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State & Regional Govt & Politics
NEW FINDINGS: Georgia teacher pension board must decide if colleges owe millions

NEW FINDINGS: Georgia teacher pension board must decide if colleges owe millions

NEW FINDINGS: Georgia teacher pension board must decide if colleges owe millions

NEW FINDINGS: Georgia teacher pension board must decide if colleges owe millions

Four months after state auditors said Georgia’s universities had been shortchanging the teacher pension fund, the retirement system’s board is considering whether to send the colleges a rather hefty bill.

Teachers and retirees in the 400,000-member Teachers Retirement System have expressed outrage over the auditors’ findings that hundreds of millions of dollars never made it into the fund. They say the $600 million auditors say TRS was shortchanged helped back up state lawmakers who argued that the fund is financially unsustainable.

But University System officials dispute the auditors’ conclusion and say the system pays more than its fair share. They say forcing them to make new payments could have serious consequences, including major spending cuts at colleges and higher tuition or fees for students.

A retirement board committee voted recently to bill the University System $180 million for fiscal 2019 — which ends June 30 — and to bill the system again for the upcoming fiscal year. It said TRS could put the system on a payment plan, if necessary.

The full retirement system board is set to take up the matter on Wednesday. The Attorney General’s Office has weighed in, saying the system didn’t owe the money for this year and next, in part because the General Assembly didn’t allocate the money in the state budget.

Marion Fedrick, a member of the TRS board and president of Albany State University, said the retirement system needs more time to figure out if colleges actually owe the money.

“I don’t think we’re being responsible, I don’t think we are being rational,” she said. “There are still too many question to do that (bill the system) at this point, especially 45 days before the end of the fiscal year.”

But State Auditor Greg Griffin, also a member of the TRS board, said the payments are mandated by law because the $78 billion pension system has a liability. In other words, it does not have enough money to fund all future pensions that are owed. He said the pension system’s failure to collect the funds in the past amounted to “an administrative error.

“Now that the error has been discovered, I believe the board has a fiduciary responsibility to collect the transfer payments from USG,” Griffin said. “To not do so is to continue to require local school systems and other TRS employers to shoulder a disproportionate portion of the legacy costs of USG retirees in TRS.”

Lawmakers budgeted $2.5 billion for the University System in fiscal 2020, which begins July 1. The system probably couldn’t absorb a $180 million hit without serious budget cuts or getting more money from students in the form of tuition or fees. The system’s Board of Regents set tuition for the upcoming school year last month.

But the issue is a sensitive one for teachers, university personnel and retirees because they have lived with the fear in recent years that lawmakers want to make changes to the system, which currently provides benefits to 124,000 pensioners, averaging about $37,000 a year.

Several bills have been filed to change benefits for future teachers and university staffers, and lawmakers have, among other things, talked about altering the way annual cost-of-living raises are given. Under some of the bills, future teachers and university staffers would get a hybrid 401(k) and smaller pension.

That discussion heated up after lawmakers had to pour nearly an extra $600 million into the retirement system over two years to shore up its finances.

“I can’t see that it’s a coincidence that USG failed to pay around the same amount that the Legislature has had to contribute to TRS over the same amount of time,” said John Palmer, a Cobb County educator and spokesman for the teacher group TRAGIC.

University System officials say the money auditors argue that they owe and the extra $600 million the General Assembly paid into TRS are unrelated.

Scott Reynolds Nelson, a member of the United Campus Workers of Georgia and a UGA history professor, was critical of the University System’s handling of the issue.

“Between 2008 and 2018, the state gave University System of Georgia over $250 million to pay into state employees’ pensions. USG took that state money but never paid it.

“Now our pension fund is in the red. Taxpayers and employees must now foot the bill. At best this is incompetence, at worse it is corruption.”

The issue arose earlier this year when state auditors — whose agency is under the General Assembly - released an audit saying the University System had not paid enough into the fund for more than a decade, something college officials strongly denied

At issue are payments auditors said the University System was supposed to make after it created something called an Optional Retirement Plan in 1990. Essentially, the plan allowed University System staffers to choose a 401(k) over a pension. In a 401(k), the employer and employee put money into a retirement investment fund, which the staffer can take with him when he leaves. In a pension, the employee who works for a certain number of years receives a regular payment from the TRS when he or she retires.

When the optional plan was created, state law required the University System to make payments into the TRS to fund the long-term liability of retirees.

The purpose of the payments was to prevent the long-term pension costs of retirees from being borne by the state or school districts by balancing the ratio of active employees paying into the TRS and retirees drawing money out of the TRS, auditors said.

The University System made the payments through 2001, when the pension system had the money to meet its future responsibility to retirees and TRS - going on the report of its actuary - determined it no longer had to make the payments.

Auditors said the law requiring the payments was never repealed, and that they should have resumed in 2008, when the Great Recession started hammering investments in the retirement system and it once again had a pension liability.

They said the University System requested funding for the payments from the General Assembly that were in turn never made to the TRS. University System officials say that is not true, and that, in fact, colleges pay more than their fair share into the fund.

Delaying the issue could help the University System for at least two reasons. With the new fiscal year fast approaching, it would be unlikely that the system would be back-billed for fiscal 2019 and 2020, even if it is eventually found to owe the money. And it would allow the General Assembly time to consider legislation, sponsored by House Retirement Chairman Tommy Benton, R-Jefferson, to codify the University System’s position that it doesn’t owe future payments.

Benton’s bill will be considered by the House Retirement Committee over the summer and likely be voted on during the 2020 session, which begins in January.

