George Floyd protests continue, pressure mounts on police and President Donald Trump

 

Thousands rally in Australia

Thousands gathered in Australia’s capital on Friday to remind Australians that the racial inequality underscored by George Floyd’s death was not unique to the United States. The Canberra rally comes before larger rallies are planned for Australia’s most populous cities on Saturday.

“Australians have to understand that what’s been going on the United States has been happening here for a long time,” 
Matilda House, an elder of the Ngambri-Ngunnawal family group who are the traditional owners of the Canberra region, said.

Australia had to move beyond a colonial attitude “that blacks are only here to be walked on, trodden on and murdered,” House said in the first speech of the rally.

A demonstrator who interrupted House, arguing that the rally’s focus should be on “what’s happening in the United States” rather than Australia’s colonial history, was shouted down in a heated confrontation with several protesters. The demonstrator eventually followed the crowd’s advice to leave.

Organizers handed out masks and hand sanitizer and most protesters attempted to keep the recommended 5 feet of social distancing until the speeches began and people drew closer. 

 

Minneapolis City Council to hold emergency meeting on police department’s future

The Minneapolis City Council is holding an emergency meeting Friday afternoon to discuss the future of the city’s police department.

CBS Minnesota reports the council will get an update on the Minnesota Department of Civil Rights’ investigation into MPD, and will vote on a court order demanding immediate changes.

Council President Lisa Bender and member Jeremiah Ellison tweeted Thursday that they plan to dismantle the police department.

The city’s school district, the University of Minnesota and other agencies, organizations and businesses have severed ties with the department in the past 10 days since George Floyd died while being arrested.

 

Dallas County is providing protesters with masks and hand sanitizer

Texas’ Dallas County is giving people protesting in its streets masks and hand sanitizer donated by the Dallas Mavericks, CBS DFW reports.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins is also advising protesters to stay six feet apart during demonstrations, and encouraged people to look for alternate ways to have their voices heard, worried they may inadvertently hurt the communities they aim to help.

“I think what you’re doing is an important thing. Again, if you could find a way to do it outside of a large crowd because of COVID because we know it is disproportionately affecting communities of color, please find a way to do that,” he said.

With a single-day record of 285 new COVID-19 cases in Dallas County on Thursday, Dallas’ City Manager T.C. Broadnax also expressed concern.

In a statement he urged “anyone who has been in close proximity of these large crowds to get tested at one of the city’s drive-thru community-based testing sites.”

 

NFL stars call on league to condemn racism and systematic oppression

Patrick Mahomes, Saquon Barkley and Michael Thomas are among more than a dozen NFL stars who sent a passionate video message to the league about racial inequality. The 70-second video was released on social media Thursday night and includes Odell Beckham Jr., Deshaun Watson, Ezekiel Elliott, Jamal Adams, Stephon Gilmore and DeAndre Hopkins, among others.

Thomas, the New Orleans Saints wide receiver who has led the league in receptions the past two seasons, opens the video with the statement: “It’s been 10 days since George Floyd was brutally murdered.” 

The players then take turns asking the question, “What if I was George Floyd?” 

They demand the NFL state that it condemns “racism and the systemic oppression of black people. … We, the National Football League, admit wrong in silencing our players from peacefully protesting. … We, the National Football League, believe black lives matter.”

 

NYC mayor says “This is NOT acceptable” after deliveryman detained under curfew

Protests were held for another day in New York City on Thursday. Police started handcuffing about a dozen demonstrators on Manhattan’s Upper East Side less than an hour after the city’s 8 p.m. curfew started. 

Social media video from the Upper West Side also showed officers detain a food delivery worker on the job, CBS New York reports.

The worker can be heard saying, “Are you serious? Look, look, look. I’m not even doing anything.”

“It tells me on the app that I can show you guys something,” the worker said.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio responded on Twitter overnight, saying, “Just got off the phone with @NYPDShea after seeing the troubling video of a delivery worker arrested by police while doing his job. This is NOT acceptable and must stop. Food delivery is essential work and is EXEMPTED from the curfew.”

Police said the worker was released after his credentials were verified.

The food delivery app DoorDash said it’s working with city officials to determine what happened, adding, “Essential workers must be able to complete their work and feel safe and secure while doing so.”

The NYPD says approximately 200 people were arrested Thursday, many of them people who were continuing to march after the city’s curfew, which is aimed at containing violence and looting seen amid protests over George Floyd’s death. 

 

2 National Guardsmen injured by lightning strike during George Floyd protests in D.C.

Two National Guardsmen were injured after suffering the effects of a lightning strike near the White House on Thursday, officials said early Friday. CBS affiliate WUSA-TV reports the two service members were struck shortly after midnight within the Lafayette Park perimeter, where protests over the death of George Floyd continued for a seventh day.

