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    Celebrities, musicians and political leaders gathered in front of George Floyd's golden casket Thursday for a fiery memorial service for the man whose death at the hands of police sparked global protests, with a civil rights leader declaring it is time for black people to demand, “Get your knee off our necks!” The service — the first in a series of memorials set for three cities over six days — unfolded in Minneapolis at a sanctuary at North Central University as a judge a few blocks away set bail at $750,000 each for the three fired police officers charged with aiding and abetting murder in Floyd's death. “George Floyd’s story has been the story of black folks. Because ever since 401 years ago, the reason we could never be who we wanted and dreamed to be is you kept your knee on our neck,” the Rev. Al Sharpton said in a fierce eulogy. “It’s time for us to stand up in George’s name and say, ‘Get your knee off our necks!’” Floyd, a 46-year-old out-of-work bouncer, died May 25 after a white police officer, Derek Chauvin, put his knee on Floyd's neck for several minutes as he lay handcuffed on the pavement, gasping that he couldn't breathe. Chauvin has been charged with murder, and he and the others could get up to 40 years in prison. From coast to coast, and from Paris and London to Sydney and Rio de Janeiro, the chilling cellphone video of Floyd's slow death has set off turbulent and sometimes violent demonstrations against police brutality, racism and inequality. Some protests continued Thursday. Those gathered at the Minneapolis tribute stood in silence for 8 minutes, 46 seconds, the amount of time Floyd was alleged to be on the ground under the control of police. Sharpton vowed that this will become a movement to “change the whole system of justice.” “Time is out for not holding you accountable! Time is out for you making excuses! Time is out for you trying to stall! Time is out for empty words and empty promses! Time is out for you filibustering and trying to stall the arm of justice!” he said. The service drew the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sen. Amy Klobuchar and other members of Congress, including Reps. Ilhan Omar, Sheila Jackson Lee and Ayanna Pressley. Among the celebrities in attendance were T.I., Ludacris, Tyrese Gibson, Kevin Hart, Tiffany Haddish and Marsai Martin. “All these people came to see my brother,” Philonise Floyd told the crowd at the memorial in awe as he recounted their childhoods playing catch and eating banana-mayonnaise sandwiches. “That’s amazing to me that he touched so many people’s hearts because he touched our hearts.” He and other family members spoke lovingly of Floyd, who was well over 6 feet tall, which earned him the nickname “Big George.” The casket was covered in red roses, and a vibrant image was projected above the pulpit of a mural of Floyd painted at the street corner where he was arrested by police on suspicion of passing a counterfeit $20 bill at a convenience store. The message on the mural: “I can breathe now.” The sanctuary normally seats 1,000, but because of the coronavirus outbreak, the capacity was reduced to about 500, and many mourners wore masks, some with “I can’t breathe” on them. Outside, hundreds chanted Floyd's name as a hearse prepared to carry him away. His body goes next to Raeford, North Carolina, near where he was born, for a public viewing and private family service on Saturday. A public viewing will be held Monday in Houston, where he was raised and lived most of his life. In the U.S., where protests had been marked by bouts of lawlessness since last week, relative quiet prevailed for a third straight night Thursday, a day after prosecutors charged the three other officers at the scene and filed a new, more serious count of murder against Chauvin. In New York City, a large crowd gathered at Brooklyn’s Cadman Plaza and chanted “You are not alone” in a rally with one of George Floyd’s brothers “I thank God for you all showing love to my brother,” said an emotional Terrence Floyd. Peaceful demonstrations continued past the city’s 8 p.m. curfew, even as Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio sought to deflect criticism over harsh tactics from police enforcing the curfew the night before. While there was a heavy police presence on the streets, they did not immediately move in to make arrests. In Buffalo, video from television station WBFO showed an officer appearing to shove a man who walked up to police while they were enforcing a nightly curfew. The man falls backward, hits his head on the pavement and immediately begins bleeding as officers walk past him. A county official tweeted that the man was hospitalized and stable, but his exact condition was not immediately known. News outlets reported that Buffalo Police Commissioner Byron Lockwood suspended two officers late Thursday. In Washington, the law enforcement presence was much lighter compared to the previous night, and thousands of people marched peacefully from near the White House to the Lincoln Memorial. Police cleared the largely empty streets of cars just ahead of the demonstrators’ path. The protests broke up before dark as a heavy rain began. In Georgia, a white father and son charged in another killing of a black man that has raised racial tensions in the U.S. made a court appearance Thursday via video. A state investigator testified that Travis McMichael was heard uttering a racist slur as he stood over the body of Ahmaud Arbery after killing him with three blasts from a pump-action shotgun. The new charges in Minneapolis punctuated an unprecedented week in recent American history, in which largely peaceful protests took place in communities of all sizes but were rocked by bursts of violence, including deadly attacks on officers, theft, vandalism and arson. In Minneapolis alone, more than 220 buildings were damaged or burned, with damage topping $55 million, city officials said. Nationwide, more than 10,000 people have been arrested, an Associated Press tally found. More than a dozen deaths have been reported, though the circumstances in many cases are still being sorted out. Meanwhile, the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration, alleging officials violated the civil rights of peaceful protesters. The demonstrators were removed from a park Monday near the White House by police firing smoke bombs and pepper balls. After the protesters were cleared, President Donald Trump walked to a nearby church to take a photo. The ACLU called it a “coordinated and unprovoked charge into the crowd of demonstrators.” The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the group Black Lives Matter D.C. and individual protesters who were in the park at the time. ___ Associated Press journalists across the U.S. and the world contributed to this report.
  • In an embarrassing about-face, The New York Times said Thursday that an opinion piece it ran by U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton advocating the use of federal troops to quell nationwide protests about police mistreatment of black Americans did not meet its standards. Cotton's op-ed, titled “Send in the Troops” and first posted online late Wednesday, caused a revolt among Times journalists, with some saying it endangered black employees. Some staff members called in sick Thursday in protest. The Times said in a statement that a “rushed editorial process” led to publication of a piece that did not meet its standards. Cotton taunted the paper on Twitter Thursday night, accusing it of “surrendering to the mindless woke mob.” The Arkansas Republican’s piece remained on the Times’ website Thursday evening. The Times said it was still determining whether the column will be corrected or what to say in an editor's note attached to it. Earlier Thursday, Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger and editorial page editor James Bennet defended its publication, saying they believed it was important to discuss controversial ideas in a public forum rather than keep them quiet. But, the Times reported that later, Bennet revealed that he had not read Cotton's piece prior to its publication. “As a result, we’re planning to examine both short term and long term changes” to its opinion pages including expanding its fact-checking operation and reducing the number of op-eds, which are opinion pieces written by outside contributors that it publishes, the Times said its statement. Cotton's column supported President Donald Trump's call to bring in federal troops to stop violence associated with protests against police treatment of minorities. He denounced “nihilist criminals” out for loot and “left-wing radicals like antifa infiltrating protest marches to exploit (George) Floyd's death for their own anarchic purposes.” However, it was pointed out online that a Times news story on June 1 said “conservative commentators are asserting with little evidence that antifa, the far-left anti-fascism activist movement coordinates the riots and looting.” Among the Times journalists who had protested publication of Cotton's piece was Nikole Hannah-Jones, who last month won a Pulitzer Prize for her magazine piece, “The 1619 Project,” about black Americans since the first arrival of slaves. “As a black woman, as a journalist, I am deeply ashamed that we ran this,” Hannah-Jones tweeted. Cotton’s piece was posted online two days after a peaceful demonstration outside the White House was cleared with tear gas and flash bangs, clearing the way for President Donald Trump to stage a photo-op outside a nearby church. Bennet had written that he personally disagreed with Cotton and believed troops could lead to innocent people being hurt. The Times’ opinion page had published several pieces with that view, he said. “Readers who might be inclined to oppose Cotton’s positions need to be fully aware of it, and reckon with it, if they were to defeat it,” Bennet wrote in an essay. “To me, debating influential ideas openly, rather than letting them go unchallenged, is far more likely to help society reach the right answers.” Still, he said, “I know that my own view might be wrong.” Also Thursday, the Philadelphia Inquirer apologized for a “horribly wrong” decision to use the headline “Buildings Matter, Too” on an article. Some 30 members of its 210-member editorial staff had called in sick Thursday following the mistake, which black staff members angrily condemned. The twin uprisings illustrated raw feelings unleashed by the video of George Floyd dying last week after a Minneapolis police officer pressed a knee against his neck, along with long-time concerns about whether newspaper staffs reflect the makeup of their communities. The Inquirer headline was over a piece by architecture critic Inga Saffron, who worried that buildings damaged in violence over the past week could “leave a gaping hole in the heart of Philadelphia.” After the initial headline, considered diminishing to the Black Lives Matter movement, the Inquirer whiffed on an online replacement, writing, “Black Lives Matter. Do Buildings?” Eventually, the newspaper settled on “Damaging buildings disproportionately hurt the people protesters are trying to uplift.” Features reporter Brandon Bell wrote on Twitter that he was calling in “sick and tired” to work. He was among those who distributed an open letter of protest, saying African American journalists were tired of careless mistakes that make it harder to do their jobs and, at worst, put lives at risk. “We're tired of shouldering the burden of dragging this 200-year-old institution kicking and screaming into a more equitable age,” the letter read. “We're tired of being told to show both sides of issues there are no two sides of.” The Inquirer published an apology from top editors. Publisher and CEO Lisa Hughes said in a memo to staff that no one would be charged a sick day for taking Thursday off. She called the headline “offensive and inappropriate” and said the Inquirer needed a more diverse staff. ___ Business Writer Tali Arbel in New York contributed to this report.
