Two officers face felony assault charges after shoving a protester in Buffalo. Thousands march around the world.
Black lives matter. Justice. When do we want it? Now. What do we want? Justice. When do we want it? Now. We can’t stop at accountability towards police officers. Because it was the system that produced these deaths. It’s not individual things. We need individual accountability. But we also need to prevent more deaths. It’s not a radical thing. Natasha McKenna. Freddie Gray. Terence Stirling. Malaika Brooks. No justice, no peace. No racist police.
From New York City to Los Angeles, thousands of protesters gathered across the United States on Saturday for another day of demonstrations over the death of George Floyd last month.
In Manhattan, several thousand people gathered near the northwest corner of Central Park in a demonstration called “The March for Stolen Dreams and Looted Lives.”
Constance Malcolm, whose son Ramarley Graham was killed by a New York City police officer in his home in 2012, had to fight back tears before speaking into the megaphone. “I’m tired of crying,” Ms. Malcolm said. “We need our voices to be heard. That’s happening now and we need to take advantage of it.”
Massive demonstrations were taking place across the city, with nearly a thousand people streaming into Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn, while separate marches in Manhattan, both hundreds strong, merged seamlessly into one when they met on 34th Street. Some danced and others played music; chants of “Whose streets? Our streets!” rang out even as the clouds broke and a downpour soaked the marchers.
In Washington Square Park, Arooj Sirha, 32, a lawyer from Newark, said it was the first time she had come to a protest since the death of Mr. Floyd.
“The week has been really tough,” she said. “I realized it’s not enough to just write words and post an Insta story. You have to wear marching boots.”
Thousands of people gathered for a protest near the Philadelphia Museum of Art, with some demanding that the city cut at least 10 percent from the budget for the Police Department, one of the few city agencies that is due to get more money under the mayor’s proposed budget.
Mayor Jim Kenney and Danielle Outlaw, the city’s police commissioner, both took a knee at the protests, as aerial footage showed a swarm of demonstrators packed together downtown.
In Washington, outside Lafayette Square, near the White House, events had the feel of a music festival, with snacks and “I Can’t Breathe” masks for sale.
At about 1 p.m., organizers at the Lincoln Memorial started to lead thousands on a march through the city.
By 2:15 p.m., thousands packed the blocks of 16th Street in what felt more like a community celebration. Many danced the wobble as the rapper V.I.C. blared through speakers.
City workers, in neon green reflective shirts, also danced on the giant “Black Lives Matter” mural Mayor Muriel E. Bowser had painted on Friday.
In Seattle on Saturday morning, a demonstration organized by health care workers drew thousands who walked from Harborview Medical Center to City Hall. Many wore scrubs and lab coats and carried signs reading, among other things, “Black Health Matters” and “Racism Is a Public Health Emergency.” Seattle officials, meanwhile, encouraged people who had attended recent protests to take advantage of free coronavirus testing sites.
In St. Paul, Minn., about 150 protesters, most of whom were white, stood in front of the governor’s residence, shouting “No justice, no peace.”
Relatives of a dozen men who died in police custody shared their experiences in front of the crowds. Among them was Amity Dimock, 46, who broke down in tears as she spoke about her son, Kobe Heisler, who died last year.
She said that it was only because of the George Floyd protests that the police finally released footage of his last moments.
Ms. Dimock was not the only mother at the protest who was mourning a child. Del Shea Perry, 53, cried and yelled while talking about her only son, who died in September 2018 in a Minnesota county jail.
“I am a grieving mother,” she said. “We should not be out here fighting. I’m tired. I’m so tired.”
Protesters in San Francisco briefly stopped traffic on the Golden Gate Bridge in one of two dozen demonstrations planned for the San Francisco Bay Area this weekend.
“This is the awakening of America,” said one protester, Nate Payne, who was clad in a gold San Francisco 49ers jacket and holding a cutout of the team’s former quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, kneeling.
In Los Angeles, just south of the University of Southern California campus and the historic core of the city’s black community, a procession of marchers decked out in Trojan cardinal and led by the U.S.C. Black Student Assembly completed a three-mile walk around the campus.
At California State University, Los Angeles, members of the Mujeres Activas en Letras y Cambio Social, a Latina and Native American activist group, also led a protest walk around the school.
“No justice, no peace! No justice, no peace!” “I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe!” “Black lives matter!” “No justice, no peace!” “Justice! Justice!” “Justice!” “Justice!” “Justice!” “Justice!”
Protests over the death of George Floyd were held in cities around world on Saturday, magnifying the voices of those speaking out against racism and police brutality.
Thousands gathered for anti-racism protests in Britain, France and Germany, following marches earlier in the day that drew thousands in cities like Tokyo and Sydney. And while many of the global protests were inspired by the unrest in the United States, they have also pointed to issues of racism and police brutality at home.
