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Boris Johnson ‘appalled and sickened’ by George Floyd death as eorge Floyd’s son speaks


Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said is appalled and sickened by the death of George Floyd, and that his message to people in the US is that “racist violence has no place in our society”.

Speaking at the government’s daily coronavirus briefing, he said that people in the UK “have the right to protest”, but urged demonstrators to “protest peacefully and in accordance with rules of social distancing”.

George Floyd’s son speaks

Family lawyer Benjamin Crump (left) and Quincy Mason Floyd
Image caption: Family lawyer Benjamin Crump (left) and Quincy Mason Floyd

George Floyd’s son, Quincy Mason Floyd, is speaking at the scene of his father’s death in Minneapolis.

He tells repoters and protesters that he’s out there “trying to get justice for my father”.

“No man or woman should be without their fathers… And we want justice for what is going on right now.”

He’s asked about global protests in support of his father that are happening as far away as Australia.

“I appreciate everyone showing support and love and I thank you all for that,” he says.”I just want to thank them for supporting my family.”

Floyd's son took a knee - a protest gesture - in the street where he father died
Image caption: Floyd’s son took a knee – a protest gesture – in the street where he father died

Floyd ‘tortured to death’, says family lawyer

Benjamin Crump, the lead attorney for the family of George Floyd, says he was “tortured to death” by police, who kneeled on him until he died.

An official autopsy has ruled Floyd’s cause of death homicide.

Floyd’s family is visiting the site where he died in Minneapolis last week. They are expected to speak soon.

One officer involved in Floyd’s arrest has been arrested and charged with murder, but three other officers at the scene have not been arrested.

“We expect all of the police officers to be arrested before we have the memorial tomorrow,” says Crump, with Floyd’s son standing by his side.

Where did the bricks come from?

Pictures of bricks left on streets

Videos of piles of bricks near the sites of protests in different cities have been viewed by millions.

Those sharing these videos broadly make two different claims: some say the bricks were carefully deposited by Antifa activists to be thrown at police, and others say they were planted by officers so that protesters can be portrayed as violent.

We’ve investigated a number of the most popular videos and so far, there doesn’t seem to be any evidence to suggest nefarious activity is at play.

In one case in Fayetteville, North Carolina, the bricks were placed on a street last week for pavement restoration work that was meant to be carried out this week.

In another case in Boston, local police said two officers were collecting damaged bricks that posed a risk to pedestrians.

The BBC’s anti-disinformation unit has investigated various misleading videos and narratives about the protests.

Have you seen anything we should be looking into? Email us: shayan.sardarizadeh@bbc.co.uk

South Africa calls for US to use ‘maximum restraint’

A statement from South Africa’s government urges US security forces to use “maximum restraint” in responding to protests over the police killings of African-Americans.

“South Africa, too, supports the clarion calls for practical action to address the inadequacies highlighted by protesters,” the statement adds, noting that Americans had also supported the fight to end apartheid.

But violence, the statement warns, “seriously detracts from drawing international awareness to the legitimate concerns about violence against defenceless black people and other minorities in America.”

National Guard to probe use of helicopter over protesters

The National Guard will investigate an incident near the White House on Monday where one of its helicopters hovered close to non-violent protesters. Experts say this manoeuvre is typically used to intimidate and disperse crowds with the wind generated from the chopper’s rotors.

Maj Gen William J Walker, who commands the Washington DC National Guard, has directed an investigation into the “low-flying manoeuvre,” according to a spokesman.

Social media showed at least two helicopters making the manoeuvre – and one had a red cross on it, showing that it was a medical helicopter.

“This was a foolish move,” Geoffrey Corn, a former Army lawyer and professor at the South Texas College of Law, told the Washington Post.

“The symbolic significance of the Red Cross is pervasive: It denotes a ‘noncombatant’ function of the armed forces.”

The wind broke branches of trees with some landing near protesters, and sent rubble and broken glass flying through the streets. At least one helicopter descended below the height of nearby buildings.

Defence Secretary Mark Esper said earlier today that he has also ordered the Army to conduct an inquiry into the incident.

Minnesota governor apologises to CNN reporter for arrest

Minnesota governor Tim Walz has apologised directly to CNN reporter Omar Jimenez after he was arrested on Friday.

Jimenez was led away in handcuffs while he was live on air early on Friday while covering protests in Minneapolis. His cameraman and producer were also detained, apparently because they did not move on when told.

Walz apologised to CNN President Jeff Zucker shortly after the incident but today took the chance to say sorry to Jimenez face-to-face.

“Thank you for the professionalism, thank you for understanding and I’m deeply sorry,” Walz told the correspondent in an interview.

