- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 4, 2020

Senate Democrats held a moment of silence Thursday in the Capitol’s Emancipation Hall to honor George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, whose deaths have sparked nationwide protests and renewed debate on racial tensions and policing practices.

“We thank you for this nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all human begins are created equal,” said Senate Chaplain Barry Black. “We come today to stand in solidarity with courageous Americans who are peacefully protesting against racial injustice. … We come today to acknowledged that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

Sen. Cory Booker, New Jersey Democrat, led Thursday’s ceremony, asking his colleagues to be silent for 8 minutes and 46 seconds — the same amount of time a white police officer knelt on George Floyd’s neck in Minnesota.

Derek Chauvin, the now-former Minnesota police officer who knelt on Mr. Floyd’s neck, was charged with second-degree murder Wednesday when Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison raised the degree of the initial third-degree murder charge.

The other former officers on the scene — Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng, and Tou Thao — were charged Wednesday with aiding and abetting murder and aiding and abetting manslaughter.

Ms. Taylor, an EMT, was shot multiple times after officers entered her apartment with a no-knock search warrant in March, sparking an FBI investigation. The department claims plain-clothes officers identified themselves and opened fire after Ms. Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, shot first.

Charges were ultimately dropped against Mr. Walker, who argued he and Ms. Taylor believed they were victims of a home invasion. The officers involved have not been charged.

Mr. Arbery was shot to death in February by two white men who claimed they suspected him of being a burglar caught on surveillance sometime before. Gregory McMichael and Travis McMichael were arrested in early May and charged with felony murder and aggravated assault.

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