Memorials for George Floyd will begin in Minneapolis, as the nation is rocked by anguish and grief.
Hundreds of people are expected to attend a memorial in Minneapolis for George Floyd as protesters marched on for the 10th straight day on Thursday, in a movement against systemic racism and police brutality that has swept the nation.
The service, scheduled for 1 p.m. local time, will be the first in a succession of memorials planned in three cities for Mr. Floyd, 46, who pleaded that he could not breathe during a fatal encounter with the police in Minneapolis on May 25. His neck was pinned beneath the knee of a white police officer for nearly nine minutes, including after Mr. Floyd fell unresponsive.
The large crowds — both at the protests in recent days and expected at the memorial — reflect the deep anguish and anger that has seized the nation at a pivotal moment, overshadowing social distancing policies for a coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 107,000 people and left millions unemployed.
In recent days, tens of thousands of protesters have gathered shoulder-to-shoulder in America’s streets, saying the names of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, a black man who was shot while being chased by three white men in suburban Georgia, and Breonna Taylor, a black medical worker who was shot by the police at her home in Louisville, Ky.
The demonstrations continued on Thursday, as suspects in the cases of both Mr. Floyd and Mr. Arbery faced court hearings. In the Arbery case, an investigator testified that one of the three defendants heard another defendant use a racist slur after the shooting.
In Atlanta, near the birth home of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and across the street from the civil rights icon’s final resting place, hundreds of Black Lives Matter advocates bowed their heads in prayer. “Our nation was conceived in liberty, founded in protest,” the Rev. Raphael Warnock, who helms the same pulpit at Ebenezer Baptist Church that Dr. King held decades prior. “Without protest, we would never be able to expand the meaning of liberty.”
The Minneapolis service, to be led by the Rev. Al Sharpton, comes a day after enhanced charges were announced against the police officer who wedged his knee onto Mr. Floyd’s neck and new charges against three other officers who participated in the arrest. All have been fired.
Among those planning to attend the memorial service is Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner, who died in 2014 when a New York police officer placed him in a fatal chokehold. His last words, “I can’t breathe” — echoed last month by Mr. Floyd — galvanized the Black Lives Matter movement.
“It just feels like I’m coming to my son’s funeral again,” Ms. Carr said on Wednesday.
Murkowski backs criticism of Trump’s leadership.
Senator Lisa Murkowski, Republican of Alaska, said on Thursday that she endorsed scathing criticism of President Trump’s leadership by James Mattis, the former secretary of defense, and was grappling with whether to support the president in the coming election.
Ms. Murkowski said the critique by General Mattis, in which he said that Mr. Trump had divided the nation and failed to lead, was overdue and might be a tipping point that would cause Republicans to air concerns about the president that they had only spoken about privately.
“I was really thankful,” Ms. Murkowski told reporters on Capitol Hill. “I thought General Mattis’s words were true and honest and necessary and overdue.”
The comments by Ms. Murkowski, one of the few moderate Republicans in Congress who has been willing to break with Mr. Trump, suggested that his response to nationwide unrest over police brutality and racial discrimination had prodded at least some members of the party to reconsider their support for him.
Ms. Murkowski added that when she saw the statement released on Wednesday by Mr. Mattis, a former four-star Marine Corps general, “I felt like perhaps we’re getting to the point where we can be more honest with the concerns that we might hold internally, and have the courage of our own convictions to speak up.”
Asked whether she could still support Mr. Trump in the coming election, Ms. Murkowski said, “I am struggling with it. I have struggled with it for a long time.”
In his statement, Mr. Mattis said: “Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people — does not even pretend to try. Instead he tries to divide us. We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership.”
“When I joined the military, some 50 years ago, I swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution,” Mr. Mattis wrote. “Never did I dream that troops taking that same oath would be ordered under any circumstance to violate the constitutional rights of their fellow citizens — much less to provide a bizarre photo op for the elected commander in chief, with military leadership standing alongside.”
