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Sunday, May 31, 2020

Trump took shelter in White House bunker as protests raged

WASHINGTON (AP) — Secret Service agents rushed President Donald Trump to a White House bunker on Friday night as hundreds of protesters gathered outside the executive mansion, some of them throwing rocks and tugging at police barricades.

Trump spent nearly an hour in the bunker, which was designed for use in emergencies like terrorist attacks, according to a Republican close to the White House who was not authorized to publicly discuss private matters and spoke on condition of anonymity. The account was confirmed by an administration official who also on condition of anonymity.

READ MORE: George Floyd’s brother says Trump wouldn’t let him speak during phone call

U.S. President Doanld Trump speaks after the successful launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the manned Crew Dragon spacecraft at the Kennedy Space Center on May 30, 2020 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. (Photo by Saul Martinez/Getty Images)

The abrupt decision by the agents underscored the rattled mood inside the White House, where the chants from protesters in Lafayette Park could be heard all weekend and Secret Service agents and law enforcement officers struggled to contain the crowds.

Friday’s protests were triggered by the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died after he was pinned at the neck by a white Minneapolis police officer. The demonstrations in Washington turned violent and appeared to catch officers by surprise. They sparked one of the highest alerts on the White House complex since the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001.

“The White House does not comment on security protocols and decisions,” said White House spokesman Judd Deere. The Secret Service said it does not discuss the means and methods of its protective operations. The president’s move to the bunker was first reported by The New York Times.

Members of the U.S. Secret Service hold a perimeter near the White House as demonstrators gather to protest the killing of George Floyd on May 30, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The president and his family have been shaken by the size and venom of the crowds, according to the Republican. It was not immediately clear if first lady Melania Trump and the couple’s 14-year-old son, Barron, joined the president in the bunker. Secret Service protocol would have called for all those under the agency’s protection to be in the underground shelter.

Trump has told advisers he worries about his safety, while both privately and publicly praising the work of the Secret Service.

Trump traveled to Florida on Saturday to view the first manned space launch from the U.S. in nearly a decade. He returned to a White House under virtual siege, with protesters — some violent — gathered just a few hundred yards away through much of the night.

READ MORE: Trump threatens DC protesters with ‘vicious dogs’ and ‘ominous weapons’ should they cross a line

Demonstrators returned Sunday afternoon, facing off against police at Lafayette Park into the evening.

Trump continued his effort to project strength, using a series of inflammatory tweets and delivering partisan attacks during a time of national crisis.

As cities burned night after night and images of violence dominated television coverage, Trump’s advisers discussed the prospect of an Oval Office address in an attempt to ease tensions. The notion was quickly scrapped for lack of policy proposals and the president’s own seeming disinterest in delivering a message of unity.

Trump did not appear in public on Sunday. Instead, a White House official who was not authorized to discuss the plans ahead of time said Trump was expected in the coming days to draw distinctions between the legitimate anger of peaceful protesters and the unacceptable actions of violent agitators.

On Sunday, Trump retweeted a message from a conservative commentator encouraging authorities to respond with greater force.

READ MORE: Trump on George Floyd’s death: ‘I feel very, very badly’

“This isn’t going to stop until the good guys are willing to use overwhelming force against the bad guys,” Buck Sexton wrote in a message amplified by the president.

In recent days security at the White House has been reinforced by the National Guard and additional personnel from the Secret Service and the U.S. Park Police.

On Sunday, the Justice Department deployed members of the U.S. Marshals Service and agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration to supplement National Guard troops outside the White House, according to a senior Justice Department official. The official could not discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.


Lemire reported from New York. Associated Press writer Michael Balsamo contributed to this report.

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Jay-Z speaks on George Floyd, calls on prosecution to ‘fullest extent of the law’

Rapper Jay-Z spoke out on the police killing of George Floyd Sunday night, endorsing the Minnesota governor’s announcement earlier that day that the state’s attorney general would take the lead on any charges brought against the officers involved.

In a statement posted to Twitter, the “Hard Knock Life” rapper said he had a “human conversation” with Gov. Tim Walz as a “dad and a Black man in pain.” He applauded Walz’s move to appoint Attorney General Keith Ellison, the first African American and the first Muslim American elected to statewide office in Minnesota, to prosecute the murder case. He will work alongside Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman who brought the charges against fired Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.

