Updated at 1:01 p.m. CT
A ceremony has started in memory of George Floyd, who died after a police officer pressed a knee into his neck while detaining him in Minneapolis last week, triggering protests across the country.
Members of Floyd’s family arrived in Minneapolis ahead of the memorial service, which began 1 p.m. CT in a sanctuary at North Central University in Minneapolis, which seats roughly 1,000 people.
Join us for a public hearing on the current conditions that incarcerated people are facing under the COVID-19 pandemic and how communities inside and out are building up the practices and institutions that support healthy and self-determined communities during COVID-19.
Attorney General Keith Ellison’s office on Wednesday upgraded charges against the former Minneapolis police officer who knelt on George Floyd’s neck and charged the other three officers at the scene with aiding and abetting murder.
The decision came just two days after Ellison took over the prosecution from Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman and followed more than a week of sometimes-violent protests calling for tougher charges against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who had pinned Floyd to the ground and held him there for nearly nine minutes.
Protesters also demanded the arrests of the three other former officers who were present but failed to intervene. All three were booked into the Hennepin County jail on Wednesday.
“To the Floyd family, to our beloved community, and everyone that is watching, I say: George Floyd mattered. He was loved. His life was important. His life had value. We will seek justice for him and for you and we will find it.”
Like a dystopian Sci-Fi thriller come to life, CBP Acting Commissioner Mark Morgan posted this image of border agents standing at the ready at our nation’s capital shortly before being deployed to patrol the streets to go after so-called terrorists.
This blatant display of a militarized police force is what border residents see on a daily basis. Here, they incite fear in those exercising their first amendment rights, and create a tense environment for peaceful demonstrators.
The movement to defund the police is gaining significant support across America, including from elected leaders, as protests over the killing of George Floyd sweep the nation.
For years, activists have pushed US cities and states to cut law enforcement budgets amid a dramatic rise in spending on police and prisons while funding for vital social services has shrunk or disappeared altogether.
Government officials have long dismissed the idea as a leftist fantasy, but the recent unrest and massive budget shortfalls from the Covid-19 crisis appear to have inspired more mainstream recognition of the central arguments behind defunding.
“To see legislators who aren’t even necessarily on the left supporting at least a significant decrease in New York police department funding is really very encouraging,” Julia Salazar. “It feels a little bit surreal.”
Floyd’s death on camera in Minneapolis, advocates say, was a powerful demonstration that police reform efforts of the last half-decade have failed to stop racist policing and killings. Meanwhile, the striking visuals of enormous, militarized and at times violent police forces responding to peaceful protests have led some politicians to question whether police really need this much money and firepower.
Activists say the way to stop police brutality and killings is to cut law enforcement budgets and reinvest in services.
After protests broke out in response to George Floyd’s death, the agency ordered the first nationwide lockdown in 25 years.
The Federal Bureau of Prisons ordered prisoners confined to cells and stripped of outside communications.
“You’re kind of confirming why we’re in the situation we’re in as a country, where the rage has erupted because people are sick of the oppression, particularly against minorities. Cops were comfortable with the actions they were taking against George Floyd with someone filming so closely.”
“Just imagine what goes on inside prisons.”
Thousands of New Yorkers over the last few days have taken to the streets in all five boroughs, setting cop cars aflame, braving beatings by batons and suffering pepper spray to the eyes, all so they can scream an urgent message for all the world to hear…
I Can’t Breathe.
They marched in Manhattan, where the New York Police Department once gunned down Patrick Dorismond.
In Queens, where the NYPD shot 50 bullets at Sean Bell.
In the Bronx, where an NYPD cop choked the life out of Anthony Baez.
In Brooklyn, where the NYPD shot 13-year-old Nicholas Heyward Jr.
And they marched on Staten Island, where the NYPD stole the breath from Eric Garner’s lungs.
Nearly 2,000 protesters were arrested over five nights as America’s largest city joined a national uprising against police brutality that saw demonstrations in about 140 cities, a mass unrest the likes of which this country hasn’t seen in over a generation.
There were moments in New York when it felt like this multi-racial coalition of protesters, led largely by young people of color, was taking back the streets from the NYPD, a police force bigger than some nations’ armies that’s terrorized this city’s Black and brown residents since its founding.
It felt like more and more people here had come to question the cops’ monopoly on force and to embrace the radical idea of defunding the department, or even the abolitionist dream of a New York without New York’s Finest at all.
And so New York’s Finest erupted in violence.
“Using the military to put down protests and supplement the botched efforts of the police to control these protests, particularly through unlawful uses of force, will only further inflame the protests,” a National Guard noncommissioned officer said in an email to Military Times.
“This is escalation, not de-escalation. Embroiling the military due to the inaction and failings of the police only serves to conflate the two, and would put both military members and civilians at greater risk. Cracking down with authoritarianism does nothing but further politicize the military and erode the trust the public has in us.”
“There is no winning in this scenario.”
President Obama joins local and national leaders in the police reform movement, to discuss the tragic events of recent weeks, the history of police violence in America, and specific action steps needed to transform a system that has led to the loss of too many lives.
A majority of Americans sympathize with nationwide protests over the death of an unarmed black man in police custody and disapprove of President Donald Trump’s response to the unrest.
The protests have deepened the sense of crisis for a country already reeling from the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent devastating economic downturn.
While many daytime demonstrations have been peaceful, some have led to violent clashes at night between police and protesters.