Thousands of people gathered at Parliament Square in central London, filling up the square and the streets around it despite the cold weather and spitting rain.
Though most people were wearing face masks, their collective chants could be heard loud and clear: “George Floyd,” “Black Lives Matter” and “No justice, no peace.”
Silence fell in the square for about a minute when everyone knelt on the wet ground and most raised their fists in the air. All around, hundreds of messages could be read on cardboard posters getting damp from the rain.
Standing next to her was Victoria Weakerly, 42, who was holding a placard that read: “I’m social distancing from my white privilege.” She said that being at the protest and supporting the Black Lives Matter movement was more important than the coronavirus.
In Paris, the authorities barred people from gathering in front of the U.S. Embassy, but thousands gathered elsewhere around the country, echoing a protest on Wednesday that drew nearly 20,000 people to remember Adama Traoré, a Frenchman who died in police custody in 2016.
In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel called the killing of Mr. Floyd “terrible” and “racist.” “We know ourselves that we know something of racism here, and have a lot to do regarding that — I would like to say that clearly,” she said in an interview with the German broadcaster Deutsche Welle. “But I trust in the power of democracy in the United States, that they will be able to come through this difficult situation.”
And in cities and towns across Australia on Saturday, tens of thousands rallied in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, despite a warning from Prime Minister Scott Morrison that large gatherings could harm efforts to control the pandemic.
Masked protesters, angry in part over the government’s treatment of Aboriginal people, shouted, “I can’t breathe,” and held signs saying “How many more?” and “Australia is not innocent.” The intensity, scale and scope of the demonstrations seemed to dwarf anything the country had seen on the issue of race in years.
The body of George Floyd lay in a plush blue coffin, dressed in a tan suit and brown tie. His face bore a serene and peaceful look.
Inside a Free Will Baptist church in tiny Raeford, N.C., Mr. Floyd’s body had been returned to the state of his birth for a public viewing Saturday morning. His coffin was surrounded by floral arrangements, left by mourners despite a Floyd family request for no flowers.
One by one, peeling off from two lines of hundreds of people, each lined up in the searing morning sun, mourners filed past the coffin in silence. Some murmured prayers. Others whispered softly, “God bless,” or simply, “Peace, brother.”
Church officials in black suits and white shirts handed out bottles of water, gently urging people to move quickly so that others in the growing lines outside would have an opportunity to pay their respects. One minister filtered slowly through the crowd, telling mourners, “I know it’s hot, but bless you for coming out.”
Another church official separated mourners into groups of 20, with each group given a few seconds to pass by the coffin and pay their respects. As people posed for selfies in front of the church, the official told everyone to put away their phones before entering.
The crowd filed past a phalanx of state Highway Patrol vehicles and police officers at the church parking lot entrance. The mood was serene, with only short, occasional chants of “Say his name — George Floyd!” and “No justice, no peace!”
It was church officials and ushers, not police officers, who shut down the chants. The family had requested that there be no demonstrations or protests, said Sheriff Hubert A. Peterkin of Hoke County, who helped the family organize the viewing. A private memorial service was scheduled in Raeford for later this afternoon.
One vendor passed through the crowd, selling face masks that read “I Can’t Breathe.” Several mourners wore T-shirts bearing the messages, “I Can’t Breathe” or “We Can’t Breathe.”
Taylor Guary, fanning herself in the humid air, said she had come to the church from nearby Fayetteville, where Mr. Floyd was born, “to support the Floyd family and the entire African-American community.”
Ms. Guary, 25, who is African-American, said she had grown up “with rose-colored glasses” regarding race relations.
But after the death of Mr. Floyd in police custody and the harsh treatment of some demonstrators around the county, she said, “I see things for what they are.”
“Move back!” “Hey!” [gasps] “He is bleeding!” “Bleeding out his ears, bleeding out of his ears.” “Call a medic! Call a medic!” “He’s bleeding out of his ear.” “Get a medic.” “What the [expletive] you walking up on me?” [unclear] “Oh [expletive].” “Back up. Back up. Get off the steps, let’s go, get back. Get back!” “Better get an ambulance for him.” “He’s — there — we have EMT on scene.”
Two Buffalo police officers were arraigned Saturday morning on charges of assault in the second degree for pushing a 75-year-old man who was protesting outside City Hall on Thursday night, according to the Erie County District Attorney.
“We had two of our police officers who crossed the line,” District Attorney John J. Flynn told reporters after the arraignment in Buffalo City Court. “My job is to prosecute those who have violated the law, plain and simple. And I believe, and I’m alleging, that these two officers violated the law.”
Prosecutors identified the officers as Aaron Torglaski, 39, and Robert McCabe, 32. They were arraigned before Judge Craig D. Hannah, who released the men on their personal recognizance.
