Former President Barack Obama on Monday addressed the nationwide protests over the death of George Floyd, praising the “overwhelming majority” of peaceful demonstrators, condemning the violence brought on by a “small minority” and calling on a “new generation of activists” to “bring about real change.” “The waves of protests across the country represent a genuine and legitimate frustration over a decades-long failure to reform police practices and the broader criminal justice system in the United States,” Obama wrote in an essay published on Medium.com. The former president then lauded police in Camden, N.J., and Flint, Mich., for publicly supporting peaceful protests before he criticized demonstrators who have been acting violently.
Joe Biden said Monday that police under attack in the line of duty should shoot their assailants “in the leg instead of the heart” as a way to avert the killing of civilians. Biden's remarks were made as cities across the nation continue to be engulfed in violent protests in the wake of the death of George Floyd, an African-American, in police custody in Minneapolis. Former Officer Derek Chauvin, who kneeled on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes, was charged Friday with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
The survey, conducted on May 29 and 30, found that 52 percent of Americans answered yes when asked whether they “think that President Trump is a racist.” Only 37 percent said no. Just 33 percent said the president should continue “posting messages on Twitter.”
A soldier in Minneapolis opened fire on a speeding vehicle that posed a threat Sunday night -- the second known instance of a National Guard member discharging a weapon during the nationwide mass protests, the Minnesota National Guard commander said Monday. "Our soldier fired three rounds from his rifle in response to a direct threat" from a vehicle that drove at a position held by local law enforcement supported by the Guard, said Army Maj. Gen. Jon Jensen, adjutant general of the Minnesota National Guard. Read Next: Army Vet Lawmaker: Invoke Insurrection Act, Deploy Active-Duty Troops to Riots The driver ignored warnings to stop or turn away before the soldier opened fire, Jensen added.
REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the New York progressive, slammed a New York City Police Department union for tweeting confidential information about Mayor Bill de Blasio's daughter's arrest on Saturday during a protest against racism. The Sergeants Benevolent Association tweeted a screenshot of Chiara de Blasio's arrest record and attacked the mayor over his daughter's participation in the protests. Ocasio-Cortez urged the NYPD to de-escalate with protesters rather than respond with violent force, and she told the union to "apologize and own this egregious behavior."
While the Democratic Party is working to decide whether it will even have an in-person convention, Republicans are looking at changing the location of theirs to ensure a splashy event. President Donald Trump weighed Tuesday evening in a series of tweets, where he said Republicans were looking for a new state for their convention and criticized North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper for refusing "to guarantee that we can have use of the Spectrum Arena - Spend millions of dollars, have everybody arrive, and....then tell them they will not be able to gain entry." "Governor Cooper is still in Shelter-In-Place Mode, and not allowing us to occupy the arena as originally anticipated and promised," Trump wrote in a series of tweets.
Nearly three dozen black alumni of Liberty University denounced school President Jerry Falwell Jr. on Monday, suggesting he step down after he mocked Virginia's mask-wearing requirement by invoking the blackface scandal that engulfed the state's governor last year. In a letter to Falwell, shared with The Associated Press, 35 faith leaders and former student-athletes told Falwell that his past comments “have repeatedly violated and misrepresented" Christian principles. “You have belittled staff, students and parents, you have defended inappropriate behaviors of politicians, encouraged violence, and disrespected people of other faiths,” they wrote, advising Falwell that “your heart is in politics more than Christian academia or ministry.”
Rep. Eliot Engel, a New York Democrat facing a tough primary challenge and questions about his absence from his district, was caught on a hot mic at a district event responding to unrest saying twice that he only wanted press coverage because of an electoral threat. “If I didn't have a primary, I wouldn't care,” Engel said to Ruben Diaz Jr., the Bronx borough president, at a Tuesday press conference responding to unrest and vandalism in his district related to the recent death of George Floyd. Diaz worried about having too many elected officials speak, but Engel pleaded with him for coverage.
Their lawyer, Saif ul Malook, who also represented Asia Bibi, another Christian woman who had a death sentence for blasphemy successfully overturned, told the BBC the evidence used to convict the couple was deeply flawed. But, he warned, that judges can be "fearful" of acquitting suspects, in case they are targeted themselves by extremists. Court proceedings have also slowed in recent weeks as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
The Philippines has told the United States it is suspending its bid to break off a key military pact, the two allies said Tuesday in a sharp turnaround of President Rodrigo Duterte's foreign policy. Duterte in February gave notice to Washington he was axing the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) after accusing the US of interference in his internationally condemned narcotics crackdown. That began a 180-day countdown to ending the deal central to hundreds of joint military exercises with the US per year and a major component of their nearly 70-year-old alliance.
Joe Biden on Monday suggested that police forces could train officers to shoot attackers in the legs in order to reduce potential fatalities. There is “the idea that instead of standing there and teaching a cop when there's an unarmed person, coming at him with a knife or something, to shoot him in the leg instead of in the heart,” Biden said. Biden made his remarks while meeting with African American community leaders at the Bethel AME Church in Wilmington, Del. The former vice president was discussing the widespread protests touched off by the killing of George Floyd, an African American man, at the hands of white police officers in Minneapolis, Minn.
Kellyanne Conway defended President Donald Trump's decision to tear-gas protesters for a photo-op in front of St. John's Episcopal Church Monday night by going after the bishop who presides over that congregation. The White House counselor was confronted with the criticism from Episcopal Bishop Mariann Budde during an appearance on Fox News early Tuesday afternoon. After listing various actions Trump has taken in the name of “religious liberty”—implying that all clergy should be grateful for his help—Conway addressed Budde directly.
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam has fired back at foreign governments critical of China's plans to impose a national security law in the city. Tuesday (June 2)'s press conference was Lam's first public appearance since Washington announced it would remove Hong Kong's special status under U.S. law. She pointed to protests against police brutality across the United States over recent days.
Seth Wenig/AP Photo A New York City police officer pointed his gun at peaceful protesters in Manhattan Sunday night. After a video of the incident trended on Twitter, Mayor Bill de Blasio said the officer's actions were "unacceptable" and he should "have his gun and badge taken away." On Saturday, de Blasio was widely criticized for defending police officers who drove into a protesting crowd, before backtracking on his comments Sunday.
A truck driver accused of speeding into a crowd of protesters in Minneapolis has been released from jail, acquitted of assault charges. Bogdan Vechirko drove an 18-wheeler among a large group of peaceful protesters on the highway in Minneapolis on Sunday. Video shows the truck driving past protesters gathered on the highway shoulder and then coming to a stop just short of hitting some people who stood in front of its path.
Israel's defense minister urged the military on Monday to hasten preparations for the country's planned annexation of parts of the occupied West Bank, in apparent anticipation of what could be fierce Palestinian protests against the move. The statement by Benny Gantz came as Israeli media reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discussed annexation on Monday in a call with Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's senior adviser who stands behind a White House Mideast plan that largely favors Israel. In a statement sent by his office, Gantz appeared to command the military to prepare for the fallout from annexation, asking the military chief of staff to “speed up the (military's) preparedness ahead of political steps on the agenda in the Palestinian sphere.”
The families of British dual nationals imprisoned by Iran today criticised the Foreign Office for “complete inaction” in trying to secure their release, as an Iranian scientist previously jailed by the US was allowed to fly home. A plane carrying Sirous Asgari took off early this morning and was on its way back to Tehran to bring him home, Iran's foreign minister announced, raising hopes of a potential prisoner swap for Western dual nationals in Iran. Mr Asgari was accused by a US court in 2016 of stealing trade secrets while on an academic visit to Ohio, where he visited a university working on projects for the US Navy.
Up to 150 peaceful protesters – many of whom had narrowly escaped being hit by a speeding fuel truck – were arrested and handcuffed after police in Minneapolis fired tear gas and flash rounds to surround them. A number of those being arrested said they were not read their rights, and were not informed of what they were being charged with. The Independent watched as one young woman was overcome after being hit by tear gas and had to lie on the ground as others urged the police to call for a medic.
Mexico's military is cooperating with a fresh probe into the 2014 disappearance of 43 student teachers, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Tuesday. The apparent massacre of the youths, whose remains are still being searched for, is widely believed to have been committed by corrupt police working with a violent drug gang, and has drawn international outrage. Lopez Obrador, who came into power in 2018, has vowed to uncover what really happened and examine the prior handling of the case, which led to one of the worst crises of his predecessor Enrique Pena Nieto's administration.
The Trump administration did not secure the freedom of an American imprisoned in Iran in exchange for releasing an Iranian scientist held on U.S. immigration charges, the National Interest has learned. Sirous Asgari was deported to Iran on Tuesday after nearly three years in U.S. detention, first for sanctions-busting charges that were later dropped, and then for an expired visa. Iranian officials had raised the possibility of trading Asgari for Michael White, a U.S. Navy veteran imprisoned since 2018.
Trump announced on Sunday he'd be designating Antifa as a terror organization, and blamed them for the violence at protests against police brutality following the death of George Floyd. Gaetz is one of President Donald Trump's staunchest supports on Capitol Hill. Hours after it was posted, Twitter determined Gaetz's tweet violated its policies against glorifying violence.
In a poll released in May, a representative survey of U.S. adults by the University of Chicago Divinity School and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found two-thirds of Americans don't think that "prohibiting in-person religious services" during the pandemic is a violation of freedom of religion, and that includes a majority of evangelical Christians and Republicans, according to our analysis. When asked about "placing restrictions" on in-person religious services, rather than prohibiting them, 82% of American adults overall think that would not violate religious liberty.
Dave Grossman's "Bulletproof Mind" is teaching law enforcement agencies across the United States militarized tactics in which officers are told to see themselves as "at war" on the streets. Agencies have started turning away from the courses in recent years, after it was discovered the Minnesota police officer who fatally shot Philando Castile had taken one of Grossman's courses. If you're prepared to kill, Dave Grossman, says, it's "just not that big of a deal."
China has been furious at the US government for criticizing its handling of protests in Hong Kong and for backing pro-democracy demonstrators. Over the weekend, state-run media made the most of the current protests in America, sparked by the police-related death of George Floyd. "US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi once called the violent protests in Hong Kong 'a beautiful sight to behold,'" he wrote.
The president of the Minneapolis police union has written to its members calling George Floyd a “violent criminal”, describing those protesting over his death as terrorists and criticizing the city's political leadership for not authorizing greater use of force to stop the rioting. The letter drew a swift rebuke from a former Minneapolis police chief who called it a disgrace. Lt Bob Kroll, president of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis, defended the four officers involved in Floyd's death, including Derek Chauvin, who kneeled on Floyd's neck for more than eight minutes in the lead-up to his death on 25 May. Chauvin is facing murder and manslaughter charges, and the three other officers have been fired.