George Floyd’brother on Wednesday asked Congress to make police more accountable while a few blocks away crews began disassembling some of the temporary security fencing installed around the White House last week amid protests demanding racial justice and police reform.
On Capitol Hill, Philonise Floyd, George Floyd’s brother, along with family attorney Ben Crump and other witnesses discussed the death, policing practices and law enforcement accountability in testimony before the House Judiciary Committee.
“I’m tired of pain, the pain you feel when you watch … your big brother who you looked up to for your whole entire life die, die begging for his mom,” Floyd said. “I’m here to ask you to make it stop. Stop the pain. Stop us from being tired.”
At the White House, it was not clear how much of the fencing would be coming down. The temporary fencing on the south side of the White House complex, including the Ellipse, was being removed, a Secret Service spokeswoman said in an email to USA TODAY. The fate of a section near Lafayette Park, historically a location for protests, had not been determined.
A closer look at some recent developments:
- A USA TODAY Network journalist was taken into custody by Delaware State Police Tuesday night while documenting arrests at a protest on Facebook Live. He was later released. It’s not the first time journalists nationwide appear to have been targeted.
- “These attacks on journalists absolutely are unacceptable and absolutely must be stopped,” USA TODAY Network President and USA TODAY Publisher Maribel Wadsworth said about Andre Lamar’s detention.
- Elsewhere: The vast majority of George Floyd protests – 80% – appeared to be peaceful, according to new research that contradicts the emphasis the White House has often put on the instances of looting and rioting.
- The TV show ‘Cops’ was canceled as shows involving real police officers on the street have come under scrutiny.
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Vast majority of recent protests have been peaceful
The death of George Floyd has sparked more than two weeks of widespread, mass demonstrations around the world in protest of racial injustice and police brutality against people of color. The vast majority – 80% – appeared to be peaceful, according to new research that contradicts the emphasis the White House has often put on the instances of looting and rioting. As of Tuesday, more than 970 protests had taken place in about 400 cities and towns across the country, according to research conducted by the marketing firm Ipsos and teams from the Universities of Chicago and Oxford. Get the Coronavirus Watch newsletter in your inbox.
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“The numbers and the breadth are actually pretty impressive,” said Chris Jackson, senior vice president at Ipsos. “We’re seeing these protests happening in all 50 states. … It’s not just the big cities; it’s towns across the board. And the large majority of these protests have been peaceful protests.”
– Maureen Groppe and Kristine Phillips
Minneapolis police department drops contract talks, begins overhaul
The Minneapolis Police Department is withdrawing from police union contract negotiations, Chief Medaria Arradondo said Wednesday. Arradondo called he decision a first step toward reforming the agency in the wake of the death of George Floyd. Arradondo said a thorough review of the contract is planned and that it needs to be restructured to provide more transparency and flexibility.
The review would look at matters such as critical incident protocols, use of force, and disciplinary protocols including grievances and arbitration, he said. The review comes days after a majority of the city council said they supported defunding the department over the objections of Mayor Jacob Frey.
Floyd’s brother: Make police ‘the solution and not the problem’
The brother of George Floyd urged Congress to make law enforcement more accountable – and less willing to use deadly force. Philonise Floyd, testifying before the House Judiciary Committee, said George’s calls for help were ignored on a Minneapolis street the day he died. His brother did not deserve to die over an investigation into a counterfeit $20 bill, Philonise Floyd said.
“Please listen to the call I’m making to you now, to the calls of our family, and to the calls ringing out in the streets across the world,” he said. “People of all backgrounds, genders and race have come together to demand change. Honor them, honor George, and make the necessary changes that make law enforcement the solution – and not the problem.”
Co-worker says accused officer had ‘bumped heads’ with Floyd at work
George Floyd and the former police officer charged with killing him knew each other from their security work at a Minneapolis club and had a history of friction, a co-workers says. Dave Pinney told CBS News that Derek Chauvin, charged with second degree murder, had been paid to sit outside the club in his patrol car while off duty. Floyd, who worked security inside the club, had “bumped heads” with Chauvin at work, Pinney said.
