Tag Archives: George Floyd

George Floyd’s Death: Joe Biden Meet With Black Leaders.


Presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden denounced Donald Trump’s presidency and the gnawing problems of racism and inequality in the United States, during a meeting with black religious and political leaders in the wake of unarmed African American George Floyd’s death at the hands of police.

“The band aid has been ripped off this pandemic and this president,” Biden said, referring to the coronavirus, which has claimed disproportionately more lives among blacks and Hispanics, and his billionaire Republican rival’s attitude toward minorities.

“Nobody can pretend any longer what this is all about,” said Biden, who sought to present himself as a unifier at the meeting hosted by a church in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware.

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“Hate just hides. Doesn’t go away. And when you have somebody in power who breathes oxygen into the hate under the rocks, it comes out from under the rocks,” he said.

“It matters what the president says,” Biden added. “It encourages people to bring out the vitriol.”

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The 77-year-old Biden, who served as president Barack Obama’s vice president, recalled Trump’s comments after clashes in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017 between white supremacists and anti-racist counterprotesters.

A white supremacist had rammed his vehicle into a crowd of demonstrators, killing a young woman.

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But the president said there were “very fine people on both sides.”

Biden promised the black leaders at the meeting that, if elected in November, he would create a police oversight commission in his first hundred days in office.

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Wearing a mask and taking notes after a prayer was said, Biden mostly listened in silence for about an hour as audience members spoke, some about the death in Minneapolis last week of George Floyd, who lost consciousness as a police officer pinned him down with a knee on his neck.

Several participants urged Biden to choose a black running mate, who would become the nation’s first African American vice president, if he won.

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“I promise you there are multiple African American candidates who are being considered,” he said.

It was the first time Biden had participated in person in such a public gathering since mid-March, when the coronavirus pandemic abruptly paralyzed his campaign.


#Newsworthy…

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‘Black lives matters’ Liverpool first team Protests in Solidarity


Liverpool’s first-team squad have given their support to the Black Lives Matter movement amid protests at the death of George Floyd.

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Floyd, an unarmed black man, died last week in Minneapolis as a white police officer named Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck against the ground for nearly nine minutes.

Despite Floyd repeatedly saying he could not breathe, he passed out and died in the street, with Chauvin continuing to keep his knee on the 46-year-old’s neck for nearly three minutes while he was motionless.

The incident, caught on camera by witnesses, has sparked outrage across the United States and the world, with peaceful anti-racism protests held in the United Kingdom including in Liverpool.


#NobleSports

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Lewis Hamilton asks for justice over Floyd’s death and U.S Racism


Lewis Hamilton has spoken out about the killing of George Floyd and offered a damning condemnation of the silence from others in Formula One, including his fellow drivers.

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“I see those of you who are staying silent, some of you the biggest of stars yet you stay silent in the midst of injustice,” he wrote on Instagram. “Not a sign from anybody in my industry which of course is a white-dominated sport.


“I’m one of the only people of colour there yet I stand alone. I would have thought by now you would see why this happens and say something about it but you can’t stand alongside us. Just know I know who you are, and I see you.”

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Hamilton is the only black driver in Formula One and has been outspoken on the sport’s need for greater diversity in the past. “There’s barely any diversity in F1,” Hamilton said in 2018. “Still nothing’s changed in 11 years I’ve been here.”

The defending world champion also gave his thoughts on the continuing protests in the US. “I do not stand with those looting and burning buildings but those who are protesting peacefully,” Hamilton wrote.

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“There can be no peace until our so called leaders make change. This is not just America, this is the UK, this is Spain, this is Italy and all over.”

“The way minorities are treated has to change, [and] how you educate those in your country of equality, racism, classism and that we are all the same. We are not born with racism and hate in our hearts, it is taught by those we look up to.”


#NobleSports

Happy New Month!!!

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Michael Jordan mourns on Floyd’s death


Michael Jordan has released a statement on the death of George Floyd, condemning “ingrained racism” in the United States.

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“I am deeply saddened, truly pained and plain angry,” wrote Jordan in a statement posted by the Charlotte Hornets, the NBA team he owns. “I stand with those who are calling out the ingrained racism and violence toward people of color in our country. We have had enough.”

Jordan has often been criticized for his reluctance to speak up on political matters, especially when compared to the activism of other NBA stars such as LeBron James and Guardian columnist Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. During a 1990 Senate race in his home state of North Carolina, Jordan refused to endorse Democrat Harvey Gantt, an African American who was running against the incumbent Republican Jesse Helms, a notorious racist.

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Jordan, who at the time had already won the first of his five NBA MVP awards, explained away his refusal to take a stance by saying: “Republicans buy sneakers, too.”

Jordan has since insisted the comment was made in jest.

The six-time NBA champion, widely considered the greatest basketball player of all time, said on Sunday that Americans needed to work together to find answers to the country’s problems.

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“I don’t have answers, but our collective voices show strength and the inability to be divided by others. We must listen to each other, show compassion and empathy and never turn out backs on senseless brutality,” he wrote.

If I were Donald Trump’s speechwriter, this is the team talk I would suggest
Curfews were in place in more than a dozen US cities on Sunday and Jordan urged people to protest peacefully. “We need to continue peaceful expressions against injustice and demand accountability,” he wrote.

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Jordan finished his statement by expressing his sympathy to the family of Floyd and others. “My heart goes out to the family of George Floyd and to the countless others whose lives have been brutally and senselessly taken through acts of racism and injustice,” he wrote.

The former Chicago Bulls star has been in the news lately due to the popularity of The Last Dance, a documentary telling the story of his final championship season.


#NobleSports

George Floyd’s Death: DC, National Guard light in. [Live]

Entire Washington, DC National Guard has been called in response to protests outside White House and other areas in DC.


  • The Washington, DC National Guard – roughly 1,700 soldiers – has been called in response to protests outside the White House and elsewhere in the nation’s capital
  • Protests continue to spread as more cities impose curfews and states call in the National Guard
  • Demonstrators in Minneapolis, Minnesota, continue to demand all officers involved in Floyd’s death be charged. 
  • Large truck drives into protesters in Minneapolis, sending march-goers running and jumping over barricades. No serious injuries were report. The truck driver has been arrested. 
Widespread protest over Police brutality…

#Newsworthy…

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George Floyd’s Death: Defund Police – Only Solution.


The explosion of protest across the United States in recent days makes clear that the crisis in Minneapolis is a national crisis. It’s been almost six years since the murders of Mike Brown and Eric Garner, and little has changed in how poor communities of color are being policed. It’s time to rethink superficial and ineffective procedural police reforms and move to defund the police instead.

In the immediate aftermath of Brown’s and Garner’s murders in Ferguson and New York City, the Obama administration responded by calling for more federal investigations and ultimately issued a report, the Task Force on 20th Century Policing, that laid out a whole host of reforms—which I and others criticized at the time.

These reforms were rooted in the concept of “procedural justice,” which argues that if the police enforce the law in a more professional, unbiased, and procedurally proper way, then the public will develop more trust in them and fewer violent confrontations and protests will ensue. This concept ends up taking the form of interventions like implicit bias training, police-community encounter sessions, tweaks to official use-of-force policies, and early warning systems to identify potentially problematic officers.

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The Obama Justice Department used this framework to bring a small number of “pattern and practice” cases against select police departments, such as the one in Ferguson, to compel them to adopt these measures. It also poured millions of dollars into training and community relations initiatives like the National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice, which included money for Minneapolis.

But these kinds of federal interventions have failed to show any signs of creating positive changes in policing. They typically involve establishing a monitor who creates a series of benchmarks; the metrics for these benchmarks tend to be based on the implementation of the recommendations and not actual changes in the impact of policing on those most intensively policed. An insider look at this process by Matt Nesvet, an auditor on a federal consent decree in New Orleans, showed just how pointless the whole endeavor was; as described by Nesvet in The Appeal, monitors required things like pictures of officers talking to community members as proof that community policing was being implemented.

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There’s also no evidence that implicit bias training or community relations initiatives help. The Urban Institute, which was part of the National Initiative for Building Trust and Justice, evaluated the effort and found little to show for it. These kinds of reforms turn out to have a lot more to do with providing political cover for local police and politicians than with reducing the abuses of policing. In part, that’s because they assume that the professional enforcement of the law is automatically beneficial to everyone. They never actually question the legitimacy of using police to wage a war on drugs, arrest young children in school, criminalize homelessness, or label young people as gang bangers and super-predators to be incarcerated for life or killed in the streets. A totally lawful, procedurally proper, and perfectly unbiased low-level drug arrest is still going to ruin some young person’s life for no good reason. There is no justice in that—and giving narcotics units anti-bias training will do nothing to change this fact.

Many of these reforms have been implemented in Minneapolis. In 2018, the City issued a report outlining all the procedural justice reforms it has embraced, like mindfulness training, Crisis Intervention Training, implicit bias training, body cameras, early warning systems to identify problematic officers, and so on. They have made no difference. In fact, local activist groups like Reclaim the Block, Black Visions Collective, and MPD 150 have rejected more training and oversight as a solution and are now calling on Mayor Jacob Frey to cut the police budget by $45 million and shift those resources into “community-led health and safety strategies.”

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Unfortunately, at the national level, Democratic members of Congress appear to have learned few lessons from the failures of six years of “police reform.” One by one, they have condemned racist policing and called for investigations and accountability. Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez called out the names of those killed in recent years, but failed to offer any substantive proposals other than a vague call for justice. Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, who consistently refused to prosecute police when she helmed the Hennepin County attorney’s office, called for more DOJ “pattern and practice” investigations. And in a May 29 resolution condemning police brutality, even Ilhan Omar, whose district includes Minneapolis, and Ayanna Pressley failed to propose a single significant reduction in specific police powers, preferring to call for more investigations and the establishment of more civilian review boards, which have never shown any effectiveness in reducing abusive policing. (A more valuable model can be found in legislation Pressley herself introduced in November 2019. Called the People’s Justice Guarantee, the legislation puts forward a number of worthy proposals, including decriminalizing the police and redirecting resources to alternatives to policing; Omar is a cosponsor.)

These strategies will do nothing to change the basic mission of policing that has expanded so dramatically over the past 40 years. Another DOJ investigation, another officer fired or indicted, won’t end the war on drugs, the criminalization of the poor, or the demonization of young people of color.

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If congressional lawmakers are serious about reining in abusive policing, there are things they can do at the federal level. They can start by eliminating the Community Oriented Police Services (COPS) office. Created by the 1994 Crime Bill, it has been the central conduit for funds to hire tens of thousands of new police and equip them with a range of surveillance technology and militarized equipment.

