Lawless America: Police Officer is Shot in the Head in Vegas, Four Officers Are Shot in St Louis, Cops Are Rammed by an SUV in Buffalo
Megan Sheets and Emily Crane, Daily Mail, June 2, 2020
Four cops were shot in St Louis last night as America was gripped by a seventh straight night of destruction in the wake of George Floyd’s death despite Donald Trump‘s threats of military force.
Rioters opened fire and wounded four officers in St Louis while others hurled rocks, launched fireworks and poured gas over cops in scenes of ‘mayhem’ on Monday night.
An emotional police chief condemned the looters who were ‘tearing up cities’ with ‘no intention of doing anything constructive’ as he revealed the four injured officers were in hospital but likely to survive.
Another cop was reportedly on life support today after he was shot in the head in Las Vegas in one of two outbreaks of gunfire in the city.
Donald Trump showed no sign of backing down last night as he threatened to mobilize ‘thousands and thousands’ of soldiers in cities across the country to bring the ‘riots and lawlessness’ to an end.
While he spoke, police were firing tear gas to disperse protesters outside the White House – clearing the way for Trump to stroll across Lafayette Square for a photo opportunity at a historic fire-damaged church.
In New York City, looters descended on luxury stores for a second night in a row as peaceful protests gave way to looting when the sun went down – including at the Macy’s flagship store.
The NYPD had dispatched a fleet of officers in a bid to prevent the destruction of the night before but one cop was beaten on a sidewalk while others were powerless to stop the looting.
In Buffalo, New York, shocking video showed police confronting a group of protesters in the street before a car rammed into officers. Officials said two people were injured in that incident.
Clashes between police and protesters broke out in many other cities including Minneapolis, Washington DC, Philadelphia and in the Chicago suburb of Cicero, where two people were fatally shot and at least 60 others were arrested.
The US has been rocked by six straight nights of tumult since George Floyd, a black man, was killed in Minneapolis after a white police officer pinned him to the ground by kneeling on his neck last Monday.
Floyd, who was in handcuffs at the time, died after the white officer ignored bystander shouts to get off him and Floyd’s cries that he couldn’t breathe.
His death, captured on citizen video, has sparked days of protests in Minneapolis that quickly spread to cities across America.
Trump told reporters his administration is ‘fully committed’ to serving justice for George Floyd, but said he believed the looters and violent protests are distracting from that goal.
He declared himself the ‘president of law and order’ and threatened to invoke the Insurrection Act of 1807 to deploy the military.
While Trump spoke, police were heard firing tear gas and deploying flash bangs in an effort to disperse protesters chanting: ‘Don’t shoot’ in Lafayette Park outside the White House.
‘All Americans were rightly sickened and revolted by the brutal death of George Floyd,’ Trump said.
‘My administration is fully committed that for judge and his family, justice will be served. He will not have died in vain.
‘But we cannot allow the righteous cries of peaceful protesters to be drowned out by an angry mob. The biggest victims of the rioting is peace loving citizens in our poorest communities. And as their president, I will fight to keep them safe. I will fight to protect you.
‘I am your president of law and order and an ally of all peaceful protesters. But in recent days, our nation has been gripped by professional anarchists, violent mobs, arsonists, looters, criminals, rioters, Antifa and others.’
He then revealed his intention to invoke the Insurrection Act, saying: ‘I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them. I am also taking swift and decisive action to protect our great capitol, Washington, DC. What happened in this city last night was a total disgrace.’
‘Those who threaten innocent life and property will be arrested, detained and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. I want the organizers of this terror to be on notice that you will face severe criminal penalties and lengthy sentences in jail.’
Between 200 and 250 military personnel from a unit at Fort Bragg in North Carolina were reportedly expected to arrive in DC as early as Monday night, three Pentagon officials told CNN.
The deployment marks the first time that the Army has been sent in to patrol US streets in nearly 30 years since the 1992 Los Angeles riots sparked by the brutal police custody death of Rodney King.
The troops are expected to provide security in the capital but will not perform law enforcement duties such as arrest and detention of protesters or rioters, per CNN.
In St Louis, two officers were shot in the leg, one in the foot and one in the arm after armed rioters opened fire last night.
Police chief John Hayden said a peaceful protest had been replaced by rioters who ‘obviously had no intention on protesting or doing anything constructive’ and started looting ‘all over downtown’.
‘They were throwing fireworks on officers, fireworks were exploding on officers, there were officers that had gas poured on them, and we’re trying to figure out what is going on,’ he said.
‘All of this because people decided to steal and break windows, that’s all they’re doing. I don’t understand what that has to do with Mr Floyd’s death.’
His voice breaking, he said: ‘Some coward fired shots at officers and now we have four in the hospital, and thank God they’re alive.’
While many of the demonstrations around the country have been peaceful protests by racially diverse crowds, others have descended into violence – despite curfews in many cities across the US and the deployment of thousands of National Guard members over the past week.
In Minneapolis on Monday, Floyd’s brother, Terrence, pleaded for peace at the site where the black man was pinned to the pavement by officer Derek Chauvin, saying violence is ‘not going to bring my brother back at all’.
‘Let’s switch it up ya’ll. Let’s switch it up. Do this peacefully, please,’ Terrence Floyd said.
The crowd chanted: ‘What’s his name? George Floyd!’ and ‘One down, three to go!’ in reference to the four officers involved in Floyd’s arrest.
Chauvin has been charged with murder, but protesters are demanding that his colleagues be prosecuted too. All four were fired.
During an impromptu eulogy, Terrence Floyd urged people to stop the violence and use their power at the ballot box.
‘If I’m not over here messing up my community, then what are you all doing?’ he said. ‘You all are doing nothing. Because that’s not going to bring my brother back at all.’
In New York City, peaceful protests on Monday afternoon were followed by reports of looting after sundown.
Stores on 5th and Madison avenues were seen boarding up their with plywood to prevent vandals from breaking in while cops stood guard near shops with already shattered windows, including The Nintendo Store, Michael Kors, Kate Spade and Barnes & Noble.
One NYPD officer was brutally beaten by protesters and held down on the floor as a man repeatedly hit him with a large object.
An onlooker who was filming the attack in the Bronx yelled ‘f*** 12’, slang criticising the police’s drug enforcement unit.
Hours earlier New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced an 11pm to 5am curfew for New York City in a bid to curb the violence of the past few nights.
Police were seen arresting several people for breaking curfew as the night went on.
Philadelphia also announced a curfew beginning at 8.30pm Tuesday after Monday’s protests took a chaotic turn with police firing tear gas and spraying chemicals at demonstrators gathered on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
To the north in Buffalo, stunning video captured the moment a car rammed into a line of police attempting to break up a protest on Monday night.
In Cicero, Illinois – roughly 15 miles outside the heart of Chicago – four people were shot during protests on Monday.
Town spokesman Ray Hanania confirmed that two of those people died and said at least 60 people were arrested – including three suspects involved in the shooting.
Hanania told WGN that ‘outside agitators’ have entered Cicero ‘after being rebuffed by the closure of downtown Chicago’.
He said the only shots fired were by those agitators, and blamed looting in the town on them as well.
More than 100 local cops are currently patrolling the streets of Cicero with assistance from about 120 county and state police officers.
The country has been beset by angry demonstrations for the past week in some of the most widespread racial unrest in the US since the 1960s.
Spurred in part by Floyd’s death, protesters have taken to the streets to decry the killings of black people by police.
While police in some places tried to calm tensions by kneeling or marching in solidarity, officers elsewhere were accused of treating protesters with the same kind of heavy-handed tactics that contributed to the unrest in the first place.
Around the country, political leaders girded for the possibility of more of what unfolded over the weekend: protesters hurling rocks and Molotov cocktails at police in Philadelphia, setting a fire near the White House and smashing their way into Los Angeles stores, running off with as much as they could carry.
At least 4,400 people have been arrested for offenses such as stealing, blocking highways and breaking curfew.
President Trump has berated most of the nation’s governors as ‘weak’ for not cracking down harder on the lawlessness that has convulsed cities from coast to coast.
He told the nation’s governors in a video conference that they they ‘look like fools’ for not deploying even more National Guard members.
‘Most of you are weak,’ he said.
‘You’ve got to arrest people, you have to track people, you have to put them in jail for 10 years and you’ll never see this stuff again.’
Over the weekend the Pentagon reportedly took the rare step of ordering the Army to put several active-duty US military police units on the ready to deploy to Minneapolis.
Soldiers from Fort Bragg in North Carolina and Fort Drum in New York had been ordered to be ready to deploy within four hours if called, according to three people with direct knowledge of the orders.
Soldiers in Fort Carson, in Colorado, and Fort Riley in Kansas were also told to be ready within 24 hours.
The people did not want their names used because they were not authorized to discuss the preparations.
The get-ready orders were sent verbally on Friday, after Trump asked Defense Secretary Mark Esper for military options to help quell the unrest in Minneapolis after protests descended into looting and arson in some parts of the city.
Trump made the request on a phone call from the Oval Office on Thursday night that included Esper, National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien and several others.
The president asked Esper for rapid deployment options if the Minneapolis protests continued to spiral out of control, according to one of the people, senior Pentagon official who was on the call.
‘When the White House asks for options, someone opens the drawer and pulls them out so to speak,’ the official said.
The person said the military units would be deployed under the Insurrection Act, which was last used in 1992 during the riots in Los Angeles that followed the Rodney King trial.
Roughly 800 US soldiers would deploy to the city if called.
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz ordered 500 of his National Guard troops into Minneapolis, St Paul, and surrounding communities.
But a Pentagon spokesman said Walz did not ask for the Army to be deployed to his state.
‘The Department has been in touch with the Governor and there is no request for Title 10 forces to support the Minnesota National Guard or state law enforcement.’ Title 10 is the US law that governs the armed forces, and would authorize active duty military to operate within the US.
Active-duty forces are normally prohibited from acting as a domestic law enforcement agency. But the Insurrection Act offers an exception.
The Insurrection Act will allow the military to take up a policing authority it otherwise would not be allowed to do, enforcing state and federal laws, said Stephen Vladeck, a University of Texas School of Law professor who specializes in constitutional and national security law.
The statute ‘is deliberately vague’ when it comes to the instances in which the Insurrection Act could be used, he said.
The state’s governor could ask Trump to take action or Trump could act on his own authority if he’s determined that the local authorities are so overwhelmed that they can’t adequately enforce the law, Vladeck said.
‘It is a very, very broad grant of authority for the president,’ he added.
Former President Barack Obama on Monday condemned the use of violence at nationwide protests over racial inequities and excessive police force while praising the actions of peaceful protesters seeking reform.
The vast majority of protesters have been peaceful, but a ‘small minority’ were putting people at risk and harming the very communities the protests are intended to help, Obama wrote in an online essay posted on Medium.
Obama said the violence was ‘compounding the destruction of neighborhoods that are often already short on services and investment and detracting from the larger cause.’
Obama’s latest remarks came three days after his first comments on the Floyd case, which called for justice but did not mention the violent nature of some protests.
His shift in tone on Monday came as some protesters have set fires, smashed windows and looted stores, forcing mayors in large cities to impose nighttime curfews.