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George Floyd died of asphyxia, independent autopsy finds: Live | USA News



  • The United States was gripped by a weekend of protests over the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died on Monday in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and police brutality nationwide. 
  • Lawyers representing Floyd’s family said that independent medical examiners who conducted an autopsy of Floyd determined that asphyxiation from sustained pressure was the cause of death.
  • Protesters are demanding all four officers involved be charged in Floyd’s death. So far, only one – white officer Derek Chauvin, who knelt on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes as the black man pleaded, “I can’t breathe” – has been arrested. He was charged on Friday with third-degree murder and manslaughter. 
  • Those protesting against police brutality have been met, at times, with excessive force by authorities. Two officers were fired over the weekend in Atlanta, Georgia, for pulling two black people out of a car and throwing them to the ground. Videos have shown police targeting angry but peaceful protesters with tear gas and mace. Journalists have also been targeted by police.
  • Protesters have remained undeterred by curfews and the presence of the US National Guard in some cities. Some largely peaceful protests turned violent, with looting and vandalism as the night raged on. 

Latest updates: 

Monday, June 1 

22:30 GMT – Police use flash bangs against peaceful protesters outside the White House 

Police appeared to fire a series of flash bangs, as well as tear gas to disperse peaceful protesters outside the White House. The curfew in Washington, DC, has not yet gone into effect. 

Trump is due to speak any moment.

22:00 GMT – Medical examiner declares George Floyd death homicide 

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner declared the death of George Floyd a homicide, saying he died of “cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual restraint, and neck compression,” according to a Minneapolis television station.

The updated report from the examiner states that Floyd died from a loss of blood flow due to compression on his neck while being restrained by Minneapolis police, local Fox television affiliate Fox 9 reported.

19:58 GMT – Obama: Turn the moment into a ‘turning point for real change’

Former US President Barack Obama on Monday condemned the use of violence at nationwide protests over racial inequities and excessive police force, while praising the actions of peaceful protesters seeking change. While the vast majority of protesters have been peaceful, a “small minority” were putting people at risk and harming the very communities the protests are intended to help, Obama wrote in an online essay posted on Medium.

Obama, a Democrat who served two terms as president prior to Republican Donald Trump’s administration, said the violence was “compounding the destruction of neighborhoods that are often already short on services and investment and detracting from the larger cause”.

In his essay, Obama urged protesters not to be cynical about politics, arguing that electing new leaders on the national and local levels would bring about change.

“Eventually, aspirations have to be translated into specific laws and institutional practices – and in a democracy, that only happens when we elect government officials who are responsive to our demands,” he said.

19:39 GMT – Floyd brother calls for calm in the storm

The brother of George Floyd appealed for peace Monday in the aftermath of riots and arson fires following the death of his brother in Minneapolis.

Terrence Floyd appeared at the intersection in south Minneapolis where his brother died. Wearing a face mask with the image of his brother’s face on it, Terrence Floyd spent several minutes of silence at the flowers and other memorials that have sprung up to his brother.

“I understand you’re upset,” Terrence Floyd said to the crowd through a bullhorn. But he said civil unrest and destruction is “not going to bring my brother back at all. It may feel good for the moment, like when you drink, but when you are done, you’re going to wonder what did you do.”

Terrence Floyd said his family is “a peaceful family. My family is God-fearing”. And he said, “in every case of police brutality the same thing has been happening. You have protests, you destroy stuff … so they want us to destroy ourselves. Let’s do this another way.”

He told the crowd to vote and to educate themselves. “Let’s switch it up, y’all.” He said his brother moved to Minneapolis from Houston and ‘loved it here. … So I know he would not want you all to be doing this”.

19:00 GMT – More curfews in New York City, Washington, DC

New York City is imposing a curfew as the nation’s biggest city tries to head off another night of violence erupting amid protests over Floyd’s death. The curfew will last from 11pm Monday (3am GMT) to 5am Tuesday (9am GMT), Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Monday. The limitation on 8.6 million people’s movements comes on top of coronavirus restrictions and as the mayor and governor deplored the outbreaks of violence, but also criticized some police actions.

Separately, Washington, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser said on Monday that the city also is imposing another curfew as it braces for several more days of protests. Bowser said at a news conference that the curfew would begin at 7pm Monday (11pm GMT) and run through Tuesday morning, with similar restrictions beginning again Tuesday night and continuing into Wednesday morning.

17:55 GMT – Independent medical examiner: Floyd died due to asphyxia

Lawyers representing Floyd’s family said that independent medical examiners who conducted an autopsy of Floyd determined that asphyxiation from sustained pressure was the cause of death.

