The Latest: Trump makes surprise visit to St. John’s Church
The Latest on the death in Minneapolis of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man who pleaded for air as a white police officer pressed a knee on his neck:
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is visiting the 200-year-old church near the White House that was set on fire as demonstrators clashed with police over the weekend.
Beginning with James Madison, every person who has held the office of president has attended a service at St. John’s Church.
Law enforcement cleared protesters out of the area with tear gas before Trump’s visit. Tear gas canisters could be heard exploding as Trump spoke in the Rose Garden. He then walked over to the church.
The protesters appeared to be acting peacefully before they were dispersed by force.
Trump is urging the nation’s governors to get tougher with violent protesters and to deploy the National Guard.
He said in the Rose Garden that he is ally of peaceful protesters, but he stressed that “I am your president of law and order.”
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Louisville’s police chief was fired Monday after the mayor learned that officers involved in a shooting that killed the popular owner of a barbecue spot failed to activate body cameras during the chaotic scene.
David McAtee, known for offering meals to police officers, died early Monday while police officers and National Guard soldiers were enforcing a curfew amid waves of protests over a previous police shooting in Kentucky’s largest city.
Police said they were responding to gunfire from a crowd that had gathered there.
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer revealed that authorities lacked body camera video for the investigation just hours after Kentucky’s governor demanded the release of police video.
“This type of institutional failure will not be tolerated,” Fischer said. “Accordingly, I have relieved Steve Conrad of his duties as chief of Louisville Metro Police Department.”
Conrad had previously announced his resignation, which was to take effect at the end of June. Deputy police chief Robert Schroeder will step in as acting chief immediately, Fischer said.
Police did retrieve video from crime center cameras that show how the shooting unfolded, Schroeder said.
PHILADELPHIA — Police fired non-lethal bullets and tear gas at hundreds of protesters who spilled onto an interstate highway in the heart of Philadelphia on Monday just before a 6 p.m. curfew took effect.
The crowds on Interstate 676 also led to the closure of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, the main link from downtown Philadelphia to New Jersey suburbs across the Delaware River.
Some climbed a steep embankment and scaled a fence as police acted.
More than two dozen were arrested as a few hundred other protesters moved to block the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, a grand thoroughfare leading from downtown the city’s imposing art museum.
SAN FRANCISCO — Interfaith leaders, San Francisco Mayor London Breed and actor Jamie Foxx led a “kneel in” on the steps of City Hall Monday to protest the killings of George Floyd, Breanna Taylor, and other African Americans by police.
Foxx, wearing a black hoodie that read “busy making my ancestors proud,” told the hundreds of people gathered police officers need to know there will be consequences for taking the life of a black person.
“They have to be worried that, ‘I could go to jail for this,’” he said. “They have to respect us. They have to love us. That man cried out for his mom.”
In an address charged with emotion, Breed, who is the first African American woman to lead the city, said she too knew the pain of losing family to police. San Francisco police killed a close cousin in 2006, she said.
Foxx was invited to the kneel-in by the San Francisco branch of the NAACP.
A medical examiner in Minnesota has classified George Floyd’s death as a homicide, and says Floyd’s heart stopped while he was being restrained by police and had his neck suppressed.
The report Monday listed as “other significant conditions” that Floyd suffered from heart disease and hypertension, had fentanyl intoxication and recent methamphetamine use.
A Minneapolis police officer has been charged with third-degree murder in Floyd’s death, and three other officers were fired.
Bystander video showed the officer, Derek Chauvin, holding his knee on Floyd’s death despite his “I can’t breathe” cries until Floyd eventually stopped moving. His death has sparked days of protest, some violent, across the nation.
CLEVELAND — Tamir Rice’s mother said she felt “distraught” seeing her son’s name spray-painted on buildings by people protesting George Floyd’s death in Cleveland.
Tamir Rice was 12 when he was fatally shot by a white police officer while playing with a pellet gun in 2014.
“Tamir isn’t getting any justice,” Samaria Rice said in an interview Monday with The Associated Press. “Vandalism and setting fires are not the way to go.”
BATON ROUGE, Louisiana — Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said he was grateful that demonstrations in his state over the police custody death of George Floyd in Minneapolis have been peaceful.
And he wouldn’t be drawn into comments on President Donald Trump’s remarks to some governors about violent protests. Edwards acknowledged that he was on a teleconference call in which Trump told the governors, “Most of you are weak,” and said state leaders must get tougher with people who steal and destroy property during the demonstrations.
“I think the president was directing himself to certain states where there were obviously many more problems than we have experienced here in Louisiana,” Edwards said when asked about the call at a Monday afternoon news conference.
Beyond that, he wouldn’t comment on Trump’s remarks. “I’ve got all that I can say grace over here,” he said, referring to efforts to fight the spread of the new coronavirus while dealing with the end of one virus-interrupted legislative session Monday and the beginning of a new one to deal with the state budget.
Edwards said Louisiana demonstrators have been “appropriately expressing their concerns and exercising their First Amendment rights.”
“The behavior of that Minneapolis police officer was egregious,” Edwards added. “It was very far below what was appropriate and acceptable. I don’t think any reputable member of society or of law enforcement would disagree with that assessment.”
He noted that Louisiana experienced emotional demonstrations in 2016. That’s when unrest grew over the shooting death of a man by Baton Rouge police during an altercation in a parking lot.
Edwards said the state has since then made strides in criminal justice reform and efforts to improve relations between police and citizens.
MINNEAPOLIS — An Illinois man who allegedly participated in rioting in Minneapolis after the death of George Floyd has been arrested and charged with federal counts.
