The Latest worldwide: Independent autopsy for Floyd expected Monday


Associated Press



MINNEAPOLIS — 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 several minutes.

Floyd, a black man who was in handcuffs at the time, died after the white officer ignored bystander shouts to get off him and 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 America.

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.

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MADISON, Wisconsin — Fifteen people were arrested after a second night of violence erupted Sunday night in Madison, Wisconsin, with police firing tear gas as protesters again threw rocks and damaged store downtown stores following an afternoon peaceful protest over the death of George Floyd.

There were also protests in Milwaukee and Racine on Sunday night, continuing a weekend of unrest both in Wisconsin and across the country in reaction to Floyd’s death.

Madison police reported Monday that multiple stores were looted in the State Street area, a business corridor that connects the state Capitol to the University of Wisconsin campus.

One of the 15 people arrested was armed with a handgun, police said. There were multiple unsuccessful attempts to steal a police squad car, the police said. A protest Sunday night in Milwaukee was mostly peaceful, but a crowd that gathered outside of a city police station was dispersed with tear gas.

National Guard troops were deployed in both Madison and Milwaukee to assist local law enforcement.

In Racine, about 150 people marched to the police station where they threw rocks at police who were wearing riot gear. The crowd dispersed after police fired tear gas.

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MINNEAPOLIS — Authorities say the driver of a semitrailer who rolled into the midst of thousands of people marching on a closed Minneapolis freeway 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.

The freeway was among many shut down in the Minneapolis area for the second night in a row as officials imposed an 8 p.m. 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 5 p.m. State Corrections Commissioner Paul Schnell said at a later briefing, however, that the truck went around a traffic barrier to stay on the road.

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LONDON — British 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. 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.”

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The police chief of Louisville, Kentucky, says police officers and 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 12:15 a.m. 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 if 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 EMT was shot eight times by narcotics detectives who knocked down her front door, as well as the death of George Floyd.

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — South Dakota Gov. Governor Kristi Noem activated the National Guard after protests in Sioux Fall turned violent over the death of George Floyd.

The protest in South Dakota’s largest city started Sunday afternoon with a march downtown. Police said dozens of protesters later congregated at the Empire Mall and began throwing rocks at officers and breaking windows.

Police said protesters had dispersed by 11 p.m. Noem said about 70 Guard members are in Sioux Falls and will remain until they are no longer needed.

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PARIS — In France, family and friends of a French black man who died shortly after he was arrested by police in 2016 have called for a protest on Tuesday which will also pay homage to George Floyd.

The circumstances of the death of Adama Traore, a French 24-old-man of Malian origin, are still under investigation by justice authorities.

Calls for Tuesday’s protest in front of the Paris court come after some medical experts last week attributed the death to a cardiac problem, the latest in a series of conflicting medical assessments.

French police claimed Traore died of a heart attack due to pre-existing medical condition. His family said he died from asphyxiation from police tactics.

In a video message published on social media, Traore’s sister Assa Traore calls for protesters to express their indignation “at a time when the world, when France is outraged by the death of George Floyd.”

She said “they had the same words, their last words: ‘I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe.’”

She denounced the latest medical experts’ report as “racist” and “untrue.”

The family wants the officers in charge of Traore’s arrest to go on trial.

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ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico — A protest along the historic Route 66 into downtown Albuquerque turned violent early Monday after police reported demonstrators setting small fires and officers say they were fired upon.

Albuquerque police spokesman Gilbert Gallegos says officers reported shots fired at them in front of the historic Kimo Theater early Monday after a mostly peaceful demonstration disbanded. Gallego said there was damage to several properties in the area, including broken windows and some stealing from stores.

No injuries were reported.

Before the chaos, hundreds of people on Sunday marched down historic Route 66, protesting the death of George Floyd.

Protesters in New Mexico’s largest city held signs, wore masks and chanted, “Say his name: George Floyd” and “Hands up, don’t shoot.”

Activist Arthur Bell told protesters there will be another demonstration Monday evening in front of Albuquerque Police Department headquarters, but that rally will be “different.”

