Return to Transcripts main page


Mayhem Overshadows Peaceful Protest Across U.S.; Mayor: Two Atlanta Officers Fired For Using Excessive Force; California Gov. declares state of emergency in LA. County; Mothers Of Black Men Killed By Violence Speak Out. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired June 1, 2020 - 07:30   ET


JEH JOHNSON, FORMER UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: That is opportunistic looting. And I'm - there's nothing I could say to prevent that. But what we can do is talk to those who are angry, who are motivated by this movement to say that if your protest crosses into violence it is counterproductive and you're ceding the moral high ground.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Secretary Jeh Johnson always a pleasure to have you on. Thanks so much for being with us this morning.

JOHNSON: Thank you.

BERMAN: Two police officers in Atlanta fired for excessive force. The dramatic body cam video just released. That's next. CNN.



BERMAN: Overnight two Atlanta police officers fired for allegedly using excessive force against two college students during weekend protests.


BERMAN: We should have warned this video very difficult to watch. The officers say they thought the couple was armed. CNN's Dianne Gallagher live in Atlanta with the very latest on this Dianne.


DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, John the chief of police said that when she saw the video it was shocking to see the way that they manhandled, in her words, the two young people in their car.

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms called the video disturbing and said it was clearly an excessive use of force. Those two officers who used the Tasers were fired after the viewing of that video. The three other officers that you see in the video have been placed on desk duty, pending an investigation.

Now the police report afterward indicates that the officers, for some reason, believed that they might be armed. The officers who used a Taser on the woman said he heard the word gun mentioned several times. Again, we have no reason to know why they thought they were armed.

This happened on Saturday night. There were 157 people who were arrested that night. Right here out this morning they're still cleaning up, you can probably see, here in Atlanta at this point.

Those two people who were in the car, a Spelman student and a Morehouse student, we're talking college students here. The chief of police recognizing the damage that this does. When you see this video, when people saw it, she said it was unacceptable and she knows that they caused further fear for the community she said Alisyn. And she said she is genuinely sorry for causing that additional fear in this space for African-Americans in her city.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Dianne, thank you very much for reporting for us. Well, this morning all of Los Angeles County is under a state of emergency after a weekend of unrest. Hundreds of protesters arrested Sunday in clashes with police. CNN's Stephanie Elam is live in Los Angeles with the latest. So not much happening at this hour, but I know it's been a rough weekend.

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's a very, very involved, very different kind of week here for Los Angeles, the one we haven't seen in decades here. What I can show you right now is that we're on Melrose, and just show you the calmness here. This is where we were Saturday where you could see that this area was just really the hot spot of where we saw the tension.

This after Friday where about 500 people were arrested and the same thing on Saturday, then to Santa Monica yesterday where hundreds were arrested there with those protests. But looking a lot call me here today.

One major reason is the police presence out here is very strong right now. Also the National Guard is out here walking the streets. In fact, when we were coming out here they stopped us to make sure that we were just not out here to loot, because we were in three different cars, because of social distancing.

But what we've seen here and how it really did turn up the intensity here over the weekend, still playing out in places like Portland Oregon where they are they have seen six days of protest as well and fires being lit in front of their justice center there, also windows being broken out of the federal courthouse.

They have been really working to try to allow the protesters the room to protest, but they said the tone changed later in the day and that is why they had to go a little bit harder. They said on enforcing and using rubber bullets and all of those things that you we've seen, tear gas police using to disperse crowds when things are no longer just a peaceful protest. But we've seen it in multiple cities here on the West Coast. You've seen it in Oakland, you've seen it in Sacramento, down to San Diego, Santa Anna several cities here where there have been protests. People coming out and marching. So really feeling the response, really spreading across this part of the country in response to what has happened in Minnesota and the loss of Floyd George.

CAMEROTA: Really interesting, Stephanie, thank you very much.

George Floyd is only the latest of countless unarmed black men whose unjustified deaths have sparked nationwide protests. We will speak to the mothers of some of those victims about their push for justice.



