June 4 George Floyd protest news

By Jessie Yeung, Steve George, Laura Smith-Spark, Peter Wilkinson, Melissa Macaya, Meg Wagner, Mike Hayes and Fernando Alfonso III, CNN

Updated 0428 GMT (1228 HKT) June 5, 2020
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8:44 a.m. ET, June 4, 2020

George Floyd's family is set to honor him as a nation demands justice for his death

From CNN's Nicole Chavez

Terrence Floyd, George Floyd's brother, visits a makeshift memorial in Minneapolis on June 1.
Terrence Floyd, George Floyd's brother, visits a makeshift memorial in Minneapolis on June 1. Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

George Floyd's death inspired a national movement and forced his family to demand justice. Now, it's time for them to celebrate his life.

The first in a series of memorial services honoring Floyd will take place Thursday afternoon.

His family, friends and a number of guests will gather at the North Central University in Minneapolis. Rev. Al Sharpton, the founder of the National Action Network, will deliver a eulogy to honor Floyd's life.

"We must turn this moment into a movement," Sharpton told reporters on Wednesday, describing Floyd as a "linchpin" for police accountability.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said Thursday's memorial would be a chance for everyone to heal. 

"It's critically important for them to see and for Minnesotans to display to them that there's another side to us and to this state that they didn't see last Monday night," Walz said on Wednesday.

Anyone who met Floyd couldn't miss seeing him. He was 6 feet 4 inches tall, a "gentle giant."

"Knowing my brother is to love my brother," Philonise Floyd, George's brother, told CNN's Don Lemon.

"He's a gentle giant, he don't hurt anybody."

Read more here:

8:44 a.m. ET, June 4, 2020

George Floyd's friend who was in the car with him details his last moments

From CNN's Faith Karimi

People visit a memorial on June 3 at the site where George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis.
People visit a memorial on June 3 at the site where George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis. Scott Olson/Getty Images

George Floyd pleaded with officers before his death in Minneapolis, asking them why they were detaining him and not resisting arrest in any way, a friend who was with him said.

Maurice Lester Hall, 42, was with Floyd in the car during the arrest that led to his death, The New York Times reported. It said it tracked him down in Houston, where he fled two days after he witnessed the death.

In an interview with the paper, Hall described Floyd as a mentor and fellow Houston native, saying they spent most of Memorial Day together before the fatal police encounter.

"He was, from the beginning, trying in his humblest form to show he was not resisting in no form or way," Hall told the paper Wednesday night. "I could hear him pleading, 'Please, officer, what's all this for?'"

Throngs of protesters have taken to the streets since Floyd died on May 25 to demand the arrest of all four officers involved. Authorities initially arrested Derek Chauvin, the officer who pinned Floyd to the ground by his neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds before he died. On Wednesday, they upgraded the murder charges against him and charged three other former officers who were at the scene with aiding and abetting the killing.

Hall said he'll never forget what he saw that day.

"He was just crying out at that time for anyone to help because he was dying," Hall told the paper. "I'm going to always remember seeing the fear in Floyd's face because he's such a king. That's what sticks with me, seeing a grown man cry, before seeing a grown man die."

After days of protests, Thursday will be a bittersweet day as Floyd's family holds a memorial for him and three of the four officers arrested make their first court appearance.

Read more here:

4:49 a.m. ET, June 4, 2020

Some YouTubers are donating their ad revenue to the Black Lives Matter movement

From CNN's Saba Hamedy and Francesca Hoffman

Thousands across the US have taken to the streets to protest, or opened their wallets to donate to help support the Black Lives Matter movement.

But not everyone who wants to donate can afford to, and not everyone who wants to protest can leave their jobs to demonstrate.

Zoe Amira, a 20-year-old YouTube creator, wanted to make it easier for those people to contribute to the cause simply by streaming a video. Her video, to be exact.

Titled "how to financially help BLM with NO MONEY/leaving your house (Invest in the future for FREE)," the hourlong video opens with text that reads: "Hello and thank you for clicking this video project. This video and the series that will soon follow are to serve as a fundraiser."

It goes on to note that 100% of the ad revenue will be donated to a list of organizations, including BlackLivesMatter.com, the ACLU, the Brooklyn Community Bail Fund, the Minnesota Freedom Fund, George Floyd's Family Gofundme and a handful of other nonprofits. The rest of the video features art made by black creators.

Amira, who lives in the Chicago area, calls this form of activism "ad-tivism." Whatever it may be deemed, it's seemingly caught on: The video's amassed over 5 million views, and counting, so far.

"I think it's opening the door for people-powered fundraising, and that's what's really exciting about it," Amira, who has about 56,000 subscribers to her channel, told CNN."It's a low barrier to entry -- you don't need much to support something you believe in."

