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Violent Protests, Fires In Minneapolis Over George Floyd Death; Trump Silent As 100,000+ Americans Die From Coronavirus. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired May 28, 2020 - 07:00   ET



OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This was a two-storey building. There was a whole other section that was completely engulfed in flames and then eventually collapsed.

Now, you go across the street from this building. You see how the police are set up in the middle of the -- you see how police are set up in the middle of the road right here. They have formed a little bit of a roadblock to prevent people from going across the street into literally what was an active scene of fire this morning.

And then across the street is the parking lot where we see some grocery stores that have been looted. And, again, this is what happened as the protests began, largely peaceful in at least two locations across the city, and then it devolved into riots.

Now, you go into the central reason that where we are seeing the protests. It is for the death of George Floyd but also how that death unfolded. We have seen that while the officers were fired pretty quickly, the four officers involved, within 24 hours of this happening, the family says they want more than that. And that is the mentality that we've seen echoed throughout the protesters.

We have seen the mayor of Minneapolis chiming on that as well, saying that these officers needs to be charged and at least the arresting one, he does not understand why that officer is not behind bars.

We do know that the investigation is still playing out at the FBI level, at the state level and beyond trying to gather all the facts. But every minute that goes by without at least an announcement some charges, the people here who were restless. And, again, the central point is how George Floyd went from in a matter of minutes pleading for help to what eventually became an eternal silence. Alisyn?

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN NEW DAY: Omar Jimenez, thank you very much for being on the ground for us. We will check back to you.

Joining us now is Philonise Floyd, the brother of George Floyd, and their family's attorney, Benjamin Crump. Philonise, thank you very much for taking the time to be with us this morning. We're really sorry for your family's loss. We know that you are all deeply grieving right now. But when you see what has happened overnight in Minneapolis because of the anger and outrage about your brother's death, what are your thoughts this morning?

PHILONISE FLOYD, BROTHER OF GEORGE FLOYD: Well, I want everybody to understand that it's just like a child searching for attention. They're doing everything positive and nobody is listening. And all of a sudden they start acting out. So I want everybody to be peaceful right now. But people are torn and hurt because they're tired of seeing black men die constantly over and over again.

You know, I spoke to Eric Garner's mom and Reverend Al Sharpton and her son couldn't breathe. He kept saying he couldn't breathe. And my brother said the same thing, that he couldn't breathe. And nobody cared. And these officers, they need to be arrested right now. They need to be arrested and held accountable about everything. Because these people want justice right now.

CAMEROTA: What is justice for your family. What does that look like?

FLOYD: Justice is these guys need to be arrested, convicted of murder and given the death penalty. They need to, because they took my brother's life. He will never get that back. I will never see him again. My family will never see him again. His kids will never see him again.

CAMEROTA: Have you watched that video of your brother's arrest?

FLOYD: I watched the video. It was hard. But I had to watch the video. And as I watched the video, those four officers, they executed my brother. The paramedics, they drug my brother across the ground without administering CPR. They showed no empathy, no compassion. Nobody out there showed it. Nobody.

CAMEROTA: It's just hard to understand what was happening. I mean, it's hard to understand what they were thinking and what they were doing in that video. Your brother was at most suspected of a non- violent minor crime, and so when you watch that, what does your family -- how has your family tried to process what you saw on that video?

FLOYD: Right now, it's hard. We're pulling together, constantly a lot of crying going on for justice. You know, it's just -- you can't go anywhere.


Every time you look up, you see it T.V. his lifeless body. They just drag it across the ground. And we have pain, a lot of pain. And everybody has pain right now. That's why all these things are happening. It's just -- if anything can work out in a whole another place right now, I wouldn't want this for anybody else. I'm just tired of seeing black people dying for anything.

CAMEROTA: Yes. You're not alone. You're not alone. I mean, we hear that. We hear that so often in the past. Since your brother's death, so many people obviously that don't even know your family have come out with that same sentiment, that enough is enough, that something has gone terribly, terribly wrong.

Mr. Crump, the mayor of Minneapolis has said he wants to see this officer arrested and charged. Have you been in touch with the prosecutor's office?

BENJAMIN CRUMP, FLOYD FAMILY ATTORNEY: We have been in contact with the mayor's office, the prosecutor's office and we have not talked to the prosecutor. But they're scheduled to talk with us today, if not, in the next hours because the family wants to know when the medical examiner will be finished with their autopsy because his family wants his body back to give him a proper funeral and also to have an independent autopsy.

Because they do not trust, Alisyn, the City of Minneapolis after they witnessed their brother on the ground begging, pleading for his breath, saying I can't breathe, but yet, they offered him no humanity by keeping their knee on his neck while members of the public are the only ones that were trying to de-escalate the situation and save his life. It was the police who continued to escalate the situation by keeping the knee on the neck for over eight minutes.

I mean, that is unconscionable when you think about a person who is supposed to be a professionally trained police officer hearing the pleas of a citizen who they have swore to protect and serve but to keep their knee on this, like Philonise was saying, is it two justice systems in America, one for black America, one more white America. We can't have that. We have to have equal justice in for the United States of America. And that's what I think the protesters are crying out for. We want justice.

CAMEROTA: Philonise, I hear how hard it is for you to listen to Mr. Crump describe what was happening on the ground there.

FLOYD: Yes, ma'am. It just hurts right now. Just -- I'm constantly seeing it. This is going to be forever. This is not a one-time thing. It's going to last forever. It hurts constantly hurts a lot, you know? I grew up with him. That was my oldest brother. I loved him. I'm never going to get my brother back.

CAMEROTA: I'm sorry.

FLOYD: We need justice. We need justice. Those four officers need to be arrested. They executed my brother in broad daylight. People had to feel that. People had to see that. People pleaded for his life. Kids were out there seeing this. Nobody wants to witness that, nobody. Nobody should have to witness that.

And I understand and I see why a lot of people are doing a lot of different things around the world. I don't want them to lash out like that, but I can't stop people right now, because they have pain. They have the same pain that I feel. I want everything to be peaceful. But I can't make everybody be peaceful. I can't. It's hard.

CAMEROTA: I mean, it's not your responsibility, Philonise, to make everybody be peaceful. We hear you say that that's what you want and that that's what you would prefer from the protesters, obviously.

Mr. Crump, the prosecutor says the videotape death of Mr. Floyd, which has outraged us and people across the country deserve the best we can give and that is what this office will do. If he's outraged, then how long can it be until you see charges filed? Does that tell you he's inclined to charge these officers?

CRUMP: Well, we haven't heard directly from the prosecutor, so we don't know what he's inclined to do.


We know that it shouldn't take long, Alisyn, because we've all seen the video. We've seen the probable cause. People and Philonise in our communities, we know people get arrested with far less probable cause than having a video.

I mean, it was the same in the Ahmaud Arbery case and they still took all that time. We don't want eight days to pass. He had that knee on his neck for eight minutes. We think he should have been arrested that day, the officers. So every day that passes, Alisyn, is like another day of injustice, not just for this family, but for people who care about equal justice in America. And so, we want justice immediately. We think justice delayed is justice denied and that's what you see.

And I want to say this, Alisyn, about the protesters. I've been in communications with people, like Tamika Mallory who's on the streets there in Minneapolis who have untilled (ph) justice. And she says to the protesters, be very aware of who is beside you because they know that there are some people who are instigators there that are not there trying to have peaceful protests but are trying to instigate riots for their ulterior motives. We don't need that. We need people focused on getting justice for George Floyd.

CAMEROTA: Philonise, I want you to have the last word. What's your message for police? What do you want the rest of us to know about what your family is experiencing?

FLOYD: To the police, I want them to get everything right. Start doing their jobs the right way because I haven't been seeing it. Years and years down the line, I haven't been seeing it at all. I'm tired of seeing black men die, black lives matter too. I want it --

CAMEROTA: I'm sorry, Philonise. I know this has gone on so long and your family is just the latest -- just the latest deep wound with all of the pain that you've been feeling.

FLOYD: I want justice. I just want justice.

CAMEROTA: Well, maybe that justice -- maybe the beginning of that justice will come today. We just don't know. But the prosecutor says that they are working around the clock on this and that they are working expeditiously, is his word, and that they will have an answer soon.

Mr. Crump, please, please keep us posted if you talk to the prosecutor today and what happens. And, Philonise, we're so sorry for your loss. Please give our sympathies to your family too and let us know how we can help you.

