Joe Biden says nationwide protests are ‘utterly American response’

The death of George Floyd, a black man seen in a video pinned down by a white police officer and who later died, has caused outrage in Minneapolis and across the United States. What started as mostly peaceful protests earlier in the week have turned into chaos.

City leaders have pleaded with communities to voice their outrage in a lawful manner, but the widespread escalation of protests continued Friday night into Saturday.

In the wake of Floyd’s death, murder and manslaughter charges have been filed against Derek Chauvin, one of four officers at the scene, all of whom have been fired. The Department of Justice said a full investigation of the incident is a “top priority.”

Prosecutors said Chauvin, seen in the video pressing his knee against Floyd’s neck, had his knee on Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds, including for two minutes and 53 seconds when Floyd was unresponsive.

This story will be updated throughout the day. Please check back for updates. All times Eastern.

3:39 a.m.: Target temporarily closes 175 stores in 13 states due to protests

Target released a new statement late Saturday night announcing that they will be temporarily closing 175 stores due to ongoing protests.

They have closed 71 stores in Minnesota; 49 stores in California; four stores in Colorado; two stores in Georgia; seven stores in Illinois; one store in Michigan; five stores in Missouri; 12 stores in New York; one store in Nebraska; eight stores in Oregon; four stores in Pennsylvania; nine stores in Texas; and two stores in Wisconsin.

Team members impacted by store closures will be paid for up to 14 days of scheduled hours during store closures, including COVID-19 premium pay.

2:43 a.m.: No civilian or officer injuries as ‘dozens’ arrested in Minneapolis

Minnesota’s commissioner of corrections says they’re still working to finalize the total arrest numbers from overnight but that, to his knowledge, dozens had been arrested by 10 p.m. local time.

Commissioner Paul Schnell said “rapid response teams” were working to break-up small groups still roaming the streets of Minneapolis overnight.

They reported no injuries among people in the streets as well as to responding officers.

Authorities shutdown major freeways in the city and closed off key routes between Minneapolis and St. Paul to prevent groups from moving between the two cities. A police line blocked the Ford Parkway Bridge.

It was a very different night compared to what happened on Friday in Minneapolis. Local authorities said Saturday’s law enforcement response would be noticeably different and it seems that the new tactics along with more manpower was working.

Authorities launched an aggressive operation to disperse the crowd of hundreds that gathered around the Precinct 5 police department. Thursday, protesters burned the Precinct 3 department to the ground. About 40 minutes after Saturday’s 8 p.m. curfew began, riot police seemed to appear from every direction, dozens coming off of city buses and deploying flashbangs and tear gas.

“I believe tonight went far better than expected,” Schnell said. He called Saturday night’s effort to clear the crowd of demonstrators a “decisive and strong action.”

The response certainly appeared more aggressive than nights before and seems to have been successful in helping authorities reclaiming the streets of the Twin Cities.

There were no major fires like the ones that burned in the days prior. The question now is what will Sunday bring to this city. Police believe they’ve “drawn a line” and made progress.

Said the commissioner: “We’re in this until this is addressed. We don’t feel that we’re out of this yet. We’re seeing this types of issues occurring across the nation.”

2:02 a.m.: Atlanta police arrest 70 people, majority of protesters have now dispersed

Atlanta Police have issued a statement saying that they are no longer working any major incidents and the vast majority of protesters have dispersed.

A total of 70 people have been arrested Saturday night into Sunday morning.

“As of 1:30 a.m., APD officers were not working any major incidents and it appeared that the vast majority of protesters had dispersed. Officers arrested 70 individuals Saturday night, into Sunday morning,” the APD said in the statement.

PHOTO: A masked protester stands in front of a fire during a rally against the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, in Los Angeles, California, U.S., May 30, 2020. Picture taken May 30, 2020. (Kyle Grillot/Reuters)

1:42 a.m.: Denver authorities arrest 18 as protests ease from previous two nights

Denver officials say a curfew helped keep Saturday night’s protests around the state capitol much more peaceful than the previous two nights when businesses, city and state buildings took significant damage.

“We’re serious about this. This was not a game to be played. Lives were at stake. Very serious property damage was at stake. We weren’t going to stand for it again in this city,” Denver Mayor Michael Hancock told ABC News’ Denver affiliate KMGH. “We meant this curfew. We will continue to enforce it accordingly.”

The Denver Police Chief told KMGH that the department arrested 18 people Saturday night, including one man allegedly carrying this handgun illegally.

Throughout the day and evening, several skirmishes broke out between police and protesters, who built makeshift roadblocks and set them on fire as police in riot gear advanced, firing teargas to clear the streets. One woman was reportedly shot at point blank range in the back by an officer firing a pepper ball round and several cars were also burned.

Things are mostly quiet now, with a few remaining protesters and police on the streets. Denver’s curfew is in effect until 5 a.m. local time and again on Sunday night.

1:34 a.m.: Houston mayor says George Floyd’s body will return to Houston

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has said the body of Houston native George Floyd will return to the city.

