May 31 George Floyd protest news

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11:00 a.m. ET, May 31, 2020

Minnesota governor apologizes to journalists who were detained during protests

From CNN's Melissa Alonso

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz speaks on May 29.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz speaks on May 29. Glenn Stubbe/Star Tribune via AP

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz apologized to journalists everywhere after they were detained Saturday night. 

"I want to once again extend my deepest apologies, to the journalists who were once again in the middle of this situation were inadvertently, but nevertheless, detained, to them personally and in to the news organizations and to journalists everywhere," Walz said at a news briefing Sunday.

"It is unacceptable. I said when it happened the other day when I failed you. I have to do better, I continue to need to do and send that message. I take full responsibility for that," said Walz.

10:52 a.m. ET, May 31, 2020

Demonstrators rally in Europe in solidarity with US protesters

From CNN's Laura Smith-Spark

People gather in Trafalgar Square in London to take part in a Black Lives Matter protest on May 31.
People gather in Trafalgar Square in London to take part in a Black Lives Matter protest on May 31. Dominic Lipinski/PA Images via Getty Images

US protesters' anger and concern over the death of George Floyd has resonated in some countries in Europe.

Crowds gathered in central London's Trafalgar Square to protest against racism and police brutality, despite social distancing rules intended to limit the spread of coronavirus. People in England are not meant to meet with more than one person outside their household at a time until June 1.

Some demonstrators also marched to the US Embassy in the Nine Elms area of the UK capital.

London's Metropolitan Police Service tweeted that it was aware of protesters gathering there.

"Officers are on scene and engaging with those in attendance. An appropriate policing plan is in place," the service said.

Demonstrators wearing face masks also rallied in Germany's capital, Berlin, carrying signs saying "Justice can't wait" and "Black lives matter."

Demonstrators in Denmark chanted "No justice, no peace" as they marched through the streets of Copenhagen.

Some people rallied outside the US embassy carrying placards demanding justice for Floyd and showing solidarity with US protesters.

Some context: A former police officer, Derek Chauvin, was seen in a video with his knee on Floyd's neck on May 25 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Chauvin has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter — but protesters and critics believe the charge isn't harsh enough.

People participate in a protest in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin on May 31.
People participate in a protest in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin on May 31. Sean Gallup/Getty Images

People demonstrate in front of the US Embassy in Copenhagen, Denmark, on May 31.
People demonstrate in front of the US Embassy in Copenhagen, Denmark, on May 31. IDA GULDBAEK ARENTSEN Ida Guldbaek /Ritzau Scanpix/AFP via Getty Images

10:25 a.m. ET, May 31, 2020

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo offers his "personal condolences" to George Floyd's family

From Jennifer Hansler

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks on May 20.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks on May 20. Nicholas Kamm/Pool Photo via AP

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has offered his “personal condolences to Mr. Floyd’s family and all the people too who have been impacted by this rioting and this violence.”

In an interview on Fox this morning, Pompeo called the actions by the police officers in George Floyd’s killing “abhorrent” and said the administration had moved “very quickly” in responding –– pointing to comments from President Trump and Attorney General Bill Barr.

Pompeo said that the violence at the protests came from “antifa-like violent protests,” but noted, “it still remains to be seen exactly how what began as peaceful protests by people who were clearly saddened and frustrated by the police action against George Floyd” turned violent.

“I don’t know precisely how it proceeded to get this way, but we’ve seen this pattern before” of outsiders coming in," Pompeo said. 

10:20 a.m. ET, May 31, 2020

Target temporarily closes more stores following protests

From CNN's Chuck Johnston

A looter leaves a Target store in Oakland, California, on May 30.
A looter leaves a Target store in Oakland, California, on May 30. Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images

Target has announced it is temporarily closing more stores across the United States —many in Minnesota.

"We are heartbroken by the death of George Floyd and the pain it is causing communities across the country. At this time, we have made the decision to close a number of our stores. We anticipate most stores will be closed temporarily," the company said in a statement. "Our focus will remain on our team members’ safety and helping our community heal."

The list of stores can be found here.

2:38 p.m. ET, June 5, 2020

NYPD commissioner says he is "extremely proud" of the way officers carried themselves

From CNN's Sheena Jones

New York City Police Commissioner Dermot Shea speaks to the media on May 29.
New York City Police Commissioner Dermot Shea speaks to the media on May 29. Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket/Getty Images/File

New York City Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said he is "extremely proud" of the way officers carried themselves over the last few days as protests erupted around the city.

Shea's letter to officers comes while the NYPD has faced backlash for the way they have responded to protesters.

"What you’ve endured these last couple of days and nights — like much of 2020, so far — was unprecedented. In no small way, I want you to know that I’m extremely proud of the way you’ve comported yourselves in the face of persistent danger, disrespect, and denigration," Shea wrote. "What we saw in New York City last night and the night before was not about peaceful protest of any kind. It was not about civil disobedience. It was not about demonstrating against police brutality.

Shea added: "What it was, quite frankly, was a mob bent solely on taking advantage of a moment in American history, to co-opt the cause of equality that we all must uphold, to intentionally inflict chaos, mayhem, and injury just for the sake of doing so."

Some context out of New York City: More than 340 people were arrested across the city during protests that started Saturday and lasted into Sunday morning, a senior NYPD official told CNN. 

