June 3 George Floyd protest news

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12:12 p.m. ET, June 3, 2020

Protesters plan to stage sit-in on Capitol Hill 

From CNN's Manu Raju and Lauren Fox 

Manu Raju/CNN
Manu Raju/CNN

More than 1,000 people are peacefully protesting police brutality outside the US Capitol.

You can hear chants of “this is what democracy looks like” and “take a knee," as well as "we are not a threat.”

Most people are wearing masks. 

The protesters gathered earlier this morning at Freedom Plaza before walking over to the Capitol building. On the way you could hear chants of "George Floyd" and "Black Lives Matter."

The protesters plan to stage an outside sit-in which will also include speeches until about 3:00 p.m. ET, according to a schedule from the organizers. 

Watch the scene:

11:30 a.m. ET, June 3, 2020

Army investigating why National Guard helicopters hovered low over DC, Esper says

From CNN's Michael Conte

Demonstrators react as a helicopter circles low overhead near the White House in Washington on June 1.
Demonstrators react as a helicopter circles low overhead near the White House in Washington on June 1. Evan Vucci/AP

Defense Secretary Mark Esper announced that the Army is conducting an investigation into why a National Guard helicopter hovered low over protestors in Washington, DC, on Monday night.

“It wasn’t until yesterday afternoon that we determined that it was a National Guard helicopter that hovered low over a city block in DC,” Esper told reporters at the Pentagon on Wednesday. “Within an hour or so of learning of this, I directed the Secretary of the Army to conduct an inquiry to determine what happened and why, and to report back to me.”

The DC National Guard said in a statement they were investigating the incident “to ensure all involved complied with applicable procedures and safety regulations.”

"I hold all members of the District of Columbia National Guard to the highest of standards. We live and work in the District, and we are dedicated to the service of our nation," said the DC National Guard Commanding General Maj. Gen. William J. Walker in a statement.

“I want to make sure I understand why, what happened, who was involved, what orders were they given or not given, was there a safety issue involved, right, with an aircraft hovering that low,” said Esper.

In response to a question about the helicopter being used to intimidate protestors, Esper responded that he “got a report back that they were asked by law enforcement to look at a checkpoint, a National Guard checkpoint to see if there were protestors around.”

Esper said the maneuver appeared “unsafe,” but added, “I need to learn more about what’s going on.”

He suggested it would not have been unsafe if it were being done to medivac someone who was “seriously injured,” but that it was not his understanding that that was the helicopter’s mission.

11:29 a.m. ET, June 3, 2020

Decision has been made on additional charges in Floyd case

From CNN's Josh Campbell and Sara Sidner

A protester sits in front of a makeshift memorial to George Floyd near the spot where he died in Minneapolis on May 29.
A protester sits in front of a makeshift memorial to George Floyd near the spot where he died in Minneapolis on May 29. Kerem Yucel/AFP via Getty Images

The Minnesota Attorney General's office has finished its initial review of evidence in the investigation of four former police officers involved in the death of George Floyd and has rendered a decision regarding additional charges, two law enforcement officials briefed on the state's investigation tell CNN.

One of the officials said the state's Attorney General will be making a significant announcement in the case early this afternoon. The officials would not reveal what the decision was.

A total of three now-former officers can be seen on video on top of George Floyd before his death on May 25. They include Derek Chauvin — now charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter — as well as officers Thomas Lane and J.A. Keung. A fourth former officer, Tou Thao, is seen on the video near the others.

Benjamin Crump, an attorney for the Floyd family, told CNN Wednesday that he is confident the other officers will be charged before Thursday's public memorial in Minneapolis.

"I am confident that these officers will be charged before people in Minneapolis say their final goodbyes to George Floyd, may he rest in peace."
11:20 a.m. ET, June 3, 2020

NYC mayor says last night's protests were "overwhelmingly peaceful"

From CNN's Elizabeth Joseph

NYC Media
NYC Media

Protests across New York City last night were "overwhelmingly peaceful," and the new strategies employed by the city's police department to address the protests were effective, Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a news conference this morning. 

“We saw peaceful protests during the day – some tense moments, undoubtedly, but overwhelmingly peaceful protests,” he said, adding there were a few incidents of illegal or violent activity around the protests.

“Overwhelmingly, it was a very different reality in New York City last night, and the areas that had been particularly effected in midtown, Manhattan and in part of The Bronx the night before did not see that kind of activity in any meaningful number last night,” de Blasio said.

New strategies employed by the NYPD were created in light "of what happened 9 p.m. Sunday through Monday night," he said, and he thanked NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea and the officers around the city.

"They’ve been asked to do a lot over the past few days – a lot of them are exhausted from working so hard, but they are going out there, doing their jobs, protecting all of us and showing a lot of restraint in the process ... Anyone who wants to put on that uniform takes an oath, agrees to a higher calling, and agrees that restraint will be part of their life and ‘keeping the peace’ means every sense of those words. That's what our officers and their commanders understand," de Blasio said.

1:57 p.m. ET, June 3, 2020

Here are the latest curfews in California 

From CNN's Stella Chan

Cities and counties in California have imposed curfews in response to violent protests across the country this weekend.

