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Al Sharpton calls out Trudeau’s 21-second pause on Trump – CTV News

June 4th, 2020

TORONTO — Civil rights activist Al Sharpton appeared to criticize Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for pausing at length earlier this week when he was asked about U.S. President Donald Trump’s handling of anti-racism protests in the United States.

Sharpton gave a eulogy Thursday at a memorial for George Floyd, the Black man who died last week after a white police officer in Minneapolis shoved his knee into Floyd’s neck.

“The time has made the moment of change in America,” Sharpton told Radio-Canada ahead of the service. “And I’m going to express that in my eulogy. And since you’re from Canada, I won’t have a 21-second gap before I say what I have to say.”

On Tuesday, Trudeau paused after he was asked for his thoughts on Trump’s suggestion that he deploy military action against protesters across the U.S. — a call that Trump’s own defence secretary said he disagreed with.

The prime minister did not immediately respond but instead stood silently at the podium. At one point he opened his mouth but didn’t offer any words.

In total, Trudeau’s prolonged silence lasted 21 seconds.

“We all watch in horror and consternation what’s going on in the United States,” Trudeau finally said.

“It is a time to pull people together, but it is a time to listen, it is a time to learn what injustices continue despite progress over years and decades. But it is a time for us as Canadians to recognize that we too have our challenges, that Black Canadians and racialized Canadians face discrimination as a lived reality every single day.”

Other federal leaders have called on Trudeau — who apologized during last year’s federal election after images surfaced showing him dressed in blackface — to take stronger action against anti-Black racism in Canada. On Tuesday, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh challenged Trudeau to use his position of power to “go beyond pretty words, and pretty speeches, and do something.”

With files from CTVNews.ca’s Rachel Aiello and Rachel Gilmore

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New data puts B.C. on track to reduce more COVID-19 restrictions – The Globe and Mail

June 4th, 2020

British Columbia provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry speaks during a news conference in Vancouver, on March 18, 2020.

DARRYL DYCK/The Canadian Press

Another layer of British Columbia’s pandemic restrictions is on track to be lifted this month, as new modeling on COVID-19 shows the continued decline in transmission around the province.

Bonnie Henry, the Provincial Health Officer, released new figures on Thursday showing that over the past two weeks, under the first stage of B.C.’s reopening, transmission rates remain low in almost every part of the province. The few exceptions have emerged in the Fraser Valley, with some clusters related to workplaces and a family gathering, but the overall picture shows the province is at low risk from the pandemic.

“I’m very hopeful that end of June into July, we’ll be able to take those vacations that we need,” Dr. Henry told a news conference.

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British Columbians can safely increase their level of contact, according to the figures released Thursday, but at a level far below normal. Dr. Henry said people are in contact with others at roughly one-third of their prepandemic levels. The models show that residents can increase their contact up to 50 or 60 per cent of normal levels without triggering a spike in cases, she said. But at contact rates of 70 per cent, COVID-19 cases would be expected to rise rapidly.

“We still need to keep our connections and our contacts and our bubbles small,” she said. “Not having large gatherings is incredibly important and we’ve had a reminder of that in the last week, where we have had somebody inadvertently bring it into their close family, and we’ve had a transmission to a number of people.”

The province declared a state of emergency in March, and closed a number of non-essential businesses, banned large gatherings and limited travel. Those measures were followed by a steady decline in the number of new COVID-19 cases.

On May 19, with the spread of COVID-19 cases dropping off, the government began the first stage of reopening, allowing day use of provincial parks, in-room dining service at restaurants, and the return of services such as dentistry and hair salons. It has also resumed elective surgeries and reopened schools, on a voluntary and part-time basis, for June.

The next stage of reopening, which would allow British Columbians to travel for recreation within the province, won’t begin until Dr. Henry is satisfied the spread of COVID-19 remains under control. The government has said this Phase 3 reopening would permit camping, movie theatres, spas and hotels to reopen. As well, film and TV production would be allowed to resume.

She said public-health officials will continue to be vigilant in monitoring new cases, and noted that this week’s large demonstrations against racism and police brutality present a risk of COVID-19 transmission. “We are all concerned about demonstrations that have happened, that it will trigger a surge in cases, and we’re watching very carefully for that.”

The province also released new modeling based on age, providing reassurance to parents who have been concerned about sending their children back to school this month.

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Dr. Henry noted children are less likely to get infected with COVID-19. Even in the worst-case scenario, models that assumed children did have the same rate of transmission as adults, the projections show the reopening of schools does not trigger rapid growth – so long as the measures that have been put in place to increase physical distancing in the schools, and increased sanitation, are maintained. She said the key is that people need to self-isolate if they have potential COVID-19 symptoms.

“So as schools reopen, and even if all schools were open and all children are in and we relaxed our distancing measures, as long as we were fastidious about staying away if we are ill, whether it’s children or adults in particular, then we would prevent a rapid increase in epidemic growth.”

The Phase 4 reopening is not expected until there is a widely distributed treatment or vaccine for COVID-19, and that would allow the resumption of large gatherings such as rock concerts and conventions.

We have a weekly Western Canada newsletter written by our B.C. and Alberta bureau chiefs, providing a comprehensive package of the news you need to know about the region and its place in the issues facing Canada. Sign up today.

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George Floyd: ‘Pandemic of racism’ led to his death, memorial told – BBC News

June 4th, 2020

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionRev Al Sharpton eulogy: ‘Get your knee off our neck’

A lawyer for George Floyd has told a memorial service that a “pandemic of racism” led to his death.

Those gathered at Thursday’s tribute stood in silence for eight minutes, 46 seconds, the amount of time Floyd was alleged to be on the ground under the control of police in Minneapolis.

Hundreds attended the service, which also heard a eulogy from civil rights activist Rev Al Sharpton.

It was time to stand up and say “get your knee off our necks”, he said.

Mr Floyd’s killing, which was captured on video, has caused outrage and sparked a wave of protests in cities across the US.

Meanwhile, a few blocks away, three police officers charged with aiding and abetting Mr Floyd’s murder made their first appearance in court. Bail was set at $1m (£800,000) but would be lowered to $750,000 if they handed in any guns they owned and met other conditions, the judge said.

Derek Chauvin, the officer who continued to kneel on Mr Floyd’s neck as he pleaded that he could not breathe, has been charged with second-degree murder and is due to appear in court on Monday.

Image copyright Minneapolis police
Image caption From left: Derek Chauvin, Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane

The vast majority of demonstrations over the past eight days have been peaceful, but some have descended into violence and rioting, with curfews imposed in a number of cities.

What happened at the memorial?

Addressing Thursday’s memorial service, lawyer Benjamin Crump said it was “not the coronavirus pandemic that killed George Floyd”.

“It was that other pandemic,” he said. “The pandemic of racism and discrimination.”

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionWATCH: ‘I remember George Floyd as me’

Members of Mr Floyd’s family, the Reverend Jesse Jackson, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar and Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey were among several hundred people at the service at North Central University in downtown Minneapolis.

Philonise Floyd, one of Mr Floyd’s brothers, described how the family had been poor when he and Mr Floyd were young and had washed their clothes in the sink and dried them in the oven.

“It’s crazy man, all these people came to see my brother, it’s amazing he touched so many hearts,” he said.

Reverend Al Sharpton meanwhile demanded accountability.

“We won’t stop,” he said, referring to protests that have taken place in every US state. “We’re going to keep going until we change the whole system of justice.”

In an emotional eulogy, he said Mr Floyd’s story had echoed that of black people in America.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption George Floyd’s nephew Brandon comforts his cousin Shareeduh Tate at the memorial

“What happened to Floyd happens every day in this country, in education, in health services and in every area of American life. It’s time for us to stand up in George’s name and say: get your knee off our necks,” he said.

Further tributes will be held at Mr Floyd’s birthplace of North Carolina on Saturday, and in his hometown of Houston on Monday.

More on George Floyd’s death

What other reaction has there been to the protests?

In his first video comments since Floyd’s death, former President Barack Obama said the demonstrations were as profound as anything he had seen in his lifetime, and called on Americans to seize the chance to deal with underlying problems in society.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionThe USA’s history of racial inequality has paved the way for modern day police brutality

“Too often some of that violence has come from folks who were supposed to be serving and protecting you,” Mr Obama said.

“I want you to know that you matter. I want you to know that your lives matter, your dreams matter.”

The Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, has also issued a personal message about Floyd’s death, saying his life mattered and recent events had been devastating.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionGeorge Floyd’s ex partner: “Gianna doesn’t have a father”

What happened to Floyd?

George Floyd, 46, was stopped by police investigating the purchase of cigarettes with counterfeit money on 25 May in Minneapolis.

A video showed Floyd being arrested and a white police officer continuing to kneel on his neck for several minutes even after he pleaded that he could not breathe.

Protests erupted and have continued since, across many US cities and also internationally, with rallies on Wednesday in Australia, France, the Netherlands and in the UK, where thousands gathered in central London.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media caption‘I’m tired of being afraid’: Why Americans are protesting

Floyd’s death follows the high-profile cases of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri; Eric Garner in New York; and others that have driven the Black Lives Matter movement in recent years.

For many, the outrage over Floyd’s death also reflects years of frustration over socio-economic inequality and discrimination.

Protests over the death continued in dozens of cities on Wednesday night despite widespread curfews.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption George Floyd died after officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes

They have been largely peaceful, with cities such as Los Angeles and Chicago relaxing their restrictions amid hopes that the worst of the violence had passed.

A post-mortem examination has revealed that Floyd had the coronavirus in early April. But officials stressed that this played no role in his death.

