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Minnesota Governor Announces Full Mobilization Of State's National Guard; Protests Erupt Across U.S. Following Death Of George Floyd; Los Angeles Mayor Declares 8 P.M. Curfew; Protesters And Police Clash In Los Angeles; Chicago Protesters Vandalize Police Cars. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired May 30, 2020 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They brought in more forces. There were so many protests in so many different areas. We walked 10 miles from downtown, all over downtown, on to the freeway and then down to the 5th Precinct where that's all - everything was.
They are concerned that there may be several different protests all at the same time again. That's what the Governor was talking about when he says - when he says the protesters are being directed by outside forces. In some cases, perhaps foreign entities that are trying to divide the country as well. And that's what they are trying to go after tonight.
They believe they have the forces now, bringing in police forces, state patrol, and activating the entire Minnesota National Guard, which is the first time they've ever done that. They believe they will have the ability to shut any sort of effort to incite violence down, make those arrests and figure out who exactly is behind this violence.
ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: OK. Miguel Marquez for us in Minneapolis at this hour. Thank you.
You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. It's the top of the hour. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. It is 7 o'clock Eastern. And right now, in several cities all across the country, it's shaping up to be another long, tense night of protests.
In Chicago and in Los Angeles, in New York and Miami, even small cities in the Midwest, crowds of people are large, they're loud. Some are defiant. We've seen protesters facing off already against walls of police officers trying to disperse them. And we've seen them using force. This wave of protests violently crashing since the police custody death of an unarmed man in Minneapolis nearly a week ago.
Let's get to Los Angeles where a police vehicle was set ablaze and protesters have been clashing with police. CNN's Paul Vercammen is in Los Angeles.
Paul, you have watched this accelerating all afternoon. How are things happening - what's happening there now?
PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, now they're decelerating. If you look behind me, the L.A. Fire Department was able to get in here and douse this police Explorer that was on fire. So that's the good news you can see behind and off in the distance. Now I've counted at least 10 other police vehicles damaged.
We also saw some shop owners. It was a touching moment. They went back in their shop. They are crossing their fingers and hoping that their business, Denim Revival, didn't burn down. Fortunately, it didn't. It seemed as if for a moment they were imprisoned behind those bars - those gates, and they were thrilled to see that there hasn't been any vandalism.
As we come down the street here, Ana, I want you to note that if there's a silver lining in all of this, we have not seen them, as in demonstrators, knock out any of the windows of these businesses. They have climbed up on the roof of these businesses. This is 3rd Street, as we said, in Los Angeles, near the interaction of Fairfax.
When you had come to me earlier, this area that we're working on now, where you see all this open concrete, was completely filled with demonstrators. So police and that fire seemed to have moved them much more close to the main thoroughfare, Fairfax Avenue.
And off in the distance, look, those demonstrators are on top of a Los Angeles city bus. The bus driver left safely and got a huge, huge ovation from the crowd. I think that many people were thrilled to see that he was unharmed.
Now we're back to another stalemate, right here, close to the intersection of Fairfax and 3rd. Police sealing off the line, but they cleared a lot of this out. We were pointing out earlier when we showed you this parking structure over here was completely filled with demonstrators, and they've moved the demonstrators out of there, that way off in the distance, there's that other intersection. That, now, Ana, is sealed off, but there's none of that pushing and shoving there that we were seeing earlier.
And back this way, we are not seeing any swinging of batons or pushing, that's died down. Now, we should point out, you can see the officers right in front of me, they've got their rubber bullet guns right there. I don't know how they're going to resolve this situation with these people up on the roof. But that's the sort of status quo right now. We'll walk up closer to the police line, Ana.
CABRERA: So, Paul, you mentioned the people up on the roof and clearly that officer we were just looking at has his eyes trained on those folks who are up there. How did they even get up there?
VERCAMMEN: Oh! We've seen some of the most expert climbing, if you will. Many of them found a way to just scale up on other buildings and go across. You can see there's another group of people up on this roof. I'm talking about we saw them use any little ledge or foothold. And I don't know if they went around the building and if there was any sort of a, we'll call, fire escape or other metal ladders they could have used to get up.
CABRERA: And Paul, what do you know about the people who are in this group? And describe for me the community where all of this is taking place.
VERCAMMEN: OK. So where this is taking place is in Los Angeles's Fairfax district. It's bounded by the farmers market. And in fact, off in the distance, you can see those orange lettering - that orange lettering, that's the Farmers Market sign. It's more so a conglomeration of shops and specialty delicatessens, let's say, a Cajun Place, a Brazilian barbecue, and then you get to The Grove, which is a rather tony upscale shopping center.
The protests started on the other side of The Grove in Pan Pacific Park. We saw a whole crosscut of people at that rally. It was organized by Black Lives Matter, but many other groups joined in in support. All of them saying they wanted to see police stop killing people.
And you can see the signs "Existing while black, not a crime." That's been a mantra. And also they repeated time and time again that they want to see these other officers who were there in Minnesota charged. That has been a mantra, and they've chanted that all day long.
And as you can see, Ana, it has calmed down considerably from the moments earlier when we saw officers shooting rubber bullets and swinging batons and a police vehicle on fire.
CABRERA: OK. Paul Vercammen for us in Los Angeles. We will check back with you, Paul. Thank you.
Let's go to Minneapolis where the protests began, where George Floyd died in police custody and where huge protests are underway right now. Omar Jimenez is on the ground for us.
And Omar, we saw in Miguel's shot earlier things were peaceful where he is. It sounds quiet where you are. What have you seen as this day progresses?
OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Ana. Much similar to what Miguel has seen. We have seen largely peaceful protests here in Minneapolis.
You see behind me, this is a gathering that's been going on really over the course of the afternoon where there had been chants, obviously many, many signs here as well in George Floyd's memory. But also these protests are not just about his memory, they're about how he died and how his death is now being handled.
We know the investigations are still currently underway for the four officers even though one has already been charged. But similar to the motivations that we have seen for the other protests in places countrywide, this one is where it has stemmed from, that drive to charge all officers in this, which we have not seen thus far. Now another aspect in this story that we have seen unfold over the
course of the past three days is that while these protests are something that this Governor and the officials here support, they do not support what it has devolved into in the evening and later night hours by way of rioting, looting, and even destruction of property and what we have seen in Minneapolis Police's 3rd Precinct.
This is right across the street from the 5th Precinct of Minneapolis Police where this was the central point of protests over the course of last night. In fact, moments ago - or a little bit earlier ago, Governor Tim Walz tweeted that "Many Minnesotans are peacefully demonstrating today, and we fully support you.
But please know there are people looking to undermine this movement for justice by inciting violence. Please go home by 8 p.m. so that we can remove the people who wish to do our communities harm." And 8 p.m. referencing a curfew they've put in place to try to prevent the last three nights what we have seen to go into a fourth night tonight, Ana.
CABRERA: OK. Omar Jimenez, we know you will be continuing to follow these protests there. Thank you.
Senator Tina Smith, a Minnesota Democrat, is going to join us now. She formerly served as the Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota.
Senator, it's awful to hear and see what's happening in your community. What's your reaction as you watch what is taking place in your state and across the nation right now?
SEN. TINA SMITH (D-MN): Well, thank you, Ana. And I love this city and this state so much. And so it is heartbreaking to see what we are going through. We should be in this moment remembering George Floyd and the way that he was murdered and the work that we need to do to get justice for Floyd and also to address the underlying structural issues that we have in the state in this country.
But I am deeply concerned at the way these protests are being, I believe, hijacked and taken over by anarchists and others who mean to do our community harm. And that is why the Governor and all of us are urging Minnesotans to please be home by 8 o'clock tonight so that we can get a handle on what is happening that is destroying our beloved city.
CABRERA: Seeing the pain in your community, did you realize the extent to which it existed, and do you think this is a tipping point?
SMITH: We have longstanding issues in my state like we do all over the country, unaddressed issues around systemic racism, and this murder is just hurting so many of us so much. But even in this moment, to see these community institutions, affordable housing projects, religious institutions, small businesses that are almost all minority owned, to see those go up in flames, and - people don't light their own businesses on fire.
They don't torch the community institutions that they love. And that is what is happening. And that is what has got to stop.
CABRERA: Yesterday, ex-police officer Derek Chauvin was taken into custody. He is the man who was seen in that video, kneeling on the neck of George Floyd. But there were three other officers involved in that incident who haven't been arrested. Protesters say they want to see these other three officers in jail. Do you believe they should be arrested?
SMITH: Based on everything that I have seen, there is much culpability amongst all of these officers. And I was glad to see that former police officer Chauvin was arrested and is being held for murder and manslaughter. But this is just the first step, it is not the last step. So, yes, I do believe that we need to get the rest of these officers into custody and we need to take steps to bring justice. That is a long way away.
CABRERA: Do you think these other arrests are imminent? What are you hearing?
SMITH: I don't - I can't say. I think that will be up to the Hennepin County attorney. But I think that you see in the community these voices lifted up in pain and anguish looking for the kind of justice that we need to see. And this is a painful issue for those of us here in Minnesota that it is something that we've seen in so many parts of the country so many times.
And I know, today, we had a gathering of religious leaders and community leaders, people who have been unafraid to hold our state and its leaders to account for these challenges, all coming together and saying, we need justice, yes, but we also need to make sure that people are safe in our community, so please stay home tonight.
CABRERA: Earlier today the President tweeted this remark. "How come all of these places that defend so poorly are run by liberal Democrats?" What's your response to that?
SMITH: In this moment, when my city and state is hurting so much, not only do we have this instance and we also have the coronavirus pandemic, we have longstanding inequities and struggles in our community, and I think what people are looking for are leaders that lift us up, that bring us together, that try to heal us.
And then we have this kind of lack of leadership. I mean, I can't even dignify it with a response. It is completely outrageous to hear this kind of attacking when we ought to be figuring out how to come together right now.
CABRERA: Senator Tina Smith of Minnesota, thank you very much for taking the time. Sending you and everybody in Minnesota our very best.
SMITH: Thank you very much.
CABRERA: We're going to continue to follow these protests all evening long. I want to take you back live to Chicago. You can see the police officers facing off against protesters there in what appears to be a calmer moment compared to earlier. We'll have much more in just a moment. Stay with us. You're watching CNN's live coverage.
CABRERA: Breaking news on CNN. Large and sometimes violent protests, again, erupting in cities big and small across the country today. Let's get to Chicago now and CNN's Ryan Young. We are seeing the whole spectrum of protests today, Ryan, from peaceful gatherings to physical clashes with police. What is happening in Chicago?
RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, absolutely. So, right now, we are on the other side of Michigan Avenue, and you can see the bridge up here that stopped the protesters from walking down Michigan Avenue. What the protesters did was go down Lake Shore Drive and come all the way around. The reason why is, they're trying to get to Trump plaza - Trump Tower. That's this direction. So there is a large gathering of officers here trying to block that.
And you can see the officers pinned along The Wrigley Building in this direction over here that they had to call for reinforcements just a second ago to bring more officers in because people were throwing objects at the officers and somebody was going to try to throw a metal gate through these windows. The Chicago police officers surrounded this building and stopped it. They are pretty much taking a tongue- lashing as they stand a little closer to this building.
Now, why are they here? We saw several elements of people who obviously have joined in on this protest and were starting to spray paint large sections of this. Now, I want to tell you this. They're bringing in the Mounted Patrol as we speak. I told you they were calling in reinforcements. That's one of the reasons why we wanted to notify the control room of what was going on here.
The elements here started trying to push closer to the officers and then pin them in. So we heard the all-call go out. And you can actually see people throwing water bottles at these officers as they come in. Now, there are three or four different groups here.
There are two or three groups here that are definitely coming in and saying, we are here for George Floyd. But there are other people here who have decided to get their message out a different way. And it's almost split racially. You see them spray-painting all over the place, which is just kind of interesting how this has sort of descended.
And now the crowd is moving again. I think they realized they're not going to be able to make it to the Trump plaza or tower in that direction. So they're going to try to go around probably another direction. But that's where we've seen - saw the influx and pain in terms of people trying to get in front of the officers' faces.
Look, I talked to several officers already today. And they're telling me they feel some of the pain here, they wish people would just protest peacefully. I've also talked to protesters who say this has gone on for far too long. They feel like their voices are not being heard. [19:20:00]
The biggest amount of gamuts (ph) we've seen so far is people just spray-painting things. There have been no broken windows as of last - like we saw last night, where there was obviously 108 people arrested.
Now, watch this again. Here's the serge that they are doing and moving toward officers as they come in. The chants have been "hands up, don't shoot," "hands up," and then "16 shots and a cover-up." That's what they've been chanting over and over. It has remained peaceful. We haven't seen any pushing from officers or from protesters. So, at this point, the line has not been crossed.
The biggest sort of thing that we've seen is the water bottles that are thrown from a distance toward police officers. Luckily, most of them have their faces protected. I have to mention again that despite this pandemic that's hit this area and this city and this state hard, most people have face coverings on at this point.
But Ana, everybody sort of feels on edge right now. There's been several instances of people just taking off and running down the street every time they think an officer is going to use teargas or something like that. But that hasn't happened. We've seen them damage police vehicles. There was one officer inside a police vehicle when they tried to tip it over. They finally got around that vehicle and brought it in.
So this is what's going on right now, as they cannot go back across Michigan Avenue and the officers on Mounted Patrol are standing over there. We do know there's more reinforcements, but they have not been brought in just yet.
CABRERA: We are looking at some aerial images right now, and I know you can't see necessarily what we are looking at, Ryan. Where you are, it is maintaining peace. However, we are seeing police starting to clash with protesters in the images we're looking at from our affiliate WLS right now. And they're vandalizing police cruisers obviously in broad daylight there in Chicago, as we reported earlier.
What is next for this city, Ryan?
YOUNG: Look, the big question is, we know one officer was injured last night. We know other people - some - another officer may have been injured just about an hour ago when someone shot a firework near him. So the concern is, what happens as we get closer and closer to darkness?
Now, I want to tell you this. As many times as I've covered protests in this city, again, this is one of the most diverse bunches of people that I've seen. But there's a lot of out-of-towners here. There's a lot of guys walking around with bags, and the bags have spray paint cans on the inside of them.
During the whole entire time we've had large massive protests, I've never seen as many kids walking around with these spray paint bags and they're tagging all over the city. Some of it has to do with what's going on, but a lot of it is other messages that are being left behind.
And again, we are starting to see different sort of elements show up here. I'm not sure why they are here. They're not chanting along with the other protesters, but they are encouraging people to do other acts. So I've heard people say, "push to the front," "get in their face." They are the people who've been handing out water bottles to throw. That has been part of the process.
So you have to ask where the surge is coming from. It'll be interesting to see how the city, in terms of the new superintendent, will handle this. The Mayor, for her part, has been very clear in talking about, yes, there is pain involved in this. She wants to making it sure that people do this peacefully.
I'm actually surprised to see how soft of a perimeter the police have set up here. But it seems like they're trying to make sure not to have any little sort of clashes with these protesters. So this right here, this chant, is probably the most organized we've seen so far.
And look, I'm sure these officers have been trained to handle this part. But more importantly, there are some of these protesters who really want their voices heard. They feel like for far too long that the system has let them down.
That was something that was made clear to me, as we were working here, that they feel like every time something like this happens, we all only listen for a little while and then we go away. They're not getting the results they want.
So they say this is the only way they believe that people will actually listen to their voices if they gather like this and shout and yell. So, hopefully, someone is listening to this. Obviously, the Mayor, for her part, has said, look, I hear your pain and I agree with you.
YOUNG: But as you see some of the folks going back this direction, it is interesting. Just before you came to us, there were people jumping on top of that white truck that was over there, trying to tear it apart. And that's sort of when the officers kind of moved in a little bit to make sure that whoever was in that truck wasn't harmed or anything like that.
There was a protester who was going to get in a fight with someone driving a car. We saw a black woman stand in the street and say, "Not here in Chicago. We will not have that sort of pain here in Chicago." And that was very interesting to see this one woman stand between several protesters to stop any sort of violence from happening between an aggravated driver and anyone else. So this has been interesting to watch--
CABRERA: Ryan, we are looking at pictures right now.
YOUNG: --and we see people, police inside (ph). Yes.
CABRERA: Forgive me for interrupting.
SMITH: I'm here. I'm right here.
CABRERA: We're looking at live pictures right now as--
CABRERA: --where we can see people pushing and shoving, and it appears somebody is on the ground right now with police officers now crowding around that person. We saw a police officer just moments ago also being--
CABRERA: --what appeared to be, attacked as well.
YOUNG: Look, they're going to turn this car over. Look, they're about to turn this car over. So this is a Streets and Sanitation car. We are here. These protesters have decided to try to toss this car over. This situation here has gotten interesting. Officers are standing nearby, but right now, they haven't stopped these protesters from trying to push this transportation vehicle over.
This is not the first time that someone has tried this. And we actually thought it was pretty calm, but now you can see how quickly things can take a turn. Luckily, so far, they haven't been able to get it over, but you can feel the tension in terms of everyone has turned their attention to trying to turn this over.
CABRERA: OK. Ryan Young in Chicago for us.
We're going to continue to look at these live images. And I think something you said is so important to reiterate, which is - the pain is real. The outrage is warranted. The hurt is so deep in communities across the country after years and years and years of oppression, of discrimination, of injustice. And so let those protesters provide that message. And unfortunately, we are still seeing some of these protests escalate to a point of violence. And again, these live images from Chicago right now as protesters are working on that vehicle.
We'll be right back. You're watching CNN.
CABRERA: We're back with our breaking news. This is a live look right now in Chicago. Protests there and across the country have been heating up today, emotions running extremely high after the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who lost his life after a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck, killing him.
And with us now is author and journalist, Sophia Nelson and CNN political commentator and attorney, Bakari Sellers. Guys, obviously emotions are extremely high today as they have all week long.
Bakari, what's your reaction seeing some of these protests today?
BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, to my friends and my brothers and sisters who are protesting, I want everyone to be safe. I was in Columbia where I was talking to my friends in Columbia earlier today who were saying that many of the people who were there protesting causing various ruckus and harm were from out of town or they had never seen before.
We had people wearing MAGA hats, et cetera, antagonizing protesters. I say all of that to say that as night is about to fall, remember that people (INAUDIBLE) during the day. So I just want all of the people out there raising their voices to be safe and make sure that we keep this as peaceful as possible.
But on the flip side, I also want to remind people, and your viewers who are watching from around the world how this started. It's not as if black people just took to the streets spontaneously, it's because we lost the life of George Floyd, we lost the life of Ahmaud Arbery, we lost the life of Breonna Taylor.
We have systemic injustices and systemic racism in this country that is causing black folks to die at extremely high rates from coronavirus. We have these institutions of racism that have been around for a very long period of time.
So, if you are asking black folks to go home, if you are asking for peace, but you are not asking for justice, then you just need to be quiet and justice has to be a verb.
Justice means that all four officers need to be arrested, they all need to be charged, they all need to be convicted. All the officers in the Breonna Taylor case need to be arrested, charged and convicted.
We need to make justice for black folks in this country real. We need to make it a verb, and so I am asking everybody to be safe, but I am also asking everyone to be peaceful and even more importantly, I am asking us to make sure we treat justice like a verb, not just a noun in this country.
CABRERA: Sophia, I also want to get your thoughts because you wrote this week, "From Emmett Till to Amy Cooper, racism eats away at America." Is what we're seeing in places like Chicago and LA just the dam bursting after years of racial trauma and inequality?
SOPHIA NELSON, SENIOR ADVISER, THE LINCOLN PROJECT: I think that's absolutely correct. One, I want to echo what Bakari said, to those who are protesting, this is America, and you have a right to peaceful protest and assembly, that's guaranteed to you.
To those who are coming in causing the violence and the disturbance, however, you are taking away from this very important moment, Ana, for America.
Right now, the world is watching us. This wound dates 400 years back to 1619 when slaves arrived here in Virginia where I live. We commemorated the 400th Year Anniversary last year. "The 1619 Project" is something I encourage everybody to read.
I know a lot of people don't like it. They don't like to deal with the truth, but this moment, Ana, is for us, as Americans to sit down at the table together and to start speaking truth.
Stop saying you're color behind because you're not. I'm not. We must be color conscious.
The only way to get through this moment is together. That's not Khumbaya. I think people have to protest, I think we have to raise our voices.
I think the police in this country need to take a step back and police themselves. That video, I can tell you, Ana, and I am sure you see this with your friends as well, my white neighbors, friends, colleagues, family members, they're horrified.
NELSON: This to the black community is not new. To our white family, friends and neighbors, they don't know what to do with this. They are horrified. They are outraged.
It's like they woke up from some slumber that the rest of us have been accustomed to, and so my hope is that we are going to come out of this a better nation, a stronger nation, a more just nation and that we never, ever have to have a moment like this again.
It's raw and it is ugly and it is painful and it needs dealt with.
CABRERA: We know there were protests in 30 plus cities across the nation last night. We know there are more and more popping up today as well, Bakari, and one of the things that I've been noticing in a lot of the images we have been showing is that there is a great diversity of people who are in these crowds, who are out to protest.
Many of them holding signs in support of George Floyd, and in support of what it is that so many are angry and hurt about. Of course, the disproportionate police actions against people of color, as well as, obviously, the deep injustices that you've been speaking about and inequalities and the oppression within a lot of these communities, black people what your experience has been.
In seeing the diverse faces, Bakari, people young and old, white, black, and everything in between, does that give you optimism?
SELLERS: No. I mean, I'm doing my best to remain hopeful. I refuse to let anybody take away my hope or faith, but the fact is we've been here before and that's what people don't get about these protests. That's what people don't get about the actions of these individuals on the street.
I mean, the only time they get people to pay attention is when we have to take to the streets and protest. I mean, just five years ago, it'll be five years ago, we took to the streets and marched across the bridge.
I remember speaking from the steps of the door to the Confederacy in Charleston, South Carolina, above the market just four or five days after my good friend, Clemente Pinkney was murdered in a church with eight others.
We went through that entire process and now, nothing has changed. We see George Floyd with a knee to the back of his neck for eight minutes and he is dead.
And so, one of the things that disappointed me today, if we're going to have change, I want my friends who are in the streets to begin to think strategically about how we plot and how we mobilize.
To steal words from Killer Mike last night, how we plot, how we mobilize and how we organize, the perfect example of this is that we need to make sure that our elected officials, instead of just putting military in the street like the Governor of Minnesota asked for.
We need to make sure he is asking to reduce the standard to bring Federal Civil Rights cases against law enforcement officers.
The reason that Eric Garner's law enforcement officer who gave him a choke hold and killed him was not brought up on Federal charges is because the standard is insanely too high.
And so we need to make sure we're pushing the people, instead of just putting military in the street, give people solutions to improve their plight, to improve their daily load.
And everybody today is like, just go home. Well, to hell with that. We go home after each one of these things and nothing changes.
So actually, perform some solutions.
I want people to stop burning things, I want people to stop flipping over cars. I want people to stop looting, but I also want people to give us justice in this country.
Do not ask my people to go home if you're not going to ask for justice as well. Faith without works is dead.
CABRERA: Bakari Sellers and Sophia Nelson, such important words there. Thank you. Really appreciate your perspective. Thanks for being with us.
As we continue to look at these live images out of Chicago, you can see protesters in the street, law enforcement present. Heavy there. We'll be right back.
CABRERA: Welcome back. As we continue to follow the breaking news, I want to go live right now to Los Angeles where protesters have been clashing with police, damaging police vehicles today.
CNN's Paul Vercammen is there for us. And I understand, Paul, the Mayor has just declared a curfew?
PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He has, Ana, and that curfew will begin at 8:00 tonight local time. So, they want to clear the streets of Los Angeles and they're doing so right now.
We're now on Fairfax Avenue. You had seen the big, big throng before. Well, look over here, we have officers moving into this part of Fairfax. We're right across from the Farmers' Market.
And if you look on the hips of some of the officers, they have on plastic flexi-cuffs, and I've covered enough of these in the past in Los Angeles to know when those come out, they intend on arresting people.
So they are moving a lot more fire power into this area. We heard the police clearly yell, "Hold" right here. Off in the distance, you're going to see black smoke. Something is on fire and we can't tell what.
It seems to be a vehicle fire in that direction, and the protesters are headed that way. And this is, as I said, where the police are making a stand, Ana, and seemingly preparing to make arrests.
We have seen a few arrests recently and we should say that a lot of this intersection got cleared out, the one behind me at Fairfax and 3rd when inexplicably a man in a red mustang drove through all of the protesters, sort of cut their advance in half, then drove about oh, another 125 yards walked out of the car and got arrested. It was just a surreal scene.
But that led to some of this being loosened up here on Fairfax Avenue in Los Angeles -- Ana.
CABRERA: So Paul, when that car drove through the protesters, were people injured? Is everybody okay?
VERCAMMEN: From what we saw, there was nobody seriously hurt. Now, we picked him up as he was through the crowd. He wasn't going at a high rate of speed, just a surreal scene where out of nowhere, this red charger occurred.
And off to my right now, you can see they are moving more officers, getting in position to sweep this area.
We were describing it earlier, you can clearly see the Farmers' Market sign and that tower; beyond that, the Grove Shopping Mall, and now, trying to regain more control of Fairfax Avenue here in Los Angeles.
CABRERA: Okay, Paul Vercammen in Los Angeles. Please stand by. I want to bring in CNN law enforcement analyst Charles Ramsey. He is the former Philadelphia Police Commissioner and former Washington, D.D. Police Chief. Commissioner, what do you make of what we're seeing across the country today?
CHARLES RAMSEY, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, again, it's still daylight and we're starting to see fires and so forth. So, it's difficult.
I like to see people go out and exercise their First Amendment rights. There's -- I mean, that's the way our country ought to operate. But what I don't condone is violence, burning cars, burning buildings, breaking windows. That takes away from the message.
I understand the frustration, and I don't disagree with it. I mean, what happened in Minneapolis never should have happened. All of those police officers ought to be arrested and they should all be charged.
I mean, there was absolutely no excuse for that, and beyond that, whenever we have that kind of police misconduct, it ought to be dealt with. It ought to be dealt with swiftly and harshly, quite frankly, because you've got to send a message that this is just unacceptable.
So I get all of that and I don't have an issue with that. But I do have an issue when protests turn violent because people get hurt, property gets damaged.
I think it takes away from the message. So, I hope it doesn't go that direction tonight. But I'm afraid it looks like it is.
CABRERA: Quickly if you will, what's -- what -- based on what you witnessed has been right? What has been done poorly when you're watching how law enforcement has handled these protests that have in some cases spiraled out of control?
RAMSEY: Well, one thing that I would say is poor, at least from my experience, is leaving cars in a position where they can be damaged, they can be torched.
We always had an area where we assemble. All the vehicles were left there. We put officers in 15 passenger vans, on buses and took them to the scene, as opposed to exposing that kind of equipment.
So, I don't understand why those cars were there in a position to be damaged.
Every city is different. And I've been watching Chicago, LA, various cities, even where I'm at now in Philadelphia. Officers with proper training for civil disobedience are able to manage crowds without having to resort to high levels of force.
Now, I did see some officers resorting to batons and that sort of thing, and in my opinion, if you have an effective skirmish line, you can move a crowd out without resorting to baton strikes.
CABRERA: Okay, I have got to squeeze in a quick break. Commissioner Ramsey, Paul Vercammen, thank you. Stay right there.
I do want to continue the conversation right after this. We'll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CABRERA: Welcome back to CNN as we bring more live images from across the country. These pictures out of Chicago. More protests in the street there.
I want to bring back CNN's Law Enforcement Analyst, Charles Ramsey. And Commissioner, I just want to get back to what you said earlier because again, these protests really stem from the incident that happened in Minnesota and the killing of George Floyd.
We know the one officer who was kneeling on his neck has been arrested. But you say you believe all three other officers should be arrested as well. Help us understand what the investigation at this point looks like and why, perhaps, they haven't been arrested.
RAMSEY: Well, I don't have any details into the investigation at all. But in my opinion, in watching the video, the other three did nothing, absolutely nothing to intervene and to stop that.
In fact, two of them were actually on Mr. Floyd, in addition to the officers who had his knee on the neck, and training in every department I've been in and certainly, I believe in a vast majority of departments, we talk about positional asphyxia.
We talk about being very careful not to put too much pressure on an individual's chest, neck or what have you that you cut off the blood flow, you cut of the air flow. That can cause serious injury or death.
They failed to intervene and most departments have in their policy a duty to intervene. Someone should have pulled that officer off Mr. Floyd.
And from what I'm hearing, it was about two minutes and 53 seconds went by after they couldn't find a pulse on him. I mean, why would you continue doing something after that? I mean, that in and of itself, to me, makes it a criminal act.
CABRERA: It is just sickening. Commissioner Ramsey, please do standby. We are following another night of protests in America. Much more after a quick break.
You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
CABRERA: CNN breaking news right now. Rage at the police, distrust of police. It is all hitting a flashpoint again in cities across the country right now.
We have large, occasionally violent groups of protesters filling the streets in Minneapolis, of Los Angeles, of Chicago, of Pittsburgh, of Seattle, of New York City. Their anger ignited by the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died after a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck.
I want to start in Atlanta. At this hour, protesters again gathering outside CNN World Headquarters for a second night.
Former Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey is back with us, and Commissioner, when you hear protesters gathering again outside CNN, we all saw those images last night there and the destruction that came.
We have now reporting from places like Pittsburgh where they say multiple officers and journalists have been injured.
In Seattle, we are hearing of violence sparked there. So again, it sounds like another very, very tense and perhaps violent night. What needs to happen in order to calm down the situation?