More than 10,000 people have been arrested in protests that have rocked the United States since the police killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, according to an Associated Press tally.
All four Minneapolis police officers involved in Floyd’s death have been charged. Derek Chauvin, who knelt on Floyd’s neck, has been charged with second-degree murder, which was upgraded from a previous charge of third-degree murder. He also faces a second-degree manslaughter charge. The other three are charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter.
US President Donald Trump was rebuked by his former defence secretary, James Mattis, who said he was trying to sow divisions. Trump’s current defence chief, Mark Esper, also said he opposed Trump’s threat to send in the military to quell unrest.
Several major cities scaled back or lifted curfews imposed for the past few days. As protests continue, police in riot gear charged into a crowd of about 1,000 protesters defying a local curfew in New York City’s Brooklyn borough, albeit peacefully, near an outdoor plaza, and clubbed demonstrators and journalists as they scurried for cover in heavy rain.
Thursday, June 4
19:53 GMT – An eight-minute silence as memorial ends
Sharpton cut in to a session of religious music to start an eight-minute silence to honour Floyd, who was held down by Chauvin’s knee for eight minutes and 46 seconds.
Sharpton called actress Tiffany Haddish and Gwen Carr, Eric Garner’s mother, to stand next to him during the silence.
Haddish was joined in attendance by other celebrities including actors, musicians, activists and politicians. Kevin Hart, Ludacris, T.I., Tyrese Gibson and Master P. Reverend Jesse Jackson and Minnesota senator Amy Klobuchar were all at the memorial service.
19:23 GMT – ‘Get your knee off our neck’ – Al Sharpton
Al Sharpton gave the euology at Floyd’s memorial. He said it wasn’t a “normal” funeral and Floyd didn’t die of natural causes.
“He died of a common American criminal justice malfunction”, Sharpton said.
“There has not been the corrective behaviour that has taught this country that if you commit a crime, it does not matter whether you wear blue jeans or a blue uniform, you must pay for the crime you had committed.”, he continued.
Sharpton said he eulogised Eric Garner, another Black man who was killed by police officers whose final words were “I can’t breathe”. What happened to men like Floyd and Garner “happens every day” in the US, through institutional racism, Sharpton said.
“We were smarter than the underfunded schools you put us in, but you had your knee on our neck. We had creative skills, we could do whatever anybody else could do, but we couldn’t get your knee off our neck.”
Calling for change, Sharpton said it’s “time to stand up in George’s name … and say get your knee off our necks”.
19:11 GMT – ‘What we saw was torture’
Benjamin Crump, the attorney for Floyd’s family, started his address to the memorial service with a quote from Dr Martin Luther King Jr: “He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”
Crump, who celebrated yesterday the elevated charges against former police officer Derek Chauvin, who allegedly murdered Floyd, and charges for the three other cops involved, said that what people saw in the video fo Floyd’s death was “torture”.
Crump called on people to protest the injustice committed against Floyd and against other members of the Afircan American community.
“We cannot cooperate with evil. We cannot cooperate with injustice. We cannot cooperate with torture. Because George Floyd deserved better than that.”
18:58 GMT – There will be justice – Philonese Floyd
Philonese Floyd, George’s brother, told mourners at his memorial that George was like “a general”, people wanted to follow him.
Philonese described his brother as a man who made people feel “like the president.” People “wanted to greet him. Wanted to have fun with him.”
Philonese ended his remarks by saying “everybody want justice, we want justice for George. He’s going to get it.”
18:00 GMT – Hundreds to attend Minneapolis memorial
Hundreds are expected to attend on Thursday the first of several planned memorials for George Floyd, an unarmed Black man killed by police in Minneapolis, Minnesota last month.
The Minneapolis event will kick off a week of services to honour Floyd, whose death on May 25, captured on video, set off protests across the United States, and worldwide.
17:45 GMT – DC mayor says out-of-state troops should leave US capital
The mayor of Washington on Thursday called for the withdrawal from the US capital of military units sent from other states to deal with protests against police brutality and racism.
“We want troops from out of state out of Washington DC,” Mayor Muriel Bowser told a news conference.
17:00 GMT – Protesters should ‘highly consider’ getting COVID-19 tests
Protesters particularly in cities that have struggled to control the novel coronavirus should “highly consider” getting tested for COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus, a top US health official said on Thursday.
“Those individuals that have partaken in these peaceful protests or have been out protesting, and particularly if they’re in metropolitan areas that really haven’t controlled the outbreak…we really want those individuals to highly consider being evaluated and get tested,” Robert Redfield, director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told a US House of Representatives committee.
Redfield also said the World Health Organization (WHO) continues to be a close colleague in public health efforts. President Donald Trump said on Friday the US will end its relationship with the WHO over the body’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
17:00 GMT – Republican senator ‘struggling’ over whether to back Trump in election
US Senator Lisa Murkowski said on Thursday she is struggling over whether she can support President Donald Trump’s re-election bid, saying criticism of Trump’s response to nationwide protests by former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis rang true.
Asked if she supported Trump, who faces the nation’s voters again in November, she said, “I am struggling with it. I have struggled with it for a long time.”
“He is our duly elected president. I will continue to work with him … but I think right now as we are all struggling to find ways to express the words that need to be expressed appropriately,” Murkowski added.
16:48 GMT – LA County Sheriff’s office will no long enforce curfew
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s office said on Twitter that it will no longer enforce a curfew put in place to quell protests.
“Based upon current situational awareness and the recent pattern of peaceful actions by protesters, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (@LASDHQ) will no longer enforce a curfew,” Sheriff Alex Villanueva tweeted. “Other jurisdictions are free to make their own decisions.”
Other jurisdictions are free to make their own decisions.
Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the protests in the US over the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This is Laurin-Whitney Gottbrath in Louisville, Kentucky, Creede Newton in Washington, DC, and Lucien Formichella in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Here are a few things to catch up on:
- George Floyd, an unarmed 46-year-old Black man, died on May 25 after a white officer used his knee to pin Floyd’s neck to the ground for nearly nine minutes. Floyd can be heard on a bystander video repeatedly pleading with officers, saying: “I can’t breathe.” He eventually lies motionless with the officer’s knee still on his neck. You can read about the deadly incident here.
- The four officers involved in the incident were fired, and all have been charged.
- Protests – some violent – have since erupted nationwide as demonstrators rally for justice for Floyd and all unarmed Black people killed by police.
See the updates from Tuesday’s protests here.