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NEW DAY SATURDAY

Protests Continue For Fourth Night Across The Country Over Death Of George Floyd; White House Temporarily On Lockdown Due To Protests; Protesters Turn Out Across The U.S. In Wake Of Killings Of African-Americans By Police; Person Who Attended Lake Of Ozarks Memorial Day Party Tests Positive For COVID-19; U.S. Supreme Court Rejects Church's Challenge To Restrictions. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired May 30, 2020 - 06:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: That's Derek Chauvin facing charges of third degree murder, manslaughter as well, but protesters are demanding that the other officers, three others there involved, will face charges also.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: And we have to remember that this is not just about Floyd at the end of the day, George Floyd. This anger has been simmering following several recent incidents including the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor and that doesn't even begin to name all of the others, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Laquan McDonald, Tamir Rice.

BLACKWELL: What you're seeing on your screen now, this is Atlanta. A bit of the the outrage expressed across the country. This is right outside of CNN World headquarters. Vandalizing the CNN center building, smashing police car you see there on fire as well. CNN's Natasha Chen with us now. Natasha? OK. I can hear that we've got Natasha. Natasha, good morning to you.

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning.

BLACKWELL: Things calm there now, but clearly a different scene yesterday.

CHEN: Yes. Absolutely and talking to someone who was here with law enforcement overnight, we understand that people started to disperse about three or four in the morning, but they were also moving to other parts of the city.

I want to show you a little bit closer now. Just a warning, there is profanity all over that wall and the CNN sign, but you can see the protesters have used that wall and the sign as sort of a canvas for all their complaints against the police, against the president, against the Georgia governor and a lot of the street that we can see and around the corner, there's debris and glass, there's broken glass at this building and so this is just one example of a lot of the rioting and protesting that happened overnight.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CHEN: Outraged protesters took to the streets around the country for the fourth straight night over the death of George Floyd. Fear and frustration with the U.S justice system have led to peaceful protests in some cities across America and dangerous acts in others.

In downtown Atlanta, demonstrations quickly turned violent with protesters burning a police car and vandalizing buildings at and near CNN's world headquarters. Smoke bombs were thrown at officers and at least one person was taken into custody inside CNN center. Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms expressed her outrage last night.

MAYOR KEISHA LANCE BOTTOMS (D), ATLANTA, GA: You have to face the CNN building. Ted Turner started CNN in Atlanta 40 years ago because he believed in who we are as a city. There was a black reporter who was arrested on camera this morning who works for CNN. They are telling our stories and you are disgracing their building.

CHEN: George's governor, Brian Kemp, tweeted he activated as many as 500 national guard troops to protect people and property in Atlanta and issued a state of emergency for Fulton County. In addition to the protests seen in downtown Atlanta, protesters also made their way north of the city to Lenox Square Mall located in the Buckhead community. There were reports of looting inside the mall.

The Atlanta fire department has been responding to multiple fires across the city overnight. A curfew was imposed in Minneapolis, but protesters were still in the streets after tear gas and flash bangs were fired at crowds. At one point, protesters peacefully knelt in front of police in the city as a curfew went into effect in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Three-hundred-fifty troopers cleared Minneapolis's fifth precinct after officials say shots were fired at officers, but no officers were injured.

Dozens of protesters were arrested Friday in New York City after a standoff between police and protesters outside the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The New York police department said multiple officers were injured, though none of those injuries are life-threatening. In Washington D.C., the White House was temporarily locked down as crowds of mostly peaceful protesters arrived at Pennsylvania Avenue. Protesters could be seen clashing with secret service and tugging at barricades.

The Los Angeles police department declared an unlawful assembly in downtown L.A.. The department told CNN protesters would be arrested if they disobeyed the order. Two Los Angeles police officers were injured in protests.

The Oakland police department also declared an unlawful assembly in downtown Oakland. Demonstrators in San Jose, California blocked the freeway and smashed windows of random vehicles. California highway patrol said officers were hit by projectiles thrown by protesters on the freeway in San Jose.

Protesters took over portions of the Las Vegas strip in Nevada and could be seen walking among the traffic. In downtown Dallas, thousands of protesters took to the streets. Objects and rocks were thrown at officers and SWAT teams moved in.

