Live Updates: Biden Says ‘Now Is the Time for Racial Justice' at Floyd Funeral; Officials Back Off Removing White House Fence

Joe Biden called for not turning away from systemic racism in American life

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Hundreds of mourners packed a Houston church Tuesday for the funeral of George Floyd, the black man whose death has inspired a worldwide reckoning over racial injustice. 

In the two weeks since Floyd's killing, police departments have banned chokeholds, Confederate monuments have fallen and officers have been arrested and charged for violent conduct during protests.

Here are the latest developments in the death of George Floyd:

In a video message played at George Floyd's funeral, former Vice President Joe Biden offered condolences to the grieving family and called on the country to “dissent from indifference” and address "racial justice."

Joe Biden at George Floyd’s Funeral: ‘Now Is the Time for Racial Justice’

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden devoted much of his video address at George Floyd’s funeral to a message directed at Floyd’s 6-year-old daughter, Gianna, who said during recent protests that “daddy changed the world.”

“Daddy’s looking down, he’s so proud of you,” Biden said a day after having met privately with members of Floyd's family. “I know you miss that bear hug that only he could give. The pure joy of riding on his shoulders so you could touch the sky. The countless hours he spent playing any game you wanted because your smile, your laugh, your love is the only thing that mattered at the moment.”

Biden said that he knows she has a lot of questions.

“No child should have to ask questions that too many black children have had to ask for generations,” Biden said. “‘Why? Why is daddy gone?’”

He went on to ask “why in this nation do too many black Americans wake up knowing that they could lose their life in the course of just living their life?”

Biden called for not turning away from systemic racism in American life.

“We cannot leave this moment thinking we can once again turn away from racism. It stings at our very soul,” he said.

Biden said that “now is the time” for racial justice and that “when there is justice for George Floyd we will truly be on our way to racial justice in America.”

“And then as you said, Gianna, your daddy will have changed the world,” Biden said.

Officials Back Off Removing Temporary Fencing at White House

The Trump administration appears to be backing away from its commitment to quickly remove most of a new fence blocking the public from in front of the White House.

National Park Service spokeswoman Katie Liming says her agency is in “continuing discussions” with the Secret Service about what Liming still calls the temporary fence at the front of the White House.

That's a change from the start of the week, when the park service said officials would remove “most” of the fence blocking off Lafayette Square on Wednesday.

'Cops' TV Series Canceled

After 33 seasons on the air, “Cops” has been dropped by the Paramount Network as protests against police proliferate around the world.

“Cops is not on the Paramount Network and we don’t have any current or future plans for it to return,” a spokesperson for the cable channel said in a statement Tuesday.

The show had been pulled temporarily from the air in late May, when protests aimed at police over the death of George Floyd began to gain momentum. That move was made permanent Tuesday.

Black Lives Matter Sues Over Violent Seattle Police Tactics

A Black Lives Matter group sued the Seattle Police Department Tuesday to halt the violent tactics it has used to break up largely peaceful protests in recent days.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Washington, Korematsu Center at Seattle University School of Law and the law firm Perkins Coie filed the complaint in U.S. District Court on behalf of Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County.

“These daily demonstrations are fueled by people from all over the city who demand that police stop using excessive force against Black people, and they demand that Seattle dismantle its racist systems of oppression," Livio De La Cruz, board member of Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County, said in a written statement. "It is unacceptable that the Seattle Police Department would then respond to these demonstrations with more excessive force, including using tear gas and flashbang grenades.”

The police department referred questions about the case to the Seattle City Attorney's Office, which said only that it is reviewing it.

Texas Counties to Remove Confederate Monuments

Officials in two North Texas counties have voted to remove Confederate monuments from courthouse grounds.

Commissioners of Tarrant and Denton counties voted Tuesday to remove the monuments, which were erected last century by the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

Tarrant commissioners voted 4-0 with one abstention for removal. Commissioner Roy Brooks proposed the removal, saying he “would argue that it’s not a memorial at all, rather that it was erected in 1953 as a reminder to the black citizens of this county and of this state that the rules of Jim Crow were still in effect.”

