Challenge to Trump’s threat to deploy troops against protests

President Donald Trump has urged the greater use of force to combat the ongoing protests in the United States, and on Monday suggested deploying US troops on the streets, but the US defence secretary has come out in opposition to using troops.

CNN:  Can Trump legally deploy US troops to US cities?

President Donald Trump threatened Monday night to invoke the Insurrection Act of 1807 law and take the unusual step of deploying active duty US soldiers to police US streets.

While Trump claims the move would break up anti-fascists, or Antifa, who he says are organizing violent riots that have led to looting, it would also effectively squelch peaceful protests for racial justice after the death last week of a black man, George Floyd, after a police officer used lethal force during a stop.

That would be a remarkable turn on the law, which was most notably used in the 1950s to enforce desegregation. And later, in the 1960s, to address riots in Detroit.

According to the Congressional Research Service, it hasn’t been invoked since 1992 during the riots in Los Angeles that followed the acquittal of four white police officers in the beating of Rodney King. Now-Attorney General William Barr was actually attorney general back then, too, under former President George H.W. Bush.

Financial Times:  Pentagon chief breaks with Trump over using troops for protests

The US defence secretary opened a rift with Donald Trump, saying he did not agree with the president about sending the army on to the streets to clamp down on protests that have erupted across the country since the death of George Floyd.

“I do not support invoking the Insurrection Act,” Mark Esper said on Wednesday, in a reference to the 1807 law, which allows a president to overrule governors and deploy active-duty soldiers in their states.

Speaking at a press conference, Mr Esper, a West Point graduate and former soldier, said the National Guard was “best suited” to help local law enforcement tackle protests.

“The option to use active duty forces in a law enforcement role should only be used as a matter of last resort, and only in the most urgent and dire of situations,” he said. “We are not in one of those situations.”

Mr Esper and General Mark Milley, chairman of the joint chiefs, have come under intense fire since Monday when they accompanied Mr Trump to a church near the White House where Mr Trump held a photo opportunity with a Bible. Law enforcement officers used pepper spray on peaceful protesters to clear a path for the president.

This could signal a change of mind by Trump on the use of troops, but if not then Esper’s job must be at risk. Trump has a habit of not tolerating people who disagree with him or hold him to account.

Meanwhile the police officer who sparked the latest uprising of anger and frustration and police brutality, especially against blacks, has had now has charges upped to 2nd degree murder, and officers who did nothing while he killed George Floyd have also been charged.

Reuters: Minnesota raises charge against Chauvin in Floyd case, charges three others

Minnesota’s attorney general will increase the murder charge against a fired Minneapolis police officer in the death of an unarmed black man that has triggered nationwide protests and will level charges against three other sacked officers, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar said on Wednesday.

George Floyd, 46, died after Derek Chauvin, a white policeman, knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes on May 25, reigniting the explosive issue of police brutality against African Americans five months before a presidential election.

Klobuchar, who is from Minnesota and a potential running mate for presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden in the Nov. 3 election, said Attorney General Keith Ellison would increase to second-degree murder the charge against Chauvin, 44.

It’s a pity that a politician made the announcement, that won’t help the partisan divide over this.

Chauvin had been charged last week with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. The new charge can carry a sentence of up to 40 years, 15 years longer than the maximum sentence for third-degree murder.

In a tweet, Klobuchar said the three other former officers who were involved in the incident will be charged also. “This is another important step for justice,” she said.

The Minnesota-based Star Tribune, citing sources, said the other officers – Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao – would face charges of aiding and abetting murder.

It has taken over a week for this. Investigations and justice can take time, but time taken over the officers being charged has contributed significantly to the ongoing unrest in the US.


Trump pushes for more force, military, as protests continue in US

Protests against the killing of George Floyd by a police officer continue across the not very united States. It quickly widened to being protests against police brutality, against white vigilantes, and against a culture of racism that has plagued the US for centuries.

Meanwhile President Donald Trump is encouraging authorities to deal with the protests with more force. He is trying to sound tough from an apparent position of impotence.

Stuff: Donald Trump berates US state governors, urges them to use force to ‘dominate’ protesters

After pockets of the United States descended into chaos – after another day of protests over the death of yet another black man in police custody led to another night of fire and fury – President Donald Trump urged the nation’s governors to use force and take back the streets.

During a conference call Monday (Tuesday NZ time), Trump berated the state leaders, calling them “weak,” and urged them to “dominate” protesters, according to officials familiar with the president’s remarks. The conference call followed another turbulent night across the nation, as protests that began peacefully exploded into mayhem.

Some conservative commentators are urging the president to address the nation, but the White House press secretary said Trump is focused on the far-left “antifa” movement that he believes is behind the violence. “A national Oval Office address is not going to stop antifa,” Kayleigh McEnany said.

Trump typically likes to focus on a culprit, but the situation is far more widespread and complex than being the fault of Antifa.

Trump berated the nation’s governors on a conference call, telling them to take back the streets and use force to confront protesters and said if they did not, they would look like “fools,” alarming several governors on the call as they communicated privately, according to the officials.

“If you don’t dominate, you’re wasting your time,” Trump said, according to a person on the call. A second person on the call said Trump praised Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, D, and thanked Defense Secretary Mark Esper for his assistance.

The president told the governors that “you have to use the military” and “we have a wonderful military,” said the person on the call.

The president said that people arrested at the protests should serve a 10-year prison sentence, according to another person familiar with the call.

More force and using the military is likely to further inflame a volatile situation. Trump has been criticised for inflaming things with his language.

Difficult times for the US, and they seem to be far from over.

Even Fox News has mixed coverage that isn’t particularly pro-Trump:

This won’t help calm things: Family releases independent autopsy results indicating cause of death

Attorneys for George Floyd‘s family released the results of an independent autopsy report Monday showing that Floyd’s death was caused by asphyxia due to neck and back compression that led to a lack of blood flow to the brain.

Fox News contributor and forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden was one of two doctors hired by the Floyd family to conduct an independent review after prosecutors said a preliminary finding from the official autopsy concluded 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.

A video showing a white officer was kneeling on Floyd’s neck for eight minutes before his death has sparked national riots in major cities from San Francisco to Boston.

Baden has conducted other independent reviews in similar cases of police brutality including that of Eric Garner, a black man who was placed in a chokehold by New York police who were attempting to arrest him for selling loose cigarettes and would not relent even as he pleaded that he could not breathe.

Floyd fell to the ground as police were attempting to put him in the squad car, saying he was claustrophobic, according to the complaint.

Floyd can be heard on video saying “I can’t breathe,” numerous times.

Video taken of Floyd’s arrest over a suspected counterfeit $20 bill shows former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, 44, kneeling on Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes, 46 seconds, including nearly three minutes after Floyd stopped moving and talking.

It sounds and like a casual callous killing.

Chauvin was arrested on Friday and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Three other officers who stood by and watched the incident unfold without intervening have not been arrested or charged in the case despite cries from the community for swift legal action.

It’s going the very difficult for the US to repair the damage caused by this.


Police officer who killed George Floyd charged with murder, manslaughter

Derek Chauvin, the officer seen kneeling on George Floyd’s neck until he died died, has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter

This had to happen. Riots are almost as inexcusable as the callous way George Floyd was killed, but they were an inevitable reaction.

The cellphone footage showed Floyd repeatedly moaning and gasping while he pleaded to Chauvin, kneeling on his neck, “Please, I can’t breathe.” After several minutes, Floyd gradually grows quiet and ceases to move.

Several minutes of casual callous killing.

Officer seen kneeling on Floyd’s neck in video facing murder, manslaughter charge, officials announce

Officer seen kneeling on Floyd’s neck in video facing murder, manslaughter charge, officials announce

Reuters: Former Minneapolis police officer charged with murder of George Floyd

The white Minneapolis policeman who pinned an unarmed black man with a knee to the throat before the man died was arrested and charged with murder, a prosecutor said on Friday, after three nights of violent protests rocked the Midwestern city.

Derek Chauvin, the officer seen on a bystander’s cellphone video kneeling on George Floyd’s neck on Monday before the 46-year-old man died, has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman told a news briefing.

“He is in custody and has been charged with murder,” Freeman said of Chauvin. “We have evidence, we have the citizen’s camera’s video, the horrible, horrific, terrible thing we have all seen over and over again, we have the officer’s body-worn camera, we have statements from some witnesses.”

The cellphone footage showed Floyd repeatedly moaning and gasping while he pleaded to Chauvin, kneeling on his neck, “Please, I can’t breathe.” After several minutes, Floyd gradually grows quiet and ceases to move.

Chauvin and three fellow officers at the scene were fired on Tuesday from the Minneapolis Police Department. The city identified the other officers as Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J Alexander Kueng.

Freeman said the investigation into Chauvin – who, if convicted, faces up to 25 years in prison on the murder charge – was ongoing and that he anticipated charges against the other officers. He said it was appropriate to charge “the most dangerous perpetrator” first.

Tucker Carlson (Fox News): Our leadership class is fanning racial flames. They’re doing nothing to calm the situation

If you were watching any of the coverage from Minneapolis about what happened Wednesday night, you know perfectly well that what’s happening on the streets there. No matter what it may look like, is actually a quest for justice.

It’s long overdue search for answers by legitimately frustrated protesters who, if we are going to be honest about it, have been oppressed for so long they can no longer stand idle. What you’re seeing in Minneapolis is democracy in its purest form.

Effectively, it’s a political rally.

“Now, wait a second,” you may be thinking. “That didn’t look like a political rally. Those people look like looters. They were smashing cash registers with hammers to steal other people’s money.”

Well, yes, technically they were doing that. And yes, as a factual matter, they were smashing the cash registers because they had already stolen everything else in the store. So no, it doesn’t look like conventional political activism.

But before you judge them, keep in mind, it could have been far worse. It’s not like they were doing something immoral, like protesting Gretchen Whitmer‘s coronavirus lockdowns in Michigan. That would have been a different story.

Defiant armed protests against life protection measures were encouraged by President Trump.

Joy Reid, MSNBC host: Black people’s right to protest is secondary to white people’s right to be an armed protest with long guns, terrifying-looking war weapons.

Chris Hayes, MSNBC host: This is how the protest of George Floyd’s death ended up. Police in riot gear, flooding the streets with teargas and shooting rubber bullets into the crowd.

Another example of how this pandemic has been a kind of black light, exposing all the inequalities in American life.

Eddie Glaude, Jr.. chairman of African-American Studies at Princeton University and MSNBC contributor: It says if some people are accorded the rights of citizenship and other folks are just expected to be obedient.

Reid: Europeans came to this country to get away from being subjects of the kings in Europe. But what they did was they created for themselves sort of a kingdom — every man a king, but the subjects are black people.

These armed white men who can get armed up and walk into a state capitol [in Michigan], and that’s okay and the police are benign. They don’t even act afraid.

But let black people show up and protest the death of an innocent black man, and suddenly, you know what, we need tear gas. We’ve got to go full force.

Charlottesville, the same thing. The police were there to protect the people who were marching as Neo-Nazis, not to protect the black people.

But the problem is much bigger this time than mere hypocrisy. We’re very used to that. This problem is far more ominous.

Here it is in three sentences. There are 320 million of us in this country. A lot of us are very different from one another, yet we all have to live together. In fact, most of us want to live together. But suddenly our leaders are making that dangerously difficult.

But after the riots subside and Chauvin works his way through the legal system will anything significant actually change? This sort of thing has happened before, and has kept happening. US leaders either don’t want to to address this pox on then country, or don’t know how to.