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Extensive Protest Aftermath Today Across the Country; COVID-19 Treatments Entering Human Trial Phase; Interview with Kareem Abdul- Jabbar. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired June 1, 2020 - 10:30   ET




POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: Clean-up is under way in cities across the country this morning after a sixth straight night of protests. Philadelphia's fire commissioner says there have been 300 fires citywide there since Saturday. We have crews fanned out from coast to coast.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: Listen, each city is different, there are different experiences on the ground. So let's go to them in a way only CNN can, beginning with Brian Todd in Philadelphia, this scene of one of those fires.

Brian, tell us how extensive this is around the city. And are police and first responders getting a better handle on things?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jim, it's hard to know whether they're getting a better handle on it because the fire commissioner of Philadelphia, Adam Thiel, just told me he doesn't know how much more of this his force can take at this point.

This is a very problematic fire, despite the fact that it looks like a small building. It's a retail business here. They've been battling this for hours. And every time they seem to maybe get it under control, some more flames flare up there on the corner. They are scrambling to save other retail businesses attached to this, down the block. They're trying to save them from burning down as well, so they've been really battling this. This is a two-alarm fire.

And, Jim, you mentioned, you know, the other -- there are 300 fires in this city since Saturday. There's been a lot of looting since Saturday. We have come upon scenes of looting this morning. There have been more than 40 arrests for looting, and still a lot of violence here.

They have brought in the National Guard, they have brought in state police. They are trying to get their arms around this, but it still flares up in pockets, Jim, and they are going to see if they can get ahead of this as the day progresses.

HARLOW: Brian, thank you, and our thanks to them, doing that work.


HARLOW: The New York City Police Department says more than 200 people were arrested in the protests overnight. Brynn Gingras joins us again this hour in SoHo with the latest on the clean-up efforts.

The images there are so striking, Brynn.

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I mean, you really can't walk past a single store, Poppy, without seeing either graffiti on it or, at this point, business owners putting up more wood to try to prevent any more looting from happening this evening.

But here is a store that hasn't gotten to yet by its business owners or any managers. You could see, the looters last night -- because that's what it turned into, was looting overnight -- they tore down the wood that was used to protect this Dolce & Gabbana. And you could see, after they tore down the wood, they broke through the glass and went into the store.

This is what we're seeing, literally almost every high-end store here in the SoHo section, the very high-end shopping area of New York City. And again, if it wasn't this, it's graffiti.

I do want to roll some video of a very nice jewelry store manager who allowed us to come inside and shoot inside. Because it's just incredible. It's almost organized, guys, what we're seeing in some of these stores. Because they're not just going in and stealing what's in -- you know, a smash-and-grab situation, they're literally going to back end of the store, going into where merchandise is kept and inventory, and taking it all.

And the business owner said to me -- manager, rather -- said to me, you know, this is not the protestors. These are looters. And he's like, and we are suffering so much. Because, guys, you've got to remember, we're still under the pandemic here in New York City, nothing is open. So he said, we are suffering because we haven't been able to open our stores. And then this happens -- guys.


SCIUTTO: Brynn there in New York, thanks so much.

Chicago has seen limited access to parts of its city center as protest clean-up there begin. Ryan Young, following with the latest.

Again, Ryan, how extensive and how quickly are they able to clean up?

RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Jim, that is the great question right now because what we're starting to see is a spread in terms of where the protestors and looters are showing up. They're spreading throughout the city, going to the south and the west side.

Right now, we're standing in the middle of Michigan Avenue. If you look down the way here, there is no traffic. It's very hard to even get to this location. We'll show you some video that I shot on the way in.

Drivers are even confused how to get to work or the city center. A lot of times, you have to present an ID to show that you can make it. The reason why -- if you come back this way -- they are using heavy trucks like this one to shut down entrances and blocks. The bridges are all up. People are wandering around, trying to find a way to other sides of the city. And on top of that, all the stores in the downtown district are still shut down at this point.

