Live Updates

May 31 George Floyd protest news

Unrest, fires and violence as protests rage across US

What you need to know

  • Protests erupt for a sixth day across the US over the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, at the hands of a police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
  • At least 40 cities have imposed curfews and National Guard members have been activated in 15 states and Washington, DC.
  • One former officer, who was seen with his knee on Floyd’s neck, was charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter — but protesters say the charge isn’t harsh enough, and are demanding charges for the other officers involved.
147 Posts

Our live coverage of the nationwide George Floyd protests has moved here.

New York governor and NYPD praise officers who knelt with peaceful protesters

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea have praised a video of police officers kneeling with protesters in the city on Sunday.

The video, shot by Aleeia Abraham in Jamaica, Queens, shows police officers kneeling with demonstrators during a march calling for justice for George Floyd.

Shea also commented on the video on Twitter, saying, “We need more of this, to see and hear each other, to work together, to recognize that our differences are our strength.”

He also commented on a photo on Twitter showing an interaction between a peaceful protester and a NYPD officer.

“There so many more moments like this out there that are being overshadowed. This image embodies the true spirit of NYers & the men and women of the NYPD – everyday people striving for a unified NYC,” Shea said of the photo.

Some context on the video: On Sunday, several hundred people held a peaceful march in Queens, close to the 103rd police precinct.

In the video, the protesters are kneeling, and a pastor invited officers to come into the circle and kneel with them – which was greeted with cheers from the crowd.

Abraham said she’d never seen police do that in all her years of activism, or even on television at other protests – but warned that “what we’re really looking for is action.”

“I’ll be even more impressed when we’re not stepped on and gunned down. That’s the moment I’m looking for.”

Watch it here:

The Atlanta officers fired for tasing two college students say they thought the couple was armed

The two Atlanta police officers who were fired for using excessive force against two protesters said they had tased the couple over concerns they were armed.

The incident happened in Atlanta, Georgia, late Saturday night during protests against the death of George Floyd. Video of the confrontation show two young college students in their car, before being tased by police.

Officer statements: The officer who tased the male driver said, ““The driver started grabbing his right pocket area, causing me to us (sic) my ECW (Electronic Conductive Weapon) on him.”  

The officer who tased the female passenger said he gave verbal commands to the female to, “show her hands and stop resisting.” He also wrote he “heard officers say ‘gun’ two-three times,” according to the report.  

They were fired after the incident: The two officers have been fired, and three other officers involved are now on desk duty pending further determination of disciplinary action, said Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.

“There clearly was a use of excessive force,” she said. “We understand that our officers are working very long hours under an enormous amount of stress. But we also understand that the use of excessive force is never acceptable.”

Minnesota officials believe there are white supremacists attending demonstrations

Law enforcement officials in Minnesota believe there are white supremacists attending demonstrations in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, said Department of Corrections Commissioner Paul Schnell on Sunday night.

“They’re agitators,” he said, adding that authorities are trying to break up groups so “agitators” don’t gather and incite chaos.

He also added that there have been reports of Antifa attending the demonstrations.

Antifa, short for anti-fascists, describes a broad group of people whose political beliefs lean toward the left – often the far left – but do not conform with the Democratic Party platform. 

Oklahoma City enforces curfew after protests turn violent

The mayor of Oklahoma City has enacted a curfew for downtown areas, from 10 p.m. local time until 5 a.m. Monday morning.

City police said on Twitter that a crowd near police headquarters was being dispersed, after the protests became non-peaceful and objects were thrown at officers.

Police are now calling it an “unlawful assembly” and telling protestors to disband.

Ex-officer Derek Chauvin has been moved to a Minnesota Department of Corrections facility

Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin, who has been charged with third-degree murder in the death of George Floyd, has been moved to a Minnesota Department of Corrections facility in Oak Park Heights, northeast of Minneapolis.

He was moved for a number of reasons, including concerns about Covid-19 and that a large number of people could be booked into Hennepin County Jail due to ongoing protests, said Department of Corrections Commissioner Paul Schnell late Sunday night.

Chauvin was transferred to Hennepin County Jail earlier today, a spokesperson for the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office told CNN in an email. 

The man who drove a tanker truck into a crowd of protesters has been charged with assault

Bogdan Vechirko, the man who drove a tanker truck into a crowd of protesters on a Minnesota interstate on Sunday night, has been charged with assault, according to records at the Hennepin County Jail.

The incident took place on the I-35W bridge. Aerial video from CNN affiliate WCCO appears to show Vechirko in a scrum with protesters as officers took him away, and law enforcement said he was treated at a hospital. A mugshot of Vechirko shows what appear to be minor injuries to his nose and eyes.

It appears no protesters were hurt, said the Department of Public Safety, which described Vechirko’s actions as “inciting a crowd of peaceful demonstrators.” 

Vechirko is now being held without bail.

Fire at St. John's Church in Washington, DC is being extinguished

The Washington DC fire department is extinguishing a fire in the basement of St. John’s Church, it said on Twitter.

The iconic church is just blocks from the White House, and is known as the “Church of the Presidents” because many presidents have attended services there, including President Donald Trump.

There have been protests in the area all day, and protesters set several fires there Sunday evening.

The city is now under curfew, which went into effect at 11 p.m. local time and will be active until 6 a.m. Monday morning.