Jay-Z makes an announcement of the launch of Dream Chasers record label in joint venture with Roc Nation, at the Roc Nation headquarters on Tuesday, July 23, 2019, in New York. (Photo by Greg Allen/Invision/AP)

Chauvin was the officer seen pressing his knee into Floyd’s neck for almost 9 minutes until his death in a widespread video. Freeman on Friday charged Chauvin with murder in the 3rd degree and manslaughter.

READ MORE: Beyonce promotes George Floyd petition, says justice is ‘far from being achieved’

“Yes, I am human, a father and a Black man in pain and I am not the only one,” said Jay-Z, whose real name is Shawn Carter. “Now I, along with an entire country in pain, call upon AG Ellison to do the right thing and prosecute all those responsible for the murder of George Floyd to the fullest extent of the law.”

The statement was publicized through REFORM Alliance, the criminal justice reform advocacy group Jay-Z founded with Meek Mill more than a year ago. The statement did not mention racism, police brutality, or the nationwide protests that followed the 46-year-old man’s homicide.

Ellison, who is in his first term, was added to the prosecution team after activists, a number of Minneapolis City Council members and a civil rights group called on his selection to strengthen the quest for justice, according to The Associated Press. The state’s top lawyer helped put together a working group with the goal to reduce police violence.

U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) speaks during a news conference in front of the Capitol February 1, 2017 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

A Detroit native, Ellison previously completed six terms representing Minnesota in the U.S. House and was a member of the Congressional Black Caucus.

READ MORE: Minneapolis police chief declares other officers ‘complicit’ in George Floyd death

Jay-Z said he is determined to fight for justice against his “would-be oppressors” and urged that every politician, prosecutor and officer across the country “have the courage to do what is right.”

“Have the courage to look at us as humans, dads, brothers, sisters and mothers in pain and look at yourselves,” he said.

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Vanessa Bryant shares timely photo of Kobe Bryant in ‘I Can’t Breathe’ shirt

Vanessa Bryant took to social media to share a powerful message about the murder of George Floyd and the resulting demonstrations going on across the world.

The widow of beloved NBA great, Kobe Bryant, shared a photo of her late husband wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with “I Can’t Breathe.”

READ MORE: Vanessa Bryant saved last letter from Kobe to read on her birthday

“My husband wore this shirt years ago and yet here we are again. #ICANTBREATHE (repost/photo credit unknown) plz tag 📷 Life is so fragile. Life is so unpredictable. Life is too short. Let’s share and embrace the beautiful qualities and similarities we all share as people,” Bryant posted.

“Drive out hate. Teach respect and love for all at home and school. Spread LOVE. Fight for change- register to VOTE. Do not use innocent lives lost as an excuse to loot. BE AN EXAMPLE OF THE CHANGE WE WANT TO SEE. #BLACKLIVESMATTER.” 

READ MORE: Vanessa Bryant sues LA County Sheriff’s Department over unauthorized photos of Kobe Bryant’s crash site

She followed it up with another post that encourages people to start important conversations to dismantle racism within themselves and in their own homes.

Kobe Bryant remains an influential icon even after his death and it’s likely that Vanessa’s reminder to his fans that his loyalties lied with the fight for justice for all people is a powerful one in these turbulent times.

On Sunday, Michael Jordan shared his thoughts on the issues facing our country. “I am deeply saddened, truly pained and plain angry,” Jordan said in a statement. “I stand with those who are calling out the ingrained racism and violence toward people of color in our country. We have had enough.”

He didn’t stop there.

“I don’t have the answers, but our collective voices show strength and the inability to be divided by others,” he said.

“We must listen to each other, show compassion and empathy and never turn our backs on senseless brutality. We need to continue peaceful expressions against injustice and demand accountability. Our unified voice needs to put pressure on our leaders to change our laws, or else we need to use our vote to create systemic change. Every one of us needs to be part of the solution, and we must work together to ensure justice for all.”

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Minnesota governor announces AG Ellison as lead on George Floyd case

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz announced the appointment of Attorney General Keith Ellison as the lead on the prosecution of former officer Derek Chauvin for the death of George Floyd.

In a press conference Sunday, he gave a statement in the hopes that his constituency will see evidence of transparency and fairness. He knew that many in the Black community did not trust the process or those involved.

