George Floyd live updates: North Carolina memorial; DC could see ‘one of the largest’ protests

A memorial service for George Floyd will be held in Raeford, North Carolina, where Floyd was born, on Saturday as more demonstrations are expected across the country.

Saturday’s memorial is the second of three services held around the country to honor Floyd, a black man killed when a white police officer held his knee to Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes as other officers stood by. Floyd’s death was ruled a homicide and all four officers have been arrested.

A massive protest that could be “one of the largest that we’ve had” in D.C., according to police chief Peter Newsham, is also planned as other demonstrations around the country continue to demand justice for Floyd and the many other black Americans killed in police custody.

Some recent developments:

  • An entire unit of the Buffalo Police Department resigned from their assignments Friday after two officers were suspended amid outcry over video showing officers shoving a 75-year-old man to the ground.
  • Minneapolis officials voted Friday on the first changes to the police department since Floyd was killed on Memorial Day as a police officer pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck. 
  • Facing pressure from players, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said he wants to do his part to fight against racism and systematic oppression. USA TODAY’s Christine Brennan writes how this could be a watershed moment.

Our live blog will be updated throughout the day. For first-in-the-morning updates, sign up for the Daily Briefing. Here’s the latest news.

Emmett Till’s lynching ignited a civil rights movement. Historians say George Floyd’s death could do the same

Thousands rally in London, across Australia

Following a series of protests seen across the world, thousands of people took a knee and observed a minute of silence Saturday in London in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. More protests were planned in the city and across England over the weekend.

In Australia, thousands of people joined protests across the country, and dozens gathered in Seoul and Tokyo.

In Paris, police banned a protest planned for Saturday, citing fears of coronavirus spread and public unrest.

Second Floyd memorial to be held in North Carolina

George Floyd’s family will have the chance to remember the man described by many as a “gentle giant” in a private service that follows a public viewing Saturday.

The public service will be held at the Cape Fear Conference B Headquarters from 1 to 3 p.m., according to a release from attorney Ben Crump.

Floyd was born in North Carolina, and his sister, Bridgette, lives in Hoke County.

At a memorial service Thursday in Minneapolis, Crump focused his remarks on the need for justice, not just for Floyd but others who encountered a similar fate.

“What we saw in that video was evil. So, America, we proclaim as we memorialize George Floyd, do not cooperate with evil. Protest against evil,” Crump said, his voice rising along with those in attendance, who applauded. “Join the young people in the streets protesting against the evil, the inhumane, the torture that they witnessed on that video.” 

– N’dea Yancey-Bragg, Jorge L. Ortiz, Nora G. Hertel and Mark Emmert

DC protest could be ‘one of the largest that we’ve had’

D.C. police chief Peter Newsham said planned demonstrations Saturday “may be one of the largest that we’ve had in the city.” 

The protest comes as tensions between the White House and the city’s mayor, Muriel Bowser, have grown in recent days over the expanding federal law enforcement and military presence in D.C.

Bowser wrote a letter to Trump demanding he withdraw forces from the city, and on Friday, she renamed a block outside the White House to “Black Lives Matter Plaza” as muralists painted “Black Lives Matter” in yellow letters on the street.

– Nicholas Wu, Kevin Johnson and Kristine Phillips

AG Barr unapologetic for ordering law enforcement to clear protesters

Attorney General William Barr on Thursday was unapologetic for ordering law enforcement to clear protesters from a street near the White House Monday, asserting that some in the demonstration were throwing “projectiles” and had defied at least three orders to move to accommodate a larger security perimeter.

In his first public comments on the aggressive federal action that continues to fan a firestorm of criticism, the attorney general also defended President Donald Trump’s controversial visit to a nearby church later that evening after the street-clearing operation.

“It was not a political act,” Barr said of the visit where the president was photographed with a bible. “It was entirely appropriate for him to do.”

Barr claimed that his decision to expand the security perimeter around Lafayette Square was made early Monday, well before Trump’s decision to visit St. John’s Church, and was not coordinated.

– Kevin Johnson

Seattle mayor bans use of type of tear gas

Seattle’s mayor has banned the police use of one type of tear gas as protests continue over the killing of George Floyd. Mayor Jenny Durkan said at a news conference Friday that the ban on CS gas would last for 30 days.

The move came hours after three civilian police watchdog groups urged city leaders to do so. Police Chief Carmen Best says officials will review police crowd control policies. 

Local health officials had also expressed concerns over the use of the gas and other respiratory irritants based on the potential to increase spread of the coronavirus.

– Associated Press

Town hall on racism comes to ‘Sesame Street’

In a program aimed to educate children about racism, CNN and “Sesame Street” will join forces for a town hall Saturday. 

Big Bird will join CNN commentator Van Jones, CNN anchor and national correspondent Erica Hill in moderating the event, featuring other “Sesame Street” characters talking to kids about racism, the recent nationwide protests, embracing diversity and being more empathetic and understanding.

– Bryan Alexander

Two Chicago officers relieved of police powers after brutal encounter seen in video

Two Chicago officers have been relieved of their police powers after viral cellphone video showed officers dragging two people out of a car, one of whom says an officer pressed his knee into her neck.

Bystander video of the Chicago incident posted to social media appears to show a swarm of about a dozen male officers surrounding a small car in a strip mall parking lot on a sunny day, beating the car and its windows with batons. Officers appear to pull a person out of the passenger’s side door and another person out on the driver’s side. At least two officers appear to hold down the person pulled out of the passenger’s side.

The Chicago Police Department relieved the two officers Friday, one day after the department’s civilian police oversight agency, the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA), recommended the department “either modify their duty status or relieve them temporarily of police power until COPA can further assess the events and circumstances surrounding the use of force.”

Why George Floyd’s death, COVID-19 inequality sparked New York protests

Coronavirus. George Floyd. it has all come together to expose the scope of generational suffering caused by systemic racism and discrimination, according to a USA TODAY Network New York analysis of pandemic data and interviews with more than a dozen protesters, advocates and health experts.

“They are protesting against police brutality and excessive force, no question,” said Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, director of the Equity Research and Innovation Center at Yale School of Medicine.

“But they’re also protesting for the ability to live their lives fully and completely, and to not have their lives cut short, either by force or preventable diseases,” she said. Read more.

– David Robinson, David McKay Wilson, Nancy Cutler, Ashley Biviano, Matt Steecker

Michael Jordan, NFL say it’s time to address racial equality

Charlotte Hornets owner and Basketball Hall of Famer Michael Jordan and his Jordan Brand have pledged $100 million over 10 years to organizations “dedicated to ensuring racial equality, social justice and greater access to education,” Jordan Brand announced in a statement Friday afternoon.

And a day after a group of players released a video and challenged the NFL to join their fight against racism and systematic oppression, commissioner Roger Goodell responded with a video of his own and said he wants to do his part.

“Without black players, there would be no National Football League. And the protests around the country are emblematic of the centuries of silence, inequality and oppression of black players, coaches, fans and staff,” Goodell said in a statement. “We are listening. I am listening, and I will be reaching out to players who have raised their voices and others on how we can improve and go forward for a better and more united NFL family.”

The statement did not mention then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who four years ago began kneeling during the national anthem to protest racism and social injustices, earning him banishment from the league the following offseason.

– Jeff Zillgitt and Mike Jones

Contributing: Associated Press

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