Saturday, May 30, 2020

South Africa Burdened by About 100,000 Virus Testing Backlog
Africa News

Authorities in South Africa have expressed worry over shortages of COVID-19 testing kits and reagents as cases consistently rise in the country and across the continent.

Nearly 100,000 people have not taken the coronavirus tests in South Africa reports say. According to the Health Ministry, priority is now given to patients admitted to hospitals and health workers.

Other African countries have also been hit by the widespread shortages of testing kits. However some analyst believe the wealthier countries are knocking poorer counties out in the race to obtain crucial supplies.

South Africa has – as of May 29 – conducted more tests for the virus than any other country in Africa — more than 655,000 — and has the most confirmed cases with nearly 28,000

“This challenge is caused by the limited availability of test kits globally,” the health ministry said in a statement overnight, putting the backlog at 96,480 as of Monday. Priority is given to processing tests from patients admitted to hospitals and health workers, it said.

Major African stats: May 30 at 7:00 GMT:
Confirmed cases = 135,375
Number of deaths = 3,923
Recoveries = 56,401
Businesses Find Broken Windows, Trash Day After Atlanta Demonstration
Protests over the deaths of George Floyd and other African Americans led to damages. Businesses were seen cleaning up the morning after.

By Andrea V. Watson
Patch Staff
May 30, 2020 12:48 pm ET

Businesses along Peachtree Road near Lenox Square were vandalized by some protestors Friday night. (Andrea V. Watson/Patch)

ATLANTA, GA — The aftermath of Friday's peaceful — turned violent — protest has left parts of Atlanta in disarray. About midnight, Gov. Brian Kemp declared a state of emergency for Fulton County. Although the chaos has completely dissipated as of Saturday morning, there's still much work to be done.

Workers were seen near Lenox Square on Peachtree Road sweeping the sidewalks, clearing it of shattered glass broken by rioters the night before. Patio chairs and potted plants were smashed through windows. Left behind trash littered the street. Several businesses, including Maggiano's Little Italy had their windows broken.

The deaths of Ahmaud Arbery in coastal Georgia, Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Ky., and George Floyd in Minnesota sparked a movement for justice, not just in Atlanta, but across the country.

A protest march Friday from the Georgia capitol to Atlanta's Centennial Olympic Park drew thousands, authorities estimated, but the promoted "peaceful" protest, organized under the #ATLFORUS hashtag, quickly changed when unruly crowds gathered to break windows at CNN's headquarters.

From there, things escalated.

Some of the marchers broke off and objects were thrown at police, cars were set on fire, and stores were looted.

Atlanta police said they are working on collecting the number of arrests, along with names and charges. They are also gathering the number of vehicles and businesses damaged, injuries and incident reports.

The first reported damage was done to the CNN Center. The violence spread and fire damaged a Ruth's Chris Steak House and a local Starbucks. The Chick-fil-A next to the College Football Hall of Fame was also been broken into. From there crowds moved to Lenox Square, where there were reports of looting.

Atlanta Police said protestors caused "extensive damage to patrol vehicles and buildings" near Centennial Olympic Park Drive and Marietta Street. Several businesses were looted in the same area. Small fires were started, including to an APD patrol vehicle. Police said with the help of multiple local and state law enforcement agencies, they are working to restore order in the city.

As properties were being destroyed, Mayor Keisha Bottoms held a news conference around 9 p.m. at police headquarters to urge Atlantans who are angry about the most recent deaths of blacks at the hands of whites to "go home" and make the change at the polls. She was joined by rappers and Bernice King, the daughter of the late civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

The mayor urged people to stop and return home immediately.

"If you care about this city then go home," she said. "You're not protesting anything by running out with brown liquor in your hands. When you burn down this city you're burning down our community.

"If you want change in America register to vote. Show up to our polls June 9. That is the change we need in this country," the mayor told protesters. "You're disgracing our city and the life of George Floyd and anyone else killed in this country. We are better than this as a city and county. ... We're no longer talking about the murder of an innocent man. We're now talking about the burning of the streets of Atlanta, Georgia. Go home."

Rapper T.I. said Atlanta has always been a place where African Americans can prosper when other cities haven't given them a chance.

"Atlanta has been there for us, Atlanta doesn't deserve this...we can't do this here, it's 'Wakanda,' [and] must be protected," he said.

"If we lose Atlanta, what else do we have?" asked Killer Mike, a rapper, actor, and activist.

King said she was left without a father as a child, just as the daughter of Floyd lost her father at age 6.

"This is a moment where people are fed up. I have to make an appeal to my brothers and sisters because I realize the only way to get constructive change is through nonviolent means," King said.

Her father said "riots are the language of the unheard. The part we often miss is about the unheard. This is a time when we all have to listen — the cries coming out of the hearts and souls and other young brother and sisters in the streets. Things can't go back to how they were yesterday.

"The only path I know is nonviolent means, it's a proven method," King added. "It didn't fail my father...what is the end goal? We want change and we want it now, but it never comes through violence, that causes more problems..."

As the mayor was urging everyone to go home, back in the streets some in the crowds were shooting BB guns at police officers. In return, police fired tear gas into the crowd.

"If you care about a peaceful protest you're not longer in one, organize and come back," Lance-Bottoms said. "We are all angry, this hurts. But what are you changing by tearing up a city? You've lost all credibility now."

Kemp had tweeted just before 10:30 p.m. that state law enforcement officials have been working closely with Mayor Bottoms and the Atlanta Police throughout the day.

"When asked to provide support and assistance, the state immediately responded, and we will continue to do so," Kemp tweeted. "The safety of our citizens remains our top priority. We stand with the mayor and urge everyone to go home."

Officers had to start using bullhorns to order the protesters to disperse.

Atlanta Police said the demonstration began peacefully with a march from Centennial Olympic Park to the Capitol and back. Most protesters entered the park, while some walked south on Centennial Olympic Park Drive where they surrounded an officer inside his patrol vehicle.

"Additional officers arrived and began to push protesters back away from the vehicle, which led to a number of scuffles between police and protesters and at least three arrests," the police department said in a statement. "One officer was pushed to the ground and sustained minor injuries. It does appear pepper spray was utilized several times during the confrontation.

Water bottles, eggs and other items were thrown at officers.

The executive order from Kemp allows up to 500 members of the Georgia National Guard to be used to respond in Atlanta.

He also ordered that "all resources" of the state of Georgia be made available to assist Atlanta and Fulton County during this state of emergency.

Patch will update this breaking news. Patch Editors Kathleen Sturgeon and Deb Belt contributed to this article.
Gov. Beshear to Send National Guard to Louisville After Second Night of Breonna Taylor Protests
Tessa Duvall
Darcy Costello
Louisville Courier Journal

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – After a trail of vandalism across much of downtown Louisville that city officials attributed to out-of-towners, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear announced he'd send the National Guard to Louisville, calling it a step to "ensure the safety of everybody" and "help keep peace."

“What we have seen, especially last night, and what our intelligence says is going to happen tonight are outside groups moving in, trying to create violence to harm everybody who is on those streets," said Beshear. "We cannot let Breonna’s legacy be marred by violence and we can’t let our streets turn violent."

Meanwhile, Mayor Greg Fischer said he is implementing a dusk-to-dawn curfew for future protests against the fatal police shooting of Breonna Taylor.

"The tone clearly changed last night. The number of people on our street clearly changed last night, as well," Fischer said. "This turned from being a peaceful protest into violence and terrorism and looting on the streets of our city." Fischer said the National Guard would arrive in Louisville "later today."

Fischer said if people want to protest, they can do so "while it's light outside." A spokeswoman said the curfew will run from 9 p.m. to 6:30 a.m.

For the second night in a row, people took to the streets en masse to protest the fatal shooting of Taylor, an unarmed African American who died in her apartment after being shot at least eight times by Louisville Metro Police in March.

"This violence and destruction is absolutely unacceptable," he said in a 1 a.m. video call. "It besmirches any claim to honor Breonna Taylor's memory. ... No one stands up for justice and equality by smashing windows and burning property. This destruction will not be tolerated."

Taylor, an ER tech, was at her southwest Louisville apartment when police entered her home on a "no-knock" search warrant related to a narcotics investigation. Officers returned fire after Taylor's boyfriend fired a shot at what he said he believed to be intruders. No drugs were recovered from the apartment.

There were no altercations between protesters and police Friday, and, unlike the night before, there were no reports of gunfire in the crowd. City officials reported two arrests, and a television news crew was taken to the hospital.

