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George Floyd’s coffin put on view for public as Democrats introduce federal police reform legislation

Pressure grows on on Monday for lawmakers to force change

George Floyd protests: the understated peaceful side of the movement

Members of the public were allowed to view George Floyd's coffin in his hometown of Houston, Texas, on Monday as global protests sparked by his death continued over the weekend. His body was on display for six hours to allow for the public viewing.

On Tuesday, a private memorial would be held in funeral with a 500-person limit. The reasoning behind the limit was to help everyone attending maintain social distancing guidelines during the service.

In response to Black Lives Matter protests across the nation, Congressional Democrats unveiled new legislation that would directly tackle police reform across the United States. But Republicans have urged caution about passing anything on the federal level addressing police reform and brutality.

On the state and local level, Minneapolis lawmakers pledged to dismantle its police department, promising to create, instead, a new system of public safety, while New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said he would cut the city's $6bn police budget and spend more on social services. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti also vowed to cut $100m to $150m of his city's police budget, just a few days after he planned to increase that same budget by 7 per cent.

All of this comes as Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, made a virtual appearance in court on Monday.

The judge accepted prosecutors' $1.25m unconditioned bail, which changes to $1m with conditions. These conditions include Chauvin remaining a law-abiding citizen, attending all court appearances, refraining from taking any law enforcement and security jobs, and handing over all firearms.

Whether Chauvin would be able to post bail remains to be seen.

President Donald Trump has continued his rhetoric of "law and order" amid the protests across the country. He's accused the Democrats of pushing "defund the police" rhetoric, but prominent Democrats like former Vice President Joe Biden said they did not support the movement. Instead, Mr Biden advocated for funding community policing policies and other vital programmes.

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Good morning and welcome to The Independent's coverage of all the latest anti-racism protests spreading across the world in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd in the US last month. 

Tom.Embury-Dennis8 June 2020 08:25
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Police investigate ‘a small group of people who clearly committed an act of criminal damage’

Avon and Somerset Police have launched an investigation to identify those involved in tearing down the statute of 17th century slave trader Edward Colston. 

Black Lives Matter protesters toppled the statue and threw it in the city's harbour on Sunday.

Home secretary Priti Patel said the toppling of the statue was “utterly disgraceful”, ”completely unacceptable” and “sheer vandalism”.

Read more:

Tom.Embury-Dennis8 June 2020 08:37
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Speaking to the BBC's Today programme, Bristol mayor Marvin Rees refused to be drawn on whether demonstrators who tore down the 17th century statue of slave trader Edward Colston should be prosecuted. 

He did say, though, that the statue had remained a "personal affront" to him as a person of Jamaican heritage. 

Asked why he had not organised for its lawful removal, Rees said: "I’m the first directly elected mayor of African heritage in Europe. If I just pitch up and start tearing down all memorials to slavery there would be another debate and I would be on the receiving end.

"I don’t have the latitude to operate like that that other people would, in just the same way Obama didn’t have the latitude to criticise America’s security services in the same way that Trump does."

Tom.Embury-Dennis8 June 2020 08:50
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Boris Johnson says protests 'subverted by thuggery'

Boris Johnson has said anti-racism demonstrations in London were “subverted by thuggery” after some protesters clashed with police over the weekend.

The prime minister said people had the right to protest peacefully but those who clashed with police were “a betrayal of the cause they purpose to serve” - and would be held to account.

Thousands of people took part in demonstrations across the UK over the death of George Floyd in the US at the hands of a white police officer.

Read more:

Tom.Embury-Dennis8 June 2020 08:56
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Minneapolis lawmakers vow to disband police force

Two weeks after the killing of George Floyd at the knee of a police officer, a veto-proof majority of Minneapolis city councillors has committed to disbanding the police force.

The nine members of the 13-member council signed their pledge at a rally of protesters demanding that the police force be defunded. Speaking from the stage in Powderhorn Park, council president Lisa Bender said that the city needed a top-to-bottom rethink of what policing is and how it should work.

“Our commitment is to do what’s necessary to keep every single member of our safe, and to tell the truth: that the Minneapolis police are not doing that.

“Our commitment is to end our city’s toxic relationship with the Minneapolis Police Department, to end policing as we know it, and to recreate systems of public safety that actually keep us safe.”

Read more:

Tom.Embury-Dennis8 June 2020 08:59
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Policing minister Kit Malthouse has said the toppling in Bristol of the 17th century slave trader Edward Colston was "wrong" amd "an act of criminal damage", The Independent's political correspondent Lizzy Buchan reports.

Tom.Embury-Dennis8 June 2020 09:07
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In the US overnight, Donald Trump spent time on Twitter railing against familiar grievances and perceived foes.

The president commented on the news that The New York Times opinion editor has resigned over the publication of an op-ed by Senator Tom Cotton, who called for the possible involvement of the military in tackling protesters.

He has also gone back to a familiar complaint of a couple of years ago - and that is about NFL players kneeling during the national anthem to protest against police violence against black people.

Tom.Embury-Dennis8 June 2020 09:15
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Barr defends clearing of protesters with 'pepper balls' and says no systemic racism in police forces

William Barr has defended the clearing of protesters from Lafayette Park in Washington DC through the use of “pepper balls” and denied that the use of force had anything to do with Donald Trump's photo-op with a Bible outside St John's Church that day.

Speaking with CBS News on Sunday, the US attorney general also said that he did not believe systemic racism is an issue in police forces.

The Trump administration has been heavily criticised for its response to protestors in the wake of George Floyd's death in police custody, in particular the aggressive tactics of law enforcement outside the White House last Monday to clear Lafayette Park.

Read more: 

Tom.Embury-Dennis8 June 2020 09:30
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Republican senator and former presidential nominee Mitt Romney on Sunday attended a Black Lives Matter march through Washington DC. 

“We need a voice against racism. We need many voices against racism and against brutality," he told reporters, adding: “We need to stand up and say black lives matter."

Tom.Embury-Dennis8 June 2020 09:41
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AOC calls for defunding New York police

The call to defund police departments in the wake of the George Floyd protests has support from a high-profile voice in the US House of Representatives.

New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez voiced her support for reducing and redirecting police department funds as a way to address systemic racism and excessive use of force in law enforcement agencies.

Ms Ocasio-Cortez expressed her support during a debate on New York Spectrum News 1.

Read more:

Tom.Embury-Dennis8 June 2020 09:45

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