Matthew Lee Rupert, 28, of Galesville, Illinois, was arrested Monday in Chicago and charged by criminal complaint with three counts, including civil disorder, carrying on a riot and possession of unregistered destructive devices.
According to an FBI affidavit, Rupert posted a self-recorded video on his Facebook page last week that shows him in Minneapolis, handing out explosive devices to others and encouraging them to throw the explosives at law enforcement. The video also shows him damaging property, attempting to light a business on fire, and looting.
The affidavit says that on Saturday, Rupert posted on his Facebook page that he was headed to Chicago, and that he would loot there.
Early Sunday morning, he posted more videos of himself in and around Chicago, and saying “let’s start a riot.”
He was arrested by Chicago police for violating an emergency curfew in the city. Officers found several destructive devices, a hammer, a heavy-duty flashlight and cash in his vehicle, according to authorities.
Rupert was appearing in federal court in Chicago on Monday. It was not immediately clear if he had an attorney to comment on his behalf.
Floyd, a black man, died May 25 after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck while Floyd was handcuffed and saying that he couldn’t breathe. His death sparked protests in Minneapolis and around the country, some of which became violent.
SEATTLE — Mayor Jenny Durkan announced that Seattle would again have a curfew Monday evening following days of George Floyd protests that turned violent, with storefronts smashed and items stolen.
At a news conference, Durkan said the curfew would begin at 6 p.m. and last until 5 a.m. There were curfews in Seattle on Saturday and Sunday nights as well.
Durkan said most of the thousands of protesters were peaceful, but there was an element that engaged in “violence, looting and chaos.” Gov. Jay Inslee has sent 400 National Guard troops to help Seattle contain demonstrations.
NEW YORK — New York City is imposing an 11 p.m. curfew as the nation’s biggest city tries to head off another night of violence erupting amid protests over George Floyd’s death.
Its curfew will last from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m., Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday.
The limitation on 8.6 million people’s movements comes on top of coronavirus restrictions and as the mayor and governor deplored the outbreaks of violence, but also criticized some police actions.
MINNEAPOLIS — An autopsy commissioned for George Floyd’s family found that Floyd died of asphyxiation due to neck and back compression when a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for several minutes and ignored his cries of distress, the Floyd family’s attorneys said Monday.
The autopsy by a doctor who also examined Eric Garner’s body found the compression cut off blood to Floyd’s brain, and weight on his back made it hard to breathe.
The family’s autopsy differs from the official autopsy as described in a criminal complaint against the officer.
That autopsy included the effects of being restrained, along with underlying health issues and potential intoxicants in Floyd’s system, but also said it found nothing “to support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation.”
Floyd, a black man who was in handcuffs at the time, died after the white officer ignored bystander shouts to get off him and Floyd’s cries that he couldn’t breathe.
His death, captured on citizen video, sparked days of protests in Minneapolis that have spread to cities around America.
San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott said that for the second day the city will have a curfew starting at 8 p.m. Monday.
“It’s almost unprecedented in this city but it’s something we have to do to keep order in these times,” Scott said
Scott said a curfew and 208 police officers sent in from across the state helped keep order Sunday when officers seized a loaded handgun and a backpack with fireworks and explosives and arrested 87 people on violating a curfew and looting charges. Of those 64 have been released and 23 remain in custody, he said.
Scott said officers were overwhelmed Saturday when San Francisco’s iconic Union Square saw people stealing leather bags from the Coach store and shoes from the Salvatore Ferragamo location.
Officers fired tear gas to disperse protesters. He said 33 people were arrested Saturday for looting and the district attorney’s office is in the process of filing 19 of those cases.
Scott said demonstrations that drew about 5,000 people carrying signs and chanting “George Floyd” and “Black lives matter” were overwhelmingly peaceful Sunday and the vast majority of demonstrators dispersed without incident before the 8 p.m. curfew.
But a relatively small number of “defiant individuals” who had gathered in the Civic Center area refused to disperse, threw bottles at officers, and started trash fires, Scott said.
In response, officers and deputies with the sheriff’s office began making arrests, he said.
Scott said there were individuals who came to San Francisco with the sole purpose of vandalizing and looting.
“There were individuals who came to this city with crowbars, bolt cutter, tools that were designed specifically to get into businesses, to take property and loot,” he said.
He said on Saturday night officers saw a van passing out bricks to throw at officers and that they were attacked with Molotov cocktails in at least two occasions over the weekend.
“If that’s anybody’s idea of a peaceful protest, we need to talk about that,” he said.
MINNEAPOLIS — The brother of George Floyd appealed for peace Monday in the aftermath of riots and arson fires following the death of his brother in Minneapolis.
Terrence Floyd appeared at the intersection in south Minneapolis where his brother, a black man, died after a white police officer pinned his neck with his knee for several minutes a week ago.
Wearing a face mask with the image of his brother’s face on it, Terrence Floyd spent several minutes of silence at the flowers and other memorials that have sprung up to his brother.
“I understand you’re upset,” Terrence Floyd said to the crowd through a bullhorn. But he said civil unrest and destruction is “not going to bring my brother back at all. It may feel good for the moment, like when you drink, but when you are done, you’re going to wonder what did you do.”
Terrence Floyd said his family is “a peaceful family. My family is God-fearing.” And he said, “in every case of police brutality the same thing has been happening. You have protests, you destroy stuff ... so they want us to destroy ourselves. Let’s do this another way.”
He told the crowd to vote and to educate themselves. “Let’s switch it up, y’all.” He said his brother moved to Minneapolis from Houston and “loved it here. ... So I know he would not want you all to be doing this.”
At the end of his remarks, Terrence Floyd led the crowd in a chant of “What’s his name?” answered by “George Floyd.”