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THE SITUATION ROOM
Atlanta Protesters Vandalize Police Cars, Breaks Windows At CNN Center; Nationwide Protests Over The Death Of George Floyd; Two Federal Officers Shot, One Killed During Oakland Protests; NYPD Officer Being Investigated; NY Governor Updates State's Response To COVID-19. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired May 30, 2020 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
GOVERNOR TIM WALZ (D), MINNESOTA: At this time, Minnesotans, we will be back here. We'll bring some faith leaders to talk to you about it. We have planned demonstrations today, true demonstrations, true expressions of grief, true calls to heal our community and work.
We will be out there and the folks that are here will be out there to support that and protect that and honor that right. But we're asking those people, as soon as those are done, to disperse, to be out of the area and to not do what the mayors both clearly and eloquently, and I would associate myself exactly with them. If you are out after 8:00 you are aiding and abetting these folks. You are helping make it easier for them and you're giving them the cover that exactly they want.
So Minnesotans, this is an unprecedented time we're in. It may be an unprecedented time in American history. To my fellow governors who are experiencing this and the mayors, we stand with you as Americans who value decency, who value community, who value the rule of law. And we stand together.
This is an opportunity for our nation to truly become united about this. To isolate those folks who meant to bring us harm and to learn from this experience and become stronger.
We'll be back with you shortly. Thank you. Thank you, mayors.
(END OF LIVE EVENT)
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: So there it is. A truly historic moment here in the United States. We heard some really powerful words from the governor of Minnesota, the mayor of Minneapolis, the mayor of St. Paul, the U.S. Military, the National Guard commanders.
Full mobilization of the Minnesota National Guard -- 3,200 troops -- not all of them will be mobilized right away. Some od them are still in training.
In addition to that, we just heard they have asked the Pentagon, they have asked the U.S. Military for assistance from the outside. They have asked for assistance from National Guard personnel in neighboring states.
The governor saying he's spoken with the Secretary of Defense. He's spoken with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. They are claiming that these are outside agitators -- what they call terrorists who have come into Minneapolis and St. Paul to use the excuse of the death -- the murder of George Floyd -- the murder of George Floyd to go ahead and destroy property and to engage in what they call terrorism.
Josh Campbell is on the scene for us in Minneapolis right now. Josh -- I haven't heard this kind of material, these kinds of statements come from a governor in a long, long time, and from the mayors of St. Paul and Minneapolis as well.
They said -- Governor Walz said right now the mission go, he said, is to decimate that force of outside agitators, what he calls "terrorists" who have come to where you are right now to simply destroy and create chaos.
JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That is right -- Wolf. This has clearly gotten out of control. And what we're hearing from state officials here in Minnesota is that there will be a major escalation of force -- a major escalation. The governor himself using the word "overwhelming force" to describe how officials will now be combatting the violent protesters that they've seen here in the state that's spread throughout the country indeed.
But we know that officials now in Minnesota are changing their posture as far as how they're going to address these violent protests. Now it's interesting because when we first got here on the ground, covering this story, we saw violent protesters torch a police station, set fire to it. There were no officers to be found, there was no response.
Their posture at that time was to just let the people protest, even if that included violent acts, even if that included looting, and that we saw what happened. The people that conducted those acts continued to do them in subsequent days.
We're hearing now from officials -- Wolf, they're tired with it. They're done with it. They're moving in the National Guard, fully mobilizing them, requesting assistance from the DOD, as you mentioned, and other states and we're going to see that escalation by law enforcement as well.
But one thing we'll have to wait and see -- Wolf, is what happens tonight. In the evening time, that's usually when we've seen some of the most serious amount of violence here. Will the public and especially these the violent protesters heed the warning to stay away or will they continue to conduct attacks? We'll have to wait and see -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Tell us what you've seen -- Josh. We just heard this is the first full mobilization of the National Guard in Minnesota since World War II. Let me repeat that -- the first full mobilization of the Minnesota National Guard since World War II, the largest deployment of troops in years because of the fear that it's about to explode again -- once again tonight.
He was talking about improvised explosive devices, Molotov cocktails. You're there on the scene -- what have you seen in Minneapolis and St. Paul over the last few days?
CAMPBELL: Yes. Just dangerous situations -- Wolf. And again, they tend to happen at night when you have protesters that will rally in certain areas. And with the police and the National Guard now moving in, what we saw yesterday was a line of police officers around critical areas. You had the armored vehicles from the National Guard trying to prevent people -- trying to keep them back.
CAMPBELL: However, that lasted for only -- during the daytime. During the evening we saw things turn to chaos again. And you had protesters that were overrunning some of the lines, even despite having that physical presence.
I think what we're talking about Wolf is a sheer deficit. It's a numbers issue. You have thousands of protesters, a subset of that who were violent. They need more resources. They need more people.
Sometimes, I can tell you, you know, having worked in law enforcement -- that sometimes it's psychological. Simply coming with overwhelming force is enough to stop someone or at least make them question whether they actually want to breach an area and conduct some type of attack.
They haven't had that overwhelming force yet. That is about to change in this truly unprecedented escalation that we're seeing here in Minnesota.
BLITZER: The governor -- Governor Walz saying the area right now is under assault. Our great cities, he said, are under assault. There's urban warfare going on. He said the situation in Minneapolis is no longer about the murder of George Floyd. It's gone way beyond that. And he says these are outside agitators.
We also heard John Harrington, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety commissioner say there's some indication that white supremacists are out there behind the scenes and they're agitating -- they're trying to create this chaos to make the situation even worse.
Have you seen any evidence of that?
CAMPBELL: Yes. We know when the law enforcement investigators have been looking at that angle. Now, there is what we can see -- I'm standing in front of a burned out post office here, a federal building in an otherwise quiet community -- we see the physical destruction and we can see the violent protesters coming.
The part that we haven't been able to get an optic into is what's happening behind the scene with law enforcements -- the digital investigation. The state official there, as you mentioned, saying that they noticed on online platforms, there are groups including white supremacists that are posting information trying to incite people, trying to get them whipped up and conduct some type of attack, some type of violence.
We heard from the state police official there saying that they're about to start naming names and publicly releasing information about some of these alleged offenders who are trying to whip up people into a state of violence.
We need more information about that, quite frankly -- Wolf. We have to have that transparency for us, not only the press but also members of the public to understand what's going on behind the scenes to ensure that this is effectively being countered because as we saw, you know, it's an imperfect connection here but you go back to the 2016 election, you had law enforcement and the intelligence communities saying that there were Russian foreign services that were trying to whip up fear in the United States.
How do they do it -- Wolf? They did it online using these platforms that Americans use every single day. It is notable that now law enforcement officials are saying they're seeing these groups, including white supremacists, try to use these same platforms that people use to communicate, that people use to understand what is going on in their world to now try to trigger them into conducting these types of violent attacks.
So that is obviously an angle that law enforcement will be looking into. Whether it works -- Wolf, we don't know. Again, these platforms provide people anonymity. It's very difficult.
It's a lot easier to arrest someone you see conducting an attack, not someone who is trying to incite people to commit crimes. But an added angle here -- Wolf, to the herculean task ahead for state officials as they try to quell the violence here.
BLITZER: Yes. We heard the St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter, and I spoke with him last night. He said we will not accept George Floyd's death. We will also not accept the destruction of our communities. And where you are, so many of those stores, those shops, those restaurants that have been burned to the ground, looted and destroyed -- they were part of the community. These were individuals who lived there, who worked their whole lives, family businesses.
And he claims, the mayors both claim, that outsiders came in and used the excuse, he said, of George Floyd's death by a police officer or police officers in this particular case -- now ex-police officers -- to go ahead and destroy those kinds of property.
Stand by. I want to get more analysis of the horrific situation that's unfolding. The former New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu and Marc Morial are joining us. Marc Morial is also the president and CEO of the National Urban League.
We've got others with us as well.
But Marc Morial -- let me start with you. This is outrageous what we're seeing right now, but give us your reaction to what we just heard from the governor of Minnesota, the mayors of St. Paul and Minneapolis, the law enforcement authorities there, as well as the National Guard and police -- the law enforcement authorities there as well -- very, very sharp words.
MARC MORIAL, PRESIDENT & CEO, NATIONAL URBAN LEAGUE: Thank you. Thank you for having me -- Wolf.
MORIAL: And I want to say one thing at the outset. And that is I'm going to reiterate my call, and the call of many, for all of the officers involved in Mr. Floyd's death to be arrested and charged. The charging of one officer is not sufficient at this time because there's ample probable cause.
Number two, the next press conference that the officials in Minneapolis will hold, and the public safety director I think intimated to this, will give us information as to who is behind these acts of violence.
If it is white supremacists, if it is Russians, if it is other foreign actors who have tried to exploit the pain and exploit legitimate protests, then this is a new level in our country and they should be arrested and prosecuted as well.
My sense in listening to the governor, is that they have a fair amount of information on who is behind this. Now, Wolf -- on Thursday night, the leader of the Twin City's Urban League shared this very same thing with me. He said that, from his perspective, most of the violence was being carried out quote/unquote, "by people whose mission and whose values were not aligned" and they were not there to really protest the death of Mr. Floyd but really to create havoc.
But let me say this. The governor used strong words in effect suggesting a military confrontation. And I hope that the officers in the National Guard are going to use appropriate restraint and use appropriate, if you will, discretion, while at the same time doing what they need to do.
This situation -- so they've got to let the public know. They've got to let us know before tonight who is behind this. Is it truly those associated with terrorists? Is it truly white supremacists? Is it -- are they anarchists?
We need to know that in order to understand why this overwhelming show of military support -- military force is essential in this instance. And I believe they know a lot more than they told us at this press conference. But I think it's important that they let us know what justifies this.
I have had a suspicion for a time now that many of these sort of online protests are exploited by others. The Russians in the '16 election went to great lengths to pretend to be black activists in an effort to suppress the vote. Are they involved in this? Well, we need too know now. We need to understand now, who is involved and what justifies this overwhelming show of support?
But at the same time, Wolf, we're not going to let any of this distract us from the important issue. And what I disagree with the governor is that while the story in Minnesota might be today these protests and this violence, the real story in Minnesota, the real story in Minneapolis is the lynching of Mr. Floyd.
BLITZER: Stand by, Marc -- I want to get back to you.
Mitch Landrieu, another former mayor of New Orleans is with us, as well. Mitch -- thanks very much.
You heard John Harrington. John Harrington is the public safety commissioner in the state of Minnesota. He's saying basically there are thousands and thousands of rioters who are not really concerned about George Floyd at all, the murder of George Floyd.
They are simply bent on the destruction of property -- I'm reading from my notes. They were bent on hurting people. They were using improvised explosive devices. They were using Molotov cocktails. And then they were running behind the legitimate protesters who were outraged by the murder of George Floyd, simply using them as human shields to run away.
Have you ever heard of anything like that going on inside a major American city?
MITCH LANDRIEU, FORMER MAYOR OF NEW ORLEANS: Well, I'm glad to be here with my friend Marc Morial. Both he and I grew up together and we were both honored to serve as mayors of the city of New Orleans.
The first thing I want to say, I want to reiterate and amplify what Mayor Morial said which is that nothing that is happening anywhere that can take away from the facts and the circumstances of George Floyd's death. It is something that should enrage people in the United States of America. It cannot be forgotten. It cannot be overlooked.
There's nothing that in my service can justify what the police officers did to Mr. Floyd. And to watch that man die while he was calling for his mother is not only enraging about his life but almost every African-American in this country could see themselves in his face and have rightly been and justifiably been angered at the fact that no matter what it is that they do, how much they accomplish, people will not take the foot off of their neck.
LANDRIEU: And so no matter what is happening right now in this country, we cannot lose focus on that fact.
Now as it relates to the violence in the streets, I have never seen that, and I don't think Marc saw that when he was mayor of New Orleans either. And we really want to get into the facts of who actually is doing this and who actually is fermenting this and actually using the justifiable protests for their own purposes that are bringing destruction to businesses and the (INAUDIBLE) because you have to have order.
But I agree with Mayor Morial here, too. I think the Governor has to be very careful about his language about militarization. And that there is an appropriate way to make sure that you secure the streets, especially when you're going to be using words like overwhelming force, et cetera.
At the end of the day, Mayor Keisha Bottoms in Atlanta had a very difficult night last night. Mayor Frey, the mayor of St. Paul -- all very, very eloquent about making sure that we keep the focus on what the real problem is and to make sure we also keep people safe and keep people in a position where protests that are legitimate, you know, are the ones that we hear the most.
BLITZER: Yes. Those are very important words. And I just want to point out exactly what you're saying, you know, Mitch -- that it's not only happening in St. Paul and Minneapolis, the Twin Cities over there. It's happening in cities all over the country. We saw it exploding overnight on the East Coast, the West Coast -- all over the country.
Cedric Alexander is joining us right now. He's our law enforcement analyst. So give your analysis of what you see unfolding and what needs to be done.
CEDRIC ALEXANDER, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, first of all let me say good morning -- Wolf. It's been a little while since we've seen each other and I hate to see you under these types of circumstances again.
From a law enforcement perspective, for us I think we need to pay very close attention to what you just heard -- both from your former mayors there of New Orleans just so eloquently stated.
We're living in a time where we certainly want to be able to acknowledge and make sure that the emphasis stays on the tragedy we all witnessed on May 25th.
But there is clearly, and the intelligence information appears to be coming in that there are those out there who are attempting to distract from this whole issue.
But even beyond a distraction of Mr. Floyd's death, what we also have is an undermining of our American way of life. So what I would clearly say, as a former law enforcement official, is that if you're going to go out and exercise your First Amendment rights, please adhere to the curfew. Please pay attention to who's around you. Because you have actors around you maybe that's not there for the same reason that you are.
And if you live in that community, I would hope that you would have some type of relationship with your local law enforcement so that you can tell them and provide intel to them to help you keep the focus on what this is all about so that they can investigate those who may be there for a totally and entirely different reason.
So this is going to get a little complicated and hairy. I also agree with the former mayor as well, Wolf -- that it's important for the governor and certainly we understand that he has a responsibility for the entire state but language is very important. And overmilitarizing any of these events they have to be very calculated. They need to be very methodical. They need to be employed when they need to be employed.
But certainly something has to happen different here because what these American cities experience, and I've been to all of them -- Minneapolis, in Atlanta, Detroit -- cities across this country, we cannot allow for that to continue as we go through this crisis we're already in which is COVID.
But to the citizens that are out there in these communities, please, please pay attention to who's around you. When the curfew ends, you separate yourself from everyone and everything else so that we can keep the focus on Mr. Floyd and what needs to be done in the future to make sure that something like this never happens again because we certainly are going to need to look at the culture of policing in this country because there has to be some significant changes which we need to address.
Stand by -- Cedric, I'm going to get back to you as well.
Areva Martin is with us, our CNN legal analyst, a civil rights attorney.
BLITZER: Areva -- The governor of Minnesota, Tim Walz said, and I'm looking once again at my notes and I'm quoting him. He said, our goal is to decimate -- to decimate that force. He's referring to what he describes as out-of-staters who have come in to exploit the grief, the anger, the frustration over the death of George Floyd, only 46 years old -- to use that as an opportunity to try to destroy much of those cities in St. Paul and Minneapolis. And indeed it's exploding all over the country right now. Your thoughts?
AREVA MARTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes. I'm really disturbed, Wolf -- by the language of the governor. The default position in all of these cases, and I've been with you and so many other anchors at this moment when we've seen these protests erupt in cities around the country, whether it was around Mike Brown or Eric Garner, or (INAUDIBLE) Rice and the default position is always force.
It's never changed. And that's what's disturbing to me. We haven't seen a press conference by these elected officials talking about what is the systemic change that is going to happen. We saw the district attorney come out with one charge against the ex-officer who had his knee on the neck of Mr. Floyd, charged with third degree murder, as if that was going to appease the community.
We didn't see those other three officers charged. We didn't see transparency by that district attorney. So much of what these elected officials are trying to accomplish in terms of these protests could be accomplished if we had transparency and if we had the legal process taking place in a way that is fair.
This community and communities around the country -- we don't trust that anything is going to change. We've seen this play out time and time again. High profile case, intense media attention, protests erupt, maybe some meetings or a commission is formed after the fact. And then it's back to business as usual. And that's what we're seeing from this community.
So yes, there may be some Russians involved. There may be some white supremacists. And yes, deal with those people. Treat them as the criminals that they are.
But be very careful that you are not quelling the voices of people -- marginalized people all over this country who are tired of their voices being quelled.
So I didn't hear the governor talk about meeting with civil rights groups, meeting with civil rights leaders, meeting with the people in that community. I haven't heard enough about what is going to happen that's going to be different. So I'm very concerned about --
BLITZER: Areva -- at the end of the news conference he did say they would all be coming back out having another news conference at 1:00 p.m. Eastern, noon Central Time. 1:00 p.m. Eastern with civil rights leaders and with faith leaders to talk about precisely what you're talking about.
So they will be coming back in about an hour and a half or so from now to have more thoughts on that particular subject and to discuss the points that you're saying. You know, one interesting -- another -- there was so much explosive material.
But Dr. James Phillips is with us, and I want to get his thoughts on this. He's a CNN medical analyst, a physician, assistant professor at George Washington University Hospital here in Washington.
We heard from the National Guard commander say that some of those individuals outsiders were actually trying to exploit the coronavirus pandemic -- Dr. Phillips, and to use the masks that some individuals are wearing to disguise who they really are. They're outside agitators coming in to try to create this kind of chaos and embarrass the United States of America.
What's happening in these cities, as you know, is not only being seen here on CNN in the United States but it's being seen all over the world right now. What did you make of that as a medical professional?
DR. JAMES PHILLIPS, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: It's a very interesting situation where, you know, we had this pandemic that's still going on, and now we have a number of large mass gatherings of people around the country who are very upset. And there's a lot of -- a lot of people I see on TV are wearing masks appropriately to protect themselves. But certainly it does lend itself to disguise as well for people who are trying to do things they shouldn't be doing.
You know, what's important for people to remember, and who I'm addressing are the folks who are going out to rightfully protest, is to protect yourselves. You know, this can be done in a relatively safe manner by trying to distance yourself and wear those masks. But understanding that shouting and cheering and men screaming loudly -- that does produce a lot of droplets and aerosolization that can spread virus around to people.
So it's important that in the middle of a tinderbox that is America right now and with all these protests taking place, that we can't lose sight of the fact there's still a deadly virus out there circulating and it can still spread.
BLITZER: All right. Stand by. Everybody -- stand by. We're going to squeeze in a quick break.
We're following all the breaking news. Our special SITUATION ROOM will continue.
The President meanwhile, he's under fire for what his opponents are accusing him of doing, trying to incite violence in a series of tweets. It now appears -- it appears he's at it once again this morning. More tweets coming out, threatening protesters with what he calls vicious dogs and ominous weapons.
Also ahead, New York City is about to reopen, at least partially, for the first time since the pandemic began. The New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo -- he's standing by. He's getting ready to hold a news conference. We'll discuss what's happening in New York and a lot more. All that, coming up live.
And on top of all of this, we're only a few hours away from the landmark launch over at the Kennedy Space Center. But -- and this is a huge but -- will the weather cooperate? Might not.
We'll be right back.
BLITZER: We're following the breaking news across the country right now. We've seen calls for justice lead to violent, very violent confrontations between protesters and police over the death of George Floyd. Some of the destruction happening at CNN's world headquarters in Atlanta. You see some of these images from last night. Police there had to fend off fireworks as protesters surrounded the entrance to the building. Those demonstrators are also setting fire to a police cruiser outside the building.
Atlanta's mayor had this to say last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR KEISHA LANCE BOTTOMS (D), ATLANTA: I'm a mother to four black children in America, one of whom is 18 years old. And when I saw the murder of George Floyd, I hurt like a mother would hurt.
And yesterday when I heard there were rumors about violent protests in Atlanta, I did what a mother would do. I called my son and I said where are you? I said, I cannot protect you and black boys shouldn't be out today.
So you're not going to out concern me and out care about where we are in America. I wear this each and every day, and I pray over my children each and every day.
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 Jr. This is chaos.
You are disgracing our city. You are disgracing the life of George Floyd and every other person who has been killed in this country. We are better than this. We're better than this as a city. We are better than this as a country. Go home. Go home.
You have the defaced 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, speaking passionately from the heart.
In Atlanta right now, CNN's Natasha Chen is joining us. Very, very powerful, emotional words, totally understandable from the Atlanta mayor -- Natasha. Obviously very upset by what's being done to her beautiful city of Atlanta.
Take us -- you're there on the scene, give us a little sense, Natasha -- of what has happened over the past few hours.
NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. What we're sensing is that a lot of people share her grief and frustration because there are folks, including the people right across the street in a prayer circle right now. They talked to me earlier.
They said that they were part of the peaceful protest yesterday in Centennial Park that you see there just to the left. They were at the protest before 5:00 p.m. when it was very peaceful. They told me they went home and they saw the images on TV of people moving onto Marietta Street, in front of these businesses, including the CNN headquarters, destroying property. And they were so disappointed to see what this had turned into that they decided to come out today to clean up.
And that's what we're hearing from multiple church groups that are out with their brooms, with trash bags, all up and down this street. And I see them picking up glass. They are here, of all backgrounds. And what they told me specifically is that this is their city. They're going to help recover, even if they are truly disappointed in what other people did last night. They are here to clean up -- Wolf.
BLITZER: What was done over there at the CNN center, the World Headquarters of CNN, was simply outrageous. Natasha -- stand by, I'll get back to you. I want to go out to Oakland, California right now. Police are searching for the gunman involved in a double shooting that killed -- that killed one federal protective service officer.
CNN's Dan Simon is there for us. Dan -- what more do we know about the shooting? Do police have any suspects?
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf -- it was a very ugly night in Oakland, California. And just like we have seen throughout the country, this began as a very peaceful assembly.
SIMON: Oakland police say you had more than 7,000 people take the streets and then within that you did have a group that was intent on creating violence, looting buildings, spray painting -- all kinds of things that we've seen throughout the country and that we saw again last night in Oakland.
And then at around 9:45 p.m., according to the FBI, a vehicle pulled up to the federal building in downtown Oakland, began opening fire and two workers, two security workers for the federal protective service, these are contract security workers, they were hit, one of them died. We don't have any information beyond that.
Police are investigating of course, but just a very terrible night in Oakland and officials are bracing for more mayhem throughout the weekend -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Let's hope it doesn't happen, But I know they're bracing for that, not only in Oakland but all over the country, including in New York City.
Dan Simon -- stand by.
