Floyd’s brother pleads for peace; Trump takes combative tone

  • An emotional Terrence Floyd, second from right, is comforted as he sits at the spot at the intersection of 38th Street and Chicago Avenue, Minneapolis, Minn., where his brother George Floyd, encountered police and died while in their custody, Monday, June 1, 2020. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews) Bebeto Matthews

  • An emotional Terrence Floyd, second from right, is comforted as he touch the spot at the intersection of 38th Street and Chicago Avenue, Minneapolis, Minn., where his brother George Floyd, encountered police and died while in their custody, Monday, June 1, 2020. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews) Bebeto Matthews

  • Protesters rally in front of Pennsylvania National Guard soldiers, Monday, June 1, 2020, in Philadelphia, over the death of George Floyd, a black man who was in police custody in Minneapolis. Floyd died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on May 25. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum) Matt Slocum

  • A Statue of Liberty painting is seen through a smashed Dolce and Gabbana store window, Monday, June 1, 2020, in the SoHo neighbourhood of New York. Protesters broke into the store Sunday night in reaction to George Floyd's death while in police custody on May 25 in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan) Mark Lennihan

  • A man cycles past a boarded-up store after mass demonstrations on Saturday night over the death of George Floyd in the Fairfax district of Los Angeles, Monday, June 1, 2020. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel) Richard Vogel

  • Lt. Alex Reno, of the Hampton, N.H. police department, right, and Dep. Chief Kevin Gelineau, of the Seabrook, N.H. police department, center, take a knee as they join with protesters taking a knee during a rally, Monday June 1, 2020 on Hampton Beach. The group gathered to voice their concerns following the death of George Floyd, who died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on Memorial Day. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) Charles Krupa

  • Volunteer community members clean up a looted store in Philadelphia, Monday, June 1, 2020 in the aftermath of protest and unrest in reaction to George Floyd's death while in police custody on May 25 in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke) Matt Rourke

  • Hanz Jouissance holds up a fist at the conclusion of a prayer vigil at the First AME church Monday, June 1, 2020, in Seattle, following protests over the weekend over the death of George Floyd, a black man who was in police custody in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson) Elaine Thompson

  • Volunteers clean up graffiti on a window at The Pike Outlets, Monday, June 1, 2020, in Long Beach, Calif, after overnight protests in reaction to George Floyd's death while in police custody on May 25 in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis) Ashley Landis

  • Volunteers pick up glass from a damaged The Gap store Monday, June 1, 2020, in Santa Monica, Calif., a day after unrest and protests over the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) Marcio Jose Sanchez

  • A woman wearing a mask due to coronavirus concerns, looks at a smashed storefront window in Boston's Downtown Crossing, Monday, June1, 2020. A march in Boston Sunday to protest the death of George Floyd, who died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on May 25, turned violent after dark. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) Elise Amendola

  • Volunteers clean graffiti from a store wall Monday, June 1, 2020, in Santa Monica, Calif., a day after unrest and protests over the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis. Floyd died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on May 25. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) Marcio Jose Sanchez

  • Members of the Omega Psi Phi fraternity hold hands in prayer in the parking lot, Monday, June 1, 2020, in Tampa, Fla., near where two places of business were destroyed by protesters Saturday night. Several counties across Florida issued curfews to curb large crowds gathering to protest the killings of black people by police. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) Chris O'Meara

  • A woman leads a chant as protesters take a knee at the Indiana Statehouse in Indianapolis, Monday. AP PHOTO

  • People gather to protest in Hampton Beach, N.H., Monday, June 1, 2020, following the death of George Floyd, who died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on Memorial Day. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) Charles Krupa

  • Police officers stop to look at a burned out police car, Monday, June 1, 2020, in the SoHo neighbourhood of New York. Protesters burned the car in reaction to George Floyd's death while in police custody on May 25 in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan) Mark Lennihan

Published: 6/1/2020 6:59:38 PM

MINNEAPOLIS — George Floyd’s brother pleaded for peace in the streets Monday, saying destruction is “not going to bring my brother back at all,” while President Donald Trump berated most of the nation’s governors as “weak” for not cracking down harder on the lawlessness that has convulsed cities from coast to coast.

The competing messages — one conciliatory, one bellicose — came as the U.S. braced for another round of violence at a time when the country is already buckling because of the coronavirus outbreak and the Depression-level unemployment it has caused.