One of the projects it currently administers is Operation Relentless Pursuit, the Trump administration’s signature crime-fighting initiative, that is set to flood seven major cities with scores of federal agents in partnership with local police to go after the president’s favorite bugaboos of gangs and drug cartels. Congress approved $61 million to pay for it, and that money should be taken out of any future appropriations. Lawmakers can also take more steps to undo the damage done by the 1994 Crime Bill, like defunding school policing in favor of providing more counselors and restorative justice programs; investing in harm reduction strategies, like safe-injection facilities and needle exchanges, as well as high-quality medically based drug treatment on demand; and rethinking the use of the criminal justice system to manage the epidemic of domestic violence.

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It is time for the federal government, major foundations, and local governments to stop trying to manage problems of poverty and racial discrimination by wasting millions of dollars on pointless and ineffective procedural reforms that merely provide cover for the expanded use of policing. It’s time for everyone to quit thinking that jailing one more killer cop will do anything to change the nature of American policing. We must move, instead, to significantly defund the police and redirect resources into community-based initiatives that can produce real safety and security without the violence and racism inherent in the criminal justice system.

Editor’s note: an earlier version of this article stated that Representatives Ayanna Pressley and Ilhan Omar had “failed to propose a single significant reduction in specific police power.” In fact, as the article now states, Rep. Pressley introduced, and Rep. Omar supports, legislation calling for police power to be curtailed through a variety of means. We regret the error.

HAPPY NEW MONTH!!!


#Newsworthy…

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‘Justice for Floyd’ Sancho showcases after his ‘First’ Hatrick


England star Jadon Sancho has unveiled a “Justice for George Floyd” message after scoring for Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga.

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In the absence of Erling Haaland and following a calf injury that has limited him to cameo appearances since the German top-flight’s return from its coronavirus suspension earlier in May, the former Manchester City forward returned to Lucien Favre’s starting lineup for Sunday’s trip to bottom club Paderborn and marked the occasion by netting a first senior hat-trick.

After side-footing home his first goal from close range at Benteler Arena soon after Thorgan Hazard’s opener, Sancho subsequently removed his Dortmund shirt to reveal a yellow BVB base layer that featured the message “Justice for George Floyd” written prominently across the front in pen.

He was then shown a yellow card by referee Daniel Siebert for removing his shirt.

Sancho’s Dortmund team-mate Achraf Hakimi unveiled the same message after scoring Dortmund’s fourth goal of the evening.

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The death of Mr Floyd – an unarmed black man – while in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota on Monday after he was knelt on by police officer Derek Chauvin has sparked protests across the United States and beyond.

Chauvin has since been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.

Elsewhere in the Bundesliga on Sunday, Borussia Monchengladbach forward Marcus Thuram kneeled in the aftermath of his first goal in the 4-1 win over Union Berlin, while on Saturday American midfielder Weston McKennie took to the pitch for Schalke’s match against Werder Bremen wearing an armband that read “Justice for George”.

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Taking to Twitter after Dortmund’s win over Paderborn, Sancho said: “First professional hat trick. A bittersweet moment personally as there are more important things going on in the world today that we must address and help make a change.

“We have to come together as one & fight for justice. We are stronger together. #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd.”


#NobleSports

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#Justice4Tina: Slimcase apologise over his comment. (Video)


Rapper Slimcase has apologized for his insensitive comment regarding #JusticeforTina, a movement started after a Nigerian Police officer shot dead a 16-year-old girl in Lagos.

In a recent post made by Slimcase, he prayed for God to let him “blow” while he is alive, unlike George Floyd who became popular after he was killed by a while Police officer in the US, leading to a #BlackLivesMatter in the country.

FAME AFTER DEATH… any positive blow wey I gats blow God Let me blow am now that I am alive not after I am dead George A sacrifice for d change in black history, he wrote.

Reacting to the post, one of the rapper’s followers called him out for commenting on the killing of a black man in America rather than on Tina who was also killed by a Police officer in Lagos, Nigeria.

Na America matter una always dey carry for head, why you no post that 16yrs old girl police shot for Lagos Abu them never settle the girl matter finish

The rapper was quick to call the killing of the teenage girl a local issue which can be addressed as such, rather than George Floyd which he referred to as a “global pandemic”.

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He wrote;

we talking about a global pandemic here Leave the Lagos girl for channels to talk about am

His comment sparked an outburst from Nigerians which led to the artiste apologizing in a video shared on his social media page. He claims he is just “seeing the news”.


#Newsworthy…

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Slimcase – Ignore #JusticeforTina – It is ‘Local’ – #JusticeforFloyd is Global.


Nigerian rapper, Slimcase, has been blasted for referring to Nigerian #JusticeForTina as a local matter while America #GeorgeFloyd a global issue even though they were both killed by the Police in their country.

Slimcase had shared a picture of George Floyd on his social media page, calling him “Fame After Death” while praying that he becomes as big as possible while he is alive, not until his death.

FAME AFTER DEATH… any positive blow wey I gats blow God Let me blow am now that I am alive not after I am dead George A sacrifice for d change in black history

One of Slimcase followers slammed him for addressing the issue in America instead of that of Tina, a 16-year-old girl that was shot dead by a Police officer in Lagos, Nigeria. The rapper responded saying that of Tina was a local matter while George’s is a “global pandemic”.