“World renowned medical examiner Dr. Michael Baden and Dr. Allecia Wilson found the manner of Mr Floyd’s death was homicide caused by asphyxia due to neck and back compression that led to a lack of blood flow to the brain. Sustained pressure on the right side of Mr. Floyd’s carotid artery impeded blood flow to the brain, and weight on his back impeded his ability to breathe,” a statement from the lawyers read. “The independent examiners found that weight on the back, handcuffs and positioning were contributory factors because they impaired the ability of Mr. Floyd’s diaphragm to function. From all the evidence, the doctors said it now appears Mr Floyd died at the scene.”

Baden said that what they found was “consistent with what people say. There was no other health issue that could cause or contribute to the death.”

17:25 GMT – Trump wants governors to use more National Guard troops

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters that US President Donald Trump wants governors to utilise more National Guard troops to respond to protests against police brutality.

Earlier on Monday, Trump told governors he wanted them to “dominate” protesters, urging the use of more aggressive tactics.

McEnany did not address a question from a report about whether

White House press sec just confirmed Trump had call with Putin today but did not address question about whether he asked him for advice before his call with the governors, as asked by reporter

17:20 GMT – US to send federal assets to help quell protests

The White House on Monday said additional federal assets will soon be deployed to respond to protests across the country over the death of a black man, George Floyd, while in police custody.

The protests had turned violent in some places, which prompted many governors to turn to the National Guard for support. But the protesters have remained undeterred.

President Donald Trump had two briefings on Monday, with Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Attorney General William Barr “and there will be additional federal assets deployed across the nation,” Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said at a briefing.

16:00 GMT – Trump calls governor’s weak, urges crackdown

President Donald Trump on Monday derided the nation’s governors as “weak” and demanded tougher crackdowns on protesters in the aftermath of another night of violent protests in dozens of American cities.


Trump speaks at the White House [File: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters]

Trump spoke to governors on a video teleconference with law enforcement and national security officials, telling the local leaders they “have to get much tougher” amid nationwide protests and criticizing their responses.

“Most of you are weak,” Trump said. “You have to arrest people.”

15:50 GMT – Biden to hold roundtable with mayors

Joe Biden will hold a roundtable with several mayors whose cities have been affected by unrest over the weekend.

The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee will hold a virtual event Monday with the leaders of Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles and St Paul, Minnesota.

Biden began his day meeting with community leaders at a predominantly African American church in Delaware.

15:45 GMT – DC imposes 7pm curfew

District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser is imposing a 7pm curfew Monday and Tuesday after three days of protests, some of which have turned violent

An 11pm curfew had been in place Sunday night. But the violence still escalated, with protesters setting fires, breaking windows and looting businesses. There were clashes with police, who used pepper spray and other measures to try to break up the demonstrations.

15:10 GMT – Where have protests taken place? 

Made with Flourish

14:09 GMT – Photos from Sunday’s protests against police brutality

A weeping protester confronts police during nationwide unrest following the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, in Raleigh, North Carolina, U.S. May 30, 2020. Picture taken May 30, 20

A weeping protester confronts police during nationwide unrest following the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, in Raleigh, North Carolina [Jonathan Drake/Reuters]


A man holds a flag as police disperse demonstrators during a protest amid nationwide unrest following the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, in Washington, U.S., May 31, 2020. REUTER

A man holds a flag as police disperse demonstrators during a protest amid nationwide unrest following the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, in Washington, DC [Jim Bourg/Reuters]


Protesters kneel in front of New York City Police during a march to honor George Floyd in Manhattan on May 31, 2020 in New York City. Protesters demonstrated for the fourth straight night after video

Protesters kneel in front of New York City Police during a march to honour George Floyd in New York City [John Moore/Getty Images/AFP]

Demonstrators chant during a gathering to protest the recent death of George Floyd on May 31, 2020 in Seattle, Washington. Protests due to the recent death of George Floyd took place in Seattle and it

Demonstrators in Seattle, Washington, chant during a gathering to protest the recent death of George Floyd [David Ryder/Getty Images/AFP]


Demonstrators put their hands behind their heads as they stand in front of San Diego Police in San Diego, California on May 31, 2020, to protest against the death of Minneapolis man George Floyd. Nume

Demonstrators put their hands behind their heads as they stand in front of San Diego Police in San Diego, California [Ariana Dreshler/AFP]


A black man and a white woman hold their hands up in a front of police officers in downtown Long Beach on May 31, 2020 during a protest against the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died

A black man and a white woman hold their hands up in front of police officers in downtown Long Beach, California [Apu Gomes/AFP]

14:00 GMT – Floyd’s family to release findings from independent autopsy

The attorney for George Floyd’s family was set to announce findings Monday of an independent autopsy into his death a week ago after a Minneapolis officer held his knee on Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds.

