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Thousands pay tribute to George Floyd in Houston: Live updates | George Floyd protest…


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  • Bail has been set at $1.25m for the former Minneapolis police officer who pinned George Floyd to the ground with his knee for nearly nine minutes as the unarmed Black man pleaded for air.
  • United States congressional Democrats unveiled a sweeping package of legislation to combat police violence and racial injustice after two weeks of protests across the nation sparked by Floyd’s death.
  • Floyd’s funeral will be held on Tuesday, followed by burial, where he will be laid to rest next to his mother, Larcenia Floyd.

Tuesday, June 9

02:44 GMT – Thousands pay tribute to Floyd in Houston

The last chance for the public to say goodbye to George Floyd drew thousands of mourners to a church in Houston where he grew up. 

Reflecting the weight of the moment, the service drew the families of black victims in other high-profile killings whose names have become seared in America’s conversation over race – among them Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Ahmaud Arbery and Trayvon Martin.

“It just hurts,” said Philonise Floyd, George Floyd’s brother, sobbing as he ticked off some of their names outside the Fountain of Praise church. “We will get justice. We will get it. We will not let this door close.”

Organisers of the public viewing told Khou TV, a local television station, that 6,362 people attended the service. 

George Floyd Houston

Mourners wait in line to pass by the casket of George Floyd during a public viewing at the Fountain of Praise church on Monday, June 8, 2020, in Houston [Godofredo A Vasquez/ Pool/ AFP]

Floyd service

Mourners react as they visit Floyd’s casket [Godofredo A Vasquez/ Pool/ AFP]

Floyd Houston

Floyd’s casket is removed after a public visitation at the Fountain of Praise church [David J Phillip-Pool/Getty Images/AFP]

01:30 GMT – Minneapolis councillors back community programmes over police force

Four city councillors in Minneapolis who want to dismantle the city’s police have outlined plans to shift funding to community-based programmes to reduce violence and limit the need for a law enforcement force.

Council member Jeremiah Ellison told the media it could take a year to discuss reform with the public and devise “an entirely new apparatus for public safety” to replace the Minneapolis Police Department.

“I think there is this mistake that a lot of folks are making in thinking that we are talking about abolishing safety,” Ellison said. “No, we are talking about abolishing a failure of a police structure that doesn’t keep us safe.”

The councillors say they are expecting an amended budget proposal from Mayor Jacob Frey in the coming weeks. 

Monday, June 8

22:44 GMT – US Attorney General William Barr: ‘Dangerous to demonise police’

US Attorney General William Barr has criticised calls to defund or dismantle police forces following the death of George Floyd.

As demonstrations against police brutality continue, and activists call for the defunding or dismantling of police forces, the top US legal official in the US criticised calls to use police budgets for community projects.

“I think defunding the police, holding the entire police structure responsible for the actions of certain officers is wrong and I think it is dangerous to demonise police,” Barr told the Fox News Channel.

“If you pull back the police from these communities there will be, there will be more harm done in these communities,” Barr said.

22:08 GMT – Police in Minneapolis ‘strategically deflated’ tyres of protesters, journalists during recent unrest

State officials in Minnesota confirmed on Monday that police officers patrolling Minneapolis during the recent unrest slashed the tyres of unoccupied vehicles in at least two locations in order to, as they put it, “stop behaviours such as vehicles driving dangerously and at high speeds in and around protesters and law enforcement”.

Videos and still photographs obtained by Mother Jones magazine showed officers in tactical clothing stabbing the tyres of multiple vehicles in a Kmart car park during the unrest. The Minneapolis Star Tribune identified the officers as being from Anoka County Sheriff’s office.

A spokesman for the Department of Public Safety, Bruce Gordon, confirmed that tyres were cut in “a few locations”.

“State Patrol troopers strategically deflated tyres,” Gordon told the paper. “While not a typical tactic, vehicles were being used as dangerous weapons and inhibited our ability to clear areas and keep areas safe where violent protests were occurring.”

Among the vehicle owners whose tyres were damaged was Star Tribune reporter Chris Serres, who was covering the protests on the night of May 30 and returned to his car about 1am. His was among a few dozen with flattened tyres, he said.

21:45 GMT – Black legislators in Pennsylvania disrupt state House of Representatives voting in call for police reform

Black Democrats in the Pennsylvania state House of Representatives commandeered the podium for about 90 minutes at the start of the voting session on Monday, disrupting the day’s business in an effort to force action on police reform bills.

The dramatic takeover went on pause when the Republican House speaker said he would consider putting proposals up for votes and that he supports a special session to consider the legislation.

The protesters, including veteran Black legislators from Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, hung a “BLACK LIVES MATTER” banner from the speaker’s dais and vowed they would not leave without movement on the stalled proposals.