Jim, there's a lot of questions. We should get updated numbers at some point soon about the arrests from last night.

HARLOW: OK. Ryan Young in Chicago, that's a striking, striking --


HARLOW: -- just so empty on Michigan Avenue. Thanks to all of you, reporting on the ground for us.

Ahead, you'll want to hear this conversation with basketball legend, four-time award-winning columnist. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar says what we are seeing play out across the country right now is a result of people being pushed to the edge. What must be done to bring real, impactful change? We will ask him.



SCIUTTO: Of course, we are still in the midst of a pandemic, but there is potentially promising news in the fight against coronavirus. Eli Lilly, the drug company, has begun the first human trial of an antibody treatment.

HARLOW: Elizabeth Cohen, our senior medical correspondent, is with us.

So how good is this potentially good news?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: So it's not just Eli Lilly. There are now several companies that are moving towards doing human clinical trials. Eli Lilly appears to be the first.

Monoclonal antibodies appear to be a potentially promising treatment. What they do is they take antibodies from people who've recovered from COVID. And instead of just giving those antibodies, you know, in the -- right to other people in the form of convalescent plasma -- which we've all heard about -- they cull the very best of them and use the strongest ones, and turn it into a drug.

And so it's really hoped that this is going to work because we're not going to have -- excuse me -- a vaccine immediately, so it's hoped that this might be in addition to a vaccine, or a bridge to a vaccine. But there are several companies doing monoclonal antibody research, it's worked well for other diseases like cancer. SCIUTTO: OK. Hydroxychloroquine, there have been so many confusing messages about this from the president, politicians, et cetera. The science has been very clear on it as a treatment. No sign of benefit, even some sign of negative consequences. But the commissioner of the FDA, sending mixed messages. Tell us what he's doing at this point, and what Americans at home should take from all this.

COHEN: OK. So first of all, I'm going to try to give a clear message here, since you're right, there are so many voices.


COHEN: The clear message is that if you are already sick with COVID- 19 and in the hospital, it does not appear that this works and it might hurt. And that is why the FDA, the NIH, other groups have said, you know what, let's not use this on hospitalized patients unless they're part of a study and we're trying to answer questions and monitor them closely. Does hydroxychloroquine prevent people from getting sick in the first place? That's an open question and several people are studying this.

What the FDA commissioner talked about recently was, he said, We don't regulate the practice of medicine. Because people were saying to him, wait a minute, doctors are still prescribing this in ways that they've been told not to.

The answer is that doctors can pretty much do whatever they want with a drug that is already on the market. If a drug is on the market for toe fungus, they can use it for cancer if they want to. I'm being silly, but that is literally true. Doctors are allowed to use off- label prescribing. You've had it done to you, I've had it done to me, we've all had it done, it's perfectly legal.

HARLOW: But make sure it's the best call, right? Thank you for the --


HARLOW: -- clarifying note, Elizabeth.

COHEN: That's right.

HARLOW: Thanks so much.


We will be right back with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.


SCIUTTO: CNN has learned that the White House is now reaching out to black community leaders ahead of what the White House calls a possible listening session.

HARLOW: Let's go to our John Harwood. He joins us from the White House this morning.

OK, John, I think context and background here is very important, as the White House announces these potential plans.

JOHN HARWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, the key word there, Poppy, is "possible." We do know that the president, in about 15 minutes, is supposed to be holding a conference call with his attorney general to talk about law enforcement responses. The president's defined himself by tough talk -- on Twitter, at least -- during this crisis.

We also know that this is a president who has been defined politically by racial conflict during his campaign and since, and this is a Republican Party, guys, where large majorities, according to polling, say they don't believe that the legacy of slavery has a big impact on the condition of blacks today.

Large majority say that the bigger problem is not discrimination, but people seeing it where it doesn't exist and that the United States has gone either far enough or gone too far in guaranteeing equal rights. That is the backdrop for the president's response to this issue.

So not clear that anyone should be investing a lot of hope in what the listening sessions, if they should materialize, might amount to.

HARLOW: OK. John Harwood, thank you. Keep us posted on that.


Will much of what has been peaceful protesting nationwide be overshadowed once again by violence that we've seen break out in a number of cities? We're back in a moment with more.


HARLOW: NBA legend, four-time award-winning columnist Kareem Abdul- Jabbar, with an incredibly powerful piece that touched so many over the weekend.

SCIUTTO: If you haven't read it, I do recommend you take the time. Here's one brief quote from it.


"I don't want to see stores looted or even buildings burn. But African-Americans have been living in a burning building for many years, choking on the smoke as the flames burn closer and closer. Racism in America is like dust in the air. It seems invisible -- even if you're choking on it -- until you let the sun in. Then you see it's everywhere."

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar joins us now. And it's good to have you, sir, on our broadcast. As you know, as often happens in situations like this, political leaders, others try to characterize -- caricature those out in the streets as mostly looters, mostly left-wing radicals, et cetera.

I wonder if you could describe in your view, what is at the root of most of what we're seeing out there on the streets today. KAREEM ABDUL-JABBAR, NBA HALL OF FAMER: Well, I would have to say, it

is the culmination of just decades of indifference toward a very real problem in the black community. The indifference that people have to repeated shootings of black Americans -- unarmed black Americans -- by white police officers who don't seem to have been trained very well. This -- or that they have, like, a personal animus against minorities and people of color.

This seems to be a trend that is so stubborn, and it won't -- it won't stop. These are people that really have no other voice now. They don't -- they don't get the political power or the financial power to change their circumstances. So what are they going to do?

The rioting is the voices of people who have no voice. That's how they've made their presence known. I just remembered seeing a sign that someone held up in Minneapolis that said, Can you hear us now?


ABDUL-JABBAR: I think that's a very, very poignant statement.

HARLOW: You quote Langston Hughes, you know, almost 70 years ago now, but -- saying, what happens to a dream deferred? And I think that just says so much, right? When will you hear us --


HARLOW: -- is the question now.

ABDUL-JABBAR: That has been the question.

Just think of how we were disturbed and really motivated to change things when we saw the Rodney King film. And that was 30 years ago. What happened in between? Nothing. Nothing has happened. It's been -- there were consent decrees that were imposed on a number of police agencies across the country, and those -- most of those agencies have resisted change, very, very strongly. They don't want to change and that -- that's very obvious, when you see things like this continue to happen again and again and again.

SCIUTTO: We had the Miami police chief earlier, who said that in his view, one difference is that you have seen chiefs of police in some cities stand up and say, this was murder, in no uncertain terms, talking about the killing of George Floyd. And that's not isolated.

I wonder, when you hear statements like that -- but also see symbolic steps, some police kneeling with protestors, joining them, marching with protestors, does that in your view make a substantive difference?

ABDUL-JABBAR: Well, there's always been some white Americans who understand that what they're seeing is criminal and it's wrong and people can't live with it but it -- there's been no change. The way -- there is no way, really, to get rid of bad cops.

We don't want to get rid of the awesome men and women out there that police our streets. We don't want to get rid of them, but there are some bad cops among them and we need to find an effective means to get rid of them that doesn't threaten the rest of the cops, the 99 percent of them that did do such a wonderful job, day-in, day-out, many times not being thanked for it, you know?

But something has to change on the other side of that, and we have to be able to get rid of the bad cops.

HARLOW: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, I wish we had an hour with you. I encourage everyone to --


HARLOW: -- read your powerful words from this weekend. Thank you for what you wrote, and what you do for this country.

SCIUTTO: Yes indeed.

ABDUL-JABBAR: It was great talking, and anybody wants to contact me about it, they can contact me at --

HARLOW: OK. All right.

ABDUL-JABBAR: -- and they'll find out all (inaudible) what I'm doing now.


HARLOW: That's great. And people should know that you just started this new project with Iconogram. People can order a personal message, and all those --