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UPDATE on protests across the US: The latest from the wire

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Posted at 6:55 PM, May 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-31 22:08:15-04

Here's the latest on protests across the country from the Associated Press.

In Louisiana, peaceful protests happened in Lafayette and Baton Rouge.

People across the country are protesting police brutality after George Floyd, a handcuffed black man who pleaded for air as a white police officer pressed a knee on his neck died in Minneapolis.

MINNEAPOLIS - Officials in Minnesota say no protesters appear to have been hit after a semitrailer drove into a crowd demonstrating on a freeway near downtown Minneapolis.

The Minnesota State Patrol says in a tweet that the action appeared deliberate. The patrol says the driver was injured and taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Gov. Tim Walz says the driver is out of the hospital and in police custody.

It wasn't clear how the driver was hurt. TV footage showed protesters swarming the truck, and then law enforcement quickly moving in.

Other TV footage showed the tanker truck moving rapidly onto the bridge and protesters appearing to part ahead of it.

Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington said traffic cameras appear to show the truck was already on the freeway before barricades were put in place to shut it down at 5 p.m.

ATLANTA - Atlanta's mayor says two police officers have been fired and three placed on desk duty pending review over excessive use of force during a protest incident Saturday night.

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said at a news conference Sunday that she and police Chief Erika Shields made the decision after reviewing body-camera footage. Shields called it "really shocking to watch."

Officials say the incident came to light via video that circulated online.

It shows a group of police officers in riot gear and gas masks surround a car being driven by a man with a woman in the passenger seat. The officers pull the woman out and appear to use a stun gun on the man. They use zip-tie handcuffs on the woman on the ground. The couple did not appear to be fighting police on the video.

Bottoms said charges have been dropped against the woman, and the man has been released.

Local reporters, who captured footage of the incident, said the police had earlier broken the glass on the car. A reporter said police also flattened the tires.

The city is under curfew again Sunday night.
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SANTA MONICA, California - Vandals hit shops in Santa Monica at midday Sunday as armed National Guard soldiers patrolled Los Angeles streets and cities across California declared another night of curfew to prevent violence after unruly demonstrators torched police cars, broke into stores and clashed with officers in riot gear.

The unrest in coastal Santa Monica happened not far from a peaceful demonstration near the city's famous pier and headed for its popular Third Street Promenade shopping area, where they broke into a Gap store and a Vans sneaker store, where they could be seen walking out with boxes of shoes with no police in sight.

A woman holding a sign saying "End All Violence" managed to stop a man using a hammer to break the glass on the doors of an REI store. Another protester joined her and would-be burglars moved on.
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WASHINGTON - After a violent night of looting and fires, about 1,000 protesters occupied part of Layfayette Park across from the White House on Sunday evening to condemn the death of George Floyd at police hands in Minnesota.

Police in riot gear lined up behind a set of barricades.

The mood was defiant. Protesters called the police murderers and traitors. They chanted "No justice, no peace, no racist police."

The crowd focused on one black police officer, asking him to show support for the protest. "Please black man, take a knee," protesters told him. "The whole world would see it."

The protesters had marched to the White House from Howard University. After arriving at the park, they pushed through the original barricades that had been set up. But at least at the start, the demonstration was peaceful.

The protest Saturday night turned violent as darkness set in. Protesters set fires, smashed windows and sprayed graffiti.
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Several hundred people marched through downtown Boston on Sunday carrying signs and chanting in a peaceful protest over the death of George Floyd.

Street protests have been held for days around the country in response to the death of Floyd, a black man who died Monday after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee on his neck until he stopped breathing.

In Boston they chanted, "No justice no peace," "black lives matter" and silence is violence" as they walked by City Hall, the State House, and the Public Garden, with the crowd closing off a two-lane city street. There was a light police presence and no signs of the violence that has erupted in other cities in recent days.

