Editor’s note: This is a live account of updates from demonstrations and other events on Monday, June 8, as the day unfolded. Click here to see protest updates from Tuesday, June 9.
It has been two weeks since the death of George Floyd, a Black man who was killed on May 25 by a white Minneapolis police officer who pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck for several minutes. The protests over Floyd’s death, police tactics and systemic racism continue, not just in Washington and the United States, but around the world.
In Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, Sunday went from peaceful protest to tear gas-tinged mayhem that lasted long into the night.
A gunman drove his car into a crowd at 11th and Pine before a man reaching into the car to stop it was shot. A video shows the chaotic scene that left the intervening man hospitalized on the 10th night of protests.
Later that evening, Seattle Police used flash bangs, pepper spray and tear gas against protesters on Capitol Hill who they said were throwing bottles and other projectiles, and shining green lasers into officers’ eyes. The chaotic scene unfolded after Seattle’s mayor and police chief apologized for some actions by police officers but also asked protesters to do more to quell violence within crowds.
In Rainier Beach on Sunday, thousands gathered for a peaceful protest, where Seattle City Councilwoman Kshama Sawant repeated her call for Durkan to resign, and said if the mayor didn’t, she would use articles of impeachment to try to oust her. In response, Durkan said she wouldn’t be “distracted by political ploys.”
Throughout Monday, on this page, we’ll post updates from Seattle Times journalists and others on the protests in the Seattle area. Updates from Sunday can be found here.
If you’ve taken part in these protests, we’d like to hear from you: What was your experience? What did being out there mean to you? Click here to let us know.
Capitol Hill protesters discuss setting up 'living community' outside Seattle Police Department's East Precinct
The sea of protesters seen at the corner of 11th Avenue and Pine Street on Capitol Hill every night for the past week started to spread out Tuesday night after police took down the barricade near the department's East Precinct.
Demonstrators moved up the street, past the precinct and slowly fanned out around Cal Anderson Park, but multiple livestreams showed some leaders urging the group to stick together as much as possible to maintain a unified front. They also continued discussing the logistics of taking protest shifts, emphasizing the importance of organizing in a sustainable, consistent way.
Seattle rapper Raz Simone led most of these conversations, calling for protesters to bring tents, air mattresses, pillows and other items that would help the group "occupy the space for days."
"Who's willing to stay out here all night?" another protester shouted to the crowd.
Simone reminded the group not to feel overconfident after police appeared to mostly clear out of the area.
"We gotta stay out here and keep pushing," he said to the group.
Another protester said she'd like to see the space turn into a "living community."
Simone agreed, adding that they should reach out to the homeless community, bring them to the corner of 11th Avenue and Pine Street and offer to share their food and tents.
The area remained peaceful through 2 a.m., as protesters organized candlelight vigils, live music performances and other brainstorming conversations.
Seattle School Board president condemns police for using school property as 'staging' area
Zachary DeWolf, president of the Seattle School Board, took to Facebook on Monday evening to condemn the Police Department for using the Seattle World School parking lot as a place for "staging militarized police."
"I saw Seattle SWAT teams at Seattle World School just a block from my home," DeWolf said in his post. "I do not condone the use of Seattle Public Schools property for staging militarized police against peaceful protestors. The bare minimum is to protect our first amendment right to protest."
He urged the city to contact Mayor Jenny Durkan and Seattle City Councilmembers to demand that public schools' property not be used for "staging."
"When schools in our neighborhoods are filled with militarized police activity as a show of force against people exercising their first amendment rights, our school buildings no longer feel safe to many of our students," he wrote.
The district's official Twitter also called the police action "concerning."
— Dahlia Bazzaz داليا بزاز (@dahliabazzaz) June 9, 2020
Hi, Robert. Thank you for sharing, this is concerning to us as well. We are looking into this issue.