Several other YouTube creators have since followed her lead. Read more here:

8:27 a.m. ET, June 4, 2020

Just joining us? Here are the latest developments on the George Floyd protests

A Utah National Guard solider fist-bumps with a demonstrator as protests over the death of George Floyd continue in Washington DC, on Wednesday, June 3.
A Utah National Guard solider fist-bumps with a demonstrator as protests over the death of George Floyd continue in Washington DC, on Wednesday, June 3. Alex Brandon/AP

If you're just joining us now, here's the latest on the George Floyd protests happening across the US:

  • National Guard in San Diego: At least 200 National Guard members will be working across San Diego County in southern California to prevent looting and arson, according to the sheriff’s department.
  • In Washington, DC, people were still out on the streets in the early hours of the morning, long after curfew kicked in. National Guard members are also at the scene, but demonstrations have remained peaceful, without the types of violent confrontations seen during previous nights.
  • In New York, crowds also stayed outside long past curfew, along with law enforcement officers. Though dozens have been arrested, it has been much quieter and more peaceful tonight than the previous few days, and there have been no reported instances of looting.
  • In New Orleans, protests were less peaceful, with police firing tear gas to disperse crowds who were trying to cross the Crescent City Connection bridge.
  • Rodney King's daughter: Lora King, whose father's brutal beating sparked the 1992 Los Angeles riots, said she lives with the memory every day -- and now George Floyd's daughter will have to bear that burden too. "I don't wish that upon anybody," she said.
  • Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex speaks out: The Duchess addressed Floyd's death for the first time, saying, "George Floyd’s life mattered and Breonna Taylor’s life mattered and Philando Castile’s life mattered, and Tamir Rice’s life mattered, and so did so many other people’s names we know and names we don’t know."
  • Los Angeles police reform: The LA mayor said he wouldn't increase the police budget, and the police commission president laid out a number of reforms -- including $100-150 million that will be cut from the police budget to further enhance community neighborhood policing.

And some headlines from earlier today:

  • Minneapolis officers charged: All four former Minneapolis police officers involved in George Floyd's killing have been charged.
  • Atlanta officers charged: Six Atlanta police officers are being charged with using excessive force during an arrest of two college students at a protest on Saturday night.
  • Defense Secretary contradicts Trump: Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said he didn't support using active troops to quell protests, in direct contradiction to President Trump's message earlier this week.
  • Mattis tears into Trump: Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis slammed Trump as "the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people."
8:44 a.m. ET, June 4, 2020

The ACLU has filed a lawsuit over the curfews in Southern California

From CNN’s Joe Sutton 

National Guard troops are posted outside the District Attorney's office during a peaceful demonstration over George Floyd’s death on June 3, in Los Angeles.
National Guard troops are posted outside the District Attorney's office during a peaceful demonstration over George Floyd’s death on June 3, in Los Angeles. Mario Tama/Getty Images

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) branch in Southern California has filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Black Lives Matter organization over the curfews in Los Angeles and San Bernadino.

The lawsuit "challenges the draconian curfews imposed throughout Southern California to crack down on widespread protests against systemic police violence towards Black people," said the ACLU in a press release on Wednesday.

"The curfews’ extraordinary suppression of all political protest in the evening hours plainly violates the First Amendment to the US Constitution, and their blanket restrictions on movement outside working hours violate the Constitution’s protection of freedom of movement," said the release.

The following defendants are listed in the lawsuit:

  • Eric Garcetti, mayor of Los Angeles.
  • Michel Moore, chief of Los Angeles Police Department.
  • Alex Villanueva, sheriff of Los Angeles County.
  • Kathryn Barger, Chair of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.
  • Teri Ledoux, City Manager and Director of Emergency Services for San Bernardino.
  • Eric McBride, chief of San Bernardino Police Department.
6:01 a.m. ET, June 4, 2020

Duchess of Sussex speaks out: "George Floyd's life mattered"

From Max Foster in London and Jonny Hallam in Atlanta

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, meets children as she attends the Commonwealth Day Service 2020 on March 9, in London.
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, meets children as she attends the Commonwealth Day Service 2020 on March 9, in London. Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, spoke publicly for the first time about George Floyd's death, calling it "absolutely devastating."

She was speaking to the graduating class of Immaculate Heart High School in Los Angeles, in a video message commencement speech on Wednesday evening. 

In a heartfelt address, she said she had been hesitant to speak about the ongoing protests because she didn’t want her words to be picked apart -- but ultimately decided to do so after remembering a former teacher who used to say, "Always remember to put other’s needs above your own fears.”

“Those words have stuck with me throughout my entire life and I have thought about it more in the last week than ever before,” the Duchess said.