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  • After a third consecutive night of protests in Minneapolis and in several other major U.S. cities, authorities on Friday arrested former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin on third-degree murder and manslaughter charges in the death of George Floyd. Floyd, 46, died Monday after he was detained for questioning regarding a possible forgery in progress. Video of his death caught by bystanders showed a Minneapolis police officer identified as Chauvin holding his knee to Floyd’s neck for more than five minutes as Floyd pleaded for air, sparking outrage.  Demonstration closes highway in Seattle Update 8:19 p.m. EDT May 30: Hundreds of protesters spilled onto I-5 in downtown Seattle prompting a shutdown of the north and southbound lanes, KIRO-TV reported. Protesters marched between cars holding signs. “The freeway is not a safe or appropriate place for demonstration,' Chief John Batiste said on social media. 'WSP will thoughtfully do what is necessary to maintain public safety and urges everyone to use caution in the area.” Protesters also burned multiple police vehicles. Mayor Jenny Durkan imposed a curfew for 5 p.m. Saturday. “Crowds need to disburse from downtown immediately,” Durkan said on social media. Violent protests prompts Philadelphia mayor to impose curfew Update 7:47 p.m. EDT May 30: Protesters damaged a statue, burned vehicles and set fire to buildings in Philadelphia, prompting the mayor to issue a curfew for Saturday night. Protesters appeared to tie ropes and set fire to the bottom of the statue of former Mayor Frank Rizzo, which has been defaced in the past, was set to be removed later this year from out front of the city's Municipal Services Building, KYW reported. “The peaceful protests earlier were touching showings of our collective grief,” Mayor Jim Kenney said on social media. “The anger being displayed now cannot continue. Please have respect and dignity for each other and return home.” Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney has imposed a mandatory curfew starting at 8 p.m. Saturday until 6 a.m. Sunday. “Only person with essential duties will be permitted outdoors,” Philadelphia police said on social media. Curfew imposed as Los Angeles protests grow more violent Update 7:07 p.m. EDT May 30: Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is imposing a curfew from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. starting Saturday as demonstrations in the city grew increasingly violent. 'We will always protect free speech and Angelenos’ right to live without fear of violence or vandalism,' Garcetti said on social media. Protesters damaged police vehicles and threw objects at authorities who swung batons and fired rubber bullets in the crowd. “Large and violent protest occurring in the area of Beverly Blvd and Fairfax Ave. Do not endanger yourself and your loved ones,” the Los Angeles Police Department said on social media. “Stay away from the area. Large amount of protestors and police presence.” Mayor issues curfew for Atlanta Update 6:54 p.m. EDT May 30: Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms issued a curfew starting at 9 p.m. for the city Saturday night. The citywide curfew will end at sunrise, WSB-TV reported. National Guard vehicles were deployed to Centennial Olympic Park where protesters gathered for a second night. Protesters destroyed police cars and smashed windows on Friday night. The Atlanta Police Department said it is monitoring protest activity and is prepared to make more arrests should demonstrations turn violent or destructive. Police swing batons, shoot rubber bullets at protesters in LA Update 6:29 p.m. EDT May 30: Police swung batons and fired rubber bullets at protesters in Los Angeles Saturday afternoon. Police vehicles were spray painted and their windows kicked in as the peaceful protest became violent when police tried to hold protesters from moving forward, CNN reported. Protesters also appeared to be throwing objects at authorities, CNN reported. Reporter hit by rock during protest in South Carolina Update 6:18 p.m. EDT May 30: A news reporter, caught between protesters clashing, was hit by a rock Saturday afternoon. Reporter Miranda Parnell was OK after being checked out at a hospital. 'A person wearing a MAGA hat showed up at the rally, protesters confronted that person & then rocks were thrown,” Parnell said on social media. Several hundred people demonstrated in Columbia, South Carolina, tearing down a U.S. and state flag out front of police headquarters, The Associated Press reported. Denver sets nighttime curfew Update 5:43 p.m. EDT May 30: A nighttime curfew has been imposed in Denver, the city’s mayor said Saturday. Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said the Colorado National Guard will help enforce a 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew. Protesters clashed with police the last two nights in downtown Denver, where windows were broken and authorities used tear gas, flash grenades and pepper pellets. Thousands of protesters were expected to descend upon downtown Saturday night. A protest organizer urged people to be safe and to not put others in harm’s way. The Associated Press contributed to this report. Pickup drives through Florida protest Update 5:18 p.m. EDT May 30: A pickup truck drove through an intersection in Tallahassee, where protesters were demonstrating Saturday, sending people scrambling out of the way. The truck was stopped at a light as protesters walked around and near it, apparently talking to the driver before he suddenly accelerated, sending people running and screaming. At one point, a person was on the truck's hood. The driver was taken into custody after hitting the crowd at a low rate of speed, Tallahassee Mayor John E. Dailey said on social media. “The peaceful protestors have my unwavering support and I unequivocally condemn any violence toward protestors,” Dailey said. No one was seriously injured. The Associated Press contributed to this report. Protesters set police car on fire in Pittsburgh Update 5:03 p.m. EDT May 30: Protesters marching through downtown Pittsburgh set a police car on fire Saturday afternoon. Protesters used objects to smash and vandalize the vehicle before setting it aflame near the PPG Arena, WPXI-TV reported. Protesters block traffic on Austin, Texas, interstate Update 3:48 p.m. EDT May 30: Protesters blocked Interstate 35 in Austin, Texas, on Saturday afternoon, according to a tweet from ATX, the city’s transportation department. “We need the community to avoid the area because the IH-35 is blocked,” Austin Police said in a tweet. Trump threatens to use military police against protesters Update 3:01 p.m. EDT May 30: President Donald Trump urged 'liberal governors and mayors” to get “much tougher” in dealing with protesters, “or the federal government will step in and do what has to be done, and that includes using the unlimited power of our Military and many arrests.” “Crossing state lines to incite violence is a FEDERAL CRIME!' Trump tweeted. Wisconsin governor activates National Guard Update 2:54 p.m. EDT May 30: Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers activated the National Guard to support law enforcement in Milwaukee in their response to “agitators that have disrupted peaceful protests following the murder of George Floyd,” according to a news release. At least 125 members of the Wisconsin National Guard have been activated immediately to respond to Milwaukee, according to the release. Police in Columbus, Ohio, declare emergency Update 2:44 p.m. EDT May 30: Police in Columbus, Ohio declared an emergency in the downtown area “to manage protests near the statehouse,” Mayor Andrew Ginther tweeted. “We are asking residents to avoid the area,” Ginther tweeted. “We’re calling for everyone to remain calm.” Police said crowd control devices, including chemical agents, may be used, and protestors were subject to arrest if they did not leave the area, WCMH reported. DC mayor: Trump tweets an ‘attack on black America’ Update 2:31 p.m. EDT May 30: Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser fired back at President Donald Trump’s tweets, calling his comments on Twitter “an attack on humanity, an attack on black America.” Bowser added that Trump’s comments were “gross” and criticized Trump’s comments about “shooting and looting” and releasing “vicious dogs.' “To make a reference to vicious dogs is no subtle reminder to African Americans of segregationists who let dogs out on women, children, and innocent people in the South,” Bowser said at a news conference, noting that Trump’s comments over the past two days have been the “glorification of violence against American citizens,” and that “what used to be heard in dog whistles we now hear from a bullhorn.” Protesters damage College Football Hall of Fame Update 2:16 p.m. EDT May 30: The College Football Hall of Fame was damaged and looted during violent protests in Atlanta on Friday night, police confirmed in a statement. The Hall of Fame is located near Centennial Olympic Park in downtown Atlanta. Protesters smashed the Hall of Fame’s front windows and stole merchandise from its gift shop, ESPN reported. “Protesters continue damaging businesses, looting and setting fire to buildings,” Atlanta police Sgt. John Chafee said in a statement Saturday. “There has been looting at the College Football Hall of Fame ... and many other businesses. We are grateful for the assistance being provided by multiple local and state law enforcement partners as we work to minimize the damage being caused by these individuals and to restore order in our city.” Michigan governor urges designated areas for protest Update 2:03 p.m. EDT May 30: Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II urged communities to provide a designated area for people to peacefully protest, according to a statement. “The First Amendment right to protest has never been more important, and in this moment when we are still battling a killer virus, it is crucial that those who choose to demonstrate do so peacefully, and in a way that follows social distancing guidelines to protect public health,” the statement said. “There will no doubt be more tough days ahead, but we must pull together and treat our fellow Michiganders with dignity, compassion, and humanity.' Murder charge ‘only the beginning’ in case against Chauvin Update 1:56 p.m. EDT May 30: Third-degree murder and manslaughter charges against former police officer Derek Chauvin are only the beginning of the legal process, Minnesota’s attorney general said. At a news conference, Keith Ellison said charging Chauvin, who is seen on video putting his knee on George Floyd’s neck on Monday, is a preliminary move. “It is a preliminary complaint. It’s still going on,” Ellison said “As a lawyer, I can tell you complaints are amended, charges could be increased, there could be some added, there could be other people who could be charged as well. We are in the beginning of this.' Ellison said there is probable cause to support the complaint against Chauvin, and that the “wheels of justice are moving and now they’re moving swiftly.” Walz: Minneapolis protesters did not 'share our values’ Update 1:35 p.m. EDT May 30: In his third news conference Saturday, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz called protesters Friday night as people who “do not share our values.” “What we’ve seen on the streets of Minneapolis and St. Paul over the last 48 to 72 hours has nothing to do with what these people have done to build Minnesota. We have wanton destruction of black businesses and black infrastructure,' Walz said. “We have destroyed landmarks of the nation’s largest indigenous communities that ripped a hole in the soul of a people that have become oppressed from the minute we became a state.” Walz emphasized that Minnesota residents “stand on the land of the people who created that, and the people who were on the streets last night burned it down.” 'They are not us. They do not share our values,' Walz said. Pentagon offered troops to Minnesota, governor says Update 1:27 p.m. EDT May 30: The Pentagon offered the use of active-duty soldiers and intelligence to assist in putting down unrest in Minnesota, including some forces who were put on alert to deploy, Gov. Tim Walz said. The offer was made at the behest of President Donald Trump, The New York Times reported. Trump, who was heading to Florida to watch the launch of the SpaceX spacecraft, said people in Minneapolis, said have to get tougher” and that the military is “ready, willing and able” to assist if called upon. “Look, they’ve got to be tough, they’ve got to be smart. We have our military ready, willing and able if they ever want to call our military. We could have troops on the ground very quickly if they ever want our military,” Trump said. “We can have our military there very quickly, they’ve got to be tough, they’ve got to be strong, they’ve got to be respected.' Surgeon General: ‘No easy prescription’ to heal pain Update 12:49 p.m. EDT May 30: U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams tweeted “there is no easy prescription” to healing the pain or calming the anger expressed over George Floyd’s death. “It’s a pain I too am experiencing … because I’m black,” Adams tweeted. “We won’t fix or remove all the obstacles and stressors that are affecting people’s health and wellbeing -- especially ones like racism -- overnight. That doesn’t mean we mustn’t try at all,' Adams tweeted. Cuomo: ‘The names change, but the color doesn’t’ Update 12:18 p.m. EDT May 30: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said racial injustice should no linger be viewed as “individual incidents.” “When you have one episode, two episodes maybe you can look at them as individual episodes. But when you have 10 episodes, 15 episodes, you are blind or in denial if you are still treating each one like a unique situation,” Cuomo said during his daily briefing Saturday. “How many times have we seen the same situation? Yes, the names change, but the color doesn’t,” Cuomo said. Minneapolis mayor critical of demonstrations Update 10:28 a.m. EDT May 30: Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey criticized he demonstrations Friday night in the city and urged that the destruction and violence come to a halt. “This is no longer about verbal expression. This is about violence and we need to make sure that it stops. We’re in the middle of a pandemic right now. We have two crises that are sandwiched on top of one another,' Frey said at a news conference. “In order to make sure that we continue to have the necessary community institutions, we need to make sure that our businesses are protected, that they are safe, and that they are secure.” Minnesota governor mobilizes National Guard Update 10:20 a.m. EDT May 30: Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz ordered a full mobilization of the National Guard. the largest deployment in the state’s 164-year history “The message is clear, Minnesota: We had a tragedy Monday night,” Walz said. “The situation in Minneapolis is no longer in any way about the murder of George Floyd.” More than 1,000 members of the National Guard were called up, the agency said in a tweet “I think what’s really important to recognize is the tactics and the approach that we have taken have evolved and need to evolve the same way,' Walz said at a news conference. “With a sensitivity to the legitimate rage and anger that came after what the world witnessed in the murder of George Floyd, and was manifested in a very healthy gathering of community to memorialize that on Tuesday night. Was still present to a certain degree on Wednesday. By Thursday, it was nearly gone, and last night is a mockery of pretending this is about George Floyd’s death or inequities or historical traumas to our communities of color.” Trump criticizes protesters outside White House Update 9:13 a.m. EDT May 30: President Donald Trump tweeted his thanks to the Secret Service and said that had protesters breached the White House fence on Friday night. they “would have been greeted with the most vicious dogs, and most ominous weapons, I have ever seen. The President also criticized Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, saying she “wouldn’t let the D.C. Police get involved.” D.C. Police were on the scene Friday night at Lafayette Park, along with several other agencies, CNN reported. Minnesota governor: 'I urge for peace’ Update 8:13 a.m. EDT May 30: After a night of protests in Minneapolis, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz appealed for calm. “Minnesotans are asking for and deserve confidence that we can respond to this crisis, and we will,” Walz tweeted Saturday. Walz ended his tweet with a plea: “I urge for peace at this time.” Protesters vandalize downtown Phoenix, police say  Update 7:24 a.m. EDT May 30: Protesters have left behind a trail of destruction in downtown Phoenix, Arizona, police said.  “Property throughout the downtown Phoenix area has been vandalized as some demonstrators engage in criminal behavior, breaking windows and doors to municipal and private business and destroy cars parked along the street,” Phoenix Police Department tweeted. Nearly 200 arrested in Houston protest  Update 7:05 a.m. EDT May 30: Nearly 200 people have been arrested in Houston, Texas, following Friday night protests. According to a tweet from the Houston Police Department, most of those arrested will be charged with obstructing a roadway. The department also told CNN four of its officers sustained minor injuries and protesters damaged eight police vehicles. “Our officers who were attacked are in the hospital, patrol cars ruined, businesses damaged,” Houston Police Officer’s Union President Joe Gamaldi said in a tweet. “This is not who we are as a City and as a community. We will protect your right to protest, but we will not allow our city to decay into chaos.” Deputy fires upon San Jose protest Update 6:52 a.m. EDT May 30: Law enforcement opened fire during Friday night protests in San Jose, police said.  Sgt. Enrique Garcia of the San Jose Police Department told an NBC News local affiliate the shooting involved a Santa Clara County Sheriff’s deputy firing on a vehicle captured on cellphone video striking one or more demonstrators.  2 Federal Protective Service officers shot, 1 killed in Oakland protests Update 6:44 a.m. EDT May 30: Two Federal Protective Service officers were shot during Friday night protests in Oakland, California, and one of them died, police confirmed to CNN. A police department spokesman told the network at least 7,500 protesters flooded the streets, resulting in widespread incidents of vandalism, thefts, arson and assaults on officers. “Two Federal Protective Services officers stationed at the Oakland Downtown Federal Building suffered gunshot wounds. Unfortunately, one succumbed to his injury,” the police department said.  The Federal Protective Service, which falls under the Department of Homeland Security, provides security and law enforcement services at U.S. government facilities, CNN reported. Dozens arrested during NYC protests Update 4:35 a.m. EDT May 30: At least 50 arrests were made in New York City Friday night into early Saturday morning as protesters seeking justice following the death of George Floyd poured into the streets. A New York Police Department official told NBC News that in addition to the arrests, the protests resulted in injuries to numerous officers, including bloody noses, lost teeth and leg injuries. Portland police declare a riot in the city and order protesters to disperse Update 4:01 a.m. EDT May 30: Portland police ordered crowds of protesters to disperse early Saturday, declaring the city a riot scene. “Disperse now or you will be subject to gas, projectiles, and other means necessary for dispersal,” the Portland Police Department advised Saturday morning via Twitter. “This event has been declared an unlawful assembly. If you do not go home now, force will be used to disperse you.” According to police, Portland’s Justice Center had been attacked by protesters and set on fire, CNN reported. Man shot, killed as protests continue in Detroit Update 3:42 a.m. EDT May 30: A 19-year-old man was killed after shots were fired into a crowd of protesters in Detroit late Friday, the city’s police department has confirmed. According to the Detroit Free Press, the unidentified victim died later at a nearby hospital. Police said in a statement the shots were fired by an unknown suspect in a gray Dodge Durango. Earlier in the evening, Detroit Police Chief James Craig said a person had been arrested after trying to run an officer over with a vehicle, CNN reported. “I will not stand by and let a small minority, criminals, come in here, attack our officers and make our community unsafe. Just know, we are not going to tolerate it,” Craig said. Minnesota governor: Minneapolis situation remains ‘incredibly dangerous’ Update 3:38 a.m. EDT May 30: Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz addressed his state and the entire nation in an early-morning press conference Saturday as violent protests engulfed the Twin Cities for the fourth night and continued their spread across the nation. Watch the video below. Police warn LA protesters to disperse or face arrest Update 2:22 a.m. EDT May 30: The Los Angeles Police Department has declared an unlawful assembly in the downtown area of the city as nationwide protests seeking justice in the death of George Floyd rage for the fourth consecutive night. 'We have declared an unlawful assembly throughout Downtown LA. From the 10 freeway to the 101 & the 110 freeway to Alameda. This is being made following repeated acts of violence & property damage. Residents should stay inside. Business should close. Those on the street are to leave the area,' LAPD said in a statement. According to the department, two LAPD officers were injured during Friday night’s protests. “There was one officer that got hurt at 7:32 this evening and was transported to a local hospital with unknown injuries. Also, at 8:39, an officer needed help after he was hit with a bottle at Seventh St. and Hope St. and was also transported to the hospital. I don’t have their conditions because the situation is still quite fluid,” the statement said. Minnesota National Guard, State Troopers arrive to subdue protests Update 2:10 a.m. EDT May 30: Minnesota State Troopers and the National Guard are actively dispersing protesters from Twin Cities’ streets and assisting local firefighters on multiple scenes, The Washington Post reported. Despite Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey’s 8 p.m. curfew order, protests have raged with little police presence into the early Saturday morning hours, the Post reported. Pentagon puts military police on alert for Minneapolis deployment Update 1:51 a.m. EDT May 30: U.S. soldiers from Fort Bragg in North Carolina and Fort Drum in New York have been ordered to be ready to deploy to Minneapolis within four hours if called, The Associated Press reported. The Pentagon took the rare step of ordering the U.S. Army to place several active-duty military police units on the ready for deployment as the fourth night of widespread protests swept the nation. Minneapolis, where earlier this week 46-year-old George Floyd was killed while in police custody, has become the epicenter of the protests demanding justice in his death. Meanwhile, soldiers in Colorado’s Fort Carson and Kansas’ Fort Riley have been ordered to prepare for potential deployment within 24 hours, The AP reported. Georgia governor issues state of emergency following protests Update 1:33 a.m. EDT May 30: Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp issued a state of emergency early Saturday following hours of protests in the greater Atlanta area, activating the National Guard to “protect people & property in Atlanta.” The protests, demanding justice in the killing of George Floyd, began peacefully but escalated as police cars were damaged, buildings were vandalized and protesters threw objects, broke glass and spray-painted the front entrance to CNN’s Atlanta headquarters, The Washington Post reported. Earlier Friday night, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Bottoms chastised protesters saying they were “disgracing” the city and pleaded for peace, the Post reported. Bail for accused officer Derek Chauvin set at $500,000, report Update 1:08 a.m. EDT May 30: Bail for ex-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has been set at $500,000, according to documents obtained by CNN. The criminal complaint filed in the 4th Judicial District Court of Minnesota indicates there have been no conditions set for Chauvin’s release. Accused officer Derek Chauvin’s wife says she’s divorcing him Update 10:45 p.m. EDT May 29: A reporter and anchor for WCCO-TV said that the wife of ex-police officer Derek Chauvin has released a statement through an attorney saying she is devastated by George Floyd’s death. “This evening, I spoke with Kellie Chauvin and her family. She is devastated by Mr. Floyd’s death and her utmost sympathy lies with his family, with his loved ones and with everyone who is grieving this tragedy. She has filed for dissolution of her marriage to Derek Chauvin,” reads the statement obtained by WCCO-TV. Protesters overrun Brooklyn Police Precinct Update 9:55 p.m. EDT May 29: Protesters have reportedly overrun the 88th Precinct in Brooklyn. Other precincts in Brooklyn are under siege according to reports. Protesters try to breach CNN lobby Update 9:35 p.m. EDT May 29: Protesters in Atlanta threw rocks and smoke grenades into the CNN lobby in what is believed to be an attempt to breach the lobby. Derek Chauvin booking photo released Update 9:05 p.m. EDT May 29: The booking photo of ex-police officer Derek Chauvin has been released by Ramsey County jail. Lockdown at White House lifted Update 8:50 p.m. EDT May 29: The lockdown has been lifted at the White House. White House locked down amid protests near gates Update 8 p.m. EDT May 29: At least one protester was tackled by Secret Service following protests near the White House. The White House has been locked down and the secret service is not letting anyone off the grounds according to CNN. Protests take tense turn in Atlanta Update 7:45 p.m. EDT May 29: Activists spray-painted a large CNN logo outside the company’s headquarters in Atlanta, breaking a window and tagging doors while protesting the death of George Floyd. Hundreds of protesters were confronting police outside CNN’s downtown headquarters late Friday. One protester climbed on top of the CNN sign and waved a “Black Lives Matter” flag to cheers from the crowd. Shortly before 5:30 p.m., a scuffle happened between a protester and an Atlanta police officer right outside the CNN Center. Protesters pelted officers who came over with bottles, striking some of them. Other bottles thrown at authorities exploded behind the police line, but no officers appeared to get hit. Protesters chanted, “Quit your jobs.” The officers backed their line away from the group of protesters who were throwing objects at them. Police formed a barricade and they are keeping protesters at bay right now so they can’t go any further down the street. This comes after protesters peacefully marched from Centennial Olympic Park to the state Capitol, and then back. The tense moments came as it appeared protesters started leaving Centennial Olympic Park. Trump says he spoke with Floyd’s family members Update 5:55 p.m. EDT May 29: President Donald Trump says he talked to members of George Floyd’s family on Friday and “expressed my sorrow.” Trump spoke about his conversation with members of the Floyd family during a White House meeting with businesses executives. He says of the encounter with police captured on video that “it was just a horrible thing to witness and to watch. It certainly looked like there was no excuse for it.” Trump says the family grieved during the call and that “I could see very much that they loved their brother.” Trump was also asked about his tweet saying “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.” He says he had heard that phrase for a long time, but didn’t know where it originated. He says the phrase is “very accurate in the sense that, when you do have looting like you had last night, people often get shot and they die. And that’s not good and we don’t want that to happen.” Trump also spoke about the looters, saying they did a great disservice to their state, city and the country. He said “we can never let that happen again.” The president also says of the city and its mayor “I don’t think they were very well prepared. But we brought in the National Guard. They will be very prepared tonight.” NBA veteran Stephen Jackson speaks at George Floyd rally Update 5:55 p.m. EDT May 29: NBA veteran Stephen Jackson says he’ll use his platform and “everything I have to get a conviction” for the four Minneapolis police officers who were fired after George Floyd’s death. Jackson, like Floyd, is from Houston and they were friends. The handcuffed black man died after pleading for air as a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck. That officer, Derek Chauvin, was arrested Friday and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. The charges were announced shortly after Jackson spoke at a news conference organized by activists at Minneapolis City Hall. Actor Jamie Foxx and Minnesota Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns were among those in attendance. Jackson is 42. He played for eight NBA teams from 2000-2013 and won a championship in 2003 with the San Antonio Spurs. He and Floyd called each other “twin” because of their resemblance. Both were star high school athletes in the Houston area in the 1990s. Floyd had moved to Minneapolis two years ago for a fresh start. Minneapolis mayor imposes an 8 p.m. curfew Update 4:55 p.m. EDT May 29: Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey imposed a curfew throughout the city starting at 8 p.m. CDT. The proclamation will extend through the weekend. Chauvin kept knee pressed to Floyd’s neck for 3 minutes after he became unresponsive Update 3:55 p.m. EDT May 29: A Minneapolis police officer charged Friday with murder in the death of George Floyd kept his knee pressed to Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes in total Monday, according to a criminal complaint filed Friday. Prosecutors said that body camera footage showed Floyd appeared to stop moving three minutes before former Officer Derek Chauvin took his knee off Floyd’s neck. In video footage captured by passersby, Floyd can be heard pleading for air before going silent as onlookers demanded Chauvin get off the 46-year-old. Prosecutors said Floyd appeared to stop moving around 8:24 p.m. A minute later, officials said he appeared to stop breathing. Officials said another police officer asked whether Floyd should be moved onto his side, but no one moved him. Another officer checked for a pulse and said he couldn’t find one. Two minutes later, Chauvin removed his knee from Floyd’s neck, prosecutors said. Authorities said that preliminary findings from Floyd’s autopsy showed “no physical findings that support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation.” “Mr. Floyd had underlying health conditions including coronary artery disease and hypertensive heart disease,” according to prosecutors. “The combined effects of Mr. Floyd being restrained by the police, his underlying health conditions and any potential intoxicants in his system likely contributed to his death.” Minnesota governor says Chauvin’s arrest ‘good first step toward justice for George Floyd’ Update 3:40 p.m. EDT May 29: Echoing comments he made at an earlier news conference, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz called the arrest Friday of former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin “a good first step toward justice for George Floyd.” However, the governor said, “it doesn’t change the system problems and persistent inequities that led to his death or the pain our communities live with every day.” Walz said earlier Friday that he had requested the Hennepin County Attorney move quickly to investigate Floyd’s death and bring justice to his family. Floyd’s family: Officer’s arrest ‘welcome but overdue’ Update 3:30 p.m. EDT May 29: The family of George Floyd, the man who died Monday after video footage showed a police officer with his knee to Floyd’s neck for minutes as he struggled to breathe, called the officer’s arrest “welcome but overdue.” Family members and attorney Ben Crump, who is representing the Floyd family, said they want former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin to face first-degree murder charges. He was arrested Friday on charges of third-degree murder and manslaughter. “We call on authorities to revise the charges to reflect the true culpability of this officer,” the statement said. “While this is a right and necssary step, we need the City of Minneapolis -- and cities across the country -- to fix the policies and training deficiencies that permitted this unlawful killing -- and so many others -- to occur.” Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said this week that the technique used by Chauvin to subdue Floyd while detaining him for questioning in connection with a possible forgery in progress had not been approved by police and should have never been used. “Today, George Floyd’s family is having to explain to his children why their father was executed by police on video,” according to the statement. “It’s essential that the City closely examines and changes its policing policies and training procedures to correct for the lack of proper field supervision; the use of appropriate non-lethal restraint techniques; the ability to recognize medical signs associated with the restriction of airflow, and the legal duty to seek emergency medical care and stop a civil rights violation.” Trump defends tweet flagged by Twitter for ‘glorifying violence’ Update 3:05 p.m. EDT May 29: President Donald Trump on Friday defended a tweet he sent earlier in the day that was flagged by Twitter for “glorifying violence” arguing that his post was “spoken as a fact, not as a statement.” “Looting leads to shooting, and that’s why a man was shot and killed in Minneapolis on Wednesday night - or look at what just happened in Louisville with 7 people shot,” the president wrote. 'It was spoken as a fact, not as a statement. It’s very simple, nobody should have any problem with this other than the haters, and those looking to cause trouble on social media.' Trump did not address his tweets or the death of George Floyd during a news conference Friday afternoon at the White House. Early on Friday, Trump posted a message on social media calling protesters in Minneapolis “thugs” and warning that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.” According to NPR, the phrase “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” is a well-known phrase dating back to the civil rights era. Miami police Chief Walter Headley said the same thing in 1967 during hearings on crime in his jurisdiction, prompting outrage, NPR reported. “He had a long history of bigotry against the black community,” professor Clarence Lusane of Howard University told NPR. Minneapolis mayor: Former officer’s arrest an ‘essential first step’ Update 2:55 p.m. EDT May 29: In a statement obtained Friday by the Star Tribune, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said that the arrest of former police Officer Derek Chauvin is an “essential first step.' “For our black community who have, for centuries, been forced to endure injustice in a world simply unwilling to correct or acknowledge it: I know that whatever hope you feel today is tempered with skepticism and a righteous outrage,” he said. “We are a nation at a crossroad, and today’s decision from the County Attorney is an essential first step on a longer road toward justice and healing our city.” Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said Friday that his office continues to investigate possible charges against the other three officers involved in Floyd’s death. Justice Department investigating Floyd’s death for possible civil rights law violations Update 2:35 p.m. EDT May 29: U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr said Friday that the FBI and the Justice Department have launched an independent investigation into whether any federal civil rights laws were violated in the death of George Floyd. In a statement, Barr called footage of the encounter between Floyd and four Minneapolis police officers, including Derek Chauvin, “harrowing to watch and deeply disturbing.' “The Department of Justice, including the FBI, are conducting an independent investigation to determine whether any federal civil rights laws were violated,” Barr said. 'Both state and federal officers are working diligently and collaboratively to ensure that any available evidence relevant to these decisions is obtained as quickly as possible. ... I am confident justice will be served.” Hennepin County Attorney expects charges will be filed against all officers involved in Floyd’s death Update 2:20 p.m. EDT May 29: Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said Friday that he expects charges will be filed against the three other officers who were involved in George Floyd’s death following the arrest Friday afternoon of former Officer Derek Chauvin. “I anticipate charges but I’m not going to get into that,” he said at a news conference. He declined to discuss the evidence that led to Chauvin’s arrest one day after he said authorities needed more time to gather evidence. He said among the items authorities reviewed were the video shot by bystander Darnella Frazier which sparked widespread outrage on social media, Chauvin’s body camera footage and a preliminary report from the medical examiner. Freeman announced Friday that Chauvin was arrested on third-degree murder and manslaughter charges in Floyd’s death. He was taken into custody by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. Hennepin County Attorney to speak after arrest of former Minneapolis police officer Update 2:08 p.m. EDT May 29: The Hennepin County Attorney, Mike Freeman, said Friday that former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd. Colin Kaepernick launches fund to pay for legal defense of arrested protesters Update 2:05 p.m. EDT May 29: NFL free agency Colin Kaepernick on Friday announced the launch of a legal defense fund to help protesters arrested amid unrest in Minneapolis following the death of George Floyd. The legal defense initiative was created with Kaepernick’s Know Your Rights Camp, a campaign funded by the former San Francisco 49er aimed at empowering black and brown communities. Kaepernick played with the 49ers until 2016 and faced heavy criticism for his decision to kneel during the national anthem in protest of police brutality. Protesters gather outside Chauvin’s Florida home Update 1:50 p.m. EDT May 29: Protesters gathered Friday outside former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin’s home in Central Florida after rumors swirled that he would relocate to the area as protests over the death of George Floyd continue in Minneapolis, WFTV reported. Deputies with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement Friday that Chauvin was not at his home in Florida and that he had no plans to visit the area. Deputies told WFTV there had been no calls for service at the former police officer’s home before Thursday, when two calls came in but no reports were filed. Deputies said there several calls were made Friday morning. >> Read more on Taylor Swift criticizes president for ‘when the looting starts, the shooting starts’ tweet Update 1:25 p.m. EDT May 29: Pop superstar Taylor Swift took to Twitter on Friday to criticize President Donald Trump after he posted a message on social media calling protesters in Minneapolis “thugs” and warning that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.” “After stoking the fires of white supremacy and racism your entire presidency, you have the nerve to feign moral superiority before threatening violence?” Swift wrote. “We will vote you out in November.” Officer involved in Floyd’s death arrested Update 1:15 p.m. EDT May 29: John Harrington, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, said Friday that he’s received word that Officer Derek Chauvin has been taken into custody, according to multiple reports. The Star Tribune reported Chauvin was taken into custody by the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. The newspaper reported the other three officers involved in Floyd’s death had not been charged as of early Friday afternoon. Trump’s tweets encouraging violence against protesters ‘not helpful,’ Minn. governor says Update 12:40 p.m. EDT May 29: Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz on Friday criticized a tweet from President Donald Trump in which he called people protesting the death of George Floyd “thugs” and warned that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.” “It’s not helpful,” Walz said Friday at a news conference. “In the moment where we’re at, in a moment that is so volatile, anything we do to add fuel to that fire is really not helpful. ... There is a way to do this without inflaming (tensions).” Twitter flagged the president’s tweet for “glorifying violence,” prompting a series of tweets from Trump criticizing the social media site. A similar tweet posted on the official White House Twitter page was also flagged for the same reasons. Obama: ‘This shouldn’t be “normal” in 2020 America' Update 12:20 p.m. EDT May 29: Former President Barack Obama on Friday said everyone has the responsibility of working to ensure that a “new normal” is created “in which the legacy of bigotry and unequal treatment no longer infects our institutions or our hearts.” His comments came as Americans nationwide deal with the ongoing threat of the coronavius pandemic and four days after George Floyd. “It’s natural to wish for life ‘to just get back to normal’ as a pandemic and economic crisis upend everything around us,” he said. “But we have to remember that for millions of Americans, being treated differently on account of race is tragically, painfully, maddeningly ‘normal’ -- whether it’s while dealing with the health care system or interacting with the criminal justice system, or jogging down the street, or just watching birds in a park.” Obama said officials in Minnesota will be tasked with ensuring Floyd’s death is thoroughly investigated and that justice is carried out. “But it falls on all of us, regardless of our race or station -- including the majority of men and women in law enforcement who take pride in doing their tough job the right way, every day -- to work together to create a ‘new normal.’' Wisconsin attorney general calls for arrest of officers involved in Floyd’s death Update 12:10 p.m. EDT May 29: Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul called Friday for charges to be filed against the four officers involved in the death Monday of George Floyd. “What America witnessed happening to George Floyd in Minneapolis was not, in any true sense of the phrase, law enforcement. It was torture and murder, under color of law,” Kaul said in a statement. “Justice demands that those involved in this depraved crime be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.” Officials in Minnesota said at a news conference Friday that they expect justice for the officers involved in Floyd’s death will be “swift.” Minnesota officials expect justice for officers involved in Floyd’s death will be ‘swift’ Update 12 p.m. EDT May 29: Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz and state Attorney General Keith Ellison said Friday that they believe justice will be “swift” for the officers involved in the death Monday of George Floyd. “It is my expectation that justice for the officers involved in this will be swift. That it will come in a timely manner. That it will be fair,” Walz said Friday at a news conference. “That is what we’ve asked for.” Ellison said that, following Minnesota law, the charging decisions will come from the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office. “I believe that the message has been sent and received that the wheels of justice must move swiftly,” Ellison said. “It’s important that people have confidence that accountability is how we live in Minnesota.” Minnesota governor apologizes to CNN for arrest of journalists Update 11:50 a.m. EDT May 29: Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz apologized Friday for the arrest earlier in the day of a CNN crew which was broadcast live on air. “This should not have happened,” Walz said. “I take full responsibility.” Walz said officers were clearing streets on his order when they arrested CNN journalist Omar Jimenez and two other of the network’s crew. The governor stressed Friday that it is imperative that officials come up with a plan to allow journalists to continue their work safely. Walz said transparency, including allowing for reporters to cover the situation in Minneapolis, “is a key component of how we fix this.” The governor said he spoke to CNN President Jeff Zucker after Friday morning’s arrest and apologized. “I am a teacher by trade and I have spent my time as governor highlighting the need to be as transparent as possible and have the press here and I failed you,” Walz said. Minnesota governor: ‘Thank God a young person had a camera’ to capture Floyd’s death Update 11:45 a.m. EDT May 29: Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz on Friday said he was grateful that Darnella Frazier caught video of Officer Derek Chauvin holding his knee to George Floyd’s neck Monday before Floyd’s death. “Thank God a young person had a camera to video it,” Walz said. “Because there’s not a person who is listening today who wonders how many times that camera wasn’t there.” Minnesota governor holding news conference amid protests Update 11:35 a.m. EDT May 29: Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz is holding a news conference Friday after a third night of protests across Minneapolis and other cities in the wake of George Floyd’s death. Minneapolis City Council member: Floyd, Chauvin used to work together Update 11:15 a.m. EDT May 29: Minneapolis City Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins told MSNBC on Friday that George Floyd and the Minneapolis police officer seen kneeling on his neck for more than five minutes before his death Monday knew one another. Jenkins said Floyd and Officer Derek Chauvin worked together for 17 years as bouncers at El Nuevo Rodeo, a Latin club in Minneapolis. “Officer Chauvin, he knew George,” Jenkins said. “They were co-workers for a very long time.” Melania Trumps calls for focus on peace, prayers and healing Update 10:40 a.m. EDT May 29: First lady Melania Trump on Friday urged the nation to focus on “peace, prayers (and) healing” as protests erupted in Minneapolis and other cities due to the death of George Floyd. “Our country allows for peaceful protests, but there is no reason for violence,” the first lady wrote in a post Friday morning on Twitter. “I’ve seen our citizens unify (and) take care of one another through (COVID-19 and) we can’t stop now.” Protesters set fire to a Minneapolis police precinct station late Thursday in the third night of protests against Floyd’s killing. Video of his death Monday surfaced this week, showing a Minneapolis police officer holding his knee to Floyd for more than five minutes as he lay prone on the ground begging for air. Floyd’s death sparked backlash and prompted protests in several cities with more planned over the coming weekend. White House tweet flagged for ‘glorifying violence’ Update 10:05 a.m. EDT May 29: Officials with Twitter flagged a tweet from the official White House Twitter account on Friday for “glorifying violence.” The tweet included the exact same language as a tweet posted earlier Friday by President Donald Trump in which he called people protesting police brutality in Minneapolis following the death Monday of George Floyd “thugs.” He also threatened to send National Guard troops to the city to keep peace and warned that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.” That tweet was flagged a few hours after it was posted. After threat to shoot looters, Twitter slaps warning on Trump tweet Update 9:30 a.m. EDT May 29: The feud between Twitter and President Donald Trump escalated Friday after officials with the social media site flagged a tweet from the president for “glorifying violence” after he threatened to use force against rioters in Minneapolis. “These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd,” Trump wrote, referring to the black man who died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his head and neck for an extended period of time earlier this week. The president then spoke of sending in National Guard troops to restore order, warning that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.” That was evidently too much for Twitter, which placed a warning on the president’s tweet. Trump tore into Twitter early on Friday morning. “Twitter is doing nothing about all of the lies & propaganda being put out by China or the Radical Left Democrat Party,” the president tweeted soon after 7 a.m. “They have targeted Republicans, Conservatives & the President of the United States.” CNN disputes Minnesota State Patrol’s account of reporter’s arrest Update 8:50 a.m. EDT May 29: Officials with CNN disputed an account Friday from Minnesota State Patrol of the arrest of one of the news network’s journalists, Omar Jimenez. Jimenez, who is black and Latino, was arrested early Friday while reporting on protests in Minneapolis that were sparked by the death Monday of George Floyd. In a tweet posted Friday morning, Minnesota State Patrol said three members of a CNN crew were inadvertently arrested as authorities were clearing the streets after protests and riots over Floyd’s death. “The three were released once they were confirmed to be members of the media,” according to authorities. However, officials with CNN shared video of the arrest, which happened live on national television. CNN noted that another of its reporters, who is white, was not arrested Friday although he was near the area where Jimenez was arrested. “I was treated much differently than (CNN correspondent Omar Jimenez) was,' journalist Josh Campbell said, according to CNN. “I’m sitting here talking to the National Guard, talking to the police. They’re asking politely to move here and there. A couple times I’ve moved closer than they would like. They asked politely to move back. They didn’t pull out the handcuffs. Lot different here than what Omar experienced.” Minnesota attorney general says he expects charges against officers soon Update 8:30 a.m. EDT May 29: Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison told CNN on Friday morning that he anticipates charges will soon be filed against the four Minneapolis police officers involved in the death of George Floyd. “We are standing by and helping any way we can,” Ellison told the news network. “I anticipate there will be charges. I hope soon. But that is the prerogative of another prosecuting authority.” He told CNN that authorities were ensuring that their case was strong before announcing charges. “Everybody believes that this is a violation of Mr. Floyd. And I believe that everybody wants to see these charges filed as soon as they can be,' he said. 'But again, I do want to say we have seen cases that seem so clear go south.” Minneapolis police release CNN crew Update 7:49 a.m. EDT May 29: CNN correspondent Omar Jimenez and his crew have been released from police custody in Minneapolis, the network reported. Jimenez, along with producer Bill Kirkos and photojournalist Leonel Mendez, were arrested during a live broadcast shortly after 6 a.m. The crew was reporting on protests of George Floyd’s death that turned violent overnight. The team was released from the Hennepin County Public Safety facility in downtown Minneapolis moments ago, CNN reported. Minnesota governor apologizes for CNN team’s arrest while covering protests Update 7:38 a.m. EDT May 29: Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz spoke with CNN President Jeff Zucker Friday morning after the network’s team in Minneapolis was arrested while covering the protests of George Floyd’s death that turned violent overnight. Walz called the arrests “unacceptable,” said he “deeply apologizes” for what happened and is working to have the CNN team released immediately, the network reported. Minnesota police arrest CNN team Update 6:45 a.m. EDT May 29: Minneapolis CNN journalist Omar Jimenez has been taken into police custody during a live broadcast at the site of the Minneapolis protests, the network reported just before 6:30 a.m. Jimenez was arrested after identifying himself clearly to officers. The reporter’s crew, including a producer and camera operator, were also placed in handcuffs, CNN reported. The network responded by calling the arrests a 'violation of First Amendment rights. Minneapolis police, protesters clash in pre-dawn confrontations  Update 6:25 a.m. EDT May 29: Police in Minneapolis clashed with protesters early Friday morning, following the third consecutive night of demonstrations challenging police brutality in the wake of George Floyd’s death while in police custody earlier this week. According to CNN, the officers – some in riot gear – used pepper spray and batons to disperse crowds nearest the police station upon arrival. Police were also seen shoving at least one person, while some protesters threw projectiles at the officers and others ran, CNN reported. Minneapolis fires back at Trump for ‘weakness’ claims  Update 3:20 a.m. EDT May 29: Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey addressed U.S. President Donald Trump’s tweet from earlier in the evening which criticized the weakness of the city’s leadership as Thursday night protests turned violent. “Weakness is refusing to take responsibility for your own actions. Weakness is pointing your finger at somebody else, during a time of crisis. Donald Trump knows nothing about the strength of Minneapolis. We are strong as hell. Is this a difficult time period? Yes. But you better be damn sure that we’re going to get through this,” Frey said during a press conference. Trump threatens military intervention in Minneapolis  Update 1:32 a.m. EDT May 29: In a series of early-morning tweets, U.S. President Donald Trump criticized protesters in Minneapolis, calling them “THUGS” and promising Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz the weight of the military if needed. Minneapolis authorities urge caution among residents near riot scenes Update 1:05 a.m. EDT May 29: A police spokesman told NPR all personnel at the overrun third precinct are safe, but city leaders warned residents near the blaze to maintain distance, following unconfirmed reports of a possible explosion. “We’re hearing unconfirmed reports that gas lines to the Third Precinct have been cut and other explosive materials are in the building,” the city tweeted. “If you are near the building, for your safety, PLEASE RETREAT in the event the building explodes.” Original report: Protesters have overrun the Minneapolis Police Department Third Precinct, the third straight night of violent protests spreading beyond the city. Flames are visible around the precinct but it is unclear if it is on fire. Livestream video showed the protesters entering the building, where fire alarms blared and sprinklers ran as blazes were set. Police appeared to have left the building located in the neighborhood not far from where Floyd died Monday. A spokesman didn’t immediately respond to messages left by The Associated Press. Anger over the death of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man in police custody, has spread beyond Minneapolis with looting and fires set along a major St. Paul street. Earlier Thursday, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz called in the National Guard to try to stem the violence. The governor’s order did not say how many Guard members were mobilized or whether they would be in service Thursday night. After calling in the Guard, Walz urged widespread changes in the wake of Floyd’s death. It was the third consecutive night of violent protests following Floyd’s death on Monday. In footage recorded by a bystander, Floyd can be seen pleading that he can’t breathe as Officer Derek Chauvin, who is white, kneels on his neck. As minutes pass, Floyd slowly stops talking and moving. Dozens of businesses across the Twin Cities have boarded up windows and doors Thursday in an effort to prevent looting. Minneapolis shut down nearly its entire light-rail system and all bus service through Sunday out of safety concerns. Check back for more on this developing story. The Associated Press contributed to this story.
  • Officials with Costco Wholesale said its stores will offer samples to customers again soon. The product sampling has been a long-time draw for many shoppers. “We’re going to start doing some things in mid-June on a slow rollout basis in sampling,” Costco chief financial officer Richard Galanti said. “I can’t tell you anymore, but … needless to say, it’s not going to be where you go and just pick up an open sample with your fingers. But sampling – food and nonfood items – are popular.” Costco stopped offering samples in March because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Dine-in areas at most Costco locations will also resume serving food. “We’ve added some, but not all the items back as of now,” Galanti said. Among the many precautions Costco is taking amid coronavirus concerns is a requirement for staff and shoppers to wear masks in stores, a mandate that started May 4. Only children under the age of 2 and people who are unable to wear face coverings due to a medical condition are exempt from the mandate. “We instituted the mask requirement on May 4 because we felt it was the right thing to do,” Galanti said. “If we’re right, we’ve helped stop the spread of the coronavirus. If we’re wrong, it’s a small inconvenience.”
  • Protests over the death of George Floyd have been gaining national attention. The ones in Atlanta on Friday started off peaceful but later turned into violent demonstrations and looting of local businesses. Politicians, business owners and celebrities are speaking out to share their thoughts on Floyd’s death, the issues his killing have brought to the forefront and the protests that turned to chaos, specifically in Atlanta. Arthur Blank, owner of Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United, co-founder of Home Depot “A number of events over the last couple of weeks have reminded us again that the long, worthy quest for equal justice, civility and unity in America is far from over. People are scared and in pain. Their frustration is real, and it must be acknowledged and addressed. More must be done to address systemic racism. More must be done to address the underlying issues that have led to these incidents across the country. More must be done to bring people together through meaningful change. “The public discourse on these and other issues is too divisive, too political. These are not political issues, they are human issues that need serious, earnest attention from leaders and citizens alike who understand that diversity is our strength and fair treatment is everyone’s right. Open, honest dialogue is needed on a much greater scale. It is my hope that we take this terrible moment in our history to elevate that conversation toward productive action and lasting, positive change. Peaceful protests of the past have led to new ways forward. Lawlessness, vandalism and intentionally upending the peace with any form of violence has never been productive and is not the answer. We must not accept or condone violence in any way. And to be sure, Atlanta is better than what we saw in the actions of a few last night. “Together we will rise above this on the strength of what has always made Atlanta great – its people, its leaders of past and present and its unique culture that is welcoming to all. Our Family Foundation and the rest of our businesses here in Atlanta and elsewhere remain committed to being part of the solution.” Tyler Perry, Atlanta native and media mogul “Please, please stop this violence!! Looting is NOT THE ANSWER!!!!” “And listen to me, be careful where you are getting your information to JOIN protests!! There are people and other countries who are posting things pretending to be US, pretending to stand for peaceful protest, but they are trying to incite us into violence and chaos to try and do more harm!!” “Do not fall for this foolishness!!! Please stop the violence!” Killer Mike, rapper and Atlanta native “I’ve got a lot of love and respect for police officers.” “We don’t want to see Targets burning. We want to see the system that sets up for systemic racism burned to the ground.' “It is your duty not to burn your own house down for anger with an enemy ... We have to be better than this moment. We have to be better than burning down our own homes because if we lose Atlanta what else do we have?” “I want you to go home. I want you to talk to 10 of your friends. I want you guys to come up with real solutions. If you sit in your homes ... instead of burning your home to the ground, you will have time to properly plot, plan, strategize and organize and mobilize in effective ways.” “Two of the most effective ways is first taking your butt to the computer and making sure you fill out your census so that people know who you are and where you are. The next thing is making sure you exercise your political bully power and going to local elections and beating up the politicians you don’t like.” “It is time to ‘beat up’ prosecutors you don’t like at the voting booth. It is time to hold mayoral offices accountable, chiefs and deputy chiefs.' “CNN -- Ted [Turner] did a great thing. I love CNN, I love Cartoon Network. But I’d like to say to CNN right now: ‘Karma’s a mother. Stop feeding fear and anger every day. Stop making people feel so fearful. Give them hope.'” Keisha Lance Bottoms, Atlanta mayor 'You are disgracing the life of George Floyd and every other person who has been killed in this country. We are better than this ... We are better than this as a country. This is not the legacy of civil rights in America. This is chaos and we’re buying into it. This won’t change anything.” “What I see happening on the streets ... This is not a protest. This is not in the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr. This is chaos. A protest has purpose. When you burn down this city, you’re burning down our community.” “If you want change in America, go and register to vote. Show up at the polls on June 9. Do it in November. That is the change we need in this country.
  • Nearly 6 million people worldwide -- including more than 1.7 million in the United States – have been infected with the new coronavirus, and the number of deaths from the outbreak continues to rise. While efforts to contain the COVID-19 outbreak continue, states have begun to shift their focus toward reopening their economies. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is tracking cases in the U.S. here. Live updates for Saturday, May 30, continue below:  EU urges Trump to reconsider relationship with WHO Update 4:25 p.m. EDT May 30: The European Union on Saturday urged President Donald Trump to rethink his decision to terminate the U.S. relationship with the World Health Organization as spiking infection rates in India and elsewhere reinforced that the pandemic is far from contained. Trump on Friday charged that the WHO didn’t respond adequately to the pandemic and accused the U.N. agency of being under China’s “total control.” The U.S. is the largest source of financial support for the WHO, and its exit is expected to significantly weaken the organization. The head of the EU’s executive arm urged Trump to reconsider. “The WHO needs to continue being able to lead the international response to pandemics, current and future,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told Germany’s Funke media group that Trump’s decision was the “wrong signal at the wrong time.” US cities fear protests may fuel new wave of virus outbreaks Update 4:20 p.m. EDT May 30: The massive protests sweeping across U.S. cities following the police killing of a handcuffed black man, George Floyd, in Minnesota have elevated fears of a new surge in cases of the coronavirus. Thousands of unmasked protesters have sent shudders through the health community, which worries its calls for social distancing during the demonstrations are unlikely to be heard. Minnesota’s governor said Saturday that too many protesters weren't socially distancing or wearing masks after heeding the call earlier in the week. But many seemed undeterred. “It’s not OK that in the middle of a pandemic we have to be out here risking our lives,” Spence Ingram, a 25-year-old black woman with a preexisting condition, told the Associated Press on Friday after marching with other protesters to the state Capitol in Atlanta. “But I have to protest for my life and fight for my life all the time.” Health experts fear that silent carriers of the virus who have no symptoms could unknowingly infect others gathering in large crowds. Images from many demonstrations show most protesters have been wearing masks, but that doesn’t guarantee protection from the coronavirus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends cloth masks because they can make it more difficult for infected people to spread the virus, but they are not designed to protect the person wearing the mask from getting the virus. Supreme Court allows California virus restrictions on churches in 5-4 split Update 1:45 p.m. EDT May 30: A divided U.S. Supreme Court late Friday upheld coronavirus restrictions placed on church gatherings by the state of California, as Chief Justice John Roberts joined with the four more liberal justices in backing the power of states to enforce measures for public health. “Although California’s guidelines place restrictions on places of worship, those restrictions appear consistent with the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment,” the chief justice wrote in the late-night ruling. “The notion that it is ‘indisputably clear’ that the government’s limitations are unconstitutional seems quite improbable,” Roberts added in a three-page 5-4 opinion. The ruling came on a request from a California church to dispense with limits on church gatherings imposed by Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Golden State. The decision came just over a week after President Trump had very publicly pressured states to drop coronavirus restrictions on houses of worship. Cuomo signs bill for essential workers who have died due to COVID-19 Update 1:45 p.m. EDT May 30: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill Saturday granting death benefits to the families of police officers, public health workers and other front-line workers who have died of the coronavirus. “You gave your lives for us, we will be there for your families going forward,” Cuomo said as he signed the legislation at his daily briefing on the virus. The bill passed by state lawmakers this past week provides an accidental death benefit that is more substantial than the regular death benefit that public workers’ families receive. Dozens of police officers, public health workers, transit workers and paramedics have died of COVID-19 in the months since New York became the epicenter of the pandemic in the United States. Coronavirus cases in New York continue to fall Update 1:30 p.m. EDT May 30: New York City will begin phase one of its plan to reopen starting June 8, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. The city has seen a significant decline in the number of new cases of the novel coronavirus since a peak in the city in early April. The numbers of new hospitalizations and deaths each day are also decreasing. At least five counties in the state have entered phase two of reopening. “Overall, that has been tremendous, tremendous progress from where we were,” Cuomo said Saturday. So far, 373,108 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the state, according to the New York Times. The Times reported 29,535 people have died. These statistics, provided by the New York Times, show trends in the state over the last week: Peak -- April 4: 12,312 new cases; April 7: 1,055 deaths May 22: 1,678 new cases; 139 deaths May 23: 1,754 new cases; 98 deaths May 24: 1,601 new cases; 146 deaths May 25: 1,279 new cases; 92 deaths May 26: 1,044 new cases; 103 deaths May 27: 1,132 new cases; 98 deaths May 28: 1,758 new cases; 99 deaths US death toll passes 102,000 Update 8:27 a.m. EDT May 30: At least 102,836 people have died in the United States from coronavirus, according to the latest numbers compiled by Johns Hopkins University. There have been at least 1,747,087 cases recorded nationwide. On Saturday, Johns Hopkins reported 1,068 new cases and 27 deaths. The totals include cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and other U.S. territories. Global cases near 6M, death toll tops 365K Update 7:49 a.m. EDT May 30: The global death toll attributed to the novel coronavirus reached 365,368 early Saturday, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally. In the four months since the virus was first identified in Wuhan, China, it has infected at least 5,945,737 people worldwide. Meanwhile, 15 nations now have total infection counts higher than China’s 84,123. The 10 nations with the highest number of infections recorded to date are as follows: • The United States has reported 1,747,087 cases, resulting in 102,836 deaths. • Brazil has recorded 465,166 cases, resulting in 27,878 deaths. • Russia has confirmed 396,575 cases, resulting in 4,555 deaths. • The United Kingdom has reported 272,607 cases, resulting in 38,243 deaths. • Spain has confirmed 238,564 cases, resulting in 27,121 deaths. • Italy has reported 232,248 cases, resulting in 33,229 deaths. • France has confirmed 186,924 cases, resulting in 28,717 deaths. • Germany has reported 183,025 cases, resulting in 8,520 deaths. • India has recorded 174,301 cases, resulting in 4,981 deaths. • Turkey has recorded 162,120 cases, resulting in 4,489 deaths Washington’s stay-at-home order to end Sunday  Update 5:37 a.m. EDT May 30: Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said the state’s stay-at-home order will expire on Sunday as planned. “Under this approach, counties will have more flexibility to demonstrate that they have the capability to stay on top of the virus,” Inslee said in a Friday news conference. “This does not mean, obviously, that we’re returning to normal. It means that, three months to the day after we declared a state of emergency, we’re successfully moving forward.” Mexico’s coronavirus death toll doubles in 2 weeks; Brazil’s deaths overtake Spain’s  Update 5:21 a.m. EDT May 30: Mexico’s novel coronavirus-related death toll stands at 9,415, the second-highest count in Latin America, meaning it has nearly doubled in only two weeks and trails only Brazil in the region. According to a Johns Hopkins University tally, Mexico has confirmed a total of 84,627 cases, more than 3,200 of which were diagnosed Friday. Meanwhile, Brazil recorded an additional 1,124 virus-related deaths in the past 24 hours, bringing its cumulative count to 27,878 and pushing the country past Spain’s total fatalities of 27,121. The South American nation also confirmed 26,928 new cases in the same 24-hour period, bringing the nationwide infection count to 465,166. US military personnel in South Korea test positive for COVID-19 Update 5:02 a.m. EDT May 30: A pair of newly assigned U.S. Forces Korea service members have tested positive for COVID-19, USFK said in a statement. The soldiers, who are being treated in the designated COVID-19 isolation barracks at Camp Humphreys, arrived at Osan Air Base May 27 on a U.S. government-chartered flight, USFK said. The pair were placed in mandatory quarantine upon arrival and have since tested positive for the virus. SCOTUS rejects request from California church to block restrictions on in-person services Update 3:42 a.m. EDT May 30: The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 Friday to reject a request from a California church to block restrictions on the number of people allowed to attend religious services during the coronavirus pandemic.  “Although California’s guidelines place restrictions on places of worship, those restrictions appear consistent with the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote, explaining his break with fellow conservative justices in denying the request.  “Similar or more severe restrictions apply to comparable secular gatherings, including lectures, concerts, movie showings, spectator sports, and theatrical performances, where large groups of people gather in close proximity for extended periods of time,” Roberts wrote. US coronavirus cases surpass 1.7M, deaths near 103K Published 12:51 a.m. EDT May 30: The number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States continued to climb past 1.7 million early Saturday across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. According to a Johns Hopkins University tally, there are at least 1,747,085 confirmed U.S. cases of the virus, which have resulted in at least 102,836 deaths.  The hardest-hit states remain New York with 368,284 cases and 29,646 deaths and New Jersey with 158,844 cases and 11,409 deaths. Massachusetts, with 95,512 cases, has the third-highest number of deaths with 6,718, while Illinois has the third-highest number of cases with 117,455. Only 16 states and territories have confirmed fewer than 6,000 cases each. Six other states have now confirmed at least 50,000 novel coronavirus cases each, including: • California: 106,910 cases, resulting in 4,088 deaths • Pennsylvania: 74,984 cases, resulting in 5,464 deaths • Texas: 61,630 cases, resulting in 1,635 deaths • Michigan: 56,621 cases, resulting in 5,406 deaths • Florida: 54,497 cases, resulting in 2,413 deaths • Maryland: 50,988 cases, resulting in 2,466 deaths Meanwhile, Georgia, Virginia and Connecticut each has confirmed at least 41,000 cases; Louisiana, Ohio and Indiana each has confirmed at least 33,000 cases; North Carolina, Colorado, Minnesota, Tennessee and Washington each has confirmed at least 21,000 cases; Iowa and Arizona each has confirmed at least 18,000 cases; Wisconsin and Alabama each has confirmed at least 17,000 cases; Mississippi and Rhode Island each has confirmed at least 14,000 cases; Nebraska and Missouri each has confirmed at least 13,000 cases, followed by South Carolina with 11,131; Kansas, Kentucky, Utah and Delaware each has confirmed at least 9,000 cases; the District of Columbia and Nevada each has confirmed at least 8,000 cases, followed by New Mexico with 7,493; Arkansas and Oklahoma each has confirmed at least 6,000 cases. Click here to see CNN’s state-by-state breakdown.
  • Cleanup is underway at the College Football Hall of Fame Saturday morning. The popular Atlanta attraction was damaged and looted during violent protests in Atlanta on Friday night, Atlanta police confirmed in a statement. Kimberly Beaudin, CEO of the College Football Hall of Fame, told WSB-TV that no one got away with anything from inside the museum. “We inspected everything. None of the artifacts or treasures were damaged,' she told the news station. “The interior of the building is in tact.”  But there’s no question a lot of damage was done. Beaudin assessed the damage Saturday morning. Glass from the front doors could be seen scattered on the ground as well as tipped over merchandise displays in the gift shop. The College Football Hall of Fame is next to Centennial Olympic Park and a just a few blocks away from the CNN Center, where Friday’s protests later turned to riots. People smashed the front windows of the Hall of Fame’s gift shop with garbage cans and other objects to get inside, where they took items from the shop.  “All the damage appears to be contained to the front of the store. Obviously, the store was looted,' Beaudin said. “Some damage to the glass on the field, but primarily the store. It’s physical damage to property that we will fix.” The CEO said crews will work to secure the building and then start repairs to prepare the hall to reopen. The hall has been closed since March 16 and was in the process of enacting plans to reopen. “We will get it restored and get it open as soon as possible,' she said.  Beaudin added that she is heartbroken not only to see the damage at the hall but also to the city of Atlanta. “We completely support the right for peaceful protest. This, unfortunately, just turned into chaos and disorder so quickly,' she told WSB-TV.
  • A manned SpaceX rocket lifted off Saturday afternoon sending two astronauts into space for the first time from the U.S. in almost a decade. After arriving to the launchpad in a gullwing Tesla, Veteran astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken ascended the 260-foot Falcon 9 rocket and were catapulted into space at 3:22 p.m.Hurley and Behnken will fly 250 million miles to the International Space Station in the first launch of astronauts by a private company. This was the second launch attempt this week.Wednesday’s launch was halted at just under 17 minutes because of the threat of lightning. Check back for more on this developing story.