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NEW DAY SATURDAY

Outrage Spills Across America In Fourth Night Of Protests; U.S. Gripped By Disease, Unemployment, Outrage At Police; Officer Charged In George Floyd's Death Used Fatal Force Before, Had History Of Complaints; Protesters Clash With Secret Service Outside White House; Two Federal Protective Service Officers Shot, One Dead; Former NBA Player Joins Outcry In Wake Of Floyd's Death; Person Who Attended Memorial Day Party Tests Positive. Aired 8-9a ET

Aired May 30, 2020 - 08:00   ET

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


[08:00:00]

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN BREAKING NEWS.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. I'm Victor Blackwell.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Christi Paul. So grateful to have you here. Overnight, there was outrage that filled the streets. Anger that boiled over in more than a dozen cities. For a fourth night now protesters smashed windows, set vehicles ablaze, clashed with officers, all of it of course sparked by racial inequality that sparked by the death of George Floyd.

BLACKWELL: Yes, Floyd, a black man, who was killed in police custody in Minneapolis earlier this week. Right now Officer Derek Chauvin, he's been charged with third degree murder and manslaughter. The protesters want more. They want the other officers - the three officers involved to face charges as well.

PAUL: And Floyd's death was really just the tipping point. Anger has been simmering following so many incidents, including the deaths of a Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor just recently.

BLACKWELL: This morning we know that the two - at least two federal protective service officers in Oakland, California they were shot. Officials tell CNN that one of them has died. We'll get you more as we learn more about that.

PAUL: Yes, that's just coming in. And here in Atlanta we saw a snapshot of some of the outrage across the country. You're looking at protests here that were right outside world headquarters of CNN. It was chaotic. People vandalized the CNN Center building. They smashed police vehicles and they just set some cars on fire nearby.

BLACKWELL: CNN's Natasha Chen joins us now. Natasha, we know that a barricade was set up the last time we saw you. Any more progress out there?

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. They're moving fast. In fact, you cannot see most of the profanity and graffiti that was put on the CNN letters anymore. That they've been painting over those and now you see them power washing and painting the walls as well.

So the crews work fast here. Of course, there is still a lot of damage as far as broken glass on the other side of the building around the corner. There are a lot of glass panels just completely shattered there. But, again, this morning the cleanup is happening quickly.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHEN (VOICE-OVER): 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 protest 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, GEORGIA: So what I see happening on the streets of Atlanta is not Atlanta. This is not a protest. This is not in the spirit of Martin Luther King Junior. This is chaos.

CHEN (VOICE-OVER): Georgia'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. 350 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.

Dallas police fired rounds of teargas 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.

[08:05:00]

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 4 chanted, "Who do you protect?" Who do you serve?"

GEORGE FLOYD, KILLED BY MINNEAPOLIS POLICE: I can't breathe.

CHEN (VOICE-OVER): As 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 VIDEOTAPE)

CHEN: We're hearing similar sentiments from local leaders across the country denouncing violence and calling for peace. And you could hear in the voice of Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. She said last night that she is the mother of four black children and that you can't out concern her with the issue of racial justice. However, she did ask for everyone to go home and said the real way to make change is to vote.

Christi and Victor back to you.

BLACKWELL: Natasha Chen for us in Downtown Atlanta. Thank you.

PAUL: Let's talk about Minneapolis now and George Floyd was killed. Police fired tear gas and flash bangs at crowds.

CNN's Josh Campbell is in Minneapolis with the latest. So what's going on behind you, Josh?

JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Victor, we're at one of many scenes here in this area of Minneapolis that is left to utter destruction. You can see behind me here a shopping center that has been partially burned out. There's boarded up windows. Some of those windows have been smashed. This whole scene here was the scene of a dramatic incident last night. A showdown between police officers and protesters. What you can see - just I'm going to show you here on the streets these crowd dispersal tools that are used by police officers. Natasha just talked about them. Projectiles that some contained smoke, some contain chemical agents, tear gas that's meant to disperse crowds. The streets here are just littered with these. We've already changed at least one tire since we've been here.

