Accused killer cop ‘looks like a sociopath’
The fiance of murdered Australian Justine Ruszczyk Damond said the white cop who knelt on the neck of George Floyd for nearly nine minutes had the relaxed look of "a sociopathic killer" drinking beer with mates.
As massive, mostly peaceful protests played out across the US and the world and Mr Floyd's friends and family held another memorial with thousands of mourners outside, Don Damond delivered a chilling assessment of the face of white cop Derek Chauvin during the murder video.
"It's like a sociopathic killer," Mr Damond told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "There's no remorse, no guilt, no anger. There's nothing.
"It's like he could be sitting there drinking a beer with his buddies.
"The look on his face was, 'I'm just going to snuff this guy and not even bat an eye'."
Mr Damond's fiance Justine was shot dead by Minneapolis cop Mohamed Noor in 2017 after she approached a police car when she reported what she thought was an assault behind her home.
Noor is serving a 12.5-year prison sentence after he was convicted of third- degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Thousands of protesters streamed into Washington DC where the mayor had the slogan "Black Lives Matter" painted onto the road near the White House in huge letters. It was so large that it could be seen from satellites in space, it was reported.
Military vehicles and officers in fatigues closed off much of downtown Washington to traffic as up to 200,000 people turned up.
Large protests also took place across the US and overseas, including in London, Paris, Berlin and Sydney, collectively producing perhaps the largest one-day mobilisation since Floyd's death 12 days ago at the hands of police in Minneapolis.
Meanwhile, troops in riot gear surrounded a barricaded White House as Washington DC prepared for the largest George Floyd protest yet and another memorial in his name drew thousands of mourners.
Protests across America and the world drew thousands of demonstrators as family and friends of George Floyd gathered in North Carolina for another memorial.
Washington braced itself with members of the National Guard guarding famous landmarks and patrolling a new pedestrian-only demonstration area where streets were closed off to all traffic.
The White House remained a fortress, with tall black fences erected around its perimeter cutting off protesters, as DC's mayor formally renamed the street outside "Black Lives Matter Plaza".
In New York City, large groups of health care workers joined the protests marching through Manhattan.
The development came as a second memorial for George Floyd began in North Carolina - with thousands of people lined up outside the venue, the New York Post reports.
MEMORIAL FOR GEORGE FLOYD
A second memorial service was held for George Floyd in his birth state of North Carolina early today AEST.
About 125 family and friends attended the venue - but thousands more gathered outside.
Chants of "black power" and "no justice, no peace" rang out as the hearse bearing Floyd's coffin arrived at around.
It's part of a series of events marking Floyd's life and his significance in galvanising national protests against racial inequality and police brutality.
"The memorial is about the life that Mr. George Floyd lived, and this is a time to embrace the family with expressions of love and kindness," Hoke County Sheriff Hubert Peterkin urged in a Facebook statement.
Worshippers sang along with a choir as a large photo of Floyd and a portrait of him adorned with an angel's wings and halo sat at the front of the chapel.
Hundreds waited in line to view Floyd's coffin, some holding umbrellas to ward off the hot sun, news reports said. Some sobbed and many held their cell phones high in the air as a hearse arrived with the casket.
NY POLICE PLEAD NOT GUILTY
Two New York police officer filmed on a now-viral video pushing an elderly man to the ground, where he laid bleeding onto the footpath, have pleaded not guilty to second-degree assault, according to reports.
In the video, the cop who pushed Martin Gugino, 75, appears to pause and prepare to help the injured man, but moves on after another officers seems to tell him to keep moving.
Suspended Buffalo NY Police Officers Robert McCabe and Aaron Torgalski were arraigned Saturday morning via video conference and released without bail.
Cheers erupted from fellow cops as McCabe and Torgalski left the Erie County courthouse.
Nearly 60 cops from their unit have resigned over the charges.
The officers, who were with the department's Emergency Response Team, are due back in court July 20.
The development came as a second memorial for George Floyd began in North Carolina - with thousands of people lined up outside the venue, the New York Post reports.
Gugino, described as a "longtime peace activist," was hospitalised with a head injury. Mayor Byron Brown described Gugino as an "agitator."
Fifty-seven officers resigned from the emergency team in solidarity with the two suspended cops.
In the clip taken Thursday shortly after Buffalo's curfew went into effect, Gugino approaches Emergency Response Team officers dressed in riot gear. One of the officers shoves Gugino, causing him to stumble backward and fall. As a stream of officers approach, the back of his head hits the pavement and blood begins to trickle out.
"I said right away, I think the DA should look at it. I think there was criminal liability from what I saw on the video," Cuomo said Saturday from his daily press conference in Albany. "I think what the mayor did and the DA did was right, and I applaud them. There is no tolerance for delay in justice."