The Denton County monument was erected in 1918.

Commissioners of both counties said their actions were taken to promote racial harmony amid protests of the killing of George Floyd, a black man, by a white Minneapolis police officer.

Both counties said their monuments would be placed in storage until alternate sites could be found.

Hundreds of mourners visited the Fountain of Praise Church in Houston, Texas, to pay their respects at the funeral of George Floyd, who was killed by a Minneapolis police officer on May 25. Floyd’s death has sparked weeks of protests against police brutality in cities around the world.

National Guard Members at Washington Protests Test Positive for Coronavirus

Members of the D.C. National Guard have tested positive for COVID-19 in the wake of the massive protests across the city last week over the death of George Floyd.

Guard spokeswoman Lt. Col. Brooke Davis says they will not release the exact number of infected troops.

But U.S. officials say they believe it is not a large number, at least so far. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information publicly.

While some Guard troops responding to the protests wore protective equipment, most were not wearing masks and it was largely impossible to maintain any social distancing.

Davis said in a statement that unit commanders were responsible for ensuring their troops adhered to guidelines calling for Guard members to wear protective equipment and maintain social distancing where practical.

Officials said about 5,000 Guard members, including troops from 11 states, were in the nation’s capital for the protests.

Troy University Fires Police Chief Over Floyd Remarks

Troy University has fired its campus police chief over comments he made on social media about the police killing of George Floyd in Minnesota, the school said Tuesday.

Troy University Chancellor Jack Hawkins, in a statement released via the school's social media accounts, said statements by John McCall did not reflect the university's values and that officials had lost confidence in his ability to lead the police department.

News outlets reported that McCall, in a Facebook post that was widely circulated on social media, said Floyd “absolutely” helped cause his own death, although authorities filed charges against four police officers in the killing.

One former Minneapolis police officer is charged with murder in Floyd’s death, and three others have been charged with aiding in the killing. Video showed one officer pressing into Floyd’s neck and others standing nearby as the man lost consciousness and later died.

McCall was suspended from his job last week, and Hawkins said he was dismissed after an investigation. McCall hasn't commented publicly about the controversy.

Mostly Black Alabama County Covering Up Confederate Statue

A majority black county known as a birthplace of African American empowerment is covering up a Confederate memorial erected more than a century ago and looking for ways to remove it permanently, a government leader said Tuesday.

Workers used a tarpaulin and ropes to cover up the square base of a 111-year-old statue because it was recently spray painted with obscenities, Macon County Commission Chairman Louis Maxwell said in an interview. Unable to do more because of high winds, crews will look at covering the statue itself later, he said.

The east Alabama county, which is more than 80% black, also is researching what will be needed to remove the statue from its base and relocate it elsewhere, perhaps to a nearby heritage museum, Maxwell said.

“It’s part of the history of the county whether you like it or not, and we want to preserve it,” Maxwell said.

Al Roker and Craig Melvin Talk About Black Fatherhood and Raising Sons

The protests against police brutality and racial injustice sparked by the death of George Floyd have also renewed the fears of many black fathers when it relates to their sons coming in contact with police, TODAY reports.

Al Roker and Craig Melvin spoke with a trio of black fathers, Seith Mann, Ken Simril and Morgan Scott Tucker, on TODAY Tuesday and shared their own experiences of raising sons in a country where black men have had a fraught history with law enforcement.

"I know a lot of people do tell their children, 'Be polite, be respectful,''' Mann said. "And I will certainly tell my son that, but I also recognize that is not a guarantee of his safety."

Craig knows he may have to have the talk with his son Delano, 6, in a few years. He has already spoken of the challenges of raising biracial children whom Craig said will be seen as black by the world.

"You can’t insulate them," Craig said. "I think that’s the one thing that this has revealed to a lot of folks, because at some point they’re going to come face-to-face with the reality of their blackness."

Read the full story here.

