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Protests and Riots Continue in Wake of Death of George Floyd at Hands of Police; Analysts Examine Reason for Protests and Racial Tensions in America. Aired 8-8:30a ET
Aired June 1, 2020 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: 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.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: In a country starved for compassion and leadership, President Trump is providing silence. No public statements yesterday, nothing on the schedule for today. The conservative commentator Ann Coulter wrote this morning "Is it possible Trump has resigned and they just haven't gotten around to the press release?" We are told this morning there is debate inside the White House about whether the president should speak out at all beyond his tweets, which some of his own advisers worry are enflaming tensions.
This morning, protesters are demanding the arrest of the other three officers who did nothing to stop George Floyd's death. The Minneapolis police chief tells CNN that in his view those officers are complicit.
Let's begin our coverage with CNN's Omar Jimenez is live in Minneapolis this morning. Omar?
OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John. Nearly every morning since the death of George Floyd we have been live in front of locations that are seeing the destructive aftermath of protests and even rioting in some cases. This is what the aftermath of peaceful protests looks like. This is right at the site of where George Floyd was seen pinned by that officer, again, just about a week ago today right now. You see this circle formation, there were protesters here in the overnight hours defying the curfew, but doing so in a peaceful manner, sitting there. And so they were there until 6:00 a.m. when that curfew broke today.
And then just behind me here you see where the memorial for Floyd actually is, especially around the exact spot where, again, he was pinned down, seen in that now infamous cell phone video. Now last night the police chief came out here, Police Chief Medaria Arradondo, to protest, or at least stand in solidarity with the protesters that were here. And one of the things he did that touched a lot of people is he kneeled, again, in solidarity with them, and you talked about a little bit of his position in regards to his officers, his officers that he fired in the immediate aftermath of this, saying that it's not just about the officer with his knee on Floyd's neck. It's about the others that were there and the inaction on their part. In his words, he believes that makes them complicit.
And so while we have not seen charges against all four of these officers just yet, we have seen charges against the now former officer Derek Chauvin, who is facing third-degree murder and manslaughter charges right now. He was said to be in court today. That court date has now been pushed back a week.
But in regards to what we may see moving forward, we are going to see more protests, because part of why they are out here is not just protesting the death of Floyd, how it unfolded, and how it was handled, but also trying to push for a better future in regards to relationships between community and police. And part of that, they say, is going to start with charging all four of these officers in this case, Alisyn.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Omar Jimenez, thank you very much for being on the ground there for us again.
Breaking overnight, looters smashing windows of high-end retail stores in New York's Soho district, taking everything they could grab from the shuttered businesses. Hundreds have been arrested by New York City police. And CNN's Brynn Gingras is live in Soho with the breaking details. Show us what you're seeing, Brynn.
BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, against, we actually moved a couple blocks away from the really, really high-end. We're still in Soho, but this is Broadway, which is the main thoroughfare through this area of New York City, and it's got a bunch of other stores that were also hit up. As you could see, stores were broken into last night. There's usually some graffiti that you will see, but this store was broken into.
Let me show you, they obviously smashed the window here, grabbed whatever was right here in the display, that store not ruined as much. But certainly we have seen a lot of worst cases with those more high- end stores that we've been showing to you all mornings.
But I wanted to come to this location, because take a look at this. This is an NYPD enforcement, traffic enforcement vehicle that was torched. This was something else that happened last night. So in addition to all the looting that was happening, it was incidents like this. We've learned also a Molotov cocktail, which was an incident that happened over the weekend, it happened again overnight as well.
This area where we are right now, this is a command center for NYPD for this area. So what we've been seeing throughout the morning since we've seen it from the very beginning at 5:00 this morning is police from this command center dispersing among Soho and trying to catch looters because it's continuing. It's 8:00 in the morning and we're still seeing people riding around on bicycles with huge garbage bags full of merchandise still going into stores, stealing stuff. It's just incredible what we're seeing. And now people are starting to get up and trying to re-board up what has been taken down, because in some cases that we showed you this morning, there are stores that have boards up, but some have been taken down and have been broken into, and that high merchandise stolen. More than 250 arrests, among them the mayor's daughter. She's not part of this, arrested for this, but she was arrested earlier in the evening yesterday. We have not gotten any comment from city hall about that, but we are expecting that later today. Guys?