Rep. Keith Ellison
n this Dec. 2, 2016 file photo, U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., listens during a forum on the future of the Democratic Party, in Denver. Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, filed papers Tuesday, June 5, 2018, to run for Minnesota attorney general. Ellison, also the vice chairman of the Democratic National Committee, filed just hours ahead of a deadline. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

READ MORE: Minnesota AG Keith Ellison expects more charges after Chauvin arrest in George Floyd death

Walz, a Democrat said, “They don’t believe justice can be served and their frustrations are that they believe that time and time again the system works perfectly well as it was designed to deny those rights and to deny justice to communities of color.”

“We have to make that process work for people.”

During the week, several rallies were held in the Minneapolis expressing their distrust. While civil rights leaders like Rev. Al Sharpton, attorney Ben Crump, and Tameka Mallory have come to the city to support the local voices like Councilwoman Andrea Jenkins, it was the thousands of protesters in the street that best spoke to the communities lack of trust.

The governor contends that conversations with these leaders, celebrity and local influencers & activists alike, have helped him arrive at the decision of appointing AG Ellison on the case immediately.

Ellison’s reputation regarding his work as a civil rights leader is well respected. Moreover, many believe that he will push for the fairest trial possible.

READ MORE: Minnesota protester calls out looters on CNN: ‘Something’s wrong with you’

On Memorial Day, Floyd died while being arrested by the Minneapolis police, led by Chauvin and three other officers. After a week of civil unrest and the boisterous outcry of disbelief, pain, and exhaustion, activists waterfalled over the city. They demanded that the officers be arrested. On Friday, Chauvin was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.

The family has gone on record asking for the other officers to be arrested and charged, and that Chauvin’s charge be bumped up to first-degree murder.

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Minneapolis police chief declares other officers ‘complicit’ in George Floyd death

Derek Chauvin was arrested for George Floyd’s death but the other officers involved are “complicit” as well according to the Minneapolis police chief.

There was a memorial held for Floyd Sunday at the place where he was killed at 38th and Chicago earlier in the week and Minneapolis police chief Medaria Arradondo attended. Arradondo shared that he’d grown up a block from the tragedy and wanted to offer his condolences.

Flowers, signs and balloons are left near a makeshift memorial to George Floyd near the spot where he died while in custody of the Minneapolis police, on May 29, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Kerem Yucel / AFP) (Photo by KEREM YUCEL/AFP via Getty Images)

READ MORE: Michael Jordan issues statement about George Floyd: ‘I am plain angry’

“I came to pay my respects to Mr. Floyd and I came to just offer prayer for his loved ones, his family and our community that’s hurting,” the chief said told CNN’s Sara Sidner.

He added the need to be one with those gathered during this time of unrest.

“I wanted to be in a space of how do we heal and how do we move from this and so , it’s going to take time …and everyone here is trying to do the best that they can to offer what they’re feeling and those are all valid but I just needed to be here in this space today and offer my respects.”

Moving forward, he wanted the community to know that law enforcement was not an institution that would mean them harm. He did not want any doubt left in their minds.

“At the end of the day, our community members need to know that the men and women that put this badge on, that they are doing so in service to them and they should not have to doubt the integrity and if they’re going to be treated in a professional and compassionate way.”

He stated that Floyd’s death was not a representation of that.

“There are absolute truths in life. We need air to breathe. The killing of Mr. Floyd was an absolute truth and so I did not need days or weeks or months, or processes or bureaucracies to tell me what occurred out here last Monday. It was wrong,” he said.

READ MORE: Philando Castile’s mother speaks out on George Floyd: ‘Why no one is being held accountable?’


He shared his disgust at seeing Floyd on the ground with Chauvin’s knee on his neck for more than seven minutes. He said there was a visceral reaction and reached out to Black leaders and repeated once more his decision of firing the officers involved for their conduct.

“In my mind, this was a violation of humanity. This was a violation of the oath that the majority of the men and women that put this uniform on, this goes absolutely against it. This is contrary to what we believe in … Again what occurred to me, it was an absolute truth it was wrong. Period,” the chief said.

Arradondo expressed his sympathy to the Floyd family who was watching the interview live. He wished that they were not enduring this loss and wished he had the ability to turn back time.

“I would say to the Floyd family that I am absolutely devastatingly sorry for their loss. If I could do anything to bring Mr. Floyd back, I would do that. I would move heaven and Earth to do that. So I’m very sorry,” he said.

