June 4 George Floyd protest news

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1:58 p.m. ET, June 4, 2020

Attorney general defends tactics used to push back protesters near White House

From CNN's Delano Massey

Police officers wearing riot gear push back demonstrators shooting tear gas next to St. John's Episcopal Church outside of the White House in Washington, on June 1.
Police officers wearing riot gear push back demonstrators shooting tear gas next to St. John's Episcopal Church outside of the White House in Washington, on June 1. Jose Luis Magana/AFP/Getty Images

Attorney General William Barr defended the tactics deployed by law enforcement earlier this week as they dealt with protesters who gathered in Washington because of the death of George Floyd. 

The attorney general, flanked by other federal leaders, spoke publicly for the first time since Monday’s demonstration, when Barr ordered authorities to clear a crowd of protesters that had gathered near the White House moments before President Trump's televised address from the Rose Garden. 

On Thursday, Barr said there was “very serious” rioting, a break in and fires set at historic churches and buildings over the weekend.  

“The rioters used crowbars to dig out the pavers” and then used them as projectiles to throw at law enforcement, he said.  

Barr said there were at least 114 injuries to law enforcement — "most of those to federal agents and most of those inflicted around the White House.” He said that it is “the responsibility of the federal government” to protect that property and keep everyone safe. 

Some background: On Monday, Barr and other top officials from agencies responsible for securing the White House had previously planned to secure a wider perimeter around Lafayette Square. During Thursday’s news conference, Barr said it was a coincidence that law enforcement cleared the area later used for the President's walk to the nearby St. John's Episcopal Church, where he posed for a photo.

 

2:03 p.m. ET, June 4, 2020

There have been 624 arrests in Minnesota since May 31 

From CNN’s Gregory Lemos

There have been 624 arrests by the Multi-Agency Command Center (MACC) in Minnesota since May 31, according to a tweet Thursday from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (MDPS).  

MDPS established the MACC, a coordinated effort between Minnesota law enforcement and the National Guard, on May 31 to "coordinate public safety response to protests following the death of George Floyd," according to a tweet from May 31.  

 

1:47 p.m. ET, June 4, 2020

Rev. Jesse Jackson arrives at George Floyd's memorial service

From CNN's Julia Jones and Melissa Alonso

Reverend Jesse Jackson (Right) and his son Jonathan Jackson pay their respects to George Floyd during a memorial service in his honor at North Central University's Frank J. Lindquist Sanctuary in Minneapolis, on June 4.
Reverend Jesse Jackson (Right) and his son Jonathan Jackson pay their respects to George Floyd during a memorial service in his honor at North Central University's Frank J. Lindquist Sanctuary in Minneapolis, on June 4. Kerem Yucel/AFP/Getty Images

Rev. Jesse Jackson paid his respects at the George Floyd memorial on Thursday, CNN's Julia Jones observed.

The private memorial begins at 2 p.m. ET at the sanctuary on the downtown Minneapolis campus of North Central University.

Jackson walked up to the casket, still closed, raised his hands over the coffin, and was then escorted to his seat. 

Several notable community members and celebrities are expected to be in attendance at the memorial service. 

1:39 p.m. ET, June 4, 2020

Ohio governor asks for statewide moment of silence to honor Floyd

From CNN’s Jessica Jordan

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine is asking all Ohioans to observe an eight-minute moment of silence at 2 p.m. ET to honor the life of George Floyd, according to a statement from his office.

The moment of silence is meant to correspond with the Minneapolis memorial service to honor Floyd that starts at that time, the statement said.

Read the governor's tweet:  

1:40 p.m. ET, June 4, 2020

Mayor: We want military and troops "from out of state out of Washington, DC"

From CNN's Nicky Robertson

Mayor Muriel Bowser speaks at a news conference in Washington, on June 4.
Mayor Muriel Bowser speaks at a news conference in Washington, on June 4. CNNE

Asked if she wanted military presence reduced in the nation's capital, Mayor Muriel Bowser said in a news conference today that “we want the military; we want troops from out of state out of Washington, DC.”

Bowser said she was “very concerned” about how the federal law enforcement expanded from the federal complex Monday evening.

She added that she is concerned that the White House might try to make expanding the security perimeter around the White House complex permanent. Bowser went on to say that the White House is the “people’s house” and it would be a “sad commentary” if it was completely closed to the people.

Bowser said that at no time would she support President Trump taking over authority of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).

After visiting protests Wednesday and seeing the expanded perimeter that federal law enforcement officials had created, Bowser requested that DC Police Chief Peter Newsham talk to the federal leaders to get the perimeter line pushed back, as DC streets are under the jurisdiction of the MPD.

Newsham said he has had “multiple conversations with federal leadership” to push federal law enforcement back to the federal complex, and he said that federal forces agreed. They also agreed to move back Thursday morning when asked. 

The chief clarified that on the DC streets, MPD is in charge, and around federal properties, federal resources are in charge.

Asked about the confusion of some law enforcement officials not wearing badges to identify what division they are with, Newsham said that all MPD are required to identify themselves and that the DC National Guard uniform has the DC flag on it.

Bowser said that Maryland is part of a "compact agreement," and could request help that Maryland send troops. As of now, the mayor said she has not requested troops from any state.

1:25 p.m. ET, June 4, 2020

Washington, DC, will not have a curfew tonight

From CNN's Lindy Royce

Washington, DC, will not impose a curfew Thursday night, after protests were peaceful and no arrests were made Wednesday night.

Metropolitan Police Chief Peter Newsham said he expects a large protest — bigger than any protest in recent times — this Saturday.

1:09 p.m. ET, June 4, 2020

Attorney General Barr denounces those who have "hijacked protests to engage in lawlessness"

Attorney General William Barr listens as President Donald Trump speaks in the Oval Office in Washington, on May 28.
Attorney General William Barr listens as President Donald Trump speaks in the Oval Office in Washington, on May 28. Doug Mills/Pool/Getty Images

Attorney General William Barr said the US is currently facing "two serious challenges to the rule of law" — the brutality that led to George Floyd's death and those who have "hijacked protests to engage in lawlessness."

Barr, just about an hour ahead of today's memorial service for Floyd, said, "today is a day of mourning. He said justice must be served.

However, Barr also denounced violence stemming from some protests.

"While many have peacefully expressed their anger and grief, others have hijacked protests to engage in lawlessness," he said. "Such senseless acts of anarchy are not exercises of First Amendment rights."

Some background: It was Barr who on Monday evening ordered authorities — clad in military-grade guard and head shields — to clear a crowd of peaceful protesters that had gathered near the White House, according to a Justice Department official.

Soon after, President Trump addressed the press from the White House Rose Garden, threatening governors and local officials to quell the protests in their states or he would move to involve US military — something he doesn't have the absolute legal authority to do. He subsequently walked past the area where protesters had just been cleared to take a photo with a Bible at a church damaged by demonstrators.

12:50 p.m. ET, June 4, 2020

Medical professionals take a knee in moment of silence to remember George Floyd 

From CNN’s Rosa Flores and Sara Weisfeldt

CNN
CNN

Medical Professionals at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami took a knee at about 12:06 p.m. local time during a moment of silence in remembrance of the life of George Floyd.

This happened during a planned demonstration to bring awareness to the deaths and injustices on African Americans.

12:39 p.m. ET, June 4, 2020

Virginia governor announces Robert E. Lee statue will be removed "as soon as possible"

From CNN's Carma Hassan

 The monument of General Robert E. Lee in Richmond, Virginia.
 The monument of General Robert E. Lee in Richmond, Virginia.  Andrew Barfield/Shutterstock

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said he is directing the Department of General Services to remove the controversial Robert E. Lee Monument “as soon as possible.”

"That statue has been there for a long time. It was wrong then, and it's wrong now. So we're taking it down," the Democratic governor said during a news conference in Richmond.

The announcement comes as thousands have been protesting in the US to decry the death of George Floyd, police brutality and racism.

The governor said the Lee statue will go into storage while they will work "with the community to determine its future."

"Make no mistake, removing a symbol is important but it's only a step. It doesn't mean problems are solved. There are still monuments of inequalities that exist in our commonwealth and in this country," the governor said, calling for change and healing.

Northam explained that he and the General Assembly were able to overturn laws banning the removal of the confederate monuments by passing new legislation.

“This year I proposed legislation to let cities and counties decide what to do with monuments in their communities. Take them down, move them somewhere else, or add additional context. That law takes effect in four weeks,” Northam said. 

That legislation does not apply to the Lee statue because it is state-owned, Northam said.

“It sits on a 100-foot circle of land, a state-owned island surrounded by the city of Richmond. The whole thing is six-stories-tall. It towers over homes, businesses, and everyone who lives in Virginia, from elegant Monument Avenue to the public housing neighborhood of Gilpin Court,” Northam said.

The statue weighs 12 tons and sits on top of a pedestal.

“…[W]hen it is the biggest thing around, it sends a clear message: ‘this is what we value the most.’ But that’s just not true — anymore,” Northam said.

Some context: Statues memorializing Confederate generals and soldiers have been at the center of an intense national debate in recent years, with opponents of them saying they wrongly honor long-deceased supporters of slavery.

Those who defend preserving the statues, including many historians, argue they shouldn't be destroyed because they can impart important lessons about the ugliness of the past.