21:11 GMT – Joe Biden meets with Floyd family in Houston

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden showed compassion that “meant the world” to George Floyd’s family on Monday, according to a lawyer for the family.

Biden met with Floyd’s relatives in Houston for more than an hour, said lawyer Benjamin Crump, who posted a picture of himself on Twitter after the meeting with Biden, Floyd’s uncle Roger, civil rights activist Reverend Al Sharpton and Representative Cedric Richmond.

“He listened, heard their pain, and shared in their woe,” Crump said of the private meeting. “That compassion meant the world to this grieving family.”

Trump has also spoken with Floyd’s family in a call that Floyd’s brother Philonise said in interviews was brief and did not provide him with an opportunity to say much.

18:50 GMT – Trump mulling proposals in response to Floyd’s death -White House

US President Donald Trump is “appalled” by calls for police to be defunded and is looking at a number of proposals in response.

“The president is appalled by the defund the police movement,” White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany told a media briefing. She said Trump is “taking a look at various” proposals in response to George Floyd’s death, but she offered no specifics as to what measures he was considering.

Demonstrators’ anger over the May 25 death of George Floyd, 46, is giving way to a growing movement to make his case a turning point in race relations and policing, with some protesters calling for police budgets to be slashed.

But the proposal has received mixed reviews from some Democrats, with Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey running a gauntlet of jeering protesters over the weekend after telling them he opposed their demands for defunding the city’s police department.

Trump has drawn fire for calling on state governors to crack down on the thousands protesting Floyd’s death around the country and threatening to send in the US military even as he described himself as an ally to peaceful protesters.

McEnany said on Monday that Trump believes there are some “instances” of racism among police, but added that the president sees the police as by-and-large good people.

On Monday, Democrats in Congress unveiled legislation that would make lynching a hate crime and allow victims of misconduct and their families to sue police for damages in civil court, ending a legal doctrine known as “qualified immunity”.

18:30 GMT – Judge sets bail for former Minneapolis police officer 

Bail for Derek Chauvin the white former Minneapolis police officer charged with murdering George Floyd has been raised by $250,000 to $1.25m, the Minnesota-based Star Tribune reported.

Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder in Floyd’s May 25 death in Minneapolis by kneeling on his neck for nearly nine minutes. Minnesota Assistant Attorney General Matthew Frank argued that the “severity of the charges”, as well as the strength of public opinion, made it more likely that Chauvin would flee if set free, the Star Tribune reported.

17:30 GMT – Mourners in Houston pay their respects to Floyd

Mourners are paying their respects to George Floyd, whose body is on view at a memorial in a church in his hometown of Houston – a six-hour viewing will be held.

Many paused briefly to view Floyd’s body. Some made the sign of the cross as they observed. Several hundred people stood in line to enter the church before the start of the visitation, and all wore masks. Some people held umbrellas for shade as the sun beat down, and temperatures rose about 32 degrees Celsius (90 Fahrenheit).

Those passing through the church were required to leave six feet between others in observe of social distancing guidelines to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

George Floyd mourners

Mourners view the casket during a public visitation for George Floyd in Houston, Texas [Godofredo A Vasquez/Pool via Reuters]

16:50 GMT – Denver fully bans chokeholds, requires report for aimed guns

Denver’s police department announced it is changing policies regarding its use of force and body cameras.

In a statement released on Sunday, the department said it had banned the use of chokeholds with no exceptions effective immediately. Previously, the practice was barred except in lethal encounters, The Denver Post reported.

The department also said that officers who intentionally point their gun at someone would be required to notify a supervisor and file a report to help collect data on such incidents. Members of its SWAT team will also have to activate their body cameras when they are performing tactical operations, the department said.

16:25 GMT – Crossfit founder apologises for tweet after Reebok split

CrossFit founder Greg Glassman has apologised for a tweet that equated Floyd’s killing to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In response to a tweet by research firm Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation that classified racism and discrimination as a public health issue, Glassman, who is also the chief executive of CrossFit, had posted, “It’s FLOYD-19”.

The fallout was fast. Adidas AG-owned Reebok ended its 10-year-old partnership with CrossFit and updated its US homepage in support of the “Black Lives Matter” campaign.

In a statement on Twitter, Glassman said: “I, CrossFit HQ, and the CrossFit community will not stand for racism. I made a mistake by the words I chose yesterday. My heart is deeply saddened by the pain it has caused. It was a mistake, not racist but a mistake.”

16:05 GMT – Officer charged in Floyd’s death has first court appearance

Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis police officer charged with second-degree murder in George Floyd’s death is scheduled to make his first court appearance. He is also charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

Derek Chauvin

Former Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin posing for a booking photograph at Hennepin County Jail in Minneapolis, Minnesota, US [Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office/Handout via Reuters] 

Chauvin is being held at a state prison in Oakdale. The other three officers – J Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao – are charged with aiding and abetting. They remain in the Hennepin County jail on $750,000 bond.