"Fifty-seven resigned in disgust because of the treatment of two of their members, who were simply executing orders," said John Evans, president of the Buffalo Police Benevolent Association.
The special squad was created in 2016 and is deployed for mass protests or riots, the network reported.
The officers who resigned are still employed, just no longer part of the Emergency Response Team, according to WIVB.
INSPECTOR CHARGED OVER SEPARATE ASSAULT ON PROTESTER
Meanwhile, a police inspector will face assault charges after he was caught on camera smashing a protester's head with a metal baton in "potentially lethal" strike.
The Philadelphia District Attorney's Office announced the charges against Joseph Bologna on Friday.
The news comes after a video went viral that showed officer Bologna hitting a protester in the head with a baton.
The victim was identified as 21-year-old Evan Gorski, CBS reported.
The Temple University student suffered "serious bodily injury, including a large head wound that required treatment in a hospital while under arrest, including approximately 10 spales and approximately 10 sutures," according to a statement from District lawyer Larry Krasner, obtained by a Washington Post reporter.
NEW TONIGHT: Philadelphia area district attorney will prosecute Philadelphia Police Staff Inspector Joseph Bologna on a charge of Aggravated Assault for busting open the head of a college student by hitting him with a police baton during protests. @CBSPhilly pic.twitter.com/6SixH8BwU1— David Begnaud (@DavidBegnaud) June 6, 2020
Despite being arrested and detained for more than 24 hours, Krasner did not charge the student.
"Instead, Inspector Bologna will face prosecution for his role in the incident," the statement read.
Bologna will face charges for two counts of aggravated assault, simple assault, possession of an instrument of crime and recklessly endangering another person, according to the document.
"We are trying to be fair. Accountability has to be equal. This moment demands a swift and even-handed response to violent and criminal acts based on the facts and evidence," District lawyer Krasner said.
"Americans are taking to the streets to demand a remaking of political, economic, and legal systems that serve the powerful at the expense of citizens' health, welfare and lives.
"There can be no safety or peace without justice. My office will continue to hold people who cause harm to others equally accountable."
A federal judge in Denver also ordered city police to stop using tear gas, plastic bullets and other "less-than-lethal" devices such as flash grenades, with his ruling citing examples of protesters and journalists being injured by police.
"These are peaceful demonstrators, journalists, and medics who have been targeted with extreme tactics meant to suppress riots, not to suppress demonstrations," US District Judge R. Brooke Jackson wrote in his ruling.
MARYLAND CYCLIST FACES ASSAULT CHARGES
A cyclist who was filmed ripping anti-racist flyers from George Floyd activists before attacking one of them with his bike has been charged with assault.
Anthony Brennan III, 60, was charged with three counts of second-degree assault on Friday for attacking the protester on the Capital Crescent Trail in Maryland, according to WUSA.
In a statement, Maryland-National Capital Park Police said: "Over the past few days, community members have sent hundreds of tips to the Park Police.
Police say they are looking for a cyclist seen on video assaulting and cursing at activists who were posting flyers along a trail in Bethesda, Maryland.— ABC News (@ABC) June 5, 2020
No one was seriously injured. https://t.co/MnAg4Yirnl pic.twitter.com/0pseuh04qH
"Detectives in the Investigative Section utilized various sources to further corroborate the information provided by the community before developing Mr. Brennan as a primary suspect.
"Contact was made with Mr. Brennan and his legal counsel earlier today. Consent was provided to search his home while members of the State's Attorney's Office and Park Police were present. Items of evidentiary value were seized.
"A subsequent arrest warrant was obtained and served on Mr. Brennan this evening after he voluntarily turned himself into detectives."
The anonymous demonstrators told NBC Washington that they were putting up posters in support of the George Floyd protests on Monday morning when they were approached by the cyclist.
In the footage, the man can be seen taking paper from one person and then, what appears to be, tape from a girl.
As people off-camera shout at the man to not touch the girl, the cyclist then turns his anger to the man recording the footage.
The attacker is then seen running with his bike toward the recorder, before allegedly running it into him.
The victim told NBC: "He sees me recording him and sees the fact that I recorded him as he was doing that, and he grabs his bike and he runs it into me and pins me to the ground.
He also told that the outlet that the man used profanity, called them deviants and said they were inciting riots.
D.C. PREPARES FOR BIGGEST PROTESTS YET
Authorities in America's capital of Washington D.C. are expecting Saturday to be the largest demonstration against police brutality in the city since George Floyd's death.
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 local officials were projecting between 100,000 and 200,000 protesters.
It comes as thousands have taken to the streets across Australia, as did hundreds in Tokyo and Seoul to support US protests against police brutality, while demonstrations are expected around Europe overnight.
The rolling, global protests reflect rising anger over police treatment of ethnic minorities, sparked by the May 25 killing of Floyd in Minneapolis after a police officer detaining him knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes as fellow officers stood by.
Asia-Pacific demonstrations, however, were limited by social-distancing curbs aiming at stopping the novel coronavirus pandemic.
In the United States on Friday, prominent Democratic politicians adopted the slogans of the protests and announced reforms, as tensions remained high in major cities after days of largely peaceful protests that saw sporadic violence.
In Brisbane on Saturday, police estimated 10,000 people joined a peaceful protest, wearing masks and holding "Black Lives Matter" placards. Many wrapped themselves in indigenous flags, calling for an end to police mistreatment of indigenous Australians.
In Sydney, a last-minute court decision overruled a coronavirus ban as several thousand people marched, amid a heavy police presence, chanting: "Whose lives matter? Black Lives matter." Rallies were also held in Melbourne, Adelaide and other Australian cities.
In Tokyo, marchers protested against what they said was police treatment of a Kurdish man who says he was stopped while driving and shoved to the ground, leaving him with bruises.
In Seoul, dozens of South Korean activists and foreign residents gathered, some wearing black masks with "can't breathe" in Korean, echoing Floyd's final words as he lay on the pavement. Others participated in an online "viral photo protest".
With pandemic restrictions in Bangkok, activists were going online, asking for video and photos of people wearing black, raising their fists and holding signs, and explaining why they "stand united behind Black Lives Matter". The Thai protesters plan to gather on the video-meeting platform Zoom on Sunday and observe 8 minutes 46 seconds of silence - the period that Floyd was filmed pinned under the officer's knee.
Around Europe, which has seen an unprecedented wave of anti-racism rallies drawing tens of thousands on to the streets, weekend protests were planned in Germany, Britain, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium and Hungary.
Several hundred people protested peacefully in front of the US consulate in Naples, Italy, 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 US consulate.
There were no immediate signs of clashes.
Most protesters wore face masks and organisers 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.
As in Seoul, Paris authorities banned demonstrations in front of the local US embassy, citing the coronavirus.
Organisers 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 and 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."
In London, thousands of demonstrators protested in the rain 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 UK cities. A rally is scheduled for Sunday in front of the US Embassy in London.
Some European demonstrators have been wearing masks and maintaining social distance, but in some places - notably Germany on Friday - large numbers marched closely together.
Banners and slogans have focused not just on Floyd but on a string of other controversies in specific countries and mistreatment of minorities in general.
In Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was also seen taking a knee with protesters.
LA COPS SHOOT WHEELCHAIR-BOUND MAN IN FACE
Los Angeles Police have been accused of shooting a wheelchair-bound man in the eye with rubber bullets, and holding people for more than 12 hours for curfew violations.
A lawsuit filed by the LA chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, Black Lives Matter and Los Angeles Community Action Network - accused the department of violating protesters' right to assemble and using excessive force, the LA Times reports.
Images of the homeless man emerged on social media, who was seen bleeding from his eye.
FLOYD'S FINAL MOMENTS
Meanwhile, a man who was with Floyd on the night he died told The New York Times that his longtime friend didn't resist arrest and instead tried to defuse the situation before he ended up handcuffed on the ground.
Maurice Lester Hall was a passenger in Floyd's car when police approached him May 25 as they responded to a call about someone using a forged bill at a shop. Hall told the newspaper that Floyd was trying to show he was not resisting. "I could hear him pleading, 'Please, officer, what's all this for?"' Hall told the Times.
Authorities say Hall is a key witness in the state's investigation into the four officers who apprehended Floyd. Hall's identity wasn't made public until the Times' report. Bruce Gordon, spokesman for the Department of Public Safety, said Hall initially gave a false name to officers at the scene.
“Him begging for his life, actually being scared, feeling the reaper. That's what's going to stick with me.”— Good Morning America (@GMA) June 5, 2020
George Floyd’s friend, who witnessed to his death, speaks out. https://t.co/109fJjT2Vz pic.twitter.com/97pV8EzZfV
Hall told ABC's "Good Morning America" that the situation escalated quickly and police grabbed Floyd, put him in a squad car, dragged him back out and then "jumped on the back of the neck." He said Floyd was put in an ambulance and that he didn't know his friend had died until the next day, when he saw bystander video on Facebook.
"I'm going to always remember seeing the fear in Floyd's face because he's such a king," Hall told the Times. "That's what sticks with me, seeing a grown man cry, before seeing a grown man die."