Both of the officers were taken to a nearby hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, D.C. Fire and EMS officials said.

WUSA reported that the stormy weather cleared out many protesters, but some remained through the downpour in the area of Lafayette Square past midnight.   

 

Activists paint Black Lives Matter sign on road by White House

Activists were busy Friday morning painting a giant “BLM” sign, for the Black Lives Matter movement, across 16th Street in Washington D.C. — right near the White House — as seen by reporter Matt Gregory of CBS affiliate WUSA TV. 

Gregory said city authorities were keeping the road clear of traffic to let the painters finish.

A chain-link fence was erected around the White House on Thursday, effectively widening the security perimeter around the executive mansion after several nights of violent clashes between protesters, police and National Guard members.

The Trump administration has defended the forceful clearance of peaceful protesters from a park near the White House to enable Mr. Trump to walk to a nearby church for a photo-op this week. Meanwhile, photos of unidentified, armed officers donning face shields and protective gear standing guard near the White House have raised concerns among Democrats, who’ve warned the lack of identification could deny victims the ability to hold officers accountable if they engage in misconduct.

 

Breonna Taylor’s neighbor sues police, says officers sprayed gunfire with “total disregard” for life

A neighbor of Breonna Taylor, the black woman shot to death in her apartment by police in March, has sued the police involved in the operation for firing “blindly” and sending rounds flying into her home, the Louisville Courier Journal reported on Thursday.

Taylor was in bed with her boyfriend when a trio of armed men smashed through the front door. Gunfire erupted and Taylor was killed. The three men turned out to be plainclothes police detectives of the Louisville Metro Police, one of whom was wounded in the chaos and violence that night.

Taylor’s death, along with the subsequent death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, has fueled the protests since his death in Louisville and across the country.

According to the Courier Journal, the lawsuit filed in May by Taylor’s neighbor states that the three officers involved in the raid, after being confronted by Taylor’s boyfriend who opened fire first, believing the three men to be intruders, then began to “spray gunfire into Chelsey Napper’s apartment with a total disregard for the value of human life.”

Louisville police accused of using false information to obtain no-knock warrant for Breonna Taylor’s apartment

“A bullet that was shot from the defendant police officers’ gun flew inches past Cody Etherton’s head while he was in the hallway of Chelsey Napper’s apartment,” the suit states, referring to a man who was in Napper’s home at the time.

The suit claims rounds from the officers’ guns hit objects in at least four different parts of in Napper’s house, shattering a glass door.

 

Congresswoman: Police reform package will be about “accountability”

Police reform legislation being drafted in the House will focus on “accountability” for officers, says Congresswoman Karen Bass. Bass, the chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, talked about the legislative package currently being written in the wake of George Floyd’s death and the protests against police brutality which have roiled the nation.

“The number one issue in policing is police accountability,” Bass said in an interview with CBS News Chief Washington Correspondent Major Garrett for this week’s episode of “The Takeout” podcast. She said she expected the final legislation would include several bills, such as Congressman Hakeem Jeffries’ proposal to ban police chokeholds.

“I’m inclined to push the envelope as far as we can because we have a moment now,” Bass said about the final proposal.

 

Few arrests, mayor heckled, but a much more peaceful night of protest in New York City

The latest night of protests in New York City sparked by the death of George Floyd at the hands of police was markedly calmer. Protesters again stayed on the streets past 8 p.m., in defiance of the citywide curfew that’s set to remain in effect through at least Sunday.

The city saw fewer violent clashes than in days past. But several videos posted to Twitter on Thursday night showed police aggressively confronting peaceful protesters — often resulting in arrest — in the Bronx and elsewhere. In other places, police watched but didn’t immediately move in, or made orderly arrests without the batons and riot gear of previous nights.

Earlier Thursday, a memorial service featuring Floyd’s brother Terrence Floyd was held at Brooklyn’s Cadman Plaza, where the night before police had used batons and pepper spray on protesters who remained after curfew, videos show.

People walk over the Brooklyn Bridge following a memorial service for George Floyd, the man killed by a Minneapolis police officer in late May.

/ Getty Images


NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea has defended his officers and the department’s overall use of force.

Mayor Bill De Blasio was booed and heckled at Floyd’s memorial. The mayor had previously praised the police for using “a lot of restraint” overall, but added that “if there’s anything that needs to reviewed, it will be.”

 

Floyd’s “heinous murder” prompts South Africa to launch “Black Friday” campaign

South Africa’s ruling party says it is launching a “Black Friday” campaign in response to the “heinous murder” of George Floyd and “institutionalized racism” in the U.S., at home, and “wherever it rears its ugly head.”

A statement by the African National Congress says President Cyril Ramaphosa on Friday evening was to address the launch of the campaign that calls on people to wear black on Fridays in solidarity.