The statement came hours after the current defense secretary, Mark T. Esper, said he did not think the present state of unrest in U.S. cities warranted the deployment of active-duty troops to confront protesters. Mr. Esper’s comments contradicted Mr. Trump, who has repeatedly raised the possibility of the Insurrection Act to do exactly that.
In a Pentagon news conference on Wednesday, Mr. Esper said ordering active-duty troops to police American cities should be a “last resort and only in the most urgent and dire of situations.” He said that, for now, this was not warranted.
About 1,600 airborne troops and military police have been positioned outside the capital, officials said this week.
Adding to the federal response, Attorney General William P. Barr has temporarily given the power to make arrests and enforce federal criminal laws to officers at the Bureau of Prisons, who were asked this week to help clamp down on the demonstrations.
All of the Justice Department components — including the F.B.I., the U.S. Marshalls, the Bureau of Prisons, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the A.T.F. — have been tapped to respond to violence and looting. The majority of those officers are working to keep a tight grip on Washington, where federal forces have taken over the city’s response to the protests.
The decision to confer more power on agents who work for the Justice Department comes as protests in Washington have been relatively calm. On Wednesday and Thursday evening, throngs of demonstrators walked peacefully past lines of federal officers in riot gear.
A suspect in the Ahmaud Arbery case used a racist slur after the shooting, an investigator testified.
A Georgia investigator testified on Thursday that one of the three defendants accused of chasing down and killing Ahmaud Arbery, a black man who was jogging in Brunswick, Ga., heard another defendant use a racist slur after shooting Mr. Arbery.
At a preliminary hearing in the case, the investigator said that William Bryan, who used his cellphone to film the fatal encounter, heard the remark by Travis McMichael, the man who pulled the trigger.
From the witness stand, Richard Dial, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation assistant special agent in charge of the case, said that Mr. Bryan heard Mr. McMichael use the slur after the shooting took place, and before the police arrived on the scene.
The death of Mr. Arbery in February drew widespread condemnation that only intensified after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. His name has become one of several that protesters have repeated in recent days, urging attention to the issue of systemic racism and criminal justice reform in nationwide demonstrations.
The purpose of the hearing is to determine whether probable cause exists to support the criminal charges against the three men.
Gregory McMichael, a retired investigator in the local district attorney’s office, and his son, Travis McMichael, were arrested May 7. Each was charged with murder and aggravated assault. They had pursued Mr. Arbery through their Satilla Shores neighborhood on the afternoon of Feb. 23, suspecting him of being the perpetrator of a number of neighborhood break-ins.
Travis McMichael, 34, who was armed with a shotgun, shot Mr. Arbery three times as the two men scuffled. Greg McMichael, 64, who had armed himself with a handgun, watched the shooting while standing in the bed of a pickup truck.
Their neighbor, William Bryan, 50, made a video recording of the incident on his phone. He was arrested May 21 on charges of felony murder and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment. In a police report, Greg McMichael appears to indicate that Mr. Bryan, who goes by “Roddie,” was a participant in the chase, telling an officer that Mr. Bryan “attempted to block” Mr. Arbery as he ran.
The three men remain in Glynn County jail and have not yet entered a plea in the case.
Gov. Brian Kemp, in a news conference earlier this week, said that there would be a significant police presence in Brunswick on Thursday, given the unrest and violence that have rocked cities in protests over police violence.
Senate Democrats hold 8 minutes and 46 seconds of silence.
Senate Democrats on Thursday held a moment of silence lasting eight minutes and 46 seconds, the amount of time that George Floyd was held down by a police officer, who kept his knee pressed on Mr. Floyd’s neck even after Mr. Floyd became unresponsive.
The moment was also meant to honor Ahmaud Arbery, the 25-year-old black man killed while running down a suburban street in Brunswick, Ga., and Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old black medical worker who was shot by the police at her home in Louisville, Ky.
Standing six feet apart next to a statue of Frederick Douglass in Emancipation Hall on Capitol Hill, it appeared to be the first moment the Democratic caucus had gathered in one place since the coronavirus pandemic began to spread through the Capitol.