US protests timeline

25 May 2020

Tributes to George Floyd at a makeshift memorial
Image caption Tributes to George Floyd at a makeshift memorial Image copyright by Getty Images

George Floyd dies after being arrested by police outside a shop in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Footage shows a white officer, Derek Chauvin, kneeling on Mr Floyd’s neck for several minutes while he is pinned to the floor. Mr Floyd is heard repeatedly saying “I can’t breathe”. He is pronounced dead later in hospital.

26 May

Demonstrators in Minneapolis
Image caption Demonstrators in Minneapolis Image copyright by AFP

Four officers involved in the arrest of George Floyd are fired. Protests begin as the video of the arrest is shared widely on social media. Hundreds of demonstrators take to the streets of Minneapolis and vandalise police cars and the police station with graffiti.

27 May

Protesters lie on the streets in Portland, Oregon
Image caption Protesters lie on the streets in Portland, Oregon Image copyright by Reuters

Protests spread to other cities including Memphis and Los Angeles. In some places, like Portland, Oregon, protesters lie in the road, chanting “I can’t breathe”. Demonstrators again gather around the police station in Minneapolis where the officers involved in George Floyd’s arrest were based and set fire to it. The building is evacuated and police retreat.

28 May

President Trump tweets about the unrest
Image caption President Trump tweets about the unrest Image copyright by Reuters

President Trump blames the violence on a lack of leadership in Minneapolis and threatens to send in the National Guard in a tweet.  He follows it up in a second tweet with a warning “when the looting starts, the shooting starts”. The second tweet is hidden by Twitter for “glorifying violence”.

29 May

Members of a CNN crew are arrested at a protest
Image caption Members of a CNN crew are arrested at a protest Image copyright by Reuters

A CNN reporter, Omar Jimenez, is arrested while covering the Minneapolis protest. Mr Jimenez was reporting live when police officers handcuffed him. A few minutes later several of his colleagues are also arrested. They are all later released once they are confirmed to be members of the media.

Derek Chauvin charged with murder

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin after being charged over the death of George Floyd
Image caption Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin after being charged over the death of George Floyd Image copyright by Getty Images

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, 44, is charged with murder and manslaughter. The charges carry a combined maximum 35-year sentence.

31 May

Demonstrators set fire to rubbish in New York
Image caption Demonstrators set fire to rubbish in New York Image copyright by Reuters

Violence spreads across the US on the sixth night of protests. A total of at least five people are reported killed in protests from Indianapolis to Chicago. More than 75 cities have seen protests. At least 4,400 people have been arrested.  Curfews are imposed across the US to try to stem the unrest.

1 June

Trump posing with a Bible outside a boarded-up church
Image caption Trump posing with a Bible outside a boarded-up church Image copyright by EPA

President Trump threatens to send in the military to quell growing civil unrest. He says if cities and states fail to control the protests and “defend their residents” he will deploy the army and “quickly solve the problem for them”. Mr Trump poses in front of a damaged church shortly after police used tear gas to disperse peaceful protesters nearby.

2 June

George Floyd’s family joined protesters in Houston
Image caption George Floyd’s family joined protesters in Houston Image copyright by Getty

Tens of thousands of protesters again take to the streets. One of the biggest protests is in George Floyd’s hometown of Houston, Texas. Many defy curfews in several cities, but the demonstrations are largely peaceful.

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George Floyd eulogized at Minneapolis memorial in first of 3 events – CTV News

June 4th, 2020

MINNEAPOLIS — Hollywood celebrities, musicians and political leaders gathered in front of the golden casket of George Floyd at a fiery memorial Thursday for the man whose death at the hands of police sparked global protests, with a civil rights leader declaring it is time for black people to demand, “Get your knee off our necks!”

The service — the first in a series of memorials set for three cities over six days — unfolded at a sanctuary at North Central University as a judge a few blocks away set bail at $750,000 each for the three fired Minneapolis police officers charged with aiding and abetting murder in Floyd’s death.

“George Floyd’s story has been the story of black folks. Because ever since 401 years ago, the reason we could never be who we wanted and dreamed to be is you kept your knee on our neck,” the Rev. Al Sharpton said in a fierce eulogy. “It’s time for us to stand up in George’s name and say, `Get your knee off our necks!”‘

Floyd, a 46-year-old out-of-work bouncer, died May 25 after a white police officer, Derek Chauvin, put his knee on Floyd’s neck for several minutes as he lay handcuffed on the pavement, gasping that he couldn’t breathe. Chauvin has been charged with murder, and he and the others could get up to 40 years in prison.

From coast to coast, and from Paris and London to Sydney and Rio de Janeiro, the chilling cellphone video of Floyd’s slow death has set off turbulent and sometimes violent demonstrations against police brutality, racism and inequality.

Those gathered at Thursday’s tribute stood in silence for 8 minutes, 46 seconds, the amount of time Floyd was alleged to be on the ground under the control of police.

Sharpton vowed that this will become a movement to “change the whole system of justice.”

“Time is out for not holding you accountable! Time is out for you making excuses! Time is out for you trying to stall! Time is out for empty words and empty promses! Time is out for you filibustering and trying to stall the arm of justice!” he said.