16:00 GMT – Floyd’s coffin arrives at Houston church ahead of public viewing

The body of George Floyd arrived at a church in Houston for a final public memorial.

His body arrived in a gold-coloured coffin that was escorted to The Fountain of Praise church by Houston police. A six-hour viewing that is open to the public was scheduled to begin in the afternoon.

George Floyd

The coffin of George Floyd is set inside the church for a memorial service in Raeford, NC [Ed Clemente/Pool via AP] 

Before the coffin arrived, workers outside the church assembled a large floral arrangement with white roses on one side in the shape of a heart and with the initials “BLM” for Black Lives Matter created from blue roses and placed on top of the heart. The other side of the floral arrangement was made up of red roses and appeared to be in the shape of a raised fist.

15:00 GMT – Democrats unveil ‘Justice in Policing’ act to make wide-ranging changes to US police policy

The legislation addresses excessive use of force, qualified immunity and racial profiling, answering calls from protesters across the country after the death of George Floyd and other Black Americans while in police custody.

“It will demilitarise the police by limiting the transfer of military weaponry to state and local police departments,” said Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the US House of Representatives. 

It also proposes banning “no-knock” warrants, that allow police officers to enter a residence without warning. The legislation would require support by US Republicans who control the upper house of the legislature. 

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuuck Schumer (D-NY) kneel with Congressional Democrats during a moment of silence to honor George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbe

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer kneel with Congressional Democrats during a silence to honour George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and others [Jonathan Ernst/Reuters]

14:20 GMT – US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi leads silence for George Floyd

Members of the US Congress went down on one knee in Emancipation Hall in the US Capitol building, in silence for eight minutes 46 seconds – the length of time that George Floyd spent pinned down by three police officers on a Minneapolis street corner. He was pronounced dead shortly afterwards. 

Floyd’s death has set off worldwide protests that call for an end to police brutality and what many protestors call systemic racism in US police forces. 

Demonstrators have been calling for the defunding or dismantling of police forces and a shifting of their budgets to community, education or other programmes.

13:00 GMT – Congressional Democrats to unveil sweeping US police reform proposal 

US congressional Democrats plan to unveil a sweeping package of legislation to combat police violence and racial injustice.

The proposal is expected to ban police chokeholds and racial profiling, require nationwide use of body cameras, subject police to civilian review boards and abolish the legal doctrine known as “qualified immunity”, which protects police from civil litigation, according to congressional sources.

Defund the police

A sign painted by protesters reading ‘Defund the Police’, painted next to a Black Lives Matter sign, near the White House in Washington, DC, the US [Joshua Roberts/Reuters] 

It is unclear whether the proposal will receive support from Republicans, who control the US Senate. Their support, as well as that of Republican President Donald Trump, would be needed for the measure to become law.

12:45 GMT – Trump opposes police defunding 

Protesters are pushing to “defund the police” after the death of George Floyd and other Black Americans killed by law enforcement.

Their chant has become a rallying cry – and a stick for President Donald Trump to use on Democrats as he portrays them as soft on crime.

Trump has said he opposes the idea, and is set to meet with members of law enforcement at the White House on Monday afternoon.

Supporters say it is not about eliminating police departments or stripping agencies of all of their money. They say it is time for the country to address systemic problems in policing in the US and spend more on what communities across the country need, like housing and education.

Al Jazeera’s podcast The Take spoke to protesters. Listen here

12:30 GMT – Houston to hold six-hour public viewing of Floyd’s casket

Mourners will be able to view George Floyd’s casket Monday in his hometown of Houston, the final stop in a series of memorials in his honour.

A six-hour viewing will be held at The Fountain of Praise church in southwest Houston. The viewing is open to the public, though visitors will be required to wear face masks and gloves to comply with coronavirus-related guidelines.

New York City

Demonstrators holding a Black Lives Matter banner during a protest against racial inequality in the aftermath of the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, at Grand Army Plaza in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, New York, the US [Eduardo Munoz/Reuters]

Floyd’s funeral will be Tuesday, followed by burial at the Houston Memorial Gardens cemetery in suburban Pearland, where he will be laid to rest next to his mother, Larcenia Floyd.

See Sunday’s coverage here.

Made with Flourish

12:25 GMT – New York City mayor announces police reforms including shifting of funding to youth programmes

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Sunday a series of police reforms that he said were part of a “transformative movement”.

He said funding would be shifted from the New York Police Department (NYPD) to youth and social services, moving the enforcement for street vending out of the police department to a civilian agency, and adding community ambassadors to the NYPD to serve as liaisons between officers and New Yorkers.

“People did not protest for the sake of protest. They protest to achieve change, and now we must deliver that change,” de Blasio said.

www.aljazeera.com 2020-06-09 03:23:21

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