Trump's legal team, including Rudy Giuliani held a news conference at Four Seasons Total Landscaping in Philadelphia Saturday morning ... just moments after Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris became the projected winners of the election.
Giuliani focused on the mail-in ballots in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and repeated Trump's allegations of fraud connected to them. His main beef is Team Trump was allegedly not allowed to see any of the mail-in ballots or verify their legitimacy.
Rudy says the problem wasn't only in Philadelphia, but also in Pittsburgh ... where he claims 300,000 ballots went completely unchecked by Republicans who had a court order allowing them to observe the count.
He admits they were given access, but as you've heard for a few days now ... team Trump claims they weren't allowed to get close enough to properly observe.
The President and his lawyers say they will file multiple cases on Monday to challenge the vote count. Although they've yet to present any evidence of this ... they claim not every legal ballot has been counted, and far too many "illegal" ballots have been counted.
Dijon Kizzee was shot at 19 times by police officers and struck 15 times -- most of which hit his body as he was already on the ground -- this according to an independent investigation by his family.
The legal team for Dijon’s family just revealed the autopsy findings and sounded off on law enforcement -- specifically L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva -- claiming he and the entire department is trying to justify a blatant lack of humanity in Kizzee’s killing … which they call an execution.
Attorney Carl Douglas went first by repeating that Kizzee was shot at 19 times … which he claims shows the cops had no humanity for his life, along with poor training.
Douglas says Kizzee’s killing demonstrates a “warrior mentality” that permeates across police departments in the U.S. He adds that the 19 shots tell him the officers involved did not perceive a threat … but rather did what they felt they had to do to “maintain their integrity back at the office.”
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump referred to Kizzee’s death as an execution, and also rebuked Sheriff Villanueva for "trying to justify the unjustifiable." Crump says the shooting of Kizzee is the latest tragic example of what he calls the "1619 pandemic" … his term for the unjust killings of Black people due to systemic racism in America.
Douglas also revealed a detailed chart of Kizzee's 15 gunshot wounds, 7 of which he says were in his back as he was facing away from the cops. He says the doctor who conducted the autopsy says several of the wounds are elongated ... because Kizzee was on the ground when he was shot.
Douglas goes on to say witnesses describe hearing shots, then a pause, then a flurry of shots from the officers. The lawyer claims Kizzee was not holding a gun at any point while he was shot at by the cops. He also alleges Kizzee did not die right away, but kept getting shot at despite being unarmed.
Douglas then called for L.A. District Attorney Jackie Lacey to arrest and charge the officers who killed Kizzee.
As we told you ... Tuesday's press conference was in response to last week's claim by the Sheriff's Dept. that its investigation determined Kizzee picked up a loaded pistol that had fallen to the ground just before deputies fatally shot him on Aug. 31.
The LASD previously requested a security hold on Kizzee's county autopsy, which suggests the report won't be released until the Sheriff's Dept. has completed its investigation, which remains open.
As we've reported ... protests erupted following Kizzee's killing and have been ongoing in L.A. this month, resulting in multiple confrontations and arrests.
Video of the incident shows Kizzee -- who was initially stopped for an alleged vehicle code violation while riding a bicycle -- getting into a physical altercation with a cop, before deputies shot him multiple times as he ran away.
Cops say a handgun allegedly belonging to Kizzee was recovered at the scene. Crump has argued that even if Kizzee possessed a gun during the altercation, he didn't point it at them and was not a threat by the time he was running away.
David Blaine's awe-inspiring, "Up"-inspired stunt went off without a hitch … though it wasn’t without some truly tense moments.
As the famous illusionist launched from the ground in Arizona attached to 52 colorful balloons -- one of which was actually an experimental aircraft -- he gave his daughter, Dessa, a gift and embarked on "Ascension" ... his latest death-defying stunt reminiscent of the classic balloons scene with the old man and his house in the 2009 Disney/Pixar film.
During the early part of Blaine's climb, he spoke with Dessa and told her he felt like he was floating, and kept repeating to viewers how incredible his view was … saying it didn’t even seem like he was on Earth.
