National updates: Police in Paris use tear gas to disperse crowds

The latest: The lawyer for the family of George Floyd said they will also file a civil lawsuit against the officer who had his knee on Floyd’s neck.Dallas officials have agreed to a 90-day ban on the use of tear gas and other less-lethal police crowd-control weapons against demonstrators.Ten members of a South Florida police department’s SWAT team have resigned from the team, citing safety concerns and local officials’ “disdain” for the unit. Officials in several cities and states are removing statues of Confederate figures and Christopher Columbus. Many statues have been vandalized and taken down during demonstrations seeking police reform and the elimination of symbols of racism and slavery.Boston’s mayor declared racism a public health crisis Friday, outlining a series of police reforms in response to the nationwide reckoning sparked by the police killing of a black man in Minneapolis. Police fired tear gas and blocked demonstrators from marching through Paris to protest police brutality and racial injustice.The tear gas began just as a group of extreme-right counter demonstrators were dislodged from the roof of a building overlooking the protest. Protesters set off firecrackers and shouted at police but were otherwise peaceful. Families and others trying to leave the protest struggled to get out because police had blocked off most exit routes. The remaining crowd took a knee. Police decided to bar the crowd from marching from the Place de la Republique in eastern Paris toward the city’s main opera house. A police official told The Associated Press the decision was made because of a nationwide ban on gatherings of more than 10 people to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.The counter demonstrators had earlier unfurled a banner about “anti-white racism” and lit flares in the blue-white-red colors of the French flag.Residents reached out their windows to tear down the banner. Activists later confronted the far-right activists on the roof, throwing their bags and ropes to the pavement below.George Floyd’s family intends to file a civil lawsuit against Derek Chauvin, lawyer saysBenjamin Crump, the lawyer for the family of George Floyd, told CNN they will also file a civil lawsuit against the officer who had his knee on Floyd’s neck.He said the family “intends on holding Derek Chauvin fully accountable in every aspect, criminal and civil.”Chauvin is currently facing second-degree murder charges, but CNN reported he could still receive more than $1 million in pension benefits during his retirement years even if convicted. While a number of state laws allow for the forfeiture of pensions for those employees convicted of felony crimes related to their work, this is not the case in Minnesota.Crump said the culture of police departments is what needs to change.”It wasn’t just the knee of Derek Chauvin that killed George Floyd in Minneapolis, it was the knee of the entire police department. Because when you have that kind of culture and behavior of a police department, it is foreseeable that something like this is going to happen,” he said.Crump said changing this culture starts with having transparency not only in how officers are trained, but also how they are fired.”We have to terminate people when they use these bad policies, despite what the police unions say, because if we don’t terminate them, it is absolutely predictable that you’ll have somebody do a choke hold or neck restraint for 8 minutes and 46 seconds because they know there’s no accountability,” he said.”There’s no discipline when they do this to black people in America,” Crump added.Minneapolis police officers pen open letter condemning former officer Derek ChauvinMembers of the Minneapolis Police Department spoke out on Friday out against former police officer Derek Chauvin in an open letter addressed to “everyone — but especially Minneapolis citizens.””Derek Chauvin failed as a human and stripped George Floyd of his dignity and life. This is not who we are,” said the letter, signed by fourteen MPD officers. “We’re not the union or the administration.””We stand ready to listen and embrace the calls for change, reform and rebuilding,” says the letter, which comes as powerful police unions across the country are digging in, preparing for a once-in-a-generation showdown over policing and new polls that indicate that most Americans now acknowledge that African Americans are more likely to be mistreated or even killed by police.”There were many more willing to sign, but the group opted to showcase people from across the PD as well as male/female, black/white, straight/gay, leader/frontline, etc. Internally, this is sending a message” said Paul Omodt, a spokesperson for the officers who penned the open letter.Most of the officers hold ranks of lieutenant or sergeant, according to Omodt.Derek Chauvin, who pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes, was charged with second-degree murder, and the three other officers on scene — Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng — have been charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder.Chauvin’s bail was set at $1.25 million earlier this week.Minneapolis City Council members took a first step Friday toward changing the City Charter to allow for abolishing the police department and replacing it with something else.Five of the 12 council members said Friday that they’ll formally introduce a proposal later this month to remove the charter’s requirement that the city maintain a police department and fund a minimum number of officers. Voters would have to approve the