This briefing has ended.
Here’s what you need to know:
- Seattle’s mayor defends protesters’ ‘autonomous zone’ from Trump’s ire.
- Chicago police officers relaxed in a congressman’s office with chaos outside.
- ‘I should not have been there,’ General Milley says about the Trump photo op.
- The Pentagon will review the National Guard’s role in policing the protests.
- A march through Manhattan leaves a trail of symbolic blood.
- Biden says Floyd’s death is having a bigger impact than the King assassination.
- Louisville Metro Council votes to ban ‘no-knock’ warrants.
Seattle’s mayor defends protesters’ ‘autonomous zone’ from Trump’s ire.
Seattle’s mayor on Thursday defended the city’s decision to allow protesters to declare an “autonomous zone” on the city’s streets, pushing back a day after President Trump threatened to send federal resources to crack down on the protesters, whom he labeled terrorists.
The mayor, Jenny Durkan, said it was the people’s right to challenge authority and their government.
“It’s not terrorism. It’s patriotism,” she said, adding, “We do not need anyone, including the president, to try to sow further divide, further mistrust and misinformation.”
Mr. Trump’s ire focused on the city’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, where protesters and police officers had repeatedly clashed next to a police station in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis.
Seattle officials decided this week to withdraw from the area and boarded up the police building, leaving protesters to claim the streets and declare an autonomous zone.
With the tacit blessing of the city, including the fire chief helping to install portable toilets, protesters have held community meetings and speeches while sharing free food and painting “black lives matter” on the street.
Ms. Durkan said city officials have been communicating with demonstrators in the zone and will continue to find ways for them to protest peacefully, while also making sure people can get in and out of the neighborhood.
Late Wednesday and again on Thursday, Mr. Trump criticized the decision of city and state officials on Twitter. “Take back your city NOW,” Mr. Trump wrote in a tweet directed at Ms. Durkan and Gov. Jay Inslee. “If you don’t do it, I will.” He added, “Domestic Terrorists have taken over Seattle.”
Ms. Durkan responded with a tweet of her own: “Make us all safe. Go back to your bunker.”
Carmen Best, the police chief, said in a video message on Thursday that the decision to leave the police station was not hers and that she was angry about how it developed. She also shared, without evidence, concerns about problems in the area, such as businesses being asked to pay money in exchange for protection.
Ms. Best said later in the day that nobody had made a formal report and that those issues were just circulating on places like social media. The Capitol Hill Business Alliance said it had been reaching out to businesses in the area and found no reports of any such problems.
Chicago police officers relaxed in a congressman’s office with chaos outside.
Chicago police officers lounged, napped and made themselves coffee and popcorn inside the campaign office of Representative Bobby Rush, Democrat of Illinois, while looting, arson and other crimes were in progress nearby, Mr. Rush said on Thursday.
At a news conference in Chicago, Mr. Rush said he discovered what had happened when he reviewed a video recorded two weeks ago by a security camera in his office. He checked the video, he said, after being alerted that his office had been burglarized.
Mr. Rush said he saw on security footage “eight or more police officers lounging in my office as looters were breaking into stores in the shopping center where my offices are located.”
Mr. Rush appeared alongside Mayor Lori Lightfoot of Chicago, who displayed still images from the video.
“They had their feet up on the desk,” Mr. Rush said. “One was asleep on my couch in my campaign office. One had his head down on the desk. One was on his cellphone. They even had the unmitigated gall to go and make coffee for themselves and pop popcorn — my popcorn, in my microwave — while looters were tearing apart businesses within their sight, within their reach.”
In an interview, Mr. Rush said the officers were in his office for about four hours, and left behind a $1 bill. “They insulted me by leaving a dollar on the table,” he said. “It made me feel totally disrespected as a member of Congress and an African-American male.”
“These officers exemplified an I-don’t-give-a-damn attitude,” he added.
Mayor Lightfoot called the incident a “personal embarrassment” and pledged to hold the officers accountable. It “shocked me, shocked my team and frankly enraged us,” she said. “These individuals were lounging in a congressman’s office, having a little hangout for themselves, while small businesses on the South Side were looted and burned.”
Superintendent David Brown of the Chicago Police personally apologized to Mr. Rush at the news conference over the episode.
‘I should not have been there,’ General Milley says about the Trump photo op.
The country’s top military official apologized on Thursday for taking part in President Trump’s walk across Lafayette Square for a photo op after authorities used tear gas and rubber bullets to clear the area near the White House of peaceful protesters.