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The follower, Olamiposi Hope wrote;

Na America matter una always dey carry for head, why you no post that 16yrs old girl police shot for Lagos Abu them never settle the girl matter finish

Slimcase responds;

we talking about a global pandemic here Leave the Lagos girl for channels to talk about am


#Newsworthy…

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George Floyd’s Death: UK Rapper, J. Cole join Protesters


On Saturday (May 30), American Rapper J. Cole joined demonstrators in his hometown of Fayetteville, North Carolina N.C. to protest police violence, in the wake of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minn on May 25.

Cole, along with fellow Fayetteville native and NBA player Dennis Smith, were spotted among the people. Cole reportedly declined to take pictures and do interviews as to not distract from the moment. However, his presence was definitely felt.

“J. Cole has joined the protest in downtown Fayetteville, NC. So remember all the rappers who were out here donating and supporting when its time to buy albums,” one person noted on Twitter after seeing him in attendance.

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“THIS is why J Cole will always be my favourite artist. He has always been so vocal about systematic oppression and racism and he’s now at the protests today. KING,” another person posted.

This isn’t the first time Cole has marched for a major cause. Back in 2014, he marched with protesters in New York City over the killing of Eric Garner. The following year, he was spotted at the Justice or Else Rally in Washington D.C. put on by The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March.


#Newsworthy…

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George Floyd’s Death: 100s of Protesters line in ‘White House’


Police fired pepper spray at demonstrators near the White House and the D.C. National Guard was called in as pockets of violence and vandalism erupted during a second straight night of protests over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and President Donald Trump’s response to it.

Hundreds of people converged on the White House and marched along the National Mall, chanting “Black Lives Matter,” “I can’t breathe” and “No justice, no peace.”

Protesters threw water bottles, traffic cones, scooters, even tear gas cans at police lines. They set fire to a car and a trash bin and smashed windows, including at Bay Atlantic University. “What are you doing? That’s a school,” one man yelled.

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An American flag hanging at the Export-Import Bank was taken down, burned and replaced with a Black Lives Matter banner.

The D.C. demonstration was one of several around the country responding to the death of Floyd, a black man who died in police custody.

Trump appeared to cheer on the tougher tactics being used by law enforcement to disperse protesters Saturday night. He commended National Guard troops deployed in Minneapolis, declaring “No games!” and he also said police in New York City “must be allowed to do their job!”

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“Let New York’s Finest be New York’s Finest,” Trump said on Twitter after returning to the White House from Florida, where he watched the launch of a SpaceX rocket. He did not talk to reporters upon his return and it was not clear if he could hear the protest over the sound of his helicopter. But for at least part of the flight, televisions on Air Force One were turned to Fox News and its coverage of the protests.

Earlier in the day, he had belittled the protesters and pledged to “stop mob violence.”

“I stand before you as a friend and ally to every American seeking justice and peace, and I stand before you in firm opposition to anyone exploiting this tragedy to loot, rob, attack and menace,” the president said after watching the launch of a SpaceX rocket. “Healing, not hatred, justice, not chaos, are the missions at hand.”

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Police were in tactical gear. The D.C. National Guard was activated at the direction of the secretary of the Army and at the request of the Park Police to help maintain order near the White House, Commanding Gen. William J. Walker said in a post on the Guard’s Facebook page.

“We’re sick of it. The cops are out of control,” protester Olga Hall said. “They’re wild. There’s just been too many dead boys,” she said.

Some vocal protesters directed their comments at a black police officer. “Do you support this violence?” they asked him. “How are you going to protect your kids?” The officer got emotional to the point he had to be relieved.

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An activist wearing a Black Lives Matter T-shirt put himself between police and the protesters and yelled, “Stop. This is what they want.”

Speaking over a megaphone earlier in the evening, Cameron McCall said, “We don’t need violence. All we need are our voices.”

While some protesters stayed near the White House, others marched through the streets chanting, “No justice and no peace.” and “Say his name: George Floyd.” The mood was angry and several speakers implored marchers to remain peaceful.

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The march paused between the the Washington Monument and the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Demonstrators sat down in the street for a moment of silence lasting for the eight minutes or more that the Minneapolis police officer reportedly knelt on Floyd’s neck.

At the Lincoln Memorial, one organizer spoke over a megaphone. “Look to the left and to the right and thank that person. We can’t hug anybody because of COVID, but I love you anyway.” Many of the protesters wore masks, but did not socially distance themselves.

Another group circled through the Capitol Hill neighborhood for at least an hour in cars, honking. A helicopter hovered overhead.

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In a series of tweets earlier Saturday, Trump doubted protesters’ allegiance to Floyd’s memory, saying they were “professionally managed.” He offered no evidence to back his assertion, and the president even seemed to invite supporters to make their presence felt: “Tonight, I understand, is MAGA NIGHT AT THE WHITE HOUSE???”

Trump later rejected the suggestion that he was stoking a potential conflict between protesters and his supporters. “I was just asking. But I have no idea if they are going to be here,” he said. “MAGA is Make America Great Again. By the way, they love African American people. They love black people.”

At Saturday’s demonstration, there was no evidence of a counter-move by Trump supporters.

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Trump said he had “watched every move” from inside the executive mansion during Friday’s protest and “couldn’t have felt more safe” as the Secret Service let the protesters carry on, “but whenever someone … got too frisky or out of line, they would quickly come down on then, hard — didn’t know what hit them.”

