National News

Ovidiu Dugulan/iStockBy MORGAN WINSOR, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed more than 381,000 people worldwide.

Over 6.4 million people across the globe have been diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new respiratory virus, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. The actual numbers are believed to be much higher due to testing shortages, many unreported cases and suspicions that some governments are hiding the scope of their nations' outbreaks.

Since the first cases were detected in China in December, the United States has become the worst-affected country, with more than 1.8 million diagnosed cases and at least 106,684 deaths.

Here's how the news is developing today. All times Eastern.

6:50 p.m.: 400,000 Americans may die from coronavirus by next spring, expert warns

Up to 400,000 Americans may be dead from COVID-19 by next spring, before a potential vaccine is ready for mass distribution, a leading public health expert warned Wednesday.

"All of the best models suggest that another 100,000 will die over the next three to four months if we continue to have 1,000 deaths a day," Dr. Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, said during a forum on the government's coronavirus response. "It is entirely possible that by next spring, by the time we might get a vaccine, 300,000 to 400,000 Americans will have died from this disease."

Jha said the deaths are "wholly preventable." But it will take "smart policy and accountability from the federal government."

"As the nation opens up, and as we face turmoil with people in the streets, the bottom line is that we are not performing enough tests to keep people safe," Jha said, adding that some estimates suggest that 80% of COVID-19 cases are being missed.

The U.S. death toll currently stands at 107,000.

5:50 p.m.: Maryland can reopen nail salons, retail, offices Friday

Maryland will enter the next stage of its phased reopening on Friday at 5 p.m., allowing for more nonessential businesses and offices to reopen, Gov. Larry Hogan announced Wednesday.

The businesses included are manufacturing, construction, retail, offices and car dealerships. Nail salons, massage therapists, tanning salons and tattoo parlors can also reopen at 50% capacity.

Safety guidelines include wearing masks, conducting health screenings and teleworking if possible.

Previously, barbershops, hair salons, outdoor dining, outdoor youth sports and day camps, outdoor pools and drive-in movie theaters were able to reopen.

Other outdoor amusements and gyms remain closed.

Maryland's total COVID-19 hospitalizations are at the lowest point in 50 days, Hogan said. There are 54,982 confirmed cases, up 807 from the day before, and 2,519 deaths, according to the state health department.

4:40 p.m.: Anti-malaria drug touted by President Trump did not prevent COVID-19 infections, study finds

The first carefully controlled trial of hydroxychloroquine -- the anti-malaria drug President Donald Trump took as a prophylactic against COVID-19 -- did not show any benefit in preventing the virus, a new study found.

Researchers at the University of Minnesota and McGill University, along with other universities, studied 821 patients in the U.S. and Canada who had been exposed to COVID-19. After the participants took HCQ or a placebo within four days of exposure, researchers noted if they developed COVID-19 themselves. Due to diagnostic testing shortages in the U.S., patients were observed for self-reported symptoms, rather than confirmed tests, the study noted.

In analyzing the prevention of COVID-19 using HCQ, the researchers found no benefit in the drug, the study found. It's important to note that this study only tested HCQ alone and not a combination of HCQ with zinc and vitamin D, which the president promoted and took himself.

In a memo on Trump's latest physical results, the president's physician, Dr. Sean Conley, said Wednesday that the president had experienced no side effects from taking HCQ. His heart was tested with an EKG, since a possible side effect of HCQ usage is an irregular heartbeat. The memo noted the president took a two-week course of the drug, along with zinc and vitamin D, in May following the diagnosis of COVID-19 in two West Wing staffers.

2:50 p.m.: 100,000-plus COVID-19 cases reported for each of the past five days: WHO

There have been more than 100,000 COVID-19 cases reported for each of the past five days, the World Health Organization said Wednesday.

The Americas continue to account for the most cases, WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a daily COVID-19 press briefing in Geneva.

Central and South America are experiencing "accelerating" COVID-19 epidemics, the WHO said, particularly in Haiti. There is also intense community transmission in Brazil, Peru and Nicaragua.

Brazil has the second-highest number of confirmed cases in the world, with more than 555,000, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University.

Meanwhile, the number of cases in Europe continues to decline, the WHO reported.

"Yesterday saw the fewest cases reported in Europe since the 22nd of March," Tedros said.

12:30 p.m.: New York state sees lowest daily hospitalizations

The number of new COVID-19 hospitalizations in New York state is at it lowest level yet, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday, while reminding residents to "stay smart."

New hospitalizations tallied 135 -- down from a mid-April peak of 3,181. There were 49 new deaths -- 37 in hospitals, 12 in nursing homes.

But the governor warned that the virus is still a threat, especially as thousands protest the death of George Floyd in the streets.

"If you're going to protest, protest intelligently," Cuomo said. "Remember the Covid virus is still out there."

10:30 a.m.: Over 600 nurses worldwide have died from COVID-19, group says

More than 230,000 health workers around the world have contracted the novel coronavirus since the start of the global pandemic, while over 600 nurses have died from it, according to a new analysis by the International Council of Nurses.

The figures show that an average of 7% of all COVID-19 cases worldwide are among health care workers.

The International Council of Nurses, which represents more than 130 national nursing associations with 20 million members worldwide, said the analysis is based on data from its associations, official figures and media reports from a limited number of countries," since "there is no systemic and standardized record" of the global number of nurses and health care workers who have tested positive for COVID-19 or succumbed to the disease.

The group is calling on governments to record the number of COVID-19 infections and deaths among health care staff as well as take whatever measures are needed to protect them.

‘Without this data we do not know the true cost of COVID-19, and that will make us less able to tackle other pandemics in the future," ICN CEO Howard Catton said in a statement Wednesday.

8:49 a.m.: Data shows black people in London more likely to be fined or arrested over lockdown breaches

Black people in London were more likely than their white counterparts to be fined or arrested for breaching coronavirus lockdown rules, according to police statistics released Wednesday.

While enforcing the new restrictions imposed to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, London's Metropolitan Police Service issued 973 fines between March 27 and May 14. The figures show that white people, who make up 59% of the U.K. capital's population, received 444 fines, or 45.6%. Black people, who make up 12% of the population, received 253 fines, or 26%. Asian people, who make up 18% of the population, received 220 fines, or 22.6%, according to the report.

During the same time period, police only arrested 36 people for breaking coronavirus restrictions where no other criminality was a factor. However, police made 711 additional arrests where other criminality was the primary reason and, as a result of that criminality, the individuals were also in breach of the lockdown rules. The figures show that white people accounted for 38% of those arrests while black people accounted for 31%.

In total, more white people were fined or arrested than other individual ethnic groups. However, when compared with the composition of the resident population, higher proportions of black and minority ethnic groups were issued fines or arrested across London as a whole.

"The reasons for this are likely to be complex and reflect a range of factors," the Metropolitan Police Service said in a statement Wednesday, alongside the release of the report. "This includes interactions between the areas subject to significant proactive policing activity targeting crime hot-spots and both the variation in the age-profile and geographical distribution of ethnic groups in London."

The police force, which is Britain's largest, noted its officers "have reported that in most interactions once they have explained that an individual or group were in breach they have followed police advice without the need for the use of our enforcement powers."

"Our aim has been to protect London, and not to unnecessarily criminalize where we can avoid it," Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Simmons said in a statement Wednesday. "We have seen, overall, good compliance when we have intervened, meaning in most cases the need for issuing a Fixed Penalty Notice or arrest has been unnecessary. I hope Londoners will be reassured as a result of the low volume of COVID-19 related enforcement that we have been using the new powers only when we have absolutely needed to."

7:22 a.m.: Oklahoma State linebacker tests positive after attending protest

Oklahoma State University linebacker Amen Ogbongbemiga said he has tested positive for COVID-19 after attending a protest in Tulsa.

"After attending a protest in Tulsa AND being well protective of myself, I have tested positive for COVID-19," Ogbongbemiga, who will be a senior this fall, wrote on Twitter Tuesday night. "Please, if you are going to protest, take care of yourself and stay safe."

Mass protests have taken place in every U.S. state following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died on May 25 in Minneapolis shortly after a white police officer was filmed kneeling on his neck for nearly nine minutes as three other officers stood by.

The Minneapolis Police Department has since fired all four officers, and the one seen pinning Floyd down, Derek Chauvin, has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. However, protesters are calling for the three other officers to be charged and are decrying the overall treatment of black Americans by police.

The number of people who have taken to the streets in the days since Floyd's death has been in the hundreds of thousands. Although many protesters have worn face masks and some have distributed hand sanitizer, they have been gathering in close proximity, forgoing social distancing guidelines that help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

In an interview published Monday on Politico, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams warned of new clusters of cases of the highly contagious disease as a result of the nationwide protests.

"Based on the way the disease spreads," Adams said, "there is every reason to expect that we will see new clusters and potentially new outbreaks moving forward."

6:16 a.m.: Russia reports under 9,000 new cases

Russia's coronavirus headquarters said Wednesday it had registered 8,536 new cases of COVID-19 and 178 deaths in the past 24 hours.

The country's tally now stands at 432,277 diagnosed cases with 5,215 deaths. Moscow, the capital, is the hardest-hit city in the country, accounting for about half of all infections.

The latest daily caseload is down from a peak of 11,656 new infections reported on May 11, during which Russia registered over 10,000 new cases per day over a 12-day period. Since then, the daily number of new infections has hovered around 9,000.

Russia has third-highest number of cases in the world, behind Brazil and the United States, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

5:23 a.m.: UN reports first coronavirus death of Rohingya refugee

A Rohingya refugee who contracted the novel coronavirus in the world's largest refugee camp has died, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

It's the first known coronavirus-related death of a Rohingya refugee.

The UNHCR said the refugee, who was not named, tested positive for COVID-19 in one of the densely-packed camps near Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. The sprawling camps and surrounding makeshift settlements are home to nearly one million Rohingya refugees who fled ethnic violence and persecution in neighboring Myanmar, where they are a stateless Muslim minority group.

The first known COVID-19 cases in the camps were confirmed last month. One was a Rohingya refugee and the other was a Bangladeshi citizen.

Bangladesh currently has more than 52,000 diagnosed cases of the disease with at least 746 deaths, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

3:45 a.m.: US should have 100 million doses of vaccine by end of year, Fauci says

The United States should have 100 million doses of one potential vaccine for COVID-19 by the end of the year, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top medical expert on the coronavirus pandemic.

"We're going to start manufacturing doses of the vaccines way before we even know that the vaccine works, so that by the end of the year the prediction of the statistical analysis and the projection of cases indicate that we may know whether its effective, efficacious or not by maybe November, December, which means that by that time we hopefully would have close to a 100 million doses," Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a key member of the White House coronavirus task force, said Tuesday during a live video interview with the Journal of the American Medical Association.

"And by the beginning of 2021, we hope to have a couple of hundred million doses," he added. "So it isn't as if we're going to make the vaccine show its effective and then have to wait a year to rev up to millions and millions of doses. Thats going to be done as we're testing the vaccine."

A number of clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccine candidates are well underway around the world.

The third and final phase of trials testing an experimental vaccine developed by Massachusetts-based biotech firm Moderna will begin in July. A few other vaccine candidates, including one developed by U.K.-based pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, are also showing promise, according to Fauci.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty ImagesBy JON HAWORTH and ELLA TORRES, ABC News

(NEW YORK) --  The death of George Floyd, a black man who died on Memorial Day after he was pinned down by a white Minnesota police officer, has sparked outrage and protests in Minneapolis and across the United States.

Second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter charges have been filed against Derek Chauvin, the officer who prosecutors say held his knee on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes. Three other officers have also been charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting manslaughter.

Chauvin and the other three officers at the scene, Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J Alexander Kueng, have been fired. The Department of Justice is investigating.

This story is being updated throughout the day Wednesday. Please check back for updates. All times Eastern:

6:30 p.m.: Park Police officers put on admin duty following attack on Australian reporters

The U.S. Park Police department tweeted out a statement concerning an incident where officers were seen hitting and harassing members of the Australian press.

The incident took place Monday night when Attorney General William Barr ordered Lafayette Park cleared out of peaceful protesters prior to President Donald Trump's photo op at St. John's Church. Channel 7 News reporter Amelia Brace was pushed out of the way, while her cameraman was punched by an officer and hit with his shield and nightstick.

"As is consistent with our established practices and procedures, two U.S. Park Police officers have been assigned to administrative duties, while an investigation takes place," U.S. Park Police acting Chief Gregory T. Monahan said in a statement.

6:13 p.m.: DC mayor heckled by protesters after she doesn't take knee

Washington, D.C., Muriel Bowser made an appearance at the protests outside of the White House.

The mayor did not take a knee or chant with the crowd and they responded with cursing and shouts. Bowser stressed that she wants people to continue to peacefully protest.

"We want people to peacefully protest. Nobody wants anybody who is bent on destruction," she told ABC News. "People have grievances that must be heard."

Asked to evaluate the president's response so far, Bowser said, "I think to insinuate, or actually bring the United States military into an American city, is unconscionable and may be illegal."

It was a hot, muggy day in Washington with temperatures hitting a high in the 90s. The crowd was large, but smaller than it had been yesterday.

5:20 p.m.: St. John's bishop says Trump should be replaced

Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde, of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, continued to express her frustration with President Donald Trump's photo op outside the damaged St. John's Episcopal Church Monday evening.

Speaking outside the church, Budde told ABC News she is done trying to talk to the president.

"We need to replace President Trump. We need leadership that will lead us in ways that this country deserves," she told ABC News.

Budde said the press should be focusing on the message of the protesters around the country.

"It is a message of a call for justice -- for swift justice -- for George Floyd," she said, "for systemic justice for all brown and black people who have been under the knee of this country in ways that we have witnessed time and again."

3:26 p.m.: 3 other officers charged

Three other former Minnesota police officers have been charged in the death of George Floyd, court records show.

Thomas Lane, 37, Tou Thao, 34, and J Alexander Kueng, 26, were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting manslaughter, according to the court records.

The maximum punishment for each is no more than 10 years of prison.

Lane and Kueng were the first two officers at the scene at 8:08 p.m., according to a criminal complaint. A 911 call had come in about a man allegedly using a counterfeit $20 bill to buy merchandise at Cup Foods, the complaint read.

Floyd was in the driver's seat of a car by the time Lane and Kueng arrived, and when the officers approached the vehicle, Lane at one point pulled his gun, the complaint read. Lane put his gun back in its holster after Floyd put his hands on the steering wheel.

Floyd was then pulled out of the car, handcuffed, and sat on a sidewalk, according to the complaint.

Officers then tried to put Floyd in a squad car after informing him he was under arrest, but he stiffened up and fell to the ground, according to the complaint. Floyd told the officers he was not resisting, but did not want to get in the back seat and was claustrophobic.

Chauvin and Thao then arrived at the scene in a separate car.

They all tried to force Floyd into the backseat, during which time Floyd said he could not breathe, according to the complaint.

Chauvin eventually pulled Floyd out of the passenger side of the squad car at 8:19 p.m. and Floyd fell to the ground face down, still handcuffed, according to the complaint.

"Officer Kueng held Mr. Floyd's back and Officer Lane held his legs. Officer Chauvin placed his left knee in the area of Mr. Floyd's head and neck. Mr. Floyd said, 'I can't breathe' multiple times and repeatedly said, 'Mama' and 'please,' as well. At one point, Mr. Floyd said 'I'm about to die.' Officer Chauvin and the other two officers stayed in their positions," the complaint reads.

Floyd's movements and sounds stopped at 8:24 p.m.

At 8:25 p.m., body camera video appears to show Floyd ceasing to breathe or speak. Lane asks, "want to roll him on his side" and Kueng checks Floyd's right wrist for a pulse, but says he cannot find one.

"None of the officers moved from their positions," the complaint reads.

Two minutes after that, Chauvin removed his knee from Floyd's neck and an ambulance arrives. Floyd was pronounced death at the Hennepin County Medical Center.

Benjamin Crump, the attorney for Floyd's family, called the charges a "bittersweet" moment for the family.

"This is a significant step forward on the road to justice, and we are gratified that this important action was brought before George Floyd’s body was laid to rest," Crump said in a statement. "That is a source of peace for George’s family in this painful time."

3:04 p.m.: Charges increased for Chauvin to 2nd-degree murder

The charges against former Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin have been increased to second-degree murder, court records show.

Chauvin, who was the officer seen on video with his knee on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes, was charged last week with third-degree murder and manslaughter.

All three charges are felonies.

2:50 p.m.: Curfews extended in Minnesota, LA county

The state of Minnesota will be under a 10 p.m. curfew again on Wednesday, Gov. Tim Walz announced.

Walz said residents "need more than ever to lean on their neighbors, show up for their communities, and add their voice to this urgent conversation on addressing our systemic problems. Thank you for doing those things peacefully – we again ask you to plan to stay inside beginning at 10."

Los Angeles County will also remain under a curfew. It begins on Wednesday night at 9 p.m. and ends at 5 a.m. The start time is later than previous nights.

Residents are asked to stay in their homes during the curfew.

"The countywide curfew does not apply to the following: peace officers; firefighters; National Guard or other military personnel deployed to the area; emergency medical services personnel; individuals traveling to and from work; individuals working on a public work of improvement construction project; credentialed media representatives involved in news gathering; people experiencing homelessness and without access to a viable shelter; and individuals seeking medical treatment," according to a statement from the county.

1:13 p.m.: Floyd family attorney expects all officers to be arrested

Benjamin Crump, the attorney representing George Floyd's family, said he is confident that the Minnesota attorney general is "working feverishly to do the right thing."

"We expect all the police officers to be arrested before we have the memorial here in Minneapolis tomorrow," Crump said at a press conference at the scene of Floyd's death.

He said the other officers are "just as guilty for the death of George Floyd as Officer [Derek] Chauvin." Chauvin has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. The other three officers involved in the incident have not been arrested or charged.

Crump urged the public to "take a breath."

"For peace, let's take a breath. For justice, let's take a breath. to heal our country and most importantly for George Floyd," Crump said.

11:53 a.m.: About 30,000 National Guard members activated for protests

There are 74,000 National Guard men and women activated for domestic operations across the country, according to a statement from the National Guard.

About 30,000 are supporting law enforcement amid protests and nearly 40,000 are supporting COVID-19 response efforts, the National Guard said.

The number of National Guard members activated now surpassed the 51,000 Guard personnel that was activated to support Hurricane Katrina response efforts.


Your Lincoln Memorial this evening.

— Martha Raddatz (@MarthaRaddatz) June 3, 2020


"Governors in 31 states and the District of Columbia have activated 30,000 National Guard members to assist state and local law enforcement in support of civil unrest operations," according to a statement from the National Guard. "The situation remains fluid and the numbers may change rapidly as governors assess their needs."

Gen. Joseph Lengyel, chief of the National Guard Bureau, said the National Guard "is here to help, and we will stay as long as we are needed."

11:38 p.m.: NYC curfew to remain

New York City will remain under a curfew from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. through June 7, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced. The mayor said he hopes to lift the curfew in time for the city's phase one of reopening.

Restrictions on transportation will remain in place throughout the week.

De Blasio said that the protests throughout the city last night were calmer than before.

The mayor said that the public needed to turn their attention back to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

"As important as the issues are being addressed [in the protests], the single most important thing is the battle against the coronavirus," de Blasio said.

He encouraged people to stay home to the maximum extent possible, practice social distancing consistently and wear face coverings at all times.

9:36 a.m.: UK police stand with those 'appalled' by Floyd's death

Chief constables from forces across the United Kingdom, the chair of the National Police Chiefs' Council, the chief executive of the College of Policing and the president of the Police Superintendents' Association have issued a joint statement saying they stand with those "appalled and horrified" at George Floyd's death.

"We are also appalled to see the violence and damage that has happened in so many US cities since then," according to the statement.

The police said justice and accountability should follow.

"In the UK we have a long established tradition of policing by consent, working in communities to prevent crime and solve problems. Officers are trained to use force proportionately, lawfully and only when absolutely necessary. We strive to continuously learn and improve. We will tackle bias, racism or discrimination wherever we find it," the statement said.

The law enforcement officials acknowledged that there is more to do to make relationships between police and the public better.

"Every day, up and down the country, officers and staff are working to strengthen those relationships and address concerns. Only by working closely with our communities do we build trust and help keep people safe," the statement read.

Around when that statement was released, police officials also publicized statistics that showed black people in London were more likely than their white counterparts to be fined or arrested for breaching coronavirus lockdown rules.

8:56 a.m.: Peaceful protests in Massachusetts town end with clashes

Brockton, Massachusetts, Mayor Robert Sullivan addressed protests that began peaceful but ended with confrontations between officers and civilians.

Sullivan said one state trooper was injured by a projectile during the protests.

Peaceful protests dominated the day, but around 8:30 p.m. a person from the crowd set off fireworks and others threw water bottles and rocks at police, according to ABC Boston affiliate WCVB-TV. Police responded with tear gas canisters to disperse the group.

Some arrests were made, according to Sullivan. He said there was damage reported elsewhere in the town, including a Dunkin' Donuts that was set on fire and vandalized.

Even as tensions rose in the evening, there was still peace. At one point, four people kneeled with hands up in front of a line of officers.

One man who kneeled told WCVB he "had to stand up for what he believes in," but didn't want violence.

"We come in peace," the man who only identified himself as a Brockton resident told the station. "We don't want war. We go home; they go home, and everyone is all peaceful. That is all we want."

5:50 a.m.: NYPD arrest 280 people, looting and vandalism on the decline

The New York Police Department made about 280 arrests during Tuesday night/Wednesday morning protests, a lower tally than previous nights, as the city came under an 8 p.m. curfew and stopped for-hire vehicles, CitiBikes and rental scooters that vandals had used to cause trouble.

There were fewer officers injured as well with only two suffering minor injuries.

There was less vandalism than there has been during previous nights as police sealed off parts of Manhattan even before the curfew took effect.

A standoff on the Manhattan Bridge ended without incident when 5,000 demonstrators returned to Brooklyn after they had been prevented from entering Manhattan.

3:04 a.m.: More than 9,000 people arrested across the country

More than 9,000 people have been arrested in protests across the country since George Floyd's death, according to reports.

The events leading up to Floyd's death were filmed, went viral and has been the catalyst for protests nationwide.

Police were called at around 8 p.m. on May 25 by an employee of the Cup Foods convenience store alleging that a customer used a counterfeit bill to pay for cigarettes and that the person appeared drunk, according to the 911 log released by the Minneapolis Police Department.

The employee went to the car outside the store where the customer was sitting and asked him to return the cigarettes, but was denied, according to the 911 call transcript.

The employee described the customer as a 6-foot-6 black man, which was Floyd's height, and repeated to the 911 operator that he appeared drunk.

Around eight minutes later, Minneapolis police officers Thomas Lane and J.A. Kueng arrived at the shop and approached Floyd and two others in the car, according to the criminal complaint. A few minutes after that, officers Derek Chauvin and Tou Thoa arrived to help arrest Floyd, which led to Chauvin placing his knee on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes, the criminal complaint said.

All four officers were fired, but as of Tuesday afternoon, Chauvin is the only one to have been arrested. He was charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Minnesota's Department of Human Rights filed civil rights charges against the Minneapolis Police Department Tuesday.

1:50 a.m.: 200 arrested in Houston; Police stress that majority of protesters were peaceful

The Houston Police Department announced that they made more than 200 arrests in downtown Houston yesterday and last night involving people engaged in criminal conduct, including throwing rocks and bottles at officers, and people who refused to clear the streets when they were ordered to do so.

"This is an extremely low number of arrests considering the thousands of people in our community who marched and demonstrated peacefully today," the HPD said in a tweet. "We're not aware of any significant property damage or injuries. We will have updated arrest numbers/info later this morning."

1:09 a.m.: Prince George's County police suspends three officers for use of force

After seeing cellphone footage of two officers using excessive force while detaining a suspect at a Langley Park gas station in Maryland, Chief Hank Stawinski of the Prince George's County Police Department and the department’s executive command staff made the decision to immediately suspend the two involved officers and their supervisor while the incident is investigated.

In the video, while attempting to handcuff the suspect, one of the officers can be seen kicking the suspect twice.

“I am sorry and I am angry. I am sharing the video in the interest of transparency. During my tenure as Chief of Police, four officers have been criminally prosecuted for assault. This will be thoroughly investigated and in keeping with past practice, the findings will be referred to the Office of the State’s Attorney,” said Chief Hank Stawinski.

The preliminary investigation revealed the officer who used force observed an assault and attempted to detain the involved suspects. After a foot chase that ended at the gas station, he was able to handcuff one suspect. He is then seen on the video taking the second suspect to the ground.

When a backup officer arrived, that second officer assisted the first officer in the apprehension. During that attempt to handcuff the suspect, the first officer kicked the suspect. The two suspects were ultimately released when the assault victim could not be located.

12:31 a.m.: DC National Guard has directed an investigation into use of medical helicopter to target, disperse DC protesters

The Washington, D.C. National Guard has announced that they are directing an investigation into the actions of their rotary aviation assets on June 1 after it was reported that their medical helicopters were used to target protesters.

According to The Washington Post, numerous videos were posted on social media showing a Lakota medevac helicopter with Red Cross markings hovering very low over demonstrators, possibly in an effort to disperse the crowds.

The use of a medical helicopter in a law enforcement capacity may violate military law and regulations.

"Our priority is the safety of our Guardsmen who support civil authorities," the DCNG said in a tweet. "We are dedicated to ensuring the safety of citizens and their right to protest."

12:04 a.m.: Amid protests over racial injustice, Ferguson, the site of the shooting of Michael Brown, elects first African American mayor

The city of Ferguson, the site of 2014 unrest and protests over racial justice after Michael Brown, an 18-year old black man, was killed by a white police officer, elected its first African American mayor Tuesday, Ella Jones.

Jones, a councilwoman in the predominantly black city, is also the first woman to hold the position, according to the St. Louis Dispatch. She will succeed James Knowles III, a term-limited white, Republican mayor who defeated Jones in 2017.

This year, Jones defeated another councilwoman, Heather Robinett, by six points, according to unofficial results from county election officials.

10:39 p.m.: Trump objects to GOP criticism of church photo op

President Donald Trump lashed out at fellow Republicans who have criticized his decision to clear protesters out of Lafayette Park Monday evening prior to a photo op in front of St. John's Episcopal Church.

He called out Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, James Lankford of Oklahoma and Ben Sasse of Nebraska, who were all critical of the violent removal of peaceful protesters with flashbangs and smoke canisters.

"You got it wrong! If the protesters were so peaceful, why did they light the Church on fire the night before?" he tweeted, though it was a different group of protesters and Monday's group had not been violent. "People liked my walk to this historic place of worship! Sen. Susan Collins, Sen. James Lankford, Sen. Ben Sasse."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Jennifer Kovalevich/iStockBy ALEXANDER MALLIN, ABC NEWS

(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump's repeated threats to formally designate antifa as a terrorist group have generated new questions about the nature of the movement and how, or even whether, officials could clearly define members of what has been described by experts as more of an ideology than an organization.

"It's not one specific organization with a headquarters and a president and a chain of command," said Mark Bray, a history professor at Rutgers University and author of "The Anti-Fascist Handbook." "It's a kind of politics. In a sense, there are plenty of antifa groups, but antifa itself is not a group."

That description is largely in line with how federal law enforcement has interpreted the antifa movement, leading up to this week's protests, which in certain instances have devolved into violence, looting and vandalism. Experts on antifa, which is shorthand for "anti-fascism," say the movement originates with groups that opposed World War II-era dictators like Italy's Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler.

While Attorney General William Barr in a statement Sunday denounced "violence instigated and carried out by antifa and other similar groups," the Justice Department as of Wednesday has not made public direct evidence showing widespread involvement by avowed antifa supporters in instigating the violent scenes that have unfolded throughout the U.S.

In the several federal cases brought thus far against those involved in riots or arsons, antifa has not yet been cited as among the affiliations or inspirations of the individuals charged.

In an appearance before the Senate last year, FBI Director Christopher Wray was pressed as to why federal agents haven't sought to mount an organized crime investigation of antifa related to its members' attacks at rallies and other alleged criminal acts.

"For us, antifa we view as more of an ideology than an organization," Wray said. "We have quite a number though, I should tell you, of properly predicated investigations of what we categorize as ‘anarchist extremists,' people who are trying to commit violent, criminal activity that violates federal law, and some of those people do subscribe to what we would describe as -- to what we would refer to as kind of an antifa-like ideology."

Though the FBI has said it is seeking information on "violent instigators who are exploiting legitimate, peaceful protests and engaging in violations of federal law," it has not issued a public statement since the start of the national unrest singling out antifa.

Antifa movements in the U.S. can be traced back as early as the 1970s, according to historians, but Bray writes in his book that the Anti-Racist Action (ARA) groups in the late 1980s and 1990s -- with their actions to directly confront racists, neo-Nazis and white supremacists and stymie their recruitment efforts -- were the primary precursors for antifa in its current iteration.

While antifa's political leanings are often described as "far-left," experts say members' radical views vary and can intersect with communism, socialism and anarchism.

Antifa has attracted more public attention in recent years both in the U.S. and abroad for its militant followers' provocations and, in some cases, violent attacks at political rallies and protests.

"Essentially there's this belief that the only way to prevent fascism from rising and taking charge is to combat those who support fascism, physically and often in the street," said Oren Segal, the vice president of the Center on Extremism at the Anti-Defamation League. "There's a lot of people who don't like Nazis and fascists -- most people I would argue. What makes [antifa] different is that there are some guiding principles, if you will, and that's the concept of, you know, a physical confrontation in order to combat a fascist."

A 2018 Congressional Research Service report outlined four "obligations" that antifa groups typically encourage of their followers, including, "(1) track the activity of fascist groups, (2) oppose their public organizing, (3) support antifascist allies attacked by fascists or arrested by police, and (4) not cooperate with law enforcement."

"Antifa followers tend not to accept that the conventional capacities of American society will thwart the rise of fascist movements," the report says. "They lack faith in the ability of federal, state, or local governments to properly investigate or prosecute fascists who break the law, especially during shows of force at public marches."

Perhaps the most famous confrontation came during 2017's Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va., when violence erupted between white nationalists, neo-Nazis and counter protesters, which included some supporters of antifa.

President Trump's first public mention of antifa came just two weeks after the rally as he faced major backlash over his response to the protests and the killing of Heather Heyer by an avowed neo-Nazi.

"You know, they show up in the helmets and the black masks, and they've got clubs and they've got everything -- antifa!" Trump said during a campaign rally that month.

In the two years since, antifa supporters have engaged in similar skirmishes typically targeting far-right or alt-right protests at Berkeley, California, Stone Mountain, Georgia, and Portland, Oregon, among other cities.

But antifa supporters' activities are far from restricted to political rallies, Bray said.

"Most of what they do entails researching who far-right groups are, figuring out who their leaders are and notifying their employers and their communities," Bray said. "So it's a lot of a kind of private investigator work that sometimes spills out into the streets with confrontations."

Even as antifa has generated an increasing amount of attention and scrutiny in recent years, Bray said its lack of an official structure makes it difficult to estimate how many Americans it might count among its "members," who are mostly spread out across secretive local chapters.

"These groups tend to be very small, in large part because they're concerned about infiltration from law enforcement or the far right," Bray said. "Some groups don't even allow new members in order to prevent that, and the ones that do heavily vet the new members over the course of months and years to make sure that they have a full commitment, just to keep the numbers small."

Such an approach, though, has created opportunities that groups opposed to antifa can try to exploit. Just this week, Twitter moved to disable an account that appeared to represent a violent antifa group after it was determined to be a front account for a white nationalist group. Prior to being taken down, U.S. law enforcement had called out the group specifically as an example of a left-wing group trying to incite violence.

Bray said, however, that he believes that the president's efforts to try and attribute the violence and looting around the country almost exclusively to antifa vastly overstates both the membership numbers and capabilities of its followers.

"It seems like a rather transparent attempt for him to deflect away from the underlying white supremacy behind the murder of George Floyd," Bray said. "That's not to say that there aren't members of antifa groups participating in the various aspects of these protests, but their numbers are so minuscule nationally that they wouldn't even be able to logistically do nearly as much as he's blaming them for."

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Thirty-one states and the District of Columbia have activated their National Guards, with nearly 80 localities implementing curfews in response to the nationwide protests following the death of George Floyd.

The historic orders follow a weekend that saw protests erupt across dozens of U.S. cities. At least 9,300 people have been arrested as of Wednesday, according to The Associated Press.

"As of Wednesday morning, a historic 74,000 National Guard soldiers and airmen were activated for domestic operations across the United States," the National Guard Bureau said in a press release Wednesday.

The number surpasses the 50,000 National Guard troops that were activated during Hurricane Katrina in 2005. By comparison, there are roughly 9,000 U.S. troops currently stationed in Afghanistan and 5,000 in Iraq.

Approximately 39,400 National Guard members are continuing to support the COVID-19 response efforts in all 50 states, three territories, and the District of Columbia.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz first initiated the National Guard on Thursday after protests in his state descended into violence the night before. Since then, more than half of the country's states have activated the National Guard to aid local law enforcement.

Washington, D.C., has approximately 1,300 guard members from 10 states covering the nation's capital, according to the National Guard Bureau.

While New York state has not deployed the National Guard, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a press conference Sunday that the Guard is on "standby." He said Tuesday that he did not send any New York troops to Washington, D.C.

In addition to the nationwide National Guard deployments, localities across the country have implemented curfews.

New York City, the site of some of the country's largest demonstrations, announced Monday afternoon that the city would enact a curfew taking effect at 11 p.m.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio later extended the curfew until Monday, June 8, with the curfew running from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. each night.

Several municipalities have also extended curfews.

District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser moved the city's curfew to 7 p.m. on Monday -- four hours earlier than what it was on Sunday.

Los Angeles also announced that its curfew would begin at 6 p.m. on Monday. The city of Santa Monica began its downtown lockdown at 1 p.m., with the entire city under lockdown at 4 p.m.

Despite Miami-Dade County maintaining a curfew earlier, Miami officials announced Monday afternoon that the city would lift its curfew order.

Minneapolis, the site of Floyd's death, announced a shorter curfew for Monday night, starting at 10 p.m. and expiring at 4 a.m., and later extended that curfew to run nightly through Friday morning.

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The American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota filed a lawsuit on behalf of journalists that it says were attacked by law enforcement while covering the protests over the killing of George Floyd.

The suit was filed on behalf of journalist Jared Goyette who was shot in the face with a rubber bullet on May 27 while covering the demonstrations in Minneapolis. The ALCU is seeking class action status.

"Actions like this make protesters, people trying to advocate for change, more vulnerable because journalists provide a witness and police are aware of that," Goyette said in a statement. "Without journalists there, police or other people in power can feel a sense of impunity that no one will see what’s happening anyway."

"Everyone needs to know people are watching," he added.

Goyette repeatedly told police that he was a member of the press there to cover the demonstrations, according to the ACLU of Minnesota.

When I was hit by a police projectile, an incident that is now part of an @ACLUMN class-action lawsuit against the MPD, I was trying to document what was happing to this man, and the efforts of people like @JaymalGreen to keep him alive. Never got a chance to finish.

— Jared Goyette (@JaredGoyette) June 3, 2020

"The power of the people is rooted in the ability of the free press to investigate and report news, especially at a time like this when police have brutally murdered one of our community members," Teresa Nelson, the ACLU-MN legal director, said in a statement.

"Police are using violence and threats to undermine that power, and we cannot let that happen," Nelson added. "Public transparency is absolutely necessary for police accountability."

The suit was filed overnight on Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota against the city of Minneapolis and some of its police and department of public safety officials. It seeks an order declaring the actions unconstitutional and prohibiting law enforcement from attacking journalists again as well as damages for injuries.

"We will review the allegations and take them seriously," Minneapolis city attorney Erik Nilsson said in response to the lawsuit. "We continue to support the First Amendment rights of everyone in Minneapolis."

The Minnesota State Patrol told ABC News in a statement that it "recognizes the importance of the media in covering the civil unrest that is occurring in our communities."

"When conducting law enforcement operations to restore order and keep people safe, it can be difficult for officers to distinguish journalists from those who are violating a curfew order or not complying with commands to leave an area," the agency said. "During the past week, the State Patrol has worked hard to ensure journalists who have been arrested have been released promptly upon identification."

The statement added that they are reviewing incidents involving their troopers in an effort to prevent similar incidents in the future, but are unable to discuss specifics of pending litigation.

As protests over the killing of Floyd roil the nation, a number of journalists covering the news say they have been indiscriminately arrested, tear gassed or shot with rubber bullets by local law enforcement.

*233 total press freedom incidents*

41 arrests/detainments
153 assaults (125 by police, 27 by others)
39 equipment/newsroom damage

Assault category breakdown:
53 physical attacks (33 by police)
35 tear gassings
21 pepper sprayings
55 rubber bullet/projectiles

— U.S. Press Freedom Tracker (@uspresstracker) June 3, 2020

The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker, an advocacy and research group that records reported attacks on journalists, says it is investigating hundreds of instances of attacks on members of the press covering the Floyd protests. The group says the majority of those aggressions have been from police.

Brian Hauss, a staff attorney with the ACLU, said it is the "first of many lawsuits the ACLU intends to file across the country."

"We are facing a full-scale assault on the First Amendment freedom of the press," Hauss said in a statement. "We will not let these official abuses go unanswered."

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After bearing the emotional weight of nearly 10 weeks of being physically separated from their most vulnerable loved ones amid a deadly pandemic, family members could soon be allowed cautious visits to elderly residents in some nursing homes in Massachusetts, the first state to loosen its protective guidance.

As of Wednesday, families in the state may be able to see their loved ones in privately owned nursing and long-term care facilities, as long as they are outdoors and there are no more than two visitors at a time. Visitors also must be screened for fever, wear a face mask for the duration of the visit and must remain at least six feet away from the resident, among other precautions like having an infection control specialist on hand, according to the state’s guidelines.

The loosened restrictions do no apply to state-run facilities, and are not mandatory for private facilities: they can decide when to reopen their doors to visitors.

And not all facilities are eager to enact the new guidelines.

Jill Sullivan, the director of nursing at the Arnold House Nursing Home in Stoneham, Massachusetts, said she's worried the change is coming “too soon” and said the facility will ban visits again if there’s a single case of COVID-19 in the nursing home.

“I think they may have jumped the gun on this but I’m going to give it a try,” said Sullivan. “At any moment, I can decide it’s not working and close our doors. Our priority is the safety of our residents.”

A spokesperson for the Life Care Center of Leominster in Leominster, Massachusetts, says they will not be opening their doors “any time soon.” As of last week, eight residents have died of COVID-19 at the facility.

State officials in Ohio also announced last week that outdoor visits will be allowed but only at assisted living facilities beginning June 8. The guidance issued by the state does not apply to nursing homes. Assisted living facilities provide personal care in a home-like social setting while nursing homes provide medical and personal care in a clinical setting. Seniors who live in assisted living facilities remain independent aside from a few daily tasks.

But for family members like Francesca Veen, who has not visited her grandmother at a nursing home in Andover, New Jersey, since mid-March, the wait has been painful.

“I FaceTime her as much as I can but it’s not the same,” Veen told ABC News last week. “I just want to hug her and hold her hand.”

Tara Gregorio, President of the Massachusetts Senior Care Association says the new guidance is a “hopeful sign” and that the strict guidelines issued by the state, allow nursing home residents to stay safe.

“This is a positive step forward for our communities and will surely boost the spirits of our residents,” said Gregorio.

Carole Herman, President of the Foundation Aiding The Elderly (FATE), a non-profit that protects the rights of the elderly, believes more states should follow Massachusetts, saying facilities are capable of keeping everyone safe while reuniting families.

“It is about time that these facilities open up so that family members can see for themselves what condition and what type of care their family members have been receiving while under the shutdown,” said. “ It is also extremely important for the mental health and happiness of the residents.”

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A week after George Floyd was seen on a bystander's cellphone video gasping his last breaths with the knee of a former Minneapolis police officer pinned on his neck, three of the four former officers at the scene hadn't been charged.

That changed on Wednesday.

Thomas Lane, J.A. Kueng and Tou Thoa each have been charged with second-degree aiding and abetting felony murder and second-degree aiding and abetting manslaughter, according to court documents. Charges against Derek Chauvin, who on May 29 was charged by Hennepin County prosecutors with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, have been upgraded to second-degree murder. Chauvin is in jail on $500,000 bond.

All four officers were fired from the Minneapolis Police Department in the wake of Floyd's death.

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison is expected to give an update on Wednesday afternoon.

Ben Crump, an attorney for the Floyd family, has demanded that Kueng, Lane and Thoa are charged with acting in concert with Chauvin allegedly to murder Floyd.

Minnesota attorney Jay Adkins told ABC News on Wednesday that the third-degree murder charges against Chauvin may have failed at trial.

"The third-degree murder invalid in this case because the officer's actions were directed only to Mr. Floyd not multiple people -- like firing in a crowded building," said Adkins, who cited a Minnesota Supreme Court case that reads "third-degree murder 'cannot occur where the defendant's actions were focused on a specific person.'"

"The importance of the new second degree charges against former officer Chauvin. If the elevated charges don't result in a conviction, the likely results would be a conviction to a form of manslaughter, not murder," Adkins said.

According to arrest warrant documents, Chauvin pinned his knee onto the back of Floyd's neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds.

During that time, Lane asked Chauvin whether Floyd should get rolled onto his side, but Chauvin refused to move him, according to the warrant. Lane allegedly was holding Floyd's legs as Kueng allegedly was holding Floyd's back down as Chauvin kept his knee in place, according to the arrest warrant. Thoa was seen on the video with both of his hands in his pockets.

"Based on ... their silence and based on their body cameras and audio, we know they did nothing ... they all participated in the death of George Floyd," Crump said at a press conference on Wednesday before the new charges were announced.

A bystander recorded the incident on a cell phone. Floyd can be heard repeating pleading, "I can't breathe," and for his mother, who died years ago.

An independent autopsy determined Floyd's cause of death was by asphyxia "due to neck and back compression that led to a lack of blood flow to the brain." The county's medical examiner ruled that Floyd died because of a cardiopulmonary arrest.

Crump said in a statement that Ellison informed the Floyd family "that his office will continue to investigate and will upgrade the charges to first-degree murder if the evidence supports it."

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Durham, N.C., Police Chief Cerlelyn "CJ" Davis appears on "Good Morning America" on June 3, 2020. - (ABC News)By CATHERINE THORBECKE, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- The head of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives called for "sweeping changes and police reform" as she reacted to the nationwide protests taking place over the killing of George Floyd.

"The emotions and feelings that we see expressed out on the streets of cities all across the country are felt in a way that are substantiated," Durham Police Chief C.J. Davis, who is president of one of the leading black law enforcement groups in the nation, said in an interview with Good Morning America on Wednesday.

"There have been years and years of systemic racism in law enforcement," she added.

Davis called on police forces across the country to "continue to work with our protesters and individuals in our communities so they can have the opportunity and the space to express themselves."

At the same time, she said that "we have to take care of our community."

"We’ve got to continue to work together so that these types of opportunities to heal are done in a way where everyone is respected," Davis said.

Davis also said she has been advocating for a nationwide ban on chokeholds and the neck restraint that was used by a Minneapolis police officer on Floyd.

"We also need nationwide standards," she said.

Police policies cannot be treated like a "smorgasbord," she went on, "where agencies have an opportunity to say, we will take chokeholds, or no, we won't take chokeholds."

She called for nationwide accreditation to ensure that "every agency, large and small, have the best practices in place."

"We don't want to see this anymore," Davis said. "So we definitely need some standards in our police reform."

New York City Police Department Chief Terence Monahan echoed Davis' sentiments, saying that law enforcement leaders have "to be able to take a good hard look at their agencies and see what they need to do to be able to bridge that gap between their cops and their communities."

Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo, who is in the process of helping Floyd's family plan funeral arrangements, said police chiefs are "going to put those reforms forward."

"Then we’re going to let the people in the community know which Democrat and which Republican and which Independent voted, how they voted," he said. "Because they’re going to have to make a choice, we’re not going to let them vote in the dark."

Acevedo noted that for people in the community who are "hurting" and want change, "we're going to offer them that change."

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(NEW YORK) -- A 13-year-old boy charged in connection with the stabbing death of Barnard College student Tessa Majors pleaded guilty to robbery charges Wednesday in family court.

The unnamed teen pleaded guilty to first-degree robbery as a juvenile. He will be sentenced by a judge in June.

The juvenile is one of three teenagers accused in the fatal stabbing of Majors during a mugging gone wrong last December in Morningside Park, steps from Barnard College.

Majors, 18, was stabbed several times before she staggered up a flight of stairs and uttered, "Help me, I'm being robbed," authorities said.

The 13-year-old did not physically stab Majors, according to authorities.

"Tessa Majors's death was tragic. It caused incalculable pain to her loved ones and affected our entire city," The Legal Aid Society said in a statement. "This plea to Robbery in the First Degree is consistent with our client's limited role in this tragic event. He did not touch Ms. Majors or take any of her property. Furthermore, no DNA evidence exists linking him to the events."

"He will face its repercussions for a long time, likely the rest of his life," it continued. "This plea clears a path for him and his family to move forward with their lives. His acceptance of responsibility is an important first step; it provides an opportunity for this now 14-year-old to achieve a successful future."

Two 14-year-olds, Rashaun Weaver and Luchiano Lewis, have been charged as adults in Majors' death.

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Kameleon007/iStockBy JACK DATE, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- There were 59 mass shootings in May, the highest monthly total ever tallied since the Gun Violence Archive (GVA), a nonprofit research group, began tracking the data in 2013.

GVA defines a mass shooting as an incident in which four or more people are shot, not including the shooter.

Forty people were killed in mass shootings in May and 249 were shot, a period during which much of the country was practicing social distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On May 17 in Saint Matthews, South Carolina, three family members, including a 12-year-old, were killed and another was wounded in a domestic violence incident, police said.

According to police, 13 people were shot during one incident following a memorial service for another murder victim in Bogalusa, Louisiana, on May 16.

On May 13, five people were shot in Albuquerque, New Mexico, including a woman who was seven months pregnant, according to local news reports.

May’s total for mass shootings is double any previous month’s total this year.

GVA has tracked 158 mass shooting incidents year-to-date with 641 people shot and 146 people killed.

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marvinh/iStockBy CHRIS LUMSDEN, ABC News

(ATLANTA) -- Twenty-five students received the surprise of a lifetime on their front doorsteps when they learned they had been accepted into a prestigious program at Harvard University.

The Harvard Debate Council Diversity Project usually has a grand surprise ceremony to reveal all of the students accepted into the program each year. While they can't celebrate together this year due to COVID-19, program founder and assistant debate coach Brandon Fleming didn't let the pandemic ruin the tradition.

Fleming packed his bags, hopped in his car and drove more than 200 miles around the Atlanta metropolitan area to the doorstep of each student to notify and congratulate them on their acceptance into the 2021 class of the highly selective program. He said the three-day, 21-hour road trip was worth it after seeing the excitement on each of their faces.

"They weren't happy because they won a million dollars -- that excitement came from an educational opportunity," Fleming told Good Morning America. "Seeing their faces light up reminded me of what I was called to do."

Just prior, the students signed on to what they thought was another stage of the Zoom interview process. Little did they know there was a surprise waiting outside. On the video call, Fleming told them to come to the front door since he happened to be in their neighborhoods. Once they opened their doors, he notified them of their acceptance and the celebration began.

"Excitement immediately rushed through my body once he popped the confetti," Jonah Ruffin, 14, said.

Jonah has always been at the top of his class and knew this program could give him an extra opportunity to expand his knowledge. After several rounds of interviews and weeks of anticipation, he couldn't contain his happiness when Fleming showed up at his doorstep with the surprising news.

"I'm really blessed with this once-in-a-lifetime experience," he said. "The whole surprise was really unexpected and it couldn't have gone any better."

One by one, Fleming gave each student the celebration they deserved and welcomed them into the organization.

"I wanted their experiences to be magical moments they never forget," he said.

The Harvard Diversity Project, based in Atlanta, aims to recruit, train and matriculate highly motivated high school students of color into a summer debate residency at the school. Fleming, once an at-risk teen who overcame violence and drugs, said debate saved his life by transforming his ability to think. He began the organization in 2017, and many from the region soon took interest. With thousands of applicants each year, the program has about a 1% acceptance rate.

"Through debate, our students are able to find themselves because they're able to find their voice," Fleming said. "Most of them have now gone off to Ivy Leagues or elite universities on full scholarships."

Starting in August, these 25 scholars will spend 36 weeks preparing for next year's annual international debate tournament at Harvard. In July 2021, they will face off against 400 elite debaters from more than 25 countries. Fleming's team has won every year since the inception of the program.

The organization hopes to create a bridge to success for African American students in the Atlanta region and give them the tools to strive in the academic world.

Emani Stanton, 16, who was on the waitlist for a short period of time, didn't lose hope and was determined to get in. Being accepted into this program now means that she can help shift the narrative pertaining to young black men and women.

"I despise the idea that African Americans cannot be scholarly without separating their culture from their education," she told "GMA." "Now I have the opportunity to change the perspective."

These newly accepted students are now ready to start their preparation for next year's debate. After taking the multi-day road trip to congratulate each of them personally, Fleming is eager to train this diverse group of future leaders.

"They're ecstatic about their education and that's what we, as educators, should all hope to see in every child," he said.

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amphotora/iStockBy MIKE LEVINE and JOSH MARGOLIN, ABC News

(WASHINGTON) -- Federal authorities are increasingly worried that “violent opportunists” are infiltrating otherwise peaceful protests across the country and could be “emboldened” to attack law enforcement as they see police officers targeted elsewhere, according to new warnings from the FBI and Department of Homeland Security.

In fact, the FBI’s field office in Boston “received credible intelligence that rioters are looking for officers’ home addresses via public [records]," the FBI office said in an internal report issued Tuesday.

Protests throughout the nation are calling for major police reforms and seeking justice for George Floyd, the unarmed black man who died while being arrested early last week by a Minneapolis police officer, who has since been charged with murder. Violence has erupted during many of the protests over the past week, with nearly 10,000 people arrested in recent days.

DHS on Tuesday distributed a private “intelligence note” to the nation’s local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, warning “that some violent opportunists have become more emboldened following a series of attacks against law enforcement during the last 24 hours nationwide.”

“This could lead to an increase in potentially lethal engagements with law enforcement officials as violent opportunists increasingly infiltrate ongoing protest activity,” declared the DHS report, noting that “several incidents” in recent days involved “violent opportunists” not only targeting police but “shooting into crowds of protestors.”

In the document, DHS reported that on Tuesday, at least one “violent opportunist“ drove into a crowd of protesters in Asheville, North Carolina, firing “several shots into the crowd before speeding away.”

“There were no reported injuries and we lack information suggesting that this was a preplanned or coordinated incident,” DHS added.

In Davenport, Iowa, after a protester there was shot and killed Monday, a law enforcement vehicle on patrol was shot 13 times, injuring an officer in the vehicle, DHS said, citing media reports.

In Las Vegas on Monday, a police officer was killed as officers tried to arrest several people who were allegedly "throwing bottles and rocks at officers.” A witness told local news media that “as one officer was struggling with a protestor, another person walked up and shot the officer in the back of the head,” DHS wrote in its intelligence note.

Also in Las Vegas on Monday, police encountered a man who was carrying multiple firearms and “appeared to be wearing body armor” -- when “the subject reached for a firearm,” an officer fatally shot him, according to DHS.

Law enforcement reports issued in recent days depict police officers being targeted with bricks, fireworks, Molotov cocktails and gunfire in cities such as New York, St. Louis, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles.

On Tuesday, a retired St. Louis police captain who became a small-town police chief was found fatally shot outside a pawn shop that was looted.

And in the midst of protests in Oakland, California, on Friday, a gunman opened fire on two officers from the Federal Protective Service, who were reportedly protecting a courthouse. One of the officers was killed; the other was critically wounded.

“The perpetrators committed these senseless acts of violence while hiding behind those expressing their First Amendment right to lawfully protest,” the assistant director for infrastructure protection at DHS, Brian Harrell, said Monday during an online summit hosted by the Security Industry Association.

“As Americans, we should all support peaceful demonstrations and exercising our constitutional rights. However, violence, destruction, and bloodshed in the streets is never the answer,” he added.

In their reports, neither DHS nor the FBI field office offered details about the “violent opportunists” they are tracking.

President Donald Trump and Attorney General Bill Barr, however, have publicly pointed to the radical left-wing antifa group as driving much of the violence over the past week. Earlier DHS documents, meanwhile, have warned that certain right-wing radicals are seeking to incite violence with postings online.

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(NEW YORK) -- George Floyd was at his daughter Gianna Floyd's side from the moment she let her first cry out into the world.

Just off work, Floyd had received the call that Gianna, now 6 years old, was due to be born. A tired Floyd slept through hours of mother Roxie Washington’s painful labor. It was Gianna’s entrance into the world that would finally awaken him.

"She cried and he heard her,” Washington told ABC News' Good Morning America. "They wiped her off and they gave her to him. I mean that was his baby. He wanted that moment though. He really really wanted that moment. He looked forward to that."

Now Gianna feels a void with her father gone. In an interview with Good Morning America she said she wants people to know "kinda that I miss him."

Washington described Floyd as a provider that did everything for their daughter.

"He just wanted her to have the best,” Washington said. "We were struggling so he did what he had to do as a man and he had to come here [to Minneapolis] to work. And he said I’m going to come back and get y’all."

"I mean, that was his baby. He loved his little girl,” Washington said.

And Gianna loved him. If you ask Gianna Floyd what her father was like, she’ll tell you that he was fun and played with her.

"He would put her on his shoulders," Washington said. "She didn't have to play with nobody else because daddy was gonna play all day long. And they played. They had fun."

Washington received the devastating news of Floyd’s death from her niece, and a close friend of Floyd’s would later confirm it.

"I watched it only for a moment," Washington said of the bystander video showing Floyd’s death. "I couldn't believe that somebody was on him like that. And then in that moment, you know, because I loved him so much I wanted to help him or I wish I could’ve been there to help him. And just hearing him begging for his life."

Coupled with the recent death of her mother, the loss of Floyd is hard to talk about for Washington, especially with their daughter. But she faced that conversation when Gianna knew something was wrong.

"I had closed the door so I could watch the news. I went in the room and I said ‘Gianna, why did you open the door?’ She said ‘Something's going on with my family,’” Washington told ABC News' Eva Pilgrim. “She said ‘I hear them. I hear them saying my Daddy’s name.’”

Washington says she still hasn’t found the words to explain how her father died.

“She doesn’t know what happened. I told her Daddy died because he couldn’t breathe,” Washington said.

Now, all Gianna Floyd has left of her father George are memories. But it is the unrealized moments that are shattering to Washington.

“He will never see her grow up, graduate. He will never walk her down the aisle. If there’s a problem she’s having and needs a dad, she does not have that anymore,” Washington said at a press conference on Tuesday in Minneapolis.

“I want justice for him, ‘cause he was good. No matter what anybody thinks, he was good. And this is the proof that he was a good man,” Washington said, looking down at their daughter.

That goodness was evident when Gianna proudly shared her dream during the GMA interview.

“I know what I want to be when I grow up,” Gianna called out. “A doctor. So I can help people.”

Washington is heartbroken that Floyd will never get to see their daughter chase her dreams.

“They took her Dad,” she said. “My heart is broke for my baby. It’s broke.”

Floyd’s close friend, retired NBA player Stephen Jackson, accompanied the family on Tuesday, vowing to step in and help Floyd’s family.

“Why do we have to see her pain? Why do we have to see a daughter getting raised without a father?” Jackson asked.

Jackson, turning to Washington, said: “There’s a lot of stuff that you said that he’s going to miss that I’m going to be there for. I’m going to walk her down the aisle. I'm going to be there for her. I’m going to be here to wipe your tears … Floyd might not be here but I’m going to be here for her.”

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



(NEW YORK) -- Severe weather has moved through a wide swath of land overnight all the way from Colorado to New York.

There were nine reported tornadoes Tuesday from Colorado to Minnesota and damaging winds of up to 74 mph were reported in Iowa overnight.

In Minnesota and Nebraska, huge hail as large as baseball sized fell in the area damaging cars and property.

Flash flooding was reported overnight in Buffalo, New York, where some cars were stuck in the flood waters.

The same storm system that brought all the severe weather to the Midwest will stretch Wednesday from New York City to Rapid City.

The biggest threat for straight line damaging winds and a few tornadoes will be in the Northeast from New York City to Philadelphia Wednesday afternoon.

Severe storms will also be possible from Dakotas to Ohio Valley where damaging winds and hail will be the biggest threat.

We are watching Tropical Storm Cristobal Wednesday morning as it meanders near Mexico and brings deadly flash flooding to Central America and Mexico.

Cristobal has winds of 60 mph Wednesday morning, making it a strong tropical storm.

After meandering near Mexico for the next few days, Cristobal could weaken as it interacts with the land there.

Depending on how much it weakens in Mexico over the next few days, this will determine its strengthen and size as it moves towards the U.S. by the end of the weekend.

By Friday night into Saturday, Cristobal is forecast to regain its strength and move north towards the Gulf Coast of the United States.

By Sunday night, Cristobal will approach the central Gulf Coast as a tropical storm with winds possible around 65 mph.

The biggest threat with Cristobal for the United States will be flooding rain, storm surge and gusty winds.

The spaghetti models for Cristobal indicates that the storm will strike somewhere in the central Gulf Coast by the end of the weekend into early next week.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


tillsonburg/iStockBy JOSH MARGOLIN and AARON KATERSKY, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- The New York Police Department's Intelligence Bureau is collecting license plate numbers from vehicles that carried vandals, looters and thieves around Manhattan in the last two days, a police official told ABC News.

Some of those already being tracked down were seen outside storefronts with sledgehammers, crowbars and power tools in brazen shows of planning and organization as they used the ongoing protests over the death of George Floyd as cover for their crimes.

One of the numerous police reports from eyewitnesses came from Carla Murphy, who lives in Chelsea.

Murphy, in an interview Tuesday, said she started hearing commotion from mobs of people along her street and neighboring streets about 10:30 p.m. Monday night. She first watched from her building and then went down to the street and saw organized groups of people working together to break in to store after store in the West Side neighborhood.

"Cars would drive up, let off the looters, unload power tools and suitcases and then the cars would drive away," she said. "Then the cars would come back pick them up and then drive off to the next spot. They seemed to know exactly where they were going. Some of the people were local, but there were a lot of out-of-towners."

Murphy said she saw license plates from New Jersey and Pennsylvania and drivers had not even tried to hide their tags.

By the time Murphy said she got through to 911, dispatchers said they would send police but they were swamped. She then went to the 10th Precinct, where she said a cop told her, "Yeah, we're getting the resources to get over there."

They didn't show up until 1 a.m., she said.

Officials acknowledged what was obvious from live news reports: They were overwhelmed as the looting broke out Monday night. But by Tuesday night, police brass had already put out orders to use the extraordinary technological arsenal available to the NYPD to hunt down those who turned protests into open season on merchants from local liquor stores to Macy's flagship.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was critical of the NYPD's response to looting during a press conference Tuesday.

"The NYPD and the mayor did not do their job last night. I believe that," Cuomo said. “The police in New York City were not effective in doing their job last night. Period."

Detectives in New York City have access to a wide network of city-owned license-plate readers and security cameras on top of thousands of private-sector surveillance systems that are looped in to the NYPD architecture. Investigators are also collecting surveillance images from as many vandalized and looted stores as possible as they try to identify the suspects.

The culprits are believed to be a combination of outside agitators, career criminals and gang members. Police said many of the perpetrators seemed to display a talent for staying a step ahead of cops with an elaborate scouting and signaling system built on text messages, social media apps and lookouts.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


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