As historic protests continue to sweep the country two weeks after the police murder of George Floyd, the Minneapolis City Council announced Sunday it would move to disband the city’s police department. Nine members of the council — a veto-proof majority — made the vow during a community rally on Sunday. This is Minneapolis City Councilmember Phillipe Cunningham.
Councilmember Phillipe Cunningham: “This work is not new. We know that. And across the entire city over the last two weeks, we have seen that it is possible for us to keep our own communities safe. In North Minneapolis, as the buildings were being broken and burned by white supremacists and extremists, MPD was nowhere to be found. While we have no paradigm for policing that is not rooted in white supremacy, we do have a paradigm and a way to have community safety that is rooted in community and justice.”
The vow to disband the police came just days after the Minneapolis City Council voted to ban chokeholds and neck restraints. Derek Chauvin, the former officer who killed Floyd by kneeling on his neck for nearly nine minutes, will make his first court appearance today. We’ll have more on the historic City Council announcement after headlines with Minneapolis City Councilmember Jeremiah Ellison.
The nationwide uprising against police violence and anti-Black racism saw hundreds of thousands of protesters take to the streets across the U.S over the weekend. In New York, large-scale protests took place throughout the city, many continuing into the night in defiance of an 8 p.m. curfew Friday and Saturday. In San Francisco, thousands of protesters shut down traffic on the Golden Gate Bridge.
In Richmond, Virginia, protesters toppled the Confederate statue of General Williams Carter Wickham and doused it with paint. Many in Virginia, including some of Wickham’s own descendants, had called for the Confederate statue to be torn down for years.
On Friday, protesters around the country wished a happy 27th birthday to Breonna Taylor, who was shot dead by Louisville, Kentucky, police inside her own apartment in March.
This is a protester speaking at a rally in Los Angeles.
Robert McQueen: “Today we’re taking a stand against police brutality, and we’re taking a stand against the system of oppression we see with the police department. And it’s not that it’s a white cop or a Black cop or a Mexican cop. They don’t have color in the police department. They have one color. It’s blue.”
We’ll bring you voices from protests here in New York City later in the broadcast.
In Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser had the words “Black Lives Matter” painted on a section of 16th Street that leads to the White House. The words — in giant, yellow capital letters — span more than a block and are visible in satellite photos from space. Black Lives Matter DC accused Bowser of engaging in “performative” actions and called out her past support for the district’s police department. Protesters later painted the words “Defund the Police” next to the words “Black Lives Matter,” in equally large yellow letters.
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell became the latest Republican and prominent former Pentagon official to criticize Trump’s militarized response to protests. Powell also endorsed Joe Biden for president. This came as President Trump said Sunday he had ordered the National Guard to leave the streets of Washington, D.C. Trump’s reversal came after ABC News reported that last Monday President Trump got into a shouting match with a top Pentagon official, demanding the mobilization of 10,000 troops in Washington, D.C., and other U.S. cities to suppress protests.
On Sunday, Utah Senator Mitt Romney broke with other Republican lawmakers and joined a march in Washington, D.C.
Sen. Mitt Romney: “Finding a way to end violence and brutality and to make sure the people understand that Black lives matter.”
Protests also intensified around the world, as crowds poured into the streets in Britain, Germany, France, Spain, Denmark, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Tunisia, among many other places. Protesters gathered in front of U.S. embassies in some capitals, as they demanded an end to police brutality and racism in both the U.S. and their own countries. In Spain, demonstrators rallied in front of the Rota U.S. military base in Cádiz. In Britain, protesters in Bristol tore down a bronze statue of 17th century slave trader Edward Colston and threw it in the River Avon. In London, protesters wrote “Churchill is a racist” on the memorial statue for former Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
In Columbus, Ohio, an investigation has been launched into the death of 22-year-old protester Sarah Grossman, who died soon after getting pepper-sprayed at a protest. This comes as reports of police violence against protesters continue to pile up. A warning to our TV audience: We’re about to show graphic images of police violence.
In Indiana, 21-year-old Balin Brake lost his right eye after a police officer fired a tear gas canister directly into his face at protest in Fort Wayne. In Texas, 26-year-old Brandon Saenz lost his left eye and seven teeth, and fractured his skull, after a Dallas police officer shot him in the face at close range with an unknown projectile.
In La Mesa, California, 59-year-old grandmother Leslie Furcron was filming a Facebook Live video of a protest when she was shot between the eyes by a bean bag round fired by police.
Protester: “What’s wrong with her? Oh my god! Oh my god! Oh my god! Oh my god! Are you OK, ma’am? Are you OK?”
Furcron was hospitalized in an ICU and placed in a medically induced coma.