A handful of senators — Tim Kaine of Virginia, Martin Heinrich of New Mexico, Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, Michael Bennet of Colorado and Sherrod Brown of Ohio — knelt on the marble floor during the moment of silence.
“This is a very painful moment,” Senator Cory Booker, Democrat of New Jersey, said. He offered a short eulogy of Mr. Floyd’s life and death and called the setting appropriate for the moment.
“I stood there in silence, looking down, and in my eyesight were the words ‘If there is no struggle, there is no progress,’” Mr. Booker said, referring to a quote from Mr. Douglass’s West India emancipation speech. “It was very profound for me.”
Three officers newly charged in the death of George Floyd have their first court appearance on Thursday.
The three former Minneapolis police officers who failed to intervene while George Floyd was killed are expected to appear in court on Thursday afternoon, in a first public appearance since protests seized the nation.
The officers, Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao, were charged on Wednesday with aiding and abetting second-degree murder, as well as aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter. Jail records show they are scheduled to appear in court at 12:45 p.m. local time.
A fourth former officer who was seen on video holding Mr. Floyd down, Derek Chauvin, 44, faces an increased charge of second-degree murder, as well as second-degree manslaughter. He has a court appearance scheduled for Monday.
All four officers were fired after video emerged of the May 25 arrest that led to the killing.
Mr. Chauvin, who is white, held his knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes while Mr. Floyd pleaded he could not breathe. Mr. Lane and Mr. Kueng, who are white, held his legs and back, and Mr. Thao, who is Hmong, stood by, according to video footage and a spokesman for the Minnesota attorney general.
More than 200 pages of personnel records released by the Minneapolis Police Department late Wednesday revealed the varying histories of the four officers, including a more detailed complaint against Mr. Chauvin.
Mr. Chauvin appears to have been reprimanded and possibly suspended after a woman complained in 2007 that he needlessly removed her from her car, searched her and put her into the back of a squad car for driving 10 miles an hour over the speed limit. He was the subject of at least 17 misconduct complaints over two decades, but the woman’s complaint is the only one detailed in 79 pages of his heavily redacted personnel file.
The file shows that the complaint was upheld and that Mr. Chauvin was issued a letter of reprimand.
“Officer did not have to remove complainant from car, Could’ve conducted interview outside the vehicle,” read the investigators’ finding.
In one part of the records, the discipline imposed is listed as “letter of reprimand,” but Mr. Chauvin was also issued a “notice of suspension” in May 2008, just after the investigation into the complaint ended, that lists the same internal affairs case number.
Mr. Kueng, 26, was an officer with the department for less than six months. He joined as a cadet in February 2019 and became an officer on Dec. 10, 2019, having previously worked as a community service officer with the department. He also worked as a security guard at a Macy’s and stocked shelves at a Target.
Mr. Lane, 37, was accepted to the police academy in January 2019, having begun working in the criminal justice system in 2017 as a probation officer. Mr. Lane previously worked a series of different jobs, from restaurant server to Home Depot sales associate. He volunteered at Ka Joog tutoring, working with Somali youth in Cedar Riverside.
Mr. Thao, 34, was hired in 2008 as a community service officer in Minneapolis. He was laid off in late 2009 because of budget cuts, but was recalled in 2011 and was then hired as a police officer in 2012. He had faced six misconduct complaints in his career with the Minneapolis Police Department.
A friend in Mr. Floyd’s passenger seat: ‘He was not resisting, in no form or way.’
A longtime friend of George Floyd who was in the passenger seat of Mr. Floyd’s car when he was arrested said on Wednesday night that Mr. Floyd had tried to defuse the tensions with the police and did not resist.
“He was, from the beginning, trying in his humblest form to show he was not resisting in no form or way,” said Maurice Lester Hall, 42, who was taken into custody in Houston on Monday and interrogated overnight by Minnesota state investigators, according to his lawyer.
“I could hear him pleading, ‘Please, officer, what’s all this for?’” Mr. Hall said in an interview with Erica L. Green of The New York Times on Wednesday night.
Mr. Hall recounted Mr. Floyd’s last moments.
