President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump visited the St. John Paul II National Temple in Washington, DC today, June 2. According to the White House press office, Trump will later Tuesday sign a presidential decree promoting religious freedom internationally. Meanwhile, a wave of protests continues in the country, during which at least five American officers were shot and wounded, reports Reuters.
Four policemen were injured in clashes with rioters in St. Louis, while another one was injured in Las Vegas. Details of the condition of the wounded police officers are not specified.
In addition, two police officers were hit by a car during a demonstration in Buffalo, New York State, on Monday night. The driver and passengers of the vehicle were reportedly detained. It remains to be seen whether the incident was deliberate.
Trump condemned the murder in Minneapolis of African-American George Floyd, who had triggered protests across the country, and promised to seek justice. However, he stressed that peaceful demonstrators should not be drowned out by an “angry crowd”. The President also threatened to use the armed forces and leave the army to the mutineers if the unrest continued.
Last Monday, Trump visited the historic St. John’s Church near the White House after law enforcement agencies cleared the area of the demonstrators with tear gas. Trump’s Bible photo session at the church drew criticism, including from the Presiding Bishop Michael Curry of the Washington D.C. Episcopal Diocese, who tweeted that the president had “used the church building and the Bible for political purposes.
The day before, June 1, the results of a second autopsy conducted at the request of the Floyd family were published. Experts concluded that the death was the result of “mechanical asphyxiation”, that is, physical exposure that violated the flow of oxygen. The report states that three police officers were involved in the death. The Hennepin County M.E.’s report, published on Monday, also states that Floyd’s death was the result of violent strangulation. It is also noted that a 46-year-old African American suffered from heart disease, fentanyl intoxication, and the recent use of methamphetamine. The 44-year-old police officer, Derek Chauvin, was charged with murder while pressing Floyd’s neck to the ground with his knee for several minutes. The other three policemen involved in the arrest have not been charged.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Army said Tuesday it has upgraded the defense of the Department of Defense building and other military facilities in the Federal District of Columbia (Washington). An additional 1,500 National Guard soldiers from other states will be redeployed to the country’s capital today. A total of 18,000 members of the National Guard assist law enforcement agencies in 29 states.