Arradondo also told Sidner three other officers involved in Floyd’s death were “complicit” because they did not stop Chauvin from placing his knee on Floyd’s neck or try to intervene. They just looked on as the unarmed, 46-year old pleaded for his life as Chauvin applied pressure. Arradondo cited their inaction as one of the primary reasons why he fired them so quickly.

Lee Merritt, a civil rights attorney who has been in Minneapolis for the last week, has declared that he is not leaving town until all four officers involved are charged. Thus far, only Chauvin was arrested for third-degree murder. Merritt took Arradondo’s comments as potential evidence.

“I was hoping the police chief would put on his hat and go arrest the officers that helped murder #GeorgeFloyd but I appreciate he gave statements that they are all complicit which can be used at trial,” he tweeted.


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Trailer drives through peaceful protesters on Minneapolis interstate

MINNEAPOLIS — Officials in Minnesota say no protesters appear to have been hit after a semitrailer drove into a crowd demonstrating on a freeway near downtown Minneapolis.

The Minnesota State Patrol says in a tweet that the action appeared deliberate. The patrol says the driver was injured and taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

READ MORE: I was on the ground for Minneapolis protests. Here’s what I saw.

It wasn’t clear how the driver was hurt. TV footage showed protesters swarming the truck, and then law enforcement quickly moving in.

Other TV footage showed the tanker truck moving rapidly onto the bridge and protesters appearing to part ahead of it.

The protesters were demonstrating against the death of George Floyd.

This story is still developing.

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Atlanta cops who assaulted Spelman and Morehouse students fired, put on desk duty

The Atlanta cops who tased and pulled Spelman and Morehouse students out of their car on live television have been fired and others put on desk duty.

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said Sunday that the video of the officers using “excessive force” against Messiah Young, 22, and Taniyah Pilgrim, 20, kept her up all night. The altercation took place after a 9 p.m. curfew was instituted by the mayor in response to the ongoing protests over the death of George Floyd and police brutality. Police stopped and surrounded the car the students were in at approximately 9:13 pm Saturday evening.

Keisha Lance Bottoms
Mayor of Atlanta Keisha Lance Bottoms. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Essence)

READ MORE: Atlanta cop draws praise from protesters: ‘They have a right to be pissed off’

In footage that was captured live by CBS 46, the car windows were broken and officers began an aggressive posture toward the HBCU students. They were assaulted, arrested, and taken into custody at the Fulton County Jail. He was charged with eluding/flee police and driving without a license.

A GoFundMe was set up for their bail money by Samaiya Butler. It has thus far raised almost $100K and the funds will be going to Young’s family. The Georgia NAACP and the JUSTGeorgia Coalition also immediately organized to help. They used the  #WeAreDoneDying to call attention to the fact that this state of emergency was jeopardizing more lives.

“This uprising has been a result of the inabilities of elected officials to ensure proper judgment necessary to arrest, indict, and convict officers who repeatedly murder innocent, unarmed Black bodies,” they stated in a press release Sunday.

“As if the global pandemic was not enough harm on the Black and Brown community, we now have to endure the pain and hurt from the grim displays of modern lynching going viral every week,” the release continued.

Lance Bottoms responded to the outrage by announcing during a Sunday news conference that two of the officers involved in the incident had been fired. One had a tenure of 20 years on the force and the other 16. Three others who were involved have been taken off street duty pending review.

The officers have not yet been identified.

READ MORE: NYPD officer condemns Derek Chauvin: ‘He is my enemy’

“After a review of that footage, Chief Shields and I made the determination that two of the officers involved in the incident last night will be terminated immediately. The other three officers right now are on desk duty pending further determination of what, if any appropriate action, disciplinary actions should be taken against them,” the mayor said.

“The release of that bodycam footage and the corresponding police report should be available to the media immediately.”

The students have since been released from police custody. All charges were dropped against her but they may be pending against him according to the Georgia NAACP. It was also confirmed that they did not suffer any injuries.

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I was on the ground for Minneapolis protests. Here’s what I saw.

As people of all races and backgrounds took to the streets to express outrage over the death of George Floyd, I was on the ground in Minneapolis reporting as similar protests and demonstrations took place around the U.S.

The discontent of protesters was not just for Floyd but with the continued murders of Black people by the hands of police. 

Floyd, 46, died on Memorial Day after then-officer Derek Chauvin was seen on video with his knee on Floyd’s neck for several minutes as he cried out to Chauvin that he could not breathe.  