  • Gabrielle Union filed a complaint Thursday with the state of California against NBC and the producers of “America’s Got Talent,' the latest move in a fight over her allegations that she was fired for objecting to an on-set environment that tolerated racism. The complaint filed with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing says Union was harassed and discriminated against because of her race, and experienced retaliation for reporting these problems. The document enumerates previously reported issues that Union, who is black, had with the show's acceptance of racist jokes and remarks from judges, and cites criticism she received about her hair during tapings. “Union, a black woman, was singled out due to her physical appearance and discriminated against by NBC due to the fact that her hair did not fit within the white image that NBC apparently sought to convey to the audience of AGT,” the complaint states, adding that a network executive and a show producer “informed Union’s manager that her hair was ‘too wild’ and that it needed to be 'toned down.'” The complaint also contains new allegations that NBC Entertainment Chairman Paul Telegdy called Union's agents to issue unspecified threats, shared confidential information on the controversy with celebrities that the show was looking to hire and sought to undermine an investigation of Union's issues. “The allegation that anyone involved in this process threatened Ms. Union is categorically untrue,” the network's parent company NBCUniversal said in a statement. “We took Ms. Union's concerns seriously, and engaged an outside investigator who found an overarching culture of diversity on the show.' That outside investigation commissioned by the network and producers, whose results were announced last week, found Union's allegations were unfounded, and had no bearing on the decision to drop her as a judge. The review acknowledged unspecified “areas in which reporting processes could be improved.” Union, known for her roles in the films “Bring It On” and “Bad Boys II,” appeared on the talent showcase for a season, until she and fellow freshman judge Julianne Hough weren’t asked to return. Union's attorney Bryan Freedman says the “racial bullying” she received stands in contrast to the network's recent statements about being outraged by racism and standing with Black Lives Matter. “When Gabrielle Union informed NBC of racially offensive conduct during the taping of America’s Got Talent, NBC did not ‘stand’ with her in ‘outrage at acts of racism,’” Freedman said in a statement. “Instead, NBC did not care enough to either promptly investigate Ms. Union’s complaints or even ask HR to get involved. Rather, NBC stood against her and directed its “outrage” at Ms. Union for whistleblowing about the racially offensive conduct she experienced.” NBCUniversal's statement says the company 'remains committed to creating an inclusive and supportive working environment where people of all backgrounds are treated with respect.” ___ Follow AP Entertainment Writer Andrew Dalton on Twitter: https://twitter.com/andyjamesdalton.
  • A divided Senate voted along party lines Thursday to confirm President Donald Trump’s choice to head the Voice of America and other U.S. government-funded international broadcasters that have been the subject of harsh criticism from the White House. Despite significant Democratic opposition and concerns over his fitness for the job, the Senate voted 53-38 to confirm Michael Pack to run the U.S. Agency for Global Media, which oversees VOA and its sister outlets including Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio Free Asia and the Cuba-oriented Radio and Television Marti. Democrats opposed the nomination of Pack, a former associate of Trump political adviser Steve Bannon, in part because of questions about his past business dealings. Recent criticism of VOA from Trump and the White House has intensified their concerns about his nomination. Trump had pushed for Pack’s confirmation while launching unprecedented attacks on the Voice of America, the venerable broadcaster created during World War II to air independent news and promote American values to the world, for its coverage of China’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. Democrats feared that Pack, a conservative filmmaker and former educator, could turn the organization into a Trump propaganda machine funded with more than $200 million a year in taxpayer money. Trump has mused about his desire to control a media outlet. “Congratulations to Michael Pack!” the president tweeted Thursday. “Nobody has any idea what a big victory this is for America. Why? Because he is going to be running the VOICE OF AMERICA, and everything associated with it.” Pack has dismissed concerns he would allow the organization to turn into a Trump propaganda machine, but the recent furor has reignited those concerns. Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee tried unsuccessfully eight times to postpone consideration of the nomination two weeks ago. New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez and others argued it should be delayed because Pack had not answered questions about discrepancies in tax returns related to a nonprofit organization he runs. Menendez on Thursday said the Senate was setting a “dangerous precedent” by moving ahead. “We live in an era where the extraordinary quickly becomes routine, but even by that metric Mr. Pack’s path to this floor has been a disgrace,” Menendez said. An initial committee vote had been delayed in early May, after the Washington, D.C., attorney general informed Menendez and committee chairman Jim Risch, R-Texas, that it had an open civil investigation into the tax return discrepancies. Yet, the uproar over Voice of America and its recent coverage of China’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic overshadowed the possible legal issues. It has become a touchstone in the Trump administration’s efforts to criticize Chinese authorities for the outbreak and deflect criticism of the U.S. response as the 2020 presidential campaign heats up. Trump and his allies have long viewed VOA with suspicion, regarding it as an element of a “deep state” trying to thwart their policies. The hostility burst open on April 9, when Trump communications adviser Dan Scavino posted a VOA story about China to his official Twitter account with the comment “American taxpayers—paying for China’s very own propaganda, via the U.S. Government funded Voice of America! DISGRACE!!” The story that VOA posted — about the lifting of the lockdown in the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the new coronavirus first emerged — was actually an Associated Press report, but the following day, an official White House publication accused VOA of using taxpayer money “to speak for authoritarian regimes.” Trump weighed in several days later, calling VOA’s coverage “disgusting” and demanding that the Senate confirm Pack.
  • Prince Charles says he has missed giving his family members a hug during the long weeks of lockdown due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The Prince of Wales also acknowledged in a interview with Sky News on Thursday that he had not seen his father, the Duke of Edinburgh for many weeks. Prince Philip, who is shielding at Windsor Castle with Queen Elizabeth II, is set to celebrate his 99th birthday next week. Speaking virtually from his Scottish home of Birkhall, Charles — the heir to the throne — was asked about being apart from his family. “Well, it’s terribly sad, let alone one’s friends,'' he said. “But fortunately, at least you can speak to them on telephones and occasionally do this sort of thing. “But it isn’t the same is it? You really want to give people a hug,” he said. Charles, who himself suffered from COVID-19, said contracting coronavirus made him more determined to “push and shout and prod” for a more green approach and to have nature return to the “center of everything we do.” ___ Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
  • A writer from a “Law & Order' spin-off and the play-by-play broadcaster for the NBA’s Sacramento Kings found themselves out of jobs after making social media posts this week that their bosses found too incendiary or insensitive, highlighting an apparent surge in such firings across many lines of work. Lost jobs over social media statements that seemed like a good idea at the time have become a common occurrence, but the tense environment of nationwide protests against racism and police brutality with the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic have made Twitter, Instagram and Facebook especially dangerous for those who want to remain among the employed. With the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, who died after a police officer pinned his knee into his neck, even when he had become unresponsive, and the coronavirus that has killed over 100,000 and left others unemployed and many socially distant, feelings and emotions are strong. It can be difficult to resist the urge to post or tweet, even for people such as police officers, local officials or teachers who are bound to draw scrutiny. “People when they see a breaking news story they get that rush of wanting to be a part of something,” said Danny Deraney, a publicist who often works in crisis management. “There's an adrenaline. They feel like they're saying something so profound. But they need to think before they tweet.' Craig Gore, who has worked on the shows “S.W.A.T.” and “Chicago P.D.,” was fired Tuesday from the forthcoming “Law & Order: Organized Crime” spin-off because of Facebook posts. One was captioned “Curfew…” in which he's shown holding a rifle on his front porch, and in another full of expletives, he threatens to shoot looters who come near his home. Given the gravity of the moment, Gore's boss, “Law & Order” franchise creator Dick Wolf, did not warn or suspend him but went straight to firing, saying in a statement, “I will not tolerate this conduct, especially during our hour of national grief.' A lawyer for Gore did not respond to a request for comment. Grant Napear, longtime TV announcer for the NBA’s Sacramento Kings was fired from his talk radio job and subsequently resigned Tuesday from the team's broadcast crew after he tweeted “ALL LIVES MATTER” and more to former Kings player DeMarcus Cousins when asked his opinion on the Black Lives Matter movement. Bonneville International, owner of the radio station that fired Napear, said in a statement, 'The timing of Grant’s tweet was particularly insensitive.” Napear later tweeted, “I’ve been doing more listening than talking the past few days,” and “I believe the past few days will change this country for the better!” And social media-based firings are not just for the prominent. Many others from public-facing institutions and businesses have been sanctioned, demoted, suspended or fired for impolitic statements online in recent days. The principal trombonist from the Austin Symphony Orchestra was let go after a string of Facebook comments, including one in which she said black protesters “deserve what they get.” The personal accounts of police are under especially tight scrutiny. A Denver officer was fired Tuesday for writing “Let’s start a riot” as the caption to an Instagram picture of himself and two fellow officers smiling in riot gear. An officer in Fulton, New York, posted an Instagram image that read, “Black lives only matter to black people unless they are killed by a white person” and found himself out of a job. The poor timing cited by the former bosses Gore and Napear can make posts that might otherwise pass unnoticed have major consequences, especially in a moment marked by a volatile combination of politics and race. “If you’re in a situation like this, you’ve got to read the room,” Deraney said. You’ve got to get a sense of what’s going on. You don’t need to always say something. These people who are getting fired or resigning, they're not realizing this.” ___ Follow AP Entertainment Writer Andrew Dalton on Twitter: https://twitter.com/andyjamesdalton.
  • Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, has shared her sadness about racial divisions in the United States, telling students at her former high school that she felt moved to speak out because the life of George Floyd mattered. Meghan told graduates at Immaculate Heart High School in Los Angeles that she wrestled with the question of what to tell them given the days of protests after the May 25 death of Floyd, a handcuffed black man who pleaded for air as a white police officer pressed a knee on his neck in Minneapolis. She said her nervousness arose because her words would be “picked apart,” but she decided to speak anyway. “I realized the only wrong thing to say is to say nothing, because George Floyd’s life mattered,” she said in the virtual address Wednesday. Floyd's deaths sparked days of protests and riots in the United States. The former Meghan Markle, who is biracial, said the unrest reminded her of the riots that took place in her hometown of Los Angeles after police officers were acquitted in the video-taped beating of Rodney King in 1992. “I remember the curfew, and I remember rushing back home and on that drive home, seeing ash fall from the sky and smelling the smoke and seeing the smoke billow out of buildings and seeing people run out of buildings, carrying bags and looting,' she said. 'And I remember seeing men in the back of a van holding guns and rifles, and I remember pulling up to the house and seeing the tree that had always been there, completely charred. And those memories don’t go away.'' Meghan and her husband Prince Harry, who is a grandson of Queen Elizabeth II, are seeking a new life in California after stepping away from royals duties earlier this year. Having cut off any cooperation with the British tabloid media, they have sought to independently shape their image and speak out on issues important to them.. The duchess’ video, which was first reported by the U.S. magazine Essence, offered encouragement to the graduates, urging them to consider the moments of light and humanity that emerged from the actions of peaceful protesters. Meghan said she wished the graduates were starting their young lives in a better world. “I know sometimes people say, ‘how many times do we need to rebuild?’'' she said. 'Well, you know what? We are going to rebuild and rebuild and rebuild until it is rebuilt. Because when the foundation is broken, so are we.
  • A teenager was injured Wednesday night after gunfire rang out during the filming of a music video in Atlanta, the city’s police said. Rapper YFN Lucci, whose real name is Rayshawn Bennett, was filming the music video in an apartment complex in the southeastern part of the city, Atlanta police told WGCL-TV. Police said the 15-year-old boy's thumb was grazed after some 21 bullets were fired, with at least one striking YFN Lucci’s Bentley. The teen was not identified and it was not immediately known if he has been hospitalized. YFN Lucci left the apartment complex without his luxury car before authorities arrived at the scene, police said. Police are searching for suspects in the shooting.
  • Xu Zhiyong, a prominent Chinese activist and legal scholar detained by the government since earlier this year, is being honored by PEN America. The literary and human rights organization announced Thursday that Xu is this year's winner of the PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award, which recognizes those imprisoned for free expression and previously has been given to dissidents everywhere from Cuba to Turkey. Xu's award comes on the 31st anniversary of the so-called Tiananmen Square Massacre, when Chinese soldiers shot and killed pro-democracy demonstrators. The 47-year-old Xu has strongly criticized Chinese leader Xi Jinping for his handling of the coronavirus outbreak. Xu had been in hiding since last December, but continued to attack Xi on social media, accusing him of covering up information about the virus and calling him unfit for his job. “You didn’t authorise the truth to be released, and the outbreak turned into a national disaster,” Xu wrote in February, shortly before he was detained. “I don’t think you’re an evil man, you’re just not wise.” According to friends, Xu faces charges for “inciting subversion of state power.” In a recent interview with The Associated Press, PEN CEO Suzanne Nossel cited a “confluence” of factors in giving the award to Xu, from highlighting China's record of human rights violations as the country's influence grows worldwide to the dangers of official secrecy on public health. “The suppression of information and the punishment of those who tried to blow the whistle has unquestionably contributed to the uncontrollable spread of the coronavirus,” she said. “We really see the catastrophic consequences of muzzling those who try to tell the truth.” Xu has a long history of taking on the government and was jailed in 2014 for “gathering a crowd to disturb public order,” a charge stemming from his leadership of the reformist New Citizens Movement. In 2009, he was arrested on charges of tax evasion but released a month later. PEN will highlight Xu's life and work at its annual gala, scheduled for December 8 in Manhattan after being postponed from May because of the coronavirus. Other honorees will include the musician and author Patti Smith and Hearst executive president Frank A. Bennack Jr. ____ On the Internet: https://pen.org/2020-freedom-to-write-award/
  • Country stars highlighted the heroic work of citizens and communities around the country who were coming together to help each other in the middle of the coronavirus epidemic during the 'CMT Celebrates Our Heroes' TV special. But Wednesday's show largely didn't address the protesting and rallies for racial justice that have gripped the country in the previous week following the death of George Floyd after a Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into his neck for several minutes. CMT started the show with a simple text introduction: “As social unrest grips the nation, we want to say thank you to those taking action against injustice. There are heroes all around us.' The special aired in place of their CMT Music Awards, which were postponed to October. It appeared to contain pre-recorded performances and dedications from artists like Carrie Underwood, Luke Combs and Darius Rucker and was focused on good news stories of healthcare workers, educators, first responders and more. Blake Shelton spoke about the pandemic especially hurting lower income people who are food insecure, including children who rely on school lunches before highlighting the city of Kodiak, Alaska, and its school district for delivering meals to children. Underwood, whose sisters are teachers and her mother is a former teacher, noted how educators have come up with creative solutions to keep kids learning even as classes went online. “Now more than ever we recognize what an important and difficult job they have,” Underwood said. Luke Combs sang his virus-inspired song called “Six Feet Apart” after acknowledging that he misses being able to sing for people. Country singer Thomas Rhett in a black and white video sang his inspirational song “Be a Light,” which included the timely lyrics: “In a world full of hate, be a light.' Country duo Brothers Osborne joined Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan on a video conference call to surprise their hometown heroes, a nurse and a local organizer helping to provide needy families with food. Darius Rucker performed “Forever and Ever, Amen,” in front of projected images of couples getting married during the pandemic. Miranda Lambert noted most of her family were in law enforcement, including her husband who worked for New York Police Department, before playing her song “Bluebird” on the back porch of her house. Actress Scarlett Johansson said first responders stay calm under pressure, but nothing could have prepared them for dealing with the pandemic. “When most of us are being told to stay at home, police, EMTs and firefighters go out and face this head on,” said Johansson. “That takes courage and strength.” __ Online: http://www.cmt.com/

The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • Charges have been filed against all four Minneapolis police officers involved in the situation that led to the May 25 death of George Floyd, 46, who died while in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Charges against former officer Derek Chauvin, who was previously charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, have been upgraded to second-degree murder. The other three officers involved -- Thomas Lane, J.A. Kueng and Tou Thao -- were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter. Floyd died on Memorial Day after he was detained for questioning regarding a possible forgery in progress. Video of his death caught by bystanders showed Chauvin holding his knee to Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes as Floyd pleaded for air, sparking outrage and demonstrations which have spread nationwide. Live updates for Friday, June 5 continue below:  Video vindicates Philadelphia student charged with assaulting police Update 5:24 a.m. EDT June 5: A Temple University student arrested for assaulting police during a Philadelphia protest Monday has been vindicated by video of the incident. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Evan Gorski was accused of pushing an officer off his bike and fracturing his hand during a confrontation between police and demonstrators protesting police brutality. Video released Wednesday instead showed an officer striking Gorski with a baton, while another officer pinned the 21-year-old engineering student’s face to the ground. Gorski was released Wednesday. 2 National Guardsman injured in DC lightning strike Update 4:55 a.m. EDT June 5: A lightning strike in Washington, D.C.’s Lafayette Square injured two National Guardsmen around midnight Thursday. Both guardsmen were transported to a nearby hospital with serious but not life-threatening injuries, Vito Maggiolo, a spokesman for the district’s Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department, said via Twitter. There were no other reports of injuries associated with the strike. NYC mayor: Essential workers’ arrests after curfew are ‘NOT acceptable and must stop’ Update 4:38 a.m. EDT June 5: New York Mayor Bill de Blasio implored police to safeguard the rights of essential workers after viral videos recorded late Thursday showed the arrest of a food delivery worker out past the city’s 8 p.m. curfew.  