Now, I want to show you why this particular area was the scene of this incident. As we pan here, you can see this burned out bank behind me. One of these many buildings. We're here at the Fifth Precinct of the Minneapolis Police Department.

Now we saw those images of the Third Precinct which is just a couple of miles away near the scene of where George Floyd was killed. But no police department here is safe from rioters and if some of these dangerous and destructive riots that we've seen.

You can see right now that in addition to these jersey barriers and some of the fencing, there are officers posted up on the roof keeping watch. So far we haven't seen any crowds. But again this scene last night, just a dramatic showdown between rioters and police officers. Police sending some of those projectiles into the crowd to try to keep them at bay.

It's interesting when you talk to some of the members of the community, they try to make the point that there is a difference between the peaceful protesters. Those who are outraged at what they believe is an overuse of force by police officers involving Mr. Floyd. They want to disassociate themselves from some of the riots, some of the destructive protests that we've seen across the country.

Now, finally, we know that one of the officers that was involved in that incident has been arrested. He was charged with third degree murder. Still yet to be determined whether these protests work will continue. Some of the agitators that we've heard from over at the scene in the Third Precinct say that they want all of the officers arrested. That hasn't happened yet. We may see more protests as their case continues, Victor and Christi.

PAUL: All right Josh Campbell. Thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: Let's talk more about all this with CNN Law Enforcement Analyst James Gagliano and CNN Political Analyst and author of "My Vanishing Country" Bakari Sellers. Welcome to you both.

Bakari let me start with you. The Minnesota Public Safety Commissioner is talking about getting to healing. So much talk about healing. But I use this analogy in an earlier hour. There's a process to get to healing. You don't just start with the bandage. First you got to stop the bleeding and that's what we're seeing.

But you don't put a bandage on a dirty wound. You need an antiseptic. You've got to clean it out before you apply that band is to get to the healing. What is the antiseptic? What is that part that we keep missing after Ferguson, after Baltimore, after but Baton Rouge after all of these incidents?

[08:10:00]

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I mean, I think that is the systemic injustice and racism that we have to root out. I mean I don't think that there is anyone who will doubt, even James, I believe, will agree that there is a culture in the Minneapolis Police Department that is a culture that's gone awry and something that we have to work through.

But it's not just about George Floyd. It's not just about Ahmaud Arbery. It's not just about Breonna Taylor. It's about the systemic racism and systemic levels of oppression that many people of color are facing in this country.

And so, no. you just can't root it out and say, "I'm sorry, let's move on." Because the fear that many of those protesters had last night is that we'll go on and in two or three weeks we'll have another hashtag. We'll have another time where our voices won't be heard. We'll go home and drink dirty water. We'll go to poor school. We won't have access to broadband. We won't have access to quality care. All of these things layered create the powder keg.

And the last thing that I'll say is that, we tried to protest peacefully with a knee on Sundays and the President of the United States called the Sons of bitches. And so now we have the world's attention. The question is how do we fix the problem and how we root out the systemic racism.

PAUL: So, James, I want to ask you. There are a lot of people in the Floyd case calling for the other three officers who have not been charged for them to be charged. And Christy Lopez, a professor at Georgetown Law School wrote for The Washington Post an article talking about needing to create a culture in which police officers themselves step in and prevent abuse. What do you see in terms of the need, obviously, for more peer intervention? Why is that missing?

JAMES GAGLIANO, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, Christi, that's true of every profession. And, obviously, to point police officers are armed instruments of the state. They have a right to take a life in defense of life and liberty and loss of limb. They have the right to do that.

The question becomes how is that done? Is the use of force appropriate? In many instances it is. In the incident of the case of George Floyd it clearly was not. And, look this case it's not going to have an immediate happy ending. We all understand due process. We all understand how slowly the wheels of justice turn.

And unfortunate things sometimes, police officers are the vanguard. There's only about a million of them in a country of 327 million. We ask them to be social workers. we ask them to be mental health professionals. We ask them to make split second decisions in extreme conditions full stop

Saying that. I'm not condoning what happened in Minneapolis with that officer and George Floyd. That was outrageous. But look we're now going to see the repercussions from that. CNN is now reporting just this morning the two officers - federal protective service officers in Oakland that were shot, wounded by gunfire. One of them has passed away.

So I want to see swift justice. I want to see the other three officers face some type of charges. I don't know what those charges are going to be just yet. But we've got to calm down. The rioting the provocateurs and opportunists that damaged CNN building and attack police precincts in New York. That is not the answer.

BLACKWELL: James is it time for departments to abandon the neck restraints and the chokeholds as procedures? Some have and we know that some still allow them like the Minneapolis Police Department.

GAGLIANO: Victor that is a great question. Let me give it to you from this perspective. When an officer is in an existential fight - anything goes. So if you're trying to kill me. If you're trying to kill innocent bystanders. You're in a fight. That carnal, that visceral reaction to saving your life for others it's an existential fight. Having said that, there's a vast difference between that and a restraint hold, to your point.

What that officer did by kneeling on George Floyd's neck is unacceptable. Full stop. And where do I think needs to happen? Obviously, it sounds like platitudes and bromides that say we need more training. But, Victor, I think that's at the crux of it. We need more combative trainings. We need more de-escalation training and we need to do a better job of picking the right people to wear a badge and a gun.

PAUL: So Bakari, I wanted to mention your book, "My Vanishing Country." I was listening to you on the Swing State Podcast. And you said that you wrote it, so when people of color read it, they get a sense of pride and when white people read it, they get a sense of understanding.

And what came to me was. I remember I've talked to Victor about this. I had a very large conversation - a long conversation with George Howe, who used to be here as well, about the talk. The talk that black families have to have with their children. This is not a talk that other families have to have with theirs. Help us understand that talk. Because I think there's some understanding that can come from knowing what you as parents have to do.

SELLERS: Well you know I have a daughter who is turning 15 on June 1st and she will get her permit. So I mean I think that at that point in time that's usually not slightly before when you have to sit them down and say, look, because of the color of your skin you're going to be in situation where you have to have a heightened sense of awareness.

[08:15:00]

Make sure that when the police are behind you and it's dark, that you don't pull over unless there's a well-lit area. Dial 911 and let them know that you are driving to a well-lit area and that a cop is behind you. Make sure that you fight your battles in court. Do not try to win on the side of the road. Do not try to win that interaction with law enforcement. Do everything you can to make it home safely.

You know my biggest fear, and we saw this with our colleague yesterday when he was arrested by Minnesota State Police. My heart was beating extremely fast, as he continued to try to talk in the microphone. I was yelling just put the microphone down, put the microphone down, because we want you to live another day.

And, you know, we had these interactions and whether or not it's Amy Cooper in the - with the birder in New York or whether or not it's as bad as George Floyd in Minnesota. We have to make sure that every night while white families are just sitting where you can just hug your kids and say good night, we have to pray that our kids can come back home to us safely.

PAUL: All right. OK. Bakari Sellers, James Gagliano we so appreciate both of your voices here. Thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: Thank you both.

SELLERS: Thanks.

BLACKWELL: So, listen, a black person dies at the hands of police and we have listed off the names this morning. Why does this keep happening? When will this end?

When will this be more than just a conversation about what needs to happen and things actually changing? Don Lemon is leading an important conversation. "I Can't Breathe: Black Men Living And Dying In America, that's tomorrow at 8:00 p.m. right here on CNN.

PAUL: There are some tense moments as the Secret Service clash with protesters just yards from the White House. The clash between the agents and the protesters who are demanding justice. We'll tell you more. Stay close.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:20:00]

BLACKWELL: To move forward on the breaking news, and show you the clash between the Secret Service and police and protesters. This was outside the White House last night. They wrestled over a barricade at sometimes just across the street from the White House.

Protesters, you see there threw their water bottles at one point. The agents responded to the pushing and yelling by spraying pepper spray at some of the protesters. CNN's Kristen Holmes joins us now. We want to talk about the President's response or lack thereof. But also on what we saw outside the White House last night.

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Victor, this is really incredible footage. You have to keep in mind where we are right now. This is a locked down compound. And ever since the Oklahoma City bombing, you cannot drive a car in front of the White House. They have barricades up all around this area.

We, as reporters, have to walk through several bicycle racks to get through here. Now, we take our temperature as well, but just to get to the gate, which is the fence on the White House. So to see these protesters really breaching that barricade, it's not something that you see every day.

Remember, there are protests and demonstrations. People outside in that park it's called Lafayette Park on a daily basis, but they hardly ever get this aggressive. At one point we actually saw protesters pushing against the Secret Service riot shields after they had torn down some of these barricades.

Now, as you mentioned, this is all coming as President Trump and the White House is really getting criticized for the lack of a cohesive national response to what we've seen in Minneapolis. And really instead of issuing some kind of statement to diffuse the situation President Trump is being accused of doing exactly the opposite.

As we watch the city burn, it was lit up in flames, President Trump tweeting early on Friday morning this. He said, "Thugs. When the looting starts, the shooting starts."

Now, this is - and just to give some context here, a phrase that was originally used by a white police chief in Miami during the civil rights movement and it was widely criticized. He was very controversial figure who at one point also said, he didn't mind if people were accused of police brutality. So just to give you an idea there.

Now, President Trump has said he has no idea what the origin was of the statement. That he heard it lots of places. And perhaps that is true. But it did not set off a good tone here. And as you saw from the tweet, Twitter actually flagged it for violating their policy on threatening or glorifying violence. And this has just been the latest in this response to Minneapolis.

When President Trump actually first even addressed this, after this tweet, it was hours later. He had come out into the Rose Garden and given remarks on China and the World Health Organization. How we are - U.S. was pulling up, and he made no mention of Minneapolis. As again, we had saw the entire city or at least police department and several buildings burned to the ground the night before.

BLACKWELL: Several months into a pandemic, several months out from a national election and there is significant overlap in the treatment from the White House. Kristen Holmes, thanks so much.

HOLMES: Thank you.

PAUL: Still to come, as we deal with outrage in America right now, what life in America is like for a black man from one young man's perspective? We're going to learn some things here. Stay close.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:25:00]

BLACKWELL: All right. Some more breaking news out of Oakland, California. Police say that at least two federal protective service officers were shot overnight. One of them has died. They were stationed at the Downtown Oakland federal building.

Officials say at least 7,500 hundred protesters were there on the streets of Oakland last night. Some of them set fires. Some of them confronted officers and there were also reports of theft and vandalism. Arrests were made. Police, though, have not been able to give us those specifics.

The killing of George Floyd is the most recent case on the minds of a lot of protesters. But there are at least two others that have happened very recently. In the early hours of March 13th Breonna Taylor, she was shot and killed by police officers who forced their way into her apartment. This is in Louisville, Kentucky.

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

PAUL: And a month earlier, Ahmaud Arbery 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. Police say no string of break ins was reported for more than seven weeks prior to his death.

[08:30:00]

Now that shooting was videotaped by a third person who did not immediately call 911 for help and it took three months before any arrests were made an Aubrey's death. Those three men you see there have now been arrested.

BLACKWELL: It's important to remember that Floyd's death is not an isolated incident. There's a young man who posted a video of the elements of the talk. The unwritten rules that his mother says that he needs to follow to stay alive.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't put your hands in your pockets. Don't put your hoodie on. Don't be outside with no shirt on. Check in with you people. It doesn't matter even if you're down the street. Don't be out too late. Don't touch anything you're not buying. Never leave the store without a receipt or a bag, even if it's just a pack of gum.