“I should not have been there,” Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in a prerecorded video commencement address to National Defense University, reports Helene Cooper. “My presence in that moment and in that environment created a perception of the military involved in domestic politics.”
His first public remarks since Mr. Trump’s photo op, in which federal authorities attacked peaceful protesters so that the president could hold up a Bible in front of St. John’s Church, are certain to anger the White House. Mr. Trump has spent the days since the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis taking increasingly tougher stances against the growing movement for change across the country.
On Wednesday, the president picked another fight with the military, slapping down the Pentagon for considering renaming Army bases named after Confederate officers who fought against the Union in the Civil War.
The back and forth between Mr. Trump and the Pentagon in recent days is evidence of the deepest civil-military divide since the Vietnam War — except this time, military leaders, after halting steps in the beginning, are now positioning themselves firmly with those calling for change.
Mr. Trump’s walk across Lafayette Square, current and former military leaders say, has sparked a critical moment of reckoning in the military.
“As a commissioned uniformed officer, it was a mistake that I have learned from,” General Milley said. He said he had been angry about “the senseless and brutal killing of George Floyd,” and repeated his opposition to Mr. Trump’s suggestions that federal troops be deployed nationwide to quell protests.
General Milley’s friends said that for the past 10 days, he had been agonized about appearing — in the combat fatigues he wears every day to work — behind Mr. Trump during the walk across Lafayette Square, an act that critics said gave a stamp of military approval to the hard-line tactics used to clear the protesters.
The general believed that he was accompanying Mr. Trump and his entourage to review National Guard troops and other law enforcement personnel outside Lafayette Square, Defense Department officials said.
The Pentagon will review the National Guard’s role in policing the protests.
The Pentagon will review the National Guard’s response to protests that took place around the country after the killing of George Floyd in police custody, Defense Department officials said in a statement on Thursday.
The decision comes after a series of episodes, including the shooting in May of a Louisville, Ky., restaurant owner and the dangerous low-level flyovers of protesters last week in Washington.
The review, led by the Army secretary, Ryan McCarthy, will examine “training, equipping, organizing, manning, deployment and employment of National Guard forces,” the statement said. It will “specifically evaluate the National Guard’s efforts working with local and federal law enforcement across the country during the last two weeks.”
The District of Columbia National Guard’s response, bolstered by thousands of troops from a dozen states, was fraught with issues, a New York Times report revealed. Guard leaders issued ad hoc orders and carried out aggressive tactics, spurred by Pentagon officials’ desperate attempt to avoid President Trump’s demands for active-duty troops in American cities.
The D.C. Guard, unlike other National Guard forces, reports directly to the president through the Army and defense secretaries. The review is expected to be submitted to Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper by the end of July.
“In recent weeks, the National Guard has performed professionally and capably in support of law enforcement in cities across the United States,” Mr. Esper said in the statement announcing the review.
Nationwide, the Guard’s response involved more than 20,000 troops in 28 states as well as the District of Columbia.
A march through Manhattan leaves a trail of symbolic blood.
Protesters marching from Harlem to Midtown Manhattan on Thursday afternoon left drips of red paint and red handprints on the pavement along the way, to symbolize “blood on the streets,” as they called for an end to brutality and racism in the criminal justice system.
Police officers accompanying the march were jeered when they arrested a protester after he spray-painted “BLM,” for Black Lives Matter, on a street sign near the Metropolitan Museum of Art. As the police restrained him, the protester, a young black man, told the crowd that tagging the sign “felt really, really good.” Onlookers shouted, “Black art matters!”
The march began with about 100 people at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 110th Street, where volunteers distributed snacks, energy drinks, face masks and hand sanitizer. It grew as it moved downtown, and so did the police presence, with officers on foot, on bicycles and in vans. In front of Trump Tower, police barricades forced the marchers out of the avenue and onto the sidewalk.
“We are marching for justice! We are marching for justice for black lives!” Shelby Brown, one of the leaders of the march, told the racially diverse crowd at the outset. As they marched, the protesters chanted the names of black people killed in encounters with the police.
Biden says Floyd’s death is having a bigger impact than the King assassination.
Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. said on Thursday that the killing of George Floyd in police custody had a larger effect globally than the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968.
“Even Dr. King’s assassination did not have the worldwide impact that George Floyd’s death did,” Mr. Biden said at a roundtable event in Philadelphia.
Mr. Biden noted that “television changed the civil rights movement for the better,” and added that the prevalence of cellphones today had “changed the way everybody’s looking at this.”
