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THE SITUATION ROOM
Protests Erupt Nationwide Over Death Of George Floyd; Atlanta Protesters Vandalize Police Cars, Break Windows At CNN Center; Trump Speaks On Violent Protests Over George Floyd's Killing; Minnesota Officials, Faith Leaders Hold Press Conference Amid Protests, Violence; State Sen. Patricia Torres Ray (D-MN) Discusses Contacting Governor On No Police Presence as City Burned. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired May 30, 2020 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: We want to welcome our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington. This is a special edition of THE SITUATION ROOM. Violence erupting in states across the nation over the police killing of George Floyd. Frustrated angry demonstrators are taking to the streets in more than 30 major U.S. cities throughout the night. Many of those protests leading to clashes with police.
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In Atlanta protesters threw fireworks at officers inside CNN's world headquarters. They also set fire to a police cruiser as protest continued outside. More than a dozen cities as seeing large scale demonstrations overnight. And there's growing uncertainty across the United States about how these violent protests may continue to get potentially out of control. Minnesota's governor is authorizing the full mobilization of the National Guard.
He says that's the first time that's been done in Minnesota since World War II. He's about to have a new news conference with faith leaders in his community. We'll have live coverage that's coming up at the top hour -- top of the hour right now. In fact, he had harsh words condemning the destruction scene overnight in his state. Watch this.
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GOV. TIM WALZ (D-MN): Last night is a mockery of pretending this is about George Floyd staff are inequities or historical traumas to our communities of color. So let's be very clear. The situation in Minneapolis is no longer in any way about the murder of George Floyd. It is about attacking civil society, instilling fear and disrupting our great cities.
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BLITZER: Governor Tim Walz will have a news conference coming up. Momentarily we're told we'll have live coverage. Some of the protests also turned deadly. In Oakland, California, two Federal Protective Service officers were shot as demonstrators they're turned violent, one of those officers was killed. And in Detroit shots were fired into a crowd killing a 19-year-old man. Let's begin with the President of the United States who just moments ago spoke about the protests unfolding across the country as he departed.
The White House heads to the launch of SpaceX down in Florida. Second time he's done it. SpaceX launch was canceled on Thursday. CNN's Kristen Holmes is over at the White House for us. So update us on the latest that what the President is saying, Kristen.
KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, he really focused on the protests that happened here at the White House overnight, which is what we saw all morning long. He spent the morning on Twitter, slamming the protesters and issuing a series of at times bizarre tweets where he said that nobody came close to breaching the fence because it had, they would have been greeted by vicious dogs and ominous weapons.
And then he went on to raise a question for a lot of us. Reporters who are reading it that said tonight I understand is MAGA night. A lot of questions as to what exactly he meant by that there is no event on the schedule, no one could give us a clear idea of what exactly he was talking about. So the question became whether or not he was trying to get his supporters here to clash with the protesters.
And the reason that is so important is because this is a time when leaders across the country are calling for peace. They are calling for unity. And then you have this tweet from the President as asking, seeing if his supporters were going to be here after this clash, after this big protest at the White House last night. Now here's what he said when he was asked if he was worried about the racial -- stoking racial tensions. Take a listen to him.
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DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We'll be going to the Space Center, we're going to be hopefully seeing a great launch. It's about a 50/50 shot. But it's important I think, as President to be there, what we've done with NASA is amazing. And we brought it back from the dead, it was not essentially functioning and now it's one of the great centers in the world. That is the greatest center of the world.
So I think I have an obligation to be there and it's very exciting, even though it's about a 50/50 shot, otherwise it'll be postponed until Wednesday I understand, not Sunday, but Wednesday, but we'll see what happens. So we look forward to being there. Some of you are going with us. Any questions?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, you are here with your fleet today. Are you concerned that you might be soaking more racial violence or more racial --
TRUMP: No, no. Not at all. MAGA says Make America Great Again. These are people that love our country. I have no idea if they're going to be here. I was just asking, but I have no idea if they're going to be here but MAGA is Make America Great Again. By the way, they love African-American people. They love black people. MAGA loves the black people. I heard that MAGA wanted to be there, a lot of MAGA was going to be there. I have no idea if that's true or not.