Floyd, a black man who was in handcuffs at the time, died after the white officer ignored bystander shouts to get off him while also ignoring Floyd’s cries that he couldn’t breathe. His death, captured on citizen video, sparked days of protests in Minneapolis that have spread to cities around the US.

An official autopsy last week said the combined effects of being restrained, potential intoxicants in Floyd’s system and his underlying health issues, including heart disease, likely contributed to his death. There were no other details about intoxicants, and toxicology results can take weeks. In the 911 call that drew police, the caller described the man suspected of paying with counterfeit money as “awfully drunk and he’s not in control of himself.”

The criminal complaint noted that the medical examiner’s report was preliminary, but said the autopsy “revealed no physical findings that support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation.”

Ben Crump, the attorney representing Floyd’s family, soon announced plans to commission the family’s own autopsy.

13:55 GMT – Truck driver arrested on suspicion of assault

Authorities say the driver of a semitrailer that rolled into the midst of thousands of people marching on a closed Minneapolis freeway in protest over the death of George Floyd has been arrested on suspicion of assault.

Authorities had said it appeared no one was hurt Sunday, but some witnesses said a handful of people who were on Interstate 35W near downtown Minneapolis sought medical attention on their own. Authorities said they could not confirm that.

Minneapolis semi truck

A truck that was driven into a rally protesting the death of George Floyd on the I-35W bridge in Minneapolis, US [Go Nakamura/Reuters] 

The freeway was among many shut down in the Minneapolis area for the second night in a row as officials imposed an 8pm curfew and sought to make it more difficult for protesters to move around.

Bystander video showed the crowd parting seconds before the semi rolled through, then the tanker truck gradually slowed and demonstrators swarmed the truck.

Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington said Sunday that it initially appeared from traffic camera footage that the semitrailer was already on the freeway before barricades were set up at 5pm. State Corrections Commissioner Paul Schnell said at a later briefing, however, that the truck went around a traffic barrier to stay on the road.

Read witness accounts here. 

13:50 GMT – UK PM office: Attacks on journalist ‘very concerning’

United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman says arrests and assaults on journalists covering protests in the United States are “very concerning.”

James Slack said Monday that “journalists all around the world must be free to do their job and to hold authorities to account without fear of arrest or violence.”

He said the violence of the past few nights was “very alarming”, and noted, “people must be allowed to protest peacefully”.

Slack said, “The footage of George Floyd’s death was deeply distressing and our thoughts are with all those who have been affected.”

Noting that a police officer has been charged with murder, he said “we would hope and expect justice to be done.”

13:45 GMT – Louisville police kill one

The police chief of Louisville, Kentucky, says police officers and US National Guard soldiers enforcing a curfew in Louisville killed a man early Monday when they returned fire after someone in a large group fired at them first.

Louisville Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad confirmed the shooting happened around 12:15am outside a business on West Broadway, where police and the National Guard had been called to break up a large group of people gathering in defiance of the city’s curfew.

Someone fired a shot at them and the officers returned fire, the chief said. It was unclear whether the person killed is the one who fired at the law enforcers, he said.

Protests have erupted in Louisville over the shooting death of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency medical technician who was shot eight times by narcotics detectives who knocked down her front door, as well as the death of George Floyd.


Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the protests in the US over the deadly arrest of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This is Laurin-Whitney Gottbrath in Louisville, Kentucky. 

Here are a few things to catch up on:

  • George Floyd, an unarmed 46-year-old black man, died on Monday after a white officer used his knee to pin Floyd’s neck to the ground for nearly nine minutes. Floyd can be heard on a bystander video repeatedly pleading with officers, saying “I can’t breathe.” He eventually becomes motionless with the officer’s knee still on his neck. (You can read about the deadly incident here.)
  • The four officers involved in the incident were fired. Derek Chauvin, the white officer who pinned Floyd down, has been arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. Protesters demand the three other officers be charged, as well.
  • Protests – some violent – have since erupted nationwide as demonstrators rally for justice for Floyd and all unarmed black people killed by police.

See the updates from Sunday’s protests here. 

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‘Chilling’ crackdown on dissent in Vietnam ahead of key congress | Vietnam News



As Vietnam’s ruling Communist Party gears up for its most important meeting in years, its leadership has presided over an intensified crackdown on dissent, according to rights groups, activists and data collated by Reuters news agency.

A record number of political prisoners, longer jail terms, and increased harassment of activists in recent years have contributed to the crackdown ahead of this week’s Communist Party congress, a gathering to determine national leadership and policy that takes place once every five years.

