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May 31 George Floyd protest news
By Amir Vera, Daniella Diaz, James Griffiths, Jenni Marsh, Laura Smith-Spark, Fernando Alfonso III, Jessie Yeung and Steve George, CNN
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.
"This is how change begins," Cuomo said on Twitter, retweeting the video clip.
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
From CNN’s Andy Rose
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
From CNN’s Greg Clary
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."