NC City Bans Police From Purchasing Chemical Agents Amid Protests

The Charlotte City Council voted 9-2 to stop funding chemical agents for police use after officers boxed in and gassed demonstrators protesting the death of George Floyd.

After a demonstrator documented the use of gas last Tuesday in a widely shared video, the mayor condemned it and the police chief called it “disturbing.”

The city’s police department has spent $103,000 on chemical agents in 2020, City Budget Director Ryan Bergman said. Taking them away is “one step toward defunding the entire police department,” Tin Nguyen, an organizer and attorney, told the Charlotte Observer.

Council member Ed Driggs, who voted against the ban, called it a “gratuitous dig at police.”

The Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office announced Monday its deputies would stop using tear gas in protests, citing tensions with the community. A local chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police slammed the city council’s decision as “dangerous” following the vote.

Minnesota Police Confirms Troopers Punctured Car Tires During Protests

Law enforcement agencies have acknowledged officers punctured the tires of numerous unoccupied vehicles parked during the height of recent unrest over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Minnesota Department of Public Safety spokesman Bruce Gordon says troopers deflated tires to stop vehicles from “driving dangerously and at high speeds in and around protesters and law enforcement.”

Troopers also targeted vehicles “that contained items used to cause harm during violent protests” such as rocks, concrete and sticks, Gordon said Monday, according to the Star Tribune.

Deputies from Anoka County also deflated tires on vehicles during the protests connected to Floyd’s death, according to Anoka County Sheriff’s Lt. Andy Knotz. Deputies were following orders from the state-led Multiagency Command Center, which was coordinating law enforcement during the protests, Knotz said.

All four tires on the car of Star Tribune reporter were slashed in a Kmart parking lot while he was on foot covering the protests and unrest, the newspaper reported.

Protesters nationwide are calling for police reforms in response to Floyd’s death.

Black Store Owner Reports Robbery, Gets Punched By Officer

Police say an armed black business owner who called to report a robbery in his store in Alabama was punched in the face by a responding police officer who mistook him for a suspect.

Kevin Penn's lawyer told his client suffered a broken jaw, his teeth were knocked out and he needed to get his mouth wired shut after the altercation on March 15 in Decatur.

Body camera video shows officers telling Penn to put down his gun and Penn refusing to do so saying, “I have a right to have my gun.”

Decatur Police Chief Nate Allen says Penn moved his hand over a gun before he was punched. 

Brooklyn Officer Suspended for Racist Photo of Obama Being Lynched

A court officer in Brooklyn has been suspended without pay for 30 days after she posted a photo of former President Barack Obama hanging from a noose on Facebook, NBC New York reported.

A coworker of Sergeant Terri Pinto Napolitano says she should be fired for the offensive and racist post. The image Napolitano posted only not only showed Obama being lynched and the caption "we will not yield ... your day is coming traitor," but it also showed Hillary Clinton about to be hanged with the caption "it's not over till the fat lady swings."

The post quickly spread, disgusting Napolitano's co-workers who called her vile and racist.

San Diego Approves Increase in Police Budget After Hundreds Call for Defunding

The San Diego City Council has voted 8-1 to adopt the proposed budget for the 2021 fiscal year, which includes the creation of an Office of Race and Equity to tackle racial equity issues and an increase in the police department's budget.

The vote came late Monday night following more than 10 hours of public comments from callers, many of whom called for a reduction in police department funding, NBC San Diego reported.

The majority of callers asked for the police to be defunded, with funds going toward marginalized and vulnerable communities instead. Speakers asked for the money to be used for homeless outreach, mental health services, racial equity commissions and rent-assistance programs, among myriad other ideas.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer's proposed budget would increase the police budget to $566 million for the fiscal year 2021, constituting about a third of the city's general fund budget. The previous year's budget for the SDPD was $539 million and 2019's was $480 million.

San Diego broke from other cities in deciding against enforcing a curfew in the wake of Floyd protests, with Faulconer saying he wanted to send a message of support to demonstrators.

