NYC Has Fewer Arrests; Trump Denies Order: Protest Update

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Large-scale protests continued across the U.S. Tuesday night, but it was a calmer evening than in recent days. While some curfews were defied, demonstrators were largely peaceful. New York City reported fewer arrests.

Still, President Donald Trump on Wednesday urged police to “get tough” and warned the National Guard “is ready,” appearing to double down on his support for the use of greater force to quell protests. He also said he didn’t order authorities to clear protesters from a park next to the White House to make way for a photo op in front of a church.

From New York to Los Angeles, people again massed to speak out against the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died after a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes. The incident has renewed concerns about police use of force that helped spark the Black Lives Matter movement.

Key Developments:

  • U.K. prime minister says George Floyd’s death was “inexcusable”
  • U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham to hold hearing on Floyd’s death
  • Religious leaders condemn use of police force for Trump photo op
  • Joe Biden must figure out how to excite young black voters
  • What the Law Says About Deploying Troops on U.S. Soil:QuickTake

Here’s the latest. All times are New York-based:

NYC Protests Mostly ‘Peaceful,’ Mayor Says (10:44 a.m.)

New York City “took a step forward” last night in dealing with the protests, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

Protests were “overwhelmingly peaceful,” and police showed “a lot of restraint,” the mayor said. The curfew will continue until early Monday, when the city is set to begin restarting. The city needs to return to focusing on recovery from the outbreak and reopening the economy, the mayor said.

Pentagon Chief Opposes Using Federal Troops (10:24 a.m.)

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said he doesn’t support the deployment of active-duty forces to confront protesters in U.S. cities, saying the National Guard is best suited for that job.

Addressing reporters at the Pentagon, Esper said he knew that he would be joining President Donald Trump to walk into Lafayette Park in front of the White House on Monday, but was not aware of specific plans at the church.

“I did know we were going to the church. I did not know a photo op was happening,” Esper said.

Trump Denies Ordering Protesters Cleared (10:02 a.m.)

Trump said he didn’t order authorities to clear protesters from a park next to the White House to make way for his photo in front of a burned church late Monday.

Trump and the U.S. Park Police have been criticized for using munitions including smoke cannisters and pepper balls to clear peaceful demonstrators so the president could stand in front of the damaged St. John’s Episcopal Church with a Bible in hand.

“I didn’t say, oh, move them out,” Trump said Wednesday morning in a radio interview with Fox News host Brian Kilmeade.

“They didn’t use tear gas. They moved them out,” Trump added. People on the scene at the time, including journalists and a priest at the church who was forcibly removed, havedescribed the riot-control agents the police used as tear gas.

NYPD Arrests Decline with Earlier Curfew (10:00 a.m.)

New York City police arrested about 280 people Tuesday night, down from more than 400 the night before, according to the department.

The city is under an 8 p.m. curfew through Sunday.

Three NYPD vehicles were vandalized and 15 members of the department suffered non-life threatening injuries, according to the public information office.

In Brooklyn, an armed man who shot another male and refused to drop his gun died after he was shot by police, according to the department.

Biden’s Puzzle Is How to Excite Black Voters (9:41 a.m.)

Joe Biden’s political resurrection in the race for the Democratic nomination was due largely to overwhelming support from black voters. Yet racial tensions laid bare by nationwide protests have revealed a problem for Biden in the November election — he doesn’t excite younger black voters who want change, not just a sympathetic ear.

Biden’s African-American supporters have been urging him to offer concrete solutions to the trifecta of crises hitting black voters in 2020 — they are disproportionately harmed by the coronavirus, the recession and the police brutality that drew them into the streets. And they say not being Donald Trump isn’t enough.

Read more here:

BofA CEO Says Anger Won’t Quiet Down (9:35 a.m.)

Bank of America Corp. Chief Executive Officer Brian Moynihan said the anger customers and employees are feeling over the killing of George Floyd and others won’t abate, and an urgent response is needed.

“Things aren’t going to quiet down,” Moynihan said in a CNBC interview Wednesday. “We should not let it quiet down as a community. We have to redouble our efforts to make progress” on economic and social issues, he said.

The company, America’s second-biggest bank, on Tuesday pledged $1 billion over four years to try to address racial and economic inequality. It said employees had expressed concern about Floyd’s death and similar incidents elsewhere in the U.S., including Charlotte, North Carolina, where Bank of America is based.

Warner Music Plans $100 Million for Social Justice (8:30 a.m.)

Warner Music Group Inc. and the family foundation of its controlling holder, billionaire Len Blavatnik, pledged to create a $100 million fund to support social-justice causes and the music industry.

The pledge is among the largest in a series of such commitments in response to widespread outrage and protests following Floyd’s death. Most corporate donations have been smaller, as with a $10 million pledge by Facebook Inc. and $1 million promised by Intel Corp.

Denver Police Fire Officer for ‘Riot’ Tweet (8:15 a.m.)

The Denver Police Department fired an officer for violating the agency’s social media policy, the department said on its Twitter account.