As he reached certain levels of altitude, David would drop weights and various parts of his balloons contraption to aid in the rise, and then he pulled down his parachute and attached it to his body mid-air.
After he was connected and secure, Blaine increased his ascension and went through a rigorous breathing technique to get his oxygen levels right and prepare for his giant drop.
At one point during his constant climb, Blaine told his crew he was proud of them and that he’s never felt more confident about any stunt he’s pulled off … adding to the dramatics.
He then spoke with his daughter one last time and reminded her of the training they did together to prepare him for the cold air as he entered class A air space.
Finally -- after several more minutes of prep, and at above 24,000 feet -- he released the balloons.
It was edge-of-your-seat stuff for sure, but David’s descent from a free fall to pulling the chord on his parachute went smoothly. The only hiccup was Blaine couldn’t manage to magically appear at his target landing spot … but he improvised and landed safely not too far away.
For the stunt -- which was originally planned for earlier this week in NYC -- Blaine had to become a licensed hot-air balloon pilot. However, he moved it to Arizona, saying it was very complex and he needed a couple more days to prepare.
He's called it his "most ambitious and revolutionary feat yet" ... until the next one.
12:00 PM PT -- The splashdown landing was a success! Two small boats came in directly after landing to check the Crew Dragon capsule. The first message to the astronauts from mission control upon landing was, "Thank you for flying SpaceX."
SpaceX and NASA's #LaunchAmerica journey is on the verge of completing a successful mission -- they're coming back to Earth, and we're streaming it live.
American astronauts Robert Behnken and Doug Hurley -- who were shot into orbit back in May aboard SpaceX's Dragon Endeavor -- are set to touch down Sunday. Their spacecraft is scheduled to splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Pensacola, FL at 11:45 AM PT
They've been in orbit aboard the ISS for the past 62 days and made 1,024 revolutions around our planet ... this after Elon Musk and co. sent them up in an effort to get more American space missions kickstarted ... not to mention potential space tourism in the near future.
The initial launch went off without a hitch -- after the Falcon 9 rocket took Bob and Doug to a certain point ... it landed safely aboard a ship waiting out at sea. The boys then took control from there, and once they were close enough ... they docked with the ISS.
The #LaunchAmerica mission marks the first time in nearly a decade since Americans have been up among the stars.
Originally published -- 11:30 AM PT
The roughly 3-hour funeral in Atlanta's historic Ebenezer Baptist Church featured speeches from President George W. Bush, President Clinton and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi ... who all spoke before Obama delivered his eulogy for the longtime Congressman and Civil Rights leader.
Obama went after Trump without naming him, saying, “Even as we sit here, there are those in power who are doing their darnedest to discourage people from voting by closing polling locations and targeting minorities, and students with restrictive ID laws and attacking our voting rights with surgical precision; even undermining the postal service in the run-up to an election that’s going to be depending on mail-in ballots so people don’t get sick."
He also invoked George Floyd's memory saying, "Today we witness with our own eyes kneeling on the necks of black Americans" as well as the civil unrest that's been going down for more than 50 straight days in Portland.
Obama had opened his tribute to Lewis, saying ... “It a great honor to be back in Ebenezer Baptist Church in the pulpit of its greatest pastor, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., to pay my respects to perhaps his finest disciple.”
Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush sat near the front row as they paid their respects. Bush spoke first, saying ... “We will never forget joining [John] in Selma, Alabama for the 50th anniversary of his march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, where we got to watch President Barack Obama thank John as one of his heroes."
President Clinton was up next and warmly quipped, "I must say, for a fella that got his start speaking to chickens John’s gotten a pretty finely organized and orchestrated and deeply deserved sendoff this last week.”
Clinton closed his remarks, saying ... “I would infect every American with whatever it was that John Lewis got as a 4-year-old kid and took through a lifetime to keep moving and keep moving in the right direction and keep bringing other people to move and to do it without hatred in his heart."
The funeral closed with the gospel family the Winans performing an original song, "Good Trouble," written for John Lewis, who famously urged young people to "get into good trouble" ... by being activists.
President Obama had awarded Lewis the Medal of Freedom in 2011, and said during that ceremony ... "Generations from now, when parents teach their children what is meant by courage, the story of John Lewis will come to mind."
The tributes began in Troy, Alabama where he was born, and carried on to Selma's infamous Edmund Pettus Bridge. His body was then flown to D.C. for a memorial in the Capitol rotunda Monday, and finally ... his public viewing Wednesday at the Georgia State Capitol, which drew thousands to pay their respects.
To coincide with his funeral, Rep. Lewis sent an essay to The New York Times 2 days before his death to be published today. In his last words, Lewis called for Americans to "answer the highest calling of your heart and stand up for what you truly believe."
He said he was inspired in his final days by the social justice movement following the killing of George Floyd and others, saying ... "You filled me with hope about the next chapter of the great American story when you used your power to make a difference in our society."
The Congressman ended with this ... "walk with the wind, brothers and sisters, and let the spirit of peace and the power of everlasting love be your guide."
John Lewis was 80.
Tekashi 6ix9ine just lined up a serious payday to perform his upcoming album online ... the rapper tells us he just inked a massive deal for a single live stream concert.
The rapper, who's about to regain his freedom, tells TMZ ... he just put pen to paper on a $5 million live-streaming deal with GlobalStreamNow for a virtual performance of his soon-to-be-released record.
Tekashi tells us he'll hit the stage Saturday, Sept. 5 at 8 PM ET for the live-streamed show, which he says will run for about an hour and feature 12 songs from his album. He'll also interact online with fans.
6ix9ine is almost done with home confinement, but is keeping the physical location of his live stream under wraps. Remember, there's still concern about revenge for snitching, so Tekashi says security will be on hand to make sure everything goes off without a hitch.
He already has some big ideas for the performance ... and based on what he's telling us, prepare for lots of eye candy, dancers, a live band and colorful displays.
6ix9ine's keeping details about the record under wraps -- he won't divulge song titles or the album name yet -- but he tells us the record is dropping in the near future.
No need to risk your health attending a live concert ... according to Tekashi, who says the only thing his fans need to do to watch his performance is download the GlobalStreamNow app.
We reached out to GlobalStreamNow, but haven't heard back.
6:26 AM PT -- 7/1 -- A rep at Gwinnett County Jail tells TMZ ... Rolfe was released at 12:27 AM after he posted bond.
1:07 PM PT -- Attorneys for the Brooks family, L. Chris Stewart and Justin Miller, tell TMZ ... while they are "disappointed that his killer was granted bond today, they understand that this is just one step in the long quest for justice for Rayshard."
They add ... "We will be diligent in our pursuit of justice for this family and will do everything in our power to make sure that Rayshard Brooks did not lose his life in vain."
12:54 PM PT -- Judge Jane C. Barwick has granted bond for Rolfe, and set it at $500,000. Half of that amount is a $250k straight bond for the felony murder charge, and the other half is a combination of bonds for all of his other charges.
The judge also imposed Rolfe’s conditions -- he must surrender his passport, wear an ankle monitor, obey a curfew, and he’s to have no contact with Brooks’ family or any other witnesses or alleged victims in the case. He must also not communicate with any Atlanta police officers.
As for the phone passcode requested by the State … Judge Barwick says that’s for another hearing, but made a point to get Rolfe’s lawyers to agree that all phone evidence must be preserved.
12:36 PM PT -- Brooks’ widow, Tomika Miller, delivered an incredibly emotional impact statement during the hearing, saying her life has been completely turned upside down since her husband was killed … she can’t eat, can’t sleep and can’t console her children.
Miller says Brooks did not deserve to die, and her family has suffered so much emotional harm since his life was taken … and she should not have to wait in fear while Rolfe is out of custody awaiting his trial.
For that reason, she’s asking the judge to deny Rolfe’s request for bond, saying … “Mentally, I am not able to handle it.”
As for the proposed bond … Rolfe’s lawyers are asking for a $50k signature bond similar to what Brosnan got.
The state wants it set much higher. It’s recommending bond of $1 million with several conditions — Rolfe must disclose his location and who he’s living with, he must give up the passcode to his phone, he must have no contact with any officers involved in the case, he must turn over communication with other officers, he must wear an ankle monitor, he must adhere to a curfew, he’s to possess no weapons, and he’s to have no communication with Brooks’ family or any witness.
The defense has issues with several of those conditions, but did say Rolfe would be willing to turn over his passport to ease any concerns of him fleeing.
Garrett Rolfe -- the fired Atlanta PD officer charged with felony murder for the fatal shooting of Rayshard Brooks -- might be released from jail Tuesday ... TMZ's live streaming his bond hearing.
Rolfe has been holed up at the Gwinnett County Jail in Georgia since his arrest, but will be appearing virtually at the Fulton County courthouse Tuesday to ask the judge to be let him out on bond. The hearing's scheduled for 11 AM PT.
According to legal docs ... Rolfe is asking to be granted a "reasonable bond" for a few reasons. First, he claims he's a "longstanding, law-abiding" citizen, and says he poses no threat to the public or potential witnesses.
Next, Rolfe claims there is "significant evidence that proves he was legally justified in using deadly force in this case." In the docs, Rolfe argues that Brooks committed multiple felonies "in resisting lawful arrest" -- including firing the TASER at him -- and Brooks' actions justified Rolfe's use of deadly force "if he reasonably believed that Mr. Brooks possessed a deadly weapon."
He claims the Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard "has declared that a TASER is a deadly weapon under Georgia law."
Finally, Rolfe argues he should be granted bond so he has an opportunity to help his lawyers prepare for the case, adding the D.A. "made several important factual misstatements to the public."
Rolfe's legal team is also expected to present character witnesses to testify that the former officer is a good man and will not present a flight risk. Some experts predict the judge will grant some sort of bond ... but at a steep price.
As we've reported ... Brooks was shot by Rolfe on the evening of June 12 during a chase in a Wendy's parking lot. Brooks had been speaking with Rolfe, along with officer Devin Brosnan, before Rolfe tried to arrest him and a struggle ensued.
Video of the incident shows Brooks had obtained one of the officers' Tasers and was attempting to flee following a failed breathalyzer test, and that's when Rolfe opened fire on him ... shooting him twice in the back.
Fulton County D.A. Howard announced 11 charges against Rolfe, including felony murder and multiple acts of aggravated assault.
While announcing the charges, Howard said Rolfe kicked Brooks while he lay dying, and added he doesn't believe Rolfe feared for his life ... noting that Rayshard had been cordial and cooperative for more than 41 minutes before he was fatally shot.
Brosnan's also been charged for his role in the incident -- with aggravated assault and failure to render timely aid ... something he and his lawyer have denied.
Originally published -- 6/30 10:44 AM PT
5:04 PM PT -- TMZ Sports talked to Elliott's attorney, Frank Salzano, who tells us Zeke is dead serious about filing a lawsuit.
"We are extremely disappointed with the irresponsible journalism and willingness of Sports Illustrated (and others) to defame Mr. Elliott in an attempt to get readers to click on their websites."
We reached out to Sports Illustrated ... so far, no word back.
"Mr. Elliott will not tolerate slanderous conduct and intends to take the appropriate legal action to address it."
When Ezekiel Elliott said he was "low-key faded" during a Twitch stream Sunday night ... HE MEANT ON BOOZE, NOT WEED!
That's according to the Dallas Cowboys running back himself who says he's pissed people are accusing him of being lit on the wrong substance.
"Bro, I'm low-key faded, bro," Elliott said before realizing his stream was still live.
"Oh no, I didn't even end my stream yet," he said shortly after.
Some assumed "faded" meant high on marijuana -- and Sports Illustrated even ran an article saying Zeke "admits to being high."
Zeke went to social media Monday to set the record straight and he sounded pretty upset ... even threatening legal action.
"Actually I was referring to the few drinks I had which I said during the live stream. Doesn’t that make this defamation? You guys will be hearing from my lawyers @SInow."
Sports Illustrated has apparently taken the article down.
Elliott's had a rough couple of weeks -- he recently tested positive for COVID-19 but says he's mostly recovered and should be cleared to workout with the team again soon.
Hydrate, bro, it's good for a low-key hangover.
Originally published -- 3:32 PM PT
10:37 AM PT -- Steyn detailed the horrific aftermath of allegedly being shot at close range with a rubber bullet by an LAPD officer ... saying he was left with a ruptured testicle, passed out and almost bled to death in the streets.
Bloom later claimed Steyn got shot when he went to help a fellow protester, and that he received no aid for his injuries from law enforcement around him.
Steyn went on to describe a discussion he had with his daughter the night before the incident, in which he told her no matter how powerful the government or police are ... we can always march peacefully to fight for our rights, and that he won't let corrupt police continue to kill people.
Bloom also called for the use of rubber bullets by the LAPD to be severely curtailed or banned, and never shot at close range. She says her legal team has filed a complaint with the Inspector General and Internal Affairs as the first step of filing a lawsuit for Steyn ... and she's seeking witnesses who were at the May 30 protest.
The protester who allegedly took rubber bullets fired by LAPD officers to his scrotum is about to unveil his lawsuit against the cops ... and call for major reform.
Bradley Steyn -- along with his attorney, Lisa Bloom -- is about to address the media in front of LAPD headquarters ... and TMZ will be live streaming.
Steyn -- a renowned South African anti-apartheid activist -- is expected to detail his account of alleged police brutality encountered during a May 30 protest over the death of George Floyd in L.A.'s Fairfax district ... and announce legal action.
He claims he was roughed up by cops who shot him with rubber bullets at point-blank range in the inner thigh and genitals ... severely injuring him. He ended up losing a testicle.
Steyn and Bloom say they will call for "specific reforms."
The press conference is scheduled to begin Thursday at 10 AM PT.
Originally Published -- 9:35 AM PT
12:05 PM PT -- George's family just paid their final respects, remembering their uncle, brother, son, cousin and nephew ... and it was super emotional.
His aunt, Kathleen McGee, spoke about the George the world doesn't know. His niece, Brooke Williams, called for justice and change. His brothers, Terrence and Philonise, said he was their Superman and talked about his final words, "I can't breathe."
10:54 AM PT -- Joe Biden’s pre-recorded message was just played at the funeral, and he addressed George’s killing -- and all the similar tragedies that have befallen black families -- by offering hope that Floyd’s death can be a turning point … one that finally helps America achieve true equality.
As we reported … Biden met with George’s grieving family privately for over an hour Monday and listened to them express their pain. The family lawyer, Ben Crump, said the gesture “meant the world” to them, and added … “Listening to one another is what will begin to heal America.”
George Floyd's loved ones will pay their final respects in Houston Tuesday ... which has officially been declared George Floyd Day in the area.
Floyd's hometown funeral is the last of four services held for him over the past few days. The ceremony will be held at Fountain of Praise Church -- just like Monday's public viewing -- and then he'll be buried in a grave beside his mother's.
TMZ will be live streaming the event at 11 AM CT. Among those in attendance will be Ahmaud Arbery's mother. As we reported ... Ahmaud's father spoke during Monday's public memorial, along with parents of Eric Garner and Michael Brown.
George's family also spoke and delivered a powerful message, saying they believe if he had known he needed to sacrifice his life to bring the world together ... he would have done it.
Of course, George's death has touched millions of people around the world, sparked international protests and demonstrations in his name ... and could lead to an overhaul of policing across the U.S., as evidenced by what's happening with the Minneapolis PD.
The cops involved in his killing have been criminally charged. Derek Chauvin is facing second-degree murder for having his knee on George's neck for nearly 9 minutes. The other 3 officers -- Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao -- have also been charged with felonies, aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.
George was killed on May 25. He was 46.
Originally Published -- 8:30 AM PT
3:56 PM PT -- George Floyd's public memorial in Houston has officially wrapped, and it ended on a powerful note with final words from family members of other notable black victims who've died at the hands of police brutality.
George's family came to the microphone first, saying they believe if he had known he needed to sacrifice his life to bring the world together ... he would have done it. Then, Eric Garner's mother, Gwen Carr, spoke, urging people -- especially the Floyd family -- to keep fighting for justice once the cameras stop rolling, going on to say that the struggle doesn't end there.
Ahmaud Arbery's dad, Marcus Arbery Sr., spoke as well ... holding nothing back and saying his son was lynched by two white men, all because of the color of his skin. He too said the fight needed to continue. Finally, Michael Brown's father, Michael Brown Sr., echoed that, telling the Floyd family to stay in touch when this is all said and done.
Monday's memorial proved even more historic after Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo declared Tuesday, June 9 George Floyd Day throughout their area.
The people of Houston are paying their respects to George Floyd in his hometown -- a public viewing will be followed by his final memorial service ... and TMZ's streaming it live.
The ceremony is being held at the Fountain of Praise Church. The public will have a chance to see George's casket ahead of the memorial service.
This marks the third of four memorials that have been planned and carried out for George -- you'll recall, he was honored in Minneapolis last week (where he was killed) and then again in North Carolina (his birth state) over the weekend. Now, he'll be remembered in H-Town, where he grew up.
The man's death has touched millions of people around the world -- having sparked international protests and demonstrations in his name ... and could lead to the dismantling of Minneapolis' police department ... and possibly other cities as well.
The cops involved in his killing have been criminally charged -- namely, Derek Chauvin ... who's facing second-degree murder for having his knee on George's neck for nearly 9 minutes. The other 3 officers, Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao, have also been charged with felonies, aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.
Rest in Peace, George.
Originally Published -- 10:02 AM PT
Customers inside a Target store were sent running for their lives after a man intentionally drove his car into the retail giant, planted fake explosives and live streamed himself in the act.
It all went down in Hammond, Louisiana Friday where cops say Walter Allbritton III used his SUV to plow through the front doors of the store before crashing into a register. A man recording the crash immediately ran through the Target warning other customers to run and get out.
Allbritton went live on Facebook to record the crash and allegedly dropped a fake explosive device in the store once his vehicle stopped.
The incident triggered a massive police response and after arresting Allbritton, cops allegedly found fake explosive devices at multiple other scenes around the area.
He's been hit with a ton of charges including terrorism, attempted aggravated arson, aggravated assault with a vehicle and manufacturing and possession of a delayed action incendiary device.
Cops say one person suffered minor injuries in the crash.
1:11 PM PT -- Al Sharpton just finished giving the eulogy and his words also brought the crowd to their feet. He said, "[George] did not die of common health conditions. He died of a common American criminal justice malfunction." Sharpton also took a shot at President Trump's recent photo-op and urged the Prez -- without ever mentioning his name -- to open the bible instead of using it as a prop. Sharpton said "George Floyd's story has been the story of black folks, because ever since 401 years ago the reason we could never be who we wanted and dreamed to being is because you kept your knee on our neck. It’s time for us to stand up in George's name and say get your knee off our necks."
Sharpton also had a message for the flawed criminal justice system: "We don’t have a problem denouncing violence, Mr governor. We don’t have a problem, Mr. Mayor, denouncing looting. But it seems like some in the criminal justice system have a problem looking at a tape and knowing there’s probable cause and it takes a long time for you to go and do what you see that you need to do."
12:59 PM PT -- Floyd's family remembered George as a magnetic presence regardless of who surrounded him. One said, "When he spoke to people, he made you feel special. They felt like they were the president because that's how he made you feel." They also remembered his big bear hugs. "No matter who you talked to, they all felt special. They never felt left out. He would embrace them. What I'll miss the most about him is his hugs. When he wrapped his arms around you, it felt like your problems would go away." They also talked about how George was a HUUUUGE LeBron James fan.
The lawyer repping Floyd's family, Ben Crump, also gave an inspiring speech that brought everyone to their feet. He invoked the names of those who fell at the hands of injustice ... from Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor to Eric Garner, Stephon Clark and Trayvon Martin. Crump also had these inspiring words justifying peaceful protests, "What we are doing is helping America be America for all Americans."
The first of four services to honor George Floyd is about to get underway in Minneapolis ... and you can follow it live right here.
Thursday's memorial service will begin at 11 AM PT at the Frank J. Lindquist Sanctuary at North Central University. It's a private event to be attended by family, friends and invitees of the Floyd family only.
Rev. Al Sharpton will deliver the eulogy.
On Saturday, a public viewing and a private memorial service will be held in Raeford, North Carolina. George was born nearby in Fayetteville, and his sister said "his family would remember him" in the state.
According to Hoke County Sheriff Hubert Peterkin ... no protesting will be allowed at this service. Peterkin said, "The memorial is about the life that Mr. George Floyd lived, and this is a time to embrace the family with expressions of love and kindness."
Finally, on Monday in Houston, there will be a public viewing at The Fountain of Praise Church, followed by a private service Tuesday. Floyd grew up in Houston but left several years ago when he moved to Minnesota.
Of course, Floyd was killed while Minneapolis PD arrested him on May 25. The video of his death -- showing ex-cop Derek Chauvin pressing his knee on Floyd's neck as he pled, "I can't breathe" -- set off a firestorm of outrage. Across the country, protests sprung up ... a few of which escalated to riots and violence.
All 4 Minneapolis PD officers involved in the incident were fired within one day, and 4 days later Chauvin was arrested -- initially charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
On Wednesday, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison added a 2nd-degree murder charge.
The 3 other ex-cops -- Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Keung and Tou Thao -- were also arrested and charged with felonies ... aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.
Originally published -- 10:20 AM PT
1:35 PM PT -- The hearing is over, and the judge concluded there is enough evidence to move forward with the case … so it will now be kicked up the the Glynn County Superior Court.
Before it ended, however, Bryan’s attorney stated in his closing argument that “any patriotic American” would have helped the McMichaels like his client did.
12:22 PM PT -- The detective, now focusing on William "Roddie" Bryan, testified that, while searching Bryan's phone, they had discovered he had used racial slurs in the past in at least one conversation with a friend.
10:15 AM PT -- The detective was asked if he believes Travis acted in self-defense. He replied saying he doesn't believe the incident was self-defense by McMichael ... it was self-defense by Arbery. The GBI officer added that he believes Ahmaud chose to get away from the men chasing him, but when he thought he couldn't escape, he chose to fight.
The court is now in recess for lunch.
9:24 AM PT -- The defense attorney questioned the detective about Arbery's mental health history. The detective said he learned of some treatment Ahmaud had received, but didn't elaborate much. The detective is also beginning to get grilled about whether this could be a case of self-defense.
9:09 AM PT -- The GBI detective says there are several more examples of Travis McMichael using racial slurs on his phone and social media. This includes an alleged Instagram comment about using violence against black people -- "blow that [n-word's] head off."
The detective also says Travis allegedly expressed online that "he loved his job 'cause he was on a boat and there weren't any n-words anywhere."
7:54 AM PT -- The detective continued to explain the pursuit of Ahmaud by the 3 men that led to him being shot by Travis, and it concluded with a bombshell.
According to the detective's testimony ... Bryan told cops he heard Travis refer to Arbery as a "f***ing n*****" after he shot him, while Ahmaud was on the ground and before police arrived at the scene.
7:15 AM PT -- The McMichaels both appeared by video for the hearing. They were both in a court at the Glynn County Jail, where they're being held without bail. William Bryan opted to not appear on camera, although he was in the same room at the jail.
A Georgia Bureau of Investigation detective took the stand and testified he's found zero evidence Ahmaud ever took anything from the under-construction home he was walking through shortly before he was shot and killed. You'll recall, Gregory McMichael claims he thought Ahmaud matched the description of a burglary suspect.
The detective gave dramatic testimony about all the turns the McMichaels and Bryan made as they drove around the neighborhood, literally chasing down Ahmaud ... and eventually started recording video of him.
The 3 defendants in Ahmaud Arbery's murder will face a judge in a preliminary hearing to determine whether there's enough evidence to move forward with the case ... and TMZ will be streaming live.
The attorneys for Gregory McMichael, Travis McMichael and William "Roddie" Bryan Jr. are slated to appear at Glynn County Magistrate Court in Georgia ... nearly a month after the McMichaels were arrested for murder and denied bond and 13 days after Bryan, who recorded the deadly encounter, was arrested.
The alleged murderers will appear in court via teleconference. All 3 have been charged with murder in the February 23 death of Arbery, who was simply jogging down the street when he was stopped and confronted by the McMichaels. A struggle ensued and Travis shot Arbery. He fell to the ground and died.
Travis and Gregory were arrested for murder May 8. They later faced a judge and were denied bond. Bryan, who recorded the incident, was arrested 14-days later and was slapped with charges of felony murder and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment.
As we reported ... authorities allege Bryan "did attempt to confine and detain Ahmaud Arbery without legal authority, by attempting to confine ..." adding, Bryan was "utilizing his vehicle on multiple occasions during the above time frame, with the intention of confining and detaining Arbery."
So, the felony is false imprisonment, and if such a felony results in someone's death, that person can be charged with felony murder.
Bryan has claimed he was simply a witness and had no involvement in the killing. He also said he feared for his life after the video was leaked. The handling of the case has drawn scrutiny -- with good reason -- prompting the Georgia Attorney General to formally request the Justice Department get to the bottom of what happened.
We're also told bail may become a bone of contention.
The hearing is set to begin at 6:30 AM PT.
Originally Published -- 6:00 AM PT
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
3:10 PM PT -- The two NASA astronauts, Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley, have finally disembarked the Dragon capsule ... and they're already looking forward to Saturday's rescheduled launch.
1:23 PM PT -- Elon is going to have to wait a little longer for his company to make history ... SpaceX says Wednesday's launch is OFF due to "unfavorable weather in the flight path."
SpaceX pulled the plug minutes before the rocket carrying astronauts to the ISS was about to blastoff from Florida ... and the next launch is tentatively scheduled for Saturday at 3:22 PM ET.
10:59 AM PT -- The astronauts are already loaded into the capsule and are going through safety protocols. As of now, all systems are go!
Elon Musk is looking to make more space history ... SpaceX is attempting to launch 2 NASA astronauts to the International Space Station ... and TMZ will be live streaming the mission.
Dubbed Demo-2, the mission marks the first time ever a commercial aerospace company is sending humans into Earth's orbit. The milestone is a decade in the making, as human spaceflight finally returns to American soil.
The launch of SpaceX's Crew Dragon is set for 4:33 PM ET from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida ... and the Falcon 9 rocket carrying the capsule is taking off from the historic Pad 39A, which famously launched Apollo 11 way back in 1969, the first moon landing.
SpaceX and NASA are streaming the launch from takeoff all the way until Crew Dragon docks with the ISS, and it should take the capsule about 19 hours to travel from Florida to the space station.
The two veteran astronauts aboard the Dragon spacecraft are 49-year-old Robert Behnken and 53-year-old Douglas Hurley.
NASA says it wants to keep the astronauts on the ISS until another Crew Dragon capsule is ready to send more humans on SpaceX's next mission. Robert and Douglas say they're expecting to spend 1 to 3 months in space before returning home in Crew Dragon, which will land in the Atlantic Ocean.
SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket will launch the Crew Dragon into Earth's upper atmosphere, where the capsule will separate and use its own thrusters to make its way to the ISS. The capsule is fully autonomous, so the astronauts won't have much to do, unless something crazy happens. The rocket, meanwhile, should land on a drone ship after launch.
SpaceX has a $2.6 BILLION contract with NASA ... and the launch marks the first time the United States is sending its own astronauts into space since 2011, when the Space Shuttle Program ended.
Oh, and the capsule has a toilet, which could come in handy during the 19-hour ride.
Originally published -- 9:47 AM PT