The Latest: Attorney says drugs in Floyd’s system irrelevant

The Latest: Attorney says drugs in Floyd’s system irrelevant

The Latest on the May 25 death in Minneapolis of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man who pleaded for air as a white police officer pressed a knee on his neck:

TOP OF THE HOUR:

— Family attorney calls drugs in George Floyd’s system irrelevant to his death.

— Kennedy Center to dim lights for 9 nights to mark final minutes of George Floyd’s life.

— National Guard from several states in Washington to help.

— Family members of George Floyd expected to attend memorial service.

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MINNEAPOLIS — A family attorney says a medical examiner’s findings that George Floyd had drugs in his system is a “red herring” meant to distract attention away from a Minneapolis police officer’s responsibility for his death.

During a news conference Tuesday, attorney Ben Crump also disputed the findings released by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner that the cause of death was cardiac arrest, which happened as police restrained Floyd and compressed his neck in a widely seen video that has sparked worldwide protests. The medical examiner also listed fentanyl intoxication and recent methamphetamine use, but not as the cause of death.

An autopsy commissioned by the family, which Crump released Monday, concluded that Floyd died of a lack of oxygen caused by the officers’ knees on his neck and back.

Crump called drug allegations “an attempt to assassinate his character” and said any drugs in his system were irrelevant to his cause of death.

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DALLAS — The family of George Floyd is expected to join a march in Houston on Tuesday as protests continue nationwide in response to his death and other police killings of black people.

The march will begin shortly after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is expected to lay out in Dallas how the state plans to curb unrest and destruction that has followed largely peaceful daytime demonstrations.

Dallas has imposed a curfew, and Monday night police conducted mass arrests on a downtown bridge where protesters marched.

Dallas Police Chief U. Renee Hall said most were released after being charged with obstructing a roadway, which came after demonstrators got down on one knee. She emphasized Tuesday that most protests were peaceful but warned “if you break the law, we will arrest you.”

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WASHINGTON — One of the nation’s premier performing arts centers says it will dim its lights starting Tuesday for nine nights to mark the final nine minutes of George Floyd’s life.

The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts says on Twitter that it will lower the lights to honor Floyd and others who lost their lives “as a result of racial violence and bigotry.” The center also says it’s working on “strategies” for greater collaboration with black artists, audiences and communities, and will share those initiatives in the weeks ahead.

Floyd died last week after Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes, continuing after Floyd had stopped moving and was pleading for air.

All four officers were fired and Chauvin has been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd’s death.

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WASHINGTON — The nearly 1,300 D.C. National Guard members who have been activated to deal with the civil unrest were joined Monday evening by Guardsmen from Utah and New Jersey, and almost 1,500 guardsmen are coming today from Indiana, South Carolina, Tennessee and Mississippi, according to Gen. Joseph Lengyel, chief of the National Guard Bureau.

The general said more are due to arrive Wednesday.

A senior defense official said later that some states have turned down requests to send their Guard members to the District of Columbia, in some cases because governors are concerned about dealing with problems in their own state. The official spoke on condition of anonymity under ground rules set by the Pentagon. The official said New York and Delaware have declined to send Guard members to Washington, and Pennsylvania is considering the request but not yet given an answer.

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ATLANTA — Six Atlanta police officers have been charged after a dramatic video showed authorities pulling two young people from a car during protests over the death of George Floyd, a prosecutor said Tuesday.

Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard announced the charges during a news conference.

“I feel a little safer now that these monsters are off the street and no longer able to terrorize anyone else,” said Messiah Young, who was dragged from the vehicle along with his girlfriend, Taniyah Pilgrim, while they were caught in traffic.

The Saturday night incident first gained attention from video online and on local news. Throughout, the couple can be heard screaming and asking officers what is happening.

Two of the officers, Investigator Ivory Streeter and Investigator Mark Gardner, were fired Sunday.

Streeter and Gardner are both charged with aggravated assault. Two others are also charged with aggravated assault, while one is charged with aggravated battery. Some of the officers are also charged with criminal damage to property as well as pointing or aiming a gun.

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PORTLAND, Ore. — The mayor of Portland, Oregon said the city will not enact a curfew on Tuesday night for the first time in four days after several thousand demonstrators remained largely peaceful during a march the night before.

Mayor Ted Wheeler thanked protesters and organizers who kept an hours-long march and gathering peaceful and said he saw “a community ready for healing and reconciliation.”

“I saw progress and I am 100 confident that Portland is primed to do the difficult and important work ahead,” Wheeler said.

The protest marked a turning point for Oregon’s largest city after demonstrations the previous three nights spun into violence, with protesters setting fires, breaking windows and breaking into a police headquarters and corrections center.

The evening was not without some violence, however. After the protest disbanded late Monday, about 100 people confronted police officers guarding the Justice Center in downtown Portland and threw projectiles at them, Police Chief Jami Resch said. Twelve people were arrested and two guns were seized from protesters, she said.

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TORONTO — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canadians are watching what’s unfolding in the United States with “horror and consternation” and he paused for more than 20 seconds when asked about U.S. President Donald Trump and the use of tear gas against protesters for a photo opportunity.

Trudeau has long been careful not to poke Trump as Canada relies on the U.S. for 75 percent of exports. But Trudeau dramatically paused and struggled to come up with the right words when asked about the military action’s against protesters in the U.S. Police violently broke up a peaceful and legal protest by several thousand people in Lafayette Park across from the White House ahead of a speech in the Rose Garden by Trump on Monday evening. The protesters had gathered following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis a week earlier.

Afterward, Trump strolled off the White House grounds and walked to the cleared Lafayette Park to make a surprise visit to St. John’s Church. Standing alone in front of cameras, he raised a Bible but didn’t mention Floyd, the church or the peaceful protesters police had just cleared away.

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MINNEAPOLIS — More than $3 million has been raised to help rebuild south Minneapolis businesses damaged or destroyed in the sometimes violent protests that followed George Floyd’s death.

More than 38,000 donors have given to a fund set up by the Lake Street Council, a nonprofit that advocates for the area’s business community, at welovelakestreet.com.

Many protests since Floyd’s death have been peaceful. But dozens of businesses, many owned by immigrants and people of color, were hit by looting and arson. Floyd died May 25 after a Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into his neck for several minutes even after he stopped moving and pleading for air. The officer is charged with 3rd-degree murder.

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Hundreds of people marched peacefully Monday night in downtown Albuquerque a day after a similar protest against the death of George Floyd preceded the setting of dozens of small fires and other damage in New Mexico’s most populous city.

There was a heavy police presence as the crowd that gathered Monday evening near the University of New Mexico marched in rain while chanting “I can’t breathe.”

The crowd began to disperse around 10 p.m. and most had left by midnight. Mayor Tim Keller said agitators for violence were to blame for damage that occurred hours after Sunday’ evening’s largely peaceful march.

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RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam rejected a request from Secretary of Defense Mark Esper to send between 3,000 to 5,000 of the state’s national guard to Washington D.C. as part of a massive show of force organized by the Trump administration in response to violent protests, according to Northam’s chief of staff, Clark Mercer.

Mercer said Trump’s comments to governors in a phone call Monday, in which the president said most governors were “weak” and needed to “dominate” the streets, played a role in the decision.

“The president’s remarks to the governors heightened our concerns about how the guard would be used,” he said.

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MADISON, Wis. — Protesters spray painted graffiti on the Wisconsin state Capitol, dumped paint on the beloved “Forward” statue outside, broke into businesses downtown and defaced the Wisconsin Veterans Museum before police in riot gear used tear gas to disperse the crowd.

Police say that around 1 a.m. Tuesday someone fired a handgun in the air, two men were beaten with a crowbar and others attempted to light Molotov cocktails. Madison Police Chief Vic Wahl says in his blog that multiple police officers were struck with rocks and projectiles.

It was the third night of violence in Madison, the liberal state capital with one of the deepest racial divides in the nation. There was also a peaceful protest Monday night in Milwaukee in reaction to the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

The unrest late Monday in Madison came after an hours-long peaceful protest during which the mayor spoke with marchers who stopped traffic on a busy six-lane street downtown. Although the demonstration was tense at times it had moments of levity, with participants line dancing in the street.

Madison police said 15 people were arrested Monday night, bringing the number of arrests since Saturday to at least 32.

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Arkansas authorities used tear gas for the third night in a row Monday to disperse protests outside the state Capitol over the death of George Floyd.

Arkansas State Police fired tear gas to break up the protest, which had grown to several hundred people in downtown Little Rock and went beyond a 10 p.m. curfew the city’s mayor implemented because of the demonstrations and the coronavirus outbreak..

Mayor Frank Scott marched with demonstrators and pleaded for calm. But the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported some protesters became unruly. Buildings along Capitol Avenue, including a bank, were damaged and crews put out a fire at the Arkansas Pharmacists Association building.

The Democrat-Gazette reported one of its reporters was assaulted and taken to the hospital late Monday night.

The damage followed mostly peaceful demonstrations throughout the day that included Little Rock’s police chief meeting with protesters outside City Hall.

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NEW YORK — New York’s mayor extended an 8 p.m. curfew all week in hopes of stopping destruction that continued overnight despite the city’s efforts to stop protests over George Floyd’s death from devolving into lawless mayhem.

“We’re going to have a tough few days. We’re going to beat it back,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a news conference Tuesday as he announced that an 8 p.m.-to-5 a.m. curfew would hold through Sunday.

The plan came after a night when chaos broke out in midtown Manhattan and the Bronx.

On Monday, an 11 p.m. curfew — the city’s first in decades — failed to prevent destruction as groups of people smashed their way into shops, including Macy’s flagship Manhattan store.

Police said nearly 700 people were arrested and several officers were injured during the chaos Monday night and early Tuesday.

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LAS VEGAS — Separate shootings in Las Vegas during continuing protests over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis have left one man dead and a police officer gravely wounded.

Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo said Tuesday that the officer was on life support after being shot as police tried to disperse a crowd of protesters outside a Las Vegas strip hotel and casino.

Lombardo says the other shooting happened outside a federal building. He says a man was shot by officers several times after he reached for a weapon. The identities of the wounded officer and the fatally shot man have not been made public.

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