— Seattle Public Schools (@SeaPubSchools) June 9, 2020
Durkan issues statement on removal of barricades outside Seattle Police East Precinct
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan reiterated in a Monday night statement that by removing barricades in the area, the Police Department has made an effort to "proactively de-escalate interactions" between protesters and law enforcement officials outside the East Precinct on Capitol Hill.
"As (Police Chief Carmen Best) takes this operational step, we will continue to remain focused on what we can do address the systemic inequities that disproportionately our Black residents," she said in the statement.
She added that the Seattle Fire Department has "several apparatus" stationed near the precinct to address any fires or medical needs that emerge. She noted that because there are "approximately 500 residential homes in the block," it's critical that fire officials have access to the area.
"Keeping demonstrations peaceful must be a joint effort between our community members and law enforcement," she said in the statement. "And our accountability system and Chief must hold officers accountable for any misconduct or excessive use of force."
Seattle Councilmember Kshama Sawant joins protesters on Capitol Hill
Seattle Councilmember Kshama Sawant stepped up to the microphone Monday night on Capitol Hill to urge protesters to continue building their movement and pledge to help them follow through on their demands.
"(Police and National Guard members) have face shields, body shields, rifles, chemical weapons, and yet here we are," Sawant said. "We don't have those weapons. We have umbrellas. We have cell phones. But you know what else we have? We have multiracial working class solidarity."
She continued to praise the time and effort demonstrators have given over the past week.
"Let's recognize one thing first," she said. "This was and is a victory. Yes, it was only one battleground, but it was a key battleground, because what we forced to push back was not just the police force. It was more than that. The honest truth is the police force is just the outward face of oppression under capitalism."
Sawant later asked the crowd to join her at a public meeting with other community leaders Tuesday at 6 p.m. in Cal Anderson Park. The crowd erupted in cheers.
She continued on to promise that her office will bring legislation to defund police by 50% and fund racial justice organizations instead, though some protesters pushed back.
"We don't need any more lies," one protester told her, adding that the group wanted to see police defunded 100%.
The same protester briefly mocked Sawant's accent, but the group largely chose to use the incident as a teaching moment.
Protester doing the educating is local hip hop artist Raz Simone. (Sorry, couldn't see well before.)
— Sydney Brownstone (@sydbrownstone) June 9, 2020
After moving out of the main crowd surrounding the East Precint, Sawant continued addressing a smaller group of protesters.
Citizen journalist Omari Salisbury, who has consistently provided protest livestreams over the past week, took Sawant aside to ask her more about her demands.
She responded by again emphasizing her belief that abolishing the police cannot happen in a capitalist society, and used the moment to push for a socialist system.
"I absolutely am fighting for a society free of racism, free of sexual violence, free of police — but that will only happen when we fight capitalism," she said.
Capitol Hill protesters list demands for change and racial justice
Shortly after Seattle police withdrew from the East Precinct on Capitol Hill, a crowd of protesters gathered outside the building to voice their list of demands for change, a list they'll eventually make public and send to city officials.
One by one, people stepped up to take the microphone and share the issues they want to see the city and the community address. Their main demand is to abolish and defund the Seattle Police Department, but protesters also touched on a wide array of topics, including the city's police budget, education systems, mental health services, voting reform, affordable housing options, prisons and health care systems.
"Realistically, we know not every demand is going to be met, but we're going to come with a big list," one of the main facilitators said to the crowd.
One person stepped up to the mic to share a story about their son, who is Black and autistic.
"This is extremely important," they said. "The kids matter."
"I demand police abandon this building," they said, gesturing to the East Precinct. "And that they give this building to Black Live Matter Seattle-King County, or to a Black-based organization to be a community center."
They added that the city must look at its education system and dedicate more time and energy to developing programming that would prevent a school-to-prison pipeline.
Also on the list of demands for local, state and federal governments: See more affordable housing for people of color. Invest in more doctors of color. Train special officers to de-escalate situations involving those with mental illnesses. Provide a list of names of all officers involved in killing Black people. Discontinue the federal government's supply of military weaponry to all law enforcement agencies. Provide reparations for all victims of police brutality. Defund ICE.
