Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison on Wednesday announced that charges have been filed against all four 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, Minnesota. 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 a Chauvin holding his knee to Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes as Floyd pleaded for air, sparking outrage. As of Wednesday, at least 40 cities across 16 states have imposed curfews. Live updates for Wednesday, June 3 continue below: Former defense secretary Mattis denounces Trump in statement Update 6:20 p.m. EDT June 3: In an abrupt reversal, Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Wednesday overturned an earlier Pentagon decision to send a couple hundred active-duty soldiers home from the Washington, D.C., region, amid growing tensions with the White House over the military response to the protests. In Union There Is Strength I have watched this week’s unfolding events, angry and appalled. The words “Equal Justice Under Law” are carved in the pediment of the United States Supreme Court. This is precisely what protesters are rightly demanding. It is a wholesome and unifying demand—one that all of us should be able to get behind. We must not be distracted by a small number of lawbreakers. The protests are defined by tens of thousands of people of conscience who are insisting that we live up to our values—our values as people and our values as a nation. When I joined the military, some 50 years ago, I swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution. 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. We must reject any thinking of our cities as a “battlespace” that our uniformed military is called upon to “dominate.” At home, we should use our military only when requested to do so, on very rare occasions, by state governors. Militarizing our response, as we witnessed in Washington, D.C., sets up a conflict—a false conflict— between the military and civilian society. It erodes the moral ground that ensures a trusted bond between men and women in uniform and the society they are sworn to protect, and of which they themselves are a part. Keeping public order rests with civilian state and local leaders who best understand their communities and are answerable to them. James Madison wrote in Federalist 14 that “America united with a handful of troops, or without a single soldier, exhibits a more forbidding posture to foreign ambition than America disunited, with a hundred thousand veterans ready for combat.” We do not need to militarize our response to protests. We need to unite around a common purpose. And it starts by guaranteeing that all of us are equal before the law. Instructions given by the military departments to our troops before the Normandy invasion reminded soldiers that “The Nazi slogan for destroying us...was ‘Divide and Conquer.’ Our American answer is ‘In Union there is Strength.’” We must summon that unity to surmount this crisis—confident that we are better than our politics. 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. We can unite without him, drawing on the strengths inherent in our civil society. This will not be easy, as the past few days have shown, but we owe it to our fellow citizens; to past generations that bled to defend our promise; and to our children. We can come through this trying time stronger, and with a renewed sense of purpose and respect for one another. The pandemic has shown us that it is not only our troops who are willing to offer the ultimate sacrifice for the safety of the community. Americans in hospitals, grocery stores, post offices, and elsewhere have put their lives on the line in order to serve their fellow citizens and their country. We know that we are better than the abuse of executive authority that we witnessed in Lafayette Square. We must reject and hold accountable those in office who would make a mockery of our Constitution. At the same time, we must remember Lincoln’s “better angels,” and listen to them, as we work to unite. Only by adopting a new path—which means, in truth, returning to the original path of our founding ideals—will we again be a country admired and respected at home and abroad. James Mattis Thousands again protesting near White House Update 5:50 p.m. EDT June 3: Thousands of protesters in the nation’s capital knelt and sang “Amazing Grace” on Wednesday, the sixth night of protests over the death of George Floyd in Minnesota. “We are not going anywhere,” the protesters chanted. As the protesters sang and chanted, law enforcement officers in riot gear stood watching over the crowd, which stretched down 16th Street near the White House. The crowd knelt silently as the time neared for a virtual town hall by former President Barack Obama to discuss Floyd’s death, policing and the protests that have engulfed the country. Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser imposed an 11 p.m. curfew after a peaceful night of protests. The curfew then had been 7 p.m. Virginia governor to announce removal of iconic Richmond statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee Update 5:20 p.m. EDT June 3: Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam is expected to announce plans for the removal of an iconic statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from Richmond’s prominent Monument Avenue, a senior administration official told The Associated Press. The governor will direct the statue to be moved off its pedestal and put into storage while his administration seeks input on a new location, according to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to speak before the governor’s announcement. The announcement is expected Thursday and comes amid turmoil worldwide over the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for several minutes, even after he stopped moving. Floyd’s death has sparked outrage over issues of racism and police brutality and prompted a new wave of Confederate memorial removals. The Lee statue is one of five Confederate monuments along Monument Avenue in Richmond, the former capital of the Confederacy. It’s been the target of vandalism during protests in recent days over Floyd’s death. Esper reverses plan to send active-duty troops home, Army says Update 5 p.m. EDT June 3: In an abrupt reversal, Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Wednesday overturned an earlier Pentagon decision to send a couple hundred active-duty soldiers home from the Washington, D.C., region, amid growing tensions with the White House over the military response to the protests. Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy told The Associated Press that the reversal came after Esper attended a meeting at the White House, and after other internal Pentagon discussions. It is unclear if Esper met with President Donald Trump. McCarthy said he believes the change was based on ensuring there is enough military support in the region to respond to any protest problems if needed. ‘This is going to take months': Minnesota AG asks for patience as investigation continues Update 4:50 p.m. EDT June 3: After charges were filed against all four officers involved in the situation that led to George Floyd’s death last week, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison asked for patience as authorities continue to investigate. “In order to be thorough, this is going to take months,” Ellison said Wednesday at a news conference. “I don’t know how many, but it is better to make sure that we have a solid case -- fully investigated, researched -- before we got to trial than to rush it.” Ellison noted that cases against police officers are particularly difficult to prosecute. “It will take awhile,” he said, “and I can’t set a deadline on that.” 2 of 4 former officers accused in Floyd’s death have been arrested, officials say Update 4:45 p.m. EDT June 3: Two of the four former Minneapolis police officers who have been charged in connection to the death last week of George Floyd were in custody as of Wednesday afternoon, said Drew Evans, superintendent of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. Authorities had previously arrested Derek Chauvin, who on Wednesday was charged with second-degree murder in Floyd’s death. Evans said that officials had apprehended one of the other three former officers charged in Floyd’s death and that authorities were working to arrest the other two. He did not specify which former officer was jailed Wednesday. Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter were filed Wednesday against Thomas Lane, J.A. Kueng and Tou Thao. Chauvin, Lane, Kueng and Thao were fired last week from the Minneapolis Police Department. Assault by officer led to second-degree murder charge, Minnesota AG says Update 4:40 p.m. EDT June 3: Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said Wednesday that a second-degree murder charge was filed against former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin because George Floyd died as Chauvin was committing or attempting to commit third-degree assault. Under Minnesota law, a person can face a second-degree murder charge if he or she cause someone’s death without premeditation while committing or trying to commit another felony crime, with some exceptions. Prosecutors initially charged Chauvin with third-degree murder. Floyd’s family has called for even stronger charges against the officer. In a statement released through their attorney, family members said, “Attorney General Ellison has informed the family that his office will continue to investigate and will upgrade the charges (against Chauvin) to first-degree murder if the evidence supports it.” A person can face a first-degree murder charge in Minnesota if he or she is accused of causing another person’s death with premeditation. Attorney Ben Crump, who is representing Floyd’s family, said the failure of officers to do more once they realized the 46-year-old no longer had a pulse -- two minutes before body cam footage showed Chauvin took his knee off Floyd’s neck -- amounted to premeditation. Minnesota AG urges demonstrators to continue