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George Floyd's brother to David Muir: 'We're all standing together' for justice

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ABC NewsBy ENJOLI FRANCIS, ESTHER CASTILLEJO and ERIC NOLL, ABC News

(NEW YORK) —  Terrence Floyd, the brother of George Floyd, whose death after being restrained by police officers has sparked protests and calls for justice and an end to racism all over the U.S. and the world, spoke to ABC News anchor David Muir at a Brooklyn, New York memorial, telling him that “we’re all standing together for the cause of justice.”

Terrence Floyd addressed thousands of supporters who attended a vigil Thursday in Brooklyn for George Floyd.

George, 46, originally from Houston, Texas, died in Minneapolis on Memorial Day after a police officer placed his knee on George’s neck for nearly nine minutes, according to prosecutors.

In video taken by a bystander, George could be heard saying, “I can’t breathe,” as Officer Derek Chauvin restrained him. Chauvin is now facing second-degree and third-degree murder and manslaughter charges. Three other officers who were present during the arrest have been charged with second-degree aiding and abetting felony murder and second-degree aiding and abetting manslaughter.

All four officers were fired from the force.

At the vigil Thursday, held at Brooklyn’s Cadman Plaza Park, Terrence and his family told Muir, the anchor of World News Tonight, that they hope their tragedy marks a turning point in the U.S.

Thousands gathered for the vigil — black, white, LatinX and of various backgrounds — to pay their respects to the Floyd family and to demand justice for George.

“You know, when I see stuff like this, I cry, because it just shows me… that we’re all one,” supporter Mickia Williams told Muir. “We’re all loved.”

On the stage, an emotional Terrence was lifted by a sea of faces in the crowd, many who were holding signs, kneeling and calling out: “George Floyd,” “I can’t breathe” and “Justice now!”

“I want to thank God,” he told the crowd. “Because at the end of the day, my brother’s gone, but the Floyd name still lives on.”

He told supporters that while he was proud of the protests, he was not proud of the looting and violence that had overshadowed demonstrators’ message.

“My brother wasn’t about that,” he said. “The Floyds are a God-fearing family.”

“Power to the people. Not just my people. Not just your people. Not just the people they think is important or whatever. I’m talking about power to the people. All of us,” he said to the crowd.

As the thousands began to march from Cadman Plaza Park and across the Brooklyn Bridge to Manhattan, Terrence described to Muir that moment speaking in front of the crowd.

“I just knew… my brother was proud. … I know the whole Floyd family was proud of that. Because we’re all standing together. … And I just appreciate it. We all appreciate it,” he said. “My brother up there in heaven appreciates it.”

He told Muir that hearing the crowd yell out his brother’s name resonated with him for a special reason.

“That’s my father’s namesake, so not only do I hear my brother’s name, I hear my father too. You know what I’m saying?” Terrence said.

“My father’s gone. My brother is gone. They up there together. So when I heard that name, it just, it made me feel good,” he told Muir.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

What the latest research tells us about racial bias in policing

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dlewis33/iStockBy ERIN SCHUMAKER, ABC News

(NEW YORK) — As widespread protests in response to George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis officers continue, Americans are calling for reform. Demonstrators carry signs listing the names of black Americans killed by law enforcement and share videos of officers using excessive force on black civilians.

But while anecdotal evidence about discriminatory and brutal policing abounds, the research into bias in policing is thornier, experts say.

Part of the problem lies in the data itself, which researchers described as “terrible” and “atrocious.” Civilian deaths at the hands of police are easier to track and analyze, but documenting use-of-force by police officers presents research obstacles. Law enforcement agencies can voluntarily report those statistics, but it’s not mandatory, which leaves huge gaps in the data.

The data available is not impartial, since police agencies are reporting on themselves. Other sources, like the nonprofit Gun Violence Archives, rely on local news to track shootings by police officers, but that’s also flawed. Not every shooting or violence incident makes the papers.

With those caveats in mind, here’s the latest on what we know, and importantly, what we don’t know, from researchers who study racial bias in policing:

Police disproportionately shoot and kill black Americans

In March, Dr. Matthew Miller, a veteran gun violence researcher and professor of health sciences and epidemiology at Northeastern University, co-authored a study on civilians who were shot and killed by police officers between 2014 and 2015.

Roughly 1,000 people are shot to death by police officers every year, and after analyzing those deaths, Miller and his co-authors found that black Americans were twice as likely to be shot and killed by police officers, compared with their representation in the population.

Previous research, including the Washington Post’s fatal force project, which had logged deadly police shootings since 2015, has come to similar conclusions about police officers disproportionately killing black Americans.

In the new study, black Americans were three times more likely to be shot and killed by police officers during interactions where the victim appeared to pose little or no threat to officers, the researchers found.

To analyze the deaths, the researchers used data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Violent Death Reporting System, which relies on police and medical examiner reports.

Miller acknowledged that although Floyd died in custody, he wasn’t shot by police officers.

Still, he said, Floyd “epitomizes a vulnerable person who posed zero risk to the officer who killed him by kneeling on his neck for nine minutes.”

“When you look at the very large number of people killed every year by police officers, blacks are overrepresented among those deaths, but even more represented in the subgroups where they appear to pose little or no threat,” he said. “That’s where I see the connection between our data and this horrific murder.”

Less than half of officers report non-fatal use-of-force data

Without a comparable dataset like the National Violent Death Reporting System for non-fatal use-of-force, it’s much harder to draw firm conclusions about how racial bias factors into police brutality.

“We know more about fatal force than we do non-fatal force,” said Justin Nix, an associate professor of criminology and criminal justice at the University of Nebraska Omaha.

“For every one fatal shooting, there are two or three non-fatal shootings that don’t get picked up,” he said. “It really inhibits our understanding of how often police officers use deadly force.”

Existing resources, like the Gun Violence Archives, were built by compiling local news coverage. If an officer shoots and misses, for example, it’s likely not going to make the news and therefore won’t get counted.

Then there are problems with the field itself. Unlike other areas of science, where scientists run randomized controlled studies, you can’t run a real-life experiment on racial bias in policing. Officers know they are under a microscope during laboratory simulations, experts say.

Large datasets that contain aggregate data don’t tell us much about individual incidents, which are inherently subjective. It’s hard to separate individual officer bias from bias that’s baked into policy, like deploying police more heavily in black neighborhoods. Falsified forms are a problem.

In 2018, the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced that it would start collecting statistics about use-of-force from police agencies around the country, but that participation would be voluntary.

That opt-in policy meant that only 6,700 of state, local and trial law enforcement agencies, representing roughly 40% of sworn officers, participated, according to the nonprofit Police Executive Research Forum.

“I think it’s a sign of willingness to be transparent. For every agency that’s not taking part, I think it’s fair for the citizens to ask, ‘Why not?'” Nix said.

“There’s nothing they should be held to higher accountability for than the use of deadly force,” he added.

The FBI plans to release its first report on the data this summer.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Cyclist assaults George Floyd activists who were posting flyers in park: Police

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Obtained by ABC NewsBy IVAN PEREIRA, ABC News

(NEW YORK) — Police are looking for a cyclist who was caught on video assaulting and cursing at activists who were posting flyers in support of George Floyd.

The Maryland-National Capital Park Police said they are looking for a cyclist who allegedly accosted the group, which included a young girl, in the Capital Crescent Trail in Montgomery County on June 1.

The group was posting flyers in the park promoting justice for Floyd that read “Killer Cops Will Not Go Free,” when the suspect confronted them, according to the police.

The suspect, seen in an orange bike helmet, sunglasses, grey shirt and black shorts, was videotaped approaching the young girl despite cries from an adult woman to stay away, forcefully grabbing the flyer from the girl’s hands.

The man filming is heard shouting, “Hey, leave her alone,” as the suspect approaches the young girl. A woman, off camera, shouts, “Do not touch her,” but the man rips the flyers out of her hands anyway. They plead with him “to just walk way,” but he then comes after the man who is filming.

After cursing at the group, the cyclist takes his bike and rams the man who filmed the encounter, before shouting at him to take the signs down.

No one was seriously hurt.

Anyone with information on the suspect is urged to call 301-929-2774.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

DC protester seen injured in viral photos: 'We want the same rights as you'

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ABC NewsBy BYRON PITTS, STEPHANIE FASANO and ANTHONY RIVAS, ABC News

(NEW YORK) — Abimbola George, a protester who was injured near the White House last weekend, says he doesn’t expect the demonstrators protesting the death of George Floyd and police brutality to “slow down, stop or leave” anytime soon.

George, an educator in Washington, D.C., sustained a head injury on May 30, when he says a police officer “cracked my head open with a metal pole.” Images of him following the attack were subsequently shared on social media, where they went viral.

On that day, he says the protests had been peaceful until authorities, who were “just bouncing around, waiting for instruction to go,” began advancing on them.

“It’s hard to just own it until you see it, but being that we had a gate in front of us, the police came to the gate, and then they eventually came over the gate … then start pushing people,” he told ABC News’ Nightline co-anchor Byron Pitts. “You know, we can only do so much … and to try and be there in a peaceful manner, and we don’t have the weapons they have, but they’re still coming closer and they’re knocking people down.”

Two days later, following a White House address by President Donald Trump, authorities forcefully dispersed a crowd of peaceful protesters in Lafayette Park with flash-bangs and what they described as tear gas to make way for the president to walk to St. John’s Episcopal Church for a photo op.

George said these actions “sustain” a cycle of anger between protesters and those who support the use of force to control the protests. He also believes the president is fostering a belief that if you go out and protest you are going to get hurt.

The White House has denied authorities used tear gas on protesters, and in a statement, U.S. Park Police also said authorities hadn’t used tear gas, but rather that “smoke canisters” and “pepper balls” had been deployed.

George thinks the demonstrations have bothered people because “folks are so into being in control.”

“As American citizens … we pride ourselves on being free … and right now we’re actually exercising what that freedom is,” he said. “I can see how that scares the powers that be, but I don’t think they should be scared. I think we should come to the table and just say, ‘We want the same rights as you.'”

George said he’s been protesting for different causes for over a decade. This time, he said, it’s different. He’s seen a lot of people “who haven’t spoken up before, speak now.”

“I think we’ve put the premise out there that if you’re not speaking, that’s your decision,” he said. “That means you do not support what’s going on.”

“I think for a long time, people had been joining protests from their couch. … Even though, to some, this moment might not really make sense, but to those who care about police brutality, this moment was coming and this moment has always been there,” he added. “We’re just adding people to the conversation.”

On Wednesday, charges against Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who knelt on George Floyd’s neck, were upgraded to second-degree murder and manslaughter. The other three officers who were involved in his death were also arrested and charged with aiding and abetting.

George said charges were to be expected: “We’re glad that these charges happened, but you can see our frustration in saying that we don’t think they’re severe enough.”

He said the protests must now evolve so that those attending can take on more defined roles. His role, he said, has been to educate those who show up.

“A lot of the things I see live are people kind of standing around waiting for instruction, and it doesn’t always have to be someone yelling and chanting,” he said. “It can literally be people getting to know each other — us using this as a classroom on the street — and I really think if we start thinking about this a little bigger … people, in general, will see protesters not as looters or rioters, but as people, as thinkers … who really want to exercise their First Amendment rights.”

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

More than $4.5M raised to rebuild Minneapolis' historic Lake Street after protests

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Lake Street CouncilBy CATHERINE THORBECKE, ABC News

(MINNEAPOLIS) — Some $4.5 million has been raised to rebuild the historic and diverse Lake Street area of Minneapolis, after it suffered immense damage amid protests over the killing of George Floyd that have rocked the nation over the past week.

Businesses along the 6-mile strip, known for its large Latino and Somali American population, have faced looting and fires that have left every single one “affected in one way or another by this,” Theresa Swaney of the Lake Street Council, a local nonprofit that is spearheading fundraising efforts, told ABC News.

“We understand why these protests are happening, and we believe in the need to seek this justice for George Floyd,” she said. “As an organization we’re trying to move forward and support our businesses because that’s our mission.”

Swaney said she hasn’t seen anything like this in her memory, but that most of these businesses were already struggling because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I’d say it’s more than a double hit, a triple, quadruple, hit,” she said of dealing with the damage, on top of the financial strains from the pandemic. “People were struggling with COVID, businesses around the country were struggling, and Lake Street was no different.”

“A lot of them can’t even reopen now because they’ve been looted; they have no inventory, they have no shelves,” she said. “It’s going to take a lot for them to reopen and be able to serve their communities.”

The area was known and beloved in Minneapolis specifically for its diversity, with Swaney saying, “A large number of the businesses on Lake Street are either owned by immigrants or people of color.”

“Those are the small mom and pop shops that will have trouble rebuilding and coming back to life after this; that’s really where our funds are dedicated towards — are helping those businesses that spent 10 years saving up and now have nothing,” she said.

Swaney said the damage to the area ranged from broken windows to entire buildings being burned down, and many businesses were looted.

Swaney said that the offices for their nonprofit have been completely burned. They were all working from home due to coronavirus, but they found out “nothing in our office will survive.”

So far, $4.5 million has been donated through their website from approximately 50,000 donors in a week.

Swaney said she agrees with those on social media who have been saying that property can be rebuilt while lives — such as Floyd’s — are gone forever.

“I don’t think it means that we can’t support the rebuilding of Lake Street as well,” she said. “We also know that it will take money to rebuild the buildings.”

“Many of these buildings are 100 years old or more and they served our community because they were affordable to rent, and provided spaces for these minority and POC-owned businesses,” she added.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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