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National News

    Another night of unrest in every corner of the country left charred and shattered landscapes in dozens of American cities Sunday as years of festering frustrations over the mistreatment of African Americans at the hands of police boiled over in expressions of rage met with tear gas and rubber bullets. Cars and businesses were torched, the words “I can’t breathe” were spray-painted all over buildings, a fire in a trash bin burned near the gates of the White House, and thousands marched peacefully through city streets to protest the death of George Floyd, a black man who died Monday after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee on his neck until he stopped breathing. His death is one of a litany of racial tragedies that have thrown the country into chaos amid the coronavirus pandemic that has left millions out of work and killed more than 100,000 people in the U.S., including disproportionate numbers of black people. “We’re sick of it. The cops are out of control,” protester Olga Hall said in Washington D.C. “They’re wild. There’s just been too many dead boys.” People set fire to police cars, threw bottles at police officers and busted windows of storefronts, carrying away TVs and other items even as some protesters urged them to stop. In Indianapolis, police were investigating multiple shootings, including one that left a person dead amid the protests — adding to deaths in Detroit and Minneapolis in recent days. In Minneapolis, the city where the protests began, police, state troopers and National Guard members moved in soon after an 8 p.m. curfew took effect to break up protests, firing tear gas and rubber bullets to clear streets outside a police precinct and elsewhere. At least 13 police officers were injured in Philadelphia when peaceful protests turned violent and at least four police vehicles were set on fire. In New York City, dangerous confrontations flared repeatedly as officers made arrests and cleared streets. A video showed two NYPD cruisers lurching into a crowd of demonstrators who were pushing a barricade against one of them and pelting it with objects. Several people were knocked to the ground, and it was unclear if anyone was hurt. “The mistakes that are happening are not mistakes. They’re repeated violent terrorist offenses and people need to stop killing black people,” Brooklyn protester Meryl Makielski said. Few corners of America were untouched, from protesters setting fires inside Reno’s city hall, to police launching tear gas at rock-throwing demonstrators in Fargo, North Dakota. In Salt Lake City, demonstrators flipped a police car and lit it on fire. Police said six people were arrested and a police officer was injured after being struck in the head with a baseball bat. Police have arrested at least 1,669 people in 22 cities since Thursday, according to a tally by The Associated Press. Nearly a third of those arrests came in Los Angeles, where the governor declared a state of emergency and ordered the National Guard to back up the city’s 10,000 police officers as dozens of fires burned across the city. The damage in U.S. cities came as many Americans plan to return to in-person church services on Sunday for the first time in several weeks since the pandemic forced a ban on large gatherings. Pastors in pulpits across the country will likely be urging peace amid the rubble of riots. Trump appeared to cheer on the tougher tactics Saturday night, commending the National Guard deployment in Minneapolis, declaring “No games!” and saying police in New York City “must be allowed to do their job!” Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden condemned the violence as he continued to express common cause with those demonstrating after Floyd’s death. “The act of protesting should never be allowed to overshadow the reason we protest,” Biden said in a statement Saturday night. Overnight curfews were imposed in more than a dozen major cities nationwide, including Atlanta, Denver, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, San Francisco and Seattle. This week’s unrest recalled the riots in Los Angeles nearly 30 years ago after the acquittal of the white police officers who beat Rodney King, a black motorist who had led them on a high-speed chase. The protests of Floyd’s killing have gripped many more cities, but the losses in Minneapolis have yet to approach the staggering totals Los Angeles saw during five days of rioting in 1992, when more than 60 people died, 2,000-plus were injured and thousands arrested, with property damage topping $1 billion. But not all protests were marred by violence. In Juneau, Alaska, local police joined protesters at a rally in front of a giant whale sculpture on the city’s waterfront. “We don’t tolerate excessive use of force,” Juneau Police Chief Ed Mercer told a gathering where most people wore masks and some sang Alaska Native songs. The show of force in Minneapolis came after three days when police largely avoided engaging protesters, and after the state poured in more than 4,000 National Guard troops to Minneapolis and said the number would soon rise to nearly 11,000. “The situation in Minneapolis is no longer in any way about the murder of George Floyd,” said Gov. Tim Walz, who also said local forces had been overmatched the previous day. “It is about attacking civil society, instilling fear and disrupting our great cities.” Some residents were glad to see the upheaval dissipating. “l live here. I haven’t been able to sleep,” said Iman Muhammad, whose neighborhood saw multiple fires set Friday night. Muhammad said she sympathized with peaceful protests over Floyd’s death but disagreed with the violence: “Wrong doesn’t answer wrong.” ___ Numerous AP journalists contributed from across the U.S.
  • Street protests spiraled into New York City’s worst day of unrest in decades Saturday, as fires burned, windows got smashed and dangerous confrontations between demonstrators and officers flared amid crowds of thousands decrying police killings. A day that began with mostly peaceful marches through Harlem and neighborhoods in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens descended into chaos as night fell. Demonstrators smashed windows, hurled objects at officers, torched and battered police vehicles and blocked roads with garbage and wreckage. A handful of stores in Manhattan had their windows broken and merchandise stolen. Officers sprayed crowds with chemicals, and video showed two police cruisers lurching into a crowd of demonstrators on a Brooklyn street, knocking several to the ground, after people attacked it with thrown objects, including something on fire. It was unclear whether anyone was hurt It was the third straight day of protests in the city over the killing of George Floyd by a police officer in Minnesota, a remarkable outburst after most New Yorkers spent the past two months stuck inside as the coronavirus devastated the city. A night earlier, several thousand people faced off with a force of officers on the streets around a Brooklyn sports arena. The NYPD said at least 120 people were arrested and at least 15 police vehicles destroyed New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat, blamed the destruction on a small number of agitators who he said “do not represent this city” and were purposely trying to incite violence against police. “We appreciate and respect all peaceful protest, but now it is time for people to go home,” de Blasio told reporters outside the city's emergency management headquarters just after 11:30 p.m. “What we’re seeing is people coming in from outside, a lot of them are purporting to speak about the issues of communities of color, but a lot of them are not from communities of color,” de Blasio said on the local cable news station NY1. Elsewhere in the state, the mayor in Rochester declared a state of emergency and a 9 p.m. curfew after demonstrators destroyed police cars, setting one on fire, and officers responded with tear gas canisters. In Buffalo, numerous storefronts had their windows smashed. Albany police used tear gas and rode horses in efforts to quell demonstrators throwing objects. The protests in each city were all held in defiance of a statewide ban on gatherings imposed to stop the spread of the coronavirus. “This is bigger than the pandemic,” said Brooklyn protester Meryl Makielski, referring to the outbreak that, until recently, was killing hundreds of New Yorkers each day. “The mistakes that are happening are not mistakes. They’re repeated violent terrorist offenses and people need to stop killing black people. Cops seem as though they’ve been trained to do so.” Earlier in the day, de Blasio had expressed solidarity with demonstrators upset about police brutality, but promised an independent review of demonstrations Friday night in which a mob set fire to a police van and battered police cruisers with clubs and officers beat people with batons. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he had asked the state's attorney general, Letitia James, to lead an inquiry and make a public report. The mayor said he was upset by videos of confrontations “where protesters were handled very violently” by police, including one that showed a woman being needlessly thrown to the ground. But he defended officers in the streets, saying they were being subjected “to horrible, vile things.” Of the video of officers driving into a crowd Saturday, de Blasio said it would be investigated, but that the officers acted because they were being attacked. Violance early Saturday resulted in federal charges against three people suspected of building and throwing Molotov cocktails at police vehicles in two separate incidents in Brooklyn. The U.S. attorney's office in Brooklyn said Samantha Shader, 27, of Catskill, New York, admitted under questioning to throwing her device at a van occupied by four officers. It did not ignite and the officers were unharmed, police said. Shader’s sister, Dorian, was also arrested and will face charges in state court, the Brooklyn district attorney’s office said. Colinford Mattis, 32, and Urooj Rahman, 31, both of Brooklyn, are accused of targeting a police van. They were charged under a federal statute regarding the use of fire and explosives to cause damage to a police vehicle and each face 5 to 20 years in prison if convicted. Information on their lawyers was not immediately available. Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said more than 200 people were arrested and multiple officers were injured in Friday night's protests, including one who lost a tooth. Asked to comment on videos that showed officers shoving peaceful protesters to the ground and hitting people with batons, Shea said those acts would be investigated. But, he said, “It is very hard to practice de-escalation when there is a brick being thrown at your head.” “It is by the grace of God that we don’t have dead officers today,” he said. In a peaceful gathering Saturday afternoon, the Rev. Al Sharpton addressed several hundred people in Staten Island at the spot where Eric Garner died after being placed in a chokehold by a police officer in 2014. He was accompanied by Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr. Sharpton noted that Floyd, who died Monday in Minneapolis after an officer pressed his knee into his neck, had also fallen unconscious gasping for air. “Right at this spot is where we heard Eric Garner say what six years later was said by George: ‘I can’t breathe.’” Cuomo noted that Floyd's death was just the latest in a long list of similar deaths, and he said he shared in the outrage over “this fundamental injustice.” “But violence is not the answer. It never is the answer,' he said. “The violence obscures the righteousness of the message and the mission.” ___ Associated Press writers Jennifer Peltz, Michael R. Sisak, Tom Hays, Maria Sanminiatelli and Robert Bumsted in New York, Dave Collins in Hartford, Connecticut, and John Wawrow in Buffalo contributed to this report.
  • More than 6 million people worldwide -- including more than 1.7 million in the United States – have been infected with the new coronavirus, and the number of deaths from the outbreak continues to rise. While efforts to contain the COVID-19 outbreak continue, states have begun to shift their focus toward reopening their economies. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is tracking cases in the U.S. here. Live updates for Sunday, May 31, continue below: US coronavirus cases surpass 1.7M, deaths top 103K Published 12:05 a.m. EDT May 31: The number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States continued to climb past 1.7 million early Saturday across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. According to a Johns Hopkins University tally, there are at least 1,747,085 confirmed U.S. cases of the virus, which have resulted in at least 102,836 deaths. The hardest-hit states remain New York with 369,660 cases and 29,710 deaths and New Jersey with 159,608 cases and 11,634 deaths. Massachusetts, with 95,512 cases, has the third-highest number of deaths with 6,768, while Illinois has the third-highest number of cases with 118,917. Only 16 states and territories have confirmed fewer than 6,000 cases each. Six other states have now confirmed at least 50,000 novel coronavirus cases each, including: • California: 109,509 cases, resulting in 4,136 deaths • Pennsylvania: 75,697 cases, resulting in 5,537 deaths • Texas: 62,675 cases, resulting in 1,652 deaths • Michigan: 56,969 cases, resulting in 5,464 deaths • Florida: 55,424 cases, resulting in 2,447 deaths • Maryland: 52,015 cases, resulting in 2,509 deaths Meanwhile, Georgia, Virginia and Connecticut each has confirmed at least 42,000 cases; Louisiana, Ohio and Indiana each has confirmed at least 34,000 cases; North Carolina, Colorado, Minnesota, Tennessee and Washington each has confirmed at least 21,000 cases; Iowa and Arizona each has confirmed at least 19,000 cases; Wisconsin and Alabama each has confirmed at least 17,000 cases; Mississippi and Rhode Island each has confirmed at least 14,000 cases; Nebraska and Missouri each has confirmed at least 13,000 cases, followed by South Carolina with 11,131; Kansas, Kentucky, Utah and Delaware each has confirmed at least 9,000 cases; the District of Columbia and Nevada each has confirmed at least 8,000 cases, followed by New Mexico with 7,493; Arkansas and Oklahoma each has confirmed at least 6,000 cases. Click here to see CNN’s state-by-state breakdown.