[06:05:01]

Dallas police fired rounds of tear gas into the crowd and used their cruisers and officers to protect police headquarters. Houston police officers were hospitalized after protests broke out downtown, officials say. CNN affiliate KTRK reports dozens were arrested.

CNN affiliate WANE said gas was fired into a crowd protesting police brutality in Fort Wayne, Indiana. A group of protesters outside Boston police district four chanted, "Who do you protect? Who do you serve?"

GEORGE FLOYD: I can't breathe.

CHEN: All this as Derek Chauvin, the ex-officer seen with his knee on George Floyd's neck while Floyd was screaming and begging for his life, has been arrested and charged with third degree murder and manslaughter. Floyd's family attorney said the family is relieved the police officer was arrested, but want a first degree murder charge.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHEN: And of course activity continued early this morning on the West Coast with several arrested in Seattle and property damaged and fire set in Portland, Oregon. Victor and Christi, back to you.

BLACKWELL: All right. Natasha Chen for us there outside CNN headquarters and let's point out that this is not about us. This is one of many scenes and we have reporters across the country and you'll see them throughout the morning. That is the extent of the focus on that CNN sign.

PAUL: So in Minneapolis where George Floyd was killed, police fired tear gas, flash bangs at crowds. Want to go to CNN's Josh Campbell right now who's in Minneapolis with the very latest because he was through this last night. Josh, help us understand, as the sun is coming up there, what you are left with after last night.

JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Christi. As you see these dramatic images from across the country of these protesters, some of them turning violent, you have to keep in mind what this is all about and we are at the scene here in the community where this all began. We're just a block away from the third precinct of the police department here in Minneapolis. This is the community, the area where George Floyd died after that incursion with police officers and I want to give you a sense of just what we're seeing as the sun rises.

As you can see here, there are buildings that are completely destroyed. You see windows smashed out. We saw some looters here earlier nearby us and as you pan across, again, this neighborhood that was once a peaceful area is now left in rubble.

You can see down -- just complete destruction here that's left and a building that is still smoldering off to our right here. This was a four-story complex that housed a financial business as well as some other companies, now left in utter destruction. This is emblematic of what we're seeing in so many different places.

Now, as this destruction continues, we're also hearing from elected officials doing their best to try to implore the public to stay calm, to remain peaceful. Let's listen here to what the governor said and the mayor of Minneapolis, pleading with members of the community for some semblance of peace.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TIM WALZ, GOVERNOR OF MINNESOTA: The situation is incredibly dangerous.

JACOB FREY, MAYOR OF MINNEAPOLIS: If you care about your community, you got to put this to an end. It needs to stop.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMPBELL: OK. Cool. Yes. So again, it's utter destruction behind us. You see the fire and I want you to look down the street here as we pan and police have erected different barricades. What was so interesting, as we look at these images, is yesterday during the day, this was filled with police officers. We saw state patrol here in riot gear. We saw members of the national guard. They are now nowhere to be found. There's a lone police car down the road.

We were also told by an officer that we spoke to not long ago that we are in the third precinct, but over in the fifth precinct, they just heard gunshots and gunfire. There are helicopters over there presumably searching for the person who fired a weapon. We saw a Black Hawk helicopter fly by earlier.

Now, what is left -- what we don't know yet is how long these protests will continue. We know yesterday that state authorities here announced that one of the police officers, the officer who's was depicted on that video with his knee on the neck of George Floyd, he was taken into custody, charged with third degree murder. Now, members of the community tell us they also want to see justice for the other three officers that were involved, the governor telling us he wants justice that's fair and swift.

Yet to be seen whether members of this community have the patience to hold out while the prosecution continues with its case, Victor and Christi.

BLACKWELL: Josh Campbell for us in Minneapolis. Comprehensive report there, Josh. Thank you.

Let's bring in former Philadelphia Police Commissioner, former Chief of Metro Police in D.C., Charles Ramsey, also now a CNN law enforcement analyst.

Chief, good morning to you. The governor said at his news conference this morning ...

CHARLES RAMSEY, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Morning. BLACKWELL: ... and I wrote this down, that what happened over the last 72 hours will replicate tonight unless we change something. What do they need to change?

RAMSEY: Well, it is going to replicate tonight and I don't think this is going to be over anytime soon.

[06:10:01] I mean, this is historical. It's not just about policing, although policing is a big part of it. Please don't get me wrong. There is a need for reform in policing which unfortunately, to a large extent, was shut down with this current administration took over, but there are systemic issues that need to be addressed, that have to be addressed.

That's going to take some time. That change is not going to happen overnight and people are frustrated and they're taking it out now. You're seeing it in cities across the country and so there is no one thing that has to change that could make a difference like overnight literally, but there needs to be real, tangible progress being made. Use Minneapolis as an example. I mean, you've got three other officers out there that do need to be -- to face some kind of charges, in my opinion.

What happened there was totally inexcusable and I really understand the charging of that one officer with third degree murder, but I believe the other three ought to be charged as well. There needs to be something that happens that people realize and recognize, yes, you know, at least it's a start.

BLACKWELL: Yes. You know, the reason I always like having you on as a guest is because you were part of President Obama's task force on 21st century policing. One of the recommendations was to -- and I wrote it down -- to minimize the appearance of a military operation and avoid those tactics and equipment that undermines civilian trust, especially when ...

RAMSEY: Right.

BLACKWELL: ... you have these mass demonstrations. I want you to listen to the Minnesota national guard major general Jon Jensen about potential help coming from the Department of Defense. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JON JENSEN, ADJUTANT GENERAL, MINNESOTA NATIONAL GUARD: You may have seen or heard that the -- that this evening the president directed the Pentagon to put units of the United States Army on alert to possible operation in Minneapolis. While we were not consulted as it relates to that, I do believe it's a prudent move to provide other options available for the governor if the governor elects to use those resources.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: Now, I don't know what the limitations of Posse Comitatus would place on any involvement of the U.S. military enforcing -- acting as a law enforcement agency on U.S soil, but your view of the potential edition now of U.S. Army coming into Minneapolis specifically.

RAMSEY: I don't think it's gotten to that point yet personally. I think the National Guard activation was an appropriate move. I think certainly using all the police resources that are available, but I do believe that using a regular military at this point in time probably is not really needed, although I understand the frustration. Once these things turn violent, then obviously it takes an awful lot to regain control, but I think we have to be very careful about how we go about doing that.

And I do think having troops -- you know, I'm old enough to remember -- in fact my teenage years were in the 1960s, so I remember the Watts riots, I remember the 1968 riots after the assassination of Martin Luther King, all those kinds of things. Hopefully it doesn't get to that level, but, you know, I just think we have to be a little careful and not be too heavy-handed when we respond to these things.

Using regular military is a bit much right now. We've got the National Guard, we've got police resources, we've got community members that are trying to calm things down. It's the destruction of property obviously, fires, things like that that are most concerning. People have a right to protest, they need to protest, they need to release that frustration, but I think when you start getting too heavy-handed, you make things worse, not better.

BLACKWELL: Yes. We don't have to look that far back to the '68 riots. We can look to 1992 in Los Angeles after the ...

RAMSEY: Yes.

BLACKWELL: ... the verdict after the officers were acquitted in the beating of Rodney King. One more thing here. I think when people watch that video, and it comes now to a point where, admittedly, I look away every time it airs now because it is -- it is painful to watch, but there are people who would be, I guess, surprised to know that the Minneapolis police department and police departments across the country that chokeholds are still permitted, that neck restraints are still permitted in the use of force. Is it time for those to end?

RAMSEY: Yes. There's no question about that. Now, many departments ended that years ago, if not decades ago, because of the possibility of serious bodily harm and even death when you resort to those kinds of tactics. The situation in Minneapolis didn't require any of that. First of all, the individual was already handcuffed. He had four police officers there. What that officer did was sadistic.

[06:15:01]

It was -- you know, I watch that sort of thing and I think more people ought to actually keep their eyes open and watch it because that's the reality of some of the things that go on in our communities and people need to understand. There's a reason why people are out there in the streets now. That is wrong. Police reform is needed, but there also needs to be systemic changes throughout our society because there is racism, there is bias that goes on.

I often hear police chiefs, whenever something happens, it's just a handful of officers. Well, that's true to an extent. It's a handful of officers that actually, you know, act out that kind of hatred and that kind of bias, but there's implicit bias that takes place on a large scale not just in policing, but in every industry that I can think of and that's where the frustration builds because every -- you know, police are there to protect people and then when you see something like that take place, I mean, who do you turn to? Who do you turn to if you can't turn to the police?

You can't even turn to the Justice Department any longer because of some of the things going on currently and when the J in DOJ no longer stands for justice, then what? And unfortunately I think that's where we are.

BLACKWELL: Chief, we have run out of time, but we've not run out of questions. So if you'll be kind enough to stay with us, we'll have more for you later this hour.

RAMSEY: I will.

BLACKWELL: Thank you so much. A black person dies at the hands of police. This keeps happening. As Joey Jackson talked earlier, we have had this conversation after Freddie Gray and after Tamir Rice and after and after and after so many. When will this change? CNN's Don Lemon will have an important conversation, "I Can't Breathe: Black Men Living and Dying in America." It's tomorrow at 8:00 Eastern.

PAUL: And listen, protesters took their demand for justice to the gates of the White Gouse as well. They clashed with police at times. The outcry over President Trump's response to these demonstrations.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:20:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PAUL: Twenty-one minutes past the hour right now. In Washington, protests forced the White House to go on lockdown.

BLACKWELL: Secret Service officers, police, they came within inches, feet of one another here. This is across the street from the White House. They struggled over a barricade you see here, but for the most part, the protests were peaceful. CNN's Kristen Holmes with us now.

President Trump, his response, you know, talking about when the looting starts, the shooting starts, he tries to clean that up, but this is a national moment. Where is the national leader with a message for this nation?

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right, Victor. This has been a lot of criticism for the White House. You know, as the world watched Minneapolis burn Friday morning, President Trump tweeted that remark he just said. He said, "THUGS," in all capital letters and then it said, "When the looting starts, the shooting starts."

And just to give a little bit of context, this phrase was first used by a very controversial police chief in Miami amid the civil rights movement. We're talking about late '60s and '70s and the message is clear -- people will be shot and the message is so clear that Twitter actually flagged the tweet as a violation of their threatening or glorifying violence rule that they have. Now, President Trump was asked about this and he said he had no idea of the origin. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You tweeted, "When the looting starts, the shooting starts." How would you know that phrase and not know its racially charged history?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I've heard that phrase for a long time. I don't know where it came from or where it originated. I view that phrase as ...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In 1967, the Miami police chief used it ...

TRUMP: Well, I don't know. I've also heard from many other places, but I've heard it for a long time as most people have and frankly, it means when there's looting, people get shot and they die and if you look at what happened last night and the night before, you see that.

It's very common and that's the way that was meant and that's the way I think it was supposed to be meant, but I don't know where it came from, I don't know where it originated. I wouldn't know a thing like that, but I will say it's very accurate in the sense that when you do have looting like you had last night, people often get shot and they die and that's not good and we don't want that to happen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOLMES: So clearly there kind of trying to take the violence, the threatening aspect of that out of that tweet and playing clean-up, but again, we've just told you the context of that tweet, where that phrase came from in the first place and I do want to note this is not the only part of President Trump's response to Minneapolis that is facing criticism. It is also the deafening silence that we saw all day yesterday between this tweet and the remarks that you just heard.

President Trump at the White House calling a "press conference" -- I'm putting that in quotes -- and President Trump going into the Rose Garden, not taking any questions, so clearly a statement and only talking about how the U.S. was terminating its relationship with the World Health Organization, not even mentioning Minneapolis until much later. So a lot of criticism here on, as you said, Victor, this lack of a national message, Christi and Victor.

PAUL: All right. Kristen Holmes, appreciate the update. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Still ahead, these protests, these demonstrations are happening in at least 20 states across this country. This is Portland, Oregon. We will take a closer look at the demonstrations, but also continue to examine the cause, examine the reason for these protests, the anger, the grief.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:25:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PAUL: Twenty-eight minutes past the hour. The killing of George Floyd, this is just the most recent case that protesters are focusing on, but there are at least two others that have happened this year. In the early hours of March 13th, Breonna Taylor was shot and killed by police officers who forced their way into her apartment in Louisville, Kentucky.

She was just 26-years-old, an EMT, was shot at least eight times by plain-clothed officers. Police say there were no -- they were there, rather, to serve a no-knock search warrant in a narcotics raid. There were no drugs, by the way, found in that home. Her boyfriend was initially arrested and charged with attempted murder for firing back at officers. Those charges have since been dismissed.

And a month earlier, of course we talked about Ahmaud Arbery. He was shot and killed while jogging in Brunswick, Georgia, 25-years-old, followed by two armed white men in a truck who later said he looked like a suspect in a string of local burglaries.

[06:30:00]

Police say no string of burglaries or break-ins was reported for more than 7 weeks prior to his death. The shooting was videotaped by a third person who didn't immediately call 911 for help, and it took 3 months before any arrests were made in Arbery's death. The three men you see there are now under arrest.

Former Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey is with us here again, CNN law enforcement analyst. Commissioner, thank you so much for being with us. I want to reference something that we heard from Killer Mike yesterday that I think stuck with a lot of people. He said "I woke up wanting to see the world burn down yesterday because I'm tired of seeing black men die. We don't want to see targets burning, we want to see the system that sets up for systemic racism burn to the ground." How do we do that?

CHARLES RAMSEY, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, I mean, listen, it's going to take a great deal of effort from the top down. The entire society that we have is going to have to recognize that there needs to be changes, and I don't see that any time soon quite frankly, which is why people are out on the streets right now. I mean, just look at what's going on right now and the response you're getting from the White House and elsewhere.

You know, rather than point fingers and try to place blame -- I mean, we all need to collectively recognize that in our society, change is necessary. If I want to focus just on police, one of the things when I was part of a -- co-chaired President Obama's taskforce, 21st century policing, I mean, we recognized the need not for reform, not just for police, but for the entire criminal justice system because it's not just about police.

And it goes beyond just criminal justice in terms of the quality and the need for people to feel that they have a fair, a fair chance in our society to advance and to be treated equally. And so it's going to take a lot of time. Now, I certainly don't condone the violence that I'm seeing out there on the streets. I do support protests because you know, protests are the way in which we do get some change.

And had it not been for the protests of the 1960s, I never would have an opportunity to serve as police chief in Washington D.C. or commissioner in Philadelphia. It would not have happened had it not being for the sacrifices made by those that protested in the 1960s. So, protest in our society is healthy. But it's got to lead to real change, sustained change over time. Not just once the riots are over, then everybody goes back to normal.

OK, they got it out of their system. Let's go back to normal. No, we need thoughtful, serious dialogue and action, otherwise we're going to be doing this over and over and over again.

PAUL: And we've already done this over and over and over again --

RAMSEY: Yes!

PAUL: So how do we get to that next step. This is enough. How do we push this forward?

RAMSEY: Well, one thing in this, the media can certainly play a role by not dropping this story once it's over. I mean, and I understand that, you know, we have to keep moving on, there's always something new, something fresh. But this is something that requires sustained attention and sustained action in order to really correct what's wrong before people believe that something is really happening.

I mean, you know, we do things in fits and starts. We're talking about it now because we got riots going on in streets across America. But once that settles down, will we continue to focus on it, we will continue to take a look and go beyond just policing, that's not important because police symbolize government, and that's why a lot of the frustration is directed towards police, plus the fact that, you know, there's legitimate concern about the way in which police interact with -- especially people of color in our most challenged communities. So, I'm not trying to make any excuse there.

PAUL: Sure --

RAMSEY: But we've got to go beyond that because it exists everywhere. Systemic racism, bias exists everywhere, and we've got to be able to find a way to stamp it out. But it's going to take almost generations to really get it to a point where people no longer think about it and no longer respond the way they're responding now.

PAUL: OK, we appreciate you so much being with us Commissioner Charles Ramsey, always appreciate your thoughts. Thank you. Your voice is needed right now, we appreciate you.

RAMSEY: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: We'll be pushing forward on the breaking news all morning, but we cannot forget that this is all happening during a pandemic with cases still rising. And you remember this video from Memorial Day weekend, what health experts -- really everybody feared is that this could lead to a spread. Well, now, somebody at this party test positive for COVID-19. More on that.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:35:00]

BLACKWELL: In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court has rejected a request from a church in California to block limitations on the number of people who can attend religious services. And states across the country have been gradually re-opening, and some churches have argued that they are being treated differently than businesses right now. California's policy for re-opening churches limits service to 25 percent capacity or 100 people.

And siding with the liberals on the bench, Chief Justice John Roberts pointed out that non-religious gatherings had similar restrictions as churches.

PAUL: If someone who was among the mass of crowds partying at the Lake of Ozarks, also Memorial Day weekend has tested positive for coronavirus. I know you remember these pictures. Health officials say the person visited the Blackwater Jacks Bar and Grill, you know, such beach, that was Saturday. And that's where this viral video showed partiers packed tightly together, they were in this pool.

[06:40:00]

According to officials, the Boone County resident fell sick Sunday, possibly was infectious, obviously before then. They say the person also visited several other bars and businesses over the holiday weekend.

BLACKWELL: All right, moving forward on the breaking news now. Brooklyn anti-police brutality protesters facing off here with police demonstrators that pelted officers, see some water bottles, few other object, some officers were injured, the crowds, they faced off there with police outside the Barclays Center. This went on throughout the night. This is an expression of anger after the death of George Floyd and killings of other African Americans by police.

According to law enforcement, at least 50 protesters were arrested there. Go to CNN's Polo Sandoval, he is in New York. Quiet there now, but give us an idea of the breadth of what happened across the city.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, quite different from what we saw, Victor, last night, particularly the next borough over in Brooklyn. And what started as was this peaceful demonstration, many of these demonstrators showing their -- marching in solidarity with those who are in Minnesota, and then of course, things did take a turn throughout the course of the evening and it did erupt in some violence in Brooklyn mainly.

Authorities are keeping a very close eye on the crowd, we understand that pepper spray had to be used, we understand that several apprehensions were made, some officers were injured, but ultimately things eventually dying down. Yes, things can still get quite tense. One part here -- look, when you hear from officials, they are recognizing this from the very beginning that a lot of this -- in fact, all of this comes from that growing call for justice, not just in the death of George Floyd but also for action in very similar cases that we've seen in years past.

And that's what we heard from Mayor Bill de Blasio as he acknowledged that yesterday morning as he asked for peaceful demonstrations.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D-NY), NEW YORK CITY: George Floyd is dead, he's dead because he was black. He was killed because he was black. It's as simple as that. It's as horrible as that. It's as painful as that. And it's as unacceptable as that. And there are people right now all over this city, all over this country expressing that pain, that anger that someone was killed simply because of the color of their skin in 2020 in the United States of America.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANDOVAL: During the course of the evening, the mayor also tweeting that the main focus was to deescalating what was happening outside of that sports venue in Brooklyn, New York. As authorities again, we're keeping a very close eye on the crowd to make sure things didn't get out of control. The mayor also pointed out that people do need to remember that we're still in the middle of a pandemic.

I think that what sets -- what we saw here in New York apart from the rest of the country is that these demonstrations took place in what had been considered the epicenter of the U.S. coronavirus pandemic. So you can imagine why when you see these images of large crowds gathering, you could see why health officials would certainly be concerned. However, we should point out that masks were being used by many people in the crowd, not all, but many.

And that's certainly something that authorities would like to see, should we see another wave of protests. But Victor and Christi, the main focus here, and what we're hearing from the NYPD, they certainly are encouraging people to continue to gather peacefully, showing that sign of solidarity with what's happening, not just in Minnesota, but the rest of the country.

BLACKWELL: All right, Polo Sandoval for us there in New York. Thanks so much, Polo. Now, we heard from Mayor de Blasio there. We're hearing from politicians, we're hearing from celebrities, also athletes, Christi, are talking about this moment in our country.

PAUL: One of the most poignant messages comes from an athlete who isn't even old enough to vote either. We'll tell you more about that.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:45:00]

PAUL: So, 47 minutes past the hour. And you know, there are athletes that have been expressing their anger and their outrage and their sadness after the death of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, of Ahmaud Arbery, and those are just the most recent.

BLACKWELL: There was a really profound message from one of the younger members of the sports -- the athletes in the country. This is tennis phenom, Coco Gauff. Coy Wire is with us this morning. Interesting to hear what she has to say, but responses coming in from all over.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS REPORTER: Yes, we're seeing athletes -- good morning, Victor and Christi, using their platforms to try to get through to anyone out there who they feel is ignoring the reality of the racism that they see in our country every day. And you brought up Coco Gauff, Victor. She shined last year defeating Venus Williams at Wimbledon as a 15-year-old.

And she's the future of tennis, but she's also establishing herself as a future leader in our society through social activism. Watch what she posted.

My tears are becoming a sea by M83 playing while golf video shows images of black men and women, girls and boys who died from interactions with current or former law enforcement. Dolphins coach Brian Flores; one of just four minority head coaches in the NFL says he's lost friends over discussions about Colin Kaepernick's protests of racial injustice and police brutality.

He said in a statement in part, quote, "many people who broadcast their opinions on kneeling or on the hiring of minorities don't seem to have an opinion on the recent murders of these young black men and women. I think many of them quietly say that watching George Floyd plead for help is one of the more horrible things they've seen, but it's said amongst themselves where no one can hear", unquote.

[06:50:00]

Flores also shared sentiments of Wizards' star Bradley Beal who tweeted in part, quote, "the world will never grow until we are comfortable having the uncomfortable talks", unquote. San Jose's Sharks star Evander Kane saying that, "real change will not happen until white people in positions of influence speak up."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

EVANDER KANE, ICE HOCKEY LEFT WINGER, SAN JOSE SHARKS: We've been outraged for hundreds of years, and nothing has changed. You know, it's time for guys like, you know, Tom Brady and Sidney Crosby, and those type of figures to speak up about what is right and clearly in this case, what is unbelievably wrong, because that's the only way we're going to actually create a unified anger to create that necessary change especially when talk about systematic racism.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WIRE: And we are seeing prominent white athletes speak up like Tom Brady, Alex Morgan, top NFL pick, Heisman winner Joe Burrow tweeting in part, "this isn't politics, this is human rights." Now, many athletes I've spoken to, Victor and Christi, referencing Martin Luther King Jr.'s quote, "our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter." You know, I talked to one former NFL player, a black man who said that his grandfather had to have talks with his own dad about navigating racism in America.

And he is so sad that he's having to have those same conversations with his son today in America.

BLACKWELL: Yes, it is the talk. Sometimes you really don't even need to expound beyond that in some communities to say what the talk is. We all know it, many of us have had it. Many of us still have the talk with people who are not children, with teenagers, with people going into their 20s and 30s to remind them of realities that are far too inconvenient and can be deadly. Coy Wire, thanks so much.

WIRE: Thank you.

PAUL: So Georgia is under a state of emergency this morning after protests became violent. This was in downtown Atlanta. A civil rights hero and ambassador Andrew Young says foolish acts by hoodlums are just hurting the cause. We want to talk about the cause. We have more reactions from him when we come back.

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[06:55:00]

PAUL: There were protesters downtown Atlanta. It began as a peaceful protest. It turned violent, though. A police car was set on fire, officers were struck with bottles and CNN headquarters was vandalized. The Georgia governor declared a state of emergency and the National Guard has been evacuated -- has been activated now.

BLACKWELL: Well, Atlanta is the birthplace of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the home of so many other civil rights activists and peaceful activists -- civil rights hero and Ambassador Andrew Young said the protests disintegrated into foolishness.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANDREW YOUNG, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: We had a beautiful demonstration going on about 6 O'clock, and it was multi- racial. It was mothers and their children and they were orderly and quiet and peaceful. And then they went on about their business. But then another group tagged along, and I don't know what -- they were not a part of the original demonstration it seems, and yet they disrupted the whole purpose of the demonstration.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And what damage does that do to the, you know, the justifiable grievance of the mind group?

YOUNG: Well, it doesn't do any good but does a lot of harm. Minneapolis had begun to move. They fired four policemen and they've indicted one. And we have had a pretty good relationship between our young people and police force here in Atlanta and for many years. But school is out. And normally, demonstrations would be organized on college campuses where students would be responsible.

This one was just the sort of social media meet-up and everybody showed up with no training, with no understanding of the plan, and with no understanding that a demonstration has to start and stop, getting the same message across. And I'm afraid --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right --

YOUNG: People lost the real message, and now the story is only the disruptions and the violence and the frustration. So in a way, the people who tagged along after, who for the most part were not a part of the demonstration, actually had a counter-productive demonstration that put our city in turmoil and did significant damage.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: I should also point out that Ambassador Young was also once the mayor of the city of Atlanta. And he points out something very important that is not unique to the demonstrations in Atlanta, really for most of the demonstrations across the country, there are some who are there protesting police brutality. There are people who are protesting the death of and the treatment of George Floyd.

But there are some who are coming just because that's where the crowd is. There are some people coming that's just because that's where the cameras are. There are some people coming because it's an opportunity to loot.