change if the proposal makes it onto the November ballot.The Star Tribune reports the announcement came as council members face increased pressure to further define what they meant when a majority of them pledged to eliminate the Minneapolis Police Department following George Floyd’s death.Council Member Jeremiah Ellison said he still expects to spend a year seeking feedback from the community about how to change the department, but he fears that if they don’t remove that charter provision, it will hamper those efforts. He said removing the language alone won’t eliminate the department.Some business groups and Mayor Jacob Frey have said they prefer changing the department over eliminating it completely.President Trump says chokeholds by police should generally ‘be ended’President Donald Trump says he’d like to see an end to the police use of chokeholds, except in certain circumstances.“I don’t like chokeholds,” Trump said in an interview with Fox News Channel that aired Friday. “Generally speaking,” he said, the practice “should be ended.” But Trump also talked at length about a scenario in which a police officer is alone and fighting one-on-one and could have to resort to the tactic.Chokeholds have come under renewed scrutiny in the wake of the killing of George Floyd in police custody, which has sparked mass protests across the nation and around the world demanding justice, racial equality and policing reform. Though the tactic was not used on Floyd, who died after a police officer pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck and after Floyd pleaded that he couldn’t breathe, it has become a symbol of police brutality and there have been calls nationwide to ban its use.The maneuver is banned in many departments across the country already.A chokehold is a tactic in which an officer puts his or her arm around the neck of a suspect, blocking airflow. Eric Garner died in 2014 after a police chokehold, though the officer responsible maintains he used a different, legal takedown maneuver called “the seatbelt,” in which an officer puts one arm around a suspect’s chest and another around the waist to wrestle a suspect to the ground.In response to the protests, the White House has been working to craft an executive order on policing, though it is unclear if the final version will address chokeholds at all. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment, and Trump did not mention the tactic during a roundtable discussion in Texas Thursday in which he discussed the order.Lawmakers on the Hill have also been working to craft legislation in response.And even as he endorsed scaling back their use, Trump nonetheless sounded convinced that chokeholds were sometimes necessary, calling it a “very tricky situation” in his interview with Fox.“Sometimes if you’re alone, and you’re fighting someone who’s tough, and you get somebody in a chokehold … What are you gonna do now? Let go and say: ‘Oh let’s start all over again? I’m not allowed to have you in a chokehold,'” he said. “I think the concept of chokeholds sounds so innocent, so perfect. And then you, realize if it’s a one-on-one, if a police officer is in a bad scuffle and he’s got somebody… So you have to be very careful.”“With that being said, it would be, I think, a very good thing that, generally speaking, it should be ended,” he added.Congressional Democrats have introduced a bill that would bans chokeholds and “carotid holds” at the federal level. The Justice in Policing Act would also condition law enforcement funding on state and local governments banning chokeholds, though it’s unclear if that would withstand legal scrutiny.Senate Republicans have also been working on their own package of policing changes, but it doesn’t currently include a chokehold ban.A private autopsy found that Floyd died of asphyxiation from sustained pressure on his neck, but the city’s medical examiner found Floyd died from heart failure in part because of the neck compression.Several resign from Florida department amid safety concerns Ten members of a South Florida police department’s SWAT team have resigned from the team, citing safety concerns and local officials’ “disdain” for the unit.The eight officers and two sergeants resigned from the team, but did not resign from the Hallandale Beach Police Department.Police Chief Sonia Quinones received a memo from the SWAT team Friday morning, City Manager Greg Chavarria said in a statement, according to news outlets.The officers said they were “minimally equipped” and had been “disrespected” by city officials who refused to address equipment and training concerns.“The risk of carrying out our duties in this capacity is no longer acceptable to us and our families,” the officers wrote in the memo, dated June 9. “The anguish and stress of knowing that what we may be lawfully called upon to do in today’s political climate combined with the team’s current situation and several recent local events, leave us in a position that is untenable.”The officers also said they were outraged that command staff had recently joined protesters and other officials in taking a knee as demonstrators called for the case of Howard Bowe to be reopened.“This lack of support by members of the Command Staff is crippling to the agency and its rank and file,” the memo said.Bowe, a 34-year-old black man, was killed in 2014 by Hallandale Beach’s SWAT team as it carried out a search warrant and raided his home. The officers wrote that investigators never found that any misconduct had been committed by the officers involved in Bowe’s death. The case later resulted in a $425,000 settlement between Bowe’s family and the city.