But they love our country, remember that. MAGA is just an expression. But MAGA loves our country. OK.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE)
TRUMP: No, I don't want to -- I don't care. I mean, I don't care. I want to just thank though the Secret Service. They were so professional last night. It was incredible. They were so professional; they were really great. Really great. Any other questions? Anybody else going?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President.
TRUMP: By the way, I want to say it again. Secret Service did a job last night. That was incredible. Minneapolis. I love that city. As you know, I've had very great success there. Almost want to say for the first time in many, many decades but almost won that state and it's a great state, Minnesota. They've got to get tougher. They've got to get tougher. They've got to be strong. Honor the memory of George Floyd, honor his memory. They have to get tougher.
And by being tougher, they will be honoring his memory, but they cannot let that happen. What I saw policemen run by a mayor who I think is probably a very good person, but he's a radical left mayor. When I saw the police then running out of a police station but that police stations should be abandoned and taken over. I've never seen anything so horrible and stupid in my life. I've never seen anything so bad.
And then I see them trying to justify it. Look, they've got to be tough. They've got to be smart. We have our military ready, willing and able if they ever want to call our military, but we can have troops in the ground very quickly. If they ever want our military. They're using their national guard right now the, you know, I guess as you probably know, they have their national guard out. We can't have our military there very quickly. They've got to be tough.
They've got to be strong. They've got to be respected. Because these people is Antifa. It's a lot of radical left bad people. And they've got to be taught that you can't do this. So I'm going now to watch a great launch and we'll see how we do. Thank you. Thank you very much.
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HOLMES: So you heard that there, Wolf. He insults the leadership in Minneapolis, which is going through a huge crisis right now. The city burning to the ground overnight on Thursday and has continued with protests and riots. He says that they're not tough enough. And then he said that he was offering the U.S. military up to them, but they hadn't taken it yet. And I do want to note one thing because you couldn't really hear the question there.
It goes back to this idea of MAGA night. He was asked, do you want supporters to show up in protest? Are you asking for them to come? And he said, I don't care. But I will know that on Twitter after he sent this out, we saw dozens of people who are his supporters saying that they wanted to be out there protesting, that they were going to take him up on it. Now, of course, we take that with a grain of salt that is social media.
But it is clear that there is some sort of message the President is delivering to his supporters here. And again, I cannot stress this enough. It takes it completely away from George Floyd and the entire reason that these protests started in the first place, which is the killing of an unarmed black man who is pleading for his life. This takes that completely out of the equation when he talks about some governments not being tough enough or this all be Antifa and far left and all of this that he continues to say.
We don't even hear mention, again of the person who has killed, the unarmed black man that sparked this entire thing.
BLITZER: Kristen Holmes over at the White House for us. Kristen, thank you very much. For the first time since World War II, the Minnesota governor is now calling on the state's entire national guard to fully mobilize. This is truly a historic move and it comes after another violent night in the Twin Cities despite an ordered curfew. CNN's Omar Jimenez is on the scene for us as he has been for the last several days.
So Omar, update our viewers, remind us what we saw last night and tell us what authorities there are bracing for the hours ahead.
OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, we did see unfortunately a lot more damage to the city happened last night.
JIMENEZ: You know, it's exactly what the governor did not want to happen. He had described the previous few days as 48 hours of anarchy and then we saw a little bit more today. You see some of the remnants behind me that crews are trying to work on. You see this building behind me, the firefighters are currently working through right now. This is near the city's fifth police precinct.
But also, what you notice in this neighborhood is you see people walking around with tools, volunteers we're going to come over this way. They are out in their neighborhood trying to clean up their own neighborhood again after we have seen extensive damage over the course of the past few days. Now you talk about what's next here. Officials again are trying to get a hold of this this issue.
And how Governor Walz has laid it out is that it's going to come in three steps. It starts with getting back control, which they are working on now then get justice and then after that they say they can rebuild trust with these communities that has been frayed over generations as he's described it, Wolf.
BLITZER: As you know, Omar -- well actually, hold on for a moment, Omar because I understand the governor of Minnesota Tim Walz is now speaking at this news conference. I'm anxious to hear the latest.
WALZ: You know what we've left some behind and we know what we've made others invisible. Much work needs to be done. We must see justice for George Floyd. We must vow to make equity inclusion more than buzzwords that come up. We must allow this community to grieve. And we must vow to do better. What we've seen over this week, and that visceral pain to watch George Floyd be murdered in front of the world made us dig deep on who we are.
These activists were there. These leaders were there. These community organizers and change agents were there to lift their community up. And they took that voice where they should, to the streets, to the places where people can make a difference are there and they peacefully exercise their first amendment rights and express their rage in a way that said this must not stand. We must have justice.
We in Minnesota must do everything we can to protect and lift that voice up. We must do everything we can to create the space where that can happen, and it will happen today. But I want to be very clear, which started out as a community and a state, trying to make ourselves better and understand where we failed to demand justice and express righteous anger has morphed into some very, very different.
What we've seen on the streets of Minneapolis and St. Paul over the last 48 to 72 hours has nothing to do with what these people have done to build Minnesota. We have had wanton destruction of black businesses and black infrastructure. We have destroyed landmarks of the nation's largest indigenous communities that ripped a hole in the soul of a people that have been oppressed from the minute we became a state.
We stand on the land of the people who created that and the people who were on the streets last night burned it down. They are not us. They do not share our values. They destroyed our public libraries and our public infrastructure. That chaos created stopped us from delivering school meals to hundreds of thousands of hungry children across the state at a time of COVID-19. They want nothing to do with the decency. They want nothing to do with what we strive for.
They can't say the name Philando Castile because they don't know the history. They're not here to make that difference. This group is. So as Minnesotans don't listen to me, listen to these voices. I listen to them. As a white man who walks through life with that privilege, walk in these shoes, walk in these communities. They took me in, they sat me down, they challenged me when I'm wrong. They teach me what it looks like.
And they advocate for change and try and hold me accountable. When I failed them, they tell me, when we succeed, we succeed together as truly one Minnesota. And so with that as a group of mentors here none more important to me someone who stands for the first time in eight weeks in the same room, my friend, a leader in this community Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan.
PEGGY FLANAGAN, LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR OF MINNESOTA: Good afternoon, everyone (INAUDIBLE) My name is Peggy Flanagan. I'm Lieutenant Governor of the State of Minnesota. And I am a member of the White Earth Nation of Ojibwe. And my family is the Wolf Clan. And the role of our clan is to ensure that we're not leaving anyone behind and that work could not be more important than this moment that we find ourselves in right now.
As we've come together -- as we've come together as community, it has been tremendously difficult to not reach out and to embrace each other because as our -- we were watching our communities fall apart. The moment to connect, the moment you physically touch and care for one another is one of the things that we are prevented from doing right now. But because of the importance of this moment, as the governor mentioned, this is the first time that we have been in the room together, because it matters that much.
Now, before I became lieutenant governor, I was an organizer. And I was an organizer for 20 years and when there are protests in the street, I was there. I marched behind Valerie Castile as we mourn the unjust loss of her son. And my heart and my guts are being ripped out in this moment as I also want to go to the streets. And what we've experienced in the loss and the murder on camera of our community member George Floyd is horrific.
And that space on 38th and Chicago is sacred ground. And people should be able to come together on that sacred ground and mourn and grieve and demand change and justice in policing and every other racist system that we have that has been part of this state, but in this moment, we cannot because there are detractors. There are white supremacists, there are anarchists, there are people who are burning down the institutions that are core to the -- our identity and who we are.
As a member of the Urban American-Indian Community watching the destruction of Benghazi, an institution in our community that has been the foundation for organizing for education, for opportunity for building community together is no longer there. We did not do that. We have been coming together to take care of our community. And so, this is what I ask of all of you. We need to create the space for people to be able to grieve, to come together, to mourn the loss of George Floyd.
But in order to be able to do that, we need to create the space to remove the people who are doing us harm. We've watched communities step up and come together to clean the streets to feed one another. And that is what we need to do here. One of the ways that we can care for community is to stay home tonight, is to stay home tonight so that we can remove those folks who are harming us, so that we can remove those folks who are detracting from the memory of George Floyd and for the work that we have to do to ensure justice is done and to ensure that the three additional officers are held accountable.
FLANAGAN: But we cannot do that until community can gather safely. So I am grateful to be in this space with all of you to be at home, as we are together in community. And it is time for us to call on each other as organizers to stay home so that we can make sure that we have the opportunity to retain our community and to be able to rebuild and recover together and do all the work that we can in the capital building behind us to undo the systems of racism.
And to move policies forward that are truly just, this swell of mourning and grief has been just below the surface and it burst out into public. And we must take this moment to change it all, to change it all. So with that, I'd like to introduce to you our Senator Amy Klobuchar.
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN): Thank you, Lieutenant Governor and thank you, Governor. And it's just -- those words were incredible and you think the heart of your community now mourning. And with us today are these faith leaders, I've been at their churches and their synagogues and their mosques and it is usually a moment of joy that brings us together of worship. And today you will hear from them about where they are.
And that is that everyone is in pain. It is Martin Luther King who once said, that we are all tied in -- inextricably tied in a single garment of destiny. And what connects one of us connects all of us. And that's how we felt, all of us and anyone with an ounce of humanity when we see the video of George Floyd's murder, when we see that his life literally evaporating before our eyes. We remember when we see that that we are all inextricably tied.
But we also as we see the destruction of these sacred sites in the American-Indian community, in our African-American community when we see the businesses that literally represent small businesses, people's lives and hopes and dreams, torn apart, destroyed and torched. We remember that we are also inextricably tied at that moment, and that there are so many good people in our community that had every right to show their voice and speak, but not violently, and not destructively.
That is not what we are about. I saw the statistics this morning, as the Governor laid things out for our state about how so many of the people that have been arrested are not from our state. They are not from our state. So people of goodwill, that feel like I do so strongly about the wrong and injustice we saw in that video have to understand that some of these people that are coming over and doing this are not doing it for the good reasons.
They bring you to the streets to protest. They're doing it for bad reasons. They're not part of our state, and they're coming from the outside. So what we are asking today is that people of goodwill, people who believe in justice, people have faith of all faiths in our community, that they stand together and these actually stay at home and stand together in that way. We've been through a period of isolation already through this pandemic.
And we know that we can't gather like we once did. But today and tonight, the gatherings and some of those people that are part of it, it is not for goodwill. So we are simply asking peaceful people that want to honor the legacy of George Floyd. They want to honor the legacy of justice, that they stay home. That would be a start, and from there, we rebuild our community. We heal, we make sure that justice is done.
We enact the criminal justice reforms that we know are necessary. I was thinking about as I looked our Rabbis and Imams moms and reverence up here of this old Walt Whitman poem.
KLOBUCHAR: I hear America singing the very songs I hear. The varied voices I hear. There are voices up here that come from very different religions but they are all saying the same thing. There are local leaders that have been at the frontlines for their people. And they want to hear their congregation sing again. But the only way we can have peace is if we all find it within us.
Parents calling their kids, have you a great idea. Kids calling their parents today, what should I do? What's the best way to seek justice? Families talking to each other, and then we can move forward as a community but we cannot move forward when people are burning down our city, burning down our state. That is what we are united behind today. Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I hear -- I think it may be our fantastic Attorney General who's been a voice of justice Keith Ellison.
KEITH ELLISON, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF MINNESOTA: Friends, I want to be real clear. We need your help to comply with the curfew. Straight up. If anybody is unclear about what we're asking for that is what we're asking for. OK. Why? Because the people who are trying to tarnish the reputation of the noble protest for justice are out there trying to mix in with the crowd so that people will just say, oh, look at all those -- all those protesters are bad.
Their cause can't be just, they're just out there causing trouble. We know that's not what's happening. We know that the noble just aims of the protesters are righteous and good. But we also know that some evil elements are literally into fusing themselves with the protest to destroy and cause arson so that the whole community will have a low opinion of the protest, because they're not for justice for Mr. Floyd, they're against it.
And they know that if we protest righteously and peacefully and justly, people will -- their public sentiment will rise up to support our demands, they also -- so they want to stop that. And so, we need people to help us get off the streets. You can go on social media, you can protest there, you can do all these things. But to be on the street after 8:00 means that we can't get you separated from the bad people.
So we know you're brave. We know you're strong. We know you never compromise on justice; we know you're righteous and we believe in what you're doing. But we need to be able to stop the burning and the looting and the destruction. We know -- I won't let you know we had some great leaders around this room. I know them all, love them. And I want to speak to the protesters. I love you.
Many of them wanted to be here today. When we called them, they said, hey, we -- we're with the government, we believe in what you're doing. But we're on the streets trying to restore order and to raise -- the raise the -- raise the issue of the George Floyd. So, we can't come in because we're on the street. But we want you to know that we're with you. That is a fact. So, as I take my seat, look, one officer has been arrested, charged with murder. It's a preliminary complaint.
It's still going on. As a lawyer, I can tell you complaints are amended. Charges could be -- could be increased. There could be some added, there might be other people who will be charged as well. We are in the beginning of this as a signal to you that we know that there is probable cause to support this complaint. And the wheels of justice are moving and now they're moving swiftly. But we need you to help us.
Make sure that justice is done. And we know that yes, we will invest to rebuild our communities. What in the world is burning down (INAUDIBLE) or juxtaposition arts in the north side have to do with justice for Floyd? Nothing. So let me take my seat because better voices than mine can tell you about the urgency but I want to be clear, we're asking for you to let the National Guard have the street after 8:00 so that we can make sure that we restore order and build justice.
ELLISON: And with that, I want to invite my dear friend and yours, Reverend Dr. Charvez Russell.
REVEREND DR. CHARVEZ RUSSELL, SENIOR PASTOR, GREATER FRIENDSHIP MISSIONARY BAPTIST CHURCH & PRESIDENT, MINNESOTA STATE BAPTIST CONVENTION: Good afternoon, Minnesota. My name is Reverend Dr. Charvez Russell of Greater Friendship Baptist Church and the Minnesota State Baptist Convention.
And as a native of Mississippi and a resident of Minnesota for the last 20 years and an African-American -- successful African-American man -- I can tell you that I feel the pain, felt the pain growing up, felt the pain throughout college going to a 95 percent evangelical white college. Moving to Minnesota, experiencing that same systematic pain. And the pain against our own people.
How I get through it is the same way my ancestors have gotten through it over the last 400 years. That is coming together and leaning and depending on the power of God.
Every moment in our history where we face this type of destruction, face this type of attack, we came together leaning and depending on the power of God.
And when I see our community right now, when I see people cleaning up, when I see people offering food, when I see people offering to deliver food and do whatever needs to be done to overcome this evil -- because that's what it is. Because our Bible says that we battle not against flesh and blood. We're battling against evil.
So I'm calling on the believers and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and the people of God in general, regardless of what background you come from, to stand for love because God is love.
Continue to come together. Continue to fight against this evil that we face that they are trying to tarnish the name of George Floyd.
So, yes, I am asking that we do protest and use our voices loudly to represent love and the power of God and justice so that we can make the systematic changes so that my kids don't feel the same pain that I felt for the last 41 years.
So, yes, we are asking that you go home at 8:00 and pray. And I need somebody that believes in the power of prayer to get on your knees tonight so that we can give our room -- give room to our government that's been working so hard with us, partnering with us.
Give them the room to separate the good from the bad, separate those that are standing for justice versus those that are standing to tear down our government and all of our institutions and all of our neighborhoods and all of our things that we do to take care of our community.
We ask that you give them the room. And pray. And just like our ancestors have done. Lean and depend on the power of God.
And once we do that, we can begin this healing process. Because I don't know about you, but I believe in Minnesota, and I believe we will rebuild. I know we will.
Rebuild our institutions. Rebuild our relationships with our youth. Rebuild our relationships with our law enforcement. Rebuild our relationships with our government. And rebuild our beloved community to honor the name of George Floyd. Amen.
And with that being said --
RUSSEL: -- I want to introduce Rabbi Aaron Weininger to the podium.
AARON WEININGER, RABBI, ADATH JESHURUN CONGREGATION & CO-CHAIR, MINNESOTA RABBINICAL ASSOCIATION: My name is Rabbi Aaron Weininger. I'm a Rabbi at the Adath Jeshurun Congregation in Minnetonka. And with Rabbi Jill Crimmings, one of the co-chairs of the Minnesota Rabbinical Association. We must fight the pandemic of racism with the same resolve, tenacity
and compassion that we are fighting COVID-19. There's no excuse to do anything different as we remember the memory of George Floyd as a blessing.
You might ask how we might do that work of fighting this pandemic of racism. In our sacred scripture, as a Jewish people, the Torah, we read in Deuteronomy, "Justice, justice, you shall pursue."
The rabbis pose the question: Why is the word justice repeated twice? (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE). "Justice, justice." I want to suggest that we repeat the word "justice" twice because we have to name and call out the injustice in front of us.
The current moment that we're in, the horrible murder of George Floyd, name it for what it is. The brutality, the racism, calling out that first justice clearly and unambiguously.
And that second "justice," that second use of the word "justice" is for us to reflect how we do that. How we do that as Minnesotans. How we do that as people of faith. How we commit to that.
Certainly, as a Jewish community across this great state, how we commit to justice. How we make sure to sideline those who are undermining that very first pursuit of justice.
How we make sure to call out the injustice of white supremacy. How we call out the injustice of those from outside of our state who are perverting that call for justice.
So that when we say "justice, justice, you shall pursue," in the Torah, (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE), that we are clear and unambiguous about this current moment of justice that calls us to rise in peace, that calls us to stay home tonight.
And that second form of "justice," that we remember how to dismantle the systems of racism that have brought us to this point. And that we turn to our allies and that we, ourselves, in the Jewish community, serve as allies and witnesses of this moment.
And so we call out to the holy one a blessing by calling out to one another, "justice, justice," may each of us pursue.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our next speaker will be Emilia Gonzalez Avalos.
EMILIA GONZALEZ AVALOS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NAVIGATE MINNESOTA: Thank you, everybody, for their words of wisdom and resilience.
My name is Emilia Gonzalez Avalos. I'm executive director of Navigate Minnesota. And our organization is based in Bloomington right on the second floor of (INAUDIBLE), the place where a lot of people call the heart of the Latino community. And I want to speak about the heart of the Latino community and the
Latino community that I know and love and that I'm part of.
Yesterday, I saw public demonstrations of love and solidarity with a clear and deep consciousness that the struggle that took many to the streets is righteous. That we need to solve the very old problem of inequality. And for that, we need everybody and everybody's voices.
What I saw were small business owners, black and brown, indigenous, Somali, Mexican, Salvadorians, taking care of the little legacies and their little businesses that are their lifelines for many of our community.
What I saw were forms of public love. When they brought tables to the streets with water and food and emergency aid kits and Band-Aids and kind words for people that were passing by. I saw, I witnessed deep love for the community of Lake Street.
But I also saw another story. I saw folks that nobody recognized as our neighbors, as our colleagues or the people that have been in the movement and that have shown up for one another for the years that we have been involved.
They were looking for opportunities to cause more harm and pain in places where there's already harm and pain by structural racism and inequality and carelessness.
And I will speak now directly to the community that I'm a part of, that I'm accountable to, and that I love.
(SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
BLITZER: Very, very emotional statements coming in from faith leaders, community leaders, the political leadership of Minnesota. Right now, we're going to continue to monitor their statements, but the thoughts coming forward are very, very powerful.
Omar Jimenez is our correspondent on the ground there in Minneapolis.
Omar, we heard all of these people basically saying, yes, the outrage over the murder of George Floyd, only 46 years old, is totally understandable, but it's got to be peaceful. And they are all suggesting that outside agitators are coming into Minnesota, to Minneapolis and St. Paul and committing these violent acts, the burning, the looting, the other activities.
Remind us what has happened over these past few days. You've been there from the beginning. And what's going on right now?
JIMENEZ: Wolf, to use Governor Tim Walz's words, "righteous anger has morphed into something very, very different."
And now days later, days after George Floyd's death, which was obviously why these protests began in the first place, you see the remnants of what that has morphed into. You see this burned out buildings behind us still smoldering that officials are trying to get a hold of in various portions of the city.
But I want to draw attention to something else we've seen. Despite seeing people from the outside, we've seen people on the inside, from here, that are coming out to clean their community in droves here as you see the destruction that these riots in some cases have left behind.
Now the big question is: What are we going to see next? Yesterday we heard from the governor that they were trying and would not tolerate more than the 48 hours of anarchy that we had seen at that point. Last night we saw more of the same.
So they are trying to deploy more resources. We know for the first time in Minnesota state's National Guard's history, 160-plus-year history, they are deploying more than 1,700 National Guardsmen and women to this area to help with the response and try to slow down what has been a constant onslaught of, again, some protesting but violence as well.