calling for change peacefully Update 4:20 p.m. EDT June 3: Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said Wednesday that the decision to charge all the officers involved in the situation that led to George Floyd’s death won’t solve all the issues that have sparked widespread protests nationwide. “What I do not believe is one successful prosecution can rectify the pain and loss that so many people feel,” Ellison said at a news conference, noting that the work to ensure justice and fairness for all in America “is the work of all of us.” “The pursuit of justice is always good and right,” Ellison said. “I want to signal to them that we hope that they continue to raise the cause of justice but do it in a peaceful manner.” Ellison announced a second-degree murder charge had been filed Wednesday against Officer Derek Chauvin. Officers Thomas Lane, J.A. Kueng and Tou Thao were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter. Minnesota AG holds news conference Update 4:05 p.m. EDT June 3: Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison confirmed he has filed a second-degree murder charge against former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin. Ellison also said he has filed charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter against former officers Thomas Lane, J.A. Kueng and Tou Thao. Minnesota AG requests $1 million bail for all officers charged in Floyd’s death Update 4 p.m. EDT June 3: Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison on Wednesday requested that a judge set bail for the four officers charged in George Floyd’s death at $1 million, according to Reuters. Family: Minnesota AG still investigating, may upgrade charge against Chauvin Update 3:55 p.m. EDT June 3: In a statement released Wednesday through family attorney Ben Crump, George Floyd’s relatives said that Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison’s office is continuing to investigate the 46-year-old’s death. The attorney general confirmed to the family that a charge of second-degree murder had been filed Wednesday against former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chuavin, who had previously been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Authorities also charged three other officers who responded to the situation that led to Floyd’s death last week, Thomas Lane, J.A. Kueng and Tou Thao, with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter. “Attorney General Ellison has informed the family that his office will continue to investigate and will upgrade the charges (against Chauvin) to first-degree murder if the evidence supports it,” Floyd’s family said Wednesday. The family also demanded accountability for police, noting that, “These officers knew they could act with impunity, given the Minneapolis Police Department’s widespread and prolonged pattern and practice of violating people’s constitutional rights.” George Floyd’s family calls charging decisions against officers ‘bittersweet’ Update 2:40 p.m. EDT June 3: The family of George Floyd called the decision Wednesday to charge three more officers in the 46-year-old’s death and to upgrade the charge against Officer Derek Chauvin to second-degree murder “bittersweet.” “We are deeply gratified that (Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison) took decision action, arresting (and) charging ALL the officers involved in (George Floyd’s) death (and) upgrading the charge against Derek Chauvin to felony second-degree murder,” Floyd’s family said in a statement shared by Crump. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., confirmed on Twitter that Ellison had decided to upgrade the charge against Chauvin from third-degree murder and to charge the other three officers seen in video captured by passersby standing by or helping to pin Floyd to the ground last week. Chauvin and the other three officers who were part of the police response, identified as Thomas Lane, J.A. Kueng and Tou Thao, were fired last week from the Minneapolis Police Department. Prosecutor upgrading charge against Chauvin, charging 3 other officer involved in Floyd’s death Update 2:15 p.m. EDT June 3: Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., said Wednesday that a murder charge leveled against former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin is being upgraded to second-degree murder. The senator also said three other officers involved in Floyd’s death, Thomas Lane, J.A. Kueng and Tou Thao, will also be charged. Earlier Wednesday, attorney Ben Crump, who is representing Floyd’s family, told protesters gathered in Minneapolis that he expected the officers who had yet to be charged in the death of the 46-year-old to face charges as accomplices to murder. Crump said the three other officers “are accomplices because (of) their failure to act when they say he (didn’t) have a pulse.” 