The Floyd family and Minneapolis police have their first contact live on CNN 

Earlier tonight, the George Floyd family had their first direct communication with the Minneapolis Police Department live on CNN’s special program “I Can’t Breathe: Black Men Living and Dying in America.”

George Floyd’s brother, Philonise Floyd, asked Police Chief Medaria Arradondo whether he would arrest the officers and get justice for George’s death.

Speaking directly to Philonise, Arradondo said those decisions would come through the County Attorney’s Office.

He also took off his hat every time he addressed the Floyd family to show respect, and said those who stood silent in the face of injustice were complicit.

“Being silent or not intervening to me, you’re being complicit,” Arradondo said. “My decision to fire all four officers was not based on some sort of hierarchy. Mr. Floyd died in our hands.”

Attorney Ben Crump, who consoled Philonise during the exchange, thanked Arrandondo.

“He was very respectful to the family, and we thank him for that,” Crump said. “This family is in great pain … They need these officers to be arrested.”

Boston mayor thanks peaceful protesters, condemns violence

Demonstrators protest in response to the recent death of George Floyd on May 31 in Boston.

In a statement on Sunday, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh thanked peaceful protesters in the city but criticized those who committed “destruction and violence.”

“I want to thank the protestors who exercised their right to free speech effectively and peacefully, making sure everyone hears their message. Tonight’s protests were motivated by a righteous desire for equality, justice, and accountability in our country. I see you. I hear you. I will use my voice for you,” he said.
“I am angered, however, by the people who came into our city and chose to engage in acts of destruction and violence, undermining their message. If we are to achieve change and if we are to lead the change, our efforts must be rooted in peace and regard for our community.”

He also thanked the city’s police and public safety agencies for their work.

Cleveland extends its curfew through Tuesday

The city of Cleveland, Ohio, has extended its curfew for the Downtown and Market districts through Tuesday evening, according to an update from the Cleveland City Hall. 

The curfew will now be active until 8 p.m. June 2.

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson signed a Proclamation of Civil Emergency on Sunday to extend the curfew, under which people may only travel for essential activities, and businesses are urged to close.

The city also said that while protests downtown had started peacefully on Saturday, 65 adults and one minor had been arrested during the protests that night, and that more arrests are expected.

Cleveland’s Fire Division responded to two structure fires, 10 vehicle fires (including four police cars), and 11 additional fires involving dumpsters, trash cans, ticket booths, and other items, the city said. 

Multiple first responders were injured, and emergency medical services transported 20 people to hospitals in the area, said the Cleveland City Hall.

White House tells staff to hide passes until they reach entry point

The White House tonight has cautioned staffers who must come to work Monday to hide their passes until they reach a Secret Service entry point and to hide them as they leave, in an email viewed by CNN.

The email repeated mandates for maximum telework status, and said there is still an “elevated security posture” due to the protests. 

“If you must come to the complex, keep your pass and PIV cars hidden until you reach a USSS (United States Secret Service) entry point,” said the email. 

There are fires raging and tear gas fired in Washington D.C., as city approaches curfew

Demonstrators protest the death of George Floyd on May 31 near the White House in Washington.

Anger is erupting in Washington D.C., with large fires near Lafayette Park and police firing tear gas and pepper spray.

Protests are focused in the center of the US capital, just a few blocks away from the White House.

There are several fires happening, one near the historic St. John’s Church, and another at a public facilities building at the edge of the park. People are throwing branches and fireworks into the fires – there’s even a wooden park bench in the doorframe of the park building, feeding the flames.

Police are now working to clear the area, advancing forward in a line and pushing back the crowds.

The city is supposed to go under curfew in just 10 minutes or so, at 11 p.m. local time. It will be lifted Monday morning at 6 a.m., said Mayor Muriel Bowser.


Washington governor activates National Guard to respond to looting in Bellevue

Washington Governor Jay Inslee has activated 200 additional members of the state’s National Guard to respond to looting in Bellevue, east of Seattle, Inslee said in a tweet.

Inslee said he activated the additional members at the request of King County to help protect property, manage crowds and traffic, and respond to looting. 

Guard personnel will be unarmed, the governor tweeted.

Australia PM says he is "disturbed" by US protests and looting

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he was “disturbed” by images of protests in the United States, and that he would “welcome” an invitation from President Donald Trump to join the upcoming G7 summit.

Speaking to Sydney radio station 2GB on Monday morning local time, Morrison said the death of George Floyd was “upsetting and terrible.”

Morrison, who is the leader of the ruling Liberal Party, a center-right political party, added, “Martin Luther King (Jr.) didn’t change anything by burning anything down or looting shops.”

He also commented on a Black Lives Matter solidarity protest scheduled in Sydney on Tuesday, saying, “The United States is going through a difficult time … (but) there is no need to import things that are happening in other countries into Australia.”

The G7 summit: Morrison told 2GB that he would “welcome” an invitation from Trump to join the G7 summit.

“We are expecting an invitation there,” Morrison said. “We welcome that and it’s a good opportunity to deal with likeminded countries.”

Tennessee governor authorizes deployment of National Guard to Murfreesboro 

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee has authorized the deployment of the National Guard to Murfreesboro, where protests are still ongoing even as night falls.

“The protests in Murfreesboro are no longer peaceful demonstrations but have escalated to overt threats to public safety and property,” he tweeted. “I support Mayor McFarland’s 7 p.m. curfew and have authorized both the Tennessee Highway Patrol and the National Guard to provide support on the ground in restoring order for the safety of our citizens.”