But vandals did significant damage across downtown: Windows to office buildings, at least one hotel and restaurants were smashed. Looters sidestepped broken windows and rummaged through the bar area of Eddie Merlot's Prime Aged Beef & Seafood, hauling away armfuls of alcohol.

A similar smash-and-grab unfolded on live TV at the Omni Louisville Hotel on South Second Street, with looters sprinting away with bottles of booze.

Throughout the night, Courier Journal reporters and photographers saw canisters of tear gas being fired; heard flash bangs exploding; and spotted numerous fires in trash cans and recycling bins. Shards of glass were everywhere, and anti-police graffiti was spray-painted on buildings and sidewalks.

Editorial:Louisville must listen to protesters in Breonna Taylor case and battle injustice

"This has been a very sad night for our city," Fischer said. "Many came tonight to express the pain, anger and frustration brought about by the tragic death of Breonna Taylor. Many were here to exercise their First Amendment right to peacefully protest — and I respect that right.

"Unfortunately," the mayor continued, "another faction of people use the occasion of a protest as an excuse to cause destruction."

Before midnight, a peaceful demonstration paraded on Bardstown Road.

Jessie Halladay, a spokeswoman for Louisville Metro Police, also pointed to out-of-towners as the reason for much of the chaos and damage.

"They're determined to create division within this community," she said. "They are well-equipped. They bring sticks, bottles, bats, shields, guns. They are ready to set fires. They come well-stocked with water, supplies, other things. They are ready to start problems."

Friday night's unrest followed a smaller, but still raucous, protest Thursday that left seven people with gunshot wounds, including one in critical condition. Those shots were not fired by police, LMPD said.

Taylor's death is one of a number of high-profile killings of black Americans, several at the hands of police officers, that have sparked protests across the country.

Protesters in recent days have taken to the streets for George Floyd, a black man killed by Minneapolis police in an incident captured on video. Floyd's death came at a time when many Americas were already outraged over the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, who was jogging in a south Georgia neighborhood when he was killed by white men.

In Louisville, protesters carried signs and chanted about both Taylor and Floyd.

Around 11 p.m., a small group of protesters walked down Bardstown Road, followed by a line of police vehicles. Dozens of cars honked their horns in support.

'She's gone':Breonna Taylor's death sparks outrage as she's remembered as 'good girl'

People on sidewalks handed out water, reminding the crowd to stay hydrated, while chants of “hands up, don’t shoot” filled the air.

At Eastern Parkway, the protesters paused and knelt in the intersection, taking a brief moment of silence before walking back up Bardstown toward downtown.

Chanting throughout the night included “Breonna Taylor,” “No justice, no peace” and “F*** the police.”

As the group moved past a line of police officers blocking the entrance to the Mid-City Mall, several leaders also urged the group to “keep moving” and repeated that “this is a peaceful protest.”

Helicopters buzzed above the unrest for hours, their spotlights illuminating both tense confrontations and periods of standstill.

By midnight, empty milk jugs and crushed plastic water bottles littered the street in front of Metro Hall, where a handful of protesters remained — silently refusing to budge for the line of more than 50 officers in riot gear that had sought to advance.

Earlier in the evening, tensions rose as protesters spotted law enforcement officers inside the Hall of Justice. Protesters ripped the American and Kentucky flags from their poles in front of the building, using lighters and alcohol to set them ablaze.

Some hurled water bottles and other hard objects at the courthouse windows, splintering the glass. Other panes were smeared with red paint hand prints, made to look like blood.

As Thursday's protests turned violent, Taylor's family took to social media to plead with the community for peace.

"We are not going to stop until we get justice," Juniyah Palmer, Taylor's younger sister, said in a video.

"But we should stop tonight before people get hurt."

Contributing: Billy Kobin, Mandy McLaren and Bailey Loosemore, Louisville Courier Journal. Follow Tessa Duvall on Twitter: @TessaDuvall.
Minnesota National Guard and State Police Deployed in Twin Cities Rebellion
Third Precinct station razed while unrest spreads to St. Paul and other municipalities around the United States

By Abayomi Azikiwe
Editor, Pan-African News Wire
Friday May 29, 2020
Analytical Review

A cell phone videotaped deadly encounter between African American George Floyd and several Minneapolis law-enforcement officers resulting in a brutal strangulation has proven to be a turning point in the long saga of systematic racist violence in the United States.

For four straight days and nights, militant demonstrations have occurred in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area and a growing number of municipalities around the country.

Reaching an intense level on the evening of May 28, demonstrators surrounded the Third Precinct police station pelting the structure with missiles. Later the building was evacuated by the city administration while soon afterwards people entered the station and set multiple fires.

Mayor Jacob Frey took full responsibility for the retreat from the Third Precinct noting that the situation was too dangerous for personnel inside and outside the building. Television coverage of the arson attacks on the police station was broadcast live throughout the world.

Frey defended the lack of arrests for property damage and arson over the course of May 27 and 28 saying that his aim was to not further inflame the situation. With deployment of the Minnesota National Guard and State Troopers it appears as if they have taken charge of law-enforcement responsibility in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

By midday on May 29, there was an announcement that Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis officer shown in the video with his knee on the neck of George Floyd resulting in his death, had been taken into custody. The Hennepin County District Attorney Michael Freeman later announced that Chauvin was being charged with third degree murder and involuntary manslaughter.

Immediately, local and national activists said that the arrest of one officer was not enough to satisfy their demands for justice. The African American communities in the Minneapolis and St. Paul area are constantly reminding the public of the decades-long history of police brutality.

Within the charging document there is much to be concerned about as it relates to the potential case being brought to court against former police officer Chauvin by the prosecutors. The indictment alleges that Floyd did not die from suffocation. It claims that the victim had other health problems while having being intoxicated. These assertions are problematic because similar efforts are often carried out in other police killings in order to provide a legal angle for acquittal. (https://www.startribune.com/read-the-complaint-charging-derek-chauvin-in-the-death-of-george-floyd/570870791/)

Many former and current law-enforcement officials in numerous interviews over various television networks have condemned the use of such a method of restraint seen in the video which immediately went viral. Nonetheless, there are thousands of African Americans and others who are victimized by police violence every year. In most situations, the police are not held accountable and remain employed in the public service.

Meanwhile property destruction and arson attacks spread to neighboring St. Paul on May 28 where at least 200 businesses were impacted. Some of the same chain stores attacked in Minneapolis suffered an identical fate in the other twin city.

A report on the situation published by CBS Minnesota said of events that: “St. Paul was spared from the chaos Wednesday night (May 27), but that all changed Thursday. The St. Paul Police Department said more than 170 businesses were looted or damaged Thursday, and dozens of fires were set. But there were no serious injuries reported in the city. Fires continued to burn in the city early Friday morning, with the largest one at Big Top Liquor near Snelling and University avenues, nearby Allianz Field.” (https://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2020/05/29/protesters-take-minneapolis-police-3rd-precinct-building-during-3rd-night-of-george-floyd-protests/)

Demonstrations Spread Across the U.S.

Protests soon erupted in many other cities where thousands have taken to the streets demanding an end to police violence against African Americans. In Louisville, Kentucky, 7 people were shot during the evening on May 28.

The following night there were additional demonstrations taking place in the city. People are angered by the failure of the authorities in Louisville to file charges against the police officers that killed emergency medical technician Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old African American woman, sleeping in her bed during a purportedly mistaken location raid in search of illegal drugs. There were no drugs in the apartment yet Taylor is dead at the hands of police.

According to a news report on events in Louisville there are: “Groups of protesters demanding justice for Breonna Taylor, who was an African American woman killed in her apartment by police officers on March 13, are gathered on Jefferson and Sixth Street.  Around 9 p.m., protesters pulled down the American and Kentucky flags in front of the Hall of Justice and set them ablaze. Moments later, some protesters threw objects at the building's glass doors, more items were lit on fire and there were three loud bangs which went off.  A group of more than 1,000 people were estimated to be gathering around the Hall of Justice where everything seems to be focused.” (https://www.courier-journal.com/story/news/politics/metro-government/2020/05/28/breonna-taylor-shooting-what-know-louisville-protest/5280762002/)

Demonstrations occurred in dozens of municipalities including Phoenix, New York City, Denver, Chicago, Memphis, Washington, D.C., Dallas and Detroit. In the city of Detroit thousands gathered at public safety headquarters downtown on the afternoon of Friday May 29. After listening to several speakers including City Council President Pro tem Mary Sheffield, Charter Revision Commission member Joanna Underwood, Board of Police Commissioners Member Willie Burton, among others, the crowd began to march through downtown into the Midtown and Woodbridge District, chanting anti-racist and anti-police brutality slogans.