Turner spoke to the community late Saturday afternoon and encourage residents to protest peacefully, after looting was reported on the first night.

“This is our house. This is the same city that George Floyd grew up,” Turner said. “And his body will be returning to this city. To his city.”

Fort Bend Memorial Planning Center in Rosharon, Texas, posted a flyer on Facebook with a picture of Floyd, stating funeral arrangements are forthcoming.

Floyd’s family and attorneys have yet to confirm funeral arrangements for the 46-year-old.

“The focus needs to be on supporting and uplifting his family. And that’s what I want to keep bringing this conversation to. George Floyd. It’s not about these other individuals, who won’t be a moment. It’s about George Floyd, and justice for George Floyd,” said Turner.

1:12 a.m.: Protests mount in Ferguson, Missouri

Ferguson, Missouri, tonight has taken a violent turn as protesters have vandalized the police department.

Notably, Ferguson was the center of civil of unrest in 2014 after the fatal police shooting of Mike Brown by police officer Darrel Wilson.

Per the St. Louis County Police Department, all non-essential personnel have been evacuated at the Ferguson Police Department.

Missouri Governor Mike Parson declared a state of emergency late Saturday and activated the Missouri National Guard to stand ready to assist.

A total of two officers were injured and transported to the hospital while two others were treated on the scene for minor injures.

Crowds have now dispersed and officers will continue patrol for the night.

12:53 a.m.: Miami-Dade Police arrest 38 people, suspends all transit services on Sunday

The Miami-Dade Police Department have announced that 38 people have been arrested so far after Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez signed a local state of emergency declaration, ordering a curfew that took place at 10 p.m. last night until 6 a.m. on Sunday after some protesters began to burn police cars at the Miami Police Station.

The Department of Transportation and Public Works also has suspended all Miami-Dade Transit services on Sunday, May 31, including Metrorail, Metromover and Metrobus. This decision was made in an abundance of caution, and to ensure the safety of all passengers and employees, according to a statement released by Miami-Dade County.

12:46 a.m.: Biden releases statement on protests, urges understanding but cautions against ‘needless destruction’

Former vice president Joe Biden released a paper statement just after midnight eastern on the ongoing unrest and protests currently gripping several major American cities, urging an understanding of the trauma many people of color in America are facing in the wake of George Floyd’s death, but also speaking out against the “needless destruction,” that is playing out as a result of the protests.

“These last few days have laid bare that we are a nation furious at injustice. Every person of conscience can understand the rawness of the trauma people of color experience in this country, from the daily indignities to the extreme violence, like the horrific killing of George Floyd,” Biden wrote.

“Protesting such brutality is right and necessary. It’s an utterly American response. But burning down communities and needless destruction is not. Violence that endangers lives is not. Violence that guts and shutters businesses that serve the community is not,” he added.

The presumptive Democratic nominee also added that the protests going on tonight should not overshadow the cause they are trying to advance.

“The act of protesting should never be allowed to overshadow the reason we protest. It should not drive people away from the just cause that protest is meant to advance,” Biden wrote.

Biden also acknowledged the widespread pain across the country, not only from the pain of Floyd’s death, but from coronavirus as well, relating to the feeling of grief, but implored the country to use the current anger to “compel our nation across this turbulent threshold into the next phase of progress, inclusion, and opportunity for our great democracy.”

“I know that there are people all across this country who are suffering tonight. Suffering the loss of a loved one to intolerable circumstances, like the Floyd family, or to the virus that is still gripping our nation. Suffering economic hardships, whether due to COVID-19 or entrenched inequalities in our system. And I know that a grief that dark and deep may at times feel too heavy to bear,” Biden said.

“I know.”

“And I also know that the only way to bear it is to turn all that anguish to purpose. So tonight, I ask all of America to join me — not in denying our pain or covering it over– but using it to compel our nation across this turbulent threshold into the next phase of progress, inclusion, and opportunity for our great democracy.”

“We are a nation in pain, but we must not allow this pain to destroy us. We are a nation enraged, but we cannot allow our rage to consume us. We are a nation exhausted, but we will not allow our exhaustion to defeat us,” the statement said.

Biden also pledged, if elected, to help lead a conversation on the issues that have caused the current unrest, and referenced again his recent conversation with George Floyd’s family and a promise he made to ensure his death will not just be a “hashtag.”

“As President, I will help lead this conversation — and more importantly, I will listen. I will keep the commitment I made to George’s brother, Philonise, that George will not just be a hashtag. We must and will get to a place where everyone, regardless of race, believes that ‘to protect and serve’ means to protect and serve them,” Biden wrote.

“Please stay safe. Please take care of each other,” he added, ending his statement.

12:39 a.m.: Los Angeles issues mandatory curfew for the entire city

The Los Angeles Police Department has issued a mandatory curfew from 8 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. for the entire city. No one is allowed on the streets and people found in violation of this order are subject to arrest.

The LAPD initially issued the curfew for the downtown area of the city but have now expanded it to include the entire city.

George Floyd protest updates: Joe Biden says nationwide protests are ‘utterly American response’ originally appeared on abcnews.go.com

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