“He was just crying out at that time for anyone to help, because he was dying,” Mr. Hall said. “I’m going to always remember seeing the fear in Floyd’s face, because he’s such a king. That’s what sticks with me: seeing a grown man cry, before seeing a grown man die.”
Mr. Hall is a key witness in the state’s investigation into the four officers who apprehended Mr. Floyd.
A student struck with a bean-bag round at a protest in Austin has brain damage, his brother says.
Justin Howell was not the demonstrator who threw a water bottle on Sunday at officers guarding police headquarters, Chief Brian Manley of the Austin police said. It was not Mr. Howell, but someone next to him, who then hurled a backpack toward the officers, the chief said.
But as officers responded with force, it was Mr. Howell, 20, a student studying political science at Texas State University, who was struck in the head with a bean-bag round fired by the police. Mr. Howell was critically injured.
The encounter is expected to be discussed at an Austin City Council hearing on Thursday afternoon about the actions of the police during the protests.
In an article published Wednesday in The Battalion, the student newspaper of Texas A&M University, Mr. Howells’ brother Joshua Howell wrote that Justin, who is black, sustained a skull fracture and brain damage and that doctors said he would probably not recover quickly.
“These ‘less-lethal’ munitions are only ‘less-lethal’ by technicality,” Joshua Howell, who is the opinion editor of the newspaper, wrote. “My brother’s condition shows what can happen when you fire them into a crowd.”
Saying the police in Austin were “entirely out of their depth,” Joshua Howell wrote that when people carried his brother’s limp body to the headquarters building for medical help, the police fired at them, too — as they had been told to do by other officers — a sequence of events that Chief Manley said on Monday was under investigation.
“At minimum, it shows a complete inability to be aware of your surroundings and to manage the situation appropriately,” Joshua Howell wrote.
The Austin Police Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Protesters welcome charges against the officers in George Floyd’s death.
From coast to coast, protesters had a consistent reaction to the charges that have now been brought against three additional police officers in the death of George Floyd: It’s good news — and it’s not nearly enough. There need to be convictions. There needs to be systemic change.
“I think it’s going to be a really long fight, not just in Minnesota but in cities around the country,” said Izzy Smith, an educator from the South Side of Minneapolis who was among those demonstrating at the site where Mr. Floyd was arrested last month.
“This is a marathon, not a sprint,” she added, “so it’s keeping the foot on the gas but keep it steady.”
Nearby, Marquise Bowie said of the charges: “That’s good. It ain’t going to bring the man back, though. It’s a start.”
Some protesters expressed disappointment that the officer who pressed on Mr. Floyd’s neck, Derek Chauvin, had been charged with second-degree murder rather than first-degree, or that action against the other officers was not taken sooner.
“It’s about damn time,” said Nekima Levy Armstrong, a civil rights lawyer and protest organizer in Minneapolis. “If not for the outrage that had rocked the country, these officers never would have been charged.”
At a demonstration on the North Side of Chicago, Jonathan Mejias said he was gratified by the news, to a point. “It’s just one piece,” he said. “The world needs to know that it doesn’t end with resolving this one case. There are too many more out there.”
Byron Spencer, handing out water and burgers to protesters outside Los Angeles City Hall, said he was both “elated and defeated” by word of the new charges. He said he had seen countless surges of outrage over police brutality against black men, only to have it happen again.
“I’m 55, I’m black and I’m male. I’ve seen the cycle,” he said. “It’s almost like PTSD constantly having this conversation with my son.”
Cierra Sesay reacted to the charges at a demonstration in the shadow of the State Capitol in Denver. “It’s amazing, it’s another box we can check,” she said. “But it goes up so much higher. It’s about the system.”
More protests were held across New York City, with police clashing with large numbers of demonstrators who refused to abide by the city’s 8 p.m. curfew. Earlier on Wednesday, Celia Oliver, 30, a nurse practitioner, brought her 9-month-old son Elliot to a rally on Roosevelt Island.