Officer Thomas McClay posted a photo on Instagram of three officers posing in riot gear with the caption “Let’s start a riot.” The department said post was “inconsistent” with its values.

In a show of unity, Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen walked arm-in-arm with marchers in a peaceful protest earlier this week.

Boris Johnson Says Floyd Death ‘Appalling’ (8:00 a.m.)

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the death of George Floyd “appalling” and “inexcusable” and said that while protests are legitimate, they should remain peaceful and lawful.

His comments to Parliament came as opposition Labour leader Keir Starmer urged Johnson to raise the issue with Trump. Johnson said he understood the anger in the U.S. and globally, but he declined to criticize Trump’s leadership in the aftermath of Floyd’s death.

Trump Urges Police to ‘Get Tough’ as Cities Calm (7:09 a.m.)

Trumpretweeted a post from Milwaukee police indicating protesters had thrown Molotov cocktails at its officers, urging law enforcement to take a firm line.

He alsoretweeted a post that appeared to show vandalism in midtown Manhattan, reiterating his readiness to deploy the National Guard.

The comments indicate a president committed to his tough response to the unrest, even as he faces adwindling set of options following a backlash over the government’s violent dispersal of peaceful protests outside the White House on Monday.

Pope Francis Says ‘We Cannot Tolerate Racism’ (4:40 a.m.)

“I have witnessed with great concern the disturbing social unrest in your nation in these past days, following the tragic death of Mr. George Floyd,” Pope Francis told U.S. Catholics in his weekly greeting to the English-speaking community. “We cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form and yet claim to defend the sacredness of every human life,” he added in comments posted by the Vatican on its website.

U.S. Embassy in Kenya Corrects Arrests Claim (3:18 a.m.)

The U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, corrected claims it had made that the “officers involved” with Floyd’s death “have been arrested”. Just one has been.

Floyd’s death hassparked outrage across sub-Saharan Africa, with protests staged in Kenya and Nigeria, and political leaders voicing angry criticism. In response, several U.S. embassies and officials on the continent issued statements openly critical of the circumstances surrounding Floyd’s death.

Protesters Clash With Police in Paris (3:02 a.m.)

Demonstrators in Paris were ordered to disperse last night after sporadic outbreaks of violence, according to police in the French capital.

Around 20,000 people gathered in the north east of the city and police reported incidents of missiles being thrown, fires being lit and tear gas deployed, according to Agence France-Presse.

The protest was organized by campaigners seeking justice for a 24-year-old black man who died in police custody in France in 2016. The risk for President Emmanuel Macron is that global anger over George Floyd’s death ignites racial tensions in France, especially in the immigrant neighborhoods around Paris that have been among the worst hit by Covid-19.

Nearly 10,000 Arrested in Floyd-Related Protests (2.25 a.m. NY)

At least 9,300 people have been arrested in connection with protests across the U.S. in the days following the death of George Floyd, according to anAssociated Press count.

Skirmish at Park Near the White House (1:27 a.m. NY)

Law enforcement deployed a pepper spray-style chemical and pepper bullets against protesters at Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C., theWashington Post reported. Videoshowed a TV camera operator being sprayed at a fence erected at the edge of the park just north of the White House.

Reporters on the scene said some protesters threw water bottles andshook the fence separating them from the security officials, while others were yelling at them to stop. Some protesters set off a firework, the Post said.

A tall chain-link fence had been erected around the park Tuesday, expanding a protective zone around the White House itself.

The crowds have since mostly dispersed.

Ferguson, Missouri, Elects First Black Mayor (12:46 a.m.)

The Missouri city at the epicenter of protests in 2014, sparked by the fatal shooting of a black teenager by a white police officer, elected its first-ever black mayor,the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Ella Jones is a city councilwoman in Ferguson, which saw a fresh round of protests in recent days similar to those that followed the death of Michael Brown nearly six years earlier. Now mayor-elect, she will also be the first woman to lead the St. Louis-area suburb.

Crowds Exit NYC Bridge as Protest Standoff Eases (11:40 p.m.)

Police allowed demonstrators to get off the Manhattan Bridge on the Brooklyn side of the East River, as a standoff there diffused largely without incident.

Meanwhile, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio visited a protest site in Brooklyn, where he said his city was calmer than it had been a day ago, crediting the decision to impose a curfew.

National Guard Probes Chopper Use in D.C. (11:25 p.m.)

The D.C National Guard will open an investigation into the use of low-flying military helicopters against protesters in the nation’s capital.

The highest echelons of the National Guard had ordered for the helicopter maneuvers,the New York Times reported citing a military official familiar with Monday’s episode. The helicopters were directed with an intent that had been provided by the secretary of the Army and the Army’s chief of staff in an extensive meeting earlier, the official told the Times.

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— With assistance by Stacie Sherman, Rosalind Mathieson, John J Edwards III, Vincent Del Giudice, Henry Goldman, Josh Wingrove, and Travis J Tritten

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