  • A fourth day of violence in Los Angeles prompted the mayor to impose a rare citywide curfew and call in the National Guard after demonstrators clashed repeatedly with officers, torched police vehicles and pillaged businesses in a popular shopping district. Mayor Eric Garcetti said Saturday he asked Gov. Gavin Newsom for 500 to 700 members of the Guard to assist the 10,000 Los Angeles Police Department officers. The Guard members were expected to arrive early Sunday. Garcetti said the soldiers would be deployed “to support our local response to maintain peace and safety on the streets of our city.' Firefighters responded to dozens of fires, and scores of businesses were damaged. One of the hardest-hit areas was the area around the Grove, a popular high-end outdoor mall west of downtown where hundreds of protesters swarmed the area, showering police with rocks and other objects and vandalizing shops. One officer suffered a fractured skull, Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore said. When the curfew took effect at 8 p.m., police moved aggressively to get people off the streets and there was no repeat of the late-night rampage that occurred downtown Friday night and led to more than 500 arrests. Community leaders denounced the violence that has accompanied protests over the death of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man who was died after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee to Floyd's neck. Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn said she lived through two previous seminal LA race riots — Watts in 1965 and 1992 following the acquittal of police officers in the beating of black motorist Rodney King — and remembers the pain the city endured. “We must stand in solidarity against the deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of law enforcement,' she said. “But please don’t destroy our beloved Los Angeles. This is not a protest anymore.” There were protests in cities throughout California, from San Diego to San Francisco. San Francisco's iconic Union Square saw people stealing leather bags from the Coach store and shoes from the Salvatore Ferragamo location, The Mercury News reported. Streets were littered with bras from Victoria's Secret and cushioned jewelry boxes from Swarovski. Police fired tear gas to disperse protesters. San Francisco Mayor London Breed said a citywide curfew would go into effect from 8 p.m. Sunday to 5 a.m. Monday. She also asked the governor to put the National Guard on standby. “People are hurting right now. They’re angry. I’m angry,' Breed tweeted, “We can’t tolerate violence and vandalism.' San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott said he understood why protesters are angry at police. But he warned that if anyone assaulted officers, “we will not tolerate that.” In nearby Oakland, which was wracked by violence Friday night that left 13 officers injured, authorities declared an unlawful demonstration near City Hall late Saturday. Protesters lit a dumpster on fire in the middle of an intersection and police launched tear gas into a crowd. In Emeryville, just east of San Francisco, Mayor Christian Patz said Target, Best Buy and other box stores were burglarized, with thieves stealing electronics and other items. Stores in the city closed early Saturday as part of a shelter-in-place order following violent protests in nearby Oakland the night before. “It’s an explosion of the frustration of the people in the community,” Patz said, “If we’re going to ask people to stay within the bounds of the law, we’re going to have to show that the law applies to everyone.' In Santa Ana, south of Los Angeles, hundreds of demonstrators converged on the police station, throwing objects and setting off firecrackers as police used tear gas to push them back. The scale of the destruction in Los Angeles was being compared to the 1992 riots, when there was more than $1 billion in property damage. There was no estimate of how many businesses suffered damage since protests began Wednesday, but it was clearly extensive. Saturday’s clashes occurred in and near the Fairfax District, where the historic center of LA’s Jewish community mixes with upscale shopping, restaurants and entertainment industry sites that draw locals and tourists from around the world. CBS Television City, the quaint Original Farmer’s Market and the luxury of the Grove are among sights. Trendy Melrose Avenue, which lent its name to the TV show “Melrose Place,” runs through the neighborhood. The rally that preceded the violence was held at Pan-Pacific Park, former site of the 1930s-era Pan-Pacific Auditorium where LA’s professional sports teams played and many of its major events were held before the city’s modern arenas were built. Through the day, crowds of demonstrators faced off with lines of police officers, or broke into businesses and stole merchandise. Patrol cars were battered and set ablaze, and several businesses burned into the night. The huge crowds gradually dissipated, but officers still pursued scattered groups and individuals. On Friday night, protesters roamed through the downtown late at night, smashing windows and robbing jewelry and other stores. On Saturday, a mostly peaceful demonstration early in the day devolved in the afternoon when protesters set several police department cars on fire, broke store windows and climbed on top of a bus. Police used batons to move protesters back and shot rubber bullets to scatter the crowd. “We cannot allow this city to spiral into anarchy,” Moore told ABC7 at the scene of one clash. Garcetti initially imposed a curfew on the downtown area. But he quickly expanded it to the entirety of the city as the violence focused on an area about 6 miles (10 kilometers) to the west. Adjacent Beverly Hills and West Hollywood followed as demonstrations spread into those cities. Other cities in the county also began imposing curfews. Social media video posts showed marchers chanting “Eat the rich' in Beverly Hills, where a crowd broke into a high-end boutique and fled with merchandise. The governor said earlier that authorities were closely monitoring organizing by violent extremist groups who may be trying to use the protests for their own agendas. “To those who seek to exploit Californians’ pain to sow chaos and destruction, you are not welcome,” he said. “Our state and nation must build from this moment united and more resolved than ever to address racism and its root causes.” In Oakland, a federal contract security officer was killed and another critically injured Friday night when a vehicle pulled up to the Ronald V. Dellums Federal Building and someone opened fire. The officers guard the U.S. courthouse as part of their regular duties and were monitoring the protest, Department of Homeland Security officials said. It wasn’t immediately known whether the shooter had anything to do with the protest. “This is not who we are,” Mayor Libby Schaaf said in a videotaped statement Saturday. “We must fight the travesty of racism, but we must do it in a way that works. Let’s not destroy or harm our own community.” The death of the 46-year-old Floyd, who was recorded on video pleading for air, has shocked the country and produced violence in numerous cities. Police chiefs and police unions have called it unjustifiable and excessive force. The officer has been charged with murder
  • Police have arrested nearly 1,400 people in 17 U.S. cities since Thursday as protests continue over the death of George Floyd. Floyd died Monday in Minneapolis after a police officer put his knee on Floyd's neck for more than 8 minutes. The officer, Derrick Chauvin, was arrested on Friday and charged with third-degree murder. Floyd was black. Chauvin is white. The arrest has done little to quell protests across the country over the weekend. Most have been peaceful, but some have erupted in violence. An Associated Press tally of arrests found at least 1,383 people have been arrested since Thursday. The actual number is likely higher as protests continue Saturday night. More than a third of the arrests, 533, came from Los Angeles alone on Friday.. The mayor of the nation's second-largest city has imposed a citywide curfew until 5:30 a.m. Sunday.