FLOYD: Yes. Thank you.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN NEW DAY: Joining us now, Bakari Sellers, CNN Political Commentator and author of a new book, My Vanishing Country, and former NFL wide receiver and journalist Donte Stallworth.

Gentlemen, it's not easy to watch Philonise Floyd talk about his brother, but think about how hard it is to watch the video of his brother dying while pleading for his life. And, Bakari, a couple words that Philonise used again and again, tired. He's tired of this and then nobody is listening.

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. Ella Baker said, until the killing of black men, black mother's sons become as important to the rest of the country as the killing of a white mother's son, we who believe in freedom cannot until rest until this happens. She said that in 1964. And we're still echoing those same cries today. It was hard to listen to that interview.

It's just so much pain. You get so tired. We have black children. I have a 15-year-old daughter. I mean, what do I tell her? I'm raising a son. I have no idea what to tell him. It's just -- it's hard being black in this country when your life is not valued and people are worried about the protesters and the looters.

And it's just people who are frustrated, who, for far too long, have not had their voices heard. And so you put me on after his brother. And I feel like I lost my brother.


And nobody cares about the video. They had a video with Ahmaud Arbery and two different solicitors looked at that video and declined to press charges.

And so for those with a mistrust of the system, it's very hard for us to do anything else other than just to cry this morning and then hope and pray that we're not sitting next to Ben Crump next one day. That's about all we can do.

BERMAN: Bakari, your father was shot more than 50 years ago, 50 years ago. And we're sitting here this morning and watching it happen again. So where do you find the hope? How do you tell your son and daughter that it's going to get better?

SELLERS: I don't know. I mean, maybe Donte has the answer. I don't know. I mean, I tried to keep hope. I try to keep faith. I keep telling my children they can be free. You know, I want my kids to one day be able to grow up and the host of New Day. I want them to be able to be a United States senator or a president. But what happens if they get pulled over and they comply? What happens if they get judged by a father and a son who just are on a good old- fashioned Georgia lynching? What happens if they get served a no-knock warrant, like Brianna Taylor? I mean, what happens if that -- how do you raise your children in this America to understand you're free when we see these images of them being gunned down in the street and the knee in the back of the neck for eight minutes like a dog?

So I don't have that answer other than every day, I just tell them I love them. That's all I can do.

BERMAN: Donte, I'm not sure there is an answer necessarily. Although you pointing to Angela Davis who says it's not enough to be non- racist, you have to be anti-racist.

DONTE STALLWORTH, JOURNALIST AND FORMER NFL WIDE RECEIVER: Yes. I think that's one of the things that is the hardest to learn for people who are not in the space of learning about racism in this country. There are a lot of people who believe that racism ended after the civil war. They say that we fought a whole war over racism, yet they don't acknowledge the fact that the confederacy was there to remain, to keep the institution of slavery alive.

After that, we have reconstruction and then you had Jim Crow, you had the civil rights era. And it seems like things people have been talking about back in those times and especially during the civil rights era are still happening today, where Martin Luther King was forced to discuss the riots that were happening, they blamed him for the riots. And Martin Luther King said that the language of the unheard is why these riots are happening and that America has failed to listen to the cries and to the promises of freedom and justice that they have promised since the founding of this country.

But yet, as we still see today, we still see African-Americans are not treated as human. As Bakari said, I have friends and family who have kids of all ages and when your children are leaving home, when they go to school, we never know if they're going to come home safe. And that's not an exaggeration. That's a real, honest fear, that's a palpable fear that we've seen and unfortunately, even on its video, it seems not to matter.

Because then there will be detractors, the people that are in opposition of freedom and justice will look through anyone's background, whether if it's something that happened in the past, they will try to bring this person down and make excuses, make excuses for the reason why this person died, even when they're on the ground face down, with three officers on top of them, when they're telling you they can't breathe. People will look to find reasons why this person was killed instead of going to the root cause of the problem.

And until we can figure out and understand why that continues to happen, why the psychology of racism has perpetuated not just in polices but in this entire country, the entire system, the justice system of this country, things like this, unfortunately, will continue to happen and you will see, unfortunately, the results of the language of the unheard, we'll continue to see this rise until actual real justice is served.


BERMAN: Look, after when Ahmaud Arbery was killed, I noted, I've walked into dozens of construction sites in my life just to look around. Jonathan Capehart of The Washington Post sent a text and says he would never do that because he fears for his life. It just shows how different things are if you're white or you're black.