Over 200 people in New York City were arrested, over a dozen police officers were seriously injured following a very intense night of protests there.
An NYPD officer is now being investigated after what's being described as an aggressive push that was caught on camera during the Friday's protest. You can see the woman on your screen being pushed to the ground. It's unclear what happened in the moments leading up to that push.
CNN's Polo Sandoval is joining us from New York right now. Polo -- tell us what you can about what's happening now, what they're bracing for and what you personally saw over the past several hours overnight.
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A complex situation. A very complicated situation, really, what we saw in New York here. Now about 12 hours after that intense night, we're already beginning to see those signs that local officials are going to be taking a close and hard look at the actions of NYPD police officers yesterday as they were keeping their eye on the crowd. But we also have to take a moment here and really understand just how complex the situation is. We heard from Mayor Bill de Blasio just a few moments ago. We heard from the police commissioner as well and acknowledged that many of the people who were out in New York City yesterday were people who were out and said they were frustrated about what's described as this intolerable reality not just here in New York but across the country.
But at the same time, you also heard from police commissioner and the mayor saying that there were individuals in the crowd who were there to not only incite violence but also direct that violence towards law enforcement officers who are out there trying to essentially keep the peace.
So what we heard just a few moments ago from the mayor is that they will be taking a closer look at at least two videos, one of which you referenced a short while ago, that is calling into question certain actions but at the same time they're also going to recommend that their officers are mindful that there are many individuals who are out there exercising their right to free speech.
So I think we're expected to see perhaps tonight in the coming days, another wave of demonstrations and what we are likely to see at this point is again authorities out there perhaps taking a closer look at how they're actually making sure that the situation is peaceful.
When you look at the numbers -- Wolf, 3,000 people coming together in Brooklyn last night. The result is the video and sound that you're seeing right now.
And the mayor citing specific examples, as well as the commissioner, of these acts of violence against the city's officer, one in particular, a Molotov cocktail being thrown at a police vehicle that was occupied by officers. Authorities here making it very it clear there is no room for that and it's simply a matter of people trying to keep things as peaceful as possible -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right -- Polo, we're going to get back to you.
We're also standing by. The governor of New York Andrew Cuomo is getting ready to hold his daily news conference. I'm sure he'll be speaking about what's been going on. In fact, I think he's walking out right now. Let's take a look. He's about to begin.
(INTERRUPTED BY LIVE EVENT)
GOVERNOR ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: I thank the new settlement community center for having us today and for all of you being here.
Today is Saturday, day 91 of this coronavirus pandemic.
It's a hard day. It is a day of light. It is a day of darkness, it's a day where we see how far we have come in so many ways. But yet a day where we see how far we need to go in so many ways.
In battling this coronavirus, we have made great progress. The numbers today again are all good news in terms of total hospitalizations are way down, intubations are way down. The number of new COVID cases walking in the door every day is also way down. So that is all good news.
The number of New Yorkers we lost is at an all-time low. Same number as yesterday but overall, that has been tremendous, tremendous progress from where we were.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the families we lost. And I want to thank the hospital workers, the nurses, the doctors, who are just -- they've saved literally thousands of lives all through this. And I want to thank them all from the bottom of my heart.
CUOMO: I want New Yorkers to take note of what we have done. We, we accomplished this. This is not government action. This is we the people action. This is when New Yorkers come together and New Yorkers are informed, and they understand the challenge and they understand the facts and the information, they did the impossible. And that's what this was.
Five regions in upstate New York entered phase two of the reopening yesterday. We have a -- next week coming up the capital region and western New York will end their 14 days. And then we'll have to make a decision whether or not they enter phase two. We made that decision by reviewing the data and the numbers and not just the state officials because nobody has dealt with this pandemic before.
One of the most important things in life to know is to know what you don't know, right. And know what you don't know means none of us here know about this coronavirus.
We've been wrong from day one. All the experts have been wrong from day one. The projection models turned out incorrect because we were better with social distancing.
We were told the virus was coming from China. Really the virus came to New York from Europe. Nobody told us. We had three million people get on flights and land in New York airports from Europe.
So on these decisions of reopening, I'm making sure that we have the best science available and the best minds. I said from day one we have to reopen smart. This is not emotion. This is not politics. Some people want to open. We should have never closed, right, when we started.
This was just like the flu. Yes, the flu doesn't kill 100,000 people. This was not the flu. So be smart and avoid the politics and avoid the emotion and stay on the data.
And when we get to these phases of reopening, we have the best global experts, people who have worked with countries that have gone through this before, that have closed, that have reopened, then closed again because they reopened too fast. So I understand you have local officials who have opinions. I have opinions. But you know what? I'm not acting on my opinion. I'm not a public health official. I'm not a doctor.
Know what you don't know. I go to global experts. And this is a matter of life and death. And I want to make sure I get the best advice for the people of this state. I'm not going to put anybody's life at risk unless I feel confident that we have had the best advice. And that's what we do in all of these determinations.
New York City is going to open on June 8th. We have work to do still but we'll get it done by June 8th. Remember, New York had the worst situation and that we made this remarkable turn around this quickly is something we should all be proud of.
We're going to be focusing this next week on the hospital system. We learned painful lessons with our hospital system. We came up with a new program called Surge and Flex in the midst of this.
When it comes to hospitals, we don't really have a public hospital system. We don't even really have a hospital system. We have, in the New York City area, 100 private hospitals. And private hospitals operate as private hospitals. They have their own mission; they have their own business interests. They operate unto themselves. That's how it's always worked.
We only have about 11 public hospitals. They're in New York City operated by New York City, called the H&H hospitals but there are only 11 of them. The public hospitals cannot handle any outbreak of any size. We've learned that. We need those private hospitals operating in a way they never operated before, which is basically managed as one public health system. And that's a dramatic difference from anything that happened before.
CUOMO: And on the first go around, we had to design the airplane as we were flying it. And the "Surge and Flex" was coming up with a management system for those private hospitals who had all acted independently.
We want to make sure we have that refined over this next week because if we have a problem, we need all of those hospitals to work together, where we can shift patients, we can share resources -- that kind of coordination.
The MTA, the public transportation has been getting prepared, they're disinfecting trains like never before. But they have another week of work to do and they will be ready.
And then we want to focus on the 10 hot spots. The ten hot spots are those areas that we have identified through testing where we're still generating new cases. And we have where the most aggressive state in the country in actually doing testing. And the testing tells you where the new cases are coming from, we call them hot spots. If you look at them, we can actually identify them by zip code. And it's a dramatic difference between the overall city situation and the situation in these zip codes. Overall, city situation's about 19, 20 percent infection rate. Some of these zip codes you have an over 50 percent infection rate. Just think about it.
So we're targeting those zip codes as places. We want to get down that infection rate, get down the new cases in those hot spots.
They tend to be in the outer boroughs, non New Yorkers. There is a concept called, outer boroughs; there is no inner borough. Manhattan is the inner borough but nobody closes the inner borough.
I'm a child of an outer borough. I'm from queens. Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx, Staten Island -- those are the outer boroughs. You're not in Manhattan so you're an outer borough which had also its ramifications.
But you look at where the hot spots are -- they're in the outer boroughs. They're in Bronx, Brooklyn-- predominantly Bronx; Brooklyn, a little bit in Queens, actually my old neighborhood in Queens.
Let's focus on those zip codes over the next week. These hot spots are not coincidentally predominantly low income and minority communities. And that again raises the issue of disparity and inequality. We're going to be adding more testing sites in these areas. We need people to come out, get tested, find out who has the virus, who has the antibodies, who is possibly contagious.
Even if you're a young superhero and you think you're immune from the virus, you can give it to someone else. You can give it to your mother, your father, your aunt, your people living in dense communities. You have many people in one housing complex. You can't socially distance in an elevator in public housing. It does not happen.
So this is where the infection rate is spreading. We're going to do more PPE, more hand sanitizer, more education, more communication about how important these things are.
But we have to get deeper also. And we're working with Northwell Health, which is the largest hospital system in the state of New York to actually develop better health care connections in these communities where you see a high death rate is where you have people with underlying illnesses.
If you have diabetes, if you have hypertension, if you are immune- compromised then you're more likely to die. And that raises the question why didn't we address these health disparities better. And we want to take this opportunity to do that with Northwell Health because we have to address the inequality in health care.
If you look across this nation, proportionately, many more people of color died from the COVID virus than white people, that is a fact. There's a slight disparity in New York state, nothing like what it is in other states and we're proud of that.
But there is a disparity and there is an inequality, especially across this country. That has to be addressed. That has to be addressed. It came to light; it was exposed because of the situation. But it was there. And it has to be addressed.
CUOMO: And there is a larger context for this conversation today, right. For 90 days we were just dealing with the COVID crisis. On the 91st day, we have the COVID crisis and we have the situation in Minneapolis with the racial unrest around the George Floyd death.
Those are not disconnected situations. One looks like a public health system issue, COVID. But it's getting at the inequality in health care also on a deeper level. And then the George Floyd situation, which gets at the inequality and discrimination in the criminal justice system. They are connected.
The George Floyd death was not just about George Floyd, and we wish his family peace, and they're in our thoughts and prayers. But we tend to look at these situations as individual incidents. They're not individual incidents.
