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Protests Spread Against George Floyd's Death At Police Hands; Covid-19 Death Toll Approaching 38,000 In United Kingdom. Aired 5:30- 6a ET

Aired May 29, 2020 - 05:30   ET



OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: George Floyd and protests that we have seen throughout the city that also, as we are seeing, has devolved into rioting and looting as pieces of this building continue to come down.

As we understand, this was an event space with multiple restaurants inside there as well. And over the course of this morning, the fire just seems to keep getting bigger and bigger and hollow out this entire multiple-story building.

Now, you mentioned the National Guard members that have been called in. That was an effort by the mayor of Minneapolis, along with the governor.

The mayor specifically said that while he supports criminal charges for these -- for these officers involved in the death of George Floyd and he supports the protesting rights, he does not want to see the violence and destruction that we have seen and what we are seeing right here.

Now, to give you some perspective on where exactly we are. So you have this building here and then you come over here. This is a liquor store that was completely burned out over the course of this evening.

And then you look over my shoulder here. This is what used to be the police precinct that was lit on fire a little bit past 10:00 p.m. local time yesterday evening.

This entire block, over the course of days, went from being any normal part of Minneapolis to essentially, a wasteland. You see everything strewn across, fires still burning, graffiti everywhere.

And when I mentioned that there's no firefighters, we haven't seen any police either. They have essentially abandoned this portion of Minneapolis, leaving it to the people. And this comes, of course, after days and days of protests here as we hear pops continuing to go in that liquor store there.

Now, as for what we are going to see moving forward -- when could we see any sort of relief from this? Well, I mentioned sort of the central portion of this. We've got some electrical wires going off there. I mentioned the sort of central demand here that protesters, the family, and again, the mayor want to see criminal charges filed against these officers. We have not seen that yet.

We are starting to see, as we're talking, a few flashing lights coming in over on the opposite side of this intersection. It's unclear from here whether those are fire department vehicles or police vehicles.

But I can tell you that's over the course of the hour and a half that -- and everybody's running as police seem to be pulling in with sirens. You see them pulling up to this intersection here. Again, this is the first form of law enforcement we have seen in this neighborhood in this particular stretch over the course of this entire morning -- at least the last two hours that we have been here.

And it's possible that when the fire department came through with their -- with their -- with their vehicles beforehand, they might have called for the police as backup.

Now, you see these police officers. They are moving into the crowd right now, spraying mace into the crowd -- riot control. They're immediately engaging with these protesters here. This is a scene that's rapidly evolving.

And we already knew there was a lot of animosity from these protesters against these police officers. We see this man right here maced directly in the face.

And again, this is the first form of law enforcement we have seen all morning. Up until this point, it has been complete anarchy as a car just completely speeds out of the way. People are jumping out of the way, and we almost just witnessed an accident at the intersection over on the left.

It is a very chaotic scene here this morning in the early hours in this part of Minneapolis. This is not what people could have imagined happening in this city despite the pain and emotions that we have seen in regards to George Floyd.

I'm lost for words really, at this point. It is like something out of a movie. This part of Minneapolis is completely in a sense of anarchy right now.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Of course. All right, get your breath, look around.

We're going to look at these pictures. Watch as police come to the scene of this burning building for the first time in more than an hour or so since Omar has been there. You can see the police officer shoving a man down.

JIMENEZ: And you see cops just shove that guy.

ROMANS: I've seen police officers come straight to the scene and mace people who were standing on the -- on the street corner and also tapping the baton on their legs or on their arms. One wonders what the strategy is there of the police department to

disperse those folks. You don't want to invoke -- you know, provoke the rioters more by being aggressive.

JIMENEZ: And here is these fire engines.

ROMANS: What else are you seeing there?

JIMENEZ: Well, we're seeing the fire engines pulling up for the first time as cops are chasing -- literally chasing protesters away from this intersection, spraying mace, as fire engines now pull in for the first time. Again, as this fire burned for more than an hour and a half.

And you see protesters firing back at these police officers, throwing what appears to be bottles of some sort towards these guys.


And again, this is a sight that you would have thought we would have seen immediately as this fire went up based on how big this scene actually was. But for the first time in more than an hour and a half we are seeing firefighters as police have swarmed this scene and at least made a perimeter around this intersection here, all happening about a block away from the Minneapolis police third precinct that went up in flames last night.

ROMANS: It's certainly a dangerous situation. You don't want law enforcement to be hurt by any of these thrown bottles or any of this debris that's being thrown. At the same time, you don't want to escalate the situation any more with the batons and the mace.

I wonder here what the new strategy will be then for sort of securing this area? You say for three nights ---- two nights, for sure, there have been fires, but for three nights there have been protests right here.

JIMENEZ: That's right. For three nights we have seen -- we have seen protests, and even over the course of days as well. And I can tell you I was here on the first day of protests that happened largely at the site where George Floyd was seen on the cell phone video. And the protests there, while we did see it in the hundreds, were largely peaceful.

It was later that evening when the sun began to go down that the peaceful protests gave way to a little bit more aggressive protesting where we saw some tear gas used, we saw mace used, we saw projectiles going back and forth between protesters and police.

And you see this confrontation here. This is very emblematic of what this week has been here in Minneapolis. Tension between the people, the community, and the law enforcement that they are supposed to serve and protect. But that duty is one that has come into question over the course of this week not only based on how George Floyd's death unfolded but how it has been treated since. This is -- if you're a police officer, you have to say this is an ugly

scene. If you're a protester, you -- this is not the relationship you want --


JIMENEZ: -- with your police officers. But it seems the events that have unfolded this week have forced it to -- into this situation that we are seeing unfold before our eyes.

LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, Omar, it's Laura.

You know, we're watching this scene play out on the corner there. But since you've been on the ground for the past couple of days, I just want the audience to understand this is a mixed-race interracial crowd of protesters that we have seen over the past couple of days, right?

JIMENEZ: It is. Actually, a lot of white people out there, a lot of black people. It is a very, very mixed-race population of protesters out here.

And I've heard from people here that it is very emblematic of this part of Minneapolis that we are in -- it's very representative. But also shows that what happened here over the course of this week and the awful events we saw unfold on that cell phone video of George Floyd transcends race. It speaks more to a community and a relationship with a police force, and that is something that has hit home not just here in Minneapolis but in protests we have seen across the country as well.

And so, you have to -- I'm hard-pressed to find another example where we have seen an outrage of this nature that has led to such passionate protesting -- that we are seeing violence. And then, again, has led to rioting where people feel like this is what it takes to be heard on this issue.

I'm hard-pressed to find another. Places like Baltimore come to mind and Ferguson in years past --


JIMENEZ: -- but it does not happen often.

ROMANS: I was thinking Baltimore and Ferguson, too, having covered those and just watched sort of just the feeling of hopelessness and inequity that then gives rise to just this rage in the streets.

Although, just like Baltimore and Ferguson, yesterday I was hearing leaders -- neighborhood leaders and community leaders who were begging people not to throw things at the police officers, and not to provoke the police officers. and not to make things worse or in some way take away from what happened to Mr. Floyd, right, And by making a bigger story --

JIMENEZ: That's right.

ROMANS: -- on the riots.

That they're worried about tainting -- you know, tainting the event that they need to have justice by riots. You know what I mean?

JIMENEZ: That's right. And when you talk about that sentiment, it's something that's been shared by the public leaders here, by the family, by the attorneys for the family -- have spoken up about that.

Where Jacob Frey, for example, the mayor here, has been on the side of the protesters for the most part. He says that at least what this arresting officer did was murder, and that's the exact same page that the protesters have been on and that the family has been on.

But where he draws the line, along with the family attorney Benjamin Crump -- and as I can imagine, other officials as well -- is when the protesting leads to looting, leads to destruction of property, as we have seen for now a second night in a row.


And so, this is why we are seeing calls for the National Guard to come because at some point, city officials here have to draw a line for messages to get out in regards to protesting, but also trying to preserve some sort of physical integrity of the city. And we are seeing those dynamics play out firsthand in Minneapolis.

ROMANS: Omar, thank you so much for your reporting. Please stay safe.

I mean, the eyes of the country are on Minneapolis right now and the police department and the protesters. We'll continue to watch this.

Thank you for your reporting, Omar, and please keep safe with your crew there.

Take a look at the front page of this morning's Minneapolis "StarTribune." It powerfully captures the -- just the anguish in Minneapolis. The photo shows protesters amid the flames and ruins. The headline reads "A State of Agony."

JARRETT: A note on CNN's special programming covering the George Floyd killing. Why do black men keep dying at the hands of police? It's a question we've had to ask too many times.

Join CNN's Don Lemon for an important conversation -- "I CAN'T BREATHE: BLACK MEN LIVING AND DYING IN AMERICA" Sunday at 8:00 p.m. eastern.

Still ahead, the latest on coronavirus when we come back.



JARRETT: All right, welcome back.

In the United Kingdom, 377 more coronavirus deaths recorded on Thursday. The death toll there is approaching 38,000 and there are now more than a quarter of a million confirmed cases.

Let's go live to London and bring in CNN's Nic Robertson. Hi, Nic.


It's estimated about 8,000 people a day are getting Covid-19 here in the U.K. and about 500 a day -- people -- are ending up in hospitals, so these numbers are still relatively high. And when we look at what's called the R figure -- the rate of -- the rate of infection, it is just below one. So it's sort of in the territory that the -- that the Covid-19 infections can decline.

But the prime minister has been under a lot of domestic pressure here to kind of give some ease back on the lockdown and he announced that yesterday.

So as of Monday, some school classes will reopen. If you're in the primary school class year one and year six, they're reopening on Monday. Farmers markets, outdoor markets, outdoor car salesrooms will open as of Monday.

But the big thing for the people here in the U.K. is that -- or England, at least -- as of Monday, you can now gather in groups of six people, even in your own garden and other outdoor areas, and even have a barbecue together. That was what the prime minister said. Now, that comes with this huge caveat that you have to keep social distancing.

Until now, you could only meet with one other person outside, nowhere near your home. So that has changed -- that's significant. Families can get back together.

But the concern is that with that rate of infection still high, you still have the possibility of the infection rate creeping up above one, and that will sort of re -- potentially, reignite another wave of coronavirus infections.

And what we heard from chief scientific adviser here in the U.K. yesterday was quite a word of warning. There is still a significant burden of infections out there. And I think that's the watchword, that's the caution from the government, edging people out of their homes and ultimately, getting the economy running.

JARRETT: Absolutely, but all the guidance does seem to say if you are going to gather, do it outside to do it safely.

All right, Nic, thanks so much.

CNN business news when we come back.



ROMANS: Welcome back this Friday morning.

Let's get a check on CNN Business this morning. European shares have opened lower here. Asia closed mix.

Taking a look at Wall Street futures to close out this trading week, down a little bit. Stocks finished lower Thursday. Investors dealt with more tough economic news.

You know the ECON numbers this week show just how awful things are for workers and small business owners. Main Street in pain here right now.

But corporate executives expect a sharp recovery. Two-thirds of executives surveyed by TMF Group expect the economy will recover from the recession within one year. One reason for that optimism, America has a safety net this time. The Federal Reserve has announced nearly unlimited support for the credit markets and Congress has passed trillions of dollars in bailouts.

JCPenney filed for bankruptcy just two weeks ago but it's now working on reopening hundreds of its stores. The retailer said it reopened 150 stores in 27 states, bringing the total to just over 300. JCPenney expects to have 500 stores open by next Wednesday. It still plans to permanently shutter 192 stores this year to stem the losses that led to the filing for bankruptcy.

Nissan is cutting production after suffering its worst year in more than a decade. The Japanese carmaker said it's slashing production capacity by 20 percent, closing a plant in Spain. It warned more pain could be on the way.

Nissan was already suffering from declining sales before the pandemic hit last year. It said it would cut about 12,500 jobs from its global workforce. The CEO declined to say if more jobs would be cut as part of the overhaul, saying Nissan still needs to consult with unions and other shareholders.

JARRETT: All right, we're still watching the situation right now unfolding in Minneapolis. It's a scary situation, still active there. This is video just now coming in of a National Guard vehicle. You can see the troops there on the ground. We saw police confronting protesters just moments ago.

More live, breaking coverage on "NEW DAY" next.



ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and all around the world to NEW DAY.

This is breaking news. It has been quite a night in Minneapolis. These are live pictures on your screen and you can see that that part of the city is still burning because of protests over the death of George Floyd. You're looking at a line of state police who have just showed up on the scene. Overnight, a police precinct close to the scene where George Floyd was

killed, was set on fire. Police were evacuated for their own safety. Minneapolis police have not been on the scene for all of these hours, John, but state police have just showed up as have National Guardsmen in Humvees. This situation is very active.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Again, what you're looking at now is live pictures. This is about one block from the third precinct police headquarters, which burned overnight. This is a location of another building that has been on fire all night.

This police presence -- state police presence just arrived on the scene as did the National Guard, although we are not seeing them in this picture.

This has just been part of what has been an extraordinary night. There have been protests across the country over the death of George Floyd. Confrontations between police and demonstrators across the country.

And then, the president, himself, weighed in overnight inflaming tensions, many people say, including Twitter. He put out a tweet saying, "When the looting starts, the shooting starts," which may interpret as a threat to have the U.S. military shoot protesters. It harkens back to the 1960s when the Miami police chief made just such a threat.

All right, let's get right to the scene. CNN's Omar Jimenez is on these streets and has been there for hours watching this police presence arrive. Omar, tell us what you're seeing.

JIMENEZ: Well, right now, this line of Minnesota State Police slowing advanced side-by-side, as you see them standing, over the course of a block, in unison. And they've been giving out demands and I'll let you listen.

STATE POLICE OFFICER: (INAUDIBLE). You are hereby ordered to disperse the scene. If you do not disperse (INAUDIBLE) you will be arrested. You are ordered to leave this area immediately.