Cuomo Fears Covid-19 Spike; Mourners to Gather: Protest Update

Mourners are set to gather Thursday in Minneapolis for the first in a series of memorials honoring George Floyd, the unarmed black man whose death has sparked rolling nationwide protests against police brutality.

President Donald Trump, facing adirect challenge to his leadership from his current and former defense secretaries over his response to the demonstrations, has no plans to attend.

Tensions were high overnight as large crowds gathered in New Orleans and New York, yet the ninth straight night of protests over Floyd’s death remained largely peaceful in most cities.

Key Developments:

  • More than 10,000 people have been arrested, according to APtally
  • Kneeling comments spark backlash, protests in New Orleans
  • Read ex-Defense Secretary Jim Mattis’s full statement on Trumphere:
  • While Crime Fell in America, the Cost of PolicingTripled
  • From Goldman to Apple, Companies Gauge New Calculus onRace
  • How ‘Black Lives Matter’ Became a U.S. Protest Cry:QuickTake

Here’s the latest. All times are New York-based:

28,633 in BrazilMost new cases today

-8% Change in MSCI World Index of global stocks since Wuhan lockdown, Jan. 23

-0.​9801 Change in U.S. treasury bond yield since Wuhan lockdown, Jan. 23

-2.​3% Global GDP Tracker (annualized), May

N.Y. Sees Worst Civil Unrest in 50 Years, Cuomo Says (8:50 a.m.)

New York is dealing with civil unrest “that we haven’t seen in 50 years,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said Thursday in a radio interview.

The governor said he is “hoping and praying” that the protests don’t lead to a spike in Covid-19 cases. Tens of thousands of people are protesting, and many are ignoring social distancing and not wearing masks, he said.

“These are the most perilous times we have faced,” Cuomo said on LI News radio. “Unless you see locusts appear tomorrow morning, we’ve worked our way through the biblical horrors.”

Drew Brees Apologizes After Comments on Kneeling (8:20 a.m.)

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees apologized after his comments on kneeling during the national anthem sparked backlash. Brees hadsaid he would “never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country.”

The backlash to anthem-kneeling protests led by former NFL star Colin Kaepernick was cited as fueling demonstrations in New Orleans on Wednesday. Protesters there chanted opposition to Brees’s comments.

Police dressed in riot gearfired tear gas to disperse a crowd of protesters in the city. Local news outlet said it was thefirst time law enforcement used tear gas in the protests this week.

Tim Cook Says Apple Must Do More on Racism (7:29 a.m.)

Apple Inc. Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook wrote an open letter on racism, highlighting that his company must do more. The full text ofthe letter was posted to the iPhone maker’s website.

“To create change, we have to reexamine our own views and actions in light of a pain that is deeply felt but too often ignored,” Cook said. “Issues of human dignity will not abide standing on the sidelines. To the Black community -- we see you. You matter and your lives matter.”

Racial Unrest Is New Blow to U.S.-Africa Relationship (6:12 a.m.)

Floyd’s death and resulting civil upheaval have set back U.S. efforts to strengthen its tenuous relationship with Africa and counter China’s growing influence.

Mousse Faki Mahamat, the chairman of the African Union Commission, joined senior officials from Nigeria, South Africa and Ghana in condemning the death of Floyd. They berated the U.S. for failing to deal with racial discrimination -- remarks that contrast sharply with the guarded diplomatic tones typically used in interactions with the world’s biggest economy.

Meghan Markle Pays Tribute to Floyd (2:36 a.m.)

Meghan Markle said in a video message to graduating students at her old Los Angeles-area high school that Floyd’s life “mattered,” and told them to be ”part of a movement” of hope changing the world for the better.

Markle, the biracial American actress who married Britain’s Prince Harry and later moved back to LA with him and their young son Archie, told graduates to have the courage to put others’ needs over their own. “I wasn’t sure what I could say to you. I wanted to say the right thing and I was really nervous that it would get picked apart,” she said in the call,according to U.K. media. “And I realized the only wrong thing to say is to say nothing.”

L.A. to Cut Police Budget, Invest in Black Community (2:19 a.m.)

California’s largest city will identify $100 million to $150 million in cuts from its police budget as part of a review of spending priorities in California’s largest city following George Floyd’s death, theLos Angeles Times reported.