In one video, a man is seen holding an insulated backpack from a food delivery company. A bicycle is splayed at his feet, and at least six officers have him surrounded. “Are you serious? Look, look, look I’m not even doing anything,” the man can be heard shouting, while officers tell him to “relax” and begin removing his backpack. A second video shared a few minutes later shows the unidentified man being loaded into a police van. NYPD officials told The Washington Post the man’s credentials were later verified at a nearby precinct, and he was released. California mayor resigns after sending email claiming local police never killed a ‘good person of color’ Update 4:11 a.m. EDT June 5: The mayor of Temecula, California, resigned late Thursday after sending an email earlier in the week that claimed local police had never killed a “good person of color.”  The email, sent by Mayor James “Stew” Stewart Tuesday night, was in response to a constituent asking what his administration is doing to address systemic racism in policing. After the communication was made public, Stewart claimed talk-to-text software had mistakenly added the word “good,” The Press-Enterprise reported. “As you know the City of Temecula does not have its own Police Department. We contract with Riverside County Sheriff’s Department. And I don’t believe there’s ever been a good person of color killed by a police officer. So I’m kind of confuse what you are looking for,” the email read. Stewart said he failed to proofread the email before sending after working a 12-hour shift at his barber shop, The Press-Enterprise reported. In the statement announcing his resignation, Stewart wrote, “City of Temecula, I hear you, I agree with you, and I am deeply sorry,” the newspaper reported. “I understand that even my sincerest apologies cannot remedy this situation. Because actions speak louder than words, I will step down as your Mayor and City Council Member effective immediately,” he added. 1 shot, 2 possibly injured near Denver protest Update 2:41 a.m. EDT June 5: A chaotic scene unfolded in Denver Thursday night after a man was shot one block away from protesters gathered near the capitol building. Denver Police confirmed one man had been shot and transported to a nearby hospital, but they offered no additional details on his condition or possible motivations for the shooting.  Two other “walk-in” patients – one with a gunshot wound and another suffering stab wounds – arrived at the hospital a short time later, but a police spokesman told The Washington Post that officers have not confirmed if those injuries are connected to the shooting of the first unidentified man. 2 Buffalo police officers suspended after video shows them pushing, injuring elderly man Published 2:27 a.m. EDT June 5: Two police officers in Buffalo, New York, have been suspended without pay after video of protests appears to show them knocking down a 75-year-old man. WARNING: Links in this post may contain video some readers might find disturbing due to its violent nature. The video shows the man being pushed by officers and then falling backward. The victim appears to bleed from his head while lying motionless on the ground. Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said in a Thursday night statement he was “deeply disturbed” by video of the altercation and an immediate investigation has been launched by the city’s police commissioner. According to The Washington Post, officers who were not directly involved but witnessed the incident initially described the man as “tripping and falling,” but Brown launched his investigation immediately upon viewing the footage. Capt. Jeff Rinaldo with the Buffalo Police Department told the Post the victim is in stable condition with a laceration and possible concussion. 'After days of peaceful protests and several meetings between myself, police leadership and members of the community, tonight’s event is disheartening. My thoughts are with the victim tonight,” Brown said in the statement. Meanwhile, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo called the incident “unjustified and utterly disgraceful.” xxx
  • More than 6.6 million people worldwide -- including nearly 1.9 million in the United States – have been infected with the new coronavirus, and the number of deaths from the outbreak continues to rise. While efforts to contain the COVID-19 outbreak continue, states have begun to shift their focus toward reopening their economies. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is tracking cases in the U.S. here. Live updates for Friday, June 5, continue below: US coronavirus cases near 1.9M, deaths top 108K Published 12:41 a.m. EDT June 5: The number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States continued to climb toward 1.9 million early Friday across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. According to a Johns Hopkins University tally, there are at least 1,872,660 confirmed U.S. cases of the virus, which have resulted in at least 108,211 deaths.  The hardest-hit states remain New York with 375,133 cases and 30,174 deaths and New Jersey with 162,530 cases and 11,970 deaths. Massachusetts, with 102,063 cases, has the third-highest number of deaths with 7,201, while Illinois has the third-highest number of cases with 124,759. Only 15 states and territories have confirmed fewer than 5,000 cases each. Six other states have now confirmed at least 55,000 novel coronavirus cases each, including: • California: 122,168 cases, resulting in 4,444 deaths • Pennsylvania: 78,335 cases, resulting in 5,832 deaths • Texas: 70,555 cases, resulting in 1,776 deaths • Florida: 60,183 cases, resulting in 2,607 deaths • Michigan: 58,241 cases, resulting in 5,595 deaths • Maryland: 55,858 cases, resulting in 2,668 deaths Meanwhile, Georgia, Virginia, Connecticut and Louisiana each has confirmed at least 41,000 cases; Ohio, Indiana and North Carolina each has confirmed at least 32,000 cases; Colorado, Minnesota, Tennessee, Arizona, Washington and Iowa each has confirmed at least 20,000 cases; Wisconsin and Alabama each has confirmed at least 19,000 cases, followed by Mississippi with 16,560; Rhode Island and Nebraska each has confirmed at least 15,000 cases, followed by Missouri with 14,438 and South Carolina with 12,415; Utah, Kentucky and Kansas each has confirmed at least 10,000 cases; Delaware, Nevada and the District of Columbia each has confirmed at least 9,000 cases; Arkansas and New Mexico each has confirmed at least 8,000 cases, followed by Oklahoma with 6,907 and South Dakota with 5,247. Click here to see CNN’s state-by-state breakdown.
  • Charges have been filed against all four Minneapolis police officers involved in the situation that led last week to the death of 46-year-old George Floyd while he was in police custody in Minneapolis. Former Officer Derek Chauvin, who was previously charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, has been charged with second-degree murder. The other officers involved in the situation, Thomas Lane, J.A. Kueng and Tou Thao were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter. Floyd, 46, died May 25 after he was detained for questioning regarding a possible forgery in progress. Video of his death caught by bystanders showed Chauvin holding his knee to Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes as Floyd pleaded for air, sparking outrage. Live updates for Thursday, June 4 continue below: New fencing dramatically expands White House security zone Update 11:20 p.m. EDT June 4: Even as the number of people demonstrating over the police killing of George Floyd dwindled to a small group on Thursday afternoon in the nation's capital, workers were busy installing new high fencing around the park area known as the Ellipse just to the south of the White House, significantly expanding the security zone for President Donald Trump. 'It's a sad commentary that the (White) House and its inhabitants have to be walled off,' said Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser. 'We should want the White House to be opened up,' the Mayor told reporters. Critics immediately compared the new fencing to the President's push to build a wall along the border with Mexico. 'And American taxpayers, not Mexico, will again be sent the bill,' said Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT). By Thursday afternoon, workers had run the new fencing all the way down to, and along Constitution Avenue, which crosses in between the White House and the Washington Monument. Portland, other cities rethink school police amid protests Update 8 p.m. EDT June 4: Oregon’s largest school district will no longer have police officers in its schools and joins a handful of urban districts from Minneapolis to Denver that are rethinking their school resource officer programs amid national outrage over the death of George Floyd. Superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero said Thursday that Portland Public Schools needed to “re-examine our relationship” with the police in light of protests over the death of Floyd, a handcuffed black man who died after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into his neck for nearly nine minutes. The district of more than 49,000 students joins Minneapolis, which severed ties with its school resource officers on Tuesday. Districts in St. Paul, Minnesota and Denver are considering doing the same. Protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, have made the end of the school resource officer program in their district one of their demands. Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said Thursday that he would also discontinue using school resource officers in two smaller metropolitan districts under a program that costs the city $1.6 million a year. The move is in response to the demands of thousands of protesters, many of them young, who have filled the streets of Oregon’s largest city for six consecutive nights. Having the officers in high schools has been a touchy topic for several years in this liberal city. Students have protested in recent years for an end to the program, at one point even overwhelming a school board meeting. “Leaders must listen and respond to community. We must disrupt the patterns of racism and injustice,” Wheeler said Thursday of the most recent demonstrations. “I am pulling police officers from schools.” The presence of armed police officers in schools is a contentious one. While many Portland residents applauded the decision, others raised immediate concerns about student safety in the event of a school shooting or other emergency. Wheeler said the city would make sure officers could respond rapidly in an emergency. The move is “a knee-jerk reaction,” and the decision by a few districts to stop their programs could snowball — to the detriment of students nationwide, said Mo Canady, executive director of the National Association of School Resource Officers, whose association represents about 10,000 dues-paying officers. There are an estimated 25,000 school resource officers nationwide, he said. Headlines, op-ed prompt staff protests at NY Times, Inquirer Update 6:45 p.m. EDT June 4: Some staffers at The New York Times and Philadelphia Inquirer called in sick Thursday to protest decisions at each newspaper they believe were insensitive in the midst of nationwide protests about police mistreatment of black Americans. At the Times, an opinion column by U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton supporting use of the military to quell demonstrations prompted a rare public rebuke from dozens of staffers and the paper’s guild. Times management didn’t back down from the decision to publish it. The Inquirer apologized for a “horribly wrong” decision to use the headline “Buildings Matter, Too” on an article. The twin uprisings illustrated raw feelings unleashed by the video of George Floyd dying last week after a Minneapolis police officer pressed a knee against his neck, along with long-time concerns about whether newspaper staffs reflect the makeup of their communities. In his column, headlined “Send in the Troops,” Cotton condemned “nihilist criminals” out for loot and the thrill of destruction and “left-wing radicals” who want to exploit Floyd’s death to create anarchy. The Arkansas Republican, supporting President Donald Trump, said it was time to supplement local law enforcement with federal troops. Pentagon-Trump clash breaks open over military and protests Update 5:40 p.m. EDT June 4: President Donald Trump is not only drawing criticism from his usual political foes but also facing backtalk from his defense secretary, his former Pentagon chief and a growing number of fellow Republicans. A day after Defense Secretary Mark Esper shot down Trump’s idea of using active-duty troops to quell protests across the United States, retired four-star Gen. John Allen joined the chorus of former military leaders going after the president. And Republican Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski said Esper’s remarks were “overdue” and she didn’t know if she would support Trump in November. Although Esper’s declaration was followed by the Pentagon reversing course on pulling part of the 82nd Airborne Division off standby outside Washington, the rising criticism underscored an extraordinary clash between the U.S. military and its commander in chief. On Thursday, an official said the troops in question from the 82nd were going home to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, after all. Both Trump and Esper also drew stinging, rare public criticism from Trump’s first defense secretary, Jim Mattis, in the most public pushback of Trump’s presidency from the men he put at the helm of the world’s most powerful military. 3 ex-officers charged in George Floyd’s death ordered held on $750,000 bail Update 3:25 p.m. EDT June 4: Court records from Hennepin County, Minnesota, show three former police officers charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd have each been ordered held on bails of $750,000. Thomas Lane, J.A. Kueng and Tou Thao made their first court appearances Thursday, according to court records. They were fired last week from Minneapolis Police Department after Floyd died on May 25. In video captured by passersby, the trio could be seen standing by or holding Floyd down as then-Officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee to Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes. The three are scheduled to next appear in court on June 29. Chauvin is scheduled to make his first court appearance on charges of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter on June 8. First of three memorial services for George Floyd set to begin in Minneapolis Update 3 p.m. EDT June 4: A memorial for George Floyd, who died last week in an encounter with Minneapolis police, is set to begin at 1 p.m. local time Thursday. President of North Central University announces George Floyd memorial scholarship Update 2:55 p.m. EDT June 4: The president of North Central University in Minneapolis announced that university officials have launched a memorial scholarship in honor of George Floyd, who was killed last week in an encounter with Minneapolis police. University President Scott Hagan announced the establishment of the fund during a memorial held Thursday for Floyd in Minneapolis. “Even before announcing this scholarship, yesterday, unsolicited, over $53,000 was handed to me to contribute toward the educational promise of aspiring young Black American leaders,” Hagan said. “I am now challenging every university president in the United States in America to establish your own George Floyd memorial scholarship fund.” Pelosi asks Trump for full list of agencies involved in response to DC protests  Update 2:20 p.m. EDT June 4: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday asked President Donald Trump to name the agencies involved in the response to protests against police brutality in Washington D.C. and clarify their roles and responsibilities. The California Democrat wrote to the president days after peaceful protesters were tear-gassed to clear them from a park near the White House to allow for Trump to walk across the street for a photo-op at St. John’s Episcopal Church. “We are concerned about the increased militarization and lack of clarity that may increase chaos,” Pelosi said in the letter. “Congress and the American people need to know who is in charge, what is the chain of command, what is the mission, and by what authority is the National Guard from other state operating in the capital.' Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, who has been critical of the decision to allow out-of-state National Guard officials and military troops into the city, shared Pelosi’s letter on Twitter. “If it can happen in DC, what jurisdiction is next?” Bowser wrote. Los Angeles mayor lifts city’s curfew Update 2:05 p.m. EDT June 4: Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Thursday lifted a curfew enacted over the city as protests against police brutality and the death of Black Americans including George Floyd erupted nationwide. “I have lifted the curfew in the City of Los Angeles,” Garcetti said in a statement posted on Twitter. “We remain strongly committed to protecting the right of Angelenos to make their voices heard and ensuring the safety of our community.” University of Central Florida reviewing comments by professor who tweeted about ‘black privilege’ Update 1:50 p.m. EDT June 4: The University of Central Florida is reviewing a professor’s tweets after a hashtag calling for his removal began to trend Thursday morning on social media, WFTV reported. A Change.org petition was launched asking for an investigation into psychology professor Charles Negy, who in recent days compared African-Americans to Asian-Americans and claimed “black privilege” exists, according to WFTV and the Miami Herald. >> Read more on WFTV.com Ohio governor calls for moment of silence to remember George Floyd Update 1:35 p.m. EDT June 4: Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine on Thursday requested that state residents observe a moment of silence at 2 p.m. to remember George Floyd, who authorities said was killed last week in police custody. WHIO-TV reported DeWine cancelled a planned news conference scheduled Thursday afternoon because it was set to begin at the same time as a memorial service for Floyd in Minneapolis. Los Angeles County sheriff says deputies will no longer enforce county’s curfew Update 12:25 p.m. EDT June 4: Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said Thursday that deputies will no longer enforce a curfew amid protests against police brutality and the killing of George Floyd. “Based upon current situational awareness and the recent pattern of peaceful actions by protesters, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department will no longer enforce a curfew,” Villanueva said in a statement. “Other jurisdictions are free to make their own decisions.” Virginia governor announces plans to take down statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee Update 11:35 a.m. EDT June 4: Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam on Thursday announced plans to take down a large statute of Gen. Robert E. Lee along Richmond’s prominent Monument Avenue. “Yes, that statue has been there for a long time. But it was wrong then, and it is wrong now,” Northam wrote in a series of Twitter posts announcing the decision. “So we’re taking it down.” The move comes amid protests nationwide over police brutality, racism and the deaths of Black Americans like George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery at the hands of police and vigilantes. Officials in Richmond, one of the former capitals of the Confederacy, have resisted calls to remove the statue for years. Massachusetts man accused of bringing Molotov cocktails to protest Update 11:15 a.m. EDT June 4: Authorities have charged a Worcester, Massachusetts, man with civil disorder and possession of several Molotov cocktails during a demonstration in the city over the death of George Floyd, WFXT reported. In a news release obtained by WFXT, U.S. Attorney Andrew E. Lelling said 18-year-old Vincent Eovacious “attempted to obstruct or interfere with law enforcement officers” by bringing the Molotov cocktails to a peaceful protest on June 1. Eovacious was arrested Wednesday after being released on bond following state charges, including possession of an incendiary device, WFXT reported. >> Read more on Boston25News.com Washington State Patrol apologizes after trooper says, ‘Don’t kill them but hit them hard’ during protests Update 10:55 a.m. EDT June 4: Officials with Washington State Patrol apologized after video surfaced on social media showing a trooper saying, “Don’t kill them, but hit them hard” during protests in Seattle on Tuesday night, KIRO-TV reported. “Using that language ... which gives the impression of over-aggression and physicality and hurting people and harming people by law enforcement by intent was totally out of line, totally inappropriate, hurtful, confusing,” WSP Communications Director Chris Loftis said, according to KIRO-TV. He implored the public to understand the context of the situation. “(The trooper) was preparing his troops for what would be a physically confrontational situation,' Loftis said, according to KIRO-TV. “He was letting them know there were limits to what we could do.” The woman who caught the trooper’s comments on video, Krystal