The felony charges were filed after a widely viewed video showed two police officers appearing to shove Martin Gugino, who has been identified as an activist and a member of the Western New York Peace Center. Mr. Gugino approached the officers in Niagara Square and was shoved. He staggered backward and landed hard on the ground. Blood immediately began leaking out of his ear.
Mr. Flynn said that if Mr. Gugino was violating curfew and refused to move, officers should have moved to arrest him.
“You don’t take a baton and shove him,” he said, noting the other officer shoved Mr. Gugino with his right hand, knocking him down. “That’s what you don’t do. You properly arrest him if he was committing a crime.”
Mr. Gugino’s age makes the assault charges a felony, rather than a misdemeanor. If convicted, the officers face up to seven years in prison.
Outside the courthouse, at least 100 people, most of them white men, stood together, some holding the American flag. Many were armed and appeared to be in police uniform. Others wore T-shirts that said “BPD Strong.”
At one point, one of them hoisted up an umbrella in an apparent attempt to block a television camera from filming them.
One counterprotester chanted, “don’t push old men.” The crowd of police supporters stared back at them but remained peaceful.
As Americans gather by the thousands to protest the death of George Floyd, scientists have warned that the crowded events could contribute to the spread of the coronavirus. Already, there are signs that those fears were well-placed.
Though no city has yet attributed a major outbreak to the protests, individual demonstrators in several places have contracted the virus, including in Lawrence, Kan., where someone who attended a protest last weekend tested positive on Friday. That person did not wear a mask while protesting, local officials said.
“Similar to what we would ask anyone who goes out in public right now, we are asking anyone who attended the recent protest to self-monitor for Covid-19 symptoms and isolate if they become sick,” Sonia Jordan of the local health department said in a statement.
Across the country, similar tales are emerging. Although the United States has passed a peak in infections and deaths, the virus remains a persistent threat. Around 20,000 new cases are being identified across the country on most days, and about 1,000 new deaths are being announced.
In Athens, Ga., a local commissioner who attended a protest said that she had tested positive. “I am asymptomatic but infectious,” Commissioner Mariah Parker wrote on Facebook. “If you spoke on Sunday or were near me in the crowd, please get tested.”
In Columbus, Ohio, health officials said someone who protested there on May 27 had later tested positive.
And in Oklahoma, a college football player who demonstrated said that he had later tested positive for the virus. “After attending a protest in Tulsa AND being well protective of myself, I have tested positive for COVID-19,” Amen Ogbongbemiga, a linebacker at Oklahoma State University, wrote on Twitter. “Please, if you are going to protest, take care of yourself and stay safe.”
It could be several days, or even weeks, before it is known whether any major clusters emerge from the protests.
“As people gather in large crowds with varying degrees of social distancing,” Dr. Ngozi Ezike, the Illinois Department of Public Health’s director, said in a statement, “there is cause for concern about Covid-19 spread and outbreaks, especially if masks were not worn universally.”
Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in a radio interview on Friday that he was “very concerned” that gatherings of any kind were “a perfect setup for the spread of the virus in the sense of creating these blips that might turn into some surges.”
Police departments across the United States are re-examining their use-of-force policies as protesters continue to express outrage over such tactics in the wake of George Floyd’s death as Democrats in Congress plan expansive legislation to address police brutality and racial bias.
In Minneapolis, where the police use force against blacks far more often than against whites, the authorities said on Friday that they were immediately banning the use of chokeholds and strangleholds. Such tactics were previously reserved for life-or-death situations for officers.
City officials also said officers would be required to intervene and report any use of unauthorized force, a move that comes after nearly two weeks of protests over the death of Mr. Floyd, a black man whom a white Minneapolis police officer pinned under his knee for nearly nine minutes.
On the West coast, Gov. Gavin Newsom of California called on Friday for the removal of neck restraints from the state’s police training programs. And Seattle’s police chief, Carmen Best, said she was banning the use of tear gas on protesters for at least 30 days and calling for a review of the department’s crowd control tactics.
In New Mexico, the Las Cruces Police Department said it was prohibiting the neck restraint technique. The authorities in the city also said on Friday that an officer involved in the killing of a man who fled from a traffic stop in late February would be fired and charged with involuntary manslaughter. Officers tased the man, Antonio Valenzuela, 40, twice as he ran away after being pulled over. Officer Christopher Smelser then used a chokehold technique on him.
And in Colorado, where legislation to ban the use of chokeholds by law enforcement was introduced this week, a federal judge in Denver issued a temporary restraining order on Friday to limit officers’ ability to fire rubber bullets or use tear gas on protesters.
Anti-racism demonstrations are unfolding not only in major cities across the United States, but also in smaller towns and largely rural areas.