“George Floyd’s life mattered and Breonna Taylor’s life mattered and Philando Castile’s life mattered, and Tamir Rice’s life mattered, and so did so many other people’s names we know and names we don’t know," she said.

She recalled memories of the 1992 Los Angeles riots, which happened when she was 11 or 12 years old living in the city, and said those riots were “also triggered by senseless act of racism.” 

“I know you know that black lives matter, so I am already excited for what you are going to do in the world," she told the new graduates. 

“You’re going to use your voice in a stronger way than you have ever been able to because most of you are 18, or you’re turning 18, so you’re going to vote. You’re going to have empathy for those who don’t see the world through the same lens that you do.”

Watch:

3:08 a.m. ET, June 4, 2020

Why posting a black image with the "Black Lives Matter" hashtag could do more harm than good

From CNN's AJ Willingham

Yesterday Instagram feeds turned into endless scrolls of black squares, as people observed "Blackout Tuesday" -- a day promoted to mourn and call for policy change in the wake of George Floyd's death.

Organizations, brands and individuals posted solemn messages featuring stark black backgrounds, sometimes tagging the posts with #BlackLivesMatter.

But it quickly drew controversy for two reasons: Critics argued the use of the hashtag in these posts clogged up critical channels of information on social media, and that it was being used as a form of performative self-promotion in place of more substantial action.

Clogging up channels: Hashtags on Twitter and Instagram are a common way for people to monitor a situation or interest. And since people have been including the #BlackLivesMatter tag on their black square posts, the actual protests have been erased from social media feeds.

"When you check the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag, it's no longer videos, helpful information, resources, documentation of the injustice, it's rows of black screens," music artist Kehlani explained on her Instagram story.

What does it actually do? Some argued that instead of posting a black square -- which doesn't contribute much to the actual conversation surrounding racial injustice or the ongoing protests -- allies of the movement could simply observe a virtual day of silence and pause posting images that are unrelated to Black Lives Matter.

This could redirect attention away from the poster and toward the protests, and open up much-needed space for the voices of black activists and advocates.

Read more here:

3:01 a.m. ET, June 4, 2020

Crowds gather in France to hold Black Lives Matter protests in solidarity

A demonstrator holds up his hands with the lettering 'Don't shoot' and wears a face mask with the lettering 'I can't breathe' in Toulouse, southern France, on June 3.
A demonstrator holds up his hands with the lettering 'Don't shoot' and wears a face mask with the lettering 'I can't breathe' in Toulouse, southern France, on June 3. Lionel Bonaventure/AFP/Getty Images

The George Floyd in the protests have sparked solidarity demonstrations in a number of cities outside of the US -- and in some cases, highlighted the problems surrounding racism in different countries.

In Paris, Floyd's death has struck a nerve with many people, who faced their own crisis of racial injustice in 2016 when a black man, Adama Traore, died while being detained by police.

"(There is) a great deal of anger out there on the streets about the fact that nearly four years on, no one has been brought to justice," said CNN Correspondent Melissa Bell Thursday. "And there is still controversy over how, exactly, he died."

Now, with Black Lives Matter protests across Paris, the hashtag #JusticePourAdama (Justice for Adama) is trending in France.

“Adama Traoré’s case has become a symbol of police violence in France,” said his brother, Assa Traoré, during comments made earlier this week.

2:59 a.m. ET, June 4, 2020

NBA star Kareem Abdul Jabbar: "Democracy doesn't work" for black Americans

Los Angeles Lakers great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar attends the Los Angeles Lakers and Memphis Grizzlies basketball game at Staples Center in Los Angeles, on February 21.
Los Angeles Lakers great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar attends the Los Angeles Lakers and Memphis Grizzlies basketball game at Staples Center in Los Angeles, on February 21. Kevork S. Djansezian/Getty Images

NBA legend and Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul Jabbar said the decision to charge the Minneapolis officers was "a step toward justice," and praised the Minnesota governor and Minneapolis mayor for acting quickly.

Speaking to CNN on Wednesday, he offered an analogy for what it's like to be black in America.

“It’s like, you know, the United States is this wonderful bus with great seats in the front of the bus. But as you go further to the back of the bus, the seats get worse and the fumes from the exhaust leak in and really wreck with people's health and their lives. But the people at the front of the bus, they have no complaints. It's kind of like that," he said.
"That dust accumulates in the lives of black Americans, and it eliminates all the mechanics of democracy. Democracy doesn't work for us."

He added that nothing had changed in the past 30 years in regards to systemic racism and injustice, pointing to the Rodney King beating and Los Angeles riots in 1991 and 1992.

"Something has to be done." he said. "It's not enough to say, 'That was terrible and my thoughts and prayers are with you.' That's not getting anything done."