“It has a lot to do with Derek being extremely aggressive within the club with some of the patrons, which was an issue,” Pinney said. The Floyd family has previously said they believe Chauvin’s treatment of Floyd was part personal, citing their conflicts at El Nuevo Rodeo, which was destroyed by fire during protests.
NJ prison guard supsended for video mocking Floyd’s death
A New Jersey corrections officer has been suspended and a FedEx employee was fired for their alleged roles in creation of a “hateful and disappointing” video mocking the police-involved death of George Floyd. A prisons spokeswoman confirmed a “senior officer” at Bayside Correctional Facility was involved. The union representing state corrections officers also decried the video, and FedEx said it does “not tolerate the kind of appalling and offensive behavior.” Floyd died after a Minneapolis officer knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes.
– Carly Q. Romalino, Cherry Hill Courier-Post
Workers begin removing some temporary fencing near White House
Flatbed trucks rolled up to temporary security fencing near the White House early Wednesday and began removing some of the barriers built amid protests over the death of George Floyd.
The Secret Service, however, said it was in “continuing discussions” with U.S. Park Police regarding the fencing in and around Lafayette Park, across a square from the front of the building. That area has hosted some of the most contentious demonstrations since Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police on Memorial Day. Much of the fencing has been covered in protest signs, and the the National Museum of African American History is trying to determine how to preserve signs and protest-related artifacts from the scene, ABC News reports.
Berkeley, California, votes unanimously to ban use of tear gas
The Berkeley City Council on Tuesday night unanimously voted to outright ban the use of tear gas in the California city, councilmember Rigel Robinson tweeted.
Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin initially submitted a motion prohibiting the use of tear gas by the police during the COVID-19 pandemic, but councilmember Cheryl Davila motioned for its total abolishment, local news source Berkeleyside reported in their live-tweeting of the meeting.
“The era of militarism is over,” councilmember Ben Bartlett said, according to the site.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines tear gas as “chemical compounds that temporarily make people unable to function by causing irritation to the eyes, mouth, throat, lungs, and skin.” The riot control agent is banned in wars.
– Elinor Aspegren
USA TODAY Network reporter detained while covering protest in Delaware
A staff photographer/reporter for the USA TODAY Network was detained by Delaware State Police on Tuesday night while covering a protest near the state’s capital.
Andre Lamar, who has covered several demonstrations for The Dover Post since the death of George Floyd, was filming a Facebook Live of police officers detaining several protesters.
The protesters are seen on the ground with their hands behinds their backs, their signs nearby. Lamar can be heard on the video saying, “The police have arrested protesters. We don’t know why they arrested them. They slammed them to the ground.” He is heard asking officers repeatedly why they were being arrested. Lamar was later released from police custody after being held in cell with other protesters.
– Ira Porter and Jordan Culver
San Diego ups police funding by $27M but ‘it won’t be business as usual’
Amid growing calls nationwide to “defund the police” in the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis, California’s second largest city is doing the opposite.
The San Diego City Council voted 8-1 late Monday to increase funding for its police department after nearly 10 hours of public comment that included some residents demanding to reduce police funding, NBC 7 San Diego reported.
“This is about systemic, generational issues that we must acknowledge and address, and those won’t be solved overnight with a single budget vote,” Mayor Kevin Faulconer told USA TODAY in a statement on Tuesday. “We’re going to keep funding our police department but it won’t be business as usual.”
‘Cops’ canceled by Paramount Network in wake of George Floyd death, protests
After being pulled from the Paramount Network schedule last week in the aftermath of protests over George Floyd’s killing while in police custody, “Cops” has been canceled.
The cable network announced the long-running reality series’ fate in a short statement Tuesday: “‘Cops’ is not on the Paramount Network and we don’t have any current or future plans for it to return.”