"I demand we de-gentrify Seattle," a woman said to the crowd. "We need to take care of financial literacy for Black people ... We need to put power behind Black businesses."
And the list wasn't directed only to public officials.
"I demand more people step up and speak up when they see ignorance and hate," one protester said. "I demand more people stand up to their bosses when they see ignorance and hate."
“We held down as a city... this change does not stop here. We don’t go back to the old normal... because change comes now... we are creating unity on this block right here.”
— Megan Burbank ⛰️ (@meganireneb) June 9, 2020
Another speaker: “We’re trying to build a society where we don’t criminalize being poor.”
— Sydney Brownstone (@sydbrownstone) June 9, 2020
Snohomish police chief reassigned after rumors about antifa that spurred armed response
The police chief of Snohomish was replaced on Monday following a week of mounting tension over how he handled a rumored but unrealized threat that antifa activists planned to riot and damage storefronts in the community.
A divide in Snohomish, a city of 10,000 near the Cascade foothills, had come to light early last week as citizens armed with semi-automatic weapons and displaying a Confederate flag gathered in the city’s historic downtown.
Some clashed with protesters who have been holding nightly demonstrations against racial injustice and the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police. The armed demonstrators included members of right-wing groups, according to interviews with group members, and multiple witnesses said many people had been drinking while carrying weapons on May 31.
The next night, more violence broke out.
Keith Rogers, now the former police chief of Snohomish, faced steep criticism for not taking the armed crowd’s presence more seriously. At a recent Snohomish City Council meeting, he had described the evening as “festive.”
Man accused of driving into George Floyd protesters and shooting a man held on investigation of assault
A King County District Court judge on Monday found probable cause to hold a 31-year-old Seattle man on investigation of first-degree assault in connection with Sunday night’s shooting of a protester on Capitol Hill, according to King County prosecutors.
Prosecutors had requested that Nikolas Fernandez be held on $350,000 bail, but the judge instead set bail at $200,000, then lowered it to $150,000 after Fernandez’s family addressed the court and spoke of Fernandez’s ties to the community and his inability to pay, said Casey McNerthney, a spokesman for Prosecutor Dan Satterberg. As of Monday evening, Fernandez remained jailed, jail records show.
According to the statement of probable cause outlining the police case against him, Fernandez claimed he was about to get carjacked and feared for his life. He told police that protesters yelled at him, kicked his car and attempted to grab him through his open, driver’s side window — and that the man he shot had reached into his car and grabbed the steering wheel, the statement says.
A video posted on social media showed people running to get out of the way of a black sedan that appeared to speed north on 11th Avenue from Pike Street, to where protesters have gathered at 11th and Pine Street repeatedly in the past week to protest police killings of Black people.
Five Seattle commissions urge Durkan to decrease police budget
Five Seattle commissions have signed onto an open letter addressed to Mayor Jenny Durkan, City Attorney Pete Holmes and Police Chief Carmen Best, supporting the demands of Black Lives Matter activists outlined in a post published June 6.
Members of the Seattle Immigrant and Refugee Commission, Seattle Commission for People with disAbilities, Seattle Human Rights Commission, Seattle LGBTQ Commission and the Seattle Women's Commission called on the city to discipline police who commit acts of violence during the protests, release and decline to prosecute arrested protesters and defund the police department by 50%, among other requests.
Earlier on Monday, Seattle employees advocating for racial justice around the city's Race and Social Justice Initiative (RSJI) sent a letter to the mayor echoing similar demands.
"I show up to work and I'm Black," said LaKecia Farmer, policy analyst and legislative aide for Seattle City Councilmember Tammy Morales. "I go home and I'm Black. I’m always going to be Black. And it hurts to see my community hurt and the city not responding that the way they should be."
"If this is just one thing we can do as city employees, to hold our leaders accountable to community, then I am all for it," Farmer said of the city employees' letter. "We need to center voices that have been left out of the conversation for too long."