At least 33 officers were injured during the protest – some of them seriously injured – the official said.

Nearly 48 police vehicles were damaged or destroyed during the protest.

Update: CNN has replaced the photo on this post to more accurately reflect the story.

3:55 p.m. ET, May 31, 2020

DC mayor says protesters can exercise First Amendment rights, but cannot destroy the city

From CNN's Nicky Robertson

District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser speaks on May 11.
District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser speaks on May 11. Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser said Sunday that protesters “have the right to exercise their First Amendment right but not to destroy our city,” after the city experienced its second night of protests and some looting Saturday.

The district “saw a level of just destruction and mayhem among some that was maddening,” Bowser said in an interview on NBC.

The DC Fire Department extinguished two vehicle fires in the area north of the White House last night, as well as several small fires in the downtown area as well as some protesters defacing some buildings with graffiti.

Bowser urged President Trump to stop sending “divisive tweets that are meant to harken back to the segregationist past of our country.” 

Some context: On Saturday Trump wrongly accused Bowser in a tweet of not allowing the district's Metropolitan Police Department to help the Secret Service keep control of the situation with protesters in Lafayette Park the night before.

That claim was then refuted by the US Secret Service who said in a statement that the Metropolitan Police Department was present.

In the same thread of tweets, Trump said that protesters “would have been greeted with the most vicious dogs, and most ominous weapons, I have ever seen,” if they breached the fence outside the White House. 

In a press conference yesterday, Bowser noted how Trump’s reference to the “ominous dogs” was “no subtle reminder” of segregationists who would attack African Americans with dogs. 

Bowser said Sunday that the city is working on clean-up, and is working with law enforcement “to ensure calm in our city.”

9:45 a.m. ET, May 31, 2020

"We are all weaker" when injustice persists this long, Sen. Cory Booker says

From CNN's Elise Hammond

CNN
CNN

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker called for legislative change and said "we are all weaker" because of how long injustice has persisted in the US.

"We are all weaker because we've allowed so much injustice to last so long. Now is the time to take this energy and this anger and this focus and keep it until we actually change laws and systems of accountability that can raise standards in this country," Booker told CNN on Sunday morning.

Booker said it is important to get everyone involved and "begin to make history."

"We come from a nation that seems to take these spasms of protests and discord to get people who are comfortable on the sidelines witnessing history. To get them on to the field and begin to make history. To make us to be who we say we are, a nation for liberty and justice for all," Booker said.

9:44 a.m. ET, May 31, 2020

St. Paul community needs "assurance" about the judicial system, not military support, mayor says

From CNN's Elise Hammond

CNN
CNN

St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter said instead of using the military to try to calm protests in his city and other parts of Minnesota, the community needs "some level of assurance" to help "ease some of this rage."

"The thing I think would help us more than military support is some assurance across our country that we possess a legal and judicial system that has the capacity and capability to hold someone accountable when something this blatant, something this disgusting, something this well-documented happens in plain view for all of us see," Carter said.

Some background: Carter's comments come after the US military on Friday ordered several police units to be ready for potential deployment to Minnesota.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley "have personally spoken with Gov. Tim Walz twice in the last 24-hours and expressed the department's readiness to provide support to local and state authorities as requested," Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Rath Hoffman said in a statement Saturday.

Melvin said racism isn't getting worse, it is now just being recorded more.

"This killing did not start 10 years ago when we started seeing these videos. The only thing that changed is all of a sudden we have cameras everywhere," he said.
9:35 a.m. ET, May 31, 2020

Atlanta mayor says Trump "should just stop talking" because "he is making it worse"

CNN
CNN

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms rebuked President Trump over rhetoric she said is stoking racial tensions in the US.

"He should just stop talking. This is like Charlottesville all over again. He speaks and he makes it worse. There are times when you should just be quiet. And I wish that he would just be quiet," Bottoms told CNN Sunday morning. "Or if he can't be silent, if there is somebody of good sense and good conscience in the White House, put him in front of a teleprompter and pray he reads it and at least says the right things, because he is making it worse."

Trump used Saturday morning messages to declare himself safe inside the White House, lash out at a Democratic mayor and raise the prospect of another demonstration with his supporters later in the day.

In a series of tweets, Trump commended the US Secret Service for protecting him inside his fortified mansion on Friday evening as protesters gathered outside over the death of George Floyd. The President suggested that dogs and weaponry were waiting inside the gates.

Calling the protests organized and a disservice to the cause of racial justice, Trump insinuated that his own supporters might stage their own rally in front of the White House on Saturday evening, a volatile suggestion at a fraught national moment.

Bottoms stepped into the national spotlight on Friday night, denouncing vandalism in her city as "chaos" after demonstrations over the death of Floyd, who was pinned down by a Minneapolis police officer now charged with his murder, turned violent and destructive.

"This country has faced the ugliness of racism for over 400 years. But what I know is that as a people and as a country, we can do better, we will do better, and, you know, I'm reminded of the words of Audrey Lord, 'Revolution is not a one-time event.' And so I appreciated what Melvin just said. We're asking for peace, not patience," Bottoms said, mentioning St. Paul, Minnesota, Mayor Melvin Carter.

Watch the interview: