2:48 PM PT -- Obama invoked the names of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Cesar Chavez and Malcolm X when discussing young people and the inspiration they've become during this movement. He said what's happening right now "reminds people of the 1960s and the chaos, the discord and distrust throughout the country." But he added, "I have to tell you, I know enough about that history to say there is something different here. You look at these protesters, and that is far more representative across America, peacefully protesting; who felt moved to do something because of the injustices they have seen."
Obama said the mobilization in peaceful protesting across America -- and frankly, across the world -- didn't exist back in the day. He said, despite the riots, the majority of Americans agree these protests are justified. And, that's the change he's seen so far in these protests.
The Prez said he wanted to talk directly to people of color and say "I want you to know that you matter; that your lives matter. Your dreams matter." He also challenged local officials on how to bring about real change, while urging young people to vote in local elections.
It should be noted ... Obama acknowledged law enforcement and the "vast majority who protect and serve. I've been heartened to see those in law enforcement who recognize, 'Let me march along with these protesters.' Those who recognize they want to be part of the solution. Those who listen. Change will require everyone’s participation."
Former President Barack Obama is making his first on-camera remarks about the death of George Floyd ... and TMZ is streaming live.
Obama is set to speak Wednesday during a virtual town hall sponsored by My Brother's Keeper Alliance -- an org that partners with his Obama Foundation. Barack is expected to address Floyd's killing, police practices ... and the racial bias still ingrained in the justice system.
Organizers have dubbed the event, "Reimagining policing in the wake of continued police violence" ... and it's supposed to kick off at 2 PM PT. This will be Obama's first time publicly discussing George Floyd's case on camera -- he's already addressed his death on social media and in a Medium essay.
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44 tackled issues surrounding police brutality while in office -- he rolled out a number of policies intending to curb those incidents, such as creating a task force with guidelines on 21st century policing, as well as limiting the transfer of military equipment to police departments.
Donald Trump's administration has rolled back some of those reforms, so ya gotta wonder if BO will directly call out the President during the town hall.
Obama also addressed the slaying of Ahmaud Arbery a few weeks ago during a speech to the graduating class of 2020 -- HBCU students, specifically.
Originally Published -- 1:43 PM PT
5:09 PM PT -- 6/3 -- We've obtained the mugshots of officers Gardner, Streeter, Hood, Sauls, Jones and Claud.
All 6 officers were booked into jail Wednesday.
The Atlanta police officers involved in the violent arrest and tasing of 2 black college students who were in their vehicle during protests this weekend are now facing charges ... on the heels of 2 of them losing their jobs.
The Fulton County DA has charged 6 cops for using excessive force during the incident with Messiah Young and Taniyah Pilgrim Saturday night.
Four of the cops have been charged with aggravated assault -- Mark Gardner, for tasing Pilgrim; Ivory Streeter, for tasing Young and pointing a gun at him; Lonnie Hood for using a Taser on Pilgrim and Young; and Willie Sauls for pointing a Taser.
Another officer, Armond Jones, has been charged with aggravated battery for forcefully throwing Young down on the street and pointing a gun at him. The sixth officer, Roland Claud, is charged with criminal damage to property ... the couples' car.
Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms fired both Gardner and Streeter almost immediately after learning of the incident, and the other 4 were placed on desk duty.
The students claim they were out getting food when they got caught in traffic and the chaos around them. They later spoke about the scary ordeal, saying they felt lucky to be alive ... and demanded change so similar incidents stop happening.
Originally Published -- 6/2 9:22 AM PT
Two radio hosts who made racists comments on-air during the Black Lives Matter protests are joining the ranks of the unemployed ... they woke up to find out they were fired.
Kimberly Ray and Barry Beck -- now formerly known as "Kimberly & Beck" on Radio 95.1 WAIO-FM in Rochester, NY -- were canned Wednesday morning after repeatedly referring to the "n-word" on-air Tuesday during their discussion of #BLM and local protests against police brutality in the wake of George Floyd's death.
The former cohosts were talking about a viral video appearing to show a local couple being attacked by looters when Kimberly asked Barry, "Were they acting n-word-ish?"
Kimberly did not explicitly use the full racial slur, but she continued to ask her cohost if the alleged attackers were acting "n-word-ly."
Beck took a cue from Donald Trump and threw around words like "thugs," saying ... "If you look like a thug and if you act like a thug, and you’ve got three on one beating up a white woman with a two-by-four, by God, you’re a thug."
The fired hosts kept digging a bigger hole ... they also discussed whether they could even utter the phrase "n-word" and concluded, "no one's offended by that."