The latest:

  • The lawyer for the family of George Floyd said they will also file a civil lawsuit against the officer who had his knee on Floyd’s neck.
  • Dallas officials have agreed to a 90-day ban on the use of tear gas and other less-lethal police crowd-control weapons against demonstrators.
  • Ten members of a South Florida police department’s SWAT team have resigned from the team, citing safety concerns and local officials’ “disdain” for the unit.
  • Officials in several cities and states are removing statues of Confederate figures and Christopher Columbus. Many statues have been vandalized and taken down during demonstrations seeking police reform and the elimination of symbols of racism and slavery.
  • Boston’s mayor declared racism a public health crisis Friday, outlining a
    series of police reforms in response to the nationwide reckoning
    sparked by the police killing of a black man in Minneapolis.

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Police fired tear gas and blocked demonstrators from marching through Paris to protest police brutality and racial injustice.

The tear gas began just as a group of extreme-right counter demonstrators were dislodged from the roof of a building overlooking the protest.

Protesters set off firecrackers and shouted at police but were otherwise peaceful. Families and others trying to leave the protest struggled to get out because police had blocked off most exit routes. The remaining crowd took a knee.

Police decided to bar the crowd from marching from the Place de la Republique in eastern Paris toward the city’s main opera house. A police official told The Associated Press the decision was made because of a nationwide ban on gatherings of more than 10 people to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The counter demonstrators had earlier unfurled a banner about “anti-white racism” and lit flares in the blue-white-red colors of the French flag.

Residents reached out their windows to tear down the banner. Activists later confronted the far-right activists on the roof, throwing their bags and ropes to the pavement below.

George Floyd’s family intends to file a civil lawsuit against Derek Chauvin, lawyer says

Benjamin Crump, the lawyer for the family of George Floyd, told CNN they will also file a civil lawsuit against the officer who had his knee on Floyd’s neck.

He said the family “intends on holding Derek Chauvin fully accountable in every aspect, criminal and civil.”

Chauvin is currently facing second-degree murder charges, but CNN reported he could still receive more than $1 million in pension benefits during his retirement years even if convicted.

While a number of state laws allow for the forfeiture of pensions for those employees convicted of felony crimes related to their work, this is not the case in Minnesota.

Crump said the culture of police departments is what needs to change.

“It wasn’t just the knee of Derek Chauvin that killed George Floyd in Minneapolis, it was the knee of the entire police department. Because when you have that kind of culture and behavior of a police department, it is foreseeable that something like this is going to happen,” he said.

Crump said changing this culture starts with having transparency not only in how officers are trained, but also how they are fired.

“We have to terminate people when they use these bad policies, despite what the police unions say, because if we don’t terminate them, it is absolutely predictable that you’ll have somebody do a choke hold or neck restraint for 8 minutes and 46 seconds because they know there’s no accountability,” he said.

“There’s no discipline when they do this to black people in America,” Crump added.

Minneapolis police officers pen open letter condemning former officer Derek Chauvin

Members of the Minneapolis Police Department spoke out on Friday out against former police officer Derek Chauvin in an open letter addressed to “everyone — but especially Minneapolis citizens.”

“Derek Chauvin failed as a human and stripped George Floyd of his dignity and life. This is not who we are,” said the letter, signed by fourteen MPD officers. “We’re not the union or the administration.”

“We stand ready to listen and embrace the calls for change, reform and rebuilding,” says the letter, which comes as powerful police unions across the country are digging in, preparing for a once-in-a-generation showdown over policing and new polls that indicate that most Americans now acknowledge that African Americans are more likely to be mistreated or even killed by police.

“There were many more willing to sign, but the group opted to showcase people from across the PD as well as male/female, black/white, straight/gay, leader/frontline, etc. Internally, this is sending a message” said Paul Omodt, a spokesperson for the officers who penned the open letter.

Most of the officers hold ranks of lieutenant or sergeant, according to Omodt.

Derek Chauvin, who pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes, was charged with second-degree murder, and the three other officers on scene — Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng — have been charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder.

Chauvin’s bail was set at $1.25 million earlier this week.

Minneapolis City Council members took a first step Friday toward changing the City Charter to allow for abolishing the police department and replacing it with something else.

Five of the 12 council members said Friday that they’ll formally introduce a proposal later this month to remove the charter’s requirement that the city maintain a police department and fund a minimum number of officers. Voters would have to approve the change if the proposal makes it onto the November ballot.

The Star Tribune reports the announcement came as council members face increased pressure to further define what they meant when a majority of them pledged to eliminate the Minneapolis Police Department following George Floyd’s death.

Council Member Jeremiah Ellison said he still expects to spend a year seeking feedback from the community about how to change the department, but he fears that if they don’t remove that charter provision, it will hamper those efforts. He said removing the language alone won’t eliminate the department.

Some business groups and Mayor Jacob Frey have said they prefer changing the department over eliminating it completely.

President Trump says chokeholds by police should generally ‘be ended’

President Donald Trump says he’d like to see an end to the police use of chokeholds, except in certain circumstances.

“I don’t like chokeholds,” Trump said in an interview with Fox News Channel that aired Friday. “Generally speaking,” he said, the practice “should be ended.” But Trump also talked at length about a scenario in which a police officer is alone and fighting one-on-one and could have to resort to the tactic.

Chokeholds have come under renewed scrutiny in the wake of the killing of George Floyd in police custody, which has sparked mass protests across the nation and around the world demanding justice, racial equality and policing reform. Though the tactic was not used on Floyd, who died after a police officer pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck and after Floyd pleaded that he couldn’t breathe, it has become a symbol of police brutality and there have been calls nationwide to ban its use.

The maneuver is banned in many departments across the country already.

A chokehold is a tactic in which an officer puts his or her arm around the neck of a suspect, blocking airflow. Eric Garner died in 2014 after a police chokehold, though the officer responsible maintains he used a different, legal takedown maneuver called “the seatbelt,” in which an officer puts one arm around a suspect’s chest and another around the waist to wrestle a suspect to the ground.

In response to the protests, the White House has been working to craft an executive order on policing, though it is unclear if the final version will address chokeholds at all. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment, and Trump did not mention the tactic during a roundtable discussion in Texas Thursday in which he discussed the order.

Lawmakers on the Hill have also been working to craft legislation in response.

And even as he endorsed scaling back their use, Trump nonetheless sounded convinced that chokeholds were sometimes necessary, calling it a “very tricky situation” in his interview with Fox.

“Sometimes if you’re alone, and you’re fighting someone who’s tough, and you get somebody in a chokehold … What are you gonna do now? Let go and say: ‘Oh let’s start all over again? I’m not allowed to have you in a chokehold,'” he said. “I think the concept of chokeholds sounds so innocent, so perfect. And then you, realize if it’s a one-on-one, if a police officer is in a bad scuffle and he’s got somebody… So you have to be very careful.”

“With that being said, it would be, I think, a very good thing that, generally speaking, it should be ended,” he added.

Congressional Democrats have introduced a bill that would bans chokeholds and “carotid holds” at the federal level. The Justice in Policing Act would also condition law enforcement funding on state and local governments banning chokeholds, though it’s unclear if that would withstand legal scrutiny.

Senate Republicans have also been working on their own package of policing changes, but it doesn’t currently include a chokehold ban.

A private autopsy found that Floyd died of asphyxiation from sustained pressure on his neck, but the city’s medical examiner found Floyd died from heart failure in part because of the neck compression.

Several resign from Florida department amid safety concerns

Ten members of a South Florida police department’s SWAT team have resigned from the team, citing safety concerns and local officials’ “disdain” for the unit.

The eight officers and two sergeants resigned from the team, but did not resign from the Hallandale Beach Police Department.

Police Chief Sonia Quinones received a memo from the SWAT team Friday morning, City Manager Greg Chavarria said in a statement, according to news outlets.

The officers said they were “minimally equipped” and had been “disrespected” by city officials who refused to address equipment and training concerns.

“The risk of carrying out our duties in this capacity is no longer acceptable to us and our families,” the officers wrote in the memo, dated June 9. “The anguish and stress of knowing that what we may be lawfully called upon to do in today’s political climate combined with the team’s current situation and several recent local events, leave us in a position that is untenable.”

The officers also said they were outraged that command staff had recently joined protesters and other officials in taking a knee as demonstrators called for the case of Howard Bowe to be reopened.

“This lack of support by members of the Command Staff is crippling to the agency and its rank and file,” the memo said.

Bowe, a 34-year-old black man, was killed in 2014 by Hallandale Beach’s SWAT team as it carried out a search warrant and raided his home. The officers wrote that investigators never found that any misconduct had been committed by the officers involved in Bowe’s death. The case later resulted in a $425,000 settlement between Bowe’s family and the city.