In Atlanta fires were set during demonstrations in the downtown area where police presence was extremely heavy. Later a small group gathered at the CNN Center where several people threw missiles and incendiary devices which broke windows. The police in riot gear launched teargas in an attempt to disperse the crowd.

The White House has largely been circumspect in regard to the nationwide unrest which has grown exponentially since May 26. President Donald Trump sent out a tweeted message during the early morning hours of May 29 suggesting that “looters” should be shot on sight. He later attempted to clean up the statement. However, the damage had already been done politically.

Trump is quite concerned with the deteriorating economic and social situation in the U.S. where 41 million people have applied for unemployment benefits since mid-March directly stemming from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. With the explosion in anti-racist protests where some are becoming more violent, the administration can only stoke fear and bigotry in an effort to build upon its existing base within the capitalist ruling class as well as significant sections of the white population which mistakenly view the nationally oppressed, immigrants and those harboring opinions differing from the president as their central enemies and adversaries.

Possible Outcome in the Present Conjuncture

The unrest in the U.S. has drawn the attention of the international community. Michelle Bachelet, the former president of Chile and the current chair of the United Nations Human Commission for Human Rights (UNCHR) made a statement on May 28 criticizing the police killing of George Floyd and other African Americans.

Bachelet said in a statement issued from the UNCHR offices that: “This is the latest in a long line of killings of unarmed African Americans by U.S. police officers and members of the public. I am dismayed to have to add George Floyd’s name to that of Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, Michael Brown and many other unarmed African Americans who have died over the years at the hands of the police -- as well as people such as Ahmaud Arbery and Trayvon Martin who were killed by armed members of the public. The US authorities must take serious action to stop such killings, and to ensure justice is done when they do occur. Procedures must change, prevention systems must be put in place, and above all police officers who resort to excessive use of force should be charged and convicted for the crimes committed.” (https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=25910&LangID=E)

In addition to the UNCHR, the African Union (AU), representing 55 member-states on the continent and its 1.2 billion people, weighed in as well with a statement which read: “The Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat strongly condemns the murder of George Floyd that occurred in the United States of America at the hands of law enforcement officers, and wishes to extend his deepest condolences to his family and loved ones. Recalling the historic Organization of Africa Unity (OAU) Resolution on Racial Discrimination in the United States of America made by African Heads of State and Government, at the OAU’s First Assembly Meeting held in Cairo, Egypt from 17 to 24 July 1964, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission firmly reaffirms and reiterates the African Union’s rejection of the continuing discriminatory practices against Black citizens of the United States of America. He further urges the authorities in the United States of America to intensify their efforts to ensure the total elimination of all forms of discrimination based on race or ethnic origin.” (https://au.int/en/pressreleases/20200529/statement-chairperson-following-murder-george-floyd-usa)

These statements from both the UN and the AU reaffirm the legitimacy of the African American struggle for self-determination and full equality. Malcolm X (El Hajj Malik Shabazz) was present at the 1964 OAU Summit in July 1964 to lobby on behalf of the people of African descent in the U.S. His work in winning this resolution 56 years ago is a clear indication of the correctness of his position during the period.

National and international coordination of political forces is required in order to elevate the African American liberation movement in its efforts to secure the right to security and development unhindered by a racist system which is in rapid decline. As the economic crisis in the U.S. worsens the level of conflict and disorder will intensify requiring broader unity and solidarity aimed at ending national oppression and economic exploitation.    
CNN Headquarters In Atlanta Breached By Crowd Protesting George Floyd’s Death 
After being driven away earlier by police, demonstrators regrouped in front of CNN’s Atlanta headquarters, throwing objects — including a very large firecracker — at police, as well as breaking the building’s front windows.

Police formed a phalanx inside the building, just feet away from demonstrators facing them outside. One protester ran inside and was apprehended.

Others hit police with objects thrown from outside.

One man with a skateboard in hand walked right to the edge of the building, smashed his skateboard against a window right in front of police and then stood defiantly before the police phalanx. The red dots from multiple police scopes could be seen on his chest as he postured.

Shortly after, police outside the building deployed what looked like some sort of “deterrent spray,” according to CNN’s Chris Cuomo, who was reporting live on air as the scene unfolded.

Earlier, Atlanta police chief Erika Shields deployed a very different sort of community policing, wading into the crowd of demonstrators and speaking at length with them, one-on-one.

The chief of police in Atl is talking to everyone in the crowd at the protest She says she wants to see a change too and is disgusted by everything that happened. She sent away a white officer we told her was being an asshole. She’s listening to every person that wants to talk pic.twitter.com/vz473t1kHC

PREVIOUSLY, Protesters in Atlanta on Friday marched on the headquarters of CNN, gathering by the hundreds in front of the building, defacing the giant-sized network logo out front and destroying police cars when authorities began to disperse the crowd.

The incident came after three days and nights of protest in Minneapolis over the death of George Floyd who, videos showed, was prone when a police officer pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck. Floyd screamed, “I can’t breathe!” multiple times before he died.

That officer, Derek Chauvin, was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter on Friday.

The family of George Floyd is calling for an upgrade in the criminal charges against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, from 3rd degree murder to 1st degree. The key to an upgrade in charges revolves around a determination of Chauvin’s intent and premeditation to cause Floyd’s death.

The family also wants charges against the three other officers at the scene.

“We call on authorities to revise the charges to reflect the true culpability of this officer,” the family statement reads. Later in the statement, the family says, “For four officers to inflict this kind of unnecessary, lethal force – or watch it happen – despite outcry from witnesses who were recording the violence – demonstrates a breakdown in training and policy by the City.”

Other protests broke out on Friday in Brooklyn, San Jose, Los Angeles and Washington D.C., where the Secret Service put the White House on lock down as protesters gathered outside.
Crowd Protests White Mayor’s Words About Black Man’s Killing by Police
Protesters, who did not wish to be identified, chant outside the Mississippi State Capitol building in Jackson, Miss. on Friday afternoon following comments made by Petal Mayor Hal Marx regarding the death of George Floyd on Monday in Minneapolis. Friday, May 28, 2020. (Sarah Warnock/The Clarion-Ledger via AP)

PETAL, Miss. (AP) — At least 200 people protested Friday outside a Mississippi City Hall, calling for the resignation of a white mayor who sparked outrage when he said he “didn’t see anything unreasonable” about the death of an African American man in Minneapolis police custody.

Petal Mayor Hal Marx is resisting calls for his resignation, including from his own city’s board of aldermen.

“Why in the world would anyone choose to become a police officer in our society today?” Marx tweeted Tuesday, the day four Minneapolis police officers were fired. George Floyd, 46, was handcuffed and pleading for air as a white police officer kneeled on his neck Monday.

In a follow-up tweet, the Republican directly referenced the Floyd case, saying he “didn’t see anything unreasonable”: “If you can say you can’t breathe, you’re breathing. Most likely that man died of overdose or heart attack. Video doesn’t show his resistance that got him in that position. Police being crucified.”

WDAM-TV carried live coverage of Friday’s protest, which drew a racially diverse crowd.

“Accountability must come into effect for Hal Marx,” said Bobby Sims Jr., a pastor from the nearby city of Hattiesburg, told the crowd.

Sims and other speakers said Petal has long had a problem of police pulling over black drivers for little or no reason.

Indianapolis Colts offensive lineman Javon Patterson and Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Anthony Alford both criticized Marx on social media.

“You know as a former resident of Petal ... this is truly disturbing to see,” Patterson tweeted, attaching a screenshot of a Facebook post where Marx again said, “If you can talk you can breathe.”

“How could you watch this disturbing video and make such an idiotic comment. But this guy is supposed to be the leader of ‘the friendly city,’” Alford, a Petal High School alumnus, wrote on Facebook. “This is why it’s important to vote people. You don’t want people like Mayor Hal Marx in charge.”

Marx’s Twitter account no longer exists.

The Petal Board of Aldermen held a special meeting Thursday, voting unanimously to ask for Marx’s resignation, the Clarion Ledger reported.

“Recently, Mayor Hal Marx has taken to social media and repeatedly made comments that have isolated, enraged and belittled individuals in a way that is unbecoming to our city,” Aldermen Clint Moore read from a statement.

Residents also called for his resignation, and protests are planned for the coming days. As Marx addressed the meeting, audience members shouted over him.

“You already have your minds made up about me,” he said.

Marx, who was first elected mayor in 2009 and entertained a run for governor in 2019, told the Hattiesburg American earlier this week that his remarks were misconstrued as racist, and that he was trying to caution people “to get all the facts before they judge” the police.