The service drew the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sen. Amy Klobuchar and members of Congress, including Reps. Ilhan Omar, Sheila Jackson Lee and Ayanna Pressley. Among the celebrities in attendance were T.I., Ludacris, Tyrese Gibson, Kevin Hart, Tiffany Haddish and Marsai Martin.

“All these people came to see my brother,” Philonise Floyd told the crowd at the memorial in awe as he recounted their childhoods playing catch and eating banana-mayonnaise sandwiches. “That’s amazing to me that he touched so many people’s hearts because he touched our hearts.”

The casket was covered in red roses, and a vibrant image was projected above the pulpit of a mural of Floyd painted at the street corner where he was arrested by police on suspicion of passing a counterfeit $20 bill at a convenience store. The message on the mural: “I can breathe now.”

The sanctuary normally seats 1,000, but because of the coronavirus outbreak, the capacity was reduced to about 500, and many mourners wore masks, some with “I can’t breathe” on them.

Outside, hundreds chanted Floyd’s name as a hearse prepared to carry him away.

After the Minneapolis event, his body will go to Raeford, North Carolina, near where he was born, for a public viewing and private family service on Saturday.

Next, a public viewing will be held Monday in Houston, where he was raised and lived most of his life. Then a 500-person service will take place Tuesday at the Fountain of Praise church.

In the U.S., where protests had been marked by bouts of lawlessness since last week, relative quiet continued for a second straight night Wednesday following a decision by prosecutors to charge the three other officers at the scene and file a new, more serious count of murder against Chauvin.

Meantime, in Georgia, a white father and son charged in another killing of a black man that has raised racial tensions in the U.S. made a court appearance Thursday via video. A state investigator testified that Travis McMichael was heard uttering a racist slur as he stood over the body of Ahmaud Arbery after killing him with three blasts from a pump-action shotgun.

The new charges in Minneapolis punctuated an unprecedented week in recent American history, in which largely peaceful protests took place in communities of all sizes but were rocked by bursts of violence, including deadly attacks on officers, theft, vandalism and arson. In Minneapolis alone, more than 220 buildings were damaged or burned, with damage topping $55 million, city officials said.

Nationwide, more than 10,000 people have been arrested, an Associated Press tally found. More than a dozen deaths have been reported, though the circumstances in many cases are still being sorted out.

Demonstrations have been held around the globe, with protesters focusing on abuses in their own countries.

“It’s a solidarity question. We stand with our brothers, internationally, our sisters as well, but the same thing is happening here. It’s no different,” Isaak Kabenge said in Stockholm.

——

Sedensky reported from Philadelphia. Associated Press journalists across the U.S. and the world contributed to this report.

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Tam warns of ‘explosive’ second COVID-19 wave if reopening mishandled – CTV News

June 4th, 2020

OTTAWA — Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam has issued a clear warning that Canada could see “explosive growth” in new cases if reopening is not done with caution, as the latest federal COVID-19 modelling projects that there will be more than 100,000 confirmed cases in Canada, and up to 9,400 deaths by June 15.

“These models all tell us that if we relax too much, or too soon, the epidemic will most likely rebound with explosive growth as a distinct possibility,” Tam said on Thursday. 

According to new short-term federal modelling released by Health Canada, as of June 15 —more than three months since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic— the country could see between 97,990 and 107,454 cases, and between 7,700 and 9,400 deaths.

As of 11:15 a.m. ET, based on CTV News’ figures, there were 93,700 confirmed cases, of which 34,620 were still considered active. Across Canada 7,635 people have died to date.

Broadly speaking, the rise in infections has slowed across all age groups and in most regions of the country, however as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau cautioned in his address ahead of the new data’s release: “the pandemic is still threatening the health and safety of Canadians.”

Setting up the new figures, Trudeau said the situation remains “serious” in some regions where large numbers of new cases are still being reported, as well as in places like long-term care homes across Canada.

As well, over the past 14 days, Quebec and Ontario have accounted for more than 90 per cent of the national case count.

Federal health officials speaking to the updated national projections on the severity and scope of COVID-19 in Canada said that 82 per cent of all COVID-19 deaths are linked to seniors’ homes, and that outbreaks in other congregate living and work settings are also driving case counts, such as those in meat packing plants, shelters, and correctional facilities.

Health Canada data shows that more than 8,700 people have been hospitalized, and of those more than 1,700 have been admitted to an intensive care unit over the course of the disease’s spread across Canada. Approximately 94 per cent of deaths have occurred in people over the age of 60.

COULD SEE ‘EXPLOSIVE’ SECOND SPIKE

Tam said that even though progress is being made in fighting the novel coronavirus, until an effective vaccine or treatment is available, an ongoing effort is going to be required or Canada could see an “explosive” second spike.

Federal modelling showed that if population-based measures are loosened – allowing larger gathering sizes, permitting students to go back to school, and allowing businesses to reopen without accompanying public health measures, for example — it “will likely cause the epidemic to rebound.”

