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The Latest: Houston Mayor To Ban Chokeholds

News

by: Mayor Sylvester Turner DANIEL ORTIZ
By: The Associated Press undefined/ BNC Contributer 

HOUSTON — Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has announced that he will sign an executive order that bans chokeholds in the city.
Turner’s announcement Tuesday came during the funeral for George Floyd at a church in Houston, the city where he lived most of his life.

“In this city, you have to give a warning before you shoot,” Turner said. “In this city you have a duty to intervene.”
The sheriff of Harris County, which includes Houston, earlier in the day said his office will immediately implement a new “duty to report” policy for deputies and increase audits of use of tasers and body cameras. Sheriff Ed Gonzales announced the directives in a series of tweets.

Gonzalez said his office already prohibits the use of chokeholds

HOUSTON — Joe Biden called for racial justice in a message to mourners at the funeral of George Floyd.
The former vice president and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee spoke via video at Floyd’s funeral on Tuesday, a day after he met privately with Floyd’s family.

Biden said in his recorded remarks that “when we get justice for George Floyd we will truly be on our way to racial justice in America,” adding a message to Floyd’s daughter by saying, “Then, Gianna, your daddy will have changed the world.”
More than 500 mourners gathered for the service at Fountain of Praise church in Houston, where Floyd was raised.
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The police department in St. Petersburg has updated its conduct policy to require officers to speak up and intervene when a colleague violates laws and policies.

St. Petersburg Police Chief Anthony Holloway announced at a press conference that he changed the policy after conferring with community members.

“If they see someone violating the law, an ordinance or a policy or procedure they will intervene,” Holloway said. “They’ll go over and say ‘Hey stop doing this.'”

Miami-Dade commissioners are considering reviving an oversight panel for their police department.

In the Orlando area, deputies with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office now have a duty to intervene “if they anticipate or observe the unreasonable, unnecessary or disproportionate use of force,” according to the agency’s recently updated use of force policy.

PARIS — Thousands of people gathered Tuesday on Republic Plaza in Paris to pay tribute to George Floyd and show solidarity toward American protesters.

Demonstrators observed 8 minutes and 46 seconds of silence in homage to Floyd, whose funeral was being held Tuesday in Houston. Most kneeled in the black man’s honor.

French singer Camelia Jordana and others sang a poignant a cappella version of the classic civil rights anthem “We Shall Overcome.”
Demonstrators denounced brutality and racism within the police force, waving a variety of banners and signs, including “Black Lives Matter” “I can’t breathe” and “Racism kills.”

French authorities allowed the event to take place despite a ban on public gatherings amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Similar gatherings were organized Tuesday in other French cities.

UNITED NATIONS — The United Nations secretary-general is urging a global fight against racism and discrimination following the “murderous act of police brutality” against George Floyd that has led to widespread protests in the United States and cities around the world.

António Guterres said in a letter to staff “the position of the United Nations on racism is crystal clear: this scourge violates the United Nations Charter and debases our core values.”Guterres said “the primacy of reason, tolerance, mutual respect” in the world is now being called “dramatically” into question by nationalism, irrationality, populism, xenophobia, racism, white supremacism, and different forms of Neo-Nazism. He said a central problem is not only police brutality but “the difficulty of many authorities to deal with diversity,” starting with so-called profiling.

The secretary-general called for all police forces to be fully trained on human rights, adding that “many times police brutality is the expression of the frustrations of the police officers themselves, as well as of the lack of adequate psycho-social support to them.”

The sheriff of Harris County, Texas, which includes Houston, says his office will immediately implement increased audits on the use of tasers and body cameras.

Sheriff Ed Gonzales announced the directives in a series of tweets as Houston prepared for the funeral of George Floyd.
Gonzalez says his office already prohibits the use of chokeholds, but he’d make it clearer in policy. Gonzales says he supports law enforcement reform, but disagrees with “defunding,” which calls for some police resources to be spent on social services.

The sheriff says he’d advocate for better pay for law enforcement to attract better candidates.

“Mr. Floyd’s death reminds us that much work remains to be done,” Gonzalez tweeted. “We must build momentum toward a more effective, equitable and thoughtful approach to law enforcement.”
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MINNEAPOLIS — Law enforcement agencies have acknowledged officers punctured the tires of numerous unoccupied vehicles parked during the height of recent unrest over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Minnesota Department of Public Safety spokesman Bruce Gordon says troopers deflated tires to stop vehicles from “driving dangerously and at high speeds in and around protesters and law enforcement.”

Troopers also targeted vehicles “that contained items used to cause harm during violent protests” such as rocks, concrete and sticks, Gordon said Monday, according to the Star Tribune.

Deputies from Anoka County also deflated tires on vehicles during the protests connected to Floyd’s death, according to Anoka County Sheriff’s Lt. Andy Knotz. Deputies were following orders from the state-led Multiagency Command Center, which was coordinating law enforcement during the protests, Knotz said.

All four tires on the car of a Star Tribune reporter were slashed in a Kmart parking lot while he was on foot covering the protests and unrest, the newspaper reported.

Protesters nationwide are calling for police reforms in response to Floyd’s death.
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HOUSTON — The black man whose death has inspired a worldwide reckoning over racial injustice will be buried Tuesday in Houston, carried home in a horse-drawn carriage.

George Floyd, 46, will be laid to rest next to his mother. As a white police officer pressed a knee on Floyd’s neck for several minutes on May 25 in Minneapolis, the dying man cried out for his mother.

His funeral will be private. A public memorial service was held Monday in Houston, where he grew up. Some 6,000 people attended.
Under a blazing Texas sun, several mourners waiting to pay their respects wore T-shirts with Floyd’s picture or the words “I Can’t Breathe” — which he cried out repeatedly while pinned down by the police officer. Floyd’s body, dressed in a brown suit, lay in an open gold-colored casket.

Shorty after the memorial ended, Floyd’s casket was placed in a hearse and escorted by police back to a funeral home.