“Look at the millions of people marching around the world,” Mr. Biden said. “So my point is that I think people are really realizing that this is a battle for the soul of America. Who are we? What do we want to be? How do we see ourselves? What do we think we should be? Character is on the ballot here.”
Mr. Biden met with Mr. Floyd’s family in Houston earlier this week and recorded a video message for his funeral. He has called for “real police reform” and has emphasized the need to address systemic racism in society.
Louisville Metro Council votes to ban ‘no-knock’ warrants.
The Louisville Metro Council on Thursday unanimously voted to ban “no-knock” warrants, a controversial procedure that the city’s police force used during the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor in March.
Mayor Greg Fischer said on Twitter that he would sign the ban into law.
The measure, known as Breonna’s Law, also sets new guidelines for other types of search warrants, according to a statement from the council. It requires that police officers have their body cameras on when conducting a search.
“A few weeks ago, the community began to cry out for justice and change,” said Councilwoman Barbara Saxton Smith, a primary sponsor of the ordinance. “You spoke, we listened, and tonight we took action,”
Ms. Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency medical technician, was killed by the police during a late-night drug investigation after three officers used a no-knock warrant to enter her apartment without warning. Her boyfriend, who later said he thought someone was breaking into the apartment, shot an officer in the leg. The officers shot Ms. Taylor eight times; they have not been charged despite widespread protests calling for their arrests.
“All she wanted to do was save lives,” Ms. Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, said after the ordinance was passed. “With this law, she’ll get to continue to do that. She would be so happy.”
In Dallas, Trump blasts critics of policing and blames ‘bad apples’ for brutality.
President Trump strongly defended the nation’s police in Dallas on Thursday, and sharply rejected far-reaching proposals to tackle racial injustice and police brutality in the United States.
At a roundtable meeting he convened in a Dallas church, Mr. Trump said that in response to the killing of George Floyd, he was working on an executive order to encourage police departments to adopt the latest professional standards in dealing with the public.
He mentioned de-escalation tactics and pilot programs for social workers to collaborate more closely with police officers, but beyond that he was vague about what the order might include, and spent most of his time criticizing those who have called for broader changes, like defunding the police.
“Instead, we have to go the opposite way,” Mr. Trump said. “We must invest more energy and resources in police training and recruiting and community engagement. We have to respect our police, we have to take care of our police, they’re protecting us, and if they’re allowed to do their job, they’ll do a great job.
“You always have a bad apple, no matter where you go — you have bad apples,” he continued. “There are not too many of them, and I can tell you, there are not too many of them in the police department.”
While he called the killing of Mr. Floyd in police custody “a disgrace,” he referred to it only in passing, and instead castigated critics who have said that American law enforcement is riddled with systemic racism that needs to be addressed.
“We have to work together to confront bigotry and prejudice wherever they appear, but we’ll make no progress and heal no wounds by falsely labeling tens of millions of decent Americans as racists or bigots,” Mr. Trump said. “We have to get everybody together. We have to be in the same path.”
Accompanying Mr. Trump on his trip to Dallas were Attorney General William P. Barr and two of the few prominent members of his administration who are black — Ben Carson, the secretary of housing and urban development, and Vice Adm. Jerome Adams, the surgeon general.
Mr. Trump met with police union leaders and religious leaders, but according to The Dallas Morning News, he did not invite any of the three top law enforcement officials in Dallas — the police chief, sheriff and district attorney, all of whom are African American. He did invite an African-American police chief from the small town of Glenn Heights, south of Dallas.
San Francisco promises a broad change to the role of the police.
Mayor London Breed of San Francisco said on Thursday that the city’s Police Department would gradually move away from responding to calls that do not involve criminal activity.
The move, which a spokesman for the mayor described as one that would take years to put into effect, would “limit unnecessary confrontation” between police officers and the community, the mayor’s office said in a statement.
“We need to move past the situation where the police are the first to respond to everything,” said Jeff Cretan, the mayor’s spokesman. He said the goal was for other agencies to handle non-criminal calls involving homeless people or those suffering from mental health problems or drug addiction.
The notion of reducing the broad spectrum of police duties is an area of common ground between protesters calling to defund the police and many police departments.
Other cities have also been looking at the duties performed by police officers. On Sunday, Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York said the police in his city would no longer handle the enforcement of street vendors.
In San Francisco, Ms. Breed also announced that the police would be barred from using any military-grade weapons against unarmed civilians, including “chemical weapons such as tear gas, bayonets and tanks.”
Federal arrests for protest violence show no sign of links to antifa.
