Protestors demanding justice following the death of George Floyd made their way toward the White House on Friday. The protest started at U Street in northwest Washington, D.C., at 5 p.m. local time, but after the large crowd made its way toward 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Chief Political Correspondent for Sinclair Broadcast Group Scott Thuman tweeted at 7:30 p.m. that the White House was going into lockdown.
The large protest taking place in the nation’s capital on May 29 was just one of many happening around the nation. On Friday, people gathered in Louisville, Los Angeles, New York, Denver, Phoenix, Memphis and Columbus in reaction to the death of Floyd, a black man who was killed in Minneapolis when a police officer, Derek Chauvin, knelt on his neck while three other officers stood by watching.
As the White House went into lockdown, NPR correspondent Tamara Keith reported that many reporters were stuck inside. She said, “A law enforcement officer was brought into the grounds in distress to have his eyes washed.'”
WTOP digital reporter Alejandro Alvarez tweeted, “A protester tried to jump the construction fence in Lafayette Park. Secret Service chased him into the march, threw him on the ground then led him away. Bottles thrown.” Alvarez then tweeted, “Crowd calling for a medic at the foot of the Treasury Annex where Secret Service carried their detainee. They’re worried he has a concussion. From the brief glimpse I got of him, he had blood dripping down his forehead.”
Alvarez also tweeted, “Secret Service [is] swooping forward to reset fallen barricades before protesters just throw them over again. It’s becoming a cycle where neither side is moving very far. At least two people are being cuffed behind a patrol car.”
As the protest in Washington moved from U Street to Pennsylvania Avenue, people could be heard chanting, “Black lives matter!” “Hands up, don’t shoot!” and “No justice, no peace!”
CBS White House news reporter Fin Gomez tweeted out a video of a protestor spray painting the side of a building in D.C. Gomez said that “a protester was taken by the USSS in front of Pennsylvania Ave into an adjacent federal building. Unclear what he did.”
The Atmosphere Outside the White House Remained Intense After Trump Didn’t Mention Floyd’s Death During His Press Briefing on Friday
On Friday, Chauvin, the police officer seen in the viral video holding Floyd down with his knee, was charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman’s complaint stated that Chauvin “had his knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds in total. Two minutes and 53 seconds of this was after Mr. Floyd was non-responsive. Police are trained that this type of restraint with a prone position is inherently dangerous.”
However, during President Donald Trump’s press briefing from the White House Rose Garden on Friday, he did not address Floyd’s death, the violent riots taking place in Minneapolis or the tweet he sent on Thursday night that Twitter flagged and removed for glorifying violence.
Instead, Trump discussed the World Health Organization. He said, “The world needs answers from China on the virus. We must have transparency. Why is it that China shut off infected people from Wuhan to all other parts of China? It didn’t go to Beijing, it went nowhere else, but they allowed them to freely travel throughout the world, including Europe and the United States.”
Afterward, Trump left the press briefing without taking questions even though the Rose Garden was set up for a media Q & A to take place.
Later on Friday afternoon, however, Trump addressed Floyd’s death. He said, “I want to express our nation’s deepest condolences and most heartfelt sympathies to the family of George Floyd. We’re determined that justice be served. … I understand the hurt. I understand the pain.”