Crowd surrounds Seattle Police Department precinct after officers withdraw
Police have taken down a barricade that separated a line of officers and a crowd of protesters who were gathered at the corner of 11th Avenue and Pine Street on Capitol Hill, clearing the way for demonstrators to march up the street and past the Police Department's East Precinct.
Earlier in the afternoon, Seattle police Chief Carmen Best told reporters that officers would remove barricades around the East Precinct "as feasible." The precinct would not be abandoned or evacuated, Best said, but the building would be boarded up and the Fire Department would be treating the building with fire retardants.
Just after 6:30 p.m., police withdrew and the group surrounded the precinct, which has been boarded up and fenced off. One protester marked the moment by playing "Amazing Grace" on a bugle, as protesters began peacefully marching north on 15th Avenue before circling back toward the East Precinct, chanting "Defund SPD!" Some dragged fencing and plastic barricades in order to block off the north and south sides of the intersection at 12th Avenue and Pine Street.
A spokeswoman from the Seattle Joint Information Center said the city installed the temporary fencing to "proactively protect the building itself and the adjacent residential units in the event that any projectiles are thrown at the precinct building, particularly projectiles that could cause a fire."
The city isn't planning to install permanent fencing around the precinct to restrict protesters, she added Monday night.
Police have retreated and crowd now surrounds East Precinct and is marching east on Pine. A BLM tag on the East Precinct. pic.twitter.com/0p5lhw7vgr
— Sydney Brownstone (@sydbrownstone) June 9, 2020
That moment looked like this pic.twitter.com/hx88jahBoy
— Megan Burbank ⛰️ (@meganireneb) June 9, 2020
Video version: pic.twitter.com/PLMzhr3Q0O
— Sydney Brownstone (@sydbrownstone) June 9, 2020
Three generations of a Black family protest for sons, grandsons, brothers
Mejia Austin says that when George Floyd called out for his mother, she felt it.
Austin, 41, is the mother of two sons, 18 and 20. When the eldest got his license, she had a talk with both of them on what to do if the police pulled them over so they wouldn't get killed.
She had suppressed her feelings for a long time, with past police shootings, she said. But hearing Floyd call out for his mother motivated her. Now she plans to come out every day after work as a medical assistant. Mayor Jenny Durkan has a lot more work to do, Austin said.
"We're hurting, deeply," she said.
In a crowd in front of police wearing gas masks and holding batons on 11th Avenue and Pine Street on Monday evening, Austin held a sign reading, "When George Floyd called for his Mother, I was Needed." Behind Austin stood her mother, Mildred Austin, 60. And in front of them, Austin's three nieces: Mi'Qwean Campbell, 18, Nigeria Gates, 11, and Maniyah Austin, 18.
Three generations of Black women. Three generations of fear for loved ones.
"I have a brother," Maniyah Austin said. "I don't want him to be next."
Dockworkers will stop work in honor of George Floyd
To protest the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, West Coast longshore workers, including those at Washington ports, will stop working for nine minutes at 9 a.m. Tuesday morning. Floyd was pinned down for nearly that length of time by a police officer, who held his knee on Floyd's neck while Floyd pleaded for help.
"Our responsibility in this moment runs deeper than usual," read a Monday memo announcing the protest from the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), which organizes West Coast dockworkers, "because one part of the system that is protecting the officers involved in Mr. Floyd's death is a union." The Minneapolis police union has denounced the officers' firing and its leader has referred to protestors as a "terrorist movement," according to the New York Times.
"There is no place in the Labor Movement for a leader who defends the act of depravity that resulted in the death of Mr. Floyd," the ILWU memo continued. "The ILWU condemns all forms of racism, and we state in no uncertain terms that Black Lives Matter."
The ILWU points proudly to its history of pushing for racial integration ahead of other organizations around the country. But some Black longshore workers and truck drivers say racism persists on the docks. Just last week, a white Tacoma longshore worker drew fire for posting racial slurs and veiled threats against Black colleagues on social media.