At Thursday’s meeting, he said he and his family had received death threats and called people asking for resignation bullies.

“I will never surrender to the mob mentality,” he said. In Mississippi, elected officials can only be removed from office if they’ve committed felonies.

Myla Cox grew up in Petal, a city of a little more than 10,000 people just east of Hattiesburg. She said she’s been judged at her college, Brown University, because of her hometown.

“Everybody looked down on me because they saw the type of people that run my city, specially you,” the newspaper quoted her as addressing Marx. “For you to come here today and say that we are bullies, and you to not hold accountability for your statements that we clearly do no agree with already shows what type of person you are.”
Mother of Louisville Police Shooting Victim Calls for Peace
By BRUCE SCHREINER and DYLAN LOVAN

Police hold off protesters for Breonna Taylor, early Friday, May 29, 2020 in Louisville, Ky. Taylor,  a black woman, was fatally shot by police in her home in March. (Michael Clevenger/Courier Journal via AP)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Looking to defuse tensions in Louisville over the fatal shooting of a black woman by police who broke down her door, the victim’s mother on Friday called on protesters to continue demanding justice but to do it in “the right way without hurting each other.”

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear read the statement from Breonna Taylor’s mother hours after gunshots erupted, wounding at least seven people, during protests late Thursday outside City Hall. At least one person was in critical condition, Louisville Metro Police said early Friday.

“No officers discharged their service weapons,” and all seven shot were civilians, police spokesman Sgt. Lamont Washington wrote in an email to The Associated Press.

In her statement, Tamika Palmer said her daughter — an emergency medical technician — devoted her life to others, and the “last thing she’d want right now is any more violence.”

“Please keep saying her name,” her statement said. “Please keep demanding justice and accountability, but let’s do it the right way without hurting each other. We can and we will make some real change here. Now is the time. Let’s make it happen, but safely.”

Beshear, speaking on CNN, said the protest started peacefully but some people later “instigated and caused some actions that turned it into something that it should not have been.”

The Democratic governor also called on President Donald Trump to retract a tweet in which he threatened to take military action to bring Minneapolis “under control.” The president, reacting to the torching of a Minneapolis police station by protesters outraged by the death of a black man in police custody, warned that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”

“I hope the president will retract that statement,” Beshear said. “During these times we can condemn violence while also trying to listen, to understand, to know that there is deep frustration, rightfully so, in our country. That there has not been enough action on creating equality, of opportunity and in health care. And in a time of this COVID-19 pandemic, it’s laid bare all of that.”

Beshear added that elected officials have “a responsibility, not just to maintain the peace, which is what we ought to be doing, but to also listen, to show empathy, to try to find a way to move in the right direction, not the wrong one.”

Louisville’s mayor also called for peace as he said two of the wounded from the gunfire in his city underwent surgery while five were in good condition.

“I feel the community’s frustration, the anger, the fear, but tonight’s violence and destruction is not the way to solve it,” Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said in a video posted to Twitter.

Thursday night’s demonstration came as protesters across the country, in cities including Los Angeles, Denver, New York and Memphis, turned out in alliance with demonstrators in Minneapolis, where George Floyd became the latest black man to die in police custody.

The protests quickly followed the release of a 911 call Taylor’s boyfriend made on March 13, moments after the 26-year-old EMT was shot eight times by narcotics detectives who knocked down her front door. No drugs were found in the home.

Around 500 to 600 demonstrators marched through the Kentucky city’s downtown streets, the Courier Journal reported. The protests continued for more than six hours, ending in the early hours of Friday as rain poured down.

At one point, protesters took turns hoisting the stone hand of King Louis XVI after it was broken off his statue outside City Hall. Shots were later heard, prompting some of the protesters to scramble for safety.

“Understandably, emotions are high,” Fischer tweeted just before midnight, sharing a Facebook post that appealed for people to remain non-violent as they demand justice and accountability. “As Breonna’s mother says let’s be peaceful as we work toward truth and justice,” the mayor wrote.

Attention on Taylor’s death has intensified since her family sued the police department this month. The case has attracted national headlines alongside the shooting of Ahmaud Arbery in a Georgia neighborhood in February.

Around 12:20 a.m., Fischer tweeted a video he said was a message from Taylor’s family.

Meanwhile, live video from downtown Louisville around 12:30 a.m. showed some protesters behind makeshift wooden barricades, which appeared to be made out of picnic tables spray-painted with the words “You can’t kill us all.” A small fire inside a trash can was visible in the middle of the street.

Police in body armor and face shields held batons and lined up downtown. They appeared to fire rubber bullets and deploy tear gas canisters, fogging the air and inducing coughs among the remaining members of the crowd. Protesters recorded officers with their cellphones.

Kentuckians are still under social distancing mandates driven by the coronavirus pandemic. Many protesters wore masks.

Chants early Friday included “No justice, no peace” and “Whose streets? Our streets.”
Trump Calls Minneapolis Protesters ‘Thugs,’ Vows Action
By JILL COLVIN and COLLEEN LONG

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump on Friday threatened to take action to bring the city of Minneapolis “under control,” calling violent protesters outraged by the death of a black man in police custody “thugs” and saying that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”

Trump’s tweet — which was flagged by Twitter as violating rules about “glorifying violence” — came after protesters torched a Minneapolis police station, capping three days of violence over the death of George Floyd, who was captured on video pleading for air as a white police officer knelt on his neck.

Trump said he’d spoken to the state’s Democratic governor, Tim Walz, and “told him that the Military is with him all the way.”

“Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” he wrote in the tweet. That language was also used by Miami Police Chief Walter Headley in a 1967 speech outlining his department’s efforts to “combat young hoodlums who have taken advantage of the civil rights campaign.”

“We don’t mind being accused of police brutality,” he said in the same speech, according to news reports from the time.

Trump didn’t clarify what he meant — Walz has already activated the National Guard — but the tweet drew another flag from Twitter, which did not remove the message but added a warning label that prevents it from being shared or liked.

Slapping back, the White House reposted the message on its official Twitter account Friday morning. Twitter quickly flagged that tweet as well, accusing the White House of promoting violence.

’The President did not glorify violence. He clearly condemned it,” the White House responded.

It all came a day after Trump signed an executive order challenging the site’s liability protections as he accuses it of stifling conservative voices.

Trump, who has a long history of defending police, has been uncharacteristically vocal in criticism this week, saying earlier Thursday that he felt “very, very badly” about Floyd’s death and calling video capturing his struggle “a very shocking sight.”

But his language grew more aggressive as violence boiled over in Minneapolis on Thursday night. “These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen,” he wrote shortly before 1 a.m.

Kentucky’s Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear, speaking on CNN Friday morning, called on Trump to retract the statement flagged by Twitter.

“During these times, we can condemn violence while also trying to listen, to understand, to know that there is deep frustration, rightfully so, in our country -- that there has not been enough action on creating equality, opportunity, and in health care, and in a time of this COVID-19 epidemic, it’s laid bare all of that,” he said.

Jeffery Robinson, the director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Trone Center for Justice and Equality, called the statement “hypocritical, immoral, and illegal.”

Twitter has stepped up its efforts to counter Trump’s frequently factually incorrect claims. Earlier this week, the social media giant fact checked two of Trump’s tweets about mail-in ballots, drawing his anger.

On Friday, the company said it had flagged Trump’s tweet “in the interest of preventing others from being inspired to commit violent acts.” The tweet remains accessible to users who click on the link, and Twitter said “it is important that the public still be able to see the Tweet given its relevance to ongoing matters of public importance.”

Supporters of the president balked at the move.

“It seems like they’re carrying out a vendetta against the president,” Republican Rep. Steve Scalise, the No. 2 GOP House leader, said on Fox News Friday.

But Jameel Jaffer, executive director of the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, who won the case that prevents Trump from banning his critics from his Twitter feed, said the First Amendment protects Twitter’s right to respond to the president’s speech, “including by attaching warnings to tweets that glorify violence.”

Once more likely to hew to the “blue lives matter” mantra, Trump, his allies and Republicans in elected office across the nation have been questioning the conduct of the officer who pinned Floyd down and calling for justice. But some activists see election-year political calculations.

“I think the difference is a November election,” said the Rev. Al Sharpton, a civil rights activist and Trump critic who has known the president for decades.

Trump has been silent on a number of high-profile police-involved killings. He never addressed the 2014 death of Eric Garner, who was placed in a chokehold by police trying to arrest him for selling loose cigarettes. Video of the encounter was viewed millions of times online, and Garner’s dying words, “I can’t breathe,” became a rallying cry for the Black Lives Matter movement. Trump has, however, invoked those words on several occasions to mock political rivals, even bringing his hands to his neck for dramatic effect.

And he has even appeared to advocate for the rougher treatment of people in police custody, speaking dismissively of the police practice of shielding the heads of handcuffed suspects as they are being placed in patrol cars.

But Trump and his allies have taken a different approach in response to Floyd, who can be heard and seen on tape pleading that he couldn’t breathe before he slowly stops talking and moving.

Even conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, who once called Black Lives Matter a “terrorist group,” said Floyd’s death was totally “unjustified” and he was “so mad.”

The outpouring comes as the Trump campaign has sought to chip into the longstanding advantage Democrats have with black voters.
___

Associated Press writer Kat Stafford in Detroit contributed to this report.
Protesters Torch Minneapolis Police Station in Violent Night
By TIM SULLIVAN and AMY FORLITI

A protester carries a U.S. flag upside, a sign of distress, next to a burning building Thursday, May 28, 2020, in Minneapolis. Protests over the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody Monday, broke out in Minneapolis for a third straight night. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Thick smoke hovered over Minneapolis on Friday, hours after cheering protesters torched a police station that officers abandoned as a third night of violent protests flared over the death of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man who pleaded for air as a white police officer knelt on his neck.

Police evacuated the 3rd Precinct station, the focus of many of the protests, late Thursday to protect employees, a spokesman said. Livestream video showed protesters entering the building, where intentionally set fires activated smoke alarms and sprinklers. President Donald Trump threatened action, prompting a warning from Twitter for “glorifying violence.”

Dozens of fires were also set in nearby St. Paul, where nearly 200 businesses were damaged or looted. Protests spread across the U.S., fueled by outrage over Floyd’s death, and years of violence against African Americans at the hands of police. Demonstrators clashed with officers in New York and blocked traffic in Columbus, Ohio, and Denver.

Trump threatened to bring Minneapolis “under control,” calling the protesters “thugs” and tweeting that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.” The tweet drew another warning from Twitter, which said the comment violated the platform’s rules, but the company did not remove it.

Trump also blasted the “total lack of leadership” in Minneapolis.

A visibly tired and frustrated Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey made his first public appearance of the night early Friday at City Hall and took responsibility for evacuating the precinct, saying it had become too dangerous for officers. As Frey continued, a reporter cut across loudly with a question: “What’s the plan here?”

“With regard to?” Frey responded. Then he added: “There is a lot of pain and anger right now in our city. I understand that ... What we have seen over the past several hours and past couple of nights here in terms of looting is unacceptable.”

He defended the city’s lack of engagement with looters — only a handful of arrests across the first two nights of violence — and said, “We are doing absolutely everything that we can to keep the peace.” He said National Guard members were stationed in locations to help stem looting, including at banks, grocery stores and pharmacies.

The Minnesota State Patrol arrested a CNN television crew early Friday as the journalists reported on the unrest. While live on air, CNN reporter Omar Jimenez was handcuffed and led away. A producer and a photojournalist for CNN were also taken away in handcuffs.

The Minnesota State Patrol said the journalists were among four people arrested as troopers were “clearing the streets and restoring order,” and they were released after being confirmed to be media members. CNN said on Twitter that the arrests were “a clear violation of their First Amendment rights.”

Firefighters worked Friday to contain a number of blazes as National Guard troops blocked access to streets where businesses had been damaged. They marched side by side and block by block as they expanded a perimeter around a heavily damaged area.

Protests first erupted Tuesday, a day after Floyd’s death in a confrontation with police captured on widely seen citizen video. In the footage, Floyd can be seen pleading as officer Derek Chauvin presses his knee against him. As minutes pass, Floyd slowly stops talking and moving.

Gov. Tim Walz activated the National Guard at the Minneapolis mayor’s request. The Guard tweeted minutes after the precinct burned that it had activated more than 500 soldiers across the metro area. A couple dozen Guard members, armed with assault-style rifles, blocked a street Friday morning near a Target store that has sustained heavy damage by looters.

The Guard said a “key objective” was to make sure firefighters could respond to calls, and said in a follow-up tweet that soldiers would assist the Minneapolis Fire Department. But no move was made to put out the 3rd Precinct fire. Assistant Fire Chief Bryan Tyner said fire crews could not safely respond to blazes at the precinct station and some surrounding buildings.

Earlier Thursday, dozens of businesses across the Twin Cities boarded up their windows and doors in an effort to prevent looting, with Minneapolis-based Target announcing it was temporarily closing two dozen area stores. Minneapolis shut down nearly its entire light-rail system and all bus service through Sunday out of safety concerns.

By Thursday night, hundreds of demonstrators returned to the Minneapolis neighborhood at the center of the violence. Demonstrators carried clothing mannequins from a looted Target and threw them onto a burning car.

Elsewhere in Minneapolis, thousands of peaceful demonstrators marched through the streets calling for justice. Local leaders repeatedly urged demonstrators to avoid violence.

“Please stay home. Please do not come here to protest. Please keep the focus on George Floyd, on advancing our movement and on preventing this from ever happening again,” tweeted St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter, who is black.

Erika Atson, 20, was among thousands of people who gathered outside government offices in downtown Minneapolis, where organizers had called for a peaceful protest. Many protesters wore masks because of the coronavirus pandemic, but there were few attempts at social distancing.

Atson, who is black, described seeing her 14- and 11-year-old brothers tackled by Minneapolis police years ago because officers mistakenly presumed the boys had guns. She said she had been at “every single protest” since Floyd’s death and worried about raising children who could be vulnerable in police encounters.

“We don’t want to be here fighting against anyone. We don’t want anyone to be hurt. We don’t want to cause any damages,” she said. “We just want the police officer to be held accountable.”

The group marched peacefully for three hours before another confrontation with police broke out, though details were scarce.

After calling in the Guard on Thursday, Walz urged widespread changes in the wake of Floyd’s death.

“It is time to rebuild. Rebuild the city, rebuild our justice system and rebuild the relationship between law enforcement and those they’re charged to protect,” Walz said.

Among the casualties of the protests: a six-story building under construction that was to provide nearly 200 apartments of affordable housing.

“We’re burning our own neighborhood,” said a distraught Deona Brown, a 24-year-old woman standing with a friend outside the precinct station, where a small group of protesters were shouting at a dozen or so stone-faced police officers in riot gear. “This is where we live, where we shop, and they destroyed it.”

“What that cop did was wrong, but I’m scared now,” Brown said.

Others in the crowd saw something different in the wreckage.

Protesters destroyed property “because the system is broken,” said a young man who identified himself only by his nickname, Cash, and who said he had been in the streets during the violence. He dismissed the idea that the destruction would hurt residents of the largely black neighborhood.

“They’re making money off of us,” he said angrily of the owners of the destroyed stores. He laughed when asked if he had joined in the looting or violence. “I didn’t break anything.”

In New York City, protesters defied New York’s coronavirus prohibition on public gatherings Thursday, clashing with police, while demonstrators blocked traffic in downtown Denver and downtown Columbus. A day earlier, demonstrators had taken to the streets in Los Angeles and Memphis.

In Louisville, Kentucky, police confirmed that at least seven people had been shot Thursday night as protesters demanded justice for Breonna Taylor, a black woman who was fatally shot by police in her home in March.

Anger over the killing extended to Africa, where the head of the African Union Commission on Friday rejected “continuing discriminatory practices against black citizens of the USA.” In a series of tweets, Moussa Faki Mahamat urged the “total elimination” of all forms of racism in the U.S.

In Mississippi, the mayor of the community of Petal resisted calls to resign following his remarks about Floyd’s death. Hal Marx, a Republican, asked on Twitter: “Why in the world would anyone choose to become a police officer in our society today?” In a follow-up tweet, he said he “didn’t see anything unreasonable.”

The city on Thursday released a transcript of the 911 call that brought police to the grocery store where Floyd was arrested. The caller described someone paying with a counterfeit bill, with workers rushing outside to find the man sitting on a van. The caller described the man as “awfully drunk” and said he was “not in control of himself.”

Asked by the 911 operator whether the man was “under the influence of something,” the caller said: “Something like that, yes. He is not acting right.” Police said Floyd matched the caller’s description of the suspect.

State and federal authorities are investigating Floyd’s death.

