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The Latest: Mourners in Houston paying respect to Floyd

TOP OF THE HOUR:

— Mourners in Houston paying their respects to George Floyd.

— France’s interior minister says police will no longer conduct chokeholds.

— Germany wants protesters to follow social distancing rules

— UK leader says anti-racism protests have been “subverted by thuggery”

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HOUSTON — Mourners are paying their respects to George Floyd, whose body is on view in an open casket at a church in his hometown of Houston.

A six-hour viewing is being held Monday for Floyd, whose death at the hands of Minneapolis police sparked protests around the world.

Houston police escorted his body, which arrived in a gold-colored casket at The Fountain of Praise church.

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.

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 90 degrees (32 degrees Celsius).

Houston will end a procession that has crossed the nation. Previous memorials were held for Floyd in Minneapolis and Raeford, North Carolina, near where he was born. His funeral and burial will be Tuesday.

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PARIS — France’s interior minister says police will no longer conduct chokeholds that have been blamed for multiple cases of asphyxiation and which have come under renewed criticism after George Floyd’s death.

Interior Minister Christophe Castaner announced Monday that “the method of seizing the neck via strangling will be abandoned and will no longer be taught in police schools.”

He spoke out as the French government comes under increasing pressure to address brutality and racism within the police force.

Immobilization techniques where officers apply pressure with their knees on prone suspects are used in policing around the world and have long drawn criticism. French lawmakers have called for such practices to be banned.

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SEATTLE — Police in Seattle again used flash bangs and tear gas to break up a crowd of George Floyd protesters overnight Sunday after authorities said people threw rocks and fireworks at officers, but City Council members say police overreacted.

There was mayhem in the city’s Capitol Hill neighborhood for a second night in a row.

Earlier Sunday, a man drove a car at protesters, hit a barricade then exited the vehicle brandishing a pistol.

At least one person was injured. The victim was a 27-year-old male who was shot and taken to a hospital in stable condition, the Seattle Fire Department said. Police said the suspect was taken into custody.

Hours later, police say the crowd near a police station became unruly, with multiple projectiles thrown.

Police ordered people to disperse and said in a Tweet “CS gas has been authorized.”

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Governors in 34 states and the District of Columbia have activated more than 42,700 National Guard members to assist state and local law enforcement in support of civil unrest operations.

The numbers may change as governors assess their needs.

On Monday, approximately 4,000 Guard men and women from the District of Columbia and supporting states remain on station in DC for support to the National Capitol Region.

More than 600 returned to their home states Sunday, and an additional 1,500 are expected to depart in the next 24 hours.

All additional Guardsmen from states supporting DC are expected to return home by Wednesday.

“The National Guard, over the short span of several months, has gone from tackling natural disasters such as floods, to combating the coronavirus across the country, to now dealing with civil unrest in support of law enforcement on the streets of America, all while many of their fellow Guardsmen are deployed abroad, defending against America’s real adversaries,” Secretary of Defense Dr. Mark T. Esper said.

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DENVER — Denver’s police department is changing policies regarding its use of force and body cameras in the wake of protests over the death of George Floyd in police custody.

As more people demonstrated in Denver on Sunday evening, the department released a statement saying that it has fully banned the use of chokeholds with no exceptions effective immediately.

It also said 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.

The department said that it will also require members of its SWAT team to activate their body cameras when they are performing tactical operations.

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GENEVA — The head of the World Health Organization says it supports the global movement against racism and hopes that those protesting will “do so safely” — such as by keeping at least one meter (3 feet) apart from each other, cleaning their hands, covering a cough and wearing masks.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus had a reminder for people who are sick: They should stay home and contact a health care provider.

Dr. Michael Ryan, the agency’s emergencies chief, noted that the “riskiest position” to be in is exposure in close proximity to a “particularly asymptomatic case of COVID-19.”

He said people have had four or five months to “really internalize” that a person who is unwell or getting ill “should really be at home and not engaged in any public activity.”

But he suggested that government officials should have the last word.

“We would always defer to national and sub-national authorities if they wish and need to take necessary public health actions that are based on risk assessment, that are based on scientific evidence,” Ryan said. “Then we will defer to their advice they give to their communities in order to protect their health.”

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — An 18-year-old motorist has been charged in Tennessee with recklessly driving into a group of demonstrators who were protesting police brutality, striking four, authorities said.