More than 100 people gathered on Saturday for a protest against racism in Vidor, Texas, a town about 10,000 that has a history of Ku Klux Klan and white supremacist activity. The demonstrators, many holding “Black Lives Matter” signs, stood in a grassy area, chanting, “I can’t breathe!” and “No justice, no peace!”
Michael Cooper, the president of the N.A.A.C.P. chapter in nearby Beaumont, addressed the gathering and emphasized that the protest was peaceful. “Just like Waco, Texas is now known for something else, Vidor, Texas, will now be known for love!” he declared to cheers, according to video from KFDM.
Vidor, which is near the Louisiana border, was has been the site of Klan rallies as well as a major fight over integration in the early 1990s, when two black men trying to desegregate a housing project moved out because of harassment and intimidation.
On Saturday, video posted on Twitter by a local reporter showed a number of white men with guns standing near the demonstration. The said they were there to protect a nearby veterans memorial, according to the reporter, Jordan James of 12NewsNow.
Other small towns where protests were held on Saturday included Marion, Ohio; Simi Valley, Calif.; Richmond, Ky.; Washington, Pa.; Athens, Ga.; and Ephrata, Pa. Protesters also took to the streets of Huntsville, Texas, just blocks from the state’s execution chamber.
The scene in Alpine, which has a population of about 6,000 and is in the Big Bend region of Texas near the border with Mexico, surprised some local observers.
Hundreds of protesters walked through the streets, hoisting Black Lives Matter placards and the flags of the United States, Mexico and Texas, before arriving at the Brewster County courthouse.
“Pretty sure this is the largest turnout for a protest I’ve ever seen in the Big Bend region, equal to or bigger than the anti-pipeline protests from a few years ago,” Travis Bubenik, a journalist based in West Texas, said on Twitter.
Scrutiny of the police in Alpine has been growing in recent days amid an uproar over racist tweets attributed to Devon Portillo, a candidate for Brewster County sheriff. Mr. Portillo contended that his Twitter account had been infiltrated and that he was not to blame for the tweets, according to local media reports. His account has since been deactivated.
“My generation, we did a lot of good, but we stagnated,” Andy Ramos, 72, the mayor of Alpine, told protesters. “We need a push in the butt and you guys are the ones who have to do it. You have to bring social change to this world.”
Starkville, a town of 26,000 in Mississippi, also had its own protest on Saturday. Participants said that turnout numbered well into the hundreds.
Ariana Sirgew, a student at Mississippi State University, said it was the first time she saw a protest in Starkville, the town where the university is based. She said she was moved by a discussion at the protest of the 8 minutes and 46 seconds during which George Floyd died at the hands of the police in Minneapolis.
After President Trump renewed criticism of N.F.L. players protesting during the national anthem, Commissioner Roger Goodell on Friday delivered his strongest support yet for their right to demonstrate to fight racism and police brutality.
In a swift response to a video montage that featured star players asking the league to address systemic racism, Mr. Goodell apologized for not listening to the black players’ concerns earlier and said he supported players’ right to protest peacefully.
During the 2016 season, Colin Kaepernick started the movement within the league when he knelt to call attention to racial injustice and violence by the police, and no team has offered him a contract since then.
Mr. Goodell’s comments were in direct opposition to remarks by the president in defense of New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who said this week that it was disrespectful to kneel during the pregame playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
The quarterback apologized on Thursday after immediate backlash. But the president said on Twitter that he should not have backtracked and that people should stand when the anthem is played.
On Friday night, the player directed an Instagram post to the president. “We can no longer use the flag to turn people away or distract them from the real issues that face our black communities,” he said.
Reporting was contributed by Davey Alba, Livia Albeck-Ripka, Emily Badger, Mike Baker, Peter Baker, Kim Barker, Ken Belson, Katie Benner, Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, Julie Bosman, Derrick Bryson Taylor, Julia Carmel, Damien Cave, Emily Cochrane, Nick Corasaniti, Maria Cramer, Michael Crowley, Elizabeth Dias, John Eligon, Reid J. Epstein, Tess Felder, Lisa Friedman, Thomas Fuller, Matt Furber, David Gelles, Thomas Gibbons-Neff, Katie Glueck, Erica L. Green, Anemona Hartocollis, Christine Hauser, Jack Healy, Shawn Hubler, Jon Hurdle, Zolan Kanno-Youngs, Thomas Kaplan, Neil MacFarquhar, Iliana Magra, Sarah Mervosh, Benjamin Mueller, Richard A. Oppel Jr., Elian Peltier, Richard Pérez-Peña, Campbell Robertson, Katie Rogers, Simon Romero, Eric Schmitt, Mitch Smith, Carly Stern, Derrick Taylor, Neil Vigdor and Daniel Victor.
News – Live Updates on George Floyd Protests: Across U.S., Rallies Decry Racism and Police Brutality