  • As protests over the death of George Floyd grow in cities across the U.S., government officials have been warning of the “outsiders” -- groups of organized rioters they say are flooding into major cities not to call for justice but to cause destruction. But the state and federal officials have offered differing assessments of who the outsiders are. They’ve blamed left-wing extremists, far-right white nationalists and even suggested the involvement of drug cartels. These leaders have offered little evidence to back up those claims, and the chaos of the protests makes verifying identities and motives exceedingly difficult. Police officers across the country were gearing up Saturday for another night of potentially violent clashes in major cities. Some states had even called in the National Guard to aid overwhelmed police. The finger pointing on both sides of the political spectrum is likely to deepen the political divide in the U.S., allowing politicians to advance the theory that aligns with their political view and distract from the underlying frustrations that triggered the protests. Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz on Saturday told reporters he’d heard unconfirmed reports that white supremacists were coming from elsewhere to stoke the violence and that even drug cartels “are trying to take advantage of the chaos.” John Harrington, the state’s commissioner of public safety, later said they had received intel reports on white supremacists. “But I cannot say that we have confirmed observations of local law enforcement to say that we’ve seen cells of white supremacists in the area,” he said Saturday. But federal officials later pointed to “far left extremist groups.' President Donald Trump alleged the violence was “being led by Antifa and other radical groups.” Antifa, short for anti-fascists, is an umbrella term for far-left-leaning militant groups that resist neo-Nazis and white supremacists at demonstrations. Attorney General William Barr later seemed to echo Trump's assertion, saying the violent incidents in Minneapolis were driven by groups using 'Antifa-like tactics.' Barr vowed that federal prosecutors across the country would use federal riots statutes to charge protesters who cross state lines to participate in violent rioting. A Justice Department spokesperson said the attorney general’s assertion was based on information provided from state and local law enforcement agencies, but did not detail what that information entailed. Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf was even more vague, declining to point to any particular ideology in his assessment. His agency has heard that “a number of different groups are involved in these whether it’s Antifa or it’s others, frankly,' he said. The groups appeared to be organized and using tactics that wouldn’t normally happen in peaceful protest, he said, though he didn’t elaborate. While the motives behind the violence were unclear, there was firmer evidence that some of the protesters were coming to the demonstrations from outside the urban centers that have been the epicenter of the demonstrations. In New York City, federal officials were bringing charges against several suspects, including one of two sisters from upstate New York accused of throwing a Molotov cocktail through the back window of a police van in Brooklyn, a law enforcement official said. The initially peaceful demonstrations in New York City over Floyd’s death spiraled into chaos as night fell Friday. Protesters confronted police officers, destroying police vehicles and setting fires. In Detroit, 37 of the 60 people who were arrested in overnight protests did not live in the city — and many came from nearby suburbs, police Chief James Craig said Saturday. Although Detroit is about 80% black, many of those arrested were white. “We support the right to free speech. We support peaceful protests,” Craig told reporters. “If you want to disrupt, stay home and disrupt in your own community.” Initially, St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter said he’d been told all of those arrested in his city Friday were from outside the state. But a spokesman said Saturday night the mayor had later learned more than half are from Minnesota. In Hennepin County, which includes Minneapolis, 47 of the 57 people arrested in protest incidents through Saturday morning had provided a Minnesota address to authorities, according to Jeremy Zoss, a spokesman for the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office. Carter expressed the opinion of many black activists in the Twin Cities who have expressed disbelief that local residents would destroy their own neighborhoods, burning down essential services and damaging small businesses. And while it was local protesters and groups that staged initial angry, but peaceful, demonstrations, it was agitators from elsewhere that strategically escalated the tension by causing damage and setting fires, they said. Their beliefs were reinforced by the large numbers of white people in the protests in Minneapolis. “I think about a third of the people are from out of town here to make the city burn,” said Justin Terrell, executive director of the Council for Minnesotans of African Heritage. “It is just putting black people in a crossfire not just between fascists and anarchists -- but putting us in a crossfire with the national guard.” It’s exceedingly difficult in the chaos and dark of the events to prove these claims. The challenge is made harder in the Minnesota protest, where very few arrests were made in the first two nights of unrest. St. Paul arrest records showed 18 people were arrested on charges related to civil unrest from Thursday to early Saturday morning. Of those, only four were from outside the state; two were listed as unknown. Still, some civil rights leaders had a clear message for anyone coming to protest, even those who show up to call for justice for Floyd. “The moment has passed. Go home, stay away from here. We are a vulnerable population. At the end of that day if black folks can’t rebuild then the only thing we’ve done is build more power for white folks,' said Terrell. 'You’re talking about years, decades of work undone by these groups -- and by the officer.” Trump vowed Saturday that the “radical left criminals, thugs and others” would “not be allowed to set communities ablaze.” “I will not allow angry mobs to dominate,” he said. “Won’t happen.” ___ Hennessey reported from Minneapolis. Associated Press writers Jill Colvin in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Michael R. Sisak in New York and Corey Williams in Detroit contributed to this report.
  • Protesters gathered Friday in Centennial Olympic Park to peacefully march from the park to the Georgia State Capitol, but as the march in response to the deaths of African Americans Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd ended, some became destructive. »RELATED: Social media reacts to Atlanta protests for 3 African American victims Images of Atlanta Police Department officers, demonstrators and others clashing amid broken glass windows, graffiti and vehicles on fire circulated on social media, online and on television. As Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms denounced the violence, Tyler Perry also spoke up. “I’m not in Atlanta, but if I were I would have been standing with our Mayor,” Perry said in a Facebook post that included Bottoms’ remarks. “But there was nothing I could say better than what Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said last night! Please, please stop this violence!! Looting is NOT THE ANSWER!!!!” The producer, TV and filmmaker, actor and writer, who has a massive studio just outside of Atlanta, continued: “And listen to me, be careful where you are getting your information to JOIN protests!! There are people and other countries who are posting things pretending to be US, pretending to stand for peaceful protest, but they are trying to incite us into violence and chaos to try and do more harm!!“Do not fall for this foolishness!!! Please stop the violence!” Protests are continuing for the second night across the metro Atlanta area, including one outside Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp’s mansion. Bottoms has signed an executive order implementing a 9 p.m. curfew in the entire territorial jurisdiction of the City of Atlanta until sunrise Sunday. You may find this story and more at AJC.com.
  • President Donald Trump said Saturday that he will postpone until the fall a meeting of Group of 7 nations he had planned to hold next month at the White House despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. And he said he plans to invite Russia, Australia, South Korea and India as he again advocated for the group's expansion. Trump told reporters on Air Force One as he returned to Washington from Florida that he feels the current makeup of the group is “very outdated' and doesn't properly represent 'what’s going on in the world.” He said he had not yet set a new date for the meeting, but thought the gathering could take place in September, around the time of the annual meeting of the United Nations in New York, or perhaps after the U.S. election in November. Alyssa Farah, White House director of strategic communications, said that Trump wanted to bring in some of the country's traditional allies and those impacted by the coronavirus to discuss the future of China. The surprise announcement came after German Chancellor Angela Merkel's office said Saturday that she would not attend the meeting unless the course of the coronavirus spread had changed by then. The leaders of the world’s major economies were slated to meet in June in the U.S. at Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland, but the coronavirus outbreak hobbled those plans. Trump announced in March he was canceling the summit because of the pandemic and that the leaders would confer by video conference instead. But Trump then switched course, saying a week ago that he was again planning to host an in-person meeting. “Now that our Country is ‘Transitioning back to Greatness’, I am considering rescheduling the G-7, on the same or similar date, in Washington, D.C., at the legendary Camp David,” Trump tweeted. “The other members are also beginning their COMEBACK. It would be a great sign to all - normalization!” The G7 members are Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States. The group’s presidency rotates annually among member countries. Trump has repeatedly advocated for expanding the group to include Russia, prompting opposition from some members, including Canada’s Justin Trudeau, who told reporters he had privately aired his objection to Russian readmittance. “Russia has yet to change the behavior that led to its expulsion in 2014, and therefore should not be allowed back into the G7,” he said at a news conference. The House also passed a bipartisan resolution in December 2019 that supports Russia’s previous expulsion from the annual gathering. Russia had been invited to attend the gathering of the world’s most advanced economies since 1997, but was suspended in 2014 following its invasion of Ukraine and annexation of Crimea. ___ Freking reported from Washington.
  • Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has imposed a downtown curfew this evening, Protesters were back in the streets Saturday. Garcetti said everyone must be off the downtown streets of the sprawling city by 8 p.m. local time until 5:30 a.m.. Several police cars were torched Saturday afternoon as some protesters ignored authorities’ call for peaceful demonstrations following a night of violence that saw windows smashed, stores robbed and fires set. Los Angeles police arrested 533 people last night. —- This story has been corrected to say that Mayor Eric Garcetti's curfew is for downtown Los Angeles only.
  • Officials with Costco Wholesale said its stores will offer samples to customers again soon. The product sampling has been a long-time draw for many shoppers. “We’re going to start doing some things in mid-June on a slow rollout basis in sampling,” Costco chief financial officer Richard Galanti said. “I can’t tell you anymore, but … needless to say, it’s not going to be where you go and just pick up an open sample with your fingers. But sampling – food and nonfood items – are popular.” Costco stopped offering samples in March because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Dine-in areas at most Costco locations will also resume serving food. “We’ve added some, but not all the items back as of now,” Galanti said. Among the many precautions Costco is taking amid coronavirus concerns is a requirement for staff and shoppers to wear masks in stores, a mandate that started May 4. Only children under the age of 2 and people who are unable to wear face coverings due to a medical condition are exempt from the mandate. “We instituted the mask requirement on May 4 because we felt it was the right thing to do,” Galanti said. “If we’re right, we’ve helped stop the spread of the coronavirus. If we’re wrong, it’s a small inconvenience.”
  • Hundreds have gathered Saturday to call for justice and reform in light of police violence happening throughout the country in Tulsa’s Brookside neighborhood. One protester was struck by a car after a march moved North to I-44 and spilled onto the highway. I-44 was shut down westbound towards Riverside for several hours as the scene was cleared. Police said that person received non-life threatening injuries.  All lanes of I-44 are back open. Peaceful protesters led by Reverend Robert Turner and Tiffany Crutcher marched along Peoria from 41st to 34th in response to the recent killing of George Floyd. Tiffany Crutcher is Terence Crutcher’s sister.  You may recall he was shot and killed by Tulsa police back in 2016. Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, 44, was charged Friday with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of Floyd. Tulsa protesters are asking the city for four things: they want a police oversight committee, several lawsuits settled including one involving the shooting of Terence Crutcher, greater investment in mental health training for the Tulsa Police Department, and the immediate end of the city’s contract with “Live PD”.