Chauvin, the officer who knelt on Floyd’s neck, was fired Tuesday, along with three other officers involved in the arrest.
___

Associated Press writers Steve Karnowski, Jeff Baenen and Doug Glass in Minneapolis, Gretchen Ehlke in Milwaukee, and Aaron Morrison in New York contributed to this report.
Analysis: Trump Fuels New Tensions in Moment of Crisis
By JULIE PACE

WASHINGTON (AP) — Over 48 hours in America, the official death toll from the coronavirus pandemic topped 100,000, the number of people who filed for unemployment during the crisis soared past 40 million, and the streets of a major city erupted in flames after a handcuffed black man was killed by a white police officer.

It’s the kind of frenetic, fractured moment when national leaders are looked to for solutions and solace. President Donald Trump instead threw a rhetorical match into the tinderbox. “When the looting starts, the shooting starts,” he declared ominously in a late-night tweet.

Trump’s words were so jarring that Twitter attached a warning to his post — as well as to an identical message from an official White House account — saying that the president of the United States was “glorifying violence.” It’s the first time the social media giant has taken such a step with any world leader, prompting new claims of bias from Trump and some of his conservative allies.

The episode encapsulated Trump’s approach to the presidency and to this time of national crisis, which has upended nearly every aspect of American life and put his November reelection prospects at risk. He’s latched on to personal grievances and cast himself as a victim, while making only occasional references to the staggering loss of life across the country. He’s willingly stoked partisan divisions over public health, and now racial divisions in the face of a death, rather than seeking opportunities to pull the nation together.

To Trump’s detractors, none of that should come as a surprise at this late stage in his term, which has been defined by such responses at volatile moments.

“I had hoped that at least for this one time, some of the president’s advisers would get to him and try to convince him to be consoler-in-chief,” said Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, a Democrat from Missouri. “President Trump was not built for times like this.”

Many Republicans were silent about the president’s remarks. Several contacted by The Associated Press either did not respond to questions about whether Trump was appropriately meeting this moment of cascading national crises or would not speak about the matter on the record. Trump’s campaign issued a statement accusing Democrats and the media of twisting Trump’s words and trying to “make money”— an assertion the campaign did not explain.

The death of George Floyd, a black Minnesota man who died after a white police officer knelt on his neck for several minutes, added a new element of anxiety to an already nervous nation. Millions of Americans have been largely confined to their homes for weeks as the COVID-19 virus swept through the country and 100,000 people have died, according to official estimates which are believed to be lower than the real toll. The economy has cratered as a result and is unlikely to recover quickly even as some of the most restrictive stay-at-home orders start to ease.

Trump has frequently sided with law enforcement during officer-involved deaths. But he struck a different tone in his initial reaction to Floyd’s death, calling the video a “very shocking sight.” The Department of Justice called the investigation into his death a top priority.

As protests in Minneapolis escalated, Trump shifted toward his more typical posture, describing those taking to the streets as “THUGS” in the tweet that was flagged by the company. His warning in the same message about shooting echoed a phrase used by a Miami police chief in the 1960s during aggressive crackdowns on unrest in black neighborhoods.

Trump “crashed with this statement in showing who he really is,” said Rev. Al Sharpton, founder of the National Action Network. “This is dangerous, this is ugly, this is provocative.”

The president tried to explain away the comments on Friday, saying in a new tweet that he was stating “a fact” that people can be shot when looting happens. During a later appearance at the White House, he said he understood the hurt and pain but the situation in Minneapolis should not “descend further into lawless anarchy and chaos.”

At a moment when many Americans are looking to their leaders, Joe Biden, Trump’s Democratic challenger in the November election, tried to step into the breach. In remarks from his Delaware home, where he has remained throughout the pandemic, Biden offered condolences to Floyd’s family and said it was no time to encourage violence in America.

“We need real leadership right now, leadership that will bring everyone to the table so we can take measures to root out systemic racism,” Biden said.

One week ago, Biden was the one facing criticism for comments he made about race after he said in a radio interview that African Americans who don’t support him over Trump “ain’t black.” Biden, who surged to the Democratic nomination on overwhelming support of black voters, quickly walked back that remark.

Trump’s campaign, which has been making targeted appeals to black voters, seized on Biden’s remarks. But the attention, as it so often does, shifted quickly back to the president.

Democrats are eager to keep it there, urging Americans to envision four more years of Trump’s responses to racially charged episodes, as well as the health and economic crises roiling the country.

“The nation is on fire, and the president of the United States is standing there with gasoline,” said Rep. Val Demings of Florida, a contender to become Biden’s running mate.
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AP writers Aamer Madhani and Andrew Taylor contributed to this report.
Minneapolis Protest Misinformation Stokes Racial Tensions
By AMANDA SEITZ

Police take control of the area near the Super Target against protesters Thursday, May 28, 2020, in St. Paul, Minn. Protests over the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody, broke out in Minneapolis for a third straight night. (Richard Tsong-Taatarii/Star Tribune via AP)

CHICAGO (AP) — The false social media posts started just hours after protesters first began chanting and carrying banners around the Minneapolis neighborhood where George Floyd, an African American man, died handcuffed in police custody.

“The cop who killed George Floyd,” Facebook and Twitter users claimed, wrongly identifying a man pictured laughing alongside President Donald Trump at a rally as former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin.

More fake videos and photos followed as the demonstrations turned violent the next day. Some speculated, without evidence, that Floyd’s death was staged or that protesters had been paid to stir up trouble, in tweets collectively shared thousands of times. Others said a video showed a protester driving a car through a shopping complex in Minneapolis, when in fact the footage was taken during an incident at an Illinois mall last year.

Since a video of an officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck first surfaced, internet troublemakers and even celebrities have posted misleading or unsubstantiated claims around his death and the ensuing protests. The social media inaccuracies have created confusion around the unfolding news, tearing at the already loosely woven seams of America’s racial tapestry.

“A good deal of this, if not all of this, is intentionally trying to stoke the racial flame that has been ablaze in the United States almost since slavery started 400-plus years ago,” said Lanier Holt, a communications professor at Ohio State University who studied in Minneapolis.

While the falsehoods may have been unwittingly amplified by some, they have likely been planted by those preying on existing racial tensions, Holt said.

“They put out that false information to get that narrative in the minds of people who already have these ... pre-existing biases,” he said.

The online misinformation so far appears to have fallen along those racial divides.

The day after Floyd died, Twitter and Facebook users shared a photo of a man wearing a “Make America White Again” red cap, claiming it was Chauvin, who was charged Friday with third-degree murder and manslaughter in Floyd’s death.

A version of the image was actually first posted online by a pro-Trump internet trickster who has previously duped media outlets into writing fictitious stories. Jonathan Riches confirmed to The Associated Press through messages that he was the man in the photo.

Twitter later labeled rapper and actor Ice Cube’s tweet with the photo as “manipulated media.”

After protests on Thursday night, the St. Paul Police Department denied rumors trending online that one of its police officers was responsible for breaking windows of an AutoZone store in neighboring Minneapolis.

“We know with precision where that officer has been and who that officer has been with,” St. Paul Police spokesman Steve Linders said. “He was at work, and not at the location.”

Meanwhile, others have posted old or out-of-context photos online and falsely suggested it showed the damage caused by Minnesota protesters.

Hundreds of thousands viewed a short video clip circulating online that purported to show a car driving through the Mall of America, the massive shopping complex that sits in a Minneapolis suburb.

“RIP to Mall of America,” one Twitter user wrote.

Fact checkers debunked the video, but as of Friday afternoon, people on Facebook and Twitter continued to say that the mall had been looted by protesters.

Facebook declined to comment Friday on misinformation on their platform around Floyd’s death or the protests.

Divisive misinformation around Floyd’s death and the resulting protests thrives online because social media users choose who they do —

“We thought social media was going to be this great equalizer,” Holt said. “People find networks of people who are just like them. If they don’t actually have literal black friends, this reinforces all the stereotypes that were fed to them.”
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Associated Press writers David Klepper in Rhode Island, Ali Swenson in Phoenix and Beatrice Dupuy in New York contributed to this story.
Minnesota Governor Apologizes for Arrest of CNN Crew
By DAVID BAUDER

Police move through an area during demonstrations Thursday, May 28, 2020, in St. Paul, Minn. Protests over the death of George Floyd, the black man who died in police custody broke out in Minneapolis for a third straight night. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

NEW YORK (AP) — Following the arrest of a CNN crew on live television by police on Friday, an apologetic Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz promised that journalists would not be interfered with in reporting on violent protests following the death of George Floyd.

CNN correspondent Omar Jimenez and two colleagues were released within an hour after network chief executive Jeff Zucker called Walz to demand answers about why they were led away and held in a police van.

“We have got to ensure that there is a safe spot for journalism to tell this story,” Walz said.

Jimenez and colleagues Bill Kirkos and Leonel Mendez were doing a live shot for CNN’s “New Day” shortly after 5 a.m. Central Time, describing a night of fire and anger in the wake of Floyd’s death after a Minneapolis police office knelt on his neck. Fired officer Derek Chauvin was charged with murder in that case later Friday.

When first approached by officers, Jimenez, who is black, told them, “put us back where you want us. We are getting out of your way.”

After being told he was being arrested and his hands were tied behind his back, Jimenez asked why he was being arrested. He did not get an answer.

The Minnesota State Patrol said on Twitter that the journalists were among four people arrested as troopers were “clearing the streets and restoring order” following the protests. The patrol said the CNN journalists “were released once they were confirmed to be members of the media.”

It’s not clear why they were confused: Jimenez was holding what appeared to be a laminated ID card before his hands were secured, and his fellow crew members told police that they were from CNN and showing the scene live on the air.

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” CNN “New Day” co-anchor John Berman said.

After being released, Jimenez said that he was glad that his arrest was shown on the air.

“You don’t have to doubt my story,” he said. “It’s not filtered in any way. You saw it for your own eyes. That gave me a little bit of comfort. But it was definitely nerve-wracking.”

At a later news conference, Walz said that “I take full responsibility. There is absolutely no reason something like that should happen ... This is a very public apology to that team.”

The arrest drew widespread condemnation across the news industry. CNN competitors MSNBC, CBS News and Fox News all issued statements in support of Jimenez, along with the Society of Professional Journalists and the National Association of Black Journalists.

CNN accepted Walz’s apology, saying the network appreciated the sincerity of his words.

Walz’s words in support of journalists have impact at a time when the news media is often under attack, said Jane E. Kirtley, Silha Professor of Media Ethics and Law and director of the Silha Center at the University of Minnesota.

“It’s really important for the governor to make that kind of statement to emphasize to everyone, especially law enforcement, that the press has an important job to do ... and they need to be respected,” said Kirtley, who lives blocks away from the protests and could still smell smoke from the fires on Friday.

Later Friday, the network was again thrust into the story when hundreds of protesters confronted police outside CNN’s downtown Atlanta headquarters. Activists spray-painted a large CNN logo outside the building, breaking a window and tagging doors. One protester climbed on top of the CNN sign and waved a “Black Lives Matter” flag to cheers from the crowd.

As anchor Chris Cuomo opened his prime-time show, he told viewers the network’s headquarters had been “swarmed and defaced.” Footage of the damage outside was mixed with scenes from other protests around the country.

Correspondent Nick Valencia reported from inside the building as protesters hurled objects at the building and police.

“This is our home, Chris, you know, this is where we come to work every day, journalists who are trying to tell the truth, trying to deliver information. ... And these demonstrators have decided to come here today to take our their frustration and anger it seems not just on police but on our CNN center as well,” Valencia said.

Meanwhile, there were signs Friday that cable news networks, who were spending much of their time covering the story, have become sensitive to the impact of showing witness video of Floyd’s treatment by police.

News anchors on all three networks usually warned viewers of its graphic nature before showing the video.

“I must warn you that this is difficult to watch,” said CNN’s Brianna Keilar, “but it is important to remember.”
___

Associated Press writers Gretchen Ehlke in Milwaukee and Aaron Morrison in New York and Television Writer Lynn Elber in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Unrest Continues in Response to Racist Killings in the United States
Two consecutive days of unrest in Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Memphis and other cities demand an end to racist police and mob killings of African Americans

By Abayomi Azikiwe
Editor, Pan-African News Wire
Thursday May 28, 2020
Commentary

For two straight days and nights demonstrations have taken place on the Southside of Minneapolis in response to the brutal police killing of African American George Floyd.

Floyd was choked to death by a Minneapolis officer with an extensive record of misconduct complaints.
Corporate media reports have initially claimed that no disciplinary action was taken against the policeman who ignored pleas by Floyd saying he could not breathe and that he was dying.

Riot police in Minneapolis responded to the second night of mass protests with teargas, rubber bullets and armored vehicles. People were shown over videotape being chased and rundown by MPD cars.

Several buildings and cars were torched along Lake Street in response to the brutality used by law-enforcement. Police were pelted with missiles by angry demonstrators demanding that the four officers, who have been terminated by the MPD and the City of Minneapolis, be immediately arrested and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. The Third Precinct police station where the demonstration began on May 27 was later damaged with bricks and metal objects breaking several windows. Attacks were carried out at various businesses including Target, Cub Foods, Dollar Tree and an auto parts store.

One person was found dead on the street near a pawn shop. The death may have been at the hands of the owner of the business. Several merchants are guarding their buildings with firearms to prevent property damage and the loss of consumer goods.
One merchant reported that four cars were taken from his repair garage and one was rammed into a TCF bank at another location. Mayor Jacob Frey, who called for the arrest and charging of the terminated officers, has also requested the assistance of the Minnesota National Guard to assist in quelling the disturbances. The Mayor said in a press conference on May 28 that Governor Tim Walz had not yet given a specific response to the appeal for National Guard troops to be deployed in Minneapolis. Walz tweeted a message urging calm and warning against the dangerous situation prevailing in Minneapolis.
A description of events during the late hours of May 27 and early May 28 were chronicled by the Associated Press saying: “Fire crews responded to about 30 intentionally set blazes during the protests, including at least 16 structure fires, and multiple fire trucks were damaged by rocks and other projectiles, the fire department said. No one was hurt by the blazes. Firefighters were still spraying water onto hot buildings Thursday morning (May 28), and some buildings still smoldered, sending a bitter smell into the smoke-filled air. Windows were smashed out of several businesses in a strip mall, including a department store, a charter school and other businesses, and the destruction was visible for blocks. A Wendy’s restaurant was damaged beyond recognition.” (https://apnews.com/7013997bc5633f3113d65901ddb7e85e)

U.S. President Donald Trump said he is urging the Justice Department to conduct an investigation into the killing of Floyd. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) says it will carry out a “robust” examination of the case to determine whether Floyd’s civil rights were violated.

However, the Trump administration in its initial days revoked all federal consent decrees designed to monitor violations by local law-enforcement agencies in various cities across the country. Such executive actions signal to the police that they will not be subjected to legal scrutiny related to complaints of police misconduct.

Demonstrators Spread to Los Angeles and Memphis

Demonstrations erupted in other cities including Los Angeles and Memphis. Crowds gathered in both cities to speak out against police violence directed against African Americans.

In downtown Los Angeles on May 27 around 4:00pm, hundreds of demonstrators protested outside the Hall of Justice to bring attention to the police killings of Floyd and many more African Americans around the U.S. including in California. Later many of the activists entered the Hollywood 101 Freeway blocking traffic. Reports indicated that windows in two California Highway Patrol (CHP) vehicles were smashed. One person sitting on a police carrier was injured when the officer driving the car sped off landing the demonstrator on the road. The injured protestor was carried to an area hospital for medical treatment.
Dr. Melina Abdullah, a co-founder of Black Lives Matter in Los Angeles, said in response to questions about why the demonstration was being organized, noted: “We’re calling for officers who kill people to go to prison and because Jackie Lacey, the district attorney, won’t do that, she needs to be voted out.” (https://laist.com/latest/post/20200527/los-angeles-protest)

Many motorists passing the demonstration honked their horns in solidarity. The protestors chanted: "When We Fight, We Win" and "Jackie Lacey Must Go."

Demonstrators later moved to the Los Angeles Metropolitan Detention Center where a rally was held. Inmates inside the facilities were heard chanting and banging on walls in solidarity with the protesters.

Speakers at the rally at the LAMDC included actor Kendrick Sampson and the mother of police killing victim Kenneth Ross Junior, 25, who died at the hands of the Gardena police in 2018. One activist Tanissia Sprull said of the action: “We’re protesting the police and we’re surrounded by police and they’re here to intimidate us so we won’t do this. We’re people, too, and there’s nothing wrong with being black and there’s nothing wrong with seeking justice for these families.”

In Memphis, an hours-long demonstration was held beginning outside a Midtown police station on Union Avenue. Police were summoned to the scene of the activity wearing riot gear, accompanied by K-9 units and deploying pepper spray. It was reported that two people were either detained briefly or arrested.