"We have no place for racism, bigoted language or a hostile work environment," said Tacoma ILWU chief Jared Faker. "We're not going to tolerate it at all on the waterfront." The local has moved "swiftly" to bring the matter before an internal disciplinary committee, he said. "The last thing any of us want to have happen is one idiot ruin all the goodwill we've generated in the community."
The local labor movement is having its own reckoning with police unions. The Martin Luther King Jr. County Labor Council, the area's largest labor group, has threatened to kick out the Seattle Police Officers Guild unless it addresses its role in perpetuating systemic racism and stops bargaining against greater accountability measures for police.
Protesters gather in Capitol Hill near SPD East Precinct
Public Defender Office urge end to violence against protesters
The Federal Public Defender Office for the Western District of Washington is calling on law enforcement to end its use of violence against protesters.
In a statement posted to its website, the office called on police to discontinue racial profiling and use of excessive force, including against protesters. The letter specifically cites "tear gas, flash-bang grenades, pepper spray, rubber bullets, tasers, and batons.
The office also demanded the Department of Justice recommit to holding police accountable.
"We call on both the DOJ and the United States Attorney’s Office to publicly recognize the damaging impacts institutionalized discrimination, mass incarceration, and white supremacy have on people and communities of color," the statement said. "We ask that they acknowledge that racism, bias, and targeted policing have created a culture of violence, oppression, and inequality within the criminal legal system."
Inslee wants Legislature to restrict police chokeholds, create new body to investigate police killings
Gov. Jay Inslee is proposing restricting chokeholds in every law enforcement agency in Washington, creating a new independent state body to investigate police killings and creating a legally binding obligation for law enforcement to report misconduct by their fellow officers.
Inslee, who announced the proposals Monday, said he is also convening a task force to solicit more recommendations for reforming law enforcement in Washington.
The changes come in the wake of more than a week of protests in Seattle and statewide over police use of force and systemic racism in law enforcement.
"This is a moment, I do believe, where if you look at history, things are static, static, static," Inslee said. "And then boom, the conditions exist when big changes can take place."
Inslee said the task force would consist of a group of Black leaders and other members of marginalized communities. If their work is complete by the time the governor calls a special legislative session later this year, then their proposals would be considered by the Legislature this year, Inslee said. If not, they would be considered by the Legislature in 2021.
Seattle police will remove barricades around East Precinct 'as feasible,' Chief Best says
On the 11th day of protests over the death of George Floyd in police custody, Seattle police Chief Carmen Best said that officers would be removing barricades from 11th Avenue and Pine Street near the East Precinct, where police have frequently used tear gas and flash-bang grenades on protesters.
Best said that while Seattle police would be "decreasing our footprint around the East Precinct," they would not be "abandoning or evacuating" the building. Windows will be boarded up, fencing installed and the Seattle Fire Department will apply fire retardants to the East Precinct, according to Best.
"This is an exercise in trust and deescalation," Best said.
On Friday, Best and Mayor Jenny Durkan said the department would halt the use of tear gas on protesters for 30 days, but the ban didn't last long. Sunday night, clouds of tear gas returned to Capitol Hill, where Best said officers had determined there were "life safety" issues that necessitated the use of the gas.
Those issues, Best said, included rocks and bottles being thrown at officers, lasers pointed at officers' eyes, an earlier shooting and and a man with a gun near the intersection.
SWAT officers are still carrying tear gas, Best said.
On Sunday, a man was shot after a gunman drove into a crowd of protesters at the intersection of 11th Avenue and Pine Street. The gunman got out of his car and walked up to the line of officers at the barricades while street medics treated the man who was shot. Protesters have asked why the gunman was able to walk up to officers when officers had used dispersal tactics like tear gas on protesters earlier.
Best said she did not have any detail about police officers' treatment of the gunman, but would look into the tactics used.