BERMAN: Brynn Gingras for us in the middle of a pandemic, mind you, which Brynn, we can tell by seeing you there. I think it's important to remind people of that. Thanks very much.
Joining us now Tamika Mallory, civil rights activist and co-founder of Until Freedom, also with us CNN political commentator Charles Blow. He's a columnist at the "New York Times." Dozens and dozens of protests around the country, cities across the country, Charles, the National Guard activated in more than half the states. You write over the weekend that it is important to know about despair, the power and danger of despair. Why is that important to understand this morning as we take this all in?
CHARLES BLOW, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Because despair is a dangerous condition, and we have allowed that to exist in this country. And we pretended that it would be OK. It's extraordinary, actually, that we could believe that people could simply consume this amount of despair and desperation. But they can't. It always comes out. It always comes out.
And Floyd is like the straw that broke the camel's back, as they say. He is the last data point in the data set. And yes, it is the casualness of his killing. It is the casualness of the officer with his hand in his pocket and his sunglasses pushed back on his head. But it is also the system that allows that to happen in the first place. It is also the system that allows every other one of the cases to go without a charge, or without someone being convicted. It is also all of that. It is also all of that.
And you add on top of that all the other conditions, which you spoke before about this happening in the middle of a pandemic. Everybody's at home -- 40 million people have filed for unemployment. They don't know where their next check is coming from. That is also part of the despair. That is also part of the despair. The idea that that is disproportionately affecting black people, that COVID is disproportionately affecting black people, that police brutality is disproportionately affecting black people, that is all part of the despair. It is all part of the same problem.
CAMEROTA: Yes. Tamika, how do you see this moment?
TAMIKA MALLORY, CO-FOUNDER, UNTIL FREEDOM: I think that Charles has summed it up well. It is despair, and it's also trauma. I think it's important to put into context that this is all happening within weeks of mass murder against black people by either law enforcement or folks who were in law enforcement before, and coordinating with law enforcement. What I do mean by that? Ahmaud Arbery, we just saw that happen in Georgia where this young man was killed, shot with a shotgun on camera, where people hunted him down and killed him for going inside of a construction site as a black man. Then we saw Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky, where the police went into her home and shot her eight times after the person that they were looking for was already in custody.
So you have Ahmaud Arbery happen one day, there's no charges, nothing happens at all until people find out about it and start protesting and speaking out in Georgia. Then you go to Kentucky, and folks have to wait two months, a family sitting waiting for two months before anything would even happen there. And now you come to a point where folks watched a man not just be killed on camera, but he called out for his mother. His mother and his other family members, as you watch his life leave his body. It reminds folks of Eric Garner. It reminds folks of all the young people, of the mothers that you just had on earlier this morning, Sybrina Fulton and Ms. Hamilton. And it's too much.
And there's a trauma that settled within people, and I'd like to say America has caused a level of mental illness within people, within this nation, and not just black people but a lot of different people from different walks of life. So we're dealing with a bubble-over at this point.
And people have tried to warn about this. We can go back and say Dr. King tried to warn us, Rosa Parks tried to warn us. Ida B. Wells tried to warn us. We've had people over and over again trying to warn us, Reverend Jesse Jackson and so many others, and here we are in this moment, and it is a moment that America is literally responsible for on its own. It has its own plane.
BERMAN: What you're both saying this morning is that there is systemic racism, Charles. So it's notable, then, that the national security adviser told Jake Tapper yesterday he didn't see systemic racism in the police force. And when you're talking about systemic racism, I know that is the message that most of the protesters on the streets want to get out. So your reaction to the national security adviser?
BLOW: Well, let me tell you something about systemic racism. It's not just really about the police alone, right. That system fails black people on every level. It is on the individual officer level. It's on the local level. It's on the state level. It's on the federal level of government, right.
Listen, there are no police in the Constitution, right. We created that, and we set the precedent for how they should behave in the courts. We have Miranda rights because of the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has basically set up this reasonable doubt concept -- sorry, reasonable force concept, which gives incredible immunity to police to behave how they want to behave. If they feel fear, they can kill me, right? And that is how police behave, and it trickles down all the way to the individual level where it activates individual biases.
So in a world where racism did not exist, where egalitarianism ruled, the idea of reasonable fear would be fine. We don't live in that world. We live in a world where people can activate their individual biases, even though they don't know they have them. And the Supreme Court has basically said you're fine. We have you. Right? So that is how racism works. It creates an environment where you can have racism without racists, right. You don't have to be knowledgeable that you are acting as a racist to exist in a system that is full of racism, right.
So I get that. People don't want to believe that there is a system of racism, that police -- first of all, police departments were born out of protection of property, right. And one of the original properties were slaves. So police departments, particularly in the south, are born out of slave patrols. And you look back at the civil rights movement or the lynchings, you have people going into jails, getting people out, and bringing them out and lynching them. Are you telling me you're into the complicit in that?
BERMAN: Charles brings up --
BLOW: I have a long memory. I have a long memory. It was the police departments that were turning the dogs and the fire hoses on those children -- those are not even adults, those are children -- during the civil rights movement. You're not complicit in that? So we have long memories about the police and whether or not protect and serve is a codified concept or whether or not it is in fact just a PR slogan.
BERMAN: It's an important question that Charles is raising here that we will continue to ask throughout the broadcast and, no doubt, for a time to come. What is the role of white Americans in ending systemic racism? Our thanks to our guests. We'll discuss that subject next.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Another violent night of unrest across America over the death of George Floyd one week after his killing. So, where do we go from here?
Joining us now is Michael Eric Dyson, he's the author of "Tears We Cannot Stop," which addresses the plague of police brutality against black Americans, and Tim Wise is the author of "White Like Me: Reflections On Race From A Privileged Son."
It's great to get both of your perspectives. I've been looking forward to this conversation. So, Michael, where are we? What are we supposed to think this week and what's next?
MICHAEL ERIC DYSON, AUTHOR, "TEARS WE CANNOT STOP": Well, we're in the devastating aftermath of the denial of racism in America, the denial that black humanity is not acknowledged. The fact that it spills over into the streets is an indication that we have not learned the lesson. And furthermore, not to indict those who are out there trying to make
an argument that was not heard in other places, that was not heard in corporate America, that wasn't heard in professional circles, that wasn't heard, even in the academy.
And now, it is to the shame of America that we have not heard until a bloodshed, we have not heard until yet another black person dies, until the proverbial knee of white America is constantly lodged against the neck of vulnerable black people in this country.
And so we keep saying, until we learn this lesson, we won't be able to advance the ball. We won't be able to progress and we won't be able to progress because we refuse to acknowledge that there is systemic racism.
It's not a one off here. It's not a sentiment there. It's not a personal feeling of approbation or suspicion or skepticism here. Although, that's very powerful and wrong.
DYSON: It is the deeply entrenched refusal to acknowledge the equality and the worth of black life and citizenship that is at fault in this nation.
So, until we do that, until we embrace that, and furthermore, not to have an echo chamber by the bully pulpit of the United States presidency that has articulated vicious, predatory neo-fascist beliefs that are basically bigoted and racist about the nature of black people and other people in this country.
Until we deal with that simultaneously, there will be no progress in this country.
CAMEROTA: Tim, what do you think happens next?
TIM WISE, AUTHOR, "WHITE LIKE ME: REFLECTIONS ON RACE FROM A PRIVILEGED SON": Well, I think it's going to be very much dependent on how white folks decide that we're going to lean into this moment and respond.
You know, are we going to respond in the way that we have historically, which is to try to blame the victims of oppression for their marginalization or are we going to challenge our own perceptions of what's really going on in this country?
You know, when you have the National Security Adviser saying he doesn't see systemic racism. Well, you know what? White folks also didn't see systemic racism even in the 1960s.
We might find that hard to believe now, but go back and look at the Gallup polls from 1963-1962, and in those polls, white folks at the height of the Civil Rights Movement before the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, the Fair Housing Act had even been passed, two out of three whites were in some surveys, as many as 85 percent of white folks said that they believed the black people were treated equally already in America.