Well, tons of folks were offended ... Kimberly and Beck faced instant backlash on social media after their recorded comments went viral, and people called for their jobs and asked advertisers to drop their sponsorship.
As we reported ... former Sacramento Kings play-by-play announcer Grant Napear also lost his job over controversial #BLM comments. Napear resigned Tuesday after facing major heat for tweeting "All Lives Matter."
Kimberly and Beck are no strangers to controversy ... they were booted from another Rochester radio station way back in 2014 after ridiculing transgender people. Four months later, Radio 95.1 hired them as afternoon weekday hosts.
Might be tougher to find a new gig this time around, but they are far from alone in the unemployment line these days.
George Floyd's hometown is honoring him, and joining the national cries for justice by staging a large, peaceful march rally and March on the streets of Houston.
H-town rappers Bun B and Trae tha Truth joined throngs of people flooding Downtown Houston Tuesday for a march that ended at City Hall. George spent most of his life in Houston and still has family there. He hailed from the Third Ward and was an active member of the rap scene there.
Ben Crump, attorney for Floyd's family, announced earlier Tuesday the first memorial service will be Thursday from 1 to 3 PM in Minneapolis with another one scheduled in North Carolina Saturday at 3 PM.
Later, there will be a public viewing in Houston from 12 to 6 PM before he's buried there. Presidential candidate Joe Biden's expected to attend the funeral.
Bun B told a local reporter he was marching because George "was a human being and wasn't treated like one." Former classmates of Floyd from nearby Jack Yates HS also held a vigil over the weekend. People attending the vigil wore school colors and shirts that read, "I can't breathe."
Tuesday's protests also included an urban trail riding club dubbed Nonstop Riders. A reporter there got video of them showing up to the protest and they were met with boisterous applause. One of the riders said, “We’re here representing for all our black brothers and sisters.”
The protests in Houston come in the wake of Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz announcing the launch of a civil rights investigation ... which will not only look at the 4 officers involved in Floyd's fatal arrest, but also examine the department's behavior, in general, over the last decade.
NYPD officers allegedly urged police to shoot and run over protesters -- at least that's what was heard over the citywide police scanner ... but the question now is whether those words came from a cop or someone who stole a radio.
As protesters marched toward the 77th Precinct in Brooklyn, you could hear someone on the scanner calling in to describe the scene before another voice urges cops to, "Shoot those motherf*****s."
Later in the evening, the scanner picked up what sounded like officers saying they were surrounded by protesters near the intersection of Albany and Dean Streets in Crown Heights. A voice on the scanner responds, "Run them over."
Obviously, the scanner broadcasts are beyond alarming IF they really came from police officers. NYPD tells us ... they're aware of the comments and are looking into it.
TMZ independently found the radio transmissions on a website that records police scanners -- so the audio is legit. However, law enforcement sources tell us ... during this latest wave of civil unrest, police radios have gone missing, and there is a possibility the transmissions on the scanner did not originate from police.
As you know ... NYPD officers have been physically clashing with protesters for days, with an officer appearing to pull a gun on demonstrators, and cops appearing to drive a police car into a crowd of protesters behind a barricade.
Additionally, 2 NYPD officers were injured -- one of them seriously -- Monday night in separate incidents in the Bronx.
12:13 PM PT -- Killer Mike's call with the community leaders and grassroots organizers has wrapped up, and his mission was accomplished ... they had a large platform to inform the public of vital work being done to end racism, and how people can help.
Among the main talking points were the importance of voting out politicians who don't support the cause, supporting black businesses, and striving to end police brutality ... but there was so much more. The speakers also included Gary Davis and Latonya Gates, along with the others below.
Killer Mike's hosting a virtual meeting with grassroots leaders to highlight all the ways they're working to address systemic racism ... and TMZ's live streaming it.
The rapper and activist's media call comes as the U.S. just experienced the 7th straight night of protests and unrest over the brutal killing of George Floyd and the mistreatment of black people in America.
The discussion will include the following grassroots organizers -- Judith Browne Dianis of the Advancement Project National Office, Pastor Michael McBride of Black Church PAC and LIVE FREE gun violence prevention campaign, Nse Ufot of the New Georgia Project, Zakiya Sankara-Jabar of Racial Justice NOW, and Desmond Meade of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition.
Mike mesmerized the country a few days back -- as violent riots broke out in Atlanta and across the country -- with an impassioned speech at a news conference with Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.
He made it clear he empathized with the rage being demonstrated but urged people to work toward a solution without violence ... advising them to "plot, plan, strategize, organize and mobilize."
Mike's call with the grassroots leaders is intended to elevate that message even more. The Zoom call's scheduled to begin at 2 PM ET.
Originally published -- 10:30 AM PT
Donald Trump excoriated governors on a conference call Monday morning for not being way more aggressive with rioters.
Trump was on a video conference call with various governors, and audio of the conversation leaked. Trump says the goal is "domination" over the rioters.
Trump says Minnesota has become "the laughing stock" of the world because of the violence on the streets. Ditto for New York City and Los Angeles ... Trump says the police response has been anemic and rioters were walking all over them.
Trump then went on to take credit for sending the National Guard into Minneapolis, saying when the Guard stepped in, the looting stopped.
He's suggesting that the National Guard is the solution, yet in Los Angeles and Long Beach the rioters were undeterred. BTW ... there are way more police officers in most big cities than National Guard -- the ratio in L.A. was 10 to 1, so the Guard isn't the panacea.
12:57 PM PT -- Here's Chauvin's mug shot after getting transferred to Minnesota's only Level Five maximum-security prison.
Derek Chauvin -- the former Minneapolis PD officer charged with the murder of George Floyd -- has a new jail cell for now ... he's been transferred to a maximum-security prison.
Chauvin's been sent to the Minnesota Correctional Facility-Oak Park Heights near the city of Stillwater, after spending part of Sunday at the Hennepin County Jail. It's protocol for inmates to get new mug shots when they're transferred.
According to the Department of Corrections ... the Oak Park Heights prison is the highest custody level in Minnesota's system, and several inmates -- like Chauvin -- need a higher level of security.
DOC Commissioner Paul Schnell says this kind of transfer is not uncommon -- the same thing happened when former Minneapolis cop, Mohamed Noor, was taken into custody in the killing of Justine Damond -- and it was requested by the Hennepin County Sheriff.
Chauvin was one of 4 officers fired over Floyd's death, but so far he's the only one arrested and charged. Chauvin was the cop who pressed his knee on Floyd's neck for close to 9 minutes ... including more than 2 minutes after Floyd was unresponsive.
Still, there's outrage that the other cops have still not being arrested. The entire incident -- along with other cases of black people being unjustly killed -- has incited several straight days of protests, riots, looting, violence and destruction across several major cities in the U.S.
Originally published -- 7:07 AM PT
2:25 PM PT -- Jones has returned to the Albuquerque streets and is helping with the cleanup process ... working with a small crew to get small businesses back in order.
Jon Jones is pissed off -- so he took to the streets of Albuquerque to confront vandals Sunday face-to-face ... and the video is intense.
You can see the UFC light heavyweight champion go right up to two masked people and demand they hand over their spray cans immediately.
Jon is 6'4", 205 pounds and arguably the greatest MMA fighter of all time -- so yeah, the vandals listened and handed the cans right over.
After the incident, Jones went to social media to vent ..."Is this shit even about George Floyd anymore," Jones wrote ..."Why the f*ck are you punk ass teenagers destroying our cities!??"
"As a young black man trust me I’m frustrated as well but this is not the way, we are starting to make a bad situation worse."
"If you really got love for your city (505), protect your sh*t. All you old heads need to speak up, call your young family members and tell them to come home tonight."
Here's what one of the 3 cops should have done when George Floyd was losing his life.
It happened Saturday night in Seattle when a cop put his knee on a protester's neck, eerily similar to the way Derek Chauvin ended George's life. You see another cop forcibly remove the knee of his colleague ... such a simple act that is also a life-saving act.
This has been a big issue in policing ... when a bad cop crosses the line, can other officers who are present get the rogue cop back in line without suffering consequences back at the station?
This is an example of cops checking cops, and it may be one of the most graphic and useful lessons from this whole miserable ordeal ... that police don't have to wait for review boards and prosecutors to tell them how they should have acted ... they can do it before it becomes a tragedy.
And, there was another moving scene in Miami-Dade County, where officers from various departments in the area took a knee as they joined in the protest over George Floyd's death and the police brutality that caused it.
It was a remarkable sight ... a cop puts down his baton and helmet and joins protesters in solidarity.
It went down Saturday in Michigan's Flint Township, where Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson engaged protesters in the wake of George Floyd's brutal killing at the hands of rogue cops.
Swanson had a real conversation with some folks in the crowd, saying, "This is the way it's supposed to be ... police working with the community. When we see injustice, we call it out on the police side and on the community side. All we had to do was talk to them, and now we're walking with them."
He added, "The cops in this community, we condemn what happened. That guy [Chauvin] is not one of us."
And, with that ... the Sheriff and some of his deputies joined the crowd assembled in a Target and began marching. They were united for more than 2 hours, and the march ended at Flint's police station, where things could have otherwise gotten out of hand. They were met by a line of deputies decked out in riot gear. The protesters and cops began talking, and it all ended with fist bumps and hugs.
A glimmer of hope ...
It was awesome and picture-perfect, as the 2 U.S. astronauts hitched their space capsule onto the International Space Station.
It went down Sunday AM Earth time ... 19 hours after the Falcon 9 rocket blasted off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
It's the first time in the history of U.S. space exploration that astronauts were hurled into parts unknown by a rocket manufactured by a private company -- in this case, Elon Musk's SpaceX.
A cam from the Space Station captured the docking procedure ... check out the red, white and green lights that signify the progress as the Dragon capsule bellies up to its host.
The 2 astronauts -- Robert Behnken and Doug Hurley -- took over the controls during part of the maneuver. The actual docking was computer-driven.
The docking follows a picture-perfect launch Saturday afternoon. The docking indicated that the first portion of the test flight with crew aboard was successful.
The trip will be considered a complete success once the astronauts return to Earth in the near future, opening the way for more travel to the space station and orbit by astronauts and perhaps space tourists in the years to come.
The Space Station is 250 miles above the earth and travels at the incomprehensible speed of 17,500 MPH. NASA, which partnered with SpaceX, hasn't decided how long the astronauts will stay up in space. It could be anywhere between a month and 3 months.
A small business owner was brutally beaten by looters because he was allegedly defending his store with a machete.
It happened Saturday night in Dallas ... as looters descended on the man's store, who was using a sword, allegedly trying to defend himself and his business.
The disturbing video shows rioters viciously beat him, rendering him bloody and unconscious. He was beaten with skateboards, rocks and fists, and suffered multiple gashes all over his body. You even hear someone yell, "Turn him over!"
The man was taken to a hospital by ambulance where he's currently in stable condition.
Dallas exploded in violence Saturday night with protests.
Check out this shocking moment, when an NYPD officer runs up to a man with his hands up in the air, yanks his mask down and then pepper sprays him.
It happened Saturday during a protest in the streets of New York City.
The person who posted the video on Twitter, wrote, "I am heartbroken and disgusted to see one of my family members a young black man w/his hands up peacefully protesting and an NYPD officer pulls down his mask and pepper sprays him."
The man's mother posted this on follow-up on Twitter, saying both of her sons were pepper sprayed, and all they were doing were protesting the brutal killing of George Floyd.
New York City, along with Minneapolis, Atlanta, Los Angeles and other cities were powder kegs of violence Saturday, with widespread looting.
The 911 caller who reported George Floyd to police claimed he was drunk when he entered their store, and allegedly tried to pay with counterfeit money.
Police released the transcript of the call made Monday night around 8 PM by an employee at the Cup Foods ... across the street from where George was initially put in handcuffs. The caller said, "Someone comes our store and give us fake bills and we realize it before he left the store, and we ran back outside, they was sitting on their car."
The caller said they, along with a coworker, asked George to return some cigarettes, but, "he doesn't want to do that, and he's sitting on his car cause he is awfully drunk and he's not in control of himself."
The interaction between the employees and George was visible in the surveillance footage from the restaurant across the street from Cup Foods.
The operator then got a description of George and the blue van where police found him when they arrived on the scene. Before hanging up, the operator asked again if George was under the influence, and the caller said, "Something like that, yes. He is not acting right."
As we reported, when police arrived ... George was in the blue van, but appeared to peacefully allow an officer to put him in handcuffs. He showed no signs of resisting arrest ... for more than 6 minutes. So, even if he was under the influence, it had no visible impact on his demeanor with cops.
The fatal incident didn't happen until officers walked George across the street. We still have not seen any video -- police bodycam or otherwise -- of the initial moment when officer Derek Chauvin placed his knee on George Floyd's neck ... eventually killing him.
Thousands of runners will NOT be flooding the streets of Beantown in September ... as the 124th Boston Marathon has been officially scrapped in exchange for a virtual race.
The Boston Athletic Association made the call to go virtual on Thursday ... after Mayor Martin Walsh canceled the in-person race (which was rescheduled to Sept. 14) due to COVID-19.
The decision marks the FIRST time the race has ever been canceled. Thanks, coronavirus.
Here's how it's gonna work -- runners can get in their 26.2 miles between September 7-14 and still get their medal ... IF they provide proof they completed the race within 6 hours.
The BAA will still offer virtual Marathon Week perks like champions interviews and panel discussions ... but no in-person events will take place.
On top of that, all runners who signed up for the original April 20 race will be offered a full refund.
FYI -- Usually, more than 30,000 people participate in the Boston Marathon.
Unclear how many people will run "virtually" -- but props to everyone who gives it a shot!