US braced for more protests after autopsy shows George Floyd asphyxiated

Widespread demonstrations over death of African-American at hands of police

America was braced for further protests as an autopsy report commissioned by the family of George Floyd found that he died from asphyxiation while being restrained by a police officer last week.

The report said the cause of death was homicide “caused by asphyxia due to neck and back compression that led to a lack of blood flow to the brain,” contradicting an initial report released by county officials last week.

The report emerged as public outrage continued over the death of Mr Floyd, the latest in a history of unarmed African-American men to die at the hands of white police officers, prompting widespread demonstrations across the United States and the world.

Curfews were in place in dozens of cities across America again on Monday night following violent scenes over the weekend.


New York governor Andrew Cuomo announced a curfew for the city and deployed 4,000 extra guards to the street after hundreds were arrested at Sunday night's demonstrations.

In Washington DC, mayor Muriel Bowser imposed a 7pm curfew, following chaotic scenes beside the White House while the president was inside. Cars were overturned and set alight, while a fire broke out in the historic St John's Church in Lafayette Square. Looting and destruction continued well into the night in Georgetown and residential areas in the north west of the city.

Peaceful protests

In Atlanta, protests took place for a third consecutive evening, though peaceful protests also took place in cities across the state of Georgia including Augusta and Savannah, as Georgia remained under a state of emergency.

Earlier in the day, mayor of Atlanta Keisha Lance Bottoms announced that two police officers had been fired and three switched to desk duty, due to "excessive use of force" on Saturday night after two local students were pulled out of a vehicle.

Los Angeles witnessed protests and looting throughout Sunday. Widespread looting and attacks on businesses unfolded in the Santa Monica area, while police cars were set alight in other parts of the city. Police began arresting people still on the streets after the 6 pm curfew.

As states grappled with some of the largest mass protests in decades, US president Donald Trump told governors during a conference call that Minnesota was a “laughing-stock” across the world as he rebuked governors for being too weak in dealing with the protesters.

"I said, 'No one's laughing here,'" Minnesota's governor Tim Walz told reporters, when asked about the call. "We're in pain. We're crying. We saw a man lose his life."

Convulsed America

Mr Walz’s state has been at the centre of the protests that have convulsed America in the wake of Mr Floyd’s death after being restrained by a white police officer in the Minnesotan city of Minneapolis.

Gretchen Whitmer, the governor of Michigan, called Mr Trump's comments "deeply disturbing," and said the administration was "determined to sow the seeds of hatred and division."

But White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany defended Mr Trump’s handling of the protests, pushing back on suggestions that he should make an address to the nation. “Plain and simple, these criminal acts are not protests. They are not statements. These are crimes that harm innocent American citizens,” she said about the demonstrations.

Suzanne Lynch

Suzanne Lynch

Suzanne Lynch, a former Irish Times journalist, was Washington correspondent and, before that, Europe correspondent