The president also criticized the mayors of Washington and Minneapolis.

Trump said Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey “is probably a very good person, but he’s a radical, left mayor.” He then described how he watched as a police station in the city was overrun. “For that police station to be abandoned and taken over, I’ve never seen anything so horrible and stupid in my life,” Trump said when speaking briefly to reporters at the White House.

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He said Minnesota officials have to get tougher with rioters, and that by doing so they would be honoring the memory of Floyd.

The Secret Service said in a statement Saturday that six protesters were arrested in Washington and “multiple” officers were injured. There were no details on the charges or nature of the injuries. A spokesman for U.S. Park Police said their officers made no arrests, but several suffered minor injuries and one was taken to a hospital after being struck in the helmet by a projectile.

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf on Saturday called the protesters “criminals” who committed “acts of violence while hiding behind their First Amendment right of lawful protest.”

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Late Saturday and early Sunday, protesters vented their rage by breaking into tony shops of Georgetown, on the western edge of the District, and in downtown Washington, breaking windows and glass doors of many stores and looting some of them.

In his tweeting, Trump claimed that many Secret Service agents were “just waiting for action” and ready to unleash “the most vicious dogs, and the most ominous weapons, I have ever seen.” His reference to “vicious dogs” potentially being sicced on protesters revisits images from the civil rights movement when marchers faced snarling police dogs and high-pressure fire hoses.

In a news conference Saturday afternoon, Muriel Bowser, mayor of the nation’s capital, called Trump’s remarks “gross” and said the reference to attack dogs conjures up with the worst memories of the nation’s fight against segregation.

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“I call upon our city and our nation to exercise restraint, great restraint, even as the president tries to divide us,” she said. “I feel like these comments are an attack on humanity, an attack on black America, and they make my city less safe.”

In contrast with the president’s tweets, the Secret Service said it “respects the right to assemble and we ask that individuals do so peacefully for the safety of all.”


#Newsworthy…

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George Floyd’s Death: We seek independent autopsy – Family.

Legal team of George Floyd’s family asks for his body after coroner raises doubts about suffocation as cause of death.


The family lawyers of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who died in US police custody, have requested his body for an independent autopsy after the county coroner raised doubts about suffocation as the cause of death.

The 46-year-old died on Monday after Derek Chauvin, a white officer in Minneapolis, pinned his neck down to the ground with his knee for nearly nine minutes. His death has sparked protests demanding justice across the United States.

The Hennepin County medical examiner said the combined effects of being restrained, potential intoxicants in the 46-year-old’s system and his underlying health issues, including heart disease, likely contributed to his death. It revealed nothing to support strangulation as the cause of death.

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There were no other details about intoxicants, and toxicology results can take weeks.

In response to the preliminary autopsy findings, Benjamin Crump, one of the lawyers representing Floyd’s family, said the legal team would hire Michael Baden, the former chief medical examiner of New York City, to do the independent autopsy.

Baden had also been retained to do an autopsy for Eric Garner, a Black man who died in 2014 after New York police placed him in a chokehold and he pleaded that he could not breathe.

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Crump said the preliminary findings were part of a pattern also seen in previous cases of deaths at the hands of police.

“We saw in the Eric Garner case, and so many other cases where they have people who work with the city workers come up with things that are such an illusion – he had asthma, he had a heart condition – all these things that are irrelevant when they were living, breathing, walking, talking, just fine until the police accosted them,” Crump said.

A bystander video of Monday’s incident shows Floyd pleading for help, repeatedly saying: “I can’t breathe.”

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Floyd eventually goes motionless, and Chauvin continues to kneel on Floyd’s neck for nearly three minutes despite appeals by bystanders to get off of him, according to court documents.

The four officers involved, including Chauvin, were fired on Tuesday. Chauvin was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter on Friday, more than three days after the incident.


#Newsworthy…

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SpaceX’s Screwed Launch Save America’s Status.


You never know what you’ve got til it’s gone. And if you don’t believe that, consider the national jubilation at 3:22 PM EDT Saturday afternoon, when an American rocket carrying an American crew lifted off from American soil for the first time since 2011, carrying astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to the International Space Station (ISS). The successful launch comes just a few days after Wednesday’s initial attempt was scrubbed due to weather.

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The last time there was this kind of U.S. hoopla for a mere flight to low-Earth orbit might have been the first time, on February 20, 1962, when John Glenn became the first American to orbit the planet. Orbital flight has since become routine, with 135 missions flown by the space shuttle fleet alone. But when the last shuttle was retired in 2011, America became a grounded nation—even a humbled nation—reduced to hitching rides aboard Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft at a cool $80 million a seat. So Saturday’s launch, aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft, sends one signal more powerfully than any other: when it comes to space, America is back.

“This is a big moment in time,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine in a press conference earlier this week. “It’s been nine years since we’ve had this opportunity.”

It’s not just the fact that America is flying again, it’s the way that it’s flying. Saturday’s launch was the result of 10 years of work under NASA’s commercial crew program, an initiative begun in 2010 to get the space agency out of the business of flying astronauts to and from low-Earth orbit and turn the job over to private companies. NASA would then buy the services of the commercial providers like any other customer, freeing up the space agency to concentrate its human-exploration efforts on crewed missions to the moon and Mars. The space agency concedes that for today’s flight it is in many ways the junior partner.