The figures showed that if the spread prevention measures are insufficient, Canada could have another peak come October.

“While we start loosening some restrictions, we also have to strengthen other measures… And as people head back to work, it’s even more important that we keep a 2-metre distance from others, wash our hands, and wear a mask when physical distancing is not always possible,” Trudeau said on Thursday.

The other key measures to continue will be case detection and isolation, contact-tracing and quarantining those who have come into contact with a confirmed case, and managing the risk of importing the disease from abroad.

THIRD UPDATE ON MODELLING

Thursday’s figures are the third federal modelling update, and they come more than a month after the last round of modelling released by Health Canada showed that the curve was flattening in Canada and that the rate of case spread had levelled off in most provinces.

The first round of projections showed the peak of cases in Canada might come in late spring, with the end of the first wave in the summer.

On April 9, it was estimated that between 4,000 and 300,000 people in Canada could die from COVID-19 during the pandemic depending on the level of containment efforts. Under the public health measures in place, however, officials said it was more likely that the number of deaths would be somewhere between 11,000 and 22,000. 

Then on April 28 the government offered more short-term projections that estimated that by May 5 Canada was on track to hit between 53,196 and 66,835 cases of COVID-19, and between 3,277 and 3,883 deaths. In reality, as of May 5 there were 62,046 confirmed cases and 4,043 people had died.

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Protests more subdued after new charges in George Floyd case – CBC.ca

June 4th, 2020

Demonstrations in cities across the U.S. to condemn racism and police abuses remained large but turned notably more subdued on the eve of a Thursday memorial service for George Floyd, which kicks off a series of events to mourn the man whose death empowered a national movement.

The calmer protests came on the same day that prosecutors charged three more police officers and filed a new, tougher charge against the officer at the centre of the case.

The most serious new charge Wednesday was an accusation of second-degree murder against Derek Chauvin, who was caught on video pressing his knee to Floyd’s neck. The three other officers at the scene were charged for the first time with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

If convicted, they could be sentenced to up to four decades in prison.

The move by prosecutors punctuated an unprecedented week in modern American history, in which largely peaceful protests took place in communities of all sizes but were rocked by bouts of violence, including deadly attacks on officers, rampant thefts and arson in some places.

Across the U.S., more than 10,000 people have been arrested in connection with unrest, a tally by The Associated Press shows. More than a dozen deaths have been reported, though the circumstances in many cases are still being sorted out.

Protests still large

Protests were still big but largely peaceful in California, where NBA stars Steph Curry and Klay Thompson marched with protesters in Oakland.

Some demonstrators lay down to represent the amount of time the white police officer pressed a knee into Floyd’s neck while he pleaded for air. But police kept a mainly hands-off policy during the day even after curfews took effect.

Watch | Upgraded, additional charges for police officers in George Floyd’s death:

Derek Chauvin now faces a second-degree murder charge in George Floyd’s death and three other officers are charged with aiding and abetting a murder as protests continue. 1:57

The first of three memorial gatherings for the man whose name has been chanted by hundreds of thousands of people was planned Thursday afternoon in Minneapolis at a service where the Rev. Al Sharpton, the civil rights leader, and family attorney Ben Crump will speak.

Floyd’s body will then travel to Raeford, N.C., where he was born 46 years ago, for a public viewing and private family service Saturday.

There will be a large service Monday in Houston, where Floyd spent most of his life, and will include addresses from Sharpton, Crump, and the Rev. Remus E. Wright, the family pastor. Former vice-president Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, may attend. A private burial will follow.

Crump, the family attorney, called the additional charges against the officers “a bittersweet moment” and “a significant step forward on the road to justice.”

3 officers injured in Brooklyn

After the new charges were announced, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said the state and nation need to “seize the moment” and use the wrenching events of the past week to confront the effects of racism, including unequal educational and economic opportunities.

“I think this is probably our last shot, as a state and as a nation, to fix this systemic issue,” he said.

Demonstrators use their phone lights Wednesday in downtown Los Angeles during a protest over Floyd’s death. (Marcio Jose Sanchez/The Associated Press)

Hundreds of protesters were in New York City’s Washington Square Park when the new charges were announced.

“It’s not enough,” protester Jonathan Roldan said, insisting all four officers should have been charged from the start. “Right now, we’re still marching because it’s not enough that they got arrested. There needs to be systematic change.”

But later in the day a police officer on an anti-looting patrol in Brooklyn was ambushed by a man who walked up behind him and stabbed him in the neck. That set off a struggle in which two other officers suffered gunshot injuries to their hands.

Chauvin was initially charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, counts that still stand.

The new second-degree murder charge alleges that Chauvin caused Floyd’s death without intent while committing another felony, namely third-degree assault. It carries a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison, compared with a maximum of 25 years for third-degree murder.

The other officers — Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao — face the same maximum penalties for aiding and abetting. All three men were in custody by Wednesday evening.

