George Floyd protests: Pentagon moves 1,600 troops to D.C. area

NYPD Police officers in riot gear stop protesters from entering Manhattan at the Manhattan Bridge on another night of unrest in Manhattan Tuesday as protests, looting and rioting around the country continue over the death of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
NYPD Police officers in riot gear stop protesters from entering Manhattan at the Manhattan Bridge on another night of unrest in Manhattan Tuesday as protests, looting and rioting around the country continue over the death of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

June 2 (UPI) -- The Pentagon on Tuesday night moved about 1,600 active-duty Army troops to assist authorities in responding to protests sparked by the police-involved killing of George Floyd if needed.

Pentagon Chief spokesman Jonathan Hoffman confirmed the soldiers were moved from Fort Bragg and Fort Drum to the Washington, D.C. area but active-duty forces have not yet been deployed.


"The Department of Defense moved multiple active-duty Army units into the National Capitol Region as a prudent planning measure in response to ongoing support to civil authorities and operations," said Hoffman in a statement.

The move came as many Washington, D.C., protesters remained in place beyond a 7 p.m. curfew Trump declared would be "strictly enforced" during a national address on Monday evening. He threatened to send the U.S. military into cities that don't control violent demonstrations.


"If a city or a state refuses to take the actions that are necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them," he said.

Trump's address was followed by federal law enforcement forcefully clearing protesters as the president posed for a photo in front of St. John's Church, an action Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser called "shameful."

Tuesday, Trump said tensions were calming in and around Washington, D.C.

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"D.C. had no problems last night," he tweeted. "Many arrests. Great job done by all. Overwhelming force. Domination. Likewise, Minneapolis was great."

Congressional Democrats spoke out against Trump's threat to deploy the military in response to protesters, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi saying "there is no reason" for the military to be involved.

Sen. Tammy Duckworth, a combat veteran and Democrat from Illinois, described Trump's threat of military force against protesters as "tin-pot dictatorial."

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"We cannot allow any Commander in Chief to put our Armed Forces' reputation as the last institution Americans can trust and respect at risk by using them unlawfully and putting them in a position of exacerbating the divisions driving our union apart," she said.


Bracing for an eighth night of protests, Atlanta, Dallas, New York City, Cleveland and multiple cities in California joined Washington, D.C., in issuing curfews on Tuesday.

Trump also called on his hometown of New York City to call up the National Guard for help.

"The lowlifes and losers are ripping you apart," he tweeted. "Act fast! Don't make the same horrible and deadly mistake you made with the Nursing Homes!"

Trump also criticized New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo for not activating the National Guard.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio extended a curfew of 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. for the rest of this week after a night of looting and violence on Monday during which police officers were targeted.

A group of protesters in New York City were boxed in by police on both ends of the Manhattan Bridge for several hours after the curfew took effect as they left a group protesting in Brooklyn. At around 11 p.m., protests were seen finally being allowed to exit the bridge.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday also said he was "heartbroken" by the violence in New York where the U.N. headquarters is located.


"Grievances must be heard, but should be expressed peacefully -- and authorities must show restraint in responding to demonstrations," he said in a statement.

In Portland early Wednesday, police said they contending with demonstrators throwing fireworks, vandalizing property and blocking traffic.

Protesters were also reported to be throwing projectiles at police.

Portland Police Chief Jami Resch said in a video message on Twitter that several hundred people late Tuesday had broken off from the main group of peaceful protesters and attempted to tear down a justice center compound and thrown bats, projectiles and "mortars" at police.

Officers issued warnings but the protesters continued and riot police were deployed, she said, without elaborating how many were arrested.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear announced Tuesday the state would reduce National Guard presence in Lousiville after a man named David McAtee was killed by gunfire from local police and the National Guard.

Police in Atlanta deployed tear gas on protesters in Atlanta as the city's 9 p.m. curfew went into effect Tuesday night, CNN reported.

Curfews failed to rein in violence during protests on Monday, which led to a number of injured -- including multiple law enforcement officers.


At least four police officers in St. Louis received gunshot wounds and a man in Las Vegas was killed during mass demonstrations. Officials said a Las Vegas officer is also on life support with critical injuries.

The New York City Police Department arrested more than 700 protesters overnight. Looters damaged the flagship Macy's department store in midtown Manhattan, emptied a Nike store and broke storefront windows near Rockefeller Center.

Violence, fires and looting spread into the Bronx, where police said an officer was targeted in a hit-and-run attack.

"That is wholly unacceptable and does not represent the people of this city," de Blasio said. "Anyone who attacks a police officer attacks all of us."

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo criticized de Blasio on Tuesday morning for not deploying enough police officers to handle the outbreaks of violence.

"I believe the mayor underestimates the scope of the problem. I believe he underestimates the duration of the problem, and I don't think they've used enough police to address the situation," the governor said.


Cuomo said the mayor didn't accept his offer to send the National Guard to the state's largest city. The governor threatened to override the mayor.

"Can you displace a mayor? Yes. A mayor can be removed. It has not happened. I can't find a precedent. But theoretically it is legally possible," Cuomo said.

"It is a bizarre thing to try to do in this situation. I think it would make a bad situation worse. Also, I don't think it's necessary, because I believe the NYPD can do this, because the NYPD has done this.

Two autopsies issued Monday agreed that Floyd's death was a homicide, but they differed on the precise cause.

An independent autopsy said he died from mechanical asphyxiation, while the county coroner said Floyd died of "cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint and neck compression."

The county's autopsy said Floyd also had "other significant conditions" including arteriosclerotic and hypertensive heart disease, fentanyl intoxication and "recent" methamphetamine use.

Tuesday, Trump and first lady Melania Trump visited to the Saint John Paul II National Shrine in Washington. They observed a moment of remembrance near the statue of Saint John Paul II and visited the Luminous Mysteries Chapel, the John Paul II blood relic and the Madonna icon.


The Trumps also laid a wreath at the site before departing.

Floyd's funeral is scheduled for June 9 in his hometown of Houston. Monday, Terrence Floyd visited the site of his brother's death in Minneapolis and urged for calm amid growing national unrest.

"I know he would not want you all to be doing this," he said, asking angry demonstrators to get out and vote for change and demand justice peacefully.

"If I'm not over here blowing up stuff, if I'm not over here messing up my community -- then what are y'all doing?" he added. "That's not going to bring my brother back."

In Denver, authorities charged a 37-year-old man with striking three police officers and a civilian during a hit-and-run late incident over the weekend.

Demonstrations in Denver were mostly peaceful Monday night as thousands gathered at the State Capitol and knelt to honor Floyd.

Tuesday, the European Union's top diplomat called Floyd's death an "abuse of power."

EU High Representative Josep Borrell told reporters that such abuses must be denounced and condemned.

"We here in Europe, like the people of the United States, are shocked and appalled by the death of George Floyd, and I think that all societies must remain vigilant against excessive use of force and ensure that all such incidents are addressed swiftly effectively and in full respect of the rule of law and human rights," Borrell said.


The EU, he added, supports "the right to peaceful protest and we condemn violence and racism of any kind, and we call for a de-escalation of tensions."

Protesters demand justice in police killing of George Floyd

Demonstrators hold a sign in Los Angeles on June 14 for Breonna Taylor, a black woman who was shot by police in her home while she was sleeping. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

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