READ MORE: Protesters break out in dance as they honor George Floyd, honor Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery 

Signs, artwork and flowers were placed by people showing up to pay their respects and to protest at the intersection of 38th Street and Chicago Avenue in South Minneapolis, in front of the CUP Foods where George Floyd died earlier in the week, Saturday, May 30 2020. (Scott Takushi / MediaNews Group / St. Paul Pioneer Press via Getty Images)

Although four of the arresting officers, including Chauvin, were immediately fired only Chauvin has so far been charged. City unrest has led to the damage of businesses and even the Minneapolis Third Police Precinct being vandalized and set on fire.

Two days after Chauvin’s arrest, however, protests in America have continued around the U.S. 

(Photo: Tina Samepay)

“We are a quiet state, most people don’t even know we exist. There are too many crimes happening and it is not Black on Black, it is the White police against us and we are sick of it, ” said Keke G, an independent artist, and songwriter from Minneapolis told me. 

Keke G, an artist and songwriter. (Photo: Tina Samepay)

“After so long, we have to speak up and we have to stand up for something. Everybody is pissed, everybody is mad. This is not just this situation. It goes back 250 plus years.”

Many of the protests in Minneapolis started off peacefully until some individuals began taking goods from stores. In Minneapolis, at least 140 businesses have been either burned or broken into; including the Cubs Foods where the store’s owner initially called the police on Floyd to allege that he tried to use a fake $20 to buy cigarettes. 

Many are questioning the role of some White people among the protestors who are being seen as provocateurs enticing rising tensions.

A now-viral video shows a White man dressed in all black with an umbrella breaking windows. Although he was among protestors he caused a lot of attention to himself and the man is seen on camera trying to get away from a Black man who appeared to be trying to get his identity. 

On Friday night in Los Angeles over 400 people were arrested in Downtown LA and at least two officers were injured from the protest. In Atlanta, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has requested support from the National Guard after protestors stormed CNN headquarters, breaking windows and holding a massive protest in front of the building. 

A man waves a Black Lives Matter flag atop the CNN logo during a protest in response to the police killing of George Floyd outside the CNN Center on May 29, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images)

Republican congressional candidate Joe Collins traveled from South Central, LA to Minneapolis to stand in solidarity with the family of Floyd. He told me he is familiar with the 1992 riots which saw Los Angeles go up in flames, specifically businesses meant to service Black and minority communities. 

Barbershop in Minneapolis with the words “Black-owned business” on its boards. (Photo: Tina Samepay)
Burned down building in Minneapolis. (Photo: Tina Samepay)

“As a Black leader, we must come together and stand with those across the country who are being oppressed to show them that they are not alone,” Collins told me. “We are tired of them having their knees on our necks just as Floyd was. We are just as tired of them murdering our Black babies in Los Angeles just like they are in Minneapolis. We are stronger together than we are alone.”

The death of Floyd is within the backdrop of Ahmaud Arbery’s fatal shooting by community vigilantes Gregory McMichael and Travis McMichael, along with the police shooting of Breonna Taylor, who was killed in her own home by Lousiville police.

Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd (Credit: Arbery family, Instagram/@keyanna.guifarro and Benjamin Crump)

The massive demonstrations going on across the country is not only about Floyd. They are about the systemic issues of racism in this country and people have reached their breaking point.

READ MORE: Minneapolis nightclub owner says Derek Chauvin was ‘anxious’ over Black customers

Maya Santamaria is the owner of El Nuevo Rodeo Club on Lake Street in Minneapolis. She revealed that both Floyd and Chauvin worked at Rodeo Club as security in 2019, although it is unclear if they knew each other. Santamaria also says that Chauvin was known to have a bad temper and be intimidated and fearful of African-American males. 

Derek Chauvin
Derek Chauvin (screenshot from video)

Minneapolis native TJ Deen told me that he is sad over what is currently happening in his city. His family is from Sierra Leone but he was born in the U.K., where he says that police murdering people is close to none. 

The United Kingdom does not allow its police to use deadly force unless it is requested and necessary.

“For you to retrieve your weapon you actually have to put a request in and have it approved. In the United States, carrying a gun is the norm. So as a citizen you think carrying a gun is normal. Shooting people is normal. You are desensitized.”

Deen said that police in the U.S are taught more combat tactics than they are de-escalation tactics. 

“I want to see more people like me involved in politics and the police force. Black people always want to own something and I love the sole proprietorship. I love us being owners and the boss,” he said.

“Sometimes though, you have to be a lawyer. Go to school and become a lawyer because our people need lawyers. Go to school and become a psychologist because your people need psychologists.”

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Anger over police killings shatters US: ‘We’re sick of it’

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Americans awoke Sunday to charred and glass-strewn streets in dozens of cities after another night of unrest fueled by rage over the mistreatment of African Americans at the hands of police, who responded to the violence with tear gas and rubber bullets.

Tens of thousands marched peacefully through streets to protest the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died Monday after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee on his neck until he stopped breathing. But many demonstrations sank into chaos as night fell: Cars and businesses were torched. The words “I can’t breathe” were spray-painted all over buildings. A fire in a trash bin burned near the gates of the White House.

The fury sparked by Floyd’s death was compounded by the coronavirus pandemic, which has left millions out of work and killed more than 100,000 people in the U.S., including disproportionate numbers of Black people.

“We’re sick of it. The cops are out of control,” protester Olga Hall said in Washington, D.C. “They’re wild. There’s just been too many dead boys.”

People set fire to squad cars, threw bottles at officers and busted windows of storefronts, carrying away TVs and other items even as some protesters urged them to stop. In Indianapolis, multiple shootings were reported, including one that left a person dead amid the protests, adding to deaths in Detroit and Minneapolis in recent days.

In Minneapolis, the city where the protests began, police, state troopers and National Guard members moved in soon after an 8 p.m. curfew took effect to break up the demonstrations.

READ MORE: Don Lemon calls out Hollywood stars by name during protest coverage

At least 13 police officers were injured in Philadelphia , and at least four police vehicles were set on fire. In New York City, dangerous confrontations flared repeatedly as officers made arrests and cleared streets. A video showed two NYPD cruisers lurching into a crowd of demonstrators who were pushing a barricade against one of them and pelting it with objects. Several people were knocked to the ground. It was unclear if anyone was hurt.

“The mistakes that are happening are not mistakes. They’re repeated violent terrorist offenses, and people need to stop killing black people,” Brooklyn protester Meryl Makielski said.

Overnight curfews were imposed in more than a dozen major cities nationwide, including Atlanta, Denver, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, San Francisco and Seattle.

Few corners of America were untouched, from protesters setting fires inside Reno’s city hall, to police launching tear gas at rock-throwing demonstrators in Fargo, North Dakota. In Salt Lake City, demonstrators flipped a police car and lit it on fire. Police said six people were arrested and an officer was injured after being struck in the head with a baseball bat.

By daybreak, cleanup had already began in Nashville along Broadway Street — known for its famous honky tonks — after protesters broke windows, lit fires and destroyed light poles. Police said in a tweet that at least 30 businesses and buildings were damaged.

Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp authorized the deployment of up to 3,000 National Guard troops to Athens, Savannah and any other cities where more demonstrations were planned Sunday. Kemp had already approved up to 1,500 Guardsmen to help enforce a 9 p.m. Saturday curfew in Atlanta.

“The protesters need to know we’re going to support their efforts in a peaceful, nonviolent protest,” Kemp told television station WSB-TV late Saturday. “The agitators need to know that we’ll be there … to take them to jail if they’re destroying lives and property.”

President Donald Trump appeared to cheer on the tougher tactics Saturday night, commending the National Guard deployment in Minneapolis, declaring “No games!” and saying police in New York City “must be allowed to do their job!”

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden condemned the violence as he continued to express common cause with those demonstrating after Floyd’s death.

“The act of protesting should never be allowed to overshadow the reason we protest,” Biden said in a statement Saturday night.

In Ferguson, Missouri, where Michael Brown, Jr. was shot and killed by a white police officer in 2014, sparking a wave of protests throughout the country, six officers were hurt after being hit with rocks and fireworks.

Police have arrested nearly 1,700 people in 22 cities since Thursday, according to a tally by The Associated Press. Nearly a third of those arrests came in Los Angeles, where the governor declared a state of emergency and ordered the National Guard to back up the city’s 10,000 police officers as dozens of fires burned across the city.