Marx, told KIRO-TV that WSP’s apology and explanation are not enough. “I would encourage WSP -- any other law enforcement agency -- if you are there to protect the peace, keep the peace and to listen and learn from communities that are hurting,' Marx said. “Make sure you use your language appropriately.” >> Read more on KIRO7.com Some Minneapolis police take knee as hearse for George Floyd passes by Update 10:40 a.m. EDT June 4: Some Minneapolis police officers were seen kneeling Thursday morning as the hearse carrying the body of George Floyd passed them, Twin Cities PBS reported. Ben Crump, an attorney representing Floyd’s family, said a memorial for the 46-year-old will be held at 1 p.m. local time Thursday at North Central University in Minneapolis. Senate Democrats hold moment of silence to remember George Floyd, victims of police brutality Update 10:30 a.m. EDT June 4: Senate Democrats on Thursday stayed silent for 8 minutes and 46 seconds in remembrance of George Floyd, the man who died last week as a Minneapolis police officer held his knee to Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes. Drew Brees apologizes after saying protests during national anthem disrespect the flag Update 8:55 a.m. EDT June 4: New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees apologized Thursday after saying in an interview with Yahoo! that he thought protests during the national anthem were disrespectful to the flag. “I would like to apologize to my friends, teammates, the City of New Orleans, the black community, NFL community and anyone I hurt with my comments yesterday,” Brees said in a statement posted Thursday morning on Instagram. He acknowledged that while speaking Wednesday with Yahoo! he “made comments that were insensitive and completely missed the mark on the issues we are facing right now as a country.” “They lacked awareness and any type of compassion or empathy,” Brees wrote. “Instead, those words have become divisive and hurtful and have misled people into believing that somehow I am an enemy. This could not be further from the truth, and is not an accurate reflection of my heart or my character.” Asked a question Wednesday about players protesting police brutality by taking a knee during the national anthem, Brees told Yahoo! that he would “never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country.” Brees was heavily criticized on social media for his comments. “WOW MAN!!” LeBron James said in a tweet Thursday. “Is it still surprising at this point. Sure isn’t! You literally still don’t understand why Kap was kneeling on one knee?? Has absolute nothing to do with the disrespect of (the flag) and our soldiers (men and women) who keep our land free.” Beyoncé urges fans to stay ‘focused’ in fight for justice  Update 8:10 a.m. June 4: Beyoncé Knowles-Carter is urging her fans to stay “focused” in fighting for justice for George Floyd. The Grammy-winning artist shared a message on Instagram, which featured an aerial photo of of Black Lives Matter demonstrators filling the streets of Minneapolis, Minnesota. The caption framing the photo read: “The world came together for George Floyd. We know there is a long road ahead. Let’s remain aligned and focused in our call for real justice.” Friend in car says George Floyd did not resist arrest Update 6:17 a.m. June 4: A friend who was in the passenger seat of George Floyd’s car when he had a fatal encounter with a police officer said the Minneapolis man tried to defuse the situation and did not try to resist arrest. Maurice Lester Hall, 42, was arrested on outstanding warrants Wednesday in Houston and was interviewed by investigators in Minnesota, The New York Times reported. “He was, from the beginning, trying in his humblest form to show he was not resisting in no form or way,” Hall told the newspaper. “I could hear him pleading, ‘Please, officer, what’s all this for?’” Hall called Floyd a mentor and said the two Houston natives spent time together May 25 before the incident with Minneapolis. Hall said he will not forget what he saw as Derek Chauvin placed a knee against Floyd’s neck and held it there for nearly nine minutes. “He was just crying out at that time for anyone to help because he was dying,” Hall told the Times. “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.” LA police arrest protesters who broke curfew Update 5:18 a.m. June 4: Police in Los Angeles arrested nearly 100 protesters who broke the city’s curfew, with some staying outside more than 90 minutes past the 9 p.m. deadline, The Washington Post reported. The rally occurred outside City Hall on Wednesday night and many of the 1,000 attendees obeyed the curfew and went home, the newspaper reported. Those who did not were handcuffed by police in riot gear. “When I first got here it was really scary, because when I came here I saw the National Guard and I was not myself,” Ashley, a 22-year-old protester from Pasadena, California, who declined to give her last name, told the Post. “So seeing that made me fear what was going to happen.” Most observers said that despite the arrests, the rally was peaceful, the newspaper reported. Georgia police: 3 protesters torched squad cars Update 5:08 a.m. June 4: Three protesters in Georgia are accused of setting police cars on fire, WSB-TV reported. According to police, the protesters tracked the officers down at their homes and torched the cars. Ebuka Chike-Morah, Alvin Joseph and Lakaila Mack all face charges for lighting two Gwinnett police cars on fire, according to WSB-TV. Meghan Markle speaks out against George Floyd’s death Update 3:37 a.m. June 4: Meghan Markle spoke out about the death of George Floyd, calling it “absolutely devastating.” The Duchess of Sussex made her comments in a video to the graduating class of Immaculate Heart High School in Los Angeles “George Floyd’s life mattered and Breonna Taylor’s life mattered and Philando Castile’s life mattered, and Tamir Rice’s life mattered, and so did so many other people’s names we know and names we don’t know,' Markle said. “You’re going to use your voice in a stronger way than you have ever been able to because most of you are 18, or you’re turning 18, so you’re going to vote. You’re going to have empathy for those who don’t see the world through the same lens that you do.” Kareem Abdul-Jabbar says arrests ‘a step toward justice’  Update 3:20 a.m. June 4: Basketball Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul Jabbar told CNN the decision to charge all four former Minneapolis police officers was “a step toward justice.” The NBA legend, who wrote an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times on Sunday and observed that “racism in America is like dust in the air,” praised Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz and Minneapolis MayorJacob Frey for their fast actions. “It’s like, you know, the United States is this wonderful bus with great seats in the front of the bus,' Abdul-Jabbar told CNN. “But as you go further to the back of the bus, the seats get worse and the fumes from the exhaust leak in and really wreck with people’s health and their lives. But the people at the front of the bus, they have no complaints. It’s kind of like that. “That dust accumulates in the lives of black Americans, and it eliminates all the mechanics of democracy. Democracy doesn’t work for us.” The former Los Angeles Lakers center said nothing had changed in terms of systematic racism since the Rodney King incident and riots in Los Angeles in 1992. “Something has to be done,” Abdul-Jabbar told CNN. “It’s not enough to say, ‘That was terrible and my thoughts and prayers are with you.’ That’s not getting anything done.” National Guard to assist authorities in San Diego County Update 2:59 a.m. June 4: Two hundred members of the National Guard have been deployed in San Diego County to prevent looting, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Office said in a tweet. The Guardsmen will work with local law enforcement agencies to provide security to “critical infrastructures” during protests to prevent looting and arson, the department tweeted. Police use tear gas when protesters try to block Iowa interstate Update 2:33 a.m. June 4: Hundreds of protesters attempting to block an Iowa interstate were met by state troopers and Iowa City police, who fired tear gas, the Iowa City Press-Citizen reported. The crowd attempted to skirt the line of officials who were blocking their path, the newspaper reported. “Disperse immediately,” said a speaker, who was identified as an Iowa State Patrol officer. The voice added that failure to do so would result in the deployment of chemical deterrents. “Quit your job,” the crowd chanted back, the Press-Citizen reported. Huntsville police arrest more than 20 protesters, use tear gas Update 2:13 a.m. June 4: Police in Huntsville, Alabama, arrested more than 20 protesters and used tear gas at the Madison County Courthouse square, WHNT reported. Protests began peacefully earlier Wednesday in a march sponsored by the NAACP and ended around 6:30 p.m. The majority of the crowd stayed and marched from Big Spring Park East to the courthouse, the television station reported. Around 8 p.m., authorities used rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse the crowd, WHNT reported. The area was cleared within an hour, according to WHNT. Police said more arrests could be pending. New Orleans police fire tear gas at protesters Update 1:33 a.m. June 4: Police in New Orleans fired tear gas into a crowd of protesters near the Crescent City Connection late Wednesday, NOLA.com reported. Police said the action was taken after protesters refused to comply with three orders not to walk across the CCC. “The NOPD deployed tear gas tonight to disperse protesters after the crowd refused to comply with three orders not to attempt to walk across the CCC,” the department said in a statement. “Escalation and confrontation hurts us all. NOPD is committed to respectful protection of our residents’ First Amendment rights. However, tonight we were compelled to deploy gas on the CCC in response to escalating, physical confrontation with our officers.” 3 Minneapolis officers charged Wednesday to appear in court Thursday Update 1:15 a.m. June 4: The three former Minneapolis police officers who were arrested Wednesday on charges of aiding and abetting the murder of George Floyd will have their first court appearances Thursday afternoon. The former officers -- J. Alexander Keung, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao -- are set to appear before the judicial officer at 1:45 p.m. EDT, CNN reported. The hearings were pushed up by 45 minutes from their original schedule, according to court records.