“We are a country that is scared. We are a country that is angry,” said Sam Page, county executive in St. Louis County, Missouri, where the city of Ferguson has been synonymous with the Black Lives Matter movement since the 2014 death of Michael Brown, a black 18-year-old, in a clash with a white officer. “And we are a country that is holding out for the promise of justice for all.”

In Minneapolis, Floyd’s brother, Terrence, made an emotional plea at the site where Floyd was pinned to the pavement by an officer who put his knee on the handcuffed black man’s neck until he stopped breathing.

“Let’s switch it up, y’all. Let’s switch it up. Do this peacefully, please,” Terrence Floyd said.

The crowd chanted, “What’s his name? George Floyd!” and “One down, three to go!” in reference to the four officers involved in Floyd’s arrest. Officer Derek Chauvin has been charged with murder, but protesters are demanding that his colleagues be prosecuted, too. All four were fired.

The gathering was part rally and part impromptu eulogy as Floyd urged people to stop the violence and use their power at the ballot box.

“If I’m not over here messing up my community, then what are you all doing?” he said. “You all are doing nothing. Because that’s not going to bring my brother back at all.”

The country has been beset by angry demonstrations for the past week in some of the most widespread racial unrest in the U.S. since the 1960s. Spurred in part by Floyd’s death, protesters have taken to the streets to decry the killings of black people by police.

While most of the demonstrations have been peaceful, others have descended into violence, leaving neighborhoods in shambles, stores ransacked, windows broken and cars burned, despite curfews around the country and the deployment of thousands of National Guard members in at least 15 states.

Trump told the nation’s governors in a video conference that they they “look like fools” for not deploying even more National Guard troops. “Most of you are weak,” he said.

He added: “You’ve got to arrest people, you have to track people, you have to put them in jail for 10 years and you’ll never see this stuff again.”

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, dismissed Trump’s comments as the “rantings of an insecure man trying to look strong after building his entire political career on racism.”

Former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential candidate, vowed to address institutional racism in his first 100 days in office. He met in person with black leaders in Delaware and also held a virtual meeting with big-city mayors.

Biden said hate emerges “when you have somebody in power who breathes oxygen into the hate.”

Meanwhile, an autopsy commissioned for Floyd’s family found that he died of asphyxiation from neck and back compression, the family’s attorneys said.

That distinguishes it from the official autopsy, which said he died from the effects of being restrained along with underlying health problems and potential intoxicants in his system. The official autopsy found nothing “to support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation.”

The second autopsy was done by a doctor who also examined the body of Eric Garner, a New York man who died in an officer’s chokehold six years ago.

As it girded for more violence, New York joined other cities in announcing a curfew, set to begin at 11 p.m. The move followed a chaotic Sunday night in which groups of people broke into Chanel, Prada and Rolex boutiques and electronics stores.

At the same time, Mayor Bill de Blasio said the law-breaking in the city of 8.3 million people was “fomented by a very small number of violent protesters.”

At least 4,400 people nationwide have been arrested over the past week for such offenses as stealing, blocking highways and breaking curfew, according to a count by The Associated Press.

Police officers and National Guard soldiers enforcing a curfew in Louisville, Kentucky, killed a man early Monday when they returned fire after someone in a large group shot at them, police said. In Indianapolis, two people were reported dead in bursts of downtown violence over the weekend, adding to deaths recorded in Detroit and Minneapolis.

While police in places tried to ease tensions by kneeling or marching in solidarity with the demonstrators, officers around the country were accused of treating protesters with the same kind of heavy-handed tactics that contributed to the unrest in the first place.

Cities struggled to keep police in line.

In Fort Lauderdale, Florida, an officer was suspended for pushing a kneeling woman to the ground during a protest. In Atlanta, two officers were fired after bashing in the window of a car and using a stun gun on the occupants. In Los Angeles, a police SUV accelerated into several protesters, knocking two people to the ground.

In New York, the police commissioner said about six incidents were being investigated by the department’s internal affairs bureau, including a weekend confrontation in Brooklyn in which two police vehicles appeared to plow through a group of protesters. In another incident, an officer pointed a gun at protesters, drawing condemnation from the mayor.

“I think some of the actions of the NYPD have exacerbated the anger,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. “There are videos of some NYPD actions that are very disturbing. There are videos of NYPD cars driving into a crowd that are very disturbing. Pulling a mask down off a person to pepper spray them. Throwing a woman to the ground. It’s on video! It’s on video!”

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Sedensky reported from Philadelphia. Associated Press journalists across the U.S. contributed to this report.




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