The Latest: US Cardinal at Vatican to lead prayer for Floyd

The Latest on the May 25 death in Minneapolis of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man who pleaded for air as a white police officer pressed a knee on his neck:

TOP OF THE HOUR:

— Russia urges US to respect right to protest.

— Gov. Cuomo: Police in NYC ambush have tough job.

— Minn Gov. Walz sends National Guard to western border.

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ROME — The highest-ranking American at the Vatican will lead a prayer service on Friday in Rome to pray for “peaceful coexistence” following the death of George Floyd and protests that erupted across the U.S.

Cardinal Kevin Farrell, an Irish-born naturalized U.S. citizen, is the prefect of the Vatican’s family and laity office.

The Sant’Egidio Community, a Catholic charity close to Pope Francis, is organizing the evening prayer at its Santa Maria in Trastevere church. Francis this week decried Floyd’s death and the “sin of racism” and denounced violence as “self-destructive and self-defeating.” He’s appealed for national reconciliation and peace.

Farrell was bishop in Dallas, Texas, and an auxiliary bishop of Washington D.C. before taking his current job in 2016.

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MINNEAPOLIS — George Floyd will be memorialized by family, friends and celebrities on Thursday afternoon at the Frank J Lindquist sanctuary at North Central University in Minneapolis.

Inside the sanctuary sits the gold casket and a portrait of Floyd. The blue and orange mural painted at the site of Floyd’s makeshift memorial is projected above the pulpit.

The Rev. Al Sharpton is among those who planned to speak. Those expected to attend include Martin Luther King III; the Rev. Jesse Jackson; Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz; Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey; St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter; U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar; U.S Sen. Amy Klobuchar and others.

Other services will be held in Raeford, North Carolina, and Houston.

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MOSCOW — The Russian Foreign Ministry urged the U.S. authorities to respect Americans’ right for peaceful protest amid the wave of demonstrations sparked by George Floyd’s death.

The ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, says Moscow has taken note of the use of tear gas to disperse rallies and massive arrests of protesters in the U.S. She also pointed out numerous journalists, including Russian reporters, were hurt while covering the protests.

Moscow long has bristled at Washington’s criticism of its human rights record amid Russia-U.S. tensions. Zakharova sought to turn the tables on the U.S. by pointing to the authorities forceful response to protests.

She says “it’s time for the U.S. to drop the mentor’s tone and look in the mirror,” challenging the U.S. authorities to “start respecting peoples’ rights and observing democratic standards at home.”

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NEW ORLEANS — New Orleans police used tear gas during a late-night protest on a Mississippi River bridge when protesters refused commands to not cross.

Police Superintendent Shaun Ferguson was expected to discuss the protest at a Thursday news conference.

The encounter resulted in hundreds of demonstrators scattering on the bridge known as the Crescent City Connection, hours after a rally and march began near New Orleans City Hall

The department says on its Twitter page that tear gas was used after protesters refused to obey three orders not to attempt to cross the bridge. A department post says gas was deployed in “response to escalating, physical confrontation with our officers.”

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SAN FRANCISCO — Police in San Francisco have filed criminal charges against more than 100 people accused of looting and violence.

Police in Vallejo say they shot and killed a 22-year-old looting suspect on Tuesday after mistaking his hammer for a gun.

The San Francisco figures were announced on the sixth day of protests over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. California authorities are generally praising thousands of peaceful protesters, with an estimated 10,000 gathering in San Francisco.

The violence has dwindled and some cities and counties have announced plans to shorten or cancel curfews.

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NEW YORK — Gov. Andrew Cuomo says an ambush that left three New York police officers injured and the suspect in critical condition shows the difficult balance police must strike in keeping the peace.

An officer on anti-looting patrol was ambushed in Brooklyn hours after an 8 p.m. curfew went into effect. The ensuing struggle Wednesday night left two other officers with gunshot injuries. All three are expected to recover.

“They have an impossible job, and they need support,” Cuomo told Long Island News Radio. “They’re out there, they’re getting hurt, last night again, they are the best, they are the best. God bless them because I don’t know that I would want to do the job that they’re doing now.”