Seattle council members vow ‘inquest’ into police budget; some say mayor should consider resigning
Amid ongoing protests against police brutality and killings of Black people, “war zone” actions against demonstrators and calls in some corners for Mayor Jenny Durkan to step down, the Seattle City Council vowed during a briefing Monday to take a harder look at the Police Department’s budget.
Three council members — Kshama Sawant, Teresa Mosqueda and Tammy Morales — now are calling on Durkan to resign or consider resigning.
With many condemning the Durkan administration for responding to mostly nonviolent demonstrations with chemical agents, all nine council members indicated they wanted to take steps to demilitarize Seattle police. They seemed particularly united on a desire to outlaw tear gas, discussing the issue the day after that substance was again deployed against a crowd on Capitol Hill.
“It is absolutely unacceptable to turn one of our densest neighborhoods … into looking like a complete war zone, night after night,” Council President M. Lorena González said.
Supermarket workers union calls on Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan to resign over protest response
UFCW 21, which represents supermarket workers in Seattle and which is one of the area’s largest unions, is calling on Mayor Jenny Durkan to resign over her handling of protests against institutional racism and police killings of Black people.
A petition urging Durkan to resign, launched by some local Democratic Party leaders Friday, has collected more than 11,000 signatures, and three City Council members have said the mayor should at least consider stepping down. UFCW 21, which represents more than 46,000 workers across Washington state and 10,000 who live or work in Seattle, is the first union to join the call.
“Many of our fellow UFCW 21 members who are essential workers have faced a choice between losing a paycheck or traveling to work during confusing curfews and consistent use of tear gas, pepper spray, and explosive devices in neighborhoods where we live and work,” executive board members Sam Dancy, Jeannette Randall, Greg Brooks and Amy Dayley said in a news release Monday.
Durkan is “unable to enact the changes required to respond to community demands around the city’s budget and to protect working people from ongoing police violence,” the release said.
A mayor who allows “the use of weapons of war against her own community cannot remain in office,” the release added, also calling for systemic change.
“As Seattle City Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda said earlier today, ‘a change in office without radical change in the institution that is policing is not transformational,’ the union said.
Councilmember Kshama Sawant called for Durkan to step down Saturday. Mosqueda and Councilmember Tammy Morales said Monday the mayor should consider doing that.
UFCW 21 endorsed Durkan’s opponent, Cary Moon, in their 2017 general-election contest.
NEW: UFCW 21, which represents Seattle supermarket workers and is one of the area's largest labor unions, is now calling on Mayor Jenny Durkan to resign. pic.twitter.com/Rj0ssok1C3
— Daniel Beekman (@DBeekman) June 8, 2020
Co-leaders of Seattle's Race and Social Justice Initiative Change Team issue requests to Mayor Durkan
The co-leaders of Seattle's Race and Social Justice Initiative Change Team, who are embedded in city departments, have sent a letter to Mayor Jenny Durkan making requests to undo institutionalized racism in the city.
These are the action items the leaders are seeking.
- Reduce the Seattle Police Department's budget by 50% or more
- Expand investments in Black and brown communities
- Increase police accountability
Morales mentioned letter to mayor from Seattle's Race and Social Justice Initiative change team co-leads, who are embedded in city depts. Here's letter https://t.co/cDAzqXBcJu, which calls for 1) Defund SPD by 50% or more 2) Invest in communities 3) Boost police accountability.
— Daniel Beekman (@DBeekman) June 8, 2020
Portland police chief resigns amid George Floyd protests
SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Not yet six months into her job as chief, Jami Resch is stepping down from leading the Portland, Oregon, Police Bureau as George Floyd protests roil the city.
Resch on Monday announced that she asked Charlie Lovell, an African American lieutenant, to serve as the next chief of police of Oregon’s largest city.
“He’s the exact right person at the exact right moment.,” she said at a news conference.
Read more here.
Can tear gas and pepper spray increase virus spread?
Police departments have used tear gas and pepper spray on protesters in recent weeks, raising concern that the chemical agents could increase the spread of the coronavirus.
There’s no research on tear gas and COVID-19 specifically, because the virus is too new. But a few years ago, Joseph Hout, then an active duty Army officer, conducted a study of 6,723 Army recruits exposed to a riot-control gas during basic training. The study found a link between that exposure and doctors diagnosing acute respiratory illnesses.
Could tear gas lead to an increase in coronavirus infections? “I think it’s plausible, yes,” Hout said Monday.
Read more here.
20 arrested in Portland; other protests peaceful
PORTLAND — Demonstrators held two peaceful George Floyd protests in Portland on Sunday, but a third one that lasted until the early hours of Monday resulted in at least 20 arrests, with some demonstrators throwing objects at police, who fired tear gas and sponge-tipped projectiles.
Read more here.
City council discusses slashing SPD budget
The Seattle City Council met Monday, after a tumultuous night of protests where police deployed tear gas despite the mayor's temporary ban on its use in most circumstances, to discuss proposed legislation to prohibit the use of chemical agents and cut funding to the city police department.
Several city councilmembers have indicated they agree with demilitarizing the department and cutting some of its funding.
Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda, who chairs the council's budget committee, not only said she wants to look at cutting police funding by up to half, but called on Mayor Jenny Durkan to "ask herself if she’s the right leader and resign."
Councilmember Kshama Sawant, who Monday proposed banning tear gas and all "crowd-control weapons" from use by SPD, previously called for Durkan to resign.
Follow Seattle Times reporter Dan Beekman on Twitter for additional updates about the city council meeting:
Councilmember Alex Pedersen says he believes "most of our police officers are good people" but are working "within a tainted institution. Says he supports demilitarization and at least some SPD budget defunding/redirecting.
— Daniel Beekman (@DBeekman) June 8, 2020
Floyd’s casket arrives at Houston church for public viewing
HOUSTON — George Floyd's body arrived at a Houston church Monday for a final public memorial for the man whose death at the hands of police in Minneapolis sparked protests around the world and calls to reform policing in America.
His body arrived in a gold-colored casket that was escorted to The Fountain of Praise church by Houston police. A six-hour viewing that is open to the public was scheduled to begin in the afternoon.
Before the casket arrived, workers outside the church assembled a large floral arrangement with white roses on one side in the shape of a heart and with the initials “BLM” for Black Lives Matter created from blue roses and placed on top of the heart. The other side of the floral arrangement was made up of red roses and appeared to be in the shape of a raised fist.
Mourners will be required to wear a mask and gloves to comply with coronavirus-related guidelines.
Floyd’s funeral will be Tuesday, followed by burial at the Houston Memorial Gardens cemetery in suburban Pearland, where he will be laid to rest next to his mother, Larcenia Floyd.
What it means to 'defund the police' as some protesters demand
Protesters in Seattle and across the nation are calling to "defund the police" in response to the deaths of George Floyd and other Black Americans who have been killed by law enforcement.
But what does “defund the police” mean? It’s not necessarily about gutting police department budgets. Still, some activists and lawmakers have also raised the possibility of completely disbanding police departments, clouding the more complicated message.
State and local governments spent $115 billion on policing in 2017, according to data compiled by the Urban Institute.
“Why can’t we look at how it is that we reorganize our priorities, so people don’t have to be in the streets during a national pandemic?” Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza asked during an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Last week in Seattle, some politicians and community leaders said they want to redirect half the city's police budget for youth programs, affordable housing, health care and other uses.
The Seattle Police Department’s budget is more than $400 million this year, accounting for about a quarter of Seattle’s general-fund spending. The city has projected a budget gap of $300 million this year, due to tax revenue streams reduced by coronavirus-caused business shutdowns.