Never make it look like there's an altercation between you and someone else. Never leave the house without your ID. Don't drive with the light beam on. We don't with the dome light on. You don't go out in public in evening. You don't ride with the music too loud. And don't stare at a Caucasian woman. If a cop stopped you randomly and started questioning you, don't talk back, just compromise. If you ever get pulled over hands on the dashboard and ask could you get your license registration?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: I'm joined now by a civil rights attorney and CNN Legal Analyst, Areva Martin and CNN Political Commentator Van Jones.

Van, as I was listening to his list I was just mentally thinking of the additional things that my mother put on my list when I turned 15 and got a permit. This is a conversation that we have, unfortunately, we have so many opportunities to have it. After there is a national response to a black man being killed by either a vigilante or a police officer. And it is sometimes difficult to articulate the anxiety that is created and the challenge that we have to carry around. How do you articulate it?

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, you know I'm raising two young black boys here in Los Angeles. And because of the era they're growing up in, they got exposed very early to this conversation. And it's very, very sad, my little boy is turning 12 this summer. We were riding around here at my live/work space and we were - had the little play guns that shoot a little play darts. And he stopped and he says - he's a daddy, "Is it OK for us to be doing this after all we're black?

We're in my house. He was afraid that somebody might look in the window and see us playing a little plastic play guns. You have to start telling young black boys at a very early age that law enforcement will see you as a threat because of the color of your skin, not because you're doing anything, not because you did anything wrong.

I think it's very difficult for white America to understand what it's like to sit down 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 or even 14-year-old person and explain to them, those people in those uniforms are possibly more deadly to you than any gang member, than any terrorist, than any Klu Klux Klan member, because you've got to contact them so often and every single time there's a chance that they will assume that you are a deadly threat. Your skin is your sin. I don't care how well you do in school. Your skin is your sin.

BLACKWELL: Areva, I want you to get to the legal element of the conversation about the third degree murder charge - the manslaughter charge against this officer - former officer Derek Chauvin, but also the liberty to discuss what Van has approached as well?

AREVA MARTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes. One thing I want to say with respect to Van's comments. I agree with him. I have a double burden in my household. I have a black son. My black son, though, has a disability. And my biggest fear is that a police officer approaches my son and he won't understand if he's given a command by a police officer. He won't know how to respond to that, because he has a developmental disability.

So those of us who have black sons who are kids are disabled, our fear is even more heightened, because we know that our kids could be inadvertently shot or killed by a police simply because he did not respond to a command. Not because he didn't want to comply, but simply because he didn't have the cognitive ability to comply to a command. So that burden is particularly heavy for those of us in the disability community.

[08:35:00]

As it relates to the charges, I'm concerned that it took as long as it took. Clearly, from what we witnessed. That execution we witnessed on that video, there was more than probable cause to arrest not just the one officer that has been arrested, but the other three officers.

We have videotape now showing at least three officers who used their body in some way to pin Mr. Floyd to the ground when it was clear that he was not resisting, which was fallaciously stated in the police report early on.

And I'm also concerned, Victor, about what we continue to see. I have vivid memories of sitting with you and others on CNN during the Mike Brown protests. I grew up near Ferguson, Missouri. And it just feels like there is a playbook that happens with these murders.

A high profile shooting, intense media attention, protests in the streets. Claims that the protests have turned violent. And then there may be some discussions that happened at the local level, but nothing really changes. And so the question I'm asking myself as a civil rights lawyer, as a mother of a black son, when do we get to the real change? When do we get to something that looks as different, feels different and has a different outcome?

BLACKWELL: A Van to you. The announcement that came from the Hennepin County attorney yesterday during the afternoon, and I could be misreading this. But, it was read twice that he had filed these charges. He was taken into custody.

As if the expectation was that, here are the charges now that there would be some different response from the protesters that we saw on Thursday night and Wednesday night and earlier, the significance of the charges in the broader conversation that we're having within and beyond Minneapolis.

JONES: Well, I just think that there's just such a gulf of miscommunication and misunderstanding. The idea that you could have a lynching. An officer lynch a man - that was a lynching. Not one minute, not two minutes, not three minutes, six, seven, eight minutes depriving someone of oxygen in a spectacle, in front of the whole community, that was a lynching.

You'd have that lynching and have not just the officer do it, but to have three other police officers there and do nothing to intervene, and in fact defended him. That you could then give 87 degree murder - I never heard a third degree murder. I'm an attorney. I mean, in my 50s. I've never heard a third degree murder.

You give a third degree murder charge in that. Not arrest the other officer and we're all going to say thank you very much and go back to what we were doing. You actually incited people, because what we know is, if you start off with third degree murder, this guy is going to plead down to a traffic ticket and go on with his life.

And so, I've been black a long time. We're not stupid. This is the beginning of an exoneration, not a conviction. And so we're very sophisticated in our community about how law enforcement works. You always get a bunch of charges. In the community, in the hood, you'll get 57 charges and then you'll plead down to four.

When you start off with third degree murder or 15th degree murder, they're making murder charges. Then no, the community understands we're on a glide path to an exoneration. And it actually accelerates the protests across the country, as you could predict, if you knew anything at all about the black community.

BLACKWELL: Areva, very quickly, because we're running out of time. We know that from the FBI that they are investigating. Is the nexus or the jurisdiction clear for a federal charge here?

MARTIN: Oh, I think, absolutely it's clear for a federal charge. And I'm disturbed by the fact that the federal charge may be overseen by William Barr, because we know this Justice Department dismantled the process that was in place at the attorney general's office to go in and do the pattern and practice type investigations and to enter into consent decrees with police departments

So that level of accountability that was in place under the Obama administration and under Attorney General Eric Holder is woefully missing in this Justice Department. So, again, the community doesn't have a lot of faith in that local police department and there's not a lot of faith in this federal law enforcement agency as well, because of the head of that law enforcement agency.

BLACKWELL: Areva Martin, Van Jones, good to have you both this morning.

MARTIN: Thanks Victor.

JONES: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Thank you.

PAUL: Want to show you some of the images that we're getting from around the country as they come in here. In New York, for instance, the protests became violent. Officials forced to deal with large crowds in scenes like you're looking at here. And this is New York, so they're still dealing with the coronavirus outbreak on top of all of this. We'll talk more about it in a moment. Stay close.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:40:00]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHEN JACKSON, FORMER NBA PLAYER, FRIEND OF GEORGE FLOYD: My brothers, I love y'all.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We love you too brother.

JACKSON: My queens, I love you all.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I love you, brother.

JACKSON: I'm not scared. I'm not scared. I'm hurt. I'm angry, But I ain't scared. I ain't scared at all. To my white brothers, I love you. Every race here, I love you. But it comes to a point now where if you love me, and you're not standing on the side of me, then your love don't mean (bleep).

[08:45:00]

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: That's former NBA player Stephen Jackson there. He was friends with George Floyd. The two apparently met when they were just teenagers, growing up in Texas. Jackson refers to Floyd as his twin, and he's obviously joining a chorus of athletes who are speaking out about Floyd death.

BLACKWELL: Look more at the images that are coming in from across the country. Starting in New York. Police say that dozens of protesters here, a large crowd, dozens of them arrested. Some officers were injured. Some people became violent during this demonstration and it intensified throughout the night.

PAUL: Let's go to CNN's Polo Sandoval. He's in New York. And I know you've seen a lot of things going on there, especially as there are protests and they're also trying to deal with coronavirus. Polo what are you seeing this morning?