  • A divided U.S. Supreme Court late Friday upheld Coronavirus restrictions placed on church gatherings by the state of California, as Chief Justice John Roberts joined with the four more liberal justices in backing the power of states to enforce measures for public health. 'Although California’s guidelines place restrictions on places of worship, those restrictions appear consistent with the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment,' the Chief Justice wrote in an unusual late night ruling. 'The notion that it is “indisputably clear” that the Government’s limitations are unconstitutional seems quite improbable,' Roberts added in a three page 5-4 opinion. The ruling came on a request from a California church to dispense with limits on church gatherings imposed by Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Golden State. The decision came just over a week after President Trump had very publicly pressured states to drop Coronavirus restrictions on houses of worship. The South Bay United Pentecostal Church in San Diego argued the health requirements put in place by the Governor were far too restrictive, and violated their constitutional rights. 'Although curbing the pandemic is a laudable goal, those orders arbitrarily discriminate against places of worship in violation of their right to the Free Exercise of Religion under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution,' lawyers for the church argued. That agreement resonated with the High Court's four more conservative justices. 'I would grant the Church’s requested temporary injunction because California’s latest safety guidelines discriminate against places of worship and in favor of comparable secular businesses,' wrote Justice Brett Kavanaugh in his dissent. 'Such discrimination violates the First Amendment.' The decision quickly struck a nerve with more conservative Republicans and supporters of the President, many of whom have long harbored doubts about Roberts, who was put on the Supreme Court by President George W. Bush. 'Chief Justice Roberts sides with the Left again,' said Fox News host Laura Ingraham, as the head of the Conservative Political Action Committee called for Roberts to be impeached. In Congress, there was anger as well. 'SHAMEFUL failure by SCOTUS to defend 1st & 5th amendments,' tweeted Rep. Warren Davidson (R-OH).
  • In a brazen, aggravating crime, a man who lives at a home near 31st and Memorial says someone burglarized his pickup truck in broad daylight in his own driveway around noon on Friday. Ed Douglass says he was taking some things from his pickup truck, and only left the truck unattended for about five minutes, when he came back outside and saw the doors on the truck were open. He discovered that someone had grabbed his cellphone and some other stuff. Luckily, some alert neighbors saw the suspect going into his backyard. “They saw her and they apprehended her and then the police showed up and the police arrested her,” Douglass said. The woman told police that she had tossed the phone somewhere, but they eventually got it back and returned it to Douglass.
  • Governor Kevin Stitt confirmed Friday that Oklahoma will proceed to Phase Three of the Open Up and Recover Safely (OURS) plan on June 1st, as scheduled. By early Friday afternoon, Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum and Tulsa Health Department Executive Director Bruce Dart had also announced that while the number of new infections, and hospitalizations, continues to grow in our area, hospital capacity remains more than adequate. “The daily number of patients in hospitals have been steadily increasing since May 11th, with a marked increase since May 15th,” Dart said Friday. “But the bottom line as at this time, those levels remain manageable.” And that is the key point, Mayor Bynum emphasized. “Throughout Phase Three... the most important thing for me is monitoring that healthcare system capacity,” Bynum said. Phase Three includes relaxing restrictions on special events - e.g., concerts, sports, festivals, and so forth. Employers can bring their entire workforce back in, if they choose. Hospitals can relax their restrictions somewhat on visitation. Both men encouraged efforts to maintain social distancing, the wearing of masks, and hygiene. “Unfortunately, the pandemic is not over,” Dart said. “So remember that, remain vigilant, wear your mask, wash your hands, social distance, and continue to do this until we see actually see signs of this virus going away.” Here's the city's full statement on Phase Three: To date, the Tulsa Health Department (THD) has confirmed 983 positive COVID-19 cases in Tulsa County. 774 residents have recovered and 51 have died. Test results are updated daily at www.tulsa-health.org/COVID19. For the most up-to-date news, information and business resources in Tulsa, visit www.cityoftulsa.org/COVID-19.  New Civil Emergency Order | Phase 3 Guidance  Starting June 1, events (no size limit) may resume in Tulsa. Special event permits will be issued pursuant to the State’s Reopening Plan on June 1.  During Phase 3, employers can resume unrestricted worksite staffing and visits to hospitals and senior living facilities may resume subject to certain guidelines as outlined by the state and each individual facility. Additionally, businesses who have been taking customers by appointment only can start taking walk-ins.  The updated civil emergency order can be found at www.cityoftulsa.org/COVID-19. For additional guidance and information, visit: www.okcommerce.gov/ours-plan/.  Water Moratorium Updates  Starting in June, utility bill collections will resume through a phased approach. For customers who have already setup a payment arrangement due to COVID-19, the City will start calling those customers in early June to ensure payments are being made and/or to come to terms on a new arrangement to avoid service interruptions. Bills mailed in June will include a cut-off date and special notice. Payments or arrangements must be made by the cut-off date to avoid service interruptions for these bills starting June 15. Late fees will resume for customers not paying bills on June 19. City Hall Updates June 1 Starting June 1, City Hall visitors will be asked to wear cloth face coverings and have their temperature checked by Security before entering the building. This measure is for visitors’ safety and the safety of City employees. Tulsa Parks Updates As of June 1, the following plan and policies will be in place and enforced until further notice: Parks & Trails - Parks and trails are all open, so long as patrons practice social distancing. Outdoor shelter rentals and park event permits will start being accepted again, with an initial limit of up to 100 people. Park Amenities – After conferring with local health authorities, park amenities including playgrounds, outdoor exercise equipment, basketball courts, and outdoor bathrooms will be reopened with social distancing guidelines and other restrictions in place. Other than bathrooms, equipment will NOT be sanitized, and users should wash hands before and after use and use hand sanitizer regularly while using the equipment. It is still important to keep social distancing and to wash hands and/or use hand sanitizer before and after using any equipment. Basketball courts will be limited four people per hoop and participants should maintain distance or use masks. Sports complexes, as well as individual use fields will reopen, and games and large group practices may resume with safety protocols in place. Water faucets at dog parks are turned on for dog use, but water fountains will remain shut off.  Aquatics & Pools Water playgrounds and splash pads will be reopened with safety and social distancing policies. Tulsa Parks pools will remain closed for the 2020 season. Community Centers & Programs Community and specialty centers (including Oxley Nature Center and WaterWorks Art Center) will reopen June 1. Residents can see specific center hours and programs by visiting www.tulsaparks.org. Community centers will not offer summer kids day camps, nor will they offer youth or adult summer sports leagues.  