Attorney General William Barr said Thursday that it was “entirely appropriate” to forcibly remove protesters from the area surrounding the White House ahead of President Trump's seemingly impromptu photo opportunity in front of St. John's Church. “I think the president is the head of the executive branch and the chief executive of the nation and should be able to walk outside the White House and walk across the street to the church of presidents,” Barr said at a press conference when asked about regrets expressed Wednesday by Defense Secretary Mark Esper over the political implication of his appearance with the president at the church.
The government's increasingly militarized response to nationwide protests has sparked concern among employees of a Pentagon intelligence agency, who fear they might be compelled to help conduct surveillance on Americans participating in demonstrations, sources tell Yahoo News. The May 25 killing of George Floyd, an African-American man, in Minneapolis police custody set off a series of nationwide protests, including in Washington, D.C. In response, the Trump administration has sent a wide range of law enforcement and military personnel to the nation's capital to help police the demonstrations. The use of military personnel has prompted questions about overreach, including now at the Defense Intelligence Agency.
One of the four former Minneapolis officers charged in George Floyd's death tried to warn his fellow officers during the arrest, his attorney claimed in court Thursday. J. Alexander Kueng hadn't yet completed his third full shift as a police officer when the deadly arrest occurred, his attorney Tom Plunkett claimed. Plunkett says Kueng allegedly told his fellow officers as they were detaining Floyd, “You shouldn't do that."
A conservative writer from Portland, Oregon, filed a lawsuit Thursday against purported elements of the nebulous, far-left militant groups collectively known as antifa, days after President Donald Trump blamed those groups for inciting violence at protests over police killings of black people. The suit was filed on behalf of Andy Ngo, who is known for aggressively covering and video-recording demonstrators. “I am hoping that this marks a turning point, that militants belonging to a criminal movement can no longer depend on the anonymity ... to get away with their crimes,” said Ngo, who previously was a writer with the online publication Quillette and now is with The Post Millennial.
The Trump administration has ordered Marriott International to wind down hotel operations in Communist-run Cuba, a company spokeswoman told Reuters, extinguishing what had been a symbol of the U.S.-Cuban detente.
Peaceful protests in New York took a dark turn Thursday as graphic video emerged of an elderly man being knocked to the ground by police in Buffalo and protesters in New York City were confronted with swarms of police officers using heavy-handed tactics to enforce a statewide 8 p.m. curfew. The shocking incident in Buffalo's Niagara Square occurred outside City Hall, where video posted by local media shows the man approaching police as they attempt to clear the square, only for him to be violently shoved.
An entire tactical unit of a US police department has quit after two officers accused of brutality were sent on unpaid leave, reports local media. In a video that went viral on Thursday, officers in the city of Buffalo, New York, were seen shoving an elderly man to the ground. According to the Buffalo News, the members have quit the Emergency Response Team, but not the police department.
Vladimir Putin declared a state of emergency after more than 20,000 tons of diesel fuel spilled into a river in the Russian Arctic. Several miles of the Ambarnaya river were turned red after a fuel tank at a power plant in Norilsk, an industrial city in northern Siberia, collapsed on Friday. Mr Putin berated regional officials for their slow response in a Zoom call broadcast on state television on Wednesday.
Read this: Officials blame 'out-of-state' agitators but those at the heart of protests are homegrown Riot, violence, looting: Words matter when talking about race and unrest, experts say Leggat, the security consultant, said intelligence reports from his colleagues indicate most of the hard-core protesters in Minneapolis were far-left or anarchists, and that far-right groups have not yet made a significant appearance. He said looting is typically done by locals – usually people with no criminal record who just get caught up in the moment. But direct conflicts with authorities come from a mix of both locals and outside groups who see these conflicts as a core part of their mission.
Retired Marine Gen. John Allen on Wednesday said President Trump's threats to use the U.S. military on protesters “may well signal the beginning of the end of the American experiment.” Allen, the former commander of the NATO International Security Assistance Force and U.S. forces in Afghanistan, said Trump's halting Rose Garden speech in which he declared himself the “president of law and order,” the use of tear gas on protesters outside the White House and the church photo op that followed Monday was a “stunning” moment and potentially a pivotal one. “Donald Trump expressed only the barest of condolences at the murder of George Floyd, but he also said nothing about the fundamental and underlying reasons for the unrest: systemic racism and inequality, a historic absence of respect, and a denial of justice,” Allen wrote.
After infection, symptoms can take up to 14 days to present; testing positive or requiring hospitalization can take even longer. While the country has shifted its attention from the pathogen to the protests, and while COVID-19 infections have continued to decline in some of America's hardest-hit cities, cases have been climbing elsewhere — especially in the South and the West, and most of all in states that moved to reopen early. More than a month has passed since the first wave of reopenings — enough time to start to gauge the impact of looser restrictions, increased interaction and more relaxed attitudes toward social distancing.
It showed an NYPD vehicle in Brooklyn lined up against a metal barricade behind which protesters were chanting during Saturday's demonstrations over the police killing of George Floyd. Projectiles were thrown on to the roof of the car, then suddenly a second police SUV drew up alongside and instead of stopping continued to plough straight into the crowd. A 27-second video, now viewed more than 30m times, had quickly shredded years of effort to repair the deeply tarnished image of the NYPD.
Shutterstock / Lewis Tse Pui Lung Hong Kong passed a controversial bill on Thursday that makes insulting China's national anthem a crime. The bill states that anyone who insults or commercially misuses China's national anthem — March of the Volunteers — faces fines of up to HK$50,000, or roughly $6,380, or up to three years in prison. The bill was passed on the 31st anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, in which Chinese troops entered Tiananmen Square in Beijing and fired on unarmed pro-democracy protesters, killing hundreds.
A black man who called out “I can't breathe” before dying in police custody in Tacoma, Washington, was killed as a result of oxygen deprivation and the physical restraint that was used on him, according to details of a medical examiner's report released Wednesday. The Pierce County Medical Examiner's Office concluded that the death of the man, Manuel Ellis, 33, was a homicide. Investigators with the Pierce County Sheriff's Department were in the process of preparing a report about the March death, which occurred shortly after an arrest by officers from the Tacoma Police Department, said the sheriff's spokesman, Ed Troyer.
LONDON—A corrupt former police officer who was caught working with Trump Tower lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya has revealed in a Swiss court how Russia's complex foreign influence campaign targets justice systems in Western countries. The former consultant to the Swiss Federal Prosecutor's Office was sacked and convicted after his entanglement with Veselnitskaya and the Russian prosecutor general's office was exposed. On the visit to the spectacular Kamchatka Peninsula and Lake Baikal, the official, who is identified only as Victor K., reportedly admitted that he spent a week fishing, enjoying the rugged countryside, and hunting for bear, including from a helicopter, with officials from the Russian prosecutor general's office.
As protesters clash with riot squads in cities across the country, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo has drawn national praise for his willingness to march with activists and call for officers to be held accountable when they kill without justification. Days after George Floyd's death last week under the knee of Minneapolis Officer Derek Chauvin, Acevedo was among the first big city police chiefs to speak out, telling The Washington Post that “actions have to have consequences.” When President Donald Trump called on governors to “dominate” protesters in the streets, Acevedo responded on national television with a message of his own: “Keep your mouth shut.”
Lightning causes a huge amount of damage every year, mostly to property much closer to the ground. The marble Washington Monument is topped with a set of lightning rods. A Washington, D.C. news channel captured astonishing footage of lightning repeatedly striking the Washington Monument on Thursday night.
The rocket flew its first test flight on June 4, 2010. It's been a decade of spaceflight innovation ever since. From Popular Mechanics
Attorney General William Barr on Thursday defended the deployment of black-clad federal law enforcement officers who wear neither badges nor any other visible identification in response to protests in Washington, D.C. Barr and Bureau of Prisons Director Michael Carvajal said at a Thursday press conference that the officers were from the Bureau of Prisons Special Operations Response Team (SORT). Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker, along with House Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries and Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, wrote to Barr about the “the use of federal security forces to oversee protests without specific agency identifiers or badge numbers.”
Sweden's former ambassador to China went on trial in Stockholm on Friday accused of overstepping her mandate and risking national security by trying to negotiate the release of a dissident. Anna Lindstedt faces up to two years in prison if she is convicted of brokering an unauthorised meeting in January last year when she was ambassador. She was trying to secure the freedom of Chinese-born Swedish citizen Gui Minhai, who published gossipy titles about Chinese political leaders in a Hong Kong book shop.
Hennepin County Sheriff's Office J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane were two of the four police officers involved in George Floyd's deadly arrest on May 25. Attorneys for the two men told a court on Thursday that they were rookies who had been on the job for less than four days and had no choice but to follow the command of their ranking officer, Derek Chauvin. Previously released police records, however, show that the two men were made full officers in December.
The entire country is on edge right now with people protesting police brutality in the wake of the killing of George Floyd and other unarmed black people by law enforcement. All the while, the world continues to cope with a deadly pandemic, one that disproportionately affects African-Americans. And in November there is a presidential election.
Kamala Harris and Corey Booker spoke out against an amendment from Sen. Rand Paul that is holding up an anti-lynching bill. Paul claimed the bill was too broad. The effort came as a memorial service was being held for George Floyd, a black man who died at the hands of a police officer who has since been fired and charged with murder.
A Florida Highway Patrol trooper and a Tallahassee employee of the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles have been fired for making "abhorrent" comments about George Floyd protesters, the department said. The two workers had directed “hateful, racist and threatening remarks” toward Florida demonstrators calling for better policing as part of nationwide protests in the wake of Floyd's death in police custody on Memorial Day in Minneapolis. Long-simmering tensions stoked by police tactics toward black men erupted over the weekend with marches and demonstrations by a diverse group of protesters, many in their teens and 20s, that blocked roadways in Florida cities and elsewhere in the country.
Mexico City officials said Friday that prosecutors are investigating several doctors who allegedly issued false death certificates for people who may have died of the coronavirus. As deaths mount in Mexico, the need to quickly dispose of corpses has apparently led to a black market in death certificates. Mexico reported 625 newly confirmed COVID-19 deaths Friday, down from a peak of 1,092 on Wednesday and 816 on Thursday.