The Latest: Biden met with Floyd’s relatives in Houston
Floyd’s relatives met with Biden for an hour in Houston.
— National Park Service: newly erected fence in front of a White House protest area is temporary.
— Prosecutors say criminal charges will not be brought against thousands of Los Angeles protesters arrested for violating curfew and other police orders.
— Texas’ Abbott pays respects with hundreds of people mourning the death of George Floyd at a church in Houston.
— France’s interior minister says police will no longer conduct chokeholds.
The lead attorney for George Floyd’s family said the grieving relatives met with Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden for an hour Monday in Houston.
Ben Crump said Biden’s “compassion meant the world to this grieving family,” and he described the visit as an example of “what will begin to heal America” as citizens around the country demand changes to police practices after Floyd’s death.
“Listening to one another is what will begin to heal America,” Crump said. “That’s just what Vice President Biden did with the family of George Floyd for more than an hour. He listened, he heard their pain and shared in their woe.
Biden traveled to Houston for the visit ahead of Floyd’s funeral. Biden has called for substantial changes to police practices in the US., but he opposes some activists’ call to not fund police and shift that taxpayers spending to other services.
Biden wants to expand spending on social services such as education and mental health care that can support police efforts, but also spend more on training existing police officers.
Floyd, a black man who was handcuffed, died after a white officer pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for several minutes even after he stopped moving and pleading for air. The officer has since been fired, arrested and charged with second-degree murder, among other charges.
WASHINGTON — The National Park Service is calling a newly erected fence in front of a White House protest area temporary.
Park Service spokeswoman Katie Liming said Monday that her agency and the Secret Service expect to reopen part of Lafayette Park in front of the White House on Wednesday.
Liming says some areas of the park will remain closed to allow workers to deal with damage and address safety hazards. Liming gave no details and no time for when the rest of the square would reopen.
Lafayette Park in front of the White House is one of the country’s most prominent sites for political protests and other free speech events.
It’s been closed off since early last week when law officers used chemical agents and other force to drive out protesters in the nationwide rallies against police brutality.
Authorities left a newly erected high black fence blocking the square, even though recent protests have been overwhelmingly calm.
Liming says the Washington Ellipse, Sherman Park, and some other landmark areas also will reopen Wednesday.
GENEVA — The American Civil Liberties Union says relatives of George Floyd and three other black people who were killed by police have joined some 600 rights groups to demand the top U N. human rights body “urgently” convene a special session to look into a rise of police violence and repression of protests in the United States.
A spokesman for the Human Rights Council in Geneva confirmed the council office received a letter on Monday from the groups outlining their call, as Black Lives Matter protests continue to gain traction well beyond the United States — notably in Europe.
At least one-third of the council’s 47 member states would have to back the call for a special session in order for one to be called.
The prospects of one being held swiftly remained uncertain. The council cut short its last session in March because of the coronavirus outbreak and has been grappling with ways to start it back up next Monday.
The efforts have been complicated because the government of Switzerland, which has seen the COVID-19 pandemic recede in recent weeks, is for now still restricting all public gatherings to no more than 300 people. Council sessions generally draw hundreds more than that.
The groups want an independent investigation into the recent killings of unarmed black people in the US. as well as one into “violent law enforcement responses to protests. The call included relatives of Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Michael Brown, and Philando Castile.
The United States, like all UN. member states, regularly have its human rights record examined by the council, a 47-member state body that is not part of the United Nations but is supported by it.
HARRISBURG, Pa. — Black Democrats in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives commandeered the podium for about 90 minutes at the start of voting session Monday, disrupting the day’s business in an effort to force action on police reform bills.
The dramatic takeover went on pause when the Republican House speaker said he would consider putting proposals up for votes and that he supports a special session to consider the legislation.
The protesters, including veteran black lawmakers from Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, hung a “BLACK LIVES MATTER” banner from the speaker’s dais and vowed they would not leave without movement on the stalled proposals.