George Floyd protests spread nationwide

By Melissa Macaya, Mike Hayes, Fernando Alfonso III, Daniella Diaz, Jessie Yeung, Steve George, Ivana Kottasová and Nick Thompson, CNN

Updated 8:56 p.m. ET, May 30, 2020
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12:45 p.m. ET, May 29, 2020

Minnesota to put together a "multi-agency command center," safety commissioner says

From CNN's Elise Hammond

John Harrington, commissioner of Minnesota's Department of Public Safety speaks at a news conference in St. Paul, Minnesota, on May 29.
John Harrington, commissioner of Minnesota's Department of Public Safety speaks at a news conference in St. Paul, Minnesota, on May 29. Pool

John Harrington, commissioner of Minnesota's Department of Public Safety, said he is putting together a "unified command" of several different law enforcement and public safety entities to prepare for more protests today and this weekend.

"Our task today is we're bringing together a unified command of metro area police departments, sheriff departments and other law enforcement jurisdictions and other public safety entities into a multi-agency command center where we will create a plan that will keep the peace, maintain the peace and prevent further lawless behavior in the city of Minneapolis, the city of St. Paul and in the surrounding suburbs," he said.

Harrington said he is going to do this "the right way" by keeping in mind the oath to protect communities.

"We are fully confident that we can do that mission and that we can do it while still ensuring that the constitutional rights of those who need to have their voices heard and who need to freely assemble can be protected," he said.

12:21 p.m. ET, May 29, 2020

Former President Barack Obama says the US "must be better" following Floyd's death

Former President Barack Obama discussed the "anguish" black Americans are feeling around the country following the death of George Floyd, according to a statement he released on Twitter.

Obama discussed the common getting "back to normal" refrain uttered following deaths like these and how it's not enough.

"But we have to remember that for millions of Americans, being treated differently on account of race is tragically, painfully, maddeningly 'normal' — whether it's while dealing with the health care system, or interacting with the criminal justice system or jogging down the street, or just watching birds in a park," Obama wrote.

Read Obama's full statement below:

12:13 p.m. ET, May 29, 2020

Minnesota's commissioner of public safety calls Floyd's death a "murder"

John Harrington, commissioner of Minnesota's Department of Public Safety speaks at a news conference in St. Paul, Minnesota on May 29.
John Harrington, commissioner of Minnesota's Department of Public Safety speaks at a news conference in St. Paul, Minnesota on May 29. Pool

John Harrington, commissioner of Minnesota's Department of Public Safety, called the death of George Floyd a murder today during a news briefing.

"I will tell you that the vast majority of the great people of Minnesota and the great people of Minneapolis who are still having their guts ripped out about the murder, we'll call it a murder because that's what it looked like to me. I don't want to prejudice this from a criminal perspective, I'm just calling what I see at that point," Harrington said.

12:02 p.m. ET, May 29, 2020

Wisconsin attorney general calls killing of George Floyd "torture and murder"

From CNN's Konstantin Toropin

Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul released a statement on the death of George Floyd in which he called the act "torture and murder, under color of law." 

"What America witnessed happening to George Floyd in Minneapolis was not, in any true sense of the phrase, law enforcement," Kaul said in a statement posted to his Twitter account. 

"Justice demands that those involved in this depraved crime be prosecuted to the full extent of the law," he added.

Read the tweet:

12:08 p.m. ET, May 29, 2020

Protesters' message "has been sent and received," Minnesota attorney general says

From CNN's Elise Hammond

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison answers questions about the investigation into the death of George Floyd in St. Paul, Minnesota, on May 27.
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison answers questions about the investigation into the death of George Floyd in St. Paul, Minnesota, on May 27. John Autey/Pioneer Press/AP

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said state officials are committed to "long-term change."

"I want to be clear. That if the message was this situation with Mr. Floyd is intolerable, absolutely unacceptable, and must change, that message has been sent and received, as well," Ellison said at a news briefing with the governor on Friday.

"We are not just going to fix the windows and sweep up the glass. We're going to fix a broken, shattered society that leaves so many people behind based on their historical legacy of being in bondage and servitude, then second-class citizenship and now fraught with disparities from everything from incarceration to housing to wages to everything else," he added.

Ellison said he is forming a working group "on preventing and reducing deadly force encounters with police."

12:40 p.m. ET, May 29, 2020

Minnesota governor issues public apology for arrest of CNN journalists

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz speaking at a news conference in St. Paul, Minnesota, on May 29.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz speaking at a news conference in St. Paul, Minnesota, on May 29. Pool

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz issued a public apology to CNN for the arrest of a reporter and crew in Minneapolis this morning. 

“There is absolutely no reason something like this should happen. Calls were made immediately. This is a very public apology to that team. It should not happen and I want to be clear for those of you listening,” Walz said in a news conference.

Walz said he takes "full responsibility" for the incident.

"I'm a teacher by trade and I have spent my time as governor highlighting the need to be as transparent as possible and have the press here ––I failed you last night in that. And it does not escape me that we are here on the catalyst that lit this spark by what happened with a police detainment of George Floyd and the idea that a reporter would have been taken while another police action was in play is inexcusable," Walz continued.

Walz said the incident was “unacceptable” and said the access and security of journalists is a priority to him.

"The protection and security and safety of the journalists covering this is a top priority. Not because it's a nice thing to do. Because it is a key component of how we fix this," Walz said.

Watch below:

12:16 p.m. ET, May 29, 2020

Minnesota governor says he expects there will be "swift" justice for officers involved

Gov. Tim Walz said he has an expectation that "swift" justice will be carried against the police officers involved in the death of George Floyd.

"It is my expectation that justice for the officers involved in this will be swift, that it will come in a timely manner, that it will be fair. That is what we've asked for. I have been in contact with Hennepin County attorney, and I am confident that those very things I just said will happen," Walz said.

All four officers involved in the death of George Floyd have invoked their Fifth Amendment right against self incrimination, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman told CNN following a news conference Thursday afternoon.

Freeman said he looking at the Freddie Gray case for guidance in the Floyd case and wants to have the full picture of the case before moving forward.

"So, Minnesotans, your pain is real. The chapter that's been written this week is one of our darkest chapters," Walz said.

Watch:

11:44 a.m. ET, May 29, 2020

Minnesota governor: "The fires still smolder in our streets"

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz speaks at a news conference in St. Paul, Minnesota, on May 29.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz speaks at a news conference in St. Paul, Minnesota, on May 29. Pool

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz expressed his concern over the protests that have rocked his state and the black community which, he said, is "hurting beyond words." 

"Minneapolis and St. Paul are on fire. The fires still smolder in our streets. The ashes are symbolic of decades and generations of pain, of anguish, unheard," Walz said.

Walz went on to directly mention George Floyd and Philando Castile who, in July 2016, was shot and killed by a police officer in Falcon Heights, Minnesota.

"Much like we failed to hear George Floyd as he pleaded for his life as the world watched, by people sworn to protect him, his community, our state. Philando Castile silenced, unheard, so many brothers and sisters dying in the streets, unheard, now the pain is manifesting itself around the world and the world is watching," Walz said.

11:33 a.m. ET, May 29, 2020

Minnesota governor is speaking now about George Floyd

From CNN's Kara Devlin

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz is holding a news conference to address the state’s response to protests and safety concerns following the death of George Floyd. Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington will also be attending.

The governor signed an executive order Thursday activating the Minnesota National Guard after protests and demonstrations erupted throughout Minneapolis and St. Paul.