The multiple charges against each officer would offer a jury more options to find them guilty.

Also Wednesday, the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office released the full autopsy report on Floyd, which noted he had previously tested positive for COVID-19, but was apparently asymptomatic. The report was released with the family’s permission after summary findings Monday that said he had a heart attack while being restrained by officers.

‘We are not going anywhere!’

U.S. President Donald Trump has pushed the nation’s governors to take a hard line against the violence. He again tweeted Wednesday: “LAW & ORDER!”

An overpowering security force — including officers from the FBI Hostage Rescue Team, the Secret Service, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Prisons and, according to a senior defence official, at least 2,200 National Guard soldiers — was out in force Wednesday as thousands of peaceful protesters demonstrated in the nation’s capital.

Watch | Protesters vow to continue fight for justice after George Floyd’s death:

After nine days of demonstrations, protesters say they’re continuing to fight for justice and not only for George Floyd. 3:11

Military vehicles were parked on streets near the White House, and an array of agencies kept watch from the air. An FBI plane, an Army surveillance plane and a Park Police helicopter circled overhead.

At one point near the White House, protesters began singing Amazing Grace as they knelt in view of law enforcement officers in riot gear. “We are not going anywhere!” they chanted. There were no signs of confrontations.

Protester Jade Jones, 30, said the demonstrations would continue despite the new charges.

“That’s the least they could do,” said Jones, who had been attending Washington protests for days. “It’s not going to wipe away 400 years of pain.”

Trump found himself embroiled in conflict on other fronts. His former defence secretary Jim Mattis ripped the president’s heavy-handed use of military force to quell protests near the White House.

In New York City, where high-end stores were looted in earlier days, some retailers fortified their property. At the luxury department store Saks Fifth Avenue, windows were boarded up, then covered in chain-link fencing and razor wire. The front of the store was guarded by a line of tattooed men with dogs.

The protests have also taken root overseas, including in Athens, London, Helsinki, Rotterdam and Bogota, among other cities.

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George Floyd tested positive for coronavirus, full autopsy report reveals – Globalnews.ca

June 4th, 2020

A full autopsy of George Floyd, the handcuffed black man who died after being restrained by Minneapolis police, was released Wednesday and provides several clinical details, including that Floyd had previously tested positive for COVID-19.

The 20-page report released by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office came with the family’s permission and after the coroner’s office released summary findings Monday that Floyd had a heart attack while being restrained by officers, and classified his May 25 death as a homicide.

READ MORE: George Floyd death: Derek Chauvin charges upped, all 4 officers are now facing charges

Bystander video showing Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pressing his knee on Floyd’s neck, ignoring Floyd’s “I can’t breathe” cries until he eventually stopped moving, has sparked nationwide protests, some violent.

2:20George Floyd death: Rev. Al Sharpton says he’ll deliver eulogy at funeral

George Floyd death: Rev. Al Sharpton says he’ll deliver eulogy at funeral

The report by Chief Medical Examiner Andrew Baker spelled out clinical details, including that Floyd had tested positive for COVID-19 on April 3 but appeared asymptomatic. The report also noted Floyd’s lungs appeared healthy but he had some narrowing of arteries in the heart.

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The county’s earlier summary report had listed fentanyl intoxication and recent methamphetamine use under “other significant conditions” but not under “cause of death.” The full report’s footnotes noted that signs of fentanyl toxicity can include “severe respiratory depression” and seizures.

READ MORE: George Floyd died of ‘asphyxiation,’ autopsy commissioned by family finds

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison on Wednesday upgraded charges against Chauvin to 2nd-degree murder, and also charged the three other officers on the scene with aiding and abetting.

Floyd family attorney, Ben Crump, earlier decried the official autopsy — as described in the original complaint against Chauvin — for ruling out asphyxia. An autopsy commissioned by the Floyd family concluded that he died of asphyxiation due to neck and back compression.

© 2020 The Canadian Press

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Trump’s former defence secretary issues strong rebuke of president, use of military against protests – CBC.ca

June 3rd, 2020

In an extraordinary rebuke, former U.S. defence secretary Jim Mattis on Wednesday denounced President Donald Trump’s heavy-handed use of military force to quell protests near the White House and said his former boss was setting up a “false conflict” between the military and civilian society.

“I have watched this week’s unfolding events, angry and appalled,” Mattis wrote.

The criticism was all the more remarkable because Mattis has generally kept a low profile since resigning as defence secretary in December 2018 to protest Trump’s Syria policy. He had declined to speak out against Trump, saying he owed the nation public silence while his former boss remained in office.

But he’s speaking out after this past week’s protests in response to the death of George Floyd in police custody.

Trump responded on Twitter Wednesday evening by calling Mattis “the world’s most overrated General.”

Mattis resigned last year over Trump’s Syria policy. (Leah Millis/Reuters)

“I didn’t like his `leadership’ style or much else about him, and many others agree,” Trump tweeted. “Glad he is gone!”

Mattis had a scathing description of Trump’s walk to a historic nearby church Monday to pose with a Bible after law enforcement forcibly cleared Lafayette Square of mostly peaceful protesters.

He said he never dreamed troops “would be ordered under any circumstance to violate the Constitutional rights of their fellow citizens — much less to provide a bizarre photo op for the elected commander-in-chief, with military leadership standing alongside.”

“Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people —does not even pretend to try. Instead he tries to divide us,” Mattis wrote in a statement published by The Atlantic. “We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership.”

Mattis called on Americans to unite without Trump. “This will not be easy, as the past few days have shown, but we owe it to our fellow citizens; to past generations that bled to defend our promise; and to our children,” he wrote.

Mattis said of the protesters that Americans should not be distracted by a small number of lawbreakers. He said they are rightly demanding that the country follow the words of “Equal Justice Under Law” that are on display at the U.S. Supreme Court.

“The protests are defined by tens of thousands of people of conscience who are insisting that we live up to our values — our values as people and our values as a nation,” Mattis said.

Mattis took particular issue with the use of force to move back protesters so Trump could visit St. John’s Church the day after it was damaged by fire during protests. Several different groups, including the National Guard and the U.S. Park Police, were involved.

“We know that we are better than the abuse of executive authority that we witnessed in Lafayette Square. We must reject and hold accountable those in office who would make a mockery of our Constitution,” Mattis said.

One day after Trump announced he was pulling all U.S. troops out of Syria, where they were partnering with local Syrians to fight the Islamic State, Mattis tried but failed to change Trump’s mind. So, he resigned. Trump soon turned on Mattis, calling him a failure. He said falsely that he had fired Mattis.

“What’s he done for me?” Trump said Jan. 2. “How had he done in Afghanistan? Not too good. I’m not happy with what he’s done in Afghanistan, and I shouldn’t be happy.”

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Alberta government moving to defend against federal “gun grab” – CTV News

June 3rd, 2020

EDMONTON — The provincial government is taking steps it says will protect the rights of gun owners in Alberta and strengthen the justice system’s ability to prosecute gun crimes.

Premier Jason Kenney announced a new Alberta Firearms Advisory Committee and an investment to expand firearm testing in the province on Wednesday.

The 12-member advisory committee, chaired by Brooks-Medicine Hat MLA Michaela Glasgo, will provide recommendations on responding to gun violence while protecting the rights of gun owners.

Glasgo said she was appalled by the federal government’s decision to ban certain firearms, calling it a “gun grab.”

“This is just one more example of Ottawa really not understanding the needs of Albertans,” she said. “These recent attacks on gun owners’ rights will do absolutely nothing to address the core issues that lead to gun violence.”

“Hundreds of thousands of Albertans simply use firearms as part of everyday life,” Kenney said. “Those law-abiding Albertans should not be used as scapegoats for the actions of criminals by politicians in Ottawa.”

Premier Kenney also announced the Alberta Firearms Examination Unit, aimed at strengthening the justice system’s ability to prosecute gun crimes.

Citing an average wait time of eight months for tests sent to the federal forensic lab, the province will invest $500,000 in expanding firearm testing facilities in Calgary and Edmonton.

“This will speed up the testing process to ensure that no prosecution of a gun crime gets derailed because tests are being held up down in Ottawa,” Kenney said.

The labs will be a partnership with the Edmonton Police Service, Calgary Police Service, RCMP and the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams.

Calgary’s lab is already operating, Edmonton’s is in the works.

The province will also name its own Alberta Firearms Officer to replace Ottawa’s appointee.

A statement from the office of the Minister of Public Safety reads, “As outlined in the Firearms Act, provinces hold the right to appoint their own the Chief Firearms Officer (CFO) if they wish to do so. At this time, five provinces have taken this step, and we continue to support their right to appoint their own CFO.”

It went on to say that if a province does not wish to exercise that right, the federal government may do so in their place.

The federal government banned certain military-style assault weapons in May and announced planned legislation to address handguns and a buyback program for legally purchased weapons

Kenney criticized Trudeau’s ban at the time, saying it wouldn’t target criminals. He said the Alberta government is concerned about crime and the illegal use of firearms, which would be better addressed by stronger laws against violent criminals.

Many Albertans agree.

Affordable Firearms Licensing Alberta Certified Instructor Delano Civitarese says the federal plan is targeting the wrong people.

“It’s not fair to lump gun owners all into the same pile,” Civitarese said. “The legislation that was put in place is doing nothing more than deterring legal owners from getting into the sport and continuing to pursue their passions.”

Gun control advocate Wendy Cukier told CTV News she disagrees. The President of the Coalition for Gun Control said the guns listed in the federal legislation aren’t needed for sport.

“Most law abiding gun owners don’t have military assault weapons and most of them don’t think people should have military assault weapons,” Cukier said.