Cuomo’s comments came days after he drew some criticism for saying some NYPD officers had exacerbated tensions during recent George Floyd protests with “very disturbing actions.”

The city’s police commissioner didn’t speculate on the stabber’s motive, but a police union leader blamed the attack on anti-police rhetoric.

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WARSAW, Poland — In Poland’s second anti-racist protest in two days in response to the death of George Floyd, a large crowd gathered Thursday in front of the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw with signs reading “Black Lives Matter.”

Some laid face down on the ground in solidarity with the handcuffed Floyd, who was pleading for air as a Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck for several minutes.

U.S. Ambassador to Poland, Georgette Mosbacher, says the violent scenes of protest in the U.S. are an “anomaly” and not a true picture of the Americans.

“We can and will heal and learn from this tragedy — and justice will prevail,” Mosbacher’s statement said.

A small protest march was held Wednesday in Poland’s western city of Poznan.

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BRUNSWICK, Ga. — Three men who were charged with murder months after the fatal shooting of Ahmaud Arbery appeared Thursday by a video link from jail for their probable cause hearing following a week of angry protests in the U.S. over law enforcement biases against black victims.

Jesse Evans, appointed as a special prosecutor in the case, says Arbery “was chased, hunted down and ultimately executed” based on the evidence his team would present.

Glynn County Magistrate Judge Wallace E. Harrell scheduled the hearing to determine whether authorities have enough evidence of murder in Arbery’s killing to send the case to trial.

Arbery was killed Feb. 23 after a white father and son armed themselves and gave chase when they spotted the 25-year-old black man jogging in their neighborhood just outside the port city of Brunswick.

It wasn’t until May 7 that Greg McMichael, 64, and Travis McMichael, 34 were charged with felony murder and aggravated assault. The McMichaels’ arrests came two days after cellphone video of the shooting leaked online and stirred a national outcry.

The neighbor who filmed the video, 50-year-old William “Roddie” Bryan, was also arrested and charged with felony murder and illegally using a vehicle to try to confine and detain Arbery.

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ST. PAUL, Minn. — Gov. Tim Walz is sending Minnesota National Guard troops to state’s western border because of what he says are credible threats of violence during demonstrations planned in neighboring North Dakota.

The city of Moorhead, Minnesota, lies just across the border from Fargo, North Dakota.

Walz’s order didn’t say how many guard members are being deployed in Clay County. The governor didn’t provide details on what he perceives is a credible threat.

“The Minnesota National Guard stands ready to provide protection for all Minnesotans,” said Walz in a statement. “While Minnesotans turn their attention to rebuilding our communities and re-examining racial inequities in the wake of George Floyd’s death, our administration is committed to providing protection for our neighborhoods, businesses, and families in order for those meaningful conversations to happen.”

The National Guard adjutant general will work with local government agencies to provide personnel, equipment and facilities as needed, Walz said.

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SARASOTA, Fla. — A bystander video showing a Sarasota police officer pressing his knee into the neck of a handcuffed black man a week before the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis has prompted an investigation and promises of transparency.

Two Sarasota officers are seen on video holding down Patrick Carroll, 27, during a domestic violence call on May 18. A third officer was standing nearby.

The department told news outlets it wasn’t aware the officer placed a knee on Carroll’s neck until it was tagged in the video on social media on Monday.

Aerial video posted by the department Tuesday shows the officers speaking with Carroll for several minutes before placing him in handcuffs. He then resists being put in the patrol car, and officers force him to the ground.

Carroll said he was trying to ask officers why he was being detained. He said he has asthma and scoliosis in his back and was having trouble breathing.

The officer who placed his knee on Carroll’s neck has been placed on administrative leave, the department said. He hasn’t been identified. The two other officers are on “desk duty” while the arrest is being investigated, news outlets reported.

Carroll faces charges of domestic battery, possession of ammunition by a convicted felon and resisting arrest.

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MINNEAPOLIS — Officials in Minneapolis say the looting and property damage that following the death of George Floyd has caused at least $55 million in destruction.

