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June 4 George Floyd protest news
Prosecutors have now charged all four police officers involved in George Floyd's death.
Derek Chauvin, the former officer who kept his knee on Floyd's neck for almost nine minutes, had his charges expanded this week to include the more serious one of second-degree murder.
This was added to charges of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
The other three officers -- Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng, who helped restrain Floyd, and Tou Thao, who stood nearby -- are charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.
Let's break down these charges:
- Second-degree murder and aiding and abetting that crime carry a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison
- Third-degree murder carries a maximum penalty of 25 years
- Manslaughter or aiding and abetting that crime carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison
What this means for prosecutors:
To prove third-degree murder, prosecutors have to show that Chauvin carried out "an act eminently dangerous to others and evincing a depraved mind," without intent to kill, but without regard for life.
To prove second-degree murder, prosecutors have to prove the intention to kill or that the person caused a death while committing another felony crime.
In Buffalo, New York, two police officers have been suspended without pay after knocking down a 75-year-old man during the protests, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said in a statement on Thursday night.
Brown said he was "deeply disturbed" by video of the incident, and that the police commissioner has directed an immediate investigation into the matter.
“Tonight, after a physical altercation between two separate groups of protesters participating in an illegal demonstration beyond the curfew, two Buffalo Police officers knocked down a 75-year-old man. The victim is in stable but serious condition at ECMC," Brown said in the statement.
"After days of peaceful protests and several meetings between myself, police leadership and members of the community, tonight’s event is disheartening," he said. "My thoughts are with the victim tonight.”
The video shows the man falling backward after being pushed and lying still with what appears to be blood on the ground below his head.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo also condemned the incident, saying he had spoken with Brown about it.
"This incident is wholly unjustified and utterly disgraceful. I've spoken with Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown and we agree that the officers involved should be immediately suspended pending a formal investigation. Police Officers must enforce — NOT ABUSE — the law," Cuomo tweeted.
Wanda Cooper, Ahmaud Arbery's mother, told CNN it was "heartbreaking" to hear that the men accused of killing her son had used a racial slur.
“It was very heartbreaking. I often imagine the last minutes of my son’s life. I didn’t imagine it would be that harsh, but to learn that that statement was made in the last seconds of his life -- again, it was very heartbreaking,” Cooper said.
“At this point, I’m really speechless because -- I mean, it’s hard to know that he had to go through that after he had ran. He actually ran for his life. Then when he couldn’t run anymore, he had to fight, and then after he fought, he was killed. Very hard to know he endured that,” Cooper said.
“I’m hoping that the death of my son, also of Mr. (George) Floyd, that their deaths will implement change,” Cooper said. “We need change. So no other African-American male will lose their life in such a manner.”
Some context: At a preliminary hearing earlier today, the judge ruled that all three defendants in the Arbery case -- Travis McMichael; his father, Gregory McMichael; and William "Roddie" Bryan -- would stand trial on all charges.
Bryan told investigators he heard McMichael use a racial epithet after fatally shooting Arbery.
It's just past 8:30 p.m. in Los Angeles, where protests are still continuing in full force.
There is no curfew in the city today, and demonstrations have stayed peaceful all day, without violent confrontations or clashes, according to CNN Correspondent Kyung Lah at the scene.
One group of protesters is now marching through a tunnel in downtown LA, Lah said.
Protesters chant slogans as they march, with music and drum beats blaring in the background. Cars are slowly moving through the tunnel along with marchers, with many drivers and passengers holding protest signs or raised fists out of their windows to show support.
"It is loud, it is raucous, but also very peaceful," said Lah. "The police tactic today has been to allow them to march."
"Last night we, saw some people arrested, but overall, most of the thousands who filled the streets of Los Angeles yesterday, did go home. There are fewer people on the streets today, but still ... (there are) sizable crowds," she said.
The leader of the Australian state of New South Wales is working with police to obtain a court injunction against a protest scheduled for Saturday in Sydney to support the Black Lives Matters movement.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said she was doing so “because the protesters could not guarantee adherence to the health orders.”
“They could not guarantee safe social distancing and simply the number of protesters far exceeds the health orders,” she said, referring to measures implemented to curb the spread of Covid-19.
Under current rules, residents in the state can gather in groups of 10, and events with up to 500 people can take place as long as social distancing measures are taken.
Several protests in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement have been held or are being planned in Australia's major cities.
The friend of George Floyd who was in the car with him when police first approached says Floyd gave officers no reason to fear him.
“I believe the energy was set wrong when they approached him, because they approached with an energy that startled Mr. Floyd,” Maurice Lester Hall told CNN on Thursday night.
Hall said an officer reached into the vehicle to grab Floyd’s hands even as Floyd was trying to cooperate. “Once they reached for Mr. George Floyd's hands, it took the whole situation into a turmoil that didn't have to be,” said Hall.
Hall said he had known Floyd for years and that his friend was usually able to defuse tense situations.
“He gets 'big guy' status,” Hall said. “He gets extra attention, good or bad. But he knows how to conduct himself.”
Officers had separated Hall from Floyd while Floyd was being restrained with a knee on his neck. But Hall says he could hear Floyd pleading with officers that he couldn’t breathe.
“I saw my brother take his last breath. The world saw him take his last breath," Hall said.
Protesters are still demonstrating in Washington, DC, even after a heavy downpour that swept through the downtown earlier today.
There is no curfew in the city tonight, reflecting the more peaceful nature of the protests these past few nights, according to CNN Correspondent Alex Marquardt on the scene.
"There were no arrests last night, and the metropolitan police department said they were not going to enforce that curfew as long as people stayed peaceful," Marquardt said.
Many of the protesters are now standing on the other side of a fence that had been put up earlier in the week following violent confrontations with law enforcement. On the other side of the fence, bright floodlights are being directed at the crowd.
"They have been lowered to eye height, so they're pointing right into the faces of the protesters so you can't see the forces behind the lights," Marquardt said. "Those forces have become a huge point of contention."
Some context: A huge influx of federal law enforcement has entered DC this week -- members of the National Guard, FBI, ICE, TSA, and more -- eliciting criticism from DC officials.
Police in New York have begun arresting protesters in Manhattan's Midtown district, as crowds remain out on the streets in violation of the citywide 8 p.m. curfew.
After a day of mostly peaceful protests, the last remaining group of Manhattan demonstrators spent the past few hours marching north, starting from the lower end of Midtown up toward Central Park.
Then, as night fell and the protesters reached 57th Street, "officers just started moving in and making arrests," said CNN Correspondent Shimon Prokupecz, reporting from the scene. "One of the officers was swinging his baton, and the captain actually pulled him back after seeing this officer doing this."
Officers then began making arrests without any warning or announcement beforehand, Prokupecz said, estimating the police numbered in the hundreds.
"They came east, they came west, and they just swarmed this area. It was clear that they wanted to move in and take these demonstrators off the street," Prokupecz said.
On the other side of the East River, protesters also faced off with police in Brooklyn -- but here, they managed to defuse some of the tension in a moment of shared unity.
Tensions threatened briefly to boil over when protesters, numbering a little over a hundred, were met with a line of police officers. Then, one of the police chiefs reached out to speak with the protesters, shook some of their hands, and deescalated the situation, said CNN Correspondent Jason Carroll.
"It's the first time since we've been out here where we've seen police engage some of these protesters in this way," Carroll said. "It's an incredible thing you see there, Chief (Jeffrey) Maddrey still talking and engaging with these young men and women ... These officers are trying to engage with the community."