  • More than 6.4 million people worldwide – including more than 1.8 million in the United States – have been infected with the new coronavirus, and the number of deaths from the outbreak continues to rise. While efforts to contain the COVID-19 outbreak continue, states have begun to shift their focus toward reopening their economies. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is tracking cases in the U.S. here. Live updates for Thursday, June 4, continue below:  MLB players reaffirm pay stance, no deal with teams in sight Update 11:30 p.m. EDT June 4: Baseball players reaffirmed their stance for full prorated pay, leaving a huge gap with teams that could scuttle plans to start the coronavirus-delayed season around the Fourth of July and may leave owners focusing on a schedule as short as 50 games. More than 100 players, including the union’s executive board, held a two-hour digital meeting with officials of the Major League Baseball Players Association on Thursday, a day after the union’s offer was rejected by Major League Baseball. “Earlier this week, Major League Baseball communicated its intention to schedule a dramatically shortened 2020 season unless players negotiate salary concessions,” union head Tony Clark said in a statement. “The concessions being sought are in addition to billions in player salary reductions that have already been agreed upon. This threat came in response to an association proposal aimed at charting a path forward.” “Rather than engage, the league replied it will shorten the season unless players agree to further salary reductions,” Clark added. Players originally were set to earn about $4 billion in 2020 salaries, exclusive of guaranteed money such as signing bonuses, termination pay and option buyouts. The union’s plan would cut that to around $2.8 billion and management to approximately $1.2 billion plus a $200 million bonus pool if the postseason is completed. MLB last week proposed an 82-game season with an additional sliding scale of pay cuts that would leave a player at the $563,500 minimum with 47% of his original salary and top stars Mike Trout and Gerrit Cole at less than 22% of the $36 million they had been set to earn. Seattle to offer free citywide coronavirus testing Update 9:30 p.m. EDT June 4: Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan announced Thursday that the city will offer free citywide coronavirus testing in partnership with the University of Washington Medicine. Testing will be performed at two locations. Drive-up sites will be located in north and south Seattle. Those sites are former emissions testing sites, which will allow for up to 1,600 tests per day, officials said. However, the testing will only be for those who drive through and book ahead. Outbreak reported at Tyson food plant in North Carolina A COVID-19 outbreak was reported at the Tyson Food plant in Claremont, where town leaders said more than 700 people work. Tyson sent WSOC-TV an email saying it doesn’t plan on doing widespread testing there because the number of COVID-19 cases is less than 2%. Family members of the plant workers said that 10 workers have been infected with the virus. The company makes frozen prepacked sandwiches and biscuits. The news comes after 570 people tested positive at the Tyson chicken plants in Wilkesboro, NC. California Gov. says protests may lead to spike in virus cases Update 7:30 p.m. EDT June 4: California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday he’s concerned about the spread of coronavirus as thousands of people gather for protests across the state, and he said the state should prepare for higher rates of positive tests because of both the protests and the reopening of businesses that’s underway. “If you’re not (concerned), you’re not paying attention to the epidemiology, to the virulence of this disease,” he said during a visit to Stockton, California, where he met with Mayor Michael Tubbs and business owners to discuss systemic racism and injustices. Newsom added he’s particularly concerned about the disproportionate deaths from the virus among black Californians. Still, California has no plans to halt its reopening efforts, though Newsom hasn’t announced any new guidance for businesses this week. Mark Ghaly, secretary of the California Health and Human Services agency, said the state is in a “range of stability” on cases and hospitalizations and is “working hard” on more guidance. California has already allowed most counties to reopen restaurants, nail salons, churches and other businesses with restrictions. But highly anticipated guidance on schools has not been released, nor have details on the resumption of professional sports, possibly without fans. Ghaly acknowledged it will be weeks before the effects of the protest on public health are fully known. He highlighted the “importance of the freedom and liberty to protest” but added, “it does create infectious disease concern that we weren’t contending with before.” Telehealth expansion could become permanent after pandemic Update 6:50 p.m. EDT June 4: The temporary expansion of telehealth during the coronavirus pandemic would become permanent under a bill endorsed Thursday by a Senate committee. As passed by the House in March, the bill would allow reimbursement for medication-assisted treatment for substance use disorders conducted via telehealth. But an amendment recommended by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee would also make permanent the provisions of Gov. Chris Sununu’s emergency order on telehealth, which allowed all health care providers to offer services remotely and required insurers to cover them. Officials representing hospitals, community health centers, dentists and mental health providers all told the committee that telehealth has been a valuable tool during the pandemic and should continue. “As many experts have predicted, telehealth is here to stay, which is why this legislation is so important to ensure patients are able to get the right care at the right time in the right setting, which ultimately may be in the safety of their own homes,” said Paula Minnehan of the New Hampshire Hospital Association. Ken Norton, director of the New Hampshire chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, said telehealth has greatly expanded access to mental health treatment. “We can’t go back,” he said. Study on safety of malaria drugs for coronavirus retracted Update 4:50 p.m. EDT June 4: Several authors of a large study that raised safety concerns about malaria drugs for coronavirus patients have retracted the report, saying independent reviewers were not able to verify information that’s been widely questioned by other scientists. Thursday’s retraction in the journal Lancet involved a May 22 report on hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, drugs long used for preventing or treating malaria but whose safety and effectiveness for COVID-19 are unknown. The study leaders also retracted an earlier report using the same company’s database on blood pressure drugs published by the New England Journal of Medicine. That study suggested that widely used blood pressure medicines were safe for coronavirus patients, a conclusion some other studies and heart doctor groups also have reached. Even though the Lancet report was not a rigorous test, the observational study had huge impact because of its size, reportedly involving more than 96,000 patients and 671 hospitals on six continents. Its conclusion that the drugs were tied to a higher risk of death and heart problems in people hospitalized with COVID-19 led the World Health Organization to temporarily stop use of hydroxychloroquine in a study it is leading, and for French officials to stop allowing its use in hospitals there. “Not only is there no benefit, but we saw a very consistent signal of harm,” study leader Dr. Mandeep Mehra of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston told The Associated Press when the work was published. The drugs have been controversial because President Donald Trump repeatedly promoted their use and took hydroxychloroquine himself to try to prevent infection after some White House staffers tested positive for the virus. The drugs are known to have potential side effects, especially heart rhythm problems. The Lancet study relied on a database from a Chicago company, Surgisphere. Its founder, Dr. Sapan Desai, is one of the authors. Dozens of scientists questioned irregularities and improbable findings in the numbers, and the other authors besides Desai said earlier this week that an independent audit would be done. In the retraction notice, those authors say Surgisphere would not give the reviewers the full data, citing confidentiality and client agreements. Cases, testing hit single-day highs in NC Update 3:45 p.m. EDT June 4: Health officials in North Carolina reported the state’s highest single-day number of new coronavirus infections and daily testing figures on Thursday, WSOC-TV reported. Officials with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said 1,189 new COVID-19 cases have been reported statewide. WSOC-TV reported that the previous highest one-day increase in cases was 1,185. State officials also reported having conducted 19,039 tests, the highest number reported in a single day so far and well over the state’s goal of 5,000 to 7,000 tests per day. Officials have reported 31,966 cases of COVID-19 in North Carolina. At least 960 people statewide have died of coronavirus infections. >> Read more on WSOCTV.com 1,805 new coronavirus infections reported in the UK Update 2:45 p.m. EDT June 4: Officials in the United Kingdom reported 1,805 new coronavirus infections Thursday, raising the country’s total number of infections to 281,661. Officials said that as of 5 p.m. local time Wednesday, the most recent date for which data was available, 39,904 people had died nationwide of COVID-19. NBA season to resume from Orlando in late July, reports say Update 2:35 p.m. EDT June 4: The NBA’s Board of Governors has approved a plan to restart the season after it was suspended three months ago due to the coronavirus pandemic, The Associated Press and other media outlets reported. The 2019-2020 season will be played in Orlando at Walt Disney World’s ESPN’s Wide World of Sports complex starting in late July, the AP reported. 603 new cases of COVID-19 reported in New Jersey Update 2:05 p.m. EDT June 4: Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey said Thursday that 603 new coronavirus infections have been reported, raising the total number of COVID-19 cases in the state to 162,530. “We still have work to do,” Murphy said in a statement posted on Twitter. “Let’s keep pushing these numbers down. When we do, (we’ll) get through Stage 2 that much sooner.” Officials also reported 92 more deaths associated with the coronavirus pandemic. As of Thursday, 11,970 people have died statewide of COVID-19. CDC chief urges Americans to be vigilant on coronavirus Update 1:20 p.m. EDT June 4: Worried by photos of large gatherings of people which could lead to a spike in coronavirus cases, the head of the Centers for Disease Control used testimony before Congress on Thursday to plead with Americans to wear masks in public and continue to engage in social distancing measures to stop the spread of the virus. “We’re very concerned that our public health message is not resonating,” Redfield told a hearing of the House Appropriations Committee. 104 new cases of COVID-19 reported in DC Update 12:20 p.m. EDT June 4: Health officials in Washington D.C. said Thursday that 104 new coronavirus infections have been reported in the area, raising the total number of cases in the area to 9,120. Officials also announced that two more people, aged 76 and 89, had died of COVID-19 in Washington D.C., bringing the total number of deaths in the District to 475. 