POLO SANDOVAL: Yes. Two story threads here that are intersecting and they did last night. So what we're seeing right now is New York City officials are meeting this morning. They're evaluating what took place yesterday and to see what, if anything, can be done to try to prevent things from spiraling out of control.

Because we should note that this started as a peaceful protest in Manhattan. Eventually made its way to neighboring Brooklyn where things took a fairly violent turn there, resulting in the vandalism of various police units. Also multiple officers that were injured, demonstrators also injured, and multiple arrest as well. We are expected to find out soon exactly how many.

And, look, leaders are recognizing that this is all a result of the anger and that growing call for justice not just in the Floyd death but also in previous and related cases as well. So authorities here certainly recognizing the need here for people to come together. But at the same time they want this to happen in a peaceful way.

And, finally, I you mentioned, back to the other point. What sets the demonstrations here apart from the rest of the demonstrations that are happening around the country, is that people are coming together in what was once the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States. And so there is a concern that when you get so many people together, that that does have the potential for spreading where the city's trying to reopen in the next couple of days.

So what authorities are doing right now is not only calling for peaceful protests, but also to use those facial coverings, if possible, and then, of course, social distancing, Victor and Christi. But when you see the volume of people coming together we all certainly understand that that's nearly impossible to do.

PAUL: To point. Polo Sandoval, thank you so much.

So we're, obviously, continuing to push forward on the breaking news regarding the protests across the US. And Polo just mentioned it. the latest on the coronavirus. We just learned at least one person who was at this Memorial Day party last weekend has tested positive for COVID- 19. We'll tell you what we've learnt.

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[08:50:00]

PAUL: So a person who is among that massive crowd partying at the Lake of the Ozarks on Memorial Day weekend has tested positive for coronavirus now Victor.

BLACKWELL: Health officials say the person visited the Backwater Jacks Bar and Grill in Osage Beach that Saturday and that's where this video showed the people there, packed tightly there in the pool, alongside the pool.

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

PAUL: So in the 5 to 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.

BLACKWELL: Yes. As states across the country have been gradually reopening, some churches have argued that they have been treated differently than other businesses. And right now California's policy for reopening churches limits services to 25 percent capacity or 100 people.

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

As we've covered this morning the protests throughout the country, some of which have turned violent. We've seen more of the video coming in, cars set fire, windows broken, protesters clashing with police. Our own workplace, the CNN Center Downtown Atlanta get attacked.

Here's a front page of "The Atlanta Journal Constitution" the headline here. "A peaceful. Then violent."

PAUL: we heard civil rights leader Andrew Young actually earlier today talk about this. He said it was multiracial peaceful protest and then in his words "another group came along and disrupted the cause."

And I know, Victor, that's hard to reconcile because we can't forget that this is happening and show what's happening. But at the same time there is still some - there are still some very difficult conversations to have about race and equality in this country and we don't want to move too far away from those.

BLACKWELL: And I think the conversation - look, Black people aren't saying something new this week or this weekend. Right? I think that a lot of the frustration is, we've been talking for quite a while, not just years, but decades. It's time to move on. We hear you. We're listening.

You've got to get to yes to hear, to listen. But what is someone going to do to change this? This is a time for action. If you want police policies to change, then we need people who are - I got texts and tweets from my white friends checking on me, because I live in Atlanta, because I'm a black man.

[08:55:00]

If you are so empathetic, do something, demand something, if you want to change. And I don't want to get lost in this video of burns - of cars burning outside of CNN and the CNN sign. It's not about the damage. It's not about us. If we focus too much on this, then we're missing the point.

It needs to be addressed. Yes, but focus on the change that needs to happen and hopefully we can focus on those conversations instead of just glass and bricks and vandalism throughout the - as long as this goes on.

PAUL: We will be bringing the very latest here tomorrow. Do join us tomorrow morning at 5:00 a.m. Eastern. We will be here for you.

BLACKWELL: "SMERCONISH" is next.