“Cops” and other shows featuring real police on the streets, such as A&E’s “Live PD,” have come under new scrutiny in the wake of Floyd’s death on Memorial Day and subsequent national protests about police brutality, racism and mistreatment of black people.
– Bill Keveney
Florida’s largest city, Jacksonville, removes 122-year-old Confederate monument
In the predawn darkness Tuesday, Mayor Lenny Curry ordered city workers to remove the bronze statue of a Confederate soldier in winter uniform that had hovered above Hemming Park in downtown Jacksonville for more than a century.
Hours later, Curry, pledged to a crowd of peaceful protesters that he would order the removal of all remaining public Confederate monuments throughout the city.
The unannounced move was a remarkable pivot for the city’s Republican mayor who had previously avoided taking a position on the controversy. Just as remarkable is what seems to have played a role in changing Curry’s mind: The voices of NFL players from the Jacksonville Jaguars who have joined protesters in recent days to demand police reform and renewed efforts to tackle inequality in Florida’s most populous city.
– John Reid, Andrew Pantazi, Christopher Hong, Emily Bloch and Nate Monroe, Florida Times-Union
CrossFit CEO Greg Glassman resigns after comments about George Floyd’s death
CrossFit founder Greg Glassman faced major backlash this weekend when the 63-year-old founder of the branded workout program posted a racist tweet mocking the murder of George Floyd and the current coronavirus pandemic. And, now, he is out as CEO.
In response to a tweet about racism being a public health crisis, Glassman tweeted, “It’s FLOYD-19.” The uproar from that tweet led to athletic brand Reebok letting its longtime partnership with CrossFit expire. The brand also saw gyms across the country end their affiliations with CrossFit.
CrossFit eventually released an apology for Glassman, but BuzzFeed News recently recovered audio from Glassman’s staff Zoom call where the now-ex-CrossFit CEO floated conspiracy theories about George Floyd’s murder and said, “We’re not mourning for George Floyd – I don’t think me or any of my staff are.”
Shortly after BuzzFeed published the story, Glassman announced his resignation.
– Andrew Joseph, For The Win
Funeral, burial in Houston mark final goodbye for George Floyd
About 500 invited guests gathered at the Fountain of Praise church Tuesday for the funeral of George Floyd, the final episode in a series of memorials celebrating the life of a man whose death has shaken the world.
Activist Rev. Al Sharpton anchored a lineup of speakers including civil rights leaders, family members and a video address from presumed Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. Floyd’s death, after a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for almost nine minutes, was caught on video that triggered a wave of protests – and could ultimately result in sweeping changes in the nation’s justice system.
“Why, in this nation, do too many black Americans wake up knowing that they could lose their life in the course of just living their life?” Biden asked. “Why does justice not roll like a river or righteousness like a mighty stream? Why?”
New York state police union rips ‘legislating by signs in a protest’
State lawmakers in New York are passing bills too quickly to gain political appeal, and New York City leaders are demonizing law enforcement in the aftermath of nationwide George Floyd protests, the president of the city’s police union said Tuesday.
No one’s read the bills. They’re legislating by signs in a protest,” Patrick Lynch said. Law enforcement claims the proposed legislation advocating making police disciplinary files public is a threat to their safety, and the safety of their families. “We deserve to be protected as we protect you,” said Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association President Elias Husamudeen.
– Khrysgiana Pineda
More on protests, George Floyd:
- Buffalo protester injured: President Trump says the 75-year-old could be ‘ANTIFA provocateur’
- Racial equality: Indianapolis council unanimously declares racism a public health crisis
- NASCAR: A driver will race in #BlackLivesMatter car Wednesday
- Sen. Mitt Romney: President Trump bashes Romney over a Black Lives Matter march
- ‘Defund the police’: What it means and why some say reform is not enough.
- ‘I don’t want to be a hashtag’: A look back at a turbulent week in DC as told by protesters