14,000 complaints made about Seattle police during protests Update 1:30 p.m. EDT June 3: Video of a young girl who appeared to have been pepper-sprayed by Seattle police during a protest over the weekend went viral -- and generated at least 11,000 complaints to the city’s Office of Police Accountability, according to KIRO-TV. OPA Director Andrew Myerberg said Tuesday that his office had received 14,000 complaints about 13 incidents over four days of protests following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police. “People are angry, people want answers now, and we need to do our best to move forward expeditiously with these cases while still being thorough,” Myerberg said, according to KIRO-TV. Myerberg said he wants his civilian-led investigations into the most pressing cases done in 45 to 60 days, instead of the usual six months, KIRO-TV reported. “We are going to get to the bottom of all these cases,” he said. >> Read more on KIRO7.com Photo of boy praying for police during unrest goes viral Update 1:15 p.m. EDT June 3: A photo taken of a 7-year-old boy praying for police in Tulsa, Oklahoma, gone viral with more than 10,500 shares as of Wednesday morning, KOKI-TV reported. The photo shows Trey Elliott with his hand on the shoulder of a Tulsa police officer. The boy’s mother, Brittany Elliot, and her husband told KOKI-TV that they’ve spoken to Trey about protests going on nationwide. Britney Elliott told the news station that her son wanted to pray for officers as some demonstrators began to vandalize Tulsa. >> Read more on Fox23.com Floyd family attorney says he expects 3 officers to be charged as accomplices Update 1 p.m. EDT June 3: Attorney Ben Crump, who is representing the family of George Floyd, told protesters gathered Wednesday in Minneapolis that he expects the officers who have yet to be charged in the death of the 46-year-old to face charges as accomplices to murder. Crump said former Minneapolis police officers Thomas Lane, J.A. Kueng and Tou Thao “are accomplices because (of) their failure to act when they say he (didn’t) have a pulse.” A criminal complaint filed last week against former Officer Derek Chauvin showed that Lane asked about whether they should move Floyd onto his side after he appeared to stop breathing and speaking. Prosecutors said Kueng checked Floyd’s pulse and said that he couldn’t find one, but officers remained on top of Floyd for another two minutes. “To us, that is intent,” Crump said. “That’s why the family is calling for first-degree murder charges against Officer Chauvin for having his knee in (Floyd’s) neck.” ACLU sues law enforcement over attacks on journalists covering protests Update 12:50 p.m. EDT June 3: Officials with the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota filed a class action lawsuit Wednesday on behalf of journalists who said they were targeted by police as protests over the killing of George Floyd erupted nationwide. The lawsuit alleges a “pattern and practice of conduct by law enforcement,” which the organization says, “tramples on the Constitution.” “Law enforcement is using violence and threats to deter the media from vigorously reporting on demonstrations and the conduct of police in public places,” ACLU-MN Legal Director Teresa Nelson said in a statement. “We depend on a free press to hold the police and government accountable for its actions, especially at a time like this when police have brutally murdered one of our community members, and we must ensure that justice is done. Our community, especially people of color, already have a hard time trusting police and government. Targeting journalists erodes that public trust even further.” The lawsuit’s lead plaintiff is Jared Goyette, a freelance journalist who says he was shot in the face by a rubber bullet fired by police. The suit outlines the number of journalists who have been arrested or injured by police since the demonstrations began last week. Named in the suit were the City of Minneapolis, police Chief Medaria Arradondo, police union head Lt. Bob Kroll, Minnesota Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington and Minnesota State Patrol Col. Matthew Langer. Decision on more charges in Floyd case expected to be announced Wednesday, report says Update 11:30 a.m. EDT June 3: Unidentified law enforcement officials told CNN on Wednesday that authorities have come to a decision on additional charges against the officers involved in George Floyd’s death. An official told CNN that Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison “will be making a significant announcement in the case early this afternoon.” Last week, officials charged former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd’s death. Video footage caught by passersby showed him pressing his knee to Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes May 25 as Floyd begged for air. Three other officers who were part of the police response, Thomas Lane, J.A. Kueng and Tou Thao, have not been charged in Floyd’s death. All four officers were fired last week from the police force. Officers involved in George Floyd’s death should be ‘held accountable for his murder,’ Esper says Update 11:10 a.m. EDT June 3: Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Wednesday