(By Shabtai Gold and Sophie Wingate, dpa)
Washington (dpa) – The brother of George Floyd, the black man killed by a white police officer in Minnesota, on Monday urged protesters to refrain from violence, as two new autopsies ruled his death was homicide.
Cities across the United States have been gripped by both peaceful protests over Floyd’s killing last week, and incidents of after-dark rioting that included arson, looting and clashes with police.
“We still going to do this, peacefully,” Terrence Floyd said at a vigil for his slain kin in Minneapolis, before leading a chant of “peace on the left, justice on the right.”
He said violent protests “may feel good for the moment” but were causing harm. He added that too often police brutality incidents led to violent protests that did not result in political change.
“What are y’all doing, y’all doing nothing because that’s not going to bring my brother back,” he said. “He would not want you all to be doing this.”
A funeral for Floyd will take place on June 9 in Houston, Texas, where he spent much of his life, lawyers for the family said.
Autopsies agree on cause of death
An independent autopsy ordered by the family found that Floyd’s death was homicide caused by asphyxiation, while a local medical examiner’s report also pointed to homicide.
The new report released by the Hennepin County medical examiner lists the cause of death as “cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression.”
Michael Baden, a medic who carried out the independent autopsy, said it showed that Floyd “had no underlying medical problem that caused or contributed to his death.”
“The cause of death, in my opinion, is asphyxia due to compression of the neck,” Baden said.
Both the private autopsy and the medical examiner’s report contradict preliminary findings last week that said Floyd died from being restrained along with underlying health problems and possible intoxicants in his system, and that there was no evidence of asphyxiation.
“George died because he needed a breath, he needed a breath of air,” lead attorney Ben Crump said, also saying that violent protests were “unacceptable.”
Governor of Minnesota speaks out
Tim Walz, the governor of Minnesota – where Floyd died, said a “second night of security and order on our streets” had replaced the violence seen there last week.
“We’ve got an opportunity here, we’ve changed the direction in which this has gone,” he said, also announcing that the national guard will partially demobilise in his state.
US President Donald Trump told Walz earlier on Monday that Minnesota was “a laughingstock all over the world” for not responding aggressively enough when protests first erupted, CNN reported.
In a closed-door video teleconference, an agitated Trump demanded that the governors of various states take tougher action against protesters, according to an audio recording broadcast by CNN.
“You have to dominate, if you don’t dominate you’re wasting your time. They’re going to run over you. You’re going to look like a bunch of jerks,” Trump said.
The president has been tweeting consistently, mostly blaming the far-left and anarchists for the rioting and seeking to link them to his rivals from the opposition Democratic Party.
The national guard has been mobilised in more than two dozen states to help overwhelmed local authorities, in one of the widest such deployments in recent years.
Police in certain cities, including in Minneapolis, have been accused of using heavy-handed tactics against protesters. Many hundreds have been arrested, while a number of journalists have been injured by police.
Police fired tear gas into a crowd of demonstrators in Philadelphia blocking a highway on Monday evening, according to local media including CBS.
Military vehicles moved near the White House as protesters again gathered in the nation’s capital.
Officials in New York was the latest city to impose an overnight curfew, as the nation’s largest city braced for more marches.
Demonstrators are largely calling for an end to discrimination against African Americans by the police, often under the slogan “Black Lives Matter.”
The White House over the weekend denied there is systemic racism in the US, instead blaming “bad apples” in certain police departments.
In some instances, police have worked with protesters to calm tensions and even joined protesters in calling for reforms.
Officer fired, charged with third-degree murder
Derek Chauvin, the officer who was filmed with his knee pressed into Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes before Floyd died, was last week charged with third-degree murder. Three other officers involved were fired.
Keith Ellison, the attorney general of Minnesota, has effectively been placed in charge of further prosecution, in a sign of increased scrutiny over local officials.
“We are going to bring to bear all the resources necessary to achieve justice in this case,” he said. He warned that prosecuting police officers has historically been “very difficult.”
Author: ANA Newswire