Mayor Eric Garcetti, a Democrat, said Los Angeles would “identify $250 million in cuts so we can invest in jobs, in health, in education and in healing,” especially focused on the city’s black community, communities of color and others seen as left behind. Cuts will come to every department to fund the rebalancing, he said.

L.A. also announced a string of other plans focused on police procedures, including requiring police officers to intervene when they see inappropriate use of force.

U.S. Apologizes to India After Gandhi Statue Defaced (1:55 a.m.)

A statue of Mahatma Gandhi was defaced by Black Lives Matters protesters in Washington D.C., ANIreported.

The monument, which stands outside the Indian Embassy, was spray painted with graffiti. Local authorities have started a probe into the incident, according to ANI. The U.S. Ambassador to India Kenneth Juster later issued an apology for the incident, saying that the U.S. stands against prejudice and discrimination of any type.

Seattle Ends Its Curfew Early (12:02 a.m.)

After a day of meeting with protest leaders, Mayor Jenny Durkan and Police Chief Carmen Best opted to lift a nightly curfew that was intended to continue through Saturday. An hour before the curfew was to begin, Durkan announced on her Twitter account that Best had decided the police can balance public safety and allow peaceful protests.

N.Y. Public Advocate Decries ‘Aggressive Tactics’ (11:54 p.m.)

New York Public Advocate Jumaane Williams says he’ll hold a press briefing Thursday “to discuss the police response to demonstrations in New York City after taking part in a nonviolent protest met with aggressive tactics by theNYPD.”

Williamsposted videos of standoffs between police and protesters in New York on his Twitter feed.

NYT Criticized For Running Cotton Op-Ed (11:43 p.m.)

The New York Times is getting criticism including from journalists on its own staff for running anop-ed penned by Republican SenatorTom Cotton, who argued military troops should be used if needed to restore order in U.S. cities.

“I’ll probably get in trouble for this, but to not say something would be immoral. As a black woman, as a journalist, as an American, I am deeply ashamed that we ran this,”said Nikole Hannah-Jones, a Pulitzer prize-winning correspondent who helped lead the Times’s recent 1619 Project on the origins of slavery in the U.S. Dozens of others posted messages online saying running the piece puts black staff at the Times in danger.

Editorial page editor James Bennetdefended the decision to run the piece, saying the opinion page “owes it to our readers to show them counter-arguments, particularly those made by people in a position to set policy.”

Trump’s Police Vision Echoes in Washington (11:16 p.m.)

As night fell across America, a place that President Trump will see the sort of militarized security he’s called for in cities across the country is its federal capital, Washington, D.C.

Trump has boasted of summoning a phalanx of security to the capital. Photos showed officers from a range of departments, reportedly including the military, Department of Homeland Security and Drug Enforcement Agency, among others. U.S. Customs and Border Protection has also said it was dispatching officers. The move drew the ire of the city’s mayor, Muriel Bowser, who said the federal government “continues to militarize our city” because it lacks statehood.

While some cities and states have activated National Guard units in supporting roles, mayors and governors have broadly rejected sending in additional troops to police their streets. So Washington will look different tonight than its counterparts, a live case study of the president’s preferred tactics.

Minneapolis Mayor Seeks Federal Aid to Fix Damage (10:54 p.m.)

City officials in Minneapolis will seek state and federal aid to fix damage from riots in the wake of George Floyd’s death, the Star Tribune reports. Costs are estimated at $55 million so far, though expected to rise.

Trump Reiterates Call For Tougher NYC Response (10:45 p.m.)

President Donald Trump reiterated Wednesday in an interview with Sean Spicer, his former press secretary who is now a conservative media personality, that New York should formally request military aid to quell protests in New York City. “If they don’t get it straightened out soon, I’ll take care of it,” he said.

Floyd Tested Positive for Covid-19, Paper Reports (10:42 p.m.)

George Floyd, whose death has sparked global protests over the treatment of black people in America, tested positive for COVID-19 in early April, though it wasn’t cited as a factor in his death, the Star Tribune newspaper in Minneapolis reports.

Thereport was released with the consent of Floyd’s family.

— With assistance by Stacie Sherman, Jodi Schneider, Derek Wallbank, Kathleen Hunter, and Nour Al Ali

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