Vandals damaged or set fire to at least 220 buildings in the city where Floyd died, but that number is expected to go up, city officials said.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey will ask for state and federal aid to help rebuild after the civil unrest. Until that happens, community members are pitching in to support Minneapolis neighborhoods.

More than $1 million has been raised to help businesses in north Minneapolis, WCCO-TV reported. The West Broadway Business and Area Coalition says it will announce how they plan to use the money in the coming weeks.

The violence follows the death of Floyd, a handcuffed black man who died May 25 after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck, ignoring Floyd’s cries that he couldn’t breathe.

Prosecutors upgraded charges against the officer, Derek Chauvin, to second-degree murder on Wednesday and charged three other officers with aiding and abetting in the case that has rocked the nation with protests over race and police brutality.

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COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Authorities in Norway have turned down applications to hold rallies in the country’s three largest cities in support of protesters in the U.S. over the death of George Floyd, citing the coronavirus restrictions on gatherings.

Rallies were planned in Oslo, Bergen and Trondheim but local authorities said that without a dispensation from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, not more than 50 people can gather in one place, Mohamed Awil, president of the African Student Association UiO told The Associated Press.

The association is co-organizing the rally in Oslo where more than 15,000 people had said they planned to take part in Thursday’s demonstration outside the U.S. Embassy. Awil said they were considering an alternative demonstration but details were not immediately available.

Similar events took place in the in the capitals of Sweden and Finland Wednesday. They attracted thousands of people even though the limit in Sweden is currently 50 and in Finland is 500.

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LONDON — The Duchess of Sussex has shared her sadness about racial divisions in the United States, telling students at her former high school that she felt moved to speak out because the life of George Floyd mattered.

Meghan told graduates at the Immaculate Heart High School in Los Angeles that she wrestled with what to tell them given the days of protests after Floyd’s death.

“I realized the only wrong thing to say is to say nothing, because George Floyd’s life mattered,” she said in a virtual address.

Floyd, an African-American, died after a white police officer pressed his knee into his neck in Minneapolis on May 25. The incident sparked days of protests and riots.

The former Meghan Markle, who has an African American mother and a white father, said the unrest reminded her of riots that took place in her hometown of Los Angeles after police officers were acquitted in the video-taped beating of another African-American, Rodney King.

“I remember the curfew and I remember rushing back home, and on that drive home, seeing ash fall from the sky, and smelling the smoke and seeing the smoke billow out of buildings,’’ she said. “I remember seeing men in the back of a van just holding guns and rifles.

“I remember pulling up the house and seeing the tree, that had always been there, completely charred. And those memories don’t go away.”

The duchess’ video was first reported by the U.S. magazine Essence.

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WASHINGTON — Demonstrators marched to the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday night, protesting the death of George Floyd in Minnesota and demanding that laws be changed to prevent more like it.

Along their route from near the White House, there were troops in fatigues and officers from federal agencies keeping watch on the crowd. Barricades were put up around the Capitol, and the Capitol Police stood guard behind them.

“We came here because they make laws here and we want the laws to change,” said Mohammed Wagdy, 26, of nearby Prince George’s County.

As an 11 p.m. curfew in Washington neared, community activists urged the demonstrators to head home. Some did, but others said they were returning to the White House.

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MINNEAPOLIS — A full autopsy of George Floyd, the handcuffed black man who died after being restrained by Minneapolis police, provides several clinical details — including that Floyd had tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.

The 20-page report released Wednesday by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office came with the family’s permission and after the coroner’s office released summary findings Monday that Floyd’s heart stopped while being restrained by officers and classified his May 25 death as a homicide.

The report by Chief Medical Examiner Andrew Baker spelled out clinical details, including that Floyd tested positive for the COVID-19 virus on April 3 but appeared asymptomatic. The report also noted Floyd’s lungs appeared healthy, but he had some narrowing of arteries in the heart.

The county’s earlier summary report listed fentanyl intoxication and recent methamphetamine use under “other significant conditions” but not under “cause of death.” The full report’s footnotes noted that signs of fentanyl toxicity can include “severe respiratory depression” and seizures.

(This version corrects that Floyd’s heart stopped instead of heart attack).

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Categories: AP National News