Trump threatens to deploy military as George Floyd protests continue

Trump threatens to deploy military as George Floyd protests continue
Trump walks through Lafayette Park to visit St. John’s Episcopal Church across from the White House. Source: Reuters
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Daily US Times: As violent protests continue to spread across the US over the police killing of George Floyd, President Donald Trump threatened to deploy the military if states and cities failed to quell the demonstrations.

The President said: “I am mobilizing all federal and local resources, civilian and military, to protect the rights of law-abiding Americans.”

“Today I have strongly recommended to every governor to deploy the National Guard in sufficient numbers that we dominate the streets. Mayors and governors must establish an overwhelming presence until the violence is quelled,” Trump said during a hastily arranged address at the White House.

He said: “If a city or state refuses to take the actions 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.”

Mr Trump holds up a bible in front of St John’s Episcopal church. Source: Getty Images

Mr Trump stopped short of invoking the Insurrection Act, an archaic law from 1807 that would allow Trump to deploy active-duty U.S. troops to respond to protests in cities across the country.

A senior Defense Department official told CNBC: “At this time, the president has not enacted the Insurrection Act. I refer you to the White House for more.”

Trump said in the press conference that he was taking “swift and decisive action to protect our great capital, Washington DC.”

“What happened in this city last night was a total disgrace,” he added further.

“As we speak, 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.”

MINNEAPOLIS, MN – JUNE 01: People gather at site where George Floyd died May 25 while in police custody, on June 1, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. George’s brother Terrence Floyd visited the site today and called for justice and the prosecution of all four officers involved in the incident. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

As the president spoke, military police and riot police outside the White House were using tear gas to clear protesters out of Lafayette Square, a public square in front of the president’s residence.

The press conference ends, he left the White House and walked through the square, and it appeared strongly as though the riot police had forcibly cleared the square for the sole purpose of clearing a path for the president.

Trump raised a bible in front of St. John’s Church once he reached the far side of the square, which had been set on fire by protesters the night before.

He did not try to talk to any of the protesters though.

Democratic governors criticize Trump’s call for stronger response

On Monday night, the Democratic governors of two western states issued statements criticizing President Trump’s call for states to crack down harder on violent protests.

Steve Sisolak, Governor of Nevada accused the President of “inciting combativeness, stoking racial tensions, and creating division when we need unity more than ever.”

“As the Commander In Chief of the Nevada National Guard I can state, categorically, that they have done their duty to protect all Nevadans, and will continue to do so,” he said in response to the suggestion that the National Guard has been restrained in some states.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee published a written statement, where he was even more direct in his criticism to the President saying Mr Trump had “repeatedly proven he is incapable of governing,” and accused the President of showing “nothing but false bravado throughout the chaos that has accompanied his time in office.”

Autopsy shows the other officers also contributed to his death

The attorney for George Floyd’s family said the independent autopsy released today shows the other police officers involved were also directly responsible for Floyd’s death. Ben Crump said it was not just former officer Derek Chauvin, who has been charged with third degree murder.

Floyd’s family hired independent medical examiners. They said today that the cause of death was asphyxiation due to compression of the neck.

Ben Crump. Source: CNN

The examiner added that “compression of the back” from other officers who knelt against Floyd’s back also interfered with Floyd’s breathing.

The attorney told CNN: “Hopefully, (Minnesota) Attorney General Keith Ellison will now consider that as he looks at the other officers.”

“The ambulance was the hearse for George Floyd … because he was dead at the scene,” he added.

The George Floyd autopsy resulted that he literally was starving for air, Mr Crump said, adding that ”the Floyd family and I am asking everybody in America: let’s take a breath for justice. Let’s take a breath for peace. Let’s take a breath to heal our country. And let’s take a breath for George.”

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