The crackdown has left some international human rights groups and legislators questioning whether Vietnam has breached the spirit of trade agreements with Western countries – accords that have helped propel the country to a position of economic strength in Southeast Asia.

“I have been summoned by the police several times since December 9, 2020,” said Nguyen Quang A, a veteran activist in Hanoi, declining to detail the circumstances saying he was subject to an ongoing investigation. He told Reuters Vietnam’s security ministry had in recent weeks rounded up other government critics without saying why, citing his contacts with activists.

“They [the police] summon them and find reasons to convict them under those very fuzzy articles of criminal law. It completely violates the law but they use it very regularly,” said Quang A. “I’ve told them they can’t shut me up.”

Vietnam’s foreign ministry, which handles inquiries from foreign media, did not respond to Reuters’s request for comment on activist detentions.


Despite reforms and increasing openness to social change, the Communist Party of Vietnam, led by 76-year-old Nguyen Phu Trong, tolerates little criticism and controls domestic media tightly.

Vietnam drew international condemnation this month when it sentenced three freelance journalists known for criticism of the government to between 11 and 15 years in prison, finding them guilty of spreading anti-state propaganda.

Journalists Pham Chi Dung, right, Le Huu Minh Tuan, centre, and Nguyen Tuong Thuy, left, stand between police during their trial at a court in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam January 5, 2021 [VNA/Handout via Reuters]

The country’s constitution says it protects “freedom of opinion and speech, freedom of the press, access to information, to assemble, form associations and hold demonstrations”.

In reality, public criticism of the party is not tolerated, and groups which promote democratisation are targeted by the authorities in a battle playing out online on platforms like Facebook, Vietnam’s premier platform for both e-commerce and dissent.

A Reuters tally based on state media reports found 280 people were arrested for “anti-state” activities over the five years since the last party congress: 260 were convicted, many being sentenced to more than 10 years in jail. In the five years leading up to the 2016 congress, there were 68 arrests and 58 convictions.

‘Force 47’

Last year, Amnesty International said it had recorded the most “prisoners of conscience” in Vietnam since it began publishing figures in 1996 – 170, close to double the 97 recorded in 2018. Of the 170, some 70 were arrested for online activism, Amnesty said.

In late 2017, Vietnam unveiled a 10,000-strong military cyber-unit, Force 47, to counter what it said were “wrong” views on the internet. According to rights groups, the unit also recruits volunteers online to target dissidents and activists.

Reuters reviewed dozens of posts across multiple Facebook groups and pages from December and January that claimed links with Force 47. Many attacked prominent activists, including Quang A, accused by one group of creating anti-state propaganda.

A woman wearing a traditional conical hat walks past a poster for the upcoming 13th national congress of Vietnam Communist Party on a street in Hanoi, Vietnam, January 18, 2021 [Kham/Reuters]

Some group moderators were dressed in military uniform in their profile photos while others ran pages for official local branches of Communist Party organisations.

Last November, Vietnam threatened to shut Facebook down if it did not toughen rules on local political content on the platform.

Facebook’s local servers were taken offline by the government earlier last year until it agreed to significantly increase policing of “anti-state” posts by local users, a request with which Facebook previously said it complied.

A Facebook spokesman said the company faced “additional pressure” from Vietnam to restrict content last year.

‘Driver’s seat’

For some, the crackdown has a connection with fluctuations in global trade ties with Vietnam.

“During the [former US President Barack] Obama administration, pressure on rights connected with TPP [trade] negotiations helped the cause of human rights activists and political dissidents,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch.

“The early visit of Prime Minister [Nguyen Xuan] Phuc in 2017 to the Trump White House saw human rights completely dropped from the agenda,” he said.

Robertson said trade tensions with China have also left Vietnam “in the driver’s seat” as US and European Union companies look for alternative supply chains, helping the Vietnamese economy thrive.

“The EU had an important opportunity to make real changes through the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement,” said Robertson, referring to a pact that has been a boon for Vietnam. Instead, he said, the EU “fell short, settling for vague promises … instead of substantive changes”.

EU officials did not immediately respond to Reuters’s request for comment.

After the jailing of the three journalists earlier this month, the United Nations human rights office said: “Coming just weeks ahead [of the party congress], the convictions and long sentences are not only a blatant suppression of independent journalism but also a clear attempt to create a chilling effect among those willing to criticise the government.”

The United States described the sentences as the “latest in a troubling and accelerating trend of arrests and convictions of Vietnamese citizens exercising rights enshrined in Vietnam’s constitution”.

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