On Jun 1st, Monday, US President Donald Trump announced the deployment of “heavily armed” soldiers and police by the thousands to prevent further protests in Washington DC, as many buildings and monuments near the White House were not spared being severely vandalized.
During a nationwide address, Trump said “What happened in the city last night was a total disgrace,” while tear gas went off and crowds protested in the streets nearby at the same time.
“I am dispatching thousands and thousands of heavily armed soldiers, military personnel and law enforcement officers to stop the rioting, looting, vandalism, assaults and the wanton destruction of property.”
“Acts of domestic terror” was denounced by Trump after ongoing nationwide protests resulting from the death of George Floyd, an unarmed African American, while under police custody.
Police were heard using tear gas and stun grenades to disperse protesters in front of the White House while Trump said “I want the organizers of this terror to be on notice that you will face severe criminal penalties and a lengthy sentence in jail,”.
State governors were called by Trump to “deploy the National Guard in sufficient numbers that we dominate the streets” before he headed out on foot for a photo op at the riot-damaged two-century-old “church of the presidents”, St John’s, directly opposite the White House.
Accompanying Trump were several members of his administration and top aides including national security Adviser Robert O’Brien, all of whom then made a stop in front of the yellow church’s boarded-up windows. An acrid odor could be detected in the air.
Trump only held up a Bible in front of cameramen present but did not take questions from the waiting reporters, after which he proceeded to return to the White House.
Remarks were made by the president in his White House announcement that he was mobilising all civilian and military resources “to stop the rioting and looting, to end the destruction and arson and to protect the rights of law-abiding Americans, including your Second Amendment rights” – a reference for gun ownership laws protected by the US constitution.
“We cannot allow the righteous cries of peaceful protesters to be drowned out by an angry mob,” Trump said, while continuing on to add that the nation was in the grip of “professional anarchists.”
New York governor Andrew Cuomo posted “What the president did today was he called out the American military against American citizens,” on Twitter.
“He used the military to push out a peaceful protest so he could have a photo op at a church. It’s all just a reality TV show for this president.”
Mostly peaceful during the day, the demonstrations turned violent after dark over the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old African American who died in police custody after being pinned beneath a white Minneapolis officer’s knee for nearly more than eight minutes.
The family of George Floyd ordered a second autopsy which revealed that his death was a homicide by “mechanical asphyxiation” on Monday, meaning he was choked to death by a physical force that blocked his windpipe. The report further said three officers contributed to Floyd’s death.
A University of Michigan expert who examined his body at the family’s request, Aleccia Wilson, said “The evidence is consistent with mechanical asphyxia as the cause of death, and homicide as the manner of death,” in a news conference.
Details of the autopsy findings were released by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner on Monday which also concluded homicide by asphyxiation as the cause of Floyd’s death.
The County Medical Examiner’s report also stated Floyd suffered cardiopulmonary arrest while being under restraint by the police officers, and he also suffered from arteriosclerotic and hypertensive heart disease, fentanyl intoxication and recent use of methamphetamine.
This has been the most widespread unrest in the United States ever since cities went up in flames back in 1968 over the slaying of Martin Luther King Jr, the African American civil rights icon. Memories of the Los Angeles riots back in 1992 were also rekindled after the brutal beating of black motorist Rodney King by the police.
2nd June 2020 18:40
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