"They keep killing our people. I'm so sick and tired of it," said Mahira Louis, 15, who was at the protest with her mother. "On the news, every time we say black lives matter they keep silencing us," she said adding that things are going to change. "They're not going to kill black people for no reason," she said.

Most protesters wore face coverings amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"It isn't comfortable to be at home but it's really uncomfortable to be here, too, and know you're doing this in the face of the COVID-19 crisis," said Vivian Lee, 22, who participated with her sister and parents. "But it requires some discomfort for change," she said.
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Michael Brown Sr., the father of Michael Brown who was killed by police in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014, joined the protest on Sunday, telling demonstrators to continue the movement.

He said he drove to Minneapolis from Ferguson even though being a part of another demonstration against the killing of a black man, "tears my heart" as it reminded him of his son.

"I understand what this family is feeling. I understand what this community is feeling," he said.
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Much of Dallas will be under curfew Sunday night as city officials try to prevent a repeat of the violence that broke out at weekend protests over the death of George Floyd and the treatment of black people by police.

Police Chief U. Renee Hall said at a news conference that the core around the city's downtown will be under curfew from 7 p.m. Sunday to 6 a.m. Monday. She said it will remain in force "for the next several days."

The move comes after hours of peaceful demonstrations became destructive Friday and Saturday night. Stores were broken into and robbed, police cars damaged and one man was badly beaten.

"We will not tolerate any more damage to our city," Hall said.
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MILWAUKEE - Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said Sunday he is extending a city curfew a second night after protests following the deaths of George Floyd in Minneapolis and a local man in an altercation with an off-duty Milwaukee police officer.

Barrett said he had originally issued the curfew for just one night but said "In consultation with the chief and others we will have the curfew remain in effect for tonight." The curfew goes from 9 p.m. Sunday until 7 a.m. Monday.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported 125 members of the Wisconsin National Guard will be on duty again Sunday night.

"I think the National Guard did a wonderful job." Barrett said. Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers on Saturday called on the state National Guard to help support law enforcement in Milwaukee. A 38-year-old police officer suffered a minor gunshot wound early Saturday on Milwaukee's south side where protesters had gathered near a police precinct. The officer was treated at a hospital and released.

Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales said the officer is recovering at home and that no officers were hurt Saturday night.
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As police fired tear gas at protesters in one predominantly black neighborhood in Philadelphia, a few dozen city and state police officers lined up in front of a statue of former Mayor Frank Rizzo that has long been a flashpoint for protesters and was sprayed with graffiti Saturday.

Rizzo, mayor from 1972 to 1980, was praised by supporters as tough on crime but accused by critics of discriminating against people of color. Mayor Jim Kenney said Sunday that the 10-foot-tall statue that sits across the street from City Hall will be removed in a few weeks.
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SAN FRANCISCO - San Francisco's mayor and police chief said Sunday the city's 8 p.m. curfew will be extended indefinitely and that people who are out after that time will be stopped.

Mayor London Breed said Gov. Gavin Newsom had approved sending in about 200 extra officers from other agencies.

Breed, who grew up in San Francisco, expressed sadness about the destruction but said she was not going to tolerate the violence. She said the fire department was inundated with calls because of fires and medical emergencies and had fire bombs thrown at them.

"In watching the videos, I was extremely upset because unfortunately with some of the vandals, they thought this was a game, they thought this was funny. And this is not funny. To damage property, to set fires that could lead to someone else's death, to do the kinds of things that destroy and tear down our city as a symbol of what is going on ... this is not who we are. We should not be OK with this."

She said there were a lot of juveniles among the protesters: "So parents, where are your kids? Where are your kids?"

Police Chief Bill Scott said he sympathized with the message of the peaceful protests.

"As an African American man, I think I know probably more than most how it feels. I know both sides of this equation. We're seeing violence across the country, we're seeing peaceful protests across the county ... We do hear you. We do hear you. Your mayor hears you, your chief of police hears you, the San Francisco Police Department hears you," Scott said.
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BERLIN - England winger Jadon Sancho joined protests across German soccer at the weekend by lifting his jersey after scoring to reveal a T-shirt with the handwritten message "Justice for George Floyd" on the front.