During a street protest in the city of Memphis on Friday, Anthony Marcuzzo slowly drove his Chevrolet Tahoe into a line of protesters “and continued to move forward, pushing through the four demonstrators,” according to a police affidavit filed in Shelby County Criminal Court.

A woman was carried 20 feet as she hung onto the driver’s side mirror, police said. She was treated at a hospital for bruises on her left arm and left leg.

Police reviewed surveillance video and charged Marcuzzo on Saturday with reckless endangerment and reckless driving.

Protesters have been marching around the globe since the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a Minneapolis police officer pressed a knee on his neck after he pleaded for air while handcuffed on May 25.

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BERLIN — The German government is calling on people attending anti-racism protests to stick to coronavirus distancing rules.

At least 15,000 people demonstrated in Berlin and 25,000 protested in Munich on Saturday and there were protests in other German cities as part of the global demonstrations against racism and police brutality that have followed the May 25 death of American George Floyd.

In some cases, protesters were closely packed together despite German requirements for people to stay 1.5 meters (5 feet) apart.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said Monday “it is good if people take to the streets in Germany as well with a clear statement against racism.”

But he added: “the pictures that in some cases emerged over the weekend were not good. Both things must be possible: to demonstrate peacefully, which is a fundamental right, and keep to the (social distancing) rules."

He said many demonstrators "created a big risk for themselves and others.”

Germany has been widely praised for its adroit handling of the pandemic.

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LONDON — U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson says anti-racism demonstrations have been “subverted by thuggery” after protesters tore down a statue of a slave trader in the city of Bristol and scrawled graffiti on a statue of Winston Churchill in London.

London’s Metropolitan police say a dozen people were arrested and eight officers injured after demonstrators clashed Sunday with police in central London.

Johnson says while people have a right to peacefully protest, they have no right to attack the police. He says “these demonstrations have been subverted by thuggery — and they are a betrayal of the cause they purport to serve.’’

Crime, Policing and Justice Minister Kit Malthouse called Monday for those responsible for toppling the bronze memorial to slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol to be prosecuted.

But Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees told the BBC that while he doesn’t condone criminal damage, he felt no “sense of loss” for the statue.

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STOCKHOLM — In connection with a George Floyd anti-racism demonstration in Goteborg, Sweden’s second-largest city, police said Monday that five people had been arrested and 35 cases — ranging from rioting and vandalism to causing injuries, refusal to follow law enforcement orders and resisting arrest — had been reported.

Part of the otherwise peaceful rally turned against the police. Rocks were thrown at their vehicles and protesters tried to break storefronts in a downtown shopping mall.

“This is ridiculous. This is not Black Lives Matter for me,” Yaneneh Jatta, who took part in the demonstration, told Swedish broadcaster SVT, speaking about the unrest.

Later, a dozen cars were torched in a Goteborg suburb with a predominantly low-income population.

In Copenhagen, 15,000 people marched peacefully Sunday from the U.S. Embassy to the Danish Parliament with signs reading “Black Lives Matter” and “I can’t breathe.”

Authorities in Denmark say freedom of speech, a cornerstone of the Danish Constitution, is more important than a current coronavirus health directive that limits gatherings to 10 people.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Add North Carolina’s capital city to those sporting a bold message denouncing racism painted in large yellow letters on a city street.

Artists on Sunday painted the words “End Racism Now” on a downtown street, the Raleigh News & Observer reported.

The message was added days after the mayor of Washington, D.C., had the words “Black Lives Matter” painted on a street leading to the White House amid days of demonstrations in the nation’s capital and all over the country in response to George Floyd's death in Minneapolis.

Floyd died May 25 after a white officer pressed his knee into the unarmed black man's neck, ignoring his “I can’t breathe” cries and holding it there even after Floyd stopped moving.

Charman Driver, former chair of the Contemporary Art Museum on Martin Street, where the painting is located, called it “a very painful totem.” The street leads to Confederate monuments on State Capitol grounds, which have been spotlighted as offensive during protests.

The painting was applied Sunday morning when a city engineer met the artists and brought barricades to block off the street.

“We did it. And it’s wonderful. And we feel really good about it. Our voices are being heard, but it’s not enough,” Driver said.

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