jeering protesters over the weekend after telling them he opposed their demands for defunding the city’s police department.
Trump has drawn fire for calling on state governors to crack down on the thousands protesting Floyd’s death around the country and threatening to send in the U.S. military even as he described himself as an ally to peaceful protesters.
McEnany said on Monday that Trump believes there are some “instances” of racism among police but added that the president sees the police as by and large good people.
On Monday, Democrats in Congress unveiled legislation that would make lynching a hate crime and allow victims of misconduct and their families to sue police for damages in civil court, ending a legal doctrine known as qualified immunity.
18:30 GMT – Judge sets bail for former Minneapolis police officer
Bail for Derek Chauvin the white former Minneapolis police officer charged with murdering George Floyd has been raised by $250,000 to $1.25mn, the Minnesota-based Star Tribune reported.
Derek Chauvin, 44, said almost nothing during an 11-minute hearing in which his bail was raised from $500,000 to $1 million. https://t.co/XfrIQyQAiM
— WXTX Fox54 (@WXTX54) June 8, 2020
Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder in Floyd’s May 25 death in Minneapolis by kneeling on his neck for nearly nine minutes. Minnesota Assistant Attorney General Matthew Frank argued that the “severity of the charges” as well as the strength of public opinion made it more likely that Chauvin would flee if set free, the Star Tribune reported.
17:30 GMT – Mourners in Houston pay their respects to Floyd
Mourners are paying their respects to George Floyd, whose body is on view at a memorial in a church in his hometown of Houston – a six-hour viewing will be held.
Many paused briefly to view Floyd’s body. Some made the sign of the cross as they observed. Several hundred people stood in line to enter the church before the start of the visitation, and all wore masks. Some people held umbrellas for shade as the sun beat down and temperatures rose about 32 degrees Celsius (90 Farenheit).
Those passing through the church were required to leave 6 feet between others in observe of social distancing guidelines to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
16:50 GMT – Denver fully bans chokeholds, requires report for aimed guns
Denver’s police department announced it is changing policies regarding its use of force and body cameras.
In a statement released on Sunday the department said it has banned the use of chokeholds with no exceptions effective immediately. Previously, the practice was barred except in lethal encounters, The Denver Post reported.
The department also said that officers who intentionally point their gun at someone will be required to notify a supervisor and file a report to help collect data on such incidents. Members of its SWAT team will also have to activate their body cameras when they are performing tactical operations, the department said.
16:25 GMT – Crossfit founder apologises for tweet after Reebok split
CrossFit founder Greg Glassman has apologised for a tweet that equated Floyd’s killing to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In response to a tweet by research firm Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation that classified racism and discrimination as public health issue, Glassman, who is also the chief executive of CrossFit, had posted, “It’s FLOYD-19”.
— Greg Glassman (@CrossFitCEO) June 6, 2020
The fallout was fast. Adidas AG-owned Reebok ended its 10-year-old partnership with CrossFit and updated its US homepage in support of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ campaign.
.@CrossFitCEO: “I, CrossFit HQ, and the CrossFit community will not stand for racism. I made a mistake by the words I chose yesterday.
My heart is deeply saddened by the pain it has caused. It was a mistake, not racist but a mistake.
— CrossFit (@CrossFit) June 8, 2020
In a statement on Twitter, Glassman said: “I, CrossFit HQ, and the CrossFit community will not stand for racism. I made a mistake by the words I chose yesterday. My heart is deeply saddened by the pain it has caused. It was a mistake, not racist but a mistake.”
16:05 GMT – Officer charged in Floyd’s death has 1st court appearance
Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis police officer charged with second-degree murder in George Floyd’s death is scheduled to make his first court appearance. He is also charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Chauvin is being held at a state prison in Oakdale. The other three officers – J. Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao – are charged with aiding and abetting. They remain in the Hennepin County jail on $750,000 bond.
16:00 GMT – Floyd’s casket arrives at Houston church ahead of public viewing
The body of George Floyd arrived at a church in Houston for a final public memorial.
