By Ian Collier, Sky News
THE US President has vowed to deploy the military unless states halt violent protests following the death of George Floyd.
Donald Trump was speaking as tear gas was fired on demonstrators close to the White House in Washington DC.
He said he was mobilising all federal resources to suppress protests that have erupted since the death of Mr Floyd during his arrest in Minneapolis.
“First, we are ending the riots and lawlessness that has spread throughout our country. We will end it now.
“Today I have recommended to every governor to deploy the National Guard in sufficient numbers that we dominate the streets.
“If a city or state refuses to take the actions that are necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them.”
Following his statement, Mr Trump walked to the St John’s Episcopal Church, known as The Church of the Presidents, which suffered fire damage in a protest this week.
Holding a Bible, he said: “We have the greatest country in the world. We’re going to keep it safe.”
New York governor Andrew Cuomo accused the president of using police and National Guard to force back protesters who had gathered in Lafayette Park so he could walk to the church.
He tweeted: “He used the military to push out a peaceful protest so he could have a photo op at a church.
“It’s all just a reality TV show for this president. Shameful.”
Protests over the killing, which have spread across the US, continued elsewhere on Monday night, with reports that a police officer had been shot – and another involved in a shooting – in Las Vegas.
The police force said both attacks took place on Las Vegas Boulevard, but gave no further details about the officers’ conditions.
Elsewhere, four police officers were shot after a peaceful protest in St Louis turned violent in the downtown area.
Police Chief John Hayden told reporters during an emotional news conference that two officers were shot in the leg, one in the arm and another in the foot – but they were “thankfully alive”. They were taken to hospital and their injuries are not thought to be life-threatening.
He said about 200 people started to go “crazy” outside the police headquarters and threw fireworks and rocks at officers and looted in the area.
“Mr Floyd’s death was tragic… we don’t understand all the destruction and theft,” he said. “Folks came down here just to steal, just to destroy property and just to hurt officers.
Mr Floyd, aged 46, died after a police officer was filmed kneeling on his neck for almost nine minutes during his arrest for allegedly using a fake $20 note in a shop, despite him warning that he could not breathe.
Earlier, the family of Mr Floyd urged people to go out and vote rather than turn to violence over his death.
Demanding justice for his brother, Terrence Floyd told a crowd at a makeshift memorial in Minneapolis that the demonstrations of the past few days across America “will not bring my brother back”.
And he pleaded: “Stop thinking your voice don’t matter, and vote.”
The plea came just hours before a medical examiner’s report classified Mr Floyd’s death as homicide, saying: “Decedent experienced a cardiopulmonary arrest while being restrained by law enforcement officers.”
Its release followed a post-mortem commissioned by the family, which found that Mr Floyd died of asphyxiation due to neck and back compression.
While held down by Derek Chauvin, who has been sacked and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter over the incident, Mr Floyd repeatedly told the police officer: “I can’t breathe.”
Top: Mr Trump says ‘we need to dominate the streets.’ Photo: Sky News
WATCH CBC NEWS VIDEO BELOW: