Barr defends White House use of force, claims protesters were violent
Attorney General William Barr defended the decision to forcibly remove protesters from Lafayette Square on Monday, downplaying the use of force and claiming that the administration’s decision was provoked by increasing violence.
“I think the president is the head of the executive branch and the chief executive of the nation and should be able to walk outside the White House and walk across the street to the church of presidents,” Barr said at a virtual press conference on Thursday. “I don’t necessarily view that as a political act. I think it was entirely appropriate for him to do.”
Barr claimed that protesters outside the White House on Monday were becoming violent, justifying his authorization for police to remove them.
“I saw the projectiles on Monday when I went to Lafayette Park to look at the situation,” said Barr, who was seen in the park before protesters were forced out.
No major foreign influence campaigns exploiting George Floyd, experts say
The outrage Americans have seen on their social media feeds following George Floyd’s death by Minneapolis police is authentic, experts say — and not substantially inflated by foreign influence operations.
Campaigns to stoke U.S. tensions and shift public opinions online are a reality of online life. Attorney General William Barr said in a press conference Thursday that the Justice Department is “seeing foreign actors playing all sides to exacerbate the violence,” without going into specifics.
But a number of experts who track such behavior online said they haven’t seen any significant foreign campaign surrounding Floyd and the protests that have cropped up nationwide in response to his death.
“These narratives are playing out on traditional media and social media platforms, but there is no evidence as yet to suggest a large-scale, covert interference campaign like those the Russian Internet Research Agency waged against the United States from 2014 until at least early 2020,” said Ben Nimmo, director of investigations at Graphika, which tracks such operations.
Rev. Al Sharpton announces march in Washington, D.C. on Aug. 28
Rev. Al Sharpton, during his eulogy at a memorial for George Floyd on Thursday, announced plans for a march in Washington, D.C. on Aug. 28, the anniversary of the original March on Washington in 1963 where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his historic “I Have a Dream” speech.
Sharpton said he was glad the civil rights icon’s son, Martin Luther King III, was at the memorial.
“Because on Aug. 28, the 57th anniversary of the March on Washington, we’re going back to Washington, Martin,” Sharpton said. “That’s where your father stood in the shadows of the Lincoln memorial and said, ‘I have a dream.'”
“We’re going back this Aug. 28 to restore and recommit this dream,” Sharpton said. “To stand up, because just like at one era we had to fight slavery, another era we had to fight Jim Crow, another era we dealt with voting rights. This is the era to deal policing and criminal justice.”
Sharpton also called for a federal policy to address a wide range of policing issues, including the inability to fully background check police officers and creating residency requirements for officers to live in the communities they police.
At the close of his eulogy, Sharpton asked Eric Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr, to join him and civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump on stage while those gathered stood in silence for 8 minutes, 46 seconds — the amount of time a white Minneapolis police officer kneeled on Floyd’s neck.
‘We cannot cooperate with torture’: Floyd family lawyer calls for justice at memorial service
‘The other pandemic’ killed George Floyd, family attorney says
Floyd tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus, weeks before his death, according to an autopsy. B
ut Floyd died from a much more deadly disease, family attorney Benjamin Crump said.
“It was not the coronavirus pandemic that killed George Floyd,” Crump told spirited mourners.
“I want to make it clear, on the record … the other pandemic that we are are too familiar with in America — the pandemic of racism and discrimination killed George Floyd.”
Rev. Al Sharpton: Trump used a bible as a prop. We will not allow George Floyd to become one.
George Floyd memorial: Loved ones say goodbye to man whose death ignited national conversation on racism
MINNEAPOLIS – George Floyd’s family and closest friends on Thursday demanded justice for their departed loved one, who was killed by “the pandemic of racism and discrimination.”
Mourners paid tribute to Floyd inside a sanctuary at North Central University in Minneapolis, singing praises for their son, brother, father and dear friend who died at the age of 46.
His younger brother, Philonise Floyd, said the family grew up poor but had everything they needed. They enjoyed banana and mayonnaise sandwiches made by their loving mother and washed clothes in a bathroom sink, before drying them over a hot water heater or oven.
“Everybody wants justice, we want justice for George,” the younger Floyd told mourners. “He’s going to get it, he’s going to get it.”
George Floyd’s brother Philonise: ‘Everybody loved George…he was powerful’
Social distancing efforts inside, outside George Floyd’s memorial service
George Floyd’s memorial service is being played on loudspeakers for a crowd of several hundred people who have gathered outside.
Most of those gathering are wearing masks and there are navy blue stickers along the sidewalks outside that read “PRACTICE SOCIAL DISTANCING,” placed about 6 feet apart but people are not adhering to that kind of spacing.
The Rev. Al Sharpton wore black surgical gloves at the pulpit where he preached from Ecclesiastes 3:1, which reads, “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.”
Sharpton later said, “Because of the pandemic I’m not going to ask you to hold hands,” as he guided those at the memorial to stand and begin an 8-minute, 46-second moment of silence, reflecting the length of time an officer pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck.
An earlier speaker mentioned that the memorial service has to stick to a strict schedule to comport with social distancing rules.
More than 700 active-duty Army soldiers leaving Washington, D.C., returning to Ft. Bragg
More than 700 active-duty soldiers from Fort Bragg who have been in Washington, D.C., since Monday waiting to be deployed in case President Donald Trump invoked the Insurrection Act are being sent back to North Carolina tonight, a senior defense official told NBC News.
A decision to send the soldiers from the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division back south to their base was made on Wednesday, but then reversed. The decision to send them home was made again Thursday. The soldiers, who have been waiting at Fort Belvoir in Virginia and at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, were never called into the city to confront protestors.
More than 1,600 active-duty troops from Fort Bragg, Fort Drum in New York and Fort Riley in Kansas began arriving in the capital area on Monday. They have been staying at multiple military installations in the capital area.