With files from Timm Bruch

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American streets calmest in days, protests largely peaceful – CTV News

June 3rd, 2020

WASHINGTON — Protests were largely peaceful and the nation’s streets were calmer than they have been in days since the killing of George Floyd set off demonstrations that at times brought violence and destruction along with pleas to stop police brutality and injustice against African Americans.

There were scattered reports of looting in New York City overnight, and as of Wednesday morning there had been over 9,000 arrests nationwide since the unrest began following Floyd’s death May 25 in Minneapolis. But there was a marked quiet compared with the unrest of the past few nights, which included fires and shootings in some cities.

The calmer night came as many cities intensified their curfews, with authorities in New York and Washington ordering people off streets while it was still daylight.

A block away from the White House, thousands of demonstrators massed following a crackdown a day earlier when officers on foot and horseback aggressively drove peaceful protesters away from Lafayette Park, clearing the way for President Donald Trump to do a photo op at nearby St. John’s Church. Tuesday’s protesters faced law enforcement personnel who stood behind a black chain-link fence that was put up overnight to block access to the park.

“Last night pushed me way over the edge,” said Jessica DeMaio, 40, of Washington, who attended a Floyd protest Tuesday for the first time. “Being here is better than being at home feeling helpless.”

Pastors at the church prayed with demonstrators and handed out water bottles. The crowd remained in place after the city’s 7 p.m. curfew passed, defying warnings that the response from law enforcement could be even more forceful. But the crowd Tuesday was peaceful, even polite. At one point, the crowd booed when a protester climbed a light post and took down a street sign. A chant went up: “Peaceful protest!”

Pope Francis on Wednesday called for national reconciliation and peace.

Francis said that he has `’witnessed with great concern the disturbing social unrest” in the United States in recent days.

“My friends, 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,” the pope said during his weekly Wednesday audience, held in the presence of bishops due to coronavirus restrictions on gatherings.

Trump, meanwhile, amplified his hard-line calls from Monday, when he threatened to send in the military to restore order if governors didn’t do it.

“NYC, CALL UP THE NATIONAL GUARD,” he tweeted. “The lowlifes and losers are ripping you apart. Act fast!”

Thousands of people remained in the streets of New York City Tuesday night, undeterred by an 8 p.m. curfew, though most streets were clear by early Wednesday other than police who were patrolling some areas. Midtown Manhattan was pocked with battered storefronts after Monday’s protests.

Protests also passed across the U.S., including in Los Angeles, Miami, St. Paul, Minnesota, Columbia, South Carolina and Houston, where the police chief talked to peaceful demonstrators, vowing reforms.

“God as my witness, change is coming,” Art Acevedo said. “And we’re going to do it the right way.”

More than 20,000 National Guard members have been called up in 29 states to deal with the violence. New York is not among them, and Mayor Bill de Blasio has said he does not want the Guard. On Tuesday, Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo called what happened in the city “a disgrace.”

“The NYPD and the mayor did not do their job last night,” Cuomo said at a briefing in Albany.

He said the mayor underestimated the problem, and the nation’s largest police force was not deployed in sufficient numbers, though the city had said it doubled the usual police presence.

Tuesday marked the eighth straight night of the protests, which began after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck while the handcuffed black man called out that he couldn’t breathe. The officer, Derek Chauvin, has been fired and charged with murder.

The mother of George Floyd’s 6-year-old daughter, Gianna, said she wanted the world to know that her little girl lost a good father.

“I want everybody to know that this is what those officers took,” Roxie Washington said during a Minneapolis news conference with her young daughter at her side. “I want justice for him because he was good. No matter what anybody thinks, he was good.”

Some protesters framed the burgeoning movement as a necessity after a string of killings by police.

“It feels like it’s just been an endless cascade of hashtags of black people dying, and it feels like nothing’s really being done by our political leaders to actually enact real change,” said Christine Ohenzuwa, 19, who attended a peaceful protest at the Minnesota state capitol in St. Paul. “There’s always going to be a breaking point. I think right now, we’re seeing the breaking point around the country.”

“I live in this state. It’s really painful to see what’s going on, but it’s also really important to understand that it’s connected to a system of racial violence,” she said.

Meanwhile, governors and mayors, Republicans and Democrats alike, rejected Trump’s threat to send in the military, with some saying troops would be unnecessary and others questioning whether the government has such authority and warning that such a step would be dangerous.

A senior White House official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that the president is not rushing to send in the military and that his goal was to pressure governors to deploy more National Guard members.

Such use of the military would mark a stunning federal intervention rarely seen in modern American history.

Amid the protests, nine states and the District of Columbia held presidential primaries that tested the nation’s ability to run elections while balancing a pandemic and sweeping social unrest. Joe Biden won hundreds more delegates and was on the cusp of formally securing the Democratic presidential nomination.

Also Tuesday, Minnesota opened an investigation into whether the Minneapolis Police Department has a pattern of discrimination against minorities.

——

Sullivan reported from Minneapolis. Associated Press journalists across the U.S. contributed to this report.

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