Donte, I also want to put up on the screen an image that's been shared thousands of times over the last day. It's the picture of the police officer with his neck George Floyd's -- with his knee on George Floyd's neck and it's the picture of Colin Kaepernick kneeling.

Bernice King tweeted out saying, if you're unbothered or mildly bothered by the first knee but outraged by the second, then, in my father's words, you're more devoted to order than justice and more passionate about anthem that supposedly symbolizes freedom than you are about a black man's freedom to live. I know that these pictures resonate with you.

STALLWORTH: They do. And, unfortunately, you know, I saw this image of the police officer with his knee on George Floyd's neck, even as he was saying that he couldn't breathe, that he was losing consciousness and the bystanders were pleading for the police officers to spare him his life. And Dr. Bernice King was right on.

It's something that I saw immediately and, you know, unfortunately, it just continues to happen in this country. That was something that was a visceral image to me, was when I saw the officer kneeling on his neck and I thought about, you know, this is why the players are kneeling. This is reason one million why the players are kneeling.

And you saw that image going around social media. And it's true. It's true. And it's really hard because there are so many people who do good work in this space. There are a lot of folks who go every single day and try to make this country live up to the principles that this country was founded on and, yet, still here we are in 2020, during a pandemic on Memorial Day, where you see this happening.

BERMAN: Bakari --

STALLWORTH: And the players have stood up and it's something that Colin Kaepernick went out on his own initially to do this. And he's now no longer has a job and it's been years now. But he no longer has a job because he was protesting and trying to stand up for people who no longer have their lives.

BERMAN: Bakari, we've got just about a minute left, and you've been with us all morning long and outspoken. And needless to say, on social media, there's been criticism. People saying you're condoning what's happened overnight in Minneapolis, and you're not. And it's not about condoning violence. No one wants to see buildings burn. It's about understanding why they're burning.

SELLERS: Yes. I mean, I think that one of the things we've been crying out for is for white people in this country to have a sense of understanding about the pain and trauma that it is to be black in this country and until you have some semblance of understanding and hear our voices.

I was talking to T.D. Jakes not long ago. And you can teach me arithmetic and you can teach me the English language, you can teach me physics and science, but you can't teach me blackness. And one of the things that I think that more people need to do is just take a moment to listen and listen to those voices as they cry out in Minneapolis. Listen to them as they cry out in Brunswick, Georgia.

The plight to cure racism in this country is not on the shoulders of black men and women, it's on those individuals who don't suffer from this level of oppression from a daily basis. And so I hear those people. And those people, John, that are chastising the protesters are the same people who were applauding the white boys carrying the AK-47s on state capitals earlier in the spring and summer. And so I just kind of shake my head at that.

But at the end of the day, we lost another life and I think the sad commentary about where we are in this country, people like me think that this country is vanishing and the dreams thereof are vanishing is because I'm afraid we'll probably be here in two weeks, three weeks or another month with another George, another Brianna, another Ahmaud. And for many black people in this country, they just pray to God it's not one their loved ones, and that's an unfortunate state.

BERMAN: Bakari Sellers, Donte Stallworth, again, the words of Philonise Floyd, the brother of George Floyd, nobody is listening. I hope people hear what he said. Donte Stallworth, Bakari, thank you very much.

More than 100,000 American lives lost to coronavirus, and so far this morning, not a single word from the president.


Why? We'll discuss, next.


CAMEROTA: More than 100,000 people have been killed by coronavirus. And now, the Journal of Science is changing what we've been taught about social distancing.

Joining us now is Beth Cameron. She was the Senior Director for Global Health Security and Biodefense on the White House National Security Council under President Obama, and Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo, Director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

So here's what the Journal of Science says. Increasing evidence for the coronavirus suggests the six-foot WHO recommendation is likely not enough under many indoor conditions where aerosols can remain airborne for hours, accumulate overtime and follow air flows over distances further than six feet. Dr. Marrazzo, not only is that saying that we should be farther than six feet apart but that we should stay apart longer. I mean, if it can linger, if those aerosols can linger for hours, how are we supposed to proceed with this information?


DR. JEANNE MARRAZZO, DIRECTOR, DIVISION OF INFECTIOUS, UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA AT BIRMINGHAM: Yes. It seems that we get more and more information to make us more and more anxious.