When peaceful protests have turned violent, who has been causing the worst trouble?
F.B.I. agents and federal prosecutors have pursued charges aggressively against rioters, looters and others accused of wreaking havoc during the demonstrations, including conspiracy to commit arson, starting a riot, civil disorder and possession of an improvised firebomb.
But despite cries from President Trump and others in his administration, none of the people charged with serious federal crimes stemming from the unrest have so far been linked to the loose collective of anti-fascist activists known as antifa.
A review of the arrests of dozens of people on federal charges reveals no known effort by antifa to mount any coordinated campaign of violence. Some criminal complaints said the suspects had vague anti-government political leanings. But most of the violent acts that have taken place at protests have been attributed by federal prosecutors to people with no affiliation to any group.
Likewise, interviews with several major local police departments and a review of hundreds of newspaper articles about arrests around the country reveal no evidence of any organized political effort behind the looting and other violence.
“We saw no organized effort of antifa here in Los Angeles,” said Josh Rubenstein, the spokesman for the Los Angeles Police Department.
And the chief of police in Minneapolis, Medaria Arradondo, said in an interview, “As I sit here today, I have not received any sort of official information identifying any of the groups.”
Experts on extremism said the few suspects with overt political goals who have been arrested on serious charges have links not to antifa, but to “accelerationist” groups that hope to exploit any public unrest to further their own anti-government goals.
Black man under arrest: “I can’t breathe.” Officer: “I don’t care.”
A video released this week by the Oklahoma City Police shows the 2019 arrest of a black man, who is seen pinned on the ground saying “I can’t breathe,” to which an officer replies, “I don’t care.” The man died in custody shortly afterward.
Officers arrested the man, Derrick Scott, 42, on May 20, 2019, after receiving reports that someone was brandishing a firearm, Capt. Larry Withrow said at a news conference on Tuesday. He added that Mr. Scott had a loaded gun in his pocket.
A medical examiner’s report from last year lists Mr. Scott’s probable cause of death as a collapsed right lung, and cites physical restraint, recent methamphetamine use, heart disease and emphysema as contributing factors. The manner of death is “unknown,” it says.
Video of the arrest, recorded by police officers’ body cameras, was released this week after Mr. Scott’s family and a local Black Lives Matter group demanded more details about his death.
The video showed officers confronting Mr. Scott in a parking lot. In the recording, Mr. Scott can be seen starting to run from the officers. A male officer tackles Mr. Scott, after which Mr. Scott can be heard gasping, “I can’t breathe,” and the officer replies, “I don’t care.” After the officers restrain Mr. Scott’s hands, they roll him onto his side, into what Captain Withrow called a “recovery position.”
Several minutes later, an ambulance arrives. Mr. Scott can be heard crying and being told to “quit fighting.” As he is lifted toward a stretcher, he jumps up, kicks outward and then falls again. Later, in the ambulance, body camera footage shows one of the officers performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation on him. Mr. Scott was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Captain Withrow said that investigations conducted by the Police Department and district attorney’s office showed there was “no indication of any wrongdoing.” He also said that “once they had any indication that there was any medical distress, they called for medical assistance immediately.”
Asked about the officer who replied “I don’t care” to Mr. Scott, Captain Withrow said: “During the heat of a conflict like that, certainly that may be something an officer says. Just understand the officers are fighting with someone at that point.”
He added, “It’s not uncommon for people, when you’re struggling with them, when you’re trying to get them into control, to say ‘I can’t breathe.’ You hear that frequently.”
Confederates, Columbus and eugenicists have their statues toppled or names removed from buildings.
Protesters toppled a statue of Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederate States of America during the Civil War, in Richmond, Va., on Wednesday night, as demonstrators across the country continued to target symbols of white supremacy after the death of George Floyd.
The statue was among a number of prominent Confederate monuments that had stood on Monument Avenue in Richmond, which was once the capital of the Confederacy. Local news reports showed photographs of it lying on the street, with the police nearby before a tow truck carted it away.
It came down one week after Mayor Levar Stoney of Richmond said he would propose an ordinance to remove all four Confederate monuments the city controls along Monument Avenue. Mr. Stoney said he would introduce the bill on July 1, when a new state law goes into effect giving local governments the authority to remove the monuments on their own.
“Richmond is no longer the capital of the Confederacy — it is filled with diversity and love for all — and we need to demonstrate that,” Mr. Stoney said in a statement then.
Protesters in Portsmouth, Va., about 80 miles away, knocked the heads off the statues of four Confederates on Wednesday night and pulled one of the statues to the ground after the City Council postponed a decision on moving that monument, The Associated Press reported.