His body arrived in a gold-colored casket that was escorted to The Fountain of Praise church by Houston police. A six-hour viewing that is open to the public was scheduled to begin in the afternoon.
Before the casket arrived, workers outside the church assembled a large floral arrangement with white roses on one side in the shape of a heart and with the initials “BLM” for Black Lives Matter created from blue roses and placed on top of the heart. The other side of the floral arrangement was made up of red roses and appeared to be in the shape of a raised fist.
15:00 GMT – Democrats unveil ‘Justice in Policing’ act to make wide-ranging changes to US police policy
The legislation address excessive use of force, qualified immunity and racial profiling, answering calls from protesters across the country after the death of George Floyd and other Black Americans while in police custody.
“It will demilitarize the police by limiting the transfer of military weaponry to state and local police departments,” said Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the US House of Representatives.
It also proposes banning ‘no-knock’ warrants, that allow police officers to enter a residence without warning. The legislation would require support by US Republicans who control the upper house of the legislature.
14:20 GMT – US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi leads silence for George Floyd
Members of the US Congress went down on one knee in Emancipation Hall in the US Capitol building, in silence for eight minutes 46 seconds – the length of time that George Floyd spent pinned down by three police officers on a Minneapolis street corner. He was pronounced dead shortly afterwards.
Floyd’s death has sparked worldwide protests that call for an end to police brutality and what many protestors call systemic racism in US police forces.
Demonstrators have been calling for the defunding or dismantling of police forces and a shifting of their budgets to community, education or other programmes.
13:00 GMT – Congressional Democrats to unveil sweeping US police reform proposal
US congressional Democrats plan to unveil a sweeping package of legislation to combat police violence and racial injustice.
The proposal is expected to ban police chokeholds and racial profiling, require nationwide use of body cameras, subject police to civilian review boards and abolish the legal doctrine known as qualified immunity, which protects police from civil litigation, according to congressional sources.
It is unclear whether the proposal will receive support from Republicans, who control the US Senate. Their support and that of Republican President Donald Trump would be needed for the measure to become law.
12:45 GMT – Trump opposes police defunding
Protesters are pushing to “defund the police” after the death of George Floyd and other Black Americans killed by law enforcement.
Their chant has become a rallying cry – and a stick for President Donald Trump to use on Democrats as he portrays them as soft on crime.
Trump has said he opposes the idea, and is set to meet with members of law enforcement at the White House on Monday afternoon.
LAW & ORDER, NOT DEFUND AND ABOLISH THE POLICE. The Radical Left Democrats have gone Crazy!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 8, 2020
Supporters say it is not about eliminating police departments or stripping agencies of all of their money. They say it is time for the country to address systemic problems in policing in the US and spend more on what communities across the country need, like housing and education.
Al Jazeera’s podcast The Take spoke to protesters. Listen here.
12:30 GMT – Houston to hold six-hour public viewing of Floyd’s casket
Mourners will be able to view George Floyd’s casket Monday in his hometown of Houston, the final stop in a series of memorials in his honour.
A six-hour viewing will be held at The Fountain of Praise church in southwest Houston. The viewing is open to the public, though visitors will be required to wear face masks and gloves to comply with coronavirus-related guidelines.
Floyd’s funeral will be Tuesday, followed by burial at the Houston Memorial Gardens cemetery in suburban Pearland, where he will be laid to rest next to his mother, Larcenia Floyd.
See Sunday’s coverage here.
12:25 GMT – New York City mayor announces police reforms including shifting of funding from to youth programmes
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Sunday a series of police reforms that he said were part of a “transformative movement.”
He said funding would be shifted from the New York Police Department (NYPD) to youth and social services, moving the enforcement for street vending out of the police department to a civilian agency, and adding community ambassadors to the NYPD to serve as liaisons between officers and New Yorkers.
“People did not protest for the sake of protest. They protest to achieve change, and now we must deliver that change,” de Blasio said.