The Latest: Mourners pay respects near Floyd’s hometown
TOP OF THE HOUR:
— Floyd honored with memorial service near his North Carolina hometown.
— Washington DC expects largest demonstration yet for Floyd.
— Thousands in London, Italy protest police violence, racial injustice.
— DC rally for Aug. 28 anniversary of MLK’s “I Have A Dream” speech.
RAEFORD, N.C. — Mourners from around North Carolina are waiting in a quickly moving line outside a church in the small town of Raeford where a memorial service and public viewing for George Floyd is being held.
The line includes families with young children and teenagers. One young woman wore a graduation cap and gown as she walked beside her parents outside the church, about 22 miles (34 kilometers) from Floyd’s hometown of Fayetteville.
Several mourners told WRAL-TV that they felt drawn to attend because of Floyd’s death and the protests in response represent a historic or momentous moment.
ATLANTA — Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms says she is lifting what had been a planned 8 p.m. curfew on Saturday in Atlanta after no arrests were reported Friday in Georgia’s largest city.
The city had been under a nightly curfew since the previous Friday, when a downtown protest dissolved into window-smashing, arson and looting.
More than 20 protests are scheduled Saturday across the Atlanta metro area. Bottoms says she will monitor the situation before deciding whether to reimpose a curfew on Sunday night.
LONDON — British world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua has decried racism as he joined a Black Lives Matter protest in his home town of Watford, about 15 miles north of London.
Reading from a script in a video posted on social media, Joshua said the “virus has been declared a pandemic” and is “out of control.”
Joshua, who was not wearing a face covering and was unable to observe social distancing guidelines given the size of the crowd, said he wasn’t talking about COVID-19: “The virus I’m referring to is called racism.”
He said people should “speak out in peaceful demonstrations,” but they shouldn’t use them “for selfish motives” and turn to rioting and looting.
BUFFALO, N.Y. — Prosecutors say two Buffalo police officers have been charged with assault after a video showed them shoving a 75-year-old protester to the sidewalk.
Both pleaded not guilty to second-degree assault Saturday. The two officers were suspended without pay Friday after a TV crew captured the confrontation the night before near the end of protests over the death of George Floyd.
The footage shows a man identified as Martin Gugino approaching a line of helmeted officers holding batons as they clear demonstrators from Niagara Square. Two officers push Gugino backward, and he hits his head on the pavement. Blood spills from head as officers walk past.
DENVER — A federal judge is limiting police use of tear gas, rubber bullets and other non-lethal weapons against people protesting police brutality in Denver.
In a temporary restraining order issued late Friday, U.S. District Judge Brooke Jackson says the four people who sued the city had made a strong case the police had used excessive force. He says an on-scene supervisor with the rank of captain or above must approve the use of any chemical weapons and projectiles. They also must wear body cameras.
Denver police say they would comply with the order but would ask for some changes given the limitations of staffing and cameras.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Officials in Providence say they made just nine arrests after one of the largest protests in recent history in Providence where a Black Lives Matter demonstration drew at least 10,000 peaceful demonstrators.
Thousands gathered downtown at Kennedy Plaza on Friday before marching to the Statehouse, where the crowd swelled in size. Many chanted, “No justice, no peace,” and “I can’t breathe.”
Police, some of whom knelt in solidarity with demonstrators, say only a few unruly protesters were taken into custody, most after several hundred people lingered well beyond the 9 p.m. curfew.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A century-old statue commemorating women in the Confederacy was defaced in a Florida park amid ongoing racial inequality protests.
The Florida Times-Union reports the “Women of the Southland” statue in Jacksonville was splattered with red paint and tagged with the letters BLM, an abbreviation of the Black Lives Matter movement. The statue has been in the city’s Confederate Park since 1915, and activists have been seeking its removal.
Protesters in southern cities have targeted Confederate monuments as symbols of racial intolerance.
WASHINGTON — Military vehicles and officers in fatigues are closing off much of downtown Washington, D.C. to traffic ahead of what are expected to be the largest protests in the city yet over the killing of George Floyd.
The blocks inside the perimeter surrounding the White House were calm on Saturday morning, with joggers and cyclists taking advantage of the open streets before the daytime temperature rises.
Some people were preparing supplies for protesters, including water bottles and granola bars.
The White House has been fortified with new fencing and extra security precautions amid a week of largely peaceful protests that at times grew violent.
President Donald Trump is at the White House, with no public events on the schedule.
RAEFORD, N.C. — Mourners are gathering at a church for a memorial service for George Floyd.
Two lines of people about 100 deep formed at the entrance as a hearse bearing Floyd’s coffin arrived at a church in Raeford, North Carolina.
As the casket rolled in, chants of “black power,” and “George Floyd” and “No justice, no peace,” echoed from beneath the covered entrance.
The viewing was scheduled to begin at noon EDT, followed by the service for Floyd, who died after a Minneapolis police officer placed a knee on his neck for several minutes on May 25. His death has resulted in protests around the world against police brutality and racism.
ROME — Several hundred people protested peacefully in front of the U.S. consulate in Naples, shouting “I can’t breathe” to denounce the police killing of George Floyd.
In English and Italian, protesters chanted “Freedom!” and “No Justice, No Peace” and carried handmade signs. It’s one of the first protests in Italy in solidarity with Floyd and anti-racism efforts.
Police in riot gear enforced the perimeter around the protest, which was held along the seafront promenade opposite the U.S. consulate. There were no immediate signs of clashes. Most protesters wore facemasks and organizers urged them to keep their distance from each other because of the coronavirus.
There’s been an influx of migrants from Africa in recent years and racial incidents have been on the rise in Italy. Derogatory slurs directed at black soccer players make headlines, resulting in fines and sanctions for clubs.
More protests are planned this weekend in other cities.
PARIS — French security forces have sealed off the U.S. Embassy in Paris and the surrounding streets to prevent a banned protest against police abuses in France and the United States.
The demonstration planned for Saturday and others this week in the French capital were in support of U.S. protests following the death of George Floyd. Police banned protests in Paris, citing the risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus and concerns about public unrest.
Organizers of the weekend protest were among those turned around by riot police as they tried to gather in front of the embassy. Police stopped Egountchi Behanzin, a founder of the Black African Defense League, before he got close to the diplomatic building. Officers checked his papers and sent him away
Behanzin told the officers: “You can fine me 10,000 or 20,000 times, the revolt will happen anyway. … It is because of you that we are here.”
BERLIN — Thousands of mostly young people, many dressed in black and wearing face masks, joined a Black Lives Matter protest in Berlin’s Alexander Square.
Some held up placards with slogans such as “Be the change,” I can’t breathe” and “Germany is not innocent.”
Amina Koss of Berlin says she’d taken part in Black Lives Matters protests before George Floyd’s death. She says she’s concerned some politicians, including in Germany, are making racism acceptable again.
Koss says, “we as a society don’t tolerate racism.”
LONDON — Thousands of demonstrators protested in rainy central London against police violence and racial injustice following the killing of George Floyd.
Gathering in Parliament Square, a traditional venue for protests, the demonstrators “took the knee” in silence and then chanted Floyd’s name before applauding his memory.
The demonstrators have ignored advice from the government and police to avoid attending because of the coronavirus. In England, gatherings are limited to groups of six, provided people observe the social distancing guidelines to remain 2 meters (6.5 feet) apart.
Though social distancing was not possible given the numbers attending, many protesters wore face coverings.
Many held banners aloft, including one that read “Racism is a Pandemic.”
Demonstrations supporting the Black Lives Matter movement also are taking place in Manchester, Cardiff in Wales and other U.K. cities. A rally is scheduled for Sunday in front of the U.S. Embassy in London.
PARIS —Police have banned a third protest in Paris that had been planned for Saturday to condemn alleged police abuses in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
Police cited a risk of spreading COVID-19 and fears of public unrest. The police decree noted that social distancing regulations ban gatherings of more than 10 people.
Online posts called for people to gather Saturday afternoon in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower.
Paris police had previously also banned two other planned gatherings Saturday outside the US Embassy.
WASHINGTON — Authorities in the nation’s capital are expecting Saturday to be the largest demonstration against police brutality in the city since the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Washington has featured daily protests for the past week and they have largely been peaceful, with people marching back and forth from the White House to the Capitol and the Lincoln Memorial.
Those numbers are expected to swell. Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy told reporters Friday that local officials were projecting between 100,000 and 200,000 protesters.
Metropolitan Police Department Chief Peter Newsham wouldn’t commit to a number but predicted it would be smaller than the 1 million people who attended the Women’s March in 2017.
It comes as authorities have sought to reduce tensions by having National Guard troops not carry weapons.
There were zero arrests during demonstrations on Thursday and Friday and D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser canceled the curfew that had been in place since Monday. She said she will decide on Saturday morning if it will be reinstated.
A number of D.C. churches and theaters have said they will open their lobbies so people can cool off.
Rev. Al Sharpton said the Washington rally he announced this week was being planned for Aug. 28, the anniversary of the day MLK gave his “I Have a Dream” speech.
He said the August event would be a way of maintaining momentum as the legal process against the men charged in Floyd’s death is underway.
“It’s going to be months, if not a year before you even go to trial. So you can’t let this peter out … otherwise you’ll end up in a year and people will go on to another story, and you will not have the public notice and pressure that you need.”
And from August, he said, “It gives you a push into November, not in a partisan way, in a protecting the vote, because we’ve got to educate people on mail-in voting. We’ve got to educate people in terms of turnout.”
He said, “One of the things King’s dream was about was voting rights and gives us like 90 days before the election and a great emphasis on that, which you’re going to, in order to change laws, you’ve got to impact lawmakers and they get elected in November. … Otherwise it’s for nothing.”
MINNEAPOLIS — Residents of Minneapolis and St. Paul were no longer under a curfew Friday night and the state is planning to start sending state troopers and National Guard members back home.
Minneapolis and St. Paul saw violent protests and store break-ins late last week following George Floyd’s death after being arrested by Minneapolis police. The city has seen peaceful protests for nearly a week, including some 1,000 protesters in St. Paul on Friday and hundreds more near U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
Gov. Tim Walz credited peaceful protests for helping achieve rapid change on Minneapolis Police Department policy. On Friday, the city agreed to ban chokeholds and neck restraints as a civil rights investigation of the department begins.
Floyd, a handcuffed black man, died after a white police officer pressed his knee against his neck, ignoring his “I can’t breathe” cries even after Floyd eventually grew still. Bystander video sparked outrage over Floyd’s death and protests, some violent, that spread across the U.S. and beyond.
Follow more AP stories on the George Floyd protests and reaction at https://apnews.com/GeorgeFloyd