52 new fatal COVID-19 cases reported in New York Update 11:55 p.m. EDT June 4: Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York said Thursday that 52 more people have died of COVID-19 in the state. The number is slightly higher than the 49 new fatal coronavirus infections reported one day before and lower than the 58 deaths reported Tuesday and the 54 deaths reported on Monday. Ohio State University to resume in-person classes in fall Update 11:10 a.m. EDT June 4: Officials with Ohio State University announced plans Wednesday to reopen its campus in Columbus, Ohio come the fall, WHIO-TV reported. University President Michael V. Drake announced the decision at a board of trustees meeting and in a message to the university community, according to WHIO-TV. Specific guidelines will be announced in the coming weeks based on guidance from state and local health authorities and recommendations of the Safe Campus and Scientific Advisory Subgroup of the university’s COVID-19 Transition Task Force. >> Read more on WHIO.com Stocks open slightly lower after 4 straight days of gains Update 10:05 a.m. EDT June 4: Stocks eased back in early trading Thursday on Wall Street as a four-day market rally cooled off. The stretch of gains had brought the S&P 500 back to where it was just one week after reaching an all-time high in February. The index fell 0.4%. In more grim news on the economy, nearly 1.9 million people applied for unemployment benefits last week, but that marked the ninth straight decline since applications spiked in mid-March. European markets were mostly lower after the European Central Bank said it now expects the region’s economy to shrink by 8.7% this year and increased its stimulus program. RNC to meet Thursday with officials in NC to discuss future of convention Update 10 a.m. EDT June 4: Officials in Charlotte, North Carolina, plan to meet Thursday with members of the Republican National Committee to discuss plans for the Republican National Convention, WSOC-TV reported. The meeting comes after President Donald Trump said he was looking into moving the convention, which is scheduled for August, from Charlotte due to the safety precautions put in place statewide to try to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. >> Read more on WSOCTV.com 1.9 million seek jobless aid even as reopenings slow layoffs Update 8:40 a.m. EDT June 4: Nearly 1.9 million people applied for U.S. unemployment benefits last week, the ninth straight decline since applications spiked in mid-March, a sign that the gradual reopening of businesses has slowed the loss of jobs. The diminishing pace suggests that the job market meltdown that was triggered by the coronavirus may have bottomed out as more companies call at least some of their former employees back to work. The total number of people who are now receiving jobless aid rose only slightly to 21.5 million, suggesting that rehiring is offsetting some of the ongoing layoffs. Though applications for benefits are slowing, the latest weekly number is still more than double the record high that prevailed before the viral outbreak. It shows that there are limits to how much a partial reopening of the economy can restore a depressed job market mired in a recession. Prince Charles says he was ‘lucky’ symptoms were mild Update 7:45 a.m. EDT June 4: Britain’s Prince Charles said he considered himself “lucky” after he contracted mild symptoms of the coronavirus, and had “got away with it quite lightly.” The prince told UK broadcaster Sky News that his brush with COVID-19 increased his commitment to advocating environmental causes. “It makes me even more determined to push and shove and shout and prod, if you see what I mean. Whatever I can do behind the scenes sometimes ... I suppose it did partly, I mean I was lucky in my case and got away with it quite lightly,” he told Sky News in a video call from Scotland. “But I’ve had it, and I can so understand what other people have gone through. And I feel particularly for those, for instance, who have lost their loved ones but were unable to be with them at the time. That to me is the most ghastly thing.” Civil unrest forces at least 70 testing sites to close Update 5:33 a.m. EDT June 4: Looting and civil unrest nationwide have forced at least 70 coronavirus testing sites to close, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services told The Washington Post. Agency officials said most of the sites were located in private pharmacies in “socially vulnerable” neighborhoods, the newspaper reported. “We shouldn’t feel comforted if we don’t see an uptick,” Leana S. Wen, Baltimore’s former health commissioner, told the Post. “There may be a reason why the numbers aren’t being captured.” South Korea confirms 39 new cases Update 4:56 a.m. EDT June 4: South Korea health officials confirmed 39 new cases of COVID-19onn Thursday -- 33 of which are locally transmitted. According to the country’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the news cases are related to several clusters in Seoul and surrounding areas. Yoon Tae-ho, an official with the South Korean Health Ministry, warned that locally transmitted cases may become tougher to trace, CNN reported. Confirmed cases top 6.5 million worldwide Update 4:10 a.m. EDT June 4: The number of confirmed novel coronavirus cases worldwide topped 6.5 million early Thursday, according to Johns Hopkins University. According to the tally kept by the university, there are at least 6,514,639 confirmed cases of the virus, and there are at least 386,111 deaths. The United States remains the leader in confirmed cases with 1,851,520 and 107,175 deaths. Pakistan has more confirmed cases than China Update 2:50 a.m. EDT June 4: Pakistan has passed China in confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins University. As of Thursday, Pakistan had 85,264 confirmed cases and 1,770 virus-related deaths. China has reported 84,160 coronavirus cases and 4,638 deaths. US coronavirus cases climb past 1.85M, deaths top 107K Update 12:50 a.m. EDT June 4: The number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States continued to climb past 1.85 million early Thursday across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. According to a Johns Hopkins University tally, there are at least 1,851,520 confirmed U.S. cases of the virus, which have resulted in at least 107,175 deaths. The hardest-hit states remain New York with 374,085 cases and 30,019 deaths and New Jersey with 162,068 cases and 11,880 deaths. Massachusetts, with 101,592 cases, has the third-highest number of deaths with 7,152, while Illinois has the third-highest number of cases with 123,830. Six other states have now confirmed at least 54,000 novel coronavirus cases each, including: • California: 117,215 cases, resulting in 4,305 deaths • Pennsylvania: 77,225 cases, resulting in 5,667 deaths • Texas: 67,310 cases, resulting in 1,716 deaths • Michigan: 57,731 cases, resulting in 5,553 deaths • Florida: 57,447 cases, resulting in 2,530 deaths • Maryland: 54,175 cases, resulting in 2,597 deaths Meanwhile, Georgia, Virginia, Connecticut and Louisiana each has confirmed at least 40,000 cases; Ohio, Indiana and North Carolina each has confirmed at least 30,000 cases; Colorado, Minnesota, Tennessee, Washington, Arizona and Iowa each has confirmed at least 20,000 cases; Alabama and Wisconsin each has confirmed at least 18,000 cases, followed by Mississippi with 16,041 and Rhode Island with 15,112; Nebraska and Missouri each has confirmed at least 14,000 cases, followed by South Carolina with 12,415; Utah and Kentucky each has confirmed at least 10,000 cases; Kansas and Delaware each has confirmed at least 9,000 cases; the District of Columbia, Nevada and New Mexico each has confirmed at least 8,000 cases; Arkansas, Oklahoma and South Dakota each has confirmed at least 5,000 cases Click here to see CNN’s state-by-state breakdown. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • UPDATE 7:00 P.M. The Orange County Sheriff’s Office has released the body-cam footage from the arresting officer. Click/tap here to see that video. By tapping here, you can read the arrest report from Deputy Christopher Moore.  ORIGINAL STORY: A video circulating on Twitter shows a traffic stop by an Orange County Sheriff’s deputy in which a woman’s car window is shattered. According to a report from the Orlando Sentinel, the sheriff’s office is now reviewing body-cam footage of the incident which happened nearby a George Floyd protest around 7 p.m. Wednesday. In the 37-second video posted Thursday, a deputy orders the woman out of her car for being “stopped in the middle of the roadway.” The Sentinel cites Orange County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Michelle Guido, who says the unidentified woman was not arrested but was cited for being parked on a roadway and not wearing a seat belt. Guido told the Sentinel the Sheriff’s Office plans to file a case with the Ninth Judicial Circuit for battery on a law enforcement officer and resisting without violence. Read more from the Orlando Sentinel here. Sheriff Mina has asked for a review of the deputies' actions and that review is under way. Later Thursday evening, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office released the arresting officer’s body-cam video.

Washington Insider

  • Even as the number of people demonstrating over the police killing of George Floyd dwindled to a small group on Thursday afternoon in the nation's capital, workers were busy installing new high fencing around the park area known as the Ellipse just to the south of the White House, significantly expanding the security zone for President Donald Trump. 'It's a sad commentary that the (White) House and its inhabitants have to be walled off,' said Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser. 'We should want the White House to be opened up,' the Mayor told reporters. Critics immediately compared the new fencing to the President's push to build a wall along the border with Mexico. 'And American taxpayers, not Mexico, will again be sent the bill,' said Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT). By Thursday afternoon, workers had run the new fencing all the way down to, and along Constitution Avenue, which crosses in between the White House and the Washington Monument. The move to close off the Ellipse - an over 80 acre park which often hosts families, tourists, joggers, and picknickers - was reminiscent of other moves by the federal government to increase security, without the consent of the Washington, D.C. government. For example, after the Oklahoma City bombing, Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House was closed to traffic. Roads were also closed to through traffic on Capitol Hill near House and Senate office buildings, and security bollards were placed in front of a number of federal buildings, museums, and monuments. Because the federal government controls many of those areas, they are not under the direct jurisdiction of the District of Columbia. 'I'm also concerned that some of the hardening that they are doing may be not just temporary,' the Mayor said of the new security fencing. Extra fencing has already been put in place to the north of the White House, to wall off Lafayette Square from demonstrators. Here's a satellite map of the area around the White House to give you a better idea of the changes which are being made: The red area at the top is Lafayette Square. This is normally open to the public, but now a tall fence at the northern end along H Street does not allow anyone into the park. The yellow area is the normal White House security perimeter. The Old Executive Office Building is on the left, and the Treasury Department is on the right. The orange area at the bottom is how the perimeter is being extended with new fencing to add in the Ellipse, which is normally open to the public.  The road at the bottom of the graphic is Constitution Avenue.