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WATCH LIVE: Justice Department Holds Press Conference Amid Nationwide Protests

Attorney General William Barr, pictured in the Oval Office on May 28, is holding a press conference on Thursday with other Justice Department leaders.
AFP via Getty Images
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Attorney General William Barr, pictured in the Oval Office on May 28, is holding a press conference on Thursday with other Justice Department leaders.

The Justice Department is holding a press conference Thursday amid nationwide protests over racial inequality and the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Floyd died after being pinned down at the neck by a police officer, prompting massive protests across the country. The now-fired officer, Derek Chauvin, has been charged with second-degree murder.

Attorney General William Barr will be joined Thursday by FBI Director Christopher Wray, U.S. Marshals Director Donald Washington, Bureau of Prisons Director Michael Carvajal; Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Acting Director Regina Lombardo; and Drug Enforcement Administration Acting Administrator Timothy Shea.

The press conference is scheduled to begin at 12:30 p.m. ET. Watch it live here.

Barr has been leading the federal response to the protests, some of which had been violent. Barr has sent specialized teams of federal agents to help control protests in Washington, D.C., and Miami, and the FBI is setting up command posts in cities across the country.

In D.C., Barr was on the scene Monday night ahead of the largely peaceful protest in Lafayette Square park that was broken up by law enforcement. His presence came in advance of President Trump walking over to St. John's Episcopal Church, where Trump posed with a Bible. The church had suffered damage in a fire the night before.

The actions of police, who cleared aggressively cleared the protesters clad in riot gear, have been criticized. The U.S. Park Police announced it had assigned to administrative duties two officers who were seen assaulting a TV news crew from Australia.

The Park Police says it "will always support peaceful assembly but cannot tolerate violence to citizens or officers or damage to our nation's resources that we are entrusted to protect." It says officers had been assaulted with bottles of frozen water and other projectiles.
Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Erica Peterson is WFPL's Director of News and Programming.