NFL ADMITS IT WAS WRONG
NFL boss Roger Goodell has apologised for his organisation's stance on the Black Lives Matter movement, condemned systemic racism and pledged to do more in the fight the against racial equality.
NFL Commissioner Goodell made the video announcement after more than a dozen players - including the Giants' Saquon Barkley and Sterling Shepard, the Jets' Jamal Adams and Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes - asked the NFL to admit its mistakes,
The New York Post reports, Goodell wanted the players to know he heard them, and delivered nearly word-for-word on what the players asked.
"We, the National Football League, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of black people," he said in the video.
"We, the National Football League, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier, and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest. We, the National Football League, believe Black lives matter."
Goodell called it "a difficult time for our country, in particular, Black people in our country" before sending his condolence to the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery who have endured police brutality.
He added that he personally protests with the players and wants "to be part of the much-needed change in this country."
Goodell noted that without black players there would be no NFL and the protests around the country are "emblematic the centuries of silence, inequality and oppression of black players, coaches, fans and staff."
COPS CRITICISED FOR ACTIONS
That question is one being asked across America as authorities grapple with how to respond to the most widespread civil unrest in decades.
Mr Cuomo has also been openly critical of the NYPD, which has cracked down increasingly hard on protesters.
Officers in multiple New York City precincts were accused Thursday night of attacking peaceful marchers with batons and mace and Mayor Bill de Blasio chastised them for arresting essential workers, such as delivery drivers, for breaking the 8pm curfew.
In Minneapolis, where Mr Floyd died beneath the knee of white officer on May 25, the use of chokeholds was yesterday banned.
Former officer Derek Chauvin faces 40 years in jail if found guilty of second degree murder, while three other police were charged with aiding and abetting his murder.
Under the new restrictions, officers such as the trio working with Chauvin who don't step in to stop their colleagues performing the chokehold would also be breaking the law.
And two members of an Australian news crew were among those injured outside the White House after US President Donald Trump ordered police and National Guard troops to clear a crowd using tear gas and rubber bullets.
The majority of the protesters who have taken to dozens of America's major cities have been peaceful, with multiracial groups including families and children energised by the shocking video of Mr Floyd's death to call out police killings of black men and women.
Many officers have shown solidarity with them, bumping fists as they stand toe-to-toe with demonstrators in what has become a sign of peace.
SOME COPS SHOW SOLIDARITY
Others have also taken a knee, including NYPD chief Terence Monahan, who last week soothed a heated showdown in Greenwich Village by holding hands with protesters.
"Everyone, this has got to end," Monahan said as he knelt with them.
"We all know Minnesota was wrong. They were arrested, which they should be. There is not a police officer over here that thinks Minnesota was justified.
"But this is our city, our city, do not let people not from this city have you come here and screw-up your city. We cannot be fighting. We have to live here. This is our home."
And footage of the Sheriff of Flint, Michigan, putting down his weapons and marching with townsfolk was widely shared.
"I want to make this a parade, not a protest," Sheriff Chris Swanson said.
"The only reason we're here is to make sure that you got a voice. That's it. These cops love you."
Later, he said the moment wasn't planned.
"When I saw the first fist bump in the crowd and a hug, I said that's it! We can listen to what they're saying. I'd love to say I planned it. I'd love to say it was scripted but it wasn't."
TRUMP'S ELECTION BATTLE CONTINUES
Coming in an already fraught election year, how US President Donald Trump and his Democratic rival handle the fallout is increasingly being seen as what could decide voters.
Democratic strategist Moe Vela said Mr Trump's divisive language and failure to unite the country could cost him the centrist voters who he needs to win a second term.
"It's a very strong bet that Joe Biden is going to hold Hillary Clinton's base and most likely expand on it," Mr Vela told News Corp Australia.
"You can bet a million dollars Trump is going to hold his base," said Mr Vela, a former senior Adviser to Mr Biden.
"The only reason Donald Trump as president today was because of less than one hundred thousand people in three states.
"This is going to impact the election because the people who voted Obama, Obama, Trump are most likely going to come home to roost.
"They're breaking towards Joe Biden because they tend to they are very socially much more progressive than the Trump extremists."
For author Ijeoma Ouo, whose book So You Want to Talk About Race sells out every time there is a high profile killing of a black or brown person, the current wave of protests is "traumatising".
"Because, in between these major news headlines, countess people of colour are subject to not just police brutality, but systemic racism in general, throughout this country," she said yesterday.
"I would really love the collective love that I now that people have for us to sustain our activism and anti racism throughout the year instead of waiting for just this sort of brutality."
Originally published as Accused killer cop 'looks like a sociopathic killer': Damond's fiance