“We encourage peaceful protests,” Faulconer told CNBC. “That’s part of who we are as Americans and that’s how you affect change.” 

Tuesday's move comes after Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced he would cut that city's police funding by $150 million and the majority of the Minneapolis City Council vowed to dismantle the city's police department.

St. Paul Man Charged in Connection With Police Precinct Arson

A Minnesota man is facing federal charges in connection to the fire that was set at a Minneapolis police precinct station during protests over the death of George Floyd, prosecutors said Monday.

Branden Michael Wolfe, 23, has been charged with aiding and abetting arson in connection with fires set at the police department's third precinct on May 28, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Minnesota said in a statement.

The precinct "was overrun and heavily damaged due to vandalism and arson," the U.S. attorney's office said, with multiple fires set inside.

Protests fueled by the death of George Floyd, a black man who died while in police custody, continued for a third night in Minneapolis

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2 Atlanta Officers Charged With Assault During Protests Sue, Seeking Jobs Back

Two Atlanta police officers who were fired and criminally charged in connection with the pulling of two college students from a car during protests late last month have filed a lawsuit seeking their jobs back.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced May 31 that the two officers, Ivory Streeter and Mark Gardner, would be fired immediately after what she called "an excessive use of force."

The suit, which says the officers were denied due process, seeks the reinstatement of both officers and back pay.

Video showed officers forcibly pulling Messiah Young and Taniyah Pilgrim from their car around 9:40 p.m. May 30 during protests following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Read the full story on

Woman Accused of Running Over Bike Officer During Riot in Philadelphia

Police arrested a woman accused of running over a bike officer with her car during rioting and looting in Philadelphia last month.

Angela Hall, 41, was arrested Monday and charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault and other related offenses, NBC Philadelphia reported

On Saturday, May 30, Hall was allegedly involved in looting at a business near 7th and Chestnut streets. As a 9th District bike officer tried to stop her, Hall drove into him with her vehicle before escaping, police said.

Virginia Judge Issues Order Halting Lee Statue Removal for 10 Days

A judge in Richmond has issued an injunction preventing Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s administration from removing an iconic statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee for 10 days.

The temporary injunction order issued Monday says the state is a party to a deed recorded in March 1890 in which it accepted the statue, pedestal and ground they sit on and agreed to “faithfully guard" and “affectionately protect” them.

It is in the public interest to await resolution of the case on the merits prior to removal of the statue, the order says.

The lawsuit was filed by William C. Gregory, who is described in the complaint as a descendant of two signatories to the deed. Named as defendants are Northam and the director of the Department of General Services, the agency tasked with handling the removal.

“(Gregory's) family has taken pride for 130 years in this statue resting upon land belonging to his family and transferred to the Commonwealth in consideration of the Commonwealth contractually guaranteeing to perpetually care for and protect the Lee Monument,” the lawsuit says.

Northam's spokeswoman, Alena Yarmosky, said in a statement that the governor's administration is still reviewing the order.

“Governor Northam remains committed to removing this divisive symbol from Virginia's capital city, and we're confident in his authority to do so," she said.

Newlyweds Join Philly Black Lives Matter March in Viral Video

A bride and groom have newfound Internet fame after they were caught on video stepping out for their “first look” moment and showing their support for the Black Lives Matter movement during a massive demonstration in Philadelphia. 

Dr. Kerry-Anne Perkins married Michael Gordon in the garden of the Logan Hotel in Center City on Saturday. Before officially tying the knot, the couple stepped out for their first look at each other as thousands of protesters marched in honor of George Floyd. 

A couple who joined protesters in Center City in a viral video shared their story with NBC10's Jacqueline London.

“I walk up to her, I grab her hands and her hands are shaking,” Gordon said. “She’s trembling.” 

Demonstrators applauded and cheered the couple as they kissed. 

“She had some tears running down her face, even though all this was going on around us, I was only focused on her,” Gordon said. “I just kind of looked around like there’s a lot of people here.” 

Read the full story here

Protesters, Enraged by Black Americans Killed, Gather Nationwide

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