When The Associated Press asked Bell what he meant by “different,” he said: “A general never gives out his tactics.”

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SYDNEY — Fearful of conflict, organizers have canceled a peaceful protest planned for Sydney over the death of George Floyd in the United States.

A rally planned at Sydney’s downtown Hyde Park for Tuesday was canceled on Monday after people threatened to create “havoc and protest against the event,” an organizer said on social media.

The rally was presented as a peaceful protest against the overrepresentation of indigenous Australians in Australia’s criminal justice system as well as in solidarity for Floyd who was “brutally and inhumanly murdered.”

Organizers posted that “although Australia is far from where the murder took place, we have a voice.”

Thousands of protesters are expected at similar rallies planned for the Australian cities of Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide on Saturday.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison told Sydney Radio 2GB on Monday “there’s no need to import things … happening in other countries here to Australia,” referring to U.S. riots.

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TEHRAN, Iran — In Iran, which has in the recent past violently put down nationwide demonstrations by killing hundreds, arresting thousands and disrupting internet access to the outside world, state television has repeatedly aired images of the U.S. unrest.

Foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi urged the U.S. government and police to stop the violence against their own people during a press conference in Tehran on Monday.

“To American officials and police! Stop violence against your people and let them breathe,” Mousavi said and also sent a message to the American people that “the world is standing with you.” He added that Iran is saddened to see “the violence the U.S. police have recently” set off.

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BEIJING — Chinese state media has weighed in on the protests in the U.S., comparing them to last year’s violent anti-government demonstrations in Hong Kong that Beijing accuses the U.S. and other foreign forces as encouraging.

In an editorial Sunday, the ruling Communist Party newspaper Global Times said Chinese experts had noted that U.S. politicians might “think twice” before commenting again on issues in Hong Kong, knowing that “their words might backfire on them one day.”

That followed a commentary on state broadcaster CCTV Saturday that described the violence between police and protesters in the U.S. as “cup of bitter wine distilled by the U.S. politicians themselves.” Racism, the commentary said, is the “darkest shadow on American history and the scar that will not heal.”

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said Monday that the protests in various American cities “once again reflect the racial discrimination in the U.S., the serious problems of police violent enforcement and the urgency of solving these problems.” China hopes the U.S. will “safeguard and guarantee the legal rights of ethnic minorities,” Zhao said at a daily briefing on Monday

The protests are an opportunity for China to allege double-standards and counter criticism from foreign governments and the Western media over its handling of the Hong Kong protests, its treatment of Muslim minorities in the northwestern region of Xinjiang and other human rights issues.

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SAN FRANCISCO — The state Department of Human Resources sent a directive to close all California state buildings “with offices in downtown city areas” on Monday, a sweeping mandate that covers everything from Department of Motor Vehicles offices to those that license workers and provide health care.

“After consultation with the California Highway Patrol and Office of Emergency Services, the decision was made this evening to advise all state departments with offices in downtown city areas to close tomorrow, and to notify staff of the decision,” said Amy Palmer, a spokeswoman for the state Government Operations Agency.

The directive was sent Sunday evening and it was left up to officials at individual agencies to determine which buildings should be closed.

A state Department of Justice memo sent to employees said the attorney general’s offices in Sacramento, Oakland, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego would be closed, though employees who can work from home should do so.

“Staff assigned to these offices should not report to work for any reason. Staff who are able to telework should continue to do so despite the office closures,” the memo said.

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PORTLAND, Ore. — Police in Portland deployed tear gas to disperse a large crowd downtown late Sunday night after authorities said projectiles were thrown at officers.

Earlier, police said protesters smashed windows at the federal courthouse, and authorities on loudspeakers declared the gathering a civil disturbance.

Thousands of people marched throughout Oregon’s largest city on Sunday, the third day of George Floyd protests in Portland. For much of the afternoon and evening protesters were largely peaceful, but there were reports of increased violence directed at police into the night.

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Associated Press