The campaign is also meant to highlight “deaths by citizens at the hands of security forces” in South Africa, which remains one of the world’s most unequal countries a quarter-century after the end of the racist system of apartheid.

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, a South Africa leader who was involved in the struggle to end apartheid and is now an Under Secretary General of the United Nations, spoke with CBS News’ Pamela Falk from Johannesburg this week about the protests and where they might lead.  

“People are feeling exhausted about us talking about racism. Try living it to know how exhausting it is to live it,” she said. “Those who cannot take talking about it, they haven’t lived it to know how much that it eats you from within. So, we need to make sure that we create conditions that will make people feel and touch the changes that are coming into their lives.”  

CBS/AP

 

Kanye West joins protest calling for end to Chicago Public Schools’ contract with police

Kanye West was in attendance Thursday evening for a protest rally in solidarity with George Floyd, who died at the hands of Minneapolis police last week. The rally was organized by activist and onetime mayoral candidate Ja’Mal Green. It is intended to protest the $33 million contract that Chicago Police has with Chicago Public Schools.

The protest began at the Chicago Public Schools District Office and proceeded to Chicago Police Headquarters. West did not address the rally and only marched briefly. He wore a hoodie and mask and walked along with hundreds of people. 

As CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar reported, there have been calls for West to speak out and have more of a voice in recent days.

He has made a $2 million dollar donation to support the families of Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor. Taylor was shot and killed by Louisville Metro Police in March, while three white men are charged with shooting and killing Arbery while he was jogging in Glynn County, Georgia.

CBS Chicago

 

Dallas police make it “duty of every employee” to intervene if excessive force used

Dallas Police Chief Reneé Hall has put a new rule on the force’s policy books making it “the duty of every employee” who witnesses the use of physical force “being inappropriately applied” or used longer than necessary “to either stop, or attempt to stop” the action in question.

A statement released Thursday by the Dallas Police said the new “Duty to Intervene” order was implemented by Chief Hall, “to create a culture where what happened to Mr. [George] Floyd does not happen again.”

“Millions watched a Minneapolis police officer suffocate Mr. George Floyd to death by applying pressure with his knee on the victim’s neck for nearly 9 minutes. His fellow co-workers either assisted or stood by and watched Mr. Floyd take his last breath. Had the officer’s partners intervened, the outcome might have been different,” the police said in the statement.

Dallas man says he was hit in eye with “non-lethal” police round at George Floyd protest

 

Kansas City announces reforms to police procedures, but embattled chief staying put

Kansas City is reforming police procedures after criticism from black organizations about police conduct during nearly a week of protests as well as long-standing tension between the department and minorities, the mayor announced Thursday.

A coalition of civil rights organizations demanded Wednesday that Police Chief Rick Smith be fired. But Mayor Quinton Lucas said Smith would remain “as we weather our current crisis and also as we continue to address our issues related to violent crime and the high number of homicides in Kansas City.”

Lucas said after a closed meeting of the Kansas City Police Board of Commissioners that the city would ask an outside agency to review all police-involved shootings; create whistleblower protections for officers; end a department policy of not sending probable cause statements to prosecutors in officer-involved shootings; review officers’ use of tear gas and projectiles; and provide updates to the city council on the department’s community engagement efforts. 

Protests Erupt Around The Country After Police Custody Death Of George Floyd In Minneapolis
A demonstrator confronts police officers during a protest on May 31, 2020 in Kansas City, Missouri, following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota while in police custody.

Jamie Squire/Getty


Lucas said he hoped a review of tear gas and projectile use would lead to a new policy in the near future. 

The city announced Wednesday that $2.5 million in private funding has been donated to buy police body cameras.  

 

Tacoma mayor says officers involved in black man’s death should be fired and be prosecuted

Tacoma Police Chief Don Ramsdell issued a statement Thursday on the death of Manuel Ellis, confirming the four officers involved in his arrest had once again placed on administrative leave. Ramsdell offered his “most sincere condolences” to Ellis’ family and friends. Ellis, a 33-year-old black man, died on March 3 in handcuffs while being restrained on the ground by Tacoma police. 

He was found to have died of respiratory arrest due to hypoxia due to physical restraint, according to the Pierce County Medical Examiner’s Office, which ruled his death a homicide.

Speaking Thursday night, Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards called for the officers involved to be fired and said they should be “prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”  

In a 12-minute police radio recording taken the night of Ellis’ death, he can be heard at one point saying, “I can’t breathe.”

“Our hope is that any investigations bring with them answers for everyone involved,” Ramsdell said.”I would also like to recognize the compassion and empathy our community has shown during this difficult time. We hear your anger, frustrations and hopes. I want you to know we continue to be committed to engaging with you on topics of safety, community policing and race, so that all people feel safe in Tacoma.”  

Death of black man in Tacoma police custody ruled a homicide

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