“I think it’s important to show that all of us — and every person who has been killed — started out as babies,” Ms. Oliver said, referring to why she and her husband had brought their son along. “It’s his first lesson in anti-racism.”
In San Francisco, Tevita Tomasi — who is of Polynesian descent and described himself as “dark and tall and big” — said he regularly faced racial profiling. On Wednesday, he distributed bottled water at what he said was his first demonstration but would not be his last. What would stop him from protesting?
“They would have to shoot me.”
Another man who said ‘I can’t breathe’ died in custody. An autopsy calls it homicide.
A black man who called out “I can’t breathe” before dying in police custody in Tacoma, Wash., was killed as a result of oxygen deprivation and the physical restraint that was used on him, according to details of a medical examiner’s report released on Wednesday.
The Pierce County Medical Examiner’s Office concluded that the death of the man, Manuel Ellis, 33, was a homicide. Investigators with the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department were in the process of preparing a report about the March death, which occurred shortly after an arrest by officers from the Tacoma Police Department, said the sheriff’s spokesman, Ed Troyer.
“The information is all being put together,” Detective Troyer said. “We expect to present it to the prosecutor at the end of this week or early next week.”
Mr. Ellis’s sister, Monet Carter-Mixon, called for action to bring accountability in the death and further scrutiny of both the Police Department’s practices and how the investigation into his death has been handled.
“There’s a lot of questions that still need to be answered,” Ms. Carter-Mixon said.
Mr. Ellis died from respiratory arrest, hypoxia and physical restraint, according to the medical examiner’s office. The report listed methamphetamine intoxication and heart disease as contributing factors.
Police officers encountered Mr. Ellis, a musician and father of two from Tacoma, on the night of March 3 as they were stopped at an intersection. They saw him banging on the window of another vehicle, Detective Troyer said.
Mr. Ellis approached the officers, Detective Troyer said, and then threw an officer to the ground when the officer got out of the vehicle. The two officers and two backup officers who joined — two of them white, one black and one Asian — handcuffed him.
“Mr. Ellis was physically restrained as he continued to be combative,” the Tacoma Police Department said in a statement on Wednesday.
Detective Troyer said he did not know all the details of the restraint the officers used — they were not wearing body cameras — but said he did not believe they used a chokehold or a knee on Mr. Ellis’s neck. They rolled him on his side after he called out, “I can’t breathe.”
A.C.L.U. challenges a curfew in Southern California.
The American Civil Liberties Union filed an emergency lawsuit on Wednesday over curfews in Southern California, arguing that they are suppressing political protests in violation of the First Amendment.
As thousands of Californians took part in widespread protests after the death of George Floyd, cities including Los Angeles, Santa Monica and Burbank imposed overnight curfews.
The A.C.L.U. Foundation of Southern California, which called the restrictions “draconian,” filed its lawsuit on behalf of the Black Lives Matter Los Angeles group, journalists, protesters and other individuals. It listed the Los Angeles police chief and Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles among the defendants.
Large numbers of people continue to take to the streets each evening, undeterred by orders to remain inside. Since protests began last week, more than 3,000 people have been arrested in Los Angeles County, most of them accused of curfew violations.
Reporting was contributed by Tim Arango, Mike Baker, Kim Barker, Katie Benner, Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, Emily Cochrane, Nick Corasaniti, Michael Crowley, Elizabeth Dias, John Eligon, Reid J. Epstein, Tess Felder, Lazaro Gamio, Sandra E. Garcia, Thomas Gibbons-Neff, Katie Glueck, Russell Goldman, Erica L. Green, Richard Fausset, Amy Julia Harris, Shawn Hubler, Carl Hulse, Mike Ives, Sean Keenan, Neil MacFarquhar, Barbara Marcolini, Patricia Mazzei, Sarah Mervosh, Richard A. Oppel Jr., Richard Perez-Peña, Catherine Porter, Elisabetta Povoledo, Michael Powell, Frances Robles, Alejandra Rosa, Marc Santora, Anna Schaverien, Thomas Shanker, Glenn Thrush, Daniel Victor, Neil Vigdor, Karen Weise and Mihir Zaveri.