“SpaceX is controlling the vehicle, there’s no fluff about that,” said Norm Knight, a NASA flight operations manager, in a conversation with the Associated Press.

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But in truth, the program was never truly as private-sector as it seemed. After NASA selected both SpaceX and Boeing to develop and build the new crew vehicles, it paid the companies $6.8 billion—$2.6 billion to SpaceX and $4.2 billion to Boeing—in research and development funding, and contracted with them to ferry cargo and crew to the space station once they had built working ships.

Both companies were supposed to begin flying crews as early as 2016, and both are clearly well behind schedule. Boeing looked like it might be the first out of the gate after the uncrewed test launch of its CST-100 Starliner in December 2019. But while the spacecraft made it safely both to orbit and back home, a software failure caused it to use too much maneuvering fuel, preventing it from achieving its principal objective of docking with the ISS. Boeing now needs to repeat the uncrewed flight—and get it right this time—before it will be permitted to carry astronauts. That left the field clear for SpaceX to be first—an opening it took advantage of with Saturday’s launch.

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Credit for SpaceX’s big win goes in large measure to the company’s proven line of hardware, including its workhorse Falcon 9 rocket. Counting its maiden flight in June 2010, it had 83 launches before today’s, in some cases ferrying satellites to orbit for paying customers, in other cases making cargo runs to the ISS. Part of the secret of the Falcon 9’s reliability is its simplicity. Rather than design entirely different rockets for different payload sizes, SpaceX goes by a simple more-is-better rule. Its first rocket, the Falcon, used a single engine, powered by kerosene and liquid oxygen. The Falcon 9, true to its name, uses a cluster of 9 of the same engines; and the Falcon Heavy, the bruiser of the SpaceX fleet, lifts off under the power of a whopping 27 engines, arranged in three clusters of nine.

What further sets the Falcon 9 apart from its competitors—such as United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V or Europe’s Ariane 5—is its reusable first stage. Instead of just dumping the spent stage in the ocean when the rocket is partway to space, SpaceX designs its first stages to fly back to a landing platform and touch down on extendable legs, allowing them to be refurbished and re-used. So far, there have been 41 such successful landings, and 31 first stages have flown more than once. The result: cost savings. SpaceX advertises its services at $62 million per launch, compared to $165 million for Atlas or Ariane.

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The Dragon spacecraft is similarly reusable. The Cargo version of the spacecraft has been flown 22 times—21 of which involved resupply missions to the space station. Nine of the launches have involved vehicles that already had undergone at least one previous flight. The interior space of the Crew Dragon is configurable to hold from two to seven astronauts. It stands 8.1 m (26.7 ft) tall and is 4 m (13 ft) wide. That’s a big jump over the old Apollo spacecraft at 3.2 m (10.5 ft) tall and and 4 m (13 ft) across. And again, while the very purpose of the commercial crew program was get the government out of the business of designing spacecraft for low-Earth orbit, no one pretends that with NASA’s own astronauts in the seats, the space agency itself would not be at least a collaborator in the design process.

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“[SpaceX] had this vision of how the Crew Dragon should look, feel and operate,” says John Posey, lead engineer for NASA’s Crew Dragon team. “But we had two-way communication as we started building components, testing components, test flying components, just making sure that we were always working together and coming in towards the best, optimized solution.”

Behnken and Hurley were good choices for the maiden Dragon mission. Both are veterans of two space shuttle missions, and Hurley, fittingly, was one of the crew members aboard the final space shuttle mission in 2011. Despite all that, once they reach the ISS, they will be just two more crew members, the 64th such crew to launch to the station in the 20 years it has been continuously occupied. They will join NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and Russian cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner, getting the station’s crew complement closer to its customary six.

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Behnken’s and Hurley’s stay will be relatively short, as space station visits go. They will remain aboard for at least a month, though in no case will they remain for longer than 110 days, since the current Crew Dragon is not rated for a longer stay in the punishing environment of space. (Ultimately, the Dragon will be required to be certified for a 210-day stay.) Part of what will determine when the two new arrivals will come home will be the progress Boeing makes in developing its Starliner. There are only two docking ports aboard the station; one is now occupied by the Russians’ Soyuz rocket and the other will accommodate the Dragon. If Starliner is ready for its scheduled uncrewed test flight before the Dragon’s 110 days are up, Behnken and Hurley will have to climb aboard and clear out to make room.

But all of that is for later. Today is for savoring the simple fact that the U.S. has once again rejoined the family of space-faring, astronaut-launching, future-gazing nations. The nation that for generations led the world in the exploration of space is now poised to reclaim that mantle.


#Newsworthy…

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George Floyd’s Death: Government fully mobilises ‘National Guard’

Tim Walz says considering potential offer of federal military police amid protests over police killing of George Floyd.


The full Minnesota National Guard was activated for the first time since World War II after four nights of sometimes violent protests that have spread to other US cities following the killing of a Black man by a white Minneapolis police officer who knelt on his neck.

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz said the deployment was needed because outsiders were using the demonstrations over the death of George Floyd to spread chaos, and that he expected Saturday night’s protests to be the most intense so far.

Brother of George Floyd: ‘I just want justice’
Walz said he also considering the potential offer of federal military police, but he warned that even that might not be enough.

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“We do not have the numbers,” Walz said. “We cannot arrest people when we are trying to hold ground.”

Walz blamed much of the destruction in Minneapolis on Friday night on well-organised, out-of-state instigators whose goal was to “destabilise civil society”.

