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Voices From the Protests – The New York Times

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Voices From the Protests – The New York Times

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The anger is different this time. After years of Americans being killed by the police — more than 1,000 per year, for as long as statistics exist — something has changed over the past week.

The gruesome video of a Minneapolis police officer kneeling on George Floyd’s neck plays a role. So does a pandemic that’s disproportionately killing African-Americans. And so do the angry, racialized politics that President Trump encourages.

Here are some of the voices from the protests, which have included many people who say they’ve never protested before:

“In every city, there’s a George Floyd,” said Michael Sampson II, 30, of Jacksonville, Fla.

“It could be my father, my brother, my uncle, my cousin, my friend,” said Victoria Sloan, 27, of Brooklyn. “It makes me angry.”

“I’m speaking for everybody, all my kinfolk, all my brothers and sisters who’ve gotten beaten up by police,” said Cory Thomas, 40, who said the police beat him when he was a teenager in Brooklyn. “I don’t condone the violence,” or the looting, he said, “but at the end of the day, no 14-year-old should be beat up by police.”

“There are people out there who are very negative,” D.J. Elliott, 30, a gym manager in Harlem said, in frustration about a small number of late-arriving, violent protesters. “And this is their golden opportunity.”

“If we don’t fight for change we’re not going to get it,” Douglas Golliday, a 65-year-old resident of a Minneapolis suburb, told The Star Tribune while waiting to be taken to jail along with his 44-year-old son, Robert, and other protesters.

“I took six rubber bullets, but do you know what didn’t happen to me?” Elizabeth Ferris, a 36-year-old Georgetown University student, told The Washington Post. “No one kneeled on my neck.”

Ashley Gary of Minneapolis said: “We’ve been through Jamar Clark, we’ve been through Philando Castile, and there was no justice whatsoever. We’re tired of it, we are very tired. My son, he’s 16 and six feet tall, and I don’t want him to be taken as somebody bad because he’s a bigger black man.”

“I came out peacefully to show my support, and the police are aiming right at me,” Mariana Solaris, a 20-year-old from San Bernardino, Calif., told The Los Angeles Times, after the police fired foam pellets at her. “I saw this on the news earlier tonight,” she said, “and I thought, ‘No way is it really like that out there with the police.’ So I came out to see. And, yeah, it’s really like that.”

Protesters faced off against the police for a seventh straight night in cities across the country.

  • In Washington, police officers used tear gas and flash grenades to clear a path through a peaceful protest so President Trump could visit a nearby Episcopal church, St. John’s, where he posed for photos holding a Bible. An Episcopal bishop in Washington said she was “outraged” that he used the church “as a backdrop for a message antithetical to the teachings of Jesus.” Trump also warned he would order the military into cities if local officials could not control their streets.

  • In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio acknowledged that an 11 p.m. curfew had failed to prevent widespread looting, including along Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. As a result, the curfew will begin at 8 tonight.

  • In a shootout at a protest in St. Louis, four police officers were injured. In Buffalo, an S.U.V. sped through a line of officers in riot gear, injuring two of them, in an episode caught on video. In Las Vegas, the authorities are investigating the shootings of two officers, although the details are unclear.

  • The mayor of Louisville, Ky., fired the city’s police chief after the owner of a local barbecue restaurant was killed when police officers and National Guard troops shot toward protesters.

  • In the Times Opinion section, Tonya Russell asks companies to understand the toll that police brutality videos have on their black employees. “They should encourage self-care,” she writes, “and make clear there will be no penalties for those who may need to take a mental health day or temporarily take on a lighter workload.”

  • The Times will be providing updates all day here.


Both a government autopsy and an autopsy commissioned by Floyd’s family concluded that his death was a homicide. The experts hired by the family say he was asphyxiated; the autopsy by the county says his heart stopped while officers were kneeling on him and notes Floyd’s underlying heart condition.

Video: The Times’s visual investigations team has reconstructed Floyd’s death using security footage, witness videos and official documents. “It’s hard to watch this. Really hard,” Marc Lacey, The Times’s national editor writes. “But here’s the most comprehensive reconstruct you’ll find of what happened.”


The four large countries where coronavirus cases have been increasing fastest — Brazil, the U.S., Russia and Britain — have something in common: They are all run by populist male leaders who cast themselves as anti-elite and anti-establishment.

“Very often they rail against intellectuals and experts of nearly all types,” Steven Levitsky, a Harvard political scientist, told us. The leaders, he said, “claim to have a kind of common-sense wisdom that the experts lack. This doesn’t work very well versus Covid-19.” We explain — with a chart — here.

Another phone call: Trump also spoke by phone yesterday with President Vladimir Putin of Russia about the pandemic, the global economy and Trump’s desire to let Russia attend an upcoming G7 meeting.

What we’ve learned: Times journalists have summarized what scientists know about the virus, as well as the important mysteries that remain.


  • For the first time, the police in Hong Kong prohibited an annual vigil to honor the victims of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests.

  • Two House primaries to watch today: In Maryland, Steny Hoyer, the majority leader, is facing a progressive challenger; and in Iowa, Steve King, shunned by his party over racist remarks, could lose to a fellow Republican.

  • John Loengard, a longtime photographer for Life magazine, died at age 85. He captured the Beatles swimming in a cold Miami pool; Louis Armstrong spreading balm over his chapped lips; and Myrlie Evers comforting her 9-year-old son at the funeral of her murdered husband.

One of the main questions that I’m now hearing from friends and family is: Should I feel OK about getting on an airplane?

It’s a complicated issue. Planes are crowded, enclosed spaces. Yet airplane cabins also have air-filtration systems similar to those used in hospitals. As Donald McNeil, who covers infectious diseases for The Times, puts it: “Yes, cabin air is filtered, and the filters are impressive. But they are not as effective as an outdoor breeze.”

After talking with health experts, I’d offer this advice: Anybody trying to avoid almost all risk should continue to avoid planes. That said, planes do seem to be less dangerous than other enclosed spaces.

And if you decide to fly, you can reduce the risks. For starters, take into account the infection rates in both your home city and the place you’re going. Chicago and Washington, for instance, are more dangerous than Dallas and San Francisco. (You can look up any metro area here.)

Other tips: Find out in advance how full your flight is, and ask for a refund if it’s packed. Wear a mask at all times, on the plane and in the airport. Don’t board too early. Wipe off your armrest and tray table. Use hand sanitizer frequently. Keep the overhead air nozzle turned on.

For more detail, you can read a new Itineraries column by Jane L. Levere, as well as a helpful personal story from the biologist Erin Bromage.

Colcannon, an Irish dish made of mashed potatoes and greens, is a meal for when cooking is the last thing on your mind but you still need to eat. It is simple and nourishing and made with pantry staples. Don’t stint on the butter.


Megha Majumdar’s highly anticipated book, “A Burning,” revolves around three characters in modern-day India who find their lives entangled after a terrorist attack. The story is ultimately about “the violence of entrenched injustices,” writes the Times critic Parul Sehgal. She calls it “great fiction.”


On Monday, the Metropolitan Opera — the nation’s largest performing arts organization — announced it would cancel its fall season because of the pandemic.

But an ocean way, at least one show is going on: a world tour of “The Phantom of the Opera,” still running eight times a week in Seoul. The performances are possible thanks to South Korea’s rigorous testing system and the production’s own hygiene standards, including masks, thermal temperature sensors and health questionnaires for all audience members.



Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Greenish-blue color (four letters).

You can find all of our puzzles here.


Thanks for spending part of your morning with The Times. See you tomorrow. — David

P.S. A.O. Scott, a Times film critic, has started a series of essays on authors who help us understand the “complex fate” of being American. Up first is Wallace Stegner.

You can see today’s print front page here.

Today’s episode of “The Daily” is about the police officer charged in George Floyd’s death.

The Times is providing free access to much of our coronavirus coverage. Please consider supporting our journalism with a subscription.

Lauren Leatherby, Ian Prasad Philbrick and Sanam Yar contributed to The Morning. You can reach the team at themorning@nytimes.com.

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