CAMEROTA: The brother of George Floyd speaking out on the sixth night of demonstrations over the killing of Floyd by Minneapolis police.

PHILONISE FLOYD, BROTHER OF GEORGE FLOYD: People just want justice. They're going to continue to march and protest, and if I ask everybody to do it peaceful, but they want justice, and that's the reason they're acting out like that--


CAMEROTA: Joining us now are three mothers whose sons were killed during either police encounters or people trying to act as police. We have Gwen Carr. She's the mother of Eric Garner. He's killed in 2014 in New York. We have Maria Hamilton, the mother of Dontre Hamilton killed in 2014 in Milwaukee. And Sybrina Fulton mother of Trayvon Martin killed in 2012.

Ladies we always appreciate having your voices here on the program even in these hard times. And Ms. Carr, I want to start with you, because so many, many people have compared George Floyd's death to the death of your son, Eric Garner, because they both could be heard saying I can't breathe, I can't breathe and both of their cries were ignored by the police officers. And so what were your thoughts when you saw the case of George Floyd?

GWEN CARR, SON ERIC GARNER KILLED BY NYPD IN 2014: When I learned about the case (inaudible) when I learned about death of George Floyd, it was (inaudible) to me. I just said, my God, this is deja vu all over again.

A young man (inaudible) because another person couldn't, but he was saying I can't breathe and the officers was ignoring him, the same that they did my son in 2014. And these officers thought it was a joke. It's not joke. They're taking someone's lives.


And using someone just looks the other way, because it wasn't caught on camera. My son's death was caught on camera. George Floyd's death was caught on camera and that's the only reason why we are here today, because someone's seen it and the police wasn't able to hide it like they beat you. They mean to just sweep it under the rug, but this time and even at time with my son it just wasn't going to be swept under the rug.


CARR: Too much garbage too swept under the rug.

CAMEROTA: Too much garbage to be swept under the rug, you're saying. And we're having a little bit of a hard time with your audio but we will work on that.

Right now, Ms. Hamilton your son Dontre was killed by Milwaukee police in 2014 and you say that you would put your life on the line right now to keep any other black mother from having to join your tragic club, the club that sadly you three are in. What do you mean by that?

MARIA HAMILTON, SON DONTRE HAMILTON KILLED BY MILWAUKEE PD IN 2014: When I asked the view the video, asked them about airing and I thought of Gwen. But I pretty much relived that night of Dontre dying. I've been upset. I did the press for the last five days, but I'm not angry, I'm mad. I'm mad, because my grandmother fought and lived through this in the early 1900s. She was in 90s (inaudible) when she died.

I couldn't go to work with her, because where she cooked at and where she was close or the people she was working for, they didn't allow (inaudible) I had to sit outside. My neighbor had a yoga funeral two weeks ago and in his backyard to bury his son, because of all the deaths.

I have two living sons. I have four living grandchildren. I refuse to bury them to the hands of police just because they're trying to provide for their families.

CAMEROTA: Yes, we hear you. I mean, this is - we hear it over and over how many people are just tired of seeing this, are sick and tired of having to live this from your grandmother to today.


CAMEROTA: And Sybrina Fulton we all of course remember the hideous crime of what happened to your son Trayvon Martin. That was in 2012. From where you sit, has anything changed since then?

SYBRINA FULTON, MOTHER OF TRAYVON MARTIN: We have more video cameras, people are a little more angrier and they're upset about by these tragedies that continue to happen. And so they really want to do something. They really want to be heard. They don't want to just sit anymore and just continue to bury our loved ones.

What we witness was someone with a knee on someone's neck. Just imagine that for a minute and how would you feel if somebody had their knee on your neck until you died. And we just have to just make sure we're making - we need to make sure that we humanize George Floyd. We need to make sure that people know that this was not three fourths

of a human. This was not an animal. This was a human being. And he was treated so disrespectfully as we usually are. And I'm just thankful that there was a video camera, because this would have had a different narrative had it not been a video camera there on scene.