He said he believed a “tightly controlled” group of outside agitators, some white supremacist groups and drug cartels were to blame for some of the violence in Minneapolis, but he did not give specifics when asked by reporters. He said as many as 80 percent of those arrested were from outside the state.

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Minnesota National Guard General Jon Jensen said all the state’s guardsmen had been activated, and that 2,500 of them would be mobilised by noon. “It means we’re all in,” Jensen said.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon on Saturday ordered the army to put military police units on alert to head to the city on short notice at President Donald Trump’s request, according to the Associated Press news agency, citing three people with direct knowledge of the orders who did not want their names used because they were not authorised to discuss the preparations.

Nationwide protests
The death on Monday in Minneapolis of George Floyd has sparked demonstrations, some peaceful and some of them violent, in many cities across the nation, including one in Washington DC, on Friday.

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From Minneapolis to New York City, Atlanta and Washington, angry protesters took to the streets over the treatment of minorities by law enforcement.

The demonstrations broke out for a fourth night despite prosecutors announcing on Friday that the policeman involved in Floyd’s death, Derek Chauvin, had been arrested on third-degree murder and manslaughter charges.

Graphic video footage taken on an onlooker’s cellphone and widely circulated on the internet shows 46-year-old Floyd – with Chauvin’s knee pressed into his neck – gasping for air and repeatedly groaning, “Please, I can’t breathe,” while a crowd of bystanders shouted at police to let him up.

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Three other officers have been fired and are being investigated in connection with Monday’s incident, which reignited rage that civil rights activists said has long simmered in Minneapolis and cities across the country over persistent racial bias in the US criminal justice system.

In Detroit late on Friday, a 19-year-old man was shot dead at a demonstration by a suspect who fired from a sports utility vehicle then fled, local media reported. Police made no immediate comment.

Many of the protesters chanted, “No justice, no peace,” and some carried signs that read, “End police brutality” and “I won’t stop yelling until everyone can breathe”.

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Thousands of demonstrators also filled the streets of New York City’s Brooklyn borough near the Barclays Center arena. Police armed with batons and pepper spray made scores of arrests.

In lower Manhattan, demonstrators at a “We can’t breathe” rally demanded legislation to outlaw the chokehold used by a city police officer in the 2014 death of Eric Garner, who was also Black.

White House demonstration
In Washington DC, police and secret service agents deployed in force around the White House before dozens of demonstrators gathered across the street in Lafayette Square.

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President Donald Trump said early on Saturday that he had watched the protest from his window, and, if the demonstrators had breached the fence, “they would have been greeted with the most vicious dogs and most ominous weapons, I have ever seen.”

“That’s when people would have been really badly hurt, at least,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “Many Secret Service agents just waiting for action.”

Trump accused Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser of refusing to send police to help the US Secret Service, although the Washington Post reported that city officers did help control the later gathering.

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The mayor’s office and the DC police did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

On Friday, Trump drew a warning from Twitter and condemnation from Democrats after posting a comment that “looting leads to shooting,” suggesting protesters who turned to looting could be fired upon.


#Newsworthy…

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George Floyd’s Death: White Cop with Murder charge.

The white officer who pinned down an unarmed black man with his knee is charged with third-degree murder, manslaughter.


The white police officer who was seen on video kneeling on the neck of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man who died in custody after pleading that he could not breathe, was arrested Friday and charged with murder in a case that sparked protests across the United States and violence in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Derek Chauvin, the officer seen on a bystander’s mobile phone video kneeling on Floyd’s neck on Monday before the 46-year-old man died, has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman told a news briefing.

“He is in custody and has been charged with murder,” Freeman said of Chauvin. “We have evidence, we have the citizen’s camera’s video, the horrible, horrific, terrible thing we have all seen over and over again, we have the officer’s body-worn camera, we have statements from some witnesses.”

The mobile phone footage showed Floyd repeatedly moaning and gasping while he pleaded to Chauvin, kneeling on his neck, “Please, I can’t breathe.” After several minutes, Floyd gradually grows quiet and ceases to move.

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The arrest and charges come after three days of protests, which escalated in violence as demonstrators torched a police precinct that had been abandoned by officers.

Residents welcomed the charges, but said the other three officers involved must also be arrested and charged.

Freeman said those officers were still under investigation.

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With smoke drifting over Minneapolis, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz on Friday acknowledged the “abject failure” of the response to this week’s violent protests and called for swift justice for police involved in Floyd’s death.

A protestor stands next to a burning car and holds a sign in support of the Black Lives Matter movement during the third day of protests over the death of George Floyd [Anadolu]
Walz said the state would take over the response and that it’s time to show respect and dignity to those who are suffering. The US National Guard had arrived in Minneapolis by midday Thursday.

“Minneapolis and Saint Paul are on fire. The fire is still smouldering in our streets. The ashes are symbolic of decades and generations of pain, of anguish unheard,” Walz said, adding, “Now generations of pain is manifesting itself in front of the world – and the world is watching.”

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His comments came the morning after protesters torched a police station that officers abandoned during a third night of violence.

Livestream video showed protesters entering the building, where intentionally set fires activated smoke alarms and sprinklers. US President Donald Trump threatened action, tweeting “when the looting starts, the shooting starts”, which prompted a warning from Twitter for “glorifying violence”.