Mayor Jacob Frey put out a tweet not too long ago saying that their biggest issue has been trying to match up the ratio of protesters coming in the tens of thousands in some cases throughout the city, to law enforcement resources that have actually been applied.
So that is what they are going to work on. They already put in a curfew last night hoping that would quell some of the efforts. That wasn't quite as effective as they would have hoped.
Then, as we heard over the course of that press conference, they are looking and trying to monitor what they say are people coming in from the outside trying to instigate on some of these communities and for these people that actually live here.
So that's something we'll continue to follow. And we're going to see if some of these resources make a difference in some of the arson and looting that we've seen after the protests these past few days -- Wolf?
BLITZER: It's important to note, Omar, that the governor, Tim Walz, the lieutenant governor, Peggy Flanagan, the Senator Amy Klobuchar and Keith Ellison, the attorney general, they all are basically making the same point that outside elements are coming in.
And they're appealing to everyone in Minneapolis and St. Paul, as Lieutenant Governor Flanagan said, stay home tonight so we can remove those folks who are arming us. She's saying those folks coming in from out of state, she says, white supremacists, anarchists. Keith Ellison, the attorney general, saying some evil elements are fomenting violence. Please comply with the curfew.
The curfew is supposed to go into effect 8:00 p.m. local time, 9:00 p.m. Eastern. They want everyone to stay home. They wanted everyone to stay home last night, Omar, but they didn't.
JIMENEZ: Well, and we were actually right alongside a state patrol line near the Minneapolis police 3rd Precinct, which is the one we saw lit on fire two nights ago.
And we were 15 minutes out from the 8:00 p.m. curfew at that point and there was a large crowd of people. And we did not get the impression that they were going to go home. And, surprise, surprise, they did not, once we crossed that 8:00 p.m. threshold.
Where we are, to give you a little bit of perspective, you see all the volunteers out and showed you the building. Just about a block away is the Minneapolis police 5th Precinct. And that was the subject of some protesting and attempts to riot there. And they put up makeshift fencing to try and prevent what happened at the 3rd Precinct from happening at another location.
But, again, what we have seen is that it's not just going to be the curfew. They are going to have to get added resources into this. And there were hopes that by at least seeing charges against one of the four officers involved in this that that would quell some of the passion that we have seen in this.
Derek Chauvin was the officer seen on the cell phone video with his knee on George Floyd's neck charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.
But the energy, at least some of it is, when will we see charges against the other three officers involved in this. That's part of what's driving some of the protests.
But, again, what we're hearing from local and state officials here is that there's this other energy that is being infused with some of that righteous protesting, as Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison put, that is fueling some of the damage we are seeing in this city.
And I want to draw back to one quote or one message the leader of public safety for the state said last night saying they draw the line for First Amendment speeches when you throw lit Molotov cocktails into open businesses.
And that seems to be the mentality of state officials moving forward -- Wolf?
BLITZER: He is also is alleging that improvised explosive devices in addition to the Molotov cocktails were used by what he described as these outside agitators.
Omar, thanks for all your excellent reporting.
The Minnesota Governor Tim Walz says he was contacted by a state Senator wondering where the police presence was as she watched her district burn.
That State Senator is Patricia Torres Ray. She's joining us now.
Senator, thank you so much for joining us.
Your call to the governor was on night three of the protests. What, if any, improvements have you seen since then? And do you think full mobilization of the National Guard in Minnesota, the first time since World War II that that is being done, is necessary at this point?
STATE SEN. PATRICIA TORRES RAY (D-MN): Thank you. Thank you for the opportunity to talk to your audience.
I think it's incredibly important that the nation understands what is happening in Minneapolis right now.
My call to the governor early was because I recognize what was happening in my own district. I represent a district that is very diverse. Very well organized.
And I know our organizers. I know our activists very well. I have worked with them for a number of years. I have been in this state and this country for 30 years working with activists. And I know how they do their work. We've made significant progress in the state of Minnesota.
And I recognized really early that the people who were in my district destroying buildings in my city were not part of this community. I didn't recognize these faces. It is clear to me that this is not their home. This is not where they live.
And we're now beginning to understand what their agenda is. They want to destroy our city. They want to destroy our efforts to organize for justice. And they are not going to prevail.
So we are prepared to do whatever it takes, whatever it takes to fight against this destruction and these terroristic attacks of these anarchists that have taken over our city. We're not going to let that happen.
And we're going to work with our governor. We're going to work with our law enforcement, with our mayors to do everything in our power to stop them.
BLITZER: And, Senator, what's so is so heart breaking -- and you know this, this is your district -- so many of those businesses that were looted and destroyed, restaurants, family owned restaurants and businesses, these are businesses that the folks in your community, whether African-Americans, Latino, Native Americans, others, they've work for generations to try to get to this level, then, overnight, all of their operations are destroyed.
You saw this. Tell us what happened.
TORRES RAY: I saw that, and I understood immediately that this was the job of terroristic organizations that had a clear agenda to destroy my city. I knew it. I recognized that immediately. It was clear that these individuals are not from our community, that
they are terrorists, that they are anarchists. It was clear that they were after very specific areas.
And they looted some liquor stores first. They were intoxicated. They distributed liquor to every person that came to our protests. And there was a deliberate attempt to confuse people, to intoxicate people. And I have never, ever, ever seen anything like this.
I want the country and the world to pay attention to these tactics because it is something that I personally have never seen anyplace. And I am -- I have been working in activism for 30 years. I ran for office 14 years ago and prior to that I was an organizer.
I have to tell you that I am shocked to see the tactics being utilized by these terrorists.
It is clear they have a plan and they have targeted my city because we are a progressive city where activists have made progress. We have elected some of the most amazing people in this particular precinct, in this particular state.
We have the first Native woman elected as lieutenant governor. We have a congresswoman in Washington. We are making progress, organizing some of the most amazing organizers in the country. We are making progress and will continue to make progress.
I believe that the progress was targeted by these terrorists, by these anarchists, by these white supremacists because they want to stop us. They want to stop the progress that we're making to change the infrastructures that have created these incredible disparities that exist in these particular -- in this particular state and across the nation. They are not going to succeed.
I believe that is their agenda. And I am fully supportive of what the governor will do for today and tomorrow. Our activists are -- we have videos. We have pictures of these individuals. They need to be arrested.
And our organizing efforts now are moving word making sure that we know how to document who these individuals are so that they are arrested and that we apply, you know, the legal resources that are necessary.
So we want activists to stay home because we understand what we need to do now. We are better prepared. We were a little caught by surprise, I have to be honest. We did not recognize that the first day but we do know now what we're doing.
BLITZER: So you agree with the other leadership in your state. You're appealing to everyone in your district, you're appealing to everyone in Minneapolis/St. Paul to stay home tonight after the 8:00 p.m. local time curfew, not go out on the streets, not demonstrate, once the curfew goes into effect.
Because you know there's going to be National Guard troops, local law enforcement troops all over the place and this could explode once again.
TORRES RAY: Absolutely. Absolutely. I am begging all of our activists, all of our organizers, to please stay home. Because we need to go after these people and the only way we can do that is if we can separate, you know, these Anarchists from our communities.
We need to stay home. If you need a place to stay, if you don't feel safe, we want you to call our -- your elected officials, the city. We are prepared to support you. We are prepared to provide the safety and security that you need to protect your families and your children.
We want to go after these people. We are prepared to go after these people and create safety and security in our communities. And we'll do whatever it takes so you need to stay home.
BLITZER: Senator Patricia Torres Ray, a Minnesota state Senator, your words are very powerful and very important and we're grateful to you for sharing them with our viewers, here in the United States and around the world.
As you know, people are watching not only in the United States. They're watching around the world. And they're wondering what is happening right now in the United States of America because the demonstrations have not only been in Minneapolis and St. Paul but they've exploded all over the country right now.
We'll stay in very close touch with you, Senator Patricia Torres Ray. Thank you very much for joining us. Good luck to you and good luck to everyone in Minnesota right now.
TORRES RAY: Thank you very much.
BLITZER: To our viewers, thanks very much for watching.
I'll be back tomorrow for another special edition, another special edition of "THE SITUATION ROOM." Our special coverage will start tomorrow in "THE SITUATION ROOM," 1:00 p.m. Eastern.
Until then, thanks very much for watching. Our special coverage will continue right after this.