Floyd, a handcuffed black man, died Monday after a white Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, pressed his knee for several minutes on his neck.

Sancho was shown a yellow card for his gesture which came after he scored the second goal for Borussia Dortmund against Paderborn on Sunday.

Earlier, Marcus Thuram took a knee after scoring in Borussia Mönchengladbach's win over Union Berlin.

The Gladbach forward scored in the first half and then dropped his left knee to the ground and rested his right arm on his right thigh as he bowed his head in reflection. He spent 5 seconds in this position before getting up again to continue.

"No explanation needed," Gladbach said on Twitter with a picture of Thuram kneeling.
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A third night of protests in Louisville sparked by the police shooting of a black woman resulted in 37 arrests, a city official said Sunday.

Chief of Public Safety Amy Hess said at a news conference that officials did not yet know the hometowns of those arrested. Hess said a total of 10 people were arrested during protests Thursday and Friday.

Mayor Greg Fischer added that five Louisville police officers were shot at late Saturday night. None were hit, but three officers were in a car that was struck by at least one bullet, he said.

Fischer said a dusk-to-dawn curfew would continue Sunday night for a second straight night in Kentucky's largest city.

Louisville's protests followed the release of a 911 call by shooting victim Breonna Taylor's boyfriend made March 13, moments after the 26-year-old EMT was shot eight times by narcotics detectives who knocked down her front door.

No drugs were found in her home. Taylor's death has captured national headlines alongside the killings of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia in February and George Floyd, the black man who died after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into Floyd's neck for several minutes as he pleaded for air.
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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott declared a state-wide disaster Sunday following weekend protests that have turned violent and destructive.

In Texas, much of the demonstrating was peaceful, but the protests became violent Saturday with fires being lit, stores broken into and robbed and people hurt.

Police used tear gas to disperse some of the crowds and said they arrested more than 200 people between Dallas, Houston and Austin.

"Every Texan and every American has the right to protest and I encourage all Texans to exercise their First Amendment rights," Abbott, a Republican, said in a statement.

"However, violence against others and the destruction of property is unacceptable and counterproductive. As protests have turned violent in various areas across the state, it is crucial that we maintain order, uphold public safety, and protect against property damage or loss.

The order allows Abbott to designate federal agents to do the work of local police. It comes as some Texas organizers are calling off demonstrations and others are planning to proceed.
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COLUMBIA S.C. - Some protesters threw rocks at police and set fire to at least two police cars, ignoring pleas from fellow demonstrators to refrain from violence.

On Sunday morning, crews at businesses throughout the downtown commercial district swept up broken glass and affixed sheets of plywood to busted-out windows and doors.

During a news conference in Columbia later Sunday, U.S. Sen. Tim Scott - who, as the only black Republican in the Senate, has previously given a series of speeches on race, including his numerous experiences getting pulled over by police - referenced the 2015 death of Walter Scott, an unarmed black South Carolina motorist shot to death by a white police officer during a traffic stop in North Charleston.

Sen. Scott said that, as in the Floyd case, that incident was captured on video, but resulted in only nonviolent protests.

"We cannot have distractions especially fueled by violence," Scott said. "Protesters, be heard, be seen, but be orderly."

At that same news conference, Gov. Henry McMaster said the National Guard was on alert to activate if needed, urging protesters to take action but stay peaceful.

"We welcome conversation. We welcome protest, people speaking their mind, we welcome it, and we welcome it every time," McMaster said "We're better because of it, but we do not tolerate violence."

Several cities in South Carolina remained under curfew, including Columbia's downtown area. On Sunday, the mayor of Myrtle Beach instituted a "state of civil emergency" in that city due to the threat of possible unrest.

(Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.)

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