The governor faced tough questions after National Guard leader Major General Jon Jensen blamed a lack of clarity about the guard’s mission for a slow response. Walz said the state was in a supporting role and that it was up to city leaders to run the situation.

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“You will not see that tonight, there will be no lack of leadership,” Walz said.

Dozens of fires were also set in nearby Saint Paul, where nearly 200 businesses were damaged or looted. Protests spread across the US, fuelled by outrage over Floyd’s death, and years of violence against African Americans at the hands of police.


#Newsworthy…

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George Floyd’s Death: Trump’s tweet flagged on shooting Minneapolis looters.

President Donald Trump speaks before signing an executive order in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, May 28, 2020. Trump called out a single Twitter employee Thursday in a tweet complaining that the platform’s decision to fact check his tweets on mail balloting could “taint” the U.S. election. 


Twitter, which this week earned U.S. President Donald Trump’s ire by posting fact-check notices next to some of his tweets, has put up a rule-violation notice on one of his most recent missives.

Saying that the president’s comments about protests in Minneapolis glorified violence and were thus against its rules, the social media company has obscured the offending message on his profile with the following warning:

“This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain accessible.”

….These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen. Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!

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A spokesman for Twitter didn’t immediately respond to an email and phone call for comment.

A “View” option to open and read the tweet is made available alongside the warning. The president’s comments, concluding with the words “when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” incited a strong response from other Twitter users, but those replies have since been hidden or removed by the company. The options to reply and like the tweet have also been disabled, while the retweet and quote-tweet functions have been left active.


#Newsworthy…

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George Floyd’s Death: Cardi B, Tomi Lahren fight over protest.


Rapper Cardi B has clashed with American commentator Tomi Lahren over the protests rocking Minnesota in reaction to the death of George Floyd.

Floyd is believed to have been killed by four cops due to the way they handled him while trying to restrain him for arrest.

This has led to a spark of protests in Minnesota which has resulted in the looting of shops and stores in neighbourhoods.

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Tomi Lahren tweeted: “How does looting, rioting and destroying your OWN community bring justice for anyone?”

Cardi B reacted: “How does targeting, profilin,beating and murdering black men with no consequence equal serving and protecting? Who’s giving them justice and trust on cops ? Mind your business and eat your salad!”

Meanwhile, George Floyd’s fiancee has begged protesters to forgive the cop involved in his death.

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“You know, if he was here, he would say that he’s a man of God. He would stand on that firmly,” Ross said.

“He stood up for people, he was there for people when they were down, he loved people that were thrown away,” Ross added.

“We prayed over every meal, we prayed if we were having a hard time, we prayed if we were having a good time.”

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Ross went on to advise the community to honour Floyd in a way he would respect.

“You can’t fight fire with fire. Everything just burns, and I’ve seen it all day, people hate, they’re hating, they’re hating, they’re mad. And he would not want that. He wouldn’t, he wouldn’t, he wouldn’t. He would give grace. I stand on that today. He would still give grace to those people,” she said.


#Newsworthy…

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George Floyd’s Death: All I want is ‘Justice’ – Brother.

Philonise ‘tired of seeing Black men die’ as protests continue across the US over deadly arrest of unarmed Black man.


Philonise Floyd, the brother of George Floyd, a Black man who died earlier this week after a white police officer pinned him down with his knee for several minutes, said he just wants justice for his brother.

A video of Monday’s incident shows George, who was unarmed, pleading with Minneapolis police officers, saying “I can’t breathe” while pinned to the ground, before becoming unresponsive with the officer’s knee still on his neck.

Protests have since erupted across the United States as anger over his death intensified, with some demonstrators gaining access to a police precinct in Minneapolis, Minnesota and setting sections of the building on fire.

On Thursday, Philonise said the protesters “have the same pain that I feel”.

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“I want everybody to be peaceful right now but people are torn and hurt because they’re tired of seeing black men die constantly, over and over again,” Philonise told CNN.

“I understand and I see why a lot of people are doing a lot of different things around the world. I don’t want them to lash out like that, but I can’t stop people right now. Because they have pain. They have the same pain that I feel. I want everything to be peaceful, but I can’t make everybody be peaceful. I can’t. It’s hard.”

‘I just want justice’
The four officers involved in Monday’s incident were swiftly fired, but Floyd’s family, community leaders and residents are calling for arrests to be made.

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Hundreds of protesters marched in downtown Minneapolis for a third night on Thursday, demanding justice and an end to police violence.

“Say his name. George Floyd,” protesters chanted. “I can’t breathe.”

While the protests have started peaceful, they have descended into chaos with reports of looting, arson and vandalism.

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Police have used tear gas and non-lethal projectiles to disperse the crowds, drawing anger from local residents.

A large fire was seen near the third precinct of the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) on Thursday.

A police spokesman confirmed staff had evacuated the 3rd Precinct station “in the interest of the safety of our personnel”. Protesters could be seen setting fire to a Minneapolis Police Department jacket.

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Protesters outside the police building could be heard yelling: “We’re sick and tired of being sick and tired.”

When asked in the CNN interview what his message to the police is, Philonise said he wants them “to get everything right”.

“I want them to get everything right. Start doing your job the right way because I haven’t been seeing it, years and years down the line I haven’t been seeing it at all.

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“I’m tired of seeing Black men die. Black lives matter too,” he said, before breaking down in tears.

“I just want justice. I just want justice,” Philonise said, wiping his tears.


#Newsworthy…

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