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Thousands mourn George Floyd in Texas amid calls for reform

HOUSTON — The last chance for the public to say goodbye to George Floyd drew thousands of mourners Monday to a church in Houston where he grew up, as his death two weeks ago continues to stoke protests in America and beyond over racial injustice, and spurred France to abruptly halt the use of police choke holds.

In a reflection of the weight of the moment, the service drew the families of black victims in other high-profile killings whose names have become seared in America’s conversation over race — among them Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Ahmaud Arbery and Trayvon Martin.

“It just hurts,’’ said Philonise Floyd, George Floyd’s brother, sobbing as he ticked off some of their names outside The Fountain of Praise church. ‘‘We will get justice. We will get it. We will not let this door close.’’

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Under a blazing Texas sun, mourners wearing T-shirts with Floyd’s picture or the words “I Can’t Breathe” — the phrase he said repeatedly while pinned down by a Minneapolis police officer — waited for hours to pay their respects as Floyd’s body, dressed in a brown suit, lay in an open gold-colored casket. Some sang “Lean on Me’’ and Houston’s police chief bumped fists and embraced others in line.

Bracy Burnett approached Floyd’s casket wearing a homemade denim face mask scrawled with “8:46’’ — the length of time prosecutors say Floyd, who was black, was pinned to the ground under a white officer’s knee before he died.

“All black people are not criminals. All white people are not racists. All cops are not bad. And ignorance comes in all colors. That’s what I thought about when I viewed the body,’’ Burnett, 66, said.

Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott was among the first to view the casket, wearing a striped gold-and-crimson tie, the colors of Floyd’s Houston high school, where Floyd was a standout football player.

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“George Floyd is going to change the arc of the future of the United States. George Floyd has not died in vain. His life will be a living legacy about the way that America and Texas responds to this tragedy,” Abbott said.

Associated Press

France’s interior minister bans chokeholds by police

PARIS — French police will no longer be allowed to use chokeholds during arrests, the interior minister said Monday, banning the immobilization technique after it came under renewed criticism following George Floyd’s death in the United States.

With the French government under increasing pressure to address accusations of brutality and racism within the police force, Interior Minister Christophe Castaner announced Monday that “the method of seizing the neck via strangling will be abandoned and will no longer be taught in police schools.”

He said that during an arrest, “it will be now forbidden to push on the back of the neck or the neck.”

“No arrest should put lives at risk,’’ he said.

Associated Press

Minneapolis would require insurance for officers

MINNEAPOLIS — Several advocacy groups presented their own recommendations Monday to reform law enforcement practices in Minneapolis, a day after the majority of the City Council voiced support for abolishing the police department entirely in the wake of George Floyd’s death.

Minnesota’s Council on American-Islamic Relations, two Black Lives Matter chapters and the Minneapolis nonprofit Communities United Against Police Brutality were among the groups that gathered Monday at the site of the burned Third Precinct station to present more than 40 recommendations.

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Under the list of recommendations, officers would be required to carry their own professional liability insurance, an idea that aims to hike out-of-pocket insurance rates for officers who engage in high-risk conduct. Some of the worst offenders would become uninsurable and forbidden from working as a police officer.

The groups also are seeking an independent agency to investigate and prosecute critical incidents involving police; mandatory psychological testing for officers; and community participation in negotiating police union contracts. They would end the use of no-knock warrants, while banning military equipment in community policing as well as neck restraints and chokeholds.

Associated Press

Pa. House legislators demand action on policing

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Black Democrats in the Pennsylvania House preempted the day’s business to call for changes to policing, displaying a Black Lives Matter banner and commandeering the podium for about 90 minutes at the start of a voting session Monday.

The dramatic takeover went on pause when the Republican speaker said that he would consider putting proposals up for votes and that he supports a special session the protesters had sought to consider the legislation.

The protesters unfurled the banner at the dais and vowed they would not leave without movement on proposals to ban chokeholds, improve tracking of officers who have engaged in misconduct, and widen access to police video.

Associated Press

Police chief steps down in Oregon as protests continue

SALEM, Ore. — Portland’s police chief resigned on Monday, just six months into her job, amid criticism of her department’s handling of protests in Oregon’s largest city. A Black lieutenant replaced her.

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The shakeup came as police have been sharply criticized for using what has been called inappropriate force against some protesters as huge demonstrations continue in Portland.

New Police Chief Chuck Lovell and community leaders of color credited Jami Resch, a white woman, for stepping down as George Floyd protests roiled the city.

Resch told the news conference that Lovell is ‘‘the exact right person at the exact right moment” to head the police department.

Resch had replaced Danielle Outlaw, who was Portland’s first Black female police chief and who became Philadelphia police commissioner in February.

Resch said she suggested the shakeup to Mayor Ted Wheeler, who said he supported Lovell to lead the department as it moves through needed reforms.

Associated Press

Man arrested after car drove through demonstrators in Va.

A self-identified leader of the Ku Klux Klan was arrested after driving through peaceful protesters in Richmond late Sunday afternoon, prosecutors said.

The man, Harry H. Rogers, 36, of Hanover County, has been charged with assault and battery, attempted malicious wounding and destruction of property with intent, according to online court records and prosecutors.

He is being held without bond. There were no fatalities reported as a result of the incident. The incident remains under investigation.

Commonwealth’s Attorney for Henrico County Shannon Taylor said her office is investigating whether Rogers should also face hate-crime charges.

Rogers reportedly admitted to being a Ku Klux Klan leader and ‘‘propagandist for Confederate ideology,’’ Taylor said in the statement.

Washington Post