Meanwhile, the two Buffalo police officers who last week assaulted Martin Gugino, a 75-year-old demonstrator, violently pushing him to the ground, have been charged with felony assault. Gugino is a longtime peace activist who has been attending protests for racial justice and many other causes for years. His representatives said over the weekend he is in serious but stable condition. Fifty-seven police officers from Buffalo’s Emergency Response Team quit the special unit following the suspension of the officers last week.
Immigrant rights advocates are sounding the alarm over the presence of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents at protests. Last week, a viral video showed a group of ICE agents detaining a protester at a George Floyd rally in New York City. The Immigrant Defense Project said agents held the man on the ground as they pointed three guns at him. The man, who hasn’t been identified, was handcuffed and searched. He was reportedly released after agents found a military veteran’s ID on him. Immigration rights advocates say the man is a U.S. citizen of Puerto Rican descent. ICE recently confirmed the agency has deployed personnel at protests across the country.
In Washington state, calls are mounting to fire and prosecute four police officers who killed Manuel Ellis, a 33-year-old Black man, in March. Ellis was violently arrested and beaten by four officers on the side of the road. He died while he was being restrained and in handcuffs. He can be heard saying “I can’t breathe” on a police scanner. The county medical examiner ruled his death was a homicide.
A bereaved family is demanding answers after the fatal shooting of 28-year-old Maurice Gordon last month by a New Jersey police trooper. The state trooper, who has not been publicly identified, pulled Gordon over for a routine traffic stop. Gordon then waited in the officer’s car for over 30 minutes for a tow truck to arrive, after Gordon’s car wouldn’t restart. The trooper reportedly shot and killed him when he tried to exit the vehicle. The Attorney General’s Office said video of the shooting would be released when the initial investigation is over. Maurice Gordon, originally from Jamaica, was a chemistry student and a driver for Uber Eats — a job classified as “essential” during the pandemic.
In media news, The New York Times editorial page editor James Bennet has resigned following outcry from staff and readers over the publication of an op-ed by Republican Senator Tom Cotton about the protests called “Send in the Troops.” Meanwhile, Stan Wischnowski, the top editor of The Philadelphia Inquirer, has resigned days after the paper published a piece titled “Buildings Matter, Too.”
In other journalism news, the board of directors of the Committee to Protect Journalists sent a letter to U.S. governors, mayors and police chiefs, demanding they take immediate action to stop attacks on reporters covering the uprising. The Committee to Protect Journalists says it is investigating at least 280 reports of violence against journalists.
In Mexico, protests against police brutality erupted in the city of Guadalajara, Jalisco, last week following the police killing of 30-year-old Giovanni López Ramírez for allegedly not wearing a face mask. A video emerged Wednesday showing police officers carrying assault rifles forcing López into a police pickup truck as witnesses screamed, demanding his release. Hours after his arrest, López Ramírez’s body was reportedly found by his family at a local hospital.
In Canada, Indigenous leaders are demanding an investigation into the fatal police shooting of an Indigenous woman during a wellness check. Twenty-six-year-old Chantel Moore was killed Thursday in Edmundston, New Brunswick, by an officer who had responded to a call from one of Moore’s loved ones. Police allege Moore threatened the officer with a knife. The officer then shot her five times. Moore had recently moved to Edmundston to be closer to her 5-year-old daughter. She was a member of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation.
In more news from Canada, charges were dropped last week against 22 Wet’suwet’en land defenders and their allies, who were arrested this past February in northern British Columbia after a days-long raid in Indigenous territories where hereditary chiefs have been in a protracted battle to protect their land from the construction of TransCanada’s 400-mile, $4.7 billion Coastal GasLink pipeline.
In the United States, President Trump invoked the memory of George Floyd Friday as he celebrated the government’s recently released jobs report.
President Donald Trump: “Hopefully, George is looking down right now and saying, 'This a great thing that's happening for our country.’ This is a great day for him. It’s a great day for everybody. This is a great day for everybody. This is a great, great day in terms of equality.”
The Labor Department’s May jobs report showed the economy gained 2.5 million jobs and the unemployment rate fell to 13.3%. However, the report contained a note warning of a “misclassification error,” indicating that the unemployment rate is actually about 3 points higher, or around 16.3 percent. The report also shows the unemployment rate went up for Asian and Black people.
The North Carolina Supreme Court ruled Friday over 100 death row prisoners will be given the opportunity to prove racism played a role in their sentences. Cassandra Stubbs of the ACLU celebrated the ruling, saying it “ensures we will be able to continue our journey as North Carolinians to really confront the legacy of race in capital trials.”
In sports news, the NFL has issued a video message in support of Black Lives Matter and apologized for rejecting Black football players’ protests against police brutality and racism in the past. This is NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
Roger Goodell: “We, the National Football League, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier, and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest. We, the National Football League, believe Black lives matter.”
In the video, Roger Goodell did not name or directly apologize to Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who was shunned from the league after he started taking the knee in 2016 during the national anthem as a protest against police violence.