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.
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.
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.
Riot police firing tear gas scattered a protest crowd from a downtown Louisville square Monday night, hours after the firing of the city's police chief in the uproar over the early morning shooting death of a popular restaurant owner by security forces. David McAtee, the owner of a barbecue spot who was known for offering meals to police officers, died while police and National Guard soldiers were enforcing a curfew early Monday amid waves of protests over a previous police shooting in Kentucky's largest city. Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer announced the firing of Police Chief Steve Conrad at a news conference Monday.
Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images In a leaked email, the president of the Minneapolis Federation of Police said the ongoing protests over the death of George Floyd were a "terrorist movement" that has occurred following a "long time build up which dates back years." Lt. Bob Kroll blamed politicians for the ongoing tension, specifically targeting Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz and Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey. The former police chief of Minneapolis called on Kroll to resign, and Frey said Kroll was "shockingly indifferent to his role in undermining that trust and support" of the police force.
The San Diego Police Department, spurred by the fallout from George Floyd's death in Minneapolis, has immediately banned a controversial restraint technique. At least three major police departments have banned similar neck holds or chokeholds amid increasing attention on policing maneuvers that cut off oxygen to persons under arrest or restraint. Former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin used a similarly controversial knee-to-neck restraint, pressing his knee into Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes, resulting his death.
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.
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.
The U.S. government's move to launch a trade investigation into a digital services tax adopted by several countries including India should not be construed as a move of aggression against New Delhi, a senior Indian government source said on Wednesday. The U.S. Trade Representative's Office is investigating digital services taxes being adopted or considered by India and other countries such as Italy and Brazil, it said on Tuesday, a move that could lead to new punitive tariffs and heighten trade tensions. "A number of U.S. allies such as the EU and the UK are mentioned in this list ... this USTR action is meant to address the issue of digital taxation and should not be treated as a move of aggression against India," said the government source, declining to be identified due to the sensitivity of the matter.
The capital was awash with anger and pain as tear gas blew along the streets and rubber bullets flew Sunday night and into the early hours of Monday morning. Protesters clashed with law enforcement for the third straight evening outside the White House, and numerous businesses were vandalized by rioters defying a citywide curfew. Protesters gathered throughout Sunday in Lafayette Park, which is across the street from the White House and has been a focal point of the demonstrations that began here Friday evening.
Chechnya's gay-purging strongman Ramzan Kadyrov has made an unexpected foray into US politics by suggesting Donald Trump might have a thing or two to learn from him about human rights. In a social media post published early on Tuesday morning, the controversial leader demanded American authorities “put an end” to “mayhem” and “illegal actions against citizens.” “Police are lynching people right on the streets of American cities,” he wrote.
"How do we feel when interlopers come to destroy our city and exploit our pain? We are outraged. We are insulted.
Stephen Maturen/Getty Images A truck driver named Bogdan Vechirko on Sunday was jailed on assault charges after he nearly drove an 18-wheeler into a large group of protesters in Minneapolis, but he was released without charges on Tuesday. A Facebook post originally from a trucking-education page said truck drivers who are facing protesters have the right to drive into them. However, the burden is ultimately on trucking companies to ensure drivers do not end up in dangerous situations.
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.
The federal judge overseeing the fraught prosecution of former national security adviser Michael Flynn Monday defended his decision to review the Justice Department's effort to abandon the case, calling such a move "unprecedented." "It is unusual for a criminal defendant to claim innocence and move to withdraw his guilty plea after repeatedly swearing under oath that he committed the crime," attorneys for U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan said in documents filed in a D.C. appellate court. "It is unprecedented for an acting U.S. Attorney to contradict the solemn representations that career prosecutors made time and again, and undermine the district court's legal and factual findings, in moving on his own to dismiss the charge years after two different federal judges accepted the defendant's plea."
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.”
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.
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.
A Hong Kong pro-democracy group said on Tuesday it had filed a complaint with the United Nations over what it described as abuse of anti-government protesters held in custody in the Chinese-ruled city. The prominent democracy group Demosisto cited three protesters as saying they had been physically and verbally abused by Correctional Services Department (CSD) guards while in detention, including being beaten and slapped in places without CCTV surveillance cameras. The city government has not commented on the accusations.
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.”
Officials in Minnesota believe that white supremacist “agitators” were inciting chaos at protests against police brutality and the killing of George Floyd. The Minnesota state corrections department said on Sunday that white supremacists were thought to be attending demonstrations in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, and making chaos. “They're agitators,” said Department of Corrections Commissioner Paul Schnell on those who have caused destruction during demonstrations.
Nick Otto for the Washington Post/Getty Images Online personal styling retailer Stitch Fix is laying off 1,400 California employees, or about 18% of its total workforce. The employees affected can stay with the San Francisco-based company if they relocate — Stitch Fix will start hiring for 2,000 positions in lower-cost cities this summer. The company said the layoffs are not related to the pandemic, but the public health crisis has dealt a blow to the retail industry.
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."
A police officer in Las Vegas was critically wounded as others in New York and St. Louis were also injured during ongoing civil unrest sparked by last week's death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, officials said Tuesday. "This has been a long night for your police department ... and a tragic night for our community," Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Sheriff Joseph Lombardo told reporters Tuesday. "With these protests, which are leading to riots, one tragedy is only leading to another."
Parts of Mexico and the Caribbean have targeted dates in early to mid-June for reopening from coronavirus restrictions, and the Bahamas are planning to open July 1. At least one EU member nation has announced a target window, however: Spain's prime minister announced that his country will reopen to foreign tourists sometime in July, though he did not specify a date. Iceland has said it will reopen its borders to foreign tourists on June 15, though there's a catch: Visitors will either have to agree to be tested for COVID-19 or self-quarantine for two weeks.