When you have one episode, two episodes, maybe you can look at them as individual episodes. But when you have ten episodes, 15 episodes -- you are blind or in denial if you are still treating each one like a unique situation.
We have an injustice in the criminal justice system that is abhorrent. That is the truth. It doesn't make me feel good to say that. I'm a former prosecutor. We have injustice in the criminal justice system which is the basic purveyor of justice in this society.
And it's not just George Floyd. You look back even in modern history in my lifetime. This started with Rodney King. Rodney King was 30 years ago. We suffered in this city through Abner Louima and Amadou Diallo and Sean Bell and Eric Garner. How many times have we seen the same situation?
Yes, the names change but the color doesn't. And that is the painful reality of this situation. And it's not just 30 years. It is this nation's history of discrimination and racism dating back hundreds of years. That is the honest truth, and that's what's behind this anger and frustration.
And I share the outrage at this fundamental injustice. I do. And that's why I say I figuratively stand with the protesters, but violence is not the answer. It never is the answer.
As a matter of fact, it is counterproductive because the violence then obscures the righteousness of the message and the mission. And you lose the point by the violence in response. And it allows people who would choose to scapegoat to point to the violence rather than the action that created the reaction.
The violence allows people to talk about the violence as opposed to honestly addressing the situation that incited the violence. The violence doesn't work. Martin Luther King -- Dr. King, God rest his soul, he taught us this. He taught us this.
He knew better than anyone who is speaking to us today on this issue. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.
Yes, outrage. Yes, anger. Yes, frustration. But not violence.
Last night we saw disturbing violent clashes amidst protests right here in New York City in Brooklyn. And we all saw the video last night. I'm asking Attorney General James to review the actions and the procedures that were used last night because the public deserves answers and they deserve accountability.
I spoke with the mayor. He wants an independent review of what happened yesterday. I agree. And we agree that the Attorney General is an independently-elected official in the state of New York.
CUOMO: In many other states, the attorney general is appointed by the governor. Not here. She's an independently-elected official. She has proven herself competent and capable in being independent and we're going to ask her to take a short period of time, review last night and to do a report to the public and let's see what we can learn -- what was done right, what was done wrong. Because people do deserve answers.
We have legislators who were at the protests, state legislators last night. And there is a significant amount of concern about what actions were taken.
But on the larger point, in this pandemic over the past 91 days, we have done extraordinary things. When they first talked to me about this virus, they were not sure it could be controlled. When we first talked about socially distancing, nobody knew what that meant. Nobody knew that you could even do it.
Would people listen? Would New Yorkers listen which takes the question of people to a different level because we're New Yorkers. Could a government official, could a governor get up and say to 19 million people, we need to close down everything. We need to socially distance. Six feet. Wear masks. PPE.
Could a community rise to that occasion? Could this virus be stopped? Was that curve going to continue to go up? Nobody knew. And it was all dependent on what people did. What people did. What the community did.
And on top of it, New York was hit the worst. We have more cases than any state. We have more cases per capita than most countries. But because we were hit the worst, I think it brought out the best.
And I think our better angels won. I think our better angels responded. And I think our better angels rose to the occasion. We helped each other. We respected each other. We protected each other. We were there, one for the other. People across the state volunteering to help other parts of the state. People from upstate coming down to help downstate. People from downstate going to help upstate. People from across the country coming to help us, leaving their homes in other states to come here. It was really community and mutuality and all the things we hope to be manifested.
It happened. We needed people to rise above themselves. To get past the pettiness, to get past the selfishness. To be bigger than themselves. And they did it.
And for me, the microcosm of it, the metaphor for all of it was the frontline workers. What they did and they are modern day heroes. I was saying to the people of this state, this is dangerous. Stay home. Protect yourself. Protect your family.
And in the same breath I was saying to the frontline workers, not you. You have to go to work tomorrow morning. In the same breath. And I was saying to myself, what happens if they don't? What happens if they don't? What happens if the frontline workers say, this is dangerous? I'm afraid. I'm going to stay home like everybody else.
What would have happened? If the nurses didn't show up and the doctors didn't show up and the bus drivers didn't show up and the subway conductors didn't show up and the food delivery people didn't show up and the pharmacist didn't show up and the delivery women and men didn't show up. What would have happened if there was no food on the shelves? What would have happened if there was no one in the emergency room when you showed up?
You want to talk about crisis. You want to talk about pain. But these frontline workers, despite the risk, because I had to highlight the risk because I needed people to stay home so I spoke to the risk, but then despite the risk, I had to ask them.
CUOMO: My voice speaking for all of us, please help us and go to work tomorrow.