Masks will be required to enter each building and may be removed only during participation in exercise and physical activities (such as working out, dance, martial arts, etc.), where the staff or instructor has allowed the removal of masks. Everyone will be asked to sign/scan in upon entering the building, and temperatures will be checked.  Centers who offer open gym/studio will do so in a limited capacity for specific activities varying by site, some may require reservations. Indoor basketball will be limited to one-man drills, shooting practice. Fitness rooms will open but may will close throughout the day for 30-minute disinfectant breaks, smaller fitness rooms may limit the number and time allowed, residents should call their facility for details. CVS Testing Sites Added  Several new testing sites have been added across the Tulsa metro at select CVS locations. Testing sites are by appointment only. Users should bring evidence of insurance or know their social security number. To schedule an appointment, visit https://www.cvs.com/minuteclinic.  SNAP Assistance Available For residents who need food assistance, SNAP is an important resource that can be used. If residents have been impacted by furloughs, layoffs or cut hours, they might be eligible for SNAP. Right now, qualifying families of four could get up to $649/month for help with groceries. To inquire, call 1 (877) 760-0114. To learn more, visit www.hungerfreeok.org/groceries.  Tulsa County Update The Tulsa County Review Committee for CARES Act funding received further clarification from the Oklahoma Attorney General regarding the legality of sharing these funds with municipalities, small businesses, nonprofits and other entities. As of yesterday, the Review Committee received approximately 50 applications.  On June 1, the Family Safety Center will reopen for normal business hours, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. for victims of intimate partner and domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and elder abuse to begin filing for Emergency Protective Orders. There will be new access procedures including that only victims may enter—no accompanying supporters or children will not be allowed inside. Masks, temperature readings, and participation in a COVID-19 exposure survey will be required to enter (masks will be provided to those who do not have one).  Phase 2 of the Tulsa County District Courts reopening plan is expected to begin on Monday. The BOCC expects continued commitments on behalf of the courts to reduce the population of Courthouse visitors. Visitors should not visit the Courthouse if they are sick or think they may be sick.
  • Attorney General Mike Hunter urges Oklahomans to not assume unmarked envelopes are junk mail.  The debit cards arrive in plain envelopes, leading to confusion. Some people are mistaking it for junk mail or fraudulent activity. The Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced last week the agencies had begun the process of sending nearly 4 million Visa debit cards loaded with the $1,200 stimulus payments to Americans.  Attorney General Hunter is encouraging Oklahomans to open the envelopes.

Washington Insider

  • A divided U.S. Supreme Court late Friday upheld Coronavirus restrictions placed on church gatherings by the state of California, as Chief Justice John Roberts joined with the four more liberal justices in backing the power of states to enforce measures for public health. 'Although California’s guidelines place restrictions on places of worship, those restrictions appear consistent with the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment,' the Chief Justice wrote in an unusual late night ruling. 'The notion that it is “indisputably clear” that the Government’s limitations are unconstitutional seems quite improbable,' Roberts added in a three page 5-4 opinion. The ruling came on a request from a California church to dispense with limits on church gatherings imposed by Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Golden State. The decision came just over a week after President Trump had very publicly pressured states to drop Coronavirus restrictions on houses of worship. The South Bay United Pentecostal Church in San Diego argued the health requirements put in place by the Governor were far too restrictive, and violated their constitutional rights. 'Although curbing the pandemic is a laudable goal, those orders arbitrarily discriminate against places of worship in violation of their right to the Free Exercise of Religion under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution,' lawyers for the church argued. That agreement resonated with the High Court's four more conservative justices. 'I would grant the Church’s requested temporary injunction because California’s latest safety guidelines discriminate against places of worship and in favor of comparable secular businesses,' wrote Justice Brett Kavanaugh in his dissent. 'Such discrimination violates the First Amendment.' The decision quickly struck a nerve with more conservative Republicans and supporters of the President, many of whom have long harbored doubts about Roberts, who was put on the Supreme Court by President George W. Bush. 'Chief Justice Roberts sides with the Left again,' said Fox News host Laura Ingraham, as the head of the Conservative Political Action Committee called for Roberts to be impeached. In Congress, there was anger as well. 'SHAMEFUL failure by SCOTUS to defend 1st & 5th amendments,' tweeted Rep. Warren Davidson (R-OH).
  • The feud between Twitter and President Donald Trump escalated on Friday after the President used the social media platform to threaten the use of force against rioters in Minneapolis, as Twitter slapped a warning label on the President's tweet, saying Mr. Trump had violated rules on 'glorifying violence.' 'These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd,' the President wrote, referring to the black man who was suffocated to death when a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his head and neck for an extended period of time earlier this week. The President then spoke of sending in National Guard troops to restore order, warning that 'when the looting starts, the shooting starts.' That was evidently too much for Twitter, which placed a warning on the President's tweet. In the President's mind, the warning label from Twitter was the latest indignity against him by the social media giant, as Mr. Trump tore into Twitter early on Friday morning. 'Twitter is doing nothing about all of the lies & propaganda being put out by China or the Radical Left Democrat Party,' the President tweeted soon after 7 am. 'They have targeted Republicans, Conservatives & the President of the United States.' Earlier this week, Twitter added a link to a couple of the President's tweets about mail-in voting, giving a link for more information about the issue. The President was incensed, leading to his executive order on Thursday, and a direct threat to close down the company, which experts said he had no power to do. On Capitol Hill, the two parties saw the developing events on Twitter much differently. 'Twitter is censoring the President of the United States,' said Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ). Democrats in Congress said the President was overreacting, and acting like an authoritarian. “Trump’s behavior is growing increasingly unhinged, authoritarian, and outright violent and is designed to inflame and divide America further,” said Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ). “This is vile behavior,” said Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ).  “The President should not be encouraging violence.” “(T)he President’s executive order is a shameless attempt to use the power of his office to silence his critics and intimidate his perceived enemies,” said Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-CA).
  • With a series of studies raising questions about the side effects and the efficacy of a drug pushed by President Donald Trump for use against the Coronavirus, the VA has curtailed its use of the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroqine in Veterans Affairs medical facilities. 'Last week, we only used it three times,' VA Secretary Robert Wilkie told a House Appropriations Committee hearing, a very small number compared to the over 1,300 vets who have received the drug for Coronavirus treatment. 'We started ratcheting it down as we went more to remdesivir and we went more to the convalescent plasma,' Wilkie said, as he took fire from Democrats over using the drug in the first place. 'It's very disappointing to me that the VA was using that drug,' said Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY), the chair of the panel, as she slammed the President's embrace of hydroxychloroquine as 'wishful thinking' by someone who is not a medical expert. 'What is astounding to me is the VA is still insisting on providing this drug to veterans,' said Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL). “We have ratcheted down as we've brought more treatments online,” Wilkie said at another point.  “And I expect that to continue.” Wilkie said he spoken this week with the government's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, who told reporters in recent days that hydroxychloroquine should no longer be used by doctors. The VA chief though couched Fauci's advice as one which would leave the door open to possible use of the malaria drug as more evidence comes in. 'The rest of the world is all over the map,' Wilkie said of the use of hydroxychloroquine against the Coronavirus. 'France banned it, and then the government of India said it absolutely essential for them.' The message from the White House continued to be much more upbeat than Dr. Fauci. “It's important to note that this drug has been safely used by millions of people for a long time,” said White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany on Thursday.
  • A day after the United States topped 100,000 deaths from the Coronavirus outbreak, President Donald Trump joined the expression of grief for the families of those who have died in the pandemic which has swept around the globe. 'We have just reached a very sad milestone with the coronavirus pandemic deaths reaching 100,000,' the President wrote on Twitter, as he expressed his 'heartfelt sympathy' to family and friends of the dead.  As the numbers hit 100,000 on Wednesday, the President made no statement about death toll, as leading Democrats took on that role instead. 'God Bless each and every one of you and the blessed memory of the one you lost,' former Vice President Biden said in a video message from his home in Delaware. 'One hundred thousand,' said Rep. Val Demings (D-FL). Those we have lost can’t just be a number. A statistic. A line in a history book. They were our friends, our loved ones, our children and grandparents.' While calling the 100,000 deaths 'tragic,' Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) said all sides need to be paying more attention to the large number of deaths in nursing homes and assisted living facilities around the nation. 'Seniors in these settings should be a top focus of our prevention efforts,' Rubio said on Thursday. In some states, the nursing home deaths represent an overwhelming share of Coronavirus losses, over 80 percent in Minnesota, 70 percent in Ohio, and near 50 percent in Florida and Georgia. Democrats continued to blame the President and his administration for not being better prepared, as an old tweet from October 2019 by Joe Biden became a focal point on Twitter. 'We are not prepared for a pandemic,' Biden said that day. 'Trump has rolled back progress President Obama and I made to strengthen global health security. We need leadership that builds public trust, focuses on real threats, and mobilizes the world to stop outbreaks before they reach our shores.
  • As the nation marked the grim milestone of 100,000 deaths from the Coronavirus in just over three months, President Donald Trump spent Wednesday talking about almost any other subject, attacking Twitter, jabbing at the news media, questioning the Russia investigation, denouncing expanded mail-in voting, and again pressing a conspiracy theory that an ex-GOP Congressman was involved in the death of a female aide almost 19 years ago. 'He is arguably the greatest president in our history,' the President quoted Fox Business host Lou Dobbs saying about him. President Trump's only official comment related to the virus outbreak came in a single tweet early on Wednesday morning, in which he highlighted the growing number of virus tests nationwide. 'We pass 15,000,000 Tests Today, by far the most in the World,' Mr. Trump tweeted, adding, 'Open Safely!'  But there was no mention by the President, no tweet, no written statement in his name honoring those who have died, or who remain hospitalized by the Coronavirus. Democrats moved to fill the void. 'Would you have ever thought that we would be observing 100,000 people?' asked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a Capitol Hill news conference. From his home in Delaware, former Vice President Joe Biden took aim at the President as well. 'I'm so sorry for your loss,' Biden said, marking the 100,000 death toll. 'They were not numbers. They were our neighbors. Our friends. Our family,' said Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO). The President met with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in the Oval Office on Wednesday morning, and then flew to Florida, only to have the launch of a SpaceX crew vehicle scrubbed by bad weather. Over 1,400 deaths were reported in the U.S. on Wednesday, with over 300 combined from Illinois and New Jersey, two states which continue to struggle with virus cases. 'This is a tragic day. My heart aches for those we have lost,' said Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA). 'The day the United States hit 100,000 deaths from the COVID-19 pandemic Trump shares a messages calling himself “the greatest President in our history,' said Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA). 'His vanity is nauseating.' On Capitol Hill, Democrats pressed for more money to conduct virus testing and tracing, but Senate Republicans have refused to bring up a House-passed bill with $75 billion more in funding. 'Are we going to do what we need to do to prevent the next 100,000 deaths?' asked former CDC Chief Dr. Tom Frieden.