READ MORE: Target deletes ‘2020 is our year’ tweet after stores are burned during protests

This week’s unrest recalled the riots in Los Angeles nearly 30 years ago after the acquittal of the white police officers who beat Rodney King, a Black motorist who had led them on a high-speed chase. The protests of Floyd’s killing have gripped many more cities, but the losses in Minneapolis have yet to approach the staggering totals Los Angeles saw during five days of rioting in 1992, when more than 60 people died, 2,000-plus were injured and thousands arrested, with property damage topping $1 billion.

But not all protests were marred by violence. In Juneau, Alaska, local police joined protesters at a rally in front of a giant whale sculpture on the city’s waterfront.

“We don’t tolerate excessive use of force,” Juneau Police Chief Ed Mercer told a gathering where most people wore masks and some sang Alaska Native songs.

The show of force in Minneapolis came after three days in which police largely avoided engaging protesters, and after the state poured more than 4,000 National Guard troops into Minneapolis. Authorities said that number would soon rise to nearly 11,000.

“The situation in Minneapolis is no longer in any way about the murder of George Floyd,” said Gov. Tim Walz, who also said local forces had been overmatched the previous day. “It is about attacking civil society, instilling fear and disrupting our great cities.”

Some residents were glad to see the upheaval dissipating.

“l live here. I haven’t been able to sleep,” said Iman Muhammad, whose neighborhood saw multiple fires set Friday night. Muhammad said she sympathized with peaceful protests over Floyd’s death but disagreed with the violence: “Wrong doesn’t answer wrong.”


Associated Press journalists across the U.S. contributed to this report.

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Why Philadelphia’s George Floyd protests popped differently

On Saturday, #PhillyProtest was trending worldwide on Twitter as many major cities joined the nationwide public unrest following the recent extrajudicial police killings of Black people such as George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Tony McCade.

As someone who lives in the second-largest city on the East Coast, Philadelphia has a long history of systemic racism despite having a well-represented Black population and political leadership. Seeing locals down my timeline disrupt Center City (the downtown area of Philly) was a testament to a town that’s sick and tired of being sick and tired.

Although they have nearly 30 years of a majority Black and brown population, Philadelphia has yet to seriously tackle the inequities afflicting them. Black Philadelphians have seen no major improvement in poverty; biased stop-and-frisk policies; and witnessing intense racial segregation via gentrification. Outside of political leadership, Black people are underrepresented in business, education, tech, and nonprofit leadership in a city in which they hold the plurality.

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In regards to economics, Black people are neglected in terms of financial access and opportunity, despite making up over a third of Philly’s population. A 2019 Pew Charitable Trusts report titled “State of the City” reported that only 2.5 percent of businesses in Philly are Black-owned (despite this demographic making up 43 percent of the city’s population). In comparison, white people — with 34 percent of the population in Philadelphia — are overrepresented in terms of city jobs, healthcare, higher education attainment, wealth generation, property-ownership, business growth, and more.

So no, it was no surprise for me to witness Philly residents protest as hard as they did. It was a long time coming for a city that has continued to either turn a blind eye or break promises to its Black citizens.

For example, in 2017, local protesters and Philadelphia Councilwoman Helen Gym called for the infamous Frank Rizzo Statue to be removed following an act of domestic terrorism in Charlottesville, Virginia. The late Frank Rizzo was a former mayor of Philadelphia who had a racist and homophobic history of terrorizing Black and brown people with police. For his statue to remain in Center City for nearly three decades painted a racist legacy in the longtime Democratic elected powerhouse.The current Mayor Jim Kenney promised to remove the statue, only to later tell residents that metal monstrosity was staying put for several more years. Which can explain why protesters made sure to set it on fire without any complaint.

It’s hard not to ignore these protests are also happening during the 35th anniversary of the MOVE Bombing in which the City of Philadelphia authorized a bomb to drop in a Black neighborhood as a response to a Black protesting group. The state-sanctioned violence killed eleven Black people, including five children, and burned down 61 houses.

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No one was arrested or held legally accountable for the decision. And yes, this happened under the leadership of Philadelphia’s first Black mayor, Wilson Goode, who finally called on the city to issue a formal apology this year.

So for many around the world who are wondering why it seemed to be a lot going on in the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection on Saturday — this is why. The senseless killings of Black lives nationwide reminded our city that we, too, have white supremacy in our own backyard to take care of.

Ernest Owens is the Writer at Large of Philadelphia magazine and CEO of Ernest Media Empire, LLC. The award-winning journalist has written for The New York Times, NBC News, USA Today and several other major publications. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and

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