So in other words, when Dr. King gave the "I Have a Dream" speech that white folks get all weepy about now, more than a half century later, because we view him as a secular saint, even though we hunted him and we hated him while his heart was still beating.
Now, we love him, but then, at the height of the movement that he was helping to lead, white folks looked around and basically said, what's the problem?
So, if white America didn't get it, even when it was obvious in retrospect to everyone, what in the world would make the National Security Adviser believe that he or anyone else knows what they're talking about now?
I think it probably stands to reason that black and brown folks know their reality better than we do. And until we decide to believe that black folks have not lost their mind, but actually have a pretty decent bead on their experience, we're never going to climb out of this thing.
CAMEROTA: You know, one person who also saw systemic racism among the police is the Police Chief of Minneapolis.
Michael, he in 2007, filed a lawsuit against or complaint against his own department, he wasn't Police Chief then, he was a lieutenant because of all the discrimination and the difference in how black officers were treated than white officers.
And so, you know, he has been a voice of saying everyone is complicit. If you don't stop someone from killing an unarmed man, of course, you're complicit.
DYSON: Right. Absolutely. And you're pointing to one of the contradictions, perhaps even the paradoxes of law enforcement in this nation, so that you know, arguments aside about what black officers will or will not do and that the biggest color is blue versus black versus white versus black.
When you think about National Organization of Blacks in Law Enforcement, Chief C. J. Davis from Durham, North Carolina, who is the President of the organization, when you listen to those folks as I have done, they talk about racism, vicious, bigotry, deeply entrenched, a racist intolerance that prevents them from flourishing.
So, they know firsthand that they are the first specimens that are examined under the light of serious interrogation because they are the first victims of racism before they step out on the street, in the shield with their badge and baton to police the streets of America.
So, the irony is -- the deeply entrenched irony and the paradox at the same time is that those people who are set to defend us protect and serve us are themselves, if they are black or brown subject to them.
But think about this even more broadly. They also know the degree to which those men are not from Mars, those women are not from Venus. They are from Earth.
And when they go to their jobs, they bring to bear every bit of, you know, information about black people or brown people that the rest of the dominant white supremacist culture has given to them.
And as Tim has indicated, if they have denied, right, as Gore Vidal said, we live in the United States of Amnesia, if they have denied the fact that there's deeply entrenched racism in America, and therefore they don't have to acknowledge their complicity in it, they can very powerfully be a carrier of the virus, right, and not yet know that they have it.
It's like with the COVID-19, you can pass it along, even if you don't realize that you don't have it or there are no symptoms. I don't call anybody the N word. I didn't do enough this morning and say that you are a black person who deserves to be at the back of the bus.
But what I did do was reinforce the prevailing stereotype about your humanity, and I called the police when you came to Starbucks. When you were asleep at Yale, I called the police.
I called the police when you were birdwatching in The Ramble in Central Park. So, there's a relationship between the most vicious expressions of white supremacist resistance to the -- an intolerance of black humanity and the ordinary everyday kind of white rebellion that goes on.
DYSON: See, whites are rioting, too, as Roger Wilkins said, but they don't riot necessarily in the streets. They're rioting in corporate America. They're rioting in professional organizations. They're rioting among the police, where they refuse to acknowledge the essential equality of black and brown people.
And as a result of that, we won't have any progress until there's an interrogation and a scrutiny, a kind of self-criticism about what's going on in America.
CAMEROTA: Michael Eric Dyson and Tim Wise, thank you both very much for all of your thoughts this morning.
WISE: Thank you.
DYSON: Thank you so much.
CAMEROTA: Today's court appearance for the officer charged in George Floyd's death has now been pushed to next week. We'll talk to the special prosecutor just named in the case.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: New this morning, the fired Minneapolis police officer facing murder charges over the death of George Floyd was supposed to appear in court today, but Derek Chauvin's hearing has been postponed until next week. It's not exactly clear why. Joining me now is Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison. He was
just appointed by the governor there as the lead prosecutor in this case.