A protester was hit in the head by the falling monument and was hospitalized with what the police said were life-threatening injuries, the news agency reported.
Across the country, at least 10 monuments to Confederates or other controversial historical figures have been removed, and people have challenged similar monuments in more than 20 cities.
In Houston, Mayor Sylvester Turner said on Thursday that the city would remove two Confederate statues from public parks.
Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City also waded into the resurgent national debate over the legacy of the Civil War on Thursday morning, when he called on military officials to rename a street at an Army base in Brooklyn named after Robert E. Lee.
“His name should be taken off everything in America, period,” Mr. de Blasio said at a news briefing.
In a sign of how widely the mythology of the pre-Civil War South is being reconsidered, the country music group Lady Antebellum announced on Thursday that it was changing its name to Lady A, because it had belatedly come to appreciate that the word antebellum — meaning before the war — evoked slavery and racism, and not merely a quaint architectural style.
Protesters have increasingly targeted statues of Christopher Columbus, whose expeditions to the Americas led to the colonization and genocide of Indigenous people and helped initiate the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Columbus statues were pulled down this week outside the state Capitol in St. Paul, Minn., beheaded in Boston’s North End neighborhood and doused with red paint in Houston.
Several protesters vandalized the statues of Columbus and Juan Ponce de León in downtown Miami on Wednesday evening, using red spray paint to tag them with, among other things, clenched fists, George Floyd’s name, and a hammer and sickle. The Miami Police Department said it had arrested several suspects, identified via surveillance cameras.
Carol L. Folt, president of the University of Southern California, said Thursday that the university had removed from campus the name and bust of its fifth president, Rufus Von KleinSmid, a psychologist who promoted eugenics.
Mr. Rufus Von KleinSmid, whose tenure spanned the Great Depression and Second World War, died in 1964.
“He expanded research, academic programs, and curriculum in international relations,” Ms. Folt said in a public letter to the university. But, she added, “he was also an active supporter of eugenics, and his writings on the subject are at direct odds with U.S.C.’s multicultural community and our mission of diversity and inclusion.”
A G.O.P.-led Senate panel votes to require renaming of military bases honoring Confederates.
A Republican-led Senate committee voted behind closed doors on Wednesday to require the Pentagon to rename military bases and other assets named after Confederate officers and generals within three years, just as President Trump publicly declared he would not tolerate such a move.
The Senate Armed Services Committee approved adding the measure to its annual defense authorization bill, according to lawmakers who were present.
The endorsement of the proposal, from Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts, came as the White House said the president would go so far as to veto the sweeping defense legislation if Congress tried to force his hand on the issue.
Inclusion of the provision raises the prospect of an election-year Senate vote on whether to honor Confederate military personnel amid a national outcry against historical symbols of racism that has gained extraordinary speed, fueled by protests of police brutality against black Americans.
“I never thought I would get a chance to go back in time to vote against the Confederacy,” Senator Brian Schatz, Democrat of Hawaii, tweeted on Wednesday, “but ok.”
It also came on a day when Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California called for the removal of 11 statues of Confederate soldiers — including Jefferson Davis and Alexander Stephens, the president and vice president of the Confederate States of America — from display in the Capitol.
“The statues in the Capitol should embody our highest ideals as Americans, expressing who we are and who we aspire to be as a nation,” Ms. Pelosi said. “Monuments to men who advocated cruelty and barbarism to achieve such a plainly racist end are a grotesque affront to these ideals. Their statues pay homage to hate, not heritage.”
Those statues were selected and donated by states to the Capitol as a way to honor the nation’s leaders, but a bipartisan congressional panel has the authority to direct the Capitol’s architect to remove them from display.
On Thursday afternoon, even as many Republicans on Capitol Hill said they were open to removing statues from the Capitol and renaming bases honoring Confederate figures, Mr. Trump exhorted them on Twitter to “not fall for this” and reject the moves.
Reporting was contributed by Mike Baker, Peter Baker, Luke Broadwater, Helene Cooper, Julie Hirschfeld Davis, Catie Edmondson, Alan Feuer, Thomas Fuller, Thomas Gibbons-Neff, Adam Goldman, Alisha Haridasani Gupta, Thomas Kaplan, Andrew LaVallee, Michael Levenson, Dan Levin, Neil MacFarquhar Eric Schmitt, Amanda Taub, Anjali Tsui, Peter van Agtmael, Michael Wilson, Alan Yuhas and Mihir Zaveri.