Democrats unveil police overhaul, kneel at Capitol
WASHINGTON — Democrats in Congress proposed a sweeping overhaul of police oversight and procedures Monday, a potentially far-reaching legislative response to the mass protests denouncing the deaths of Black Americans at the hands of law enforcement.
Before unveiling the package, House and Senate Democrats held a moment of silence at the Capitol’s Emancipation Hall, reading the names of George Floyd and others killed during police interactions. They knelt for 8 minutes and 46 seconds — now a symbol of police brutality and violence — the length of time prosecutors say Floyd was pinned under a white police officer’s knee before he died.
The Justice in Policing Act would limit legal protections for police, create a national database of excessive-force incidents and ban police choke holds, among other changes, according to an early draft. It is the most ambitious change to law enforcement sought by Congress in years.
Pierce County prosecutor grants AG shared control over Manuel Ellis killing in Tacoma
The Pierce County prosecuting attorney has given Attorney General Bob Ferguson the power to review the death of Manuel Ellis — a Black man who was killed while being restrained by Tacoma police in March — at the same time as her office reviews the case.
Prosecuting Attorney Mary Robnett gave Ferguson's office "concurrent jurisdiction" in the case, while also inviting Ferguson and the Washington State Patrol to attend a briefing where the Pierce County Sheriff's Office and the county medical examiner will present their findings.
Gov. Jay Inslee, last week, pledged an independent state review of Ellis' death. Inslee said the State Patrol and Ferguson's office would review the case after the county sheriff and Robnett's office had completed their investigation.
But Robnett criticized that decision, saying the state authorities should immediately be given concurrent jurisdiction over the investigation.
“In the interests of justice, the Attorney General’s review should begin now. There is simply no reason to wait,” Robnett said in a prepared statement Monday. “There is significant public interest in this case in Tacoma and Pierce County, across the state and beyond. The Ellis family wants answers now. They said they want State review. To delay the Washington State Patrol review and delay Attorney General review is not in the interests of justice.”
Ellis died after being arrested and restrained by Tacoma police on March 3. In a video shot by a bystander that became public last week, Ellis can be seen falling on his back, struggling with officers on top of him. “Oh my God, stop hitting him, just arrest him,” the woman filming the video yells.
The medical examiner has ruled the case a homicide, concluding that Ellis died from a lack of oxygen due to physical restraint. The medical examiner's report also listed methamphetamine intoxication and heart disease as factors in his death.
Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards, last week, directed the city manager to fire the four officers involved and called for them to be prosecuted to “the fullest extent of the law.”
Robnett said she has also invited Woodards to attend the investigative briefing and that the mayor will attend.
Read more here.
Catch up on the past 24 hours
In Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood, Sunday went from peaceful protest to tear gas-tinged mayhem that lasted long into the night. A gunman drove his car toward a crowd, and a man who reached into the car to stop it was shot before the driver got out and walked through the crowd toward the police line. A video shows the incident that left the intervening man hospitalized. Later that evening, Seattle Police used flash-bang grenades, tear gas and pepper spray to disperse protesters who they said were throwing things at them. The chaotic scene unfolded after Seattle's mayor and police chief apologized for some actions by police officers but also asked protesters to do more to quell violence within crowds.
First-time activists marched Sunday alongside longtimers and those whose loved ones were killed by police. The protest came in a part of South Seattle known as one of the nation's most racially diverse ZIP codes.
A "defining moment" in a divided small town: Rumors that Antifa activists were on their way to cause mayhem drew hundreds of self-declared protectors to the streets of Snohomish recently. The scenes — complete with assault weapons and at least one Confederate flag — have been deeply unnerving for residents who have gathered to call for racial justice.
Minneapolis will dismantle its police force, City Council members pledged yesterday as they promised to create a new public-safety system.
Congressional Democrats today will unveil a sweeping overhaul that would ban some police tactics, limit legal protections for officers and more.
How did we get to this point? Columnist Naomi Ishisaka looks at how a history of racism collided with present-day police brutality and a pandemic to thrust us into this "extraordinary moment."
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