Here are the latest curfews in the state (All are local times):

  • The city of Santa Monica will be under curfew at 6 p.m. today until 6 a.m. Thursday, according to a tweet from the city's police department.
  • Beverly Hills will impose a 1 p.m. curfew in business districts and a 4 p.m. citywide curfew until 6 a.m.Thursday. 
  • San Francisco and Oakland continue curfews from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. until further notice.
  • Alameda County, which includes Oakland, has an 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew until 5 a.m. on Friday, unless rescinded earlier.
  • Solano County imposed an 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew until Thursday, unless rescinded earlier.
  • Contra Costa county has a curfew for the same time, until further notice.
  • Los Angeles has not yet announced a curfew for the city or the county.
11:27 a.m. ET, June 3, 2020

St. Paul police chief to officers who think force against Floyd was reasonable: "Turn your badge in"

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

Todd Axtell, the police chief of St. Paul, Minnesota, said that if any officers think that the use of force against George Floyd was reasonable, they should turn in their badges. 

“We have been dealing with traumatic and challenging times, but…I want to make sure that all chiefs and sheriffs throughout this country join me in this clearing call to our officers. When they watch that video, if they think in any way, shape or form that that’s acceptable or reasonable uses of force — I told my officers, if they think that's reasonable, I want you to turn your badge in to me and do it immediately,” Axtell told CNN’s Poppy Harlow. 

Axtell said that there is systemic racism embedded in most systems in the United States. 

“It is not just in police departments across this country. My goodness, there’s systemic racism within pretty much everything in this country,” he said. “…If we turn a blind eye to that, we're never going to move forward together.”

Axtell marched alongside protesters yesterday. 

“It was such a touching moment for me personally to be in solidarity with a lot of the pain that's occurring throughout our city and throughout this country. Now is our moment to move forward together, use this tragedy as an opportunity to do what has been needed to be done for many, many years,” Axtell said. 

“I think it’s a false choice to think that you can't decry injustice within the criminal justice system and systems throughout this entire country and also support the great women and men of law enforcement throughout this entire country who are good human beings. I think we can do both,” he added.

Watch:

 

10:55 a.m. ET, June 3, 2020

Defense secretary says he was unaware of photo-op at St. John's Church

From CNN's Ryan Browne

Pool
Pool

Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Wednesday that he had advance notice of President Donald Trump’s visit to St. John’s Church in Lafayette Park Monday night, but was not aware that the visit would turn into a photo opportunity.

“Well I did know that we were going to the church. I was not aware that a photo-op was happening,” Esper told reporters at the Pentagon. 

Esper has drawn criticism from lawmakers and former defense officials over his decision to accompany Trump to the area minutes after law enforcement officers used riot control agents to clear the area of largely peaceful protesters.

Esper said he had not been briefed on plans to clear the park, but added that he would not expect to be briefed on such an operations. 

“I was not briefed on the plans, and I was not aware of what they were doing,” Esper said, later adding “that was not a military decision, that was not a military action.”

“I do everything I can to try to stay apolitical and to try and stay out of situations that may appear political. And sometimes I’m successful at doing that, and sometimes I’m not as successful,” Esper said.

10:53 a.m. ET, June 3, 2020

Minnesota governor apologizes to CNN reporter for arrest: "I’m deeply sorry"

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

CNN
CNN

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz apologized to CNN correspondent Omar Jimenez after police arrested him and his crew on Friday while they were covering protests in Minneapolis.

“Thank you for the professionalism, thank you for understanding and I’m deeply sorry. And you know that we’ve made other mistakes on this as far as making sure that you have access, but protocols and everything else we're learning have to change, because we have to create the space for you to tell the story,” Walz told Jimenez during an interview.

Walz also explained why he felt it was important for him to be out on the streets of Minneapolis. It was the first time that the governor visited the memorial at the site of George Floyd's death. 

“I have to personally and viscerally feel this. It’s unfortunate I've become friends with mothers only because their sons were killed,” he said.  

“I don't think we get another chance to fix this in the country. I really don't. I don't think that's hyperbole. I think being at the heart of this and seeing the community's pain so viscerally, this is going to have to be that change we look for,” Walz added.  

WATCH THE INTERVIEW:

10:48 a.m. ET, June 3, 2020

Defense Secretary says he does not support using active duty troops to police protests

From CNN's Mike Callahan

Pool
Pool

Speaking at a Pentagon media briefing Wednesday, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said he does not support the use of the Insurrection Act, adding that it should only be used as a last resort.

“The option to use active duty forces in a law enforcement role should only be used as a matter of last resort, and only in the most urgent and dire of situations. We are not in one of those situations now. I do not support invoking the Insurrection Act,” Esper said.

Some background: President Trump on Monday threatened to invoke the Insurrection Act of 1807 and take the unusual step of deploying active duty US soldiers to police US streets.

While Trump claims the move would break up anti-fascists, or Antifa, who he says are organizing violent riots that have led to looting, it would also effectively squelch peaceful protests for racial justice after the death last week of a black man, George Floyd, after a police officer used lethal force during a stop.

The law was most notably used in the 1950s to enforce desegregation. And later, in the 1960s, to address riots in Detroit.

WATCH: