Friday morning news – June 5, 2020


Hundreds gather for Floyd memorial in Minneapolis » AUDIO: [SOUND OF FLOYD MEMORIAL]

Gospel music greeted mourners in Minneapolis Thursday. Hundreds gathered in front of a golden casket to honor the memory of George Floyd. 

Floyd’s brother Philonise remembered how George looked out for his family. 

PHILONISE: He was teaching us how to be a man because he was in this world already before us and he gave us a lot of great lessons. He would stand up for his family and friends, and I want you guys to know that he would stand up for any injustice everywhere. 

Those gathered stood in silence for 8 minutes and 46 seconds—the same length of time a white police officer was seen in video footage with his knee pinned to Floyd’s neck.  

The service was the first in a series of memorials set for three cities over six days. 

In New York, thousands attended a memorial gathering Thursday in a Brooklyn park. 

AUDIO: [SOUND OF MEMORIAL]

A judge on Thursday set bail at $750,000 each for the three fired Minneapolis police officers charged with aiding and abetting murder in Floyd’s death.

Investigator: Shooter used racist slur as Arbery lay dying » And in Georgia, three white men accused of murder in the February death of an unarmed black man, Ahmaud Arbery faced a judge Thursday for a preliminary hearing. 

Special Agent Richard Dial with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation described the suspects’ attempt to capture Arbery. 

DIAL: You see Mr. Arbery running along the passenger’s side, and again you see Travis McMichael has repositioned himself along the front of the truck. Mr. Arbery then comes to that position, sees Travis McMichael, then makes a decision and turns and decides to engage Travis McMichael.   
(Questioner): What happens after that?
DIAL: Um, as he turns and goes toward Travis McMicael, you hear a shot. 

Dial also recounted a statement one of the suspects, William Brian, gave to police. Brian told investigators that the man who fired the fatal shots, Travis McMichael, used a racial slur as he stood over Arbery’s body. 

Travis McMichael told police that he fired his shotgun in self defense after Arbery refused his order to get on the ground. Two bullets entered Arbery’s chest. Another struck his hand.

Dial testified that he believed Arbery was acting out of self-defense, adding—quote—“When he couldn’t get away, he chose to fight.”

Officials charged Travis McMichael, his father Greg McMichael, and William Bryan, with murder in early May after the state took over the investigation. 

American freed from Iranian prison » U.S. Navy veteran Michael White is a free man, after being jailed in Iran for more than a year. 

White traveled to Iran in 2018. Shortly after he arrived, the Iranian government had him arrested. Officials charged him with insulting Iran’s Supreme Leader and posting private information online. They sentenced White to 13 years behind bars. 

But Iran freed him after the United States released an Iranian scientist detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. U.S. officials insist White was not freed in a prisoner swap. 

Sweden’s top epidemiologist defends country’s COVID-19 strategy while conceding faults » Sweden’s chief epidemiologist is defending his country’s controversial COVID-19 strategy while conceding that if he had it to do over, he’d handle it differently. WORLD’s Anna Johansen reports. 

ANNA JOHANSEN, REPORTER: Unlike other European countries, Sweden did not impose lockdowns, but instead relied on citizens’ sense of civic duty, asking them to take precautions. 

That strategy avoided an economic shutdown, but it resulted in one of the highest per capita COVID-19 death rates in the world.

In a press conference this week, Anders Tegnell of the Public Health Agency said he does not believe that “the Swedish strategy was wrong and should be changed.”

But that came after more contrite comments to Swedish radio in which Tegnell said there is “quite clearly” room for improvement in Sweden’s approach.

And when asked if the country’s death toll has made him reconsider his strategy, he said “yes, absolutely.”

Tegnell added, “If we were to encounter the same disease again,” knowing what we know today, “I think we would settle on doing something in between what Sweden did and what the rest of the world has done.”

But hours later at the news conference, he explained that his previous statement was simply “an admission that we always can become better.” 

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Anna Johansen. 

Thousands defy Hong Kong police, gather for Tiananmen Square remembrance » AUDIO: [SOUND FROM HONG KONG] 

Thousands gathered in Hong Kong Thursday night in defiance of a government ban. They broke through barricades, pouring into Victoria Park. 

Many held candles, others lit up their phones to mark the 31st anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre in Beijing.

Police said they banned the yearly candlelight vigil for the first time over coronavirus concerns. But many saw the move as more evidence of Beijing’s push to erase democratic freedoms in Hong Kong. 

Earlier Thursday, the Hong Kong legislature passed a law making it a crime to disrespect China’s national anthem. Pro-democracy lawmakers disrupted the proceeding twice to try to prevent the vote.

NBA Board of Governors approves plan to resume season » The NBA’s Board of Governors has approved a plan to restart the pro-basketball season in late July, but with only 22 of the league’s 30 teams. 

All games would be played at Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando—without fans. The format calls for each team playing eight games to determine playoff seeding. It could also use a play-in tournament for the final spot in each conference. 

The players association has a call today to approve the plan as well.


(AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews) Brandon Williams, left, is embraced during a memorial for his uncle George Floyd at North Central University, Thursday, June 4, 2020, in Minneapolis. Floyd died May 25 after being restrained by police in Minneapolis. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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