CAMEROTA: Yes. now Mrs. Carr, I don't know if we've fixed your audio yet, but I do want to know, because you your son's death does seem so similar to George Floyd's, do you have any message for the grieving Floyd family right now?

CARR: Yes. I spoke with them the day after the death - two days after (inaudible) and I did say to them that they can (inaudible) because their case definitely is living on. And I just had such a broken heart to hear about - their brother being suffocated and no one stopped holding this police officer just (inaudible) and there was no reason for it, just like with my son's death. And I told them please stay strong. The cameras are going to go away in few days, but people are going to (inaudible) stay for your brother.


And I just - every time I think about just tears some down my eyes, because it's like my son echoing from the grave and saying I can't mamma, do something. They are still killing us.

CAMEROTA: Yes. Ms. Hamilton, over the past few days we've had so many important voices on our show, just like yours, and one of the things that we've heard is it's not all of your responsibilities to tell the rest of us what we should do right now or to tell the rest of us how this should go or what action needs to be taken.

You are grieving mothers, but we do come to you for whatever reason for that wisdom and I'm just wondering what you want to see happen next given everything that's happened over the weekend throughout this country?

HAMILTON: I want what everybody else in America, I want to be free. I want my family member and my community free to work, to love and live in peace. I want a police department that is empathetic. That's not quick to assume that the color of our skin is wrong or something bad from it or is something criminal about it.

I want to be treated like a human. I want my fellow community members to be treated like human beings. And what we have to do now is to vote. We have to vote. We have to talk to our neighbors. We have to find out, what the people in office agenda is. And if their agenda isn't about building in our communities, we have no use for you.

We have to restructure a system where everybody's life is important - everyone, even if that is to amend the Constitutional right, because it wasn't wrote with black people that looked like me included in it. So, yes, we have to go to Congress. We have to be strategic in our acts and we have to be powerful and we have to stay there until the things that are provided for white America are provided for everyone in America. CAMEROTA: Yes. Ms. Fulton your thoughts on that. What do you want to happen this week?

FULTON: I want when there is a loss of life, not only for George Floyd, but also for anyone when there is a loss of life there needs to be a thorough investigation and you can only do a thorough investigation by arresting the person they shot and killed, especially if there's no struggle, especially if there's no weapon involved from the deceased person, because now the deceased person cannot bring up what happened. They can't recall what happened, they can't tell what happened.

So you have to bring the person who shot and killed them in and you can only do that by arrest and then I want a thorough investigation done, not by the same department that that officer or that person is connected with, but just by somebody independent person or independent review panel, independent community review panel. Just something so that we know that we are safe.

We no longer feel safe in our own community, in our own country. And that says a lot. It says a lot when you go watch on American TV, you go watch a human being, regardless of the color of his skin, he happens to be an African-American.

But you can watch that, you can watch somebody get shot. You can watch somebody is shot and killed, you can watch somebody in a chokehold, you can watch somebody running away. And now you can watch somebody that's handcuffed on the ground with a knee and their neck, getting killed and just arrest one person. You need to arrest everybody and then do an investigation.


I want to make sure that the police departments are compassionate enough to know when there is an issue. I want the good cops to say something about the bad cops. I want laws to change so that whenever there's a drug and alcohol tests done on the person that's deceased and a background check on the person that's deceased, the same thing needs to happen to the person that shot and killed him, and that's the problem.

CAMEROTA: Ladies, thank you. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, for speaking for moms everywhere. I think that all moms understand the sentiments that you are all sharing this morning and we really appreciate you having the energy, even though you are grieving during this time also to come on and share what you want to see happen next. We really appreciate all of you.

HAMILTON: Thank you.

FULTON: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: Thank you. NEW DAY will be right back.


Announcer: This is CNN BREAKING NEWS.

CAMEROTA: Good morning everyone. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. Mayhem overshadowing the peaceful protests playing out across America. Half of all states have activated the National Guard to try to restore order.

Overnight, we saw new outbursts of violence and looting that lasted well into this morning. At least 40 cities now have curfews.