“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.”

Esper: ‘I didn’t know we were doing a photo-op’

Mark Esper walked behind Trump on the way to the church
Image caption: Mark Esper walked behind Trump on the way to the church

One of Trump’s most controversial moves during this protest has been his photo-op posing with a Bible outside a landmark church in Washington.

Among those with him was Defence Secretary Mark Esper.

He is now saying he was given no advance notice that White House officials would walk through a recently-cleared protest to pose for pictures outside the church.

“I was not aware that a photo op was happening,” he said in an interview.

“I thought I was going to do two things: to see some damage and to talk to the troops,” he told NBC, adding that he thought they were going to see a public restroom that was damaged the night before.

“I didn’t know where I was going,” Esper said. “I wanted to see how much damage actually happened.” He added that he had “no idea” that police would disperse the crowd.

The church photo-op led one former top policy official at the Pentagon to quit, writing a scathing resignation letter.

“President Trump’s actions Monday night violated his oath to ‘take care that the laws be faithfully executed,’ as well as the First Amendment ‘right of the people peaceably to assemble,'” wrote former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy James Miller.

“You may not have been able to stop President Trump from directing this appalling use of force, but you could have chosen to oppose it. Instead, you visibly supported it.”

Trump: ‘I was only in bunker to inspect it’

Law enforcement outside the White House today
Image caption: Law enforcement outside the White House today

Trump has received a fair amount of flak for his resort to the White House bunker as protests heated up nearby last week.

Now, in a wide-ranging Fox News radio interview, he says he entered the secure bunker on Friday “all for inspection”. He also said he went to the bunker in the daytime, and before protests began to rage.

“I wasn’t down. I went down during the day and I was there for a tiny short period of time,” he says, adding that he visited it two or three times. Protesters have recently adopted the nickname Bunker Baby.

He also claimed to have received a positive response from religious leaders to his photo-op at a church opposite the White House, despite the visit being condemned by the Washington DC archdiocese and the episcopal leader that oversees that church

He also suggested that he did not know protesters would be cleared to make a path for his visit, despite explosions being heard from the White House Rose Garden, where he delivered a speech to the nation before walking through Lafayette Square to the St Johns Church.

“When I went, I didn’t say ‘Oh, move them out.’ I didn’t know who was there. I figured I was going walk over the church, very nearby,” he continued.

Defence Secretary Esper says he does not support sending in army

US Defense Secretary Mark Esper, with US President Donald Trump, speaks on vaccine development on May 15, 2020

US Defence Secretary Mark Esper has said he does not support deploying the army to end protests over the death of George Floyd and racial injustice.

It comes two days after President Donald Trump threatened to use the military to quell the demonstrations.

“I do not support invoking the Insurrection Act,” Esper said, speaking at the Pentagon.

“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,” he said.

He went on to call the killing of George Floyd “a horrible crime”.

“The officers on the scene that day should be held accountable for his murder. It is a tragedy that we have seen repeat itself too many times,” Esper said.

Journalists ‘shoved and sworn at’ by NY police

The Associated Press has said two of its journalists were “shoved” and sworn at by police in New York dispersing protesters after the start of curfew on Tuesday night.

Despite carrying press credentials and identifying themselves as journalists, officers “surrounded, shoved and yelled expletives” at the two men, who captured the incident on video, AP said on Wednesday.

Law enforcement officials said they would “review” the incident “as soon as possible.”

Dozens of media workers covering the unrest in the US have reported being targeted by security forces using tear gas, rubber bullets and pepper spray.

Who was George Floyd?

A mural of George Floyd in Berlin

There were ups and downs in George Floyd’s life – a high with success when he played American football as a teenager in Texas; a low when he served time for robbery.

Mostly, it would seem that Floyd was simply trying to live life as any other American, in search of betterment in the face of both personal and societal challenges.

Timeline of major shootings

Trayvon Martin's cousin
Image caption: Trayvon Martin’s cousin grieving his killing by George Zimmerman in 2013

The death of George Floyd is far from the first killing of a black American to cause widespread expressions of outrage.

‘I’m best for black community since Lincoln,’ says Trump

Donald Trump has said again that he has done more for the US black community than any president with “the possible exception of another Republican President, the late, great, Abraham Lincoln”.

Mr Trump took a swipe at Joe Biden, saying he had done more for the black population than his presidential rival had “in 43 years”.

Joe Biden has criticised Mr Trump for using the crisis to appeal to his supporters, saying he was “serving the passions of his base”.

Mr Trump also took aim at th”killers, terrorists, arsonists, anarchists, thugs, hoodlums, looters, ANTIFA & others” who he believes are behind violent protests.

 

 

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