Mattis denounces Trump and military response to crisis
Former US defence secretary Jim Mattis has criticized US President Donald Trump following his remarks to deploy the military to control nationwide protests against the murder of George Floyd.
“We must reject any thinking of our cities as a “battlespace” that our uniformed military is called upon to “dominate”,” Mattis said in a statement.
He added that the US should use its military at home only when requested to do so, on very rare occasions, by state governors.
“Militarizing our response, as we witnessed in Washington, D.C., sets up a conflict — a false conflict — between the military and civilian society,” the former defence secretary added.
Meanwhile, U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said he does not support invoking the Insurrection Act to deploy active duty forces to quell civil unrest and added that he regretted using the word “battlespace” to describe areas gripped by protest.
“The option to use active duty forces in a law enforcement role should only be used as a matter of last resort, and only in the most urgent and dire of situations.We are not in one of those situations now. I do not support invoking the Insurrection Act,” he noted.
As mourners gathered at North Central University, three of the four ex-officers charged in Floyd’s death made their first court appearance.
A judge set bail of $1 million for three former Minneapolis police officers charged with aiding and abetting in the murder of George Floyd.
Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.
They face up to 40 years in prison if convicted.
Derek Chauvin, the police officer who pinned his knee into Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes and is charged with second-degree murder, is due in court on Monday.
All four officers have been fired from the Minneapolis police department.
In New York City, thousands of people attended a memorial event in a Brooklyn park, remembering George Floyd.
“My brother’s gone, but the Floyd name still lives on. I’m proud of the protests, but I’m not proud of the destruction. My brother wasn’t about that,” George Floyd’s brother, Terrence Floyd said.
Hundreds of mourners in Minneapolis remembered George Floyd, whose death set off a wave of nationwide protests that reached the doors of the White House.
“It was not the coronavirus pandemic that killed George Floyd. I want to make it clear, on the record…It was that other pandemic that we’re far too familiar with in America, that pandemic of racism and discrimination that killed George Floyd,” Benjamin Crump, the attorney for George Floyd’s Family said.