said that the officers involved in the death of George Floyd should be “held accountable for his murder.” “Let me say upfront, the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis policeman is a horrible crime,' Esper said at a news conference, according to CNN. “The officers on the scene that day should be held accountable for his murder. It is a tragedy that we have seen repeat itself too many times.” Authorities have arrested and charged one of the four officers involved in the incident that led to Floyd’s death. Video footage shot by passersby showed then-Officer Derek Chauvin pressing his knee to Floyd’s neck for nine minutes May 25. He has been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Former officers Thomas Lane, J.A. Kueng and Tou Thao, who have all been fired along with Chuavin from the Minneapolis Police Department, have not been charged in Floyd’s death. Esper said Wednesday that while he tries to keep his department apolitical, he felt compelled to denounce the killing of Floyd. “What happened to George Floyd happens way too often in this country and most times we don’t speak about these matters as a department, but as events have unfolded over the past few days it became very clear that this was becoming a very combustible national issue,” he said. Defense Secretary Mark Esper: ‘I do not support invoking the Insurrection Act’ Update 10:25 a.m. EDT June 3: Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Wednesday that he does not support invoking the Insurrection Act amid nationwide protests due to the killing of George Floyd. “The option to use active-duty forces in a law enforcement role should only be used as a matter of last resort and only in the most urgent and dire of situations. We are not in one of those situations now,” Esper said during a news conference. President Donald Trump said Monday that he plans to invoke the 1807 federal law, allowing him to deploy active-duty U.S. troops to respond to the unrest nationwide. Trump denies he was taken to bunker during protests Friday in Washington Update 10:15 a.m. EDT June 3: President Donald Trump on Wednesday denied reports that he was taken to the White House bunker on Friday as hundreds of protesters gathered outside the executive mansion. “It was a false report,” he said during an interview with Fox News Radio. The president said he did go down “for a tiny little short period of time” but he said that happened during the day and “was for an inspection.” “I’ve gone down two or three times, all for inspection,” Trump told Fox News Radio. “You go there and someday you may need it.” The New York Times and several other news outlets reported that Secret Service agents rushed Trump to the underground bunker Friday as protests grew outside the White House. More than 200 arrested in Houston protests Update 10:05 a.m. EDT June 3: Houston police said early Wednesday that more than 200 people had been arrested during protests of police brutality in the wake of George Floyd’s death, though authorities said the number was relatively low. Police said in a statement posted on Twitter that the arrests were on suspicion of throwing rocks and bottles at officers and other crimes. Many people were also arrested for refusing to clear the streets as authorities tried to keep the peace. Authorities noted that the number of arrests was “extremely low ... considering the thousands of people in our community who marched and demonstrated peacefully.” Police said early Wednesday that they had received no significant reports of property damage or injuries. Doughnut shop set on fire during protest in Brockton, Massachusetts Update 9:30 a.m. EDT June 3: Demonstrators took to the streets nationwide Tuesday for mostly peaceful protests against police brutality in the wake of George Floyd’s death, but things took a turn in Brockton, Massachusetts, where protests turned violent, according to WFXT. The news station reported that protesters began to throw objects Tuesday evening and lit flares at police officers as they stood outside the Brockton police station on Commercial Street. Later, they set a Dunkin Donuts restaurant on fire, WFXT reported. Police later deployed tear gas in an effort to quell the crowd, according to WFXT. >> Read more on Boston25News.com Atlanta police blindsided by charges against officers who used Taser on students Update 8:55 a.m. EDT June 3: In an email obtained by WSB-TV, Atlanta police Chief Ericka Shields indicated that she was blindsided by the charges filed this week against two police officers seen on video using a Taser gun on two students as they sat in their car during protests over the weekend. Shields said she spent hours reviewing video of the situation, which happened Saturday night, and realized conflicting instructions to the students created chaos and escalated a low-level encounter, WSB-TV reported. She called the cops involved “good people and good cops” who made “multiple mistakes in a heated moment.” Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard filed excessive force charges Tuesday against the six officers involved in the situation, according to WSB-TV. >> Read more on WSBTV.com Seattle protesters arm themselves with umbrellas to combat crowd-control sprays Update 5:50 a.m. EDT June 3: Dozens of protesters on the front lines of a Tuesday night standoff with police in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood wielded umbrellas to shield themselves from crowd-control sprays such as pepper spray, CNN reported. Seattle remains under a nightly 10 p.m. curfew, which Mayor Jenny Durkan extended through Saturday. NYC police block Manhattan side of Brooklyn Bridge during standoff with protesters Update 5:38 a.m. EDT June 3: Hundreds of protesters attempting to cross the Brooklyn Bridge on foot en route to Manhattan were met by a police blockade Tuesday night, prompting an hours-long standoff that ended peacefully, The Washington Post reported. The skirmish ended around 10:30 p.m. when police vans advanced toward the crowd, which retreated to begin the return walk to Brooklyn. National Guard mobilizes briefly in DC’s Lafayette Square, pepper sprays protesters Update 5:27 a.m. EDT June 3: The Washington D.C. National Guard mobilized briefly early Wednesday morning to quell hundreds of protesters still demonstrating in Lafayette Park nearly six hours after the city’s 7 p.m. curfew took effect, CNN reported. About 250 protesters gathered near a fence erected earlier this week following skirmishes in the park, and some tossed fireworks and other projectiles at police gathered on the other side of makeshift barricade, the network reported. Guardsmen then fired pepper spray at the crowd and what appeared to be flash bangs to encourage dispersal. “Now what you’re seeing is the response from the DC National Guard,” CNN Correspondent Alex Marquardt reported from the scene, adding, “I’m not seeing any park police, this is all military police.” Los Angeles police arrest protesters outside mayor's residence Update 5:09 a.m. EDT June 3: Protests in Los Angeles concluded late Tuesday with a handful of straggling demonstrators arrested outside the official residence of Mayor Eric Garcetti. At one point earlier Tuesday night, the crowd outside the home swelled to several hundred protesters, many of whom chanted “defund the police” and called for the firing of Los Angeles Police Chief Michel R. Moore, The Washington Post reported. Earlier in the day Garcetti joined protesters downtown and knelt with them in solidarity. He was not home during Tuesday’s demonstration. Charlotte police corner protesters, livestream video shows Update 4:38 a.m. EDT June 3: Police in Charlotte trapped dozens of peaceful demonstrators next to a parking structure late Tuesday, pummeling them with tear gas, pepper balls and flash bangs. Video of the clash livestreamed by alternative-weekly newspaper Queen City Nerve, captured the encounter. According to The Washington Post, officials in North Carolina’s largest city had not imposed a curfew, and police used a loudspeaker to encourage straggling protesters to disperse or face arrest. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department later took to Twitter to explain projectiles had been hurled at them by protesters and “multiple avenues” were offered for leaving the area before the situation escalated when a line of riot police formed behind the demonstrators and advanced, corralling those refusing to depart. The incident drew harsh criticism from civic leaders, including State Rep. Chaz Beasley. Obama to address police violence in Wednesday livestream Update 3:18 a.m. EDT June 3: Former President Barack Obama will join a host of other leaders in a Wednesday livestream to “discuss the tragic events of recent weeks, the history of police violence in America, and specific action steps needed to transform a system that has led to the loss of too many lives.” The Obama Foundation confirmed the scheduled event early Wednesday morning. The livestream begins at 5 p.m. Washington state trooper heard telling officers in viral video, ‘Don’t kill them. Hit them hard’ Published 3 a.m. EDT June 3: A Washington state trooper heard rallying his troops in a viral video is being defended by his organization and skewered in the court of public opinion Wednesday morning. The unidentified trooper can be heard prepping his fellow officers for Seattle protesters by saying, ‘Don’t kill them. Hit them hard.” Chris Loftis, director of communications for the Washington State Patrol, told The Washington Post the trooper had been demonstrating a “push tactic” intended to “move a group of noncompliant or aggressive protesters.” “This is not, ‘Go out and strike people. This is move them away from the situation and from danger,” Loftis told the newspaper. The trooper featured in the video, which began circulating on Twitter Tuesday night, can be heard telling officers, “Don’t kill them, get them out of the way,” while making a pushing motion with his fists. “We’re aware of the video and we apologize for the poor choice of words by one of our team leaders,” Loftis said.