Outside the police station on Union Avenue, two counter-protesters from a group called “Confederate 901” supported the law-enforcement officers and taunted anti-racist activists rallying in opposition to brutality and unjustifiable homicides carried out around the U.S. One well-known Memphis activist and former City Council candidate, Theryn Bond, said despite health challenges she thought it was important to be physically present for the demonstration.
Bond told the media in relationship to the present situation in the U.S. and the role of the two pro-police counter-demonstrators that: "I came out here to be supportive, because this is bigger than one person. This is about more than a list of hashtags that shouldn't even exist. What are we taught in science class? For every action, there's a reaction.” (https://www.commercialappeal.com/story/news/local/2020/05/27/george-floyd-demonstration-memphis-shuts-down-union-avenue/5269833002/)
The demonstration in Memphis ended around 1:00am on May 28. Other marches, rallies and acts of civil disobedience are planned around the U.S. in the coming days.

Immediate Prospects for the Building of an Effective Anti-Racist Movement

These demonstrations in response to the police and vigilante killings of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, Breonna Taylor in Louisville and George Floyd in Minneapolis, are a clear reflection of the social crisis existing at present in the U.S. The COVID-19 pandemic has created an economic downturn not experienced since the Great Depression. Since mid-March at least 41 million workers have lost their jobs facing uncertainty related to manufacturing, agriculture, healthcare, housing, education and public transportation.

The general atmosphere created during the pandemic and before by the Trump administration and its allies have brought about great consternation and despair. Law-enforcement agencies and racists elements in the U.S. feel emboldened to lash out in a deadly fashion against African Americans and other oppressed groups.

In Washtenaw County Michigan, anger has surfaced resulting from the assault by a deputy sheriff against an African American woman in Ypsilanti Township, some 35 miles outside of Detroit. For three days demonstrations have been held demanding justice for the victim of the beating name Sha’Teina Grady El. The woman was arrested and later transferred to Taylor, Michigan, where authorities say she was wanted on an outstanding warrant.
On May 27, over 100 people gathered at the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s offices in Pittsfield Township. Additional demonstrations related to the incident are being planned.

These demonstrations against racism will undoubtedly take on other related issues which are socioeconomic in character. The development of a broad movement against racism and economic deprivation caused by the contemporary capitalist meltdown portends much for the prospects for transforming the U.S. into a just and egalitarian society. 
National Guard Called to Respond to Minneapolis Rebellion
By TIM SULLIVAN and AMY FORLITI

Protesters face off with police at the Minneapolis Police Third Precinctt, Thursday, May 28, 2020, after a night of rioting as protests continue over the arrest of George Floyd who died in police custody Monday night in Minneapolis after video shared online by a bystander showed a white officer kneeling on his neck during his arrest as he pleaded that he couldn't breathe. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz called in the National Guard on Thursday as looting broke out in St. Paul and a wounded Minneapolis braced for more violence after rioting over the death of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man in police custody, reduced parts of one neighborhood to a smoking shambles.

The Minneapolis unrest ravaged several blocks in the Longfellow neighborhood, with scattered rioting reaching for miles across the city. It was the second consecutive night of violent protests following Floyd’s death Monday. In footage recorded by a bystander, Floyd can be seen pleading that he can’t breath as an officer kneels on his neck. As minutes pass, he slowly stops talking and moving.

Businesses across the Twin Cities were boarding up their windows and doors Thursday in an effort to prevent looting. The city shut down nearly its entire light-rail system and all bus service through Sunday out of safety concerns.

Around midday Thursday, the violence spread a few miles away to St. Paul’s Midway neighborhood, where police said 50 to 60 people rushed a Target attempting to loot it. Police and state patrol squad cars later blocked the entrance, but the looting shifted to shops along nearby University Avenue, one of St. Paul’s main commercial corridors, and other spots in the city. By early evening, the windows of more than a dozen stores were smashed, and firefighters were putting out a handful of small blazes.

St. Paul spokesman Steve Linders said authorities were dealing with unrest in roughly 20 different areas.

“Please stay home. Please do not come here to protest. Please keep the focus on George Floyd, on advancing our movement and on preventing this from ever happening again,” tweeted St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter, who is black.

Erika Atson, 20, was among several hundred people who gathered outside government offices in downtown Minneapolis, where organizers called for peaceful protest.

Atson, who is black, described seeing her 14- and 11-year-old brothers tackled by Minneapolis police years ago because officers mistakenly presumed the boys had guns. She said she had been at “every single protest” since Floyd’s death and worried about raising children who could be vulnerable in police encounters.

“We don’t want to be here fighting against anyone. We don’t want anyone to be hurt. We don’t want to cause any damages,” she said. “We just want the police officer to be held accountable.”

Hennepin County Sheriff David Hutchinson said the rally had been peaceful and there had been no arrests by late evening.

The governor’s order did not say how many Guard members were mobilized or whether they would be in service Thursday night. After calling in the Guard, Walz urged widespread changes in the wake of Floyd’s death.

“It is time to rebuild. Rebuild the city, rebuild our justice system and rebuild the relationship between law enforcement and those they’re charged to protect,” Walz said.

Thursday morning in Minneapolis, smoke rose from smoldering buildings in the Longfellow neighborhood. In a strip mall across the street from the police’s 3rd Precinct station, the focus of the protests on both nights, the windows in nearly every business had been smashed, from the large Target department store at one end to the Planet Fitness gym at the other. Only the 24-hour laundromat appeared to have escaped unscathed.

“WHY US?” demanded a large expanse of red graffiti scrawled on the wall of the Target. A Wendy’s restaurant across the street was charred almost beyond recognition.

Among the casualties of the overnight fires: a six-story building under construction that was to provide nearly 200 apartments of affordable housing.

“We’re burning our own neighborhood,” said a distraught Deona Brown, a 24-year-old woman standing with a friend outside the precinct station, where a small group of protesters were shouting at a dozen or so stone-faced police officers in riot gear. “This is where we live, where we shop, and they destroyed it.” No officers could be seen beyond the station.

“What that cop did was wrong, but I’m scared now,” Brown said.

Others in the crowd saw something different in the wreckage.

Protesters destroyed property “because the system is broken,” said a young man who identified himself only by his nickname, Cash, and who said he had been in the streets during the violence. He dismissed the idea that the destruction would hurt residents of the largely black neighborhood.

“They’re making money off of us,” he said angrily of the owners of the destroyed stores. He laughed when asked if he had joined in the looting or violence. “I didn’t break anything.”

The protests that began Wednesday night and extended into Thursday were more violent than Tuesday’s, which included skirmishes between offices and protesters but no widespread property damage.

Mayor Jacob Frey appealed for calm but the city’s response to the protests was quickly questioned as things started spiraling into violence. “If the strategy was to keep residents safe — it failed,” City Council Member Jeremiah Ellison, who is black, tweeted. “Prevent property damage — it failed.” On Thursday, he urged police to leave the scene of the overnight violence, saying their presence brings people into the streets.

But Eric Kowalczyk, a police captain in Baltimore during the Freddie Gray riots in 2015, generally supported the Minneapolis police strategy to avoid confrontations with protesters when possible, saying heavy-handed police responses are only met with more violence.

“Nobody wants to see their city on fire, but at the same time, you don’t want to see citizens injured by the very police department they are protesting,” he said.

Protests also spread to other U.S. cities. In California, hundreds of people protesting Floyd’s death blocked a Los Angeles freeway and shattered windows of California Highway Patrol cruisers. Memphis police blocked a main thoroughfare after a racially mixed group of protesters gathered outside a police station.

Amid the violence in Minneapolis, a man was found fatally shot Wednesday night near a pawn shop, possibly by the owner, authorities said.

Fire crews responded to about 30 intentionally set blazes, and multiple fire trucks were damaged by rocks and other projectiles, the fire department said. No one was hurt by the blazes.

The city on Thursday released a transcript of the 911 call that brought police to the grocery store where Floyd was arrested. The caller described someone paying with a counterfeit bill, with workers rushing outside to find the man sitting on a van. The caller described the man as “awfully drunk and he’s not in control of himself.” Asked by the 911 operator whether the man was “under the influence of something,” the caller said: “Something like that, yes. He is not acting right.” Police said Floyd matched the caller’s description of the suspect.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI in Minneapolis said Thursday they were conducting “a robust criminal investigation” into the death. President Donald Trump has said he had asked an investigation to be expedited.

The FBI is also investigating whether Floyd’s civil rights were violated.

The officer who kneeled on Floyd and three others were fired Tuesday. The next day, the mayor called for the kneeling officer to be criminally charged. He also appealed for activation of the National Guard.
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Associated Press writers Steve Karnowski and Jeff Baenen in Minneapolis, and Gretchen Ehlke in Milwaukee, contributed to this report.