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Louisville Police Chief Fired; Protests Intensify in Atlanta; Dozens Arrested for Looting in Los Angeles; White Supremacists Pose as ANTIFA; Royce White is Interviewed about Leading Peaceful Protests in Minneapolis. Aired 9:30-10a
Aired June 2, 2020 - 09:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: The police chief of Louisville, Kentucky, has now been fired after police officers were involved in the fatal shooting of a business owner during a protest.
POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. It's quite a development.
Let's go back today to our Evan McMorris-Santoro, who joins us again this morning from Louisville with the latest.
The way I was reading this is that it was a retirement, but it was -- it was a firing, is that right?
EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right.
Good morning, folks.
Yes, what happened here is that after the first incident in March, the Breonna Taylor incident, the police chief retired, announcing he was going to end his career by the end of this month.
And then after Sunday night, in which a -- there was a shooting incident far away from here where I'm standing now, which has been the epicenter of the protests and some of the police interactions, after that happened, it turned out that some of the key body cameras of police officers involved in the shooting of a man named David McAtee were not on and that was called by the mayor an institutional failure and led to that police chief being dismissed. So he was already on his way out with retirement, and then he was just dismissed yesterday as well.
That incident has also led to a -- has also led to a state and federal investigation. So another tragedy here and another conversation about aggressive policing that has been fueling all the protests here in Louisville from the beginning.
SCIUTTO: And their cameras were off.
Evan McMorris-Santoro, thanks very much.
Let's go now to Dianne Gallagher. She's in Atlanta where the National Guard moved in to help remove protesters who were marching past curfew last night.
Dianne, tell us what the situation is like on the ground now.
DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you know, Jim, last night was by far the most peaceful night here in Atlanta of the past four nights of protests. There were 95 people arrested, but most -- about half of those were because they wouldn't leave Centennial Olympic Park according to police after curfew. So we're talking curfew violations here.
There were some tense moments and clashes, but we're not talking about property damage, there was not violence last night per se. There is a moment that has gone viral, which is when police officers came and kind of took a knee with those protesters at the intersection we're standing at here to be in solidarity with them. Unfortunately, a few moments later, there were some things thrown and they were teargassed. So that did not last very long.
But, look, according to Mayor Keisha Lance Bottom, she spoke with our colleague, Robin Meade (ph) this morning, she said that she does believe that there are outside agitators involved. That she knows the people in Atlanta who are protesters, she knows the organizations and that that's not the people who are escalating the situations here according to the mayor.
Now, if you remember that video we showed you yesterday of those two college students who were tased, they now say that firing those officers, not enough. They want to see them criminally charged as well.
HARLOW: We'll see if those charges come.
Dianne, thanks a lot.
Let's go to Los Angeles. Stephanie Elam is there.
More scenes of looting and people targeting pharmacies last night, Steph?
STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's very odd, Poppy, to see how much has been targeted of the drugstores here. There's a Rite Aid just over there that was broken into. This is a restaurant in the same shopping plaza, you can see it's all broken out. Looks like some lipstick that may have come from the broken out Rite Aid, where you can see people running around and looting out of that store here. And this restaurant having a sign up saying that they were hoping to reopen soon. But we're seeing a lot of this, looking in several parts of
California. Van Nuys (ph), there's a drugstore where we saw people, several dozen were arrested there. But all throughout the city, driving in this morning, I can tell you, places are boarded up now all throughout the area. I passed by one Walgreens that was -- just the alarm going off. It had been broken into as well.
So we're seeing this here in Oakland. There were thousands of protesters that showed up. Some 40 or so were detained by the police there as they were staying out too late past curfew. They did deploy some tear gas there as well.
Back down here, in southern California, the curfews have been extended in places like Beverly Hills and also San Francisco and Oakland. And you can see here, this Starbucks, some volunteers now showing up to clean up here, just trying to do their part to help out after we saw another night of damage here in Los Angeles.
Jim and Poppy.
SCIUTTO: Nice to see those people doing their part there.
Stephanie Elam, thanks very much.
Twitter cracks down on an account calling for more violence. But, to be clear, who was behind that call? We'll have a report. You'll want to hear it, next.
HARLOW: OK, a really important development in terms of all the talk you've heard about ANTIFA from the president, et cetera, and these protests, et cetera. Twitter, overnight, saying an account that called for violence and claimed to be part of ANTIFA was actually run by a group of well-known white supremacists.
SCIUTTO: To be clear, the president, and not just the president, but also the attorney general, have been pinning all the violence, all the looting, on the far left for days now. They continue to.
CNN's Donie O'Sullivan with us now.
So what we're seeing here is you have this coming from multiple directions, is that right?
DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Jim, yes. The president specifically has been calling out ANTIFA, which is a far left group who have used violence in the past, even threatening on Sunday to label them a terrorist organization. So with that in mind, a tweet began circulating on Sunday, and I think we can bring it up on screen, that claimed to be from ANTIFA. The tweet read, alert, tonight's the night, comrades. Tonight we say f the city and we move into residential areas, the white hoods and we take what's ours.
Now Twitter now tells us that that was not actually run by left wing activists. It was run by white nationalists.
Now, it's important to say that, you know, this doesn't mean that ANTIFA is doing nothing here. But what it -- this does confirm is suspicions that right wingers are posing online as ANTIFA to enflame tensions.
HARLOW: Oh, looks like we just lost Donie there. Technology issue. It happens. We thank him for that reporting.
But you should go and read more about it. It's very important what Twitter uncovered overnight.
HARLOW: So you are seeing a number of professional athletes stepping up, using their voice and their presence to fight injustice. One of them trying to bring peace and change to his hometown of Minneapolis. Royce White is with us, next.
HARLOW: You are watching as some athletes are drawing inspiration from former star Colin Kaepernick to help try to lead the change for actual change in the wake of George Floyd's killing. One of them, former NBA player, Minnesota native, Royce White.
This past Friday he overcame his own personal fight with anxiety and he led thousands in peaceful protests all weekend across his hometown. And this is his message, writing, I'm an American, I'm a black man, called into action by the recent and ongoing events in this country. If you continue to threaten Minnesotans with the military, this will escalate. We continue to fight against the momentum of tyranny. That message directly to the president.
He joins us now.
Thank you so much for being here.
As a fellow Minnesotan, I am so grateful for the peaceful protests that you continue -- continue to lead and to be a voice on.
There's a reason, Royce, that you started this at the Vikings Stadium. You were sending a very clear message.
ROYCE WHITE, FORMER NBA PLAYER: Yes, thank you for having me, first of all, and I'll get to your question in a second. But I just want to start off by saying that, you know, I'm a little emotional this morning, so bear with me, but, you know, George Floyd was murdered in cold blood, and the people here in Minnesota are so sorry to his family and his children for their loss. This is completely unacceptable. It's not acceptable for us, and we won't stand for it.
The reason why we started at U.S. Bank Stadium, to answer your question, is because if you take a look back now, Colin Kaepernick and his stance was definitely prophetic and that there's no stronger symbolism in our time right now for protests than what he has already laid the groundwork for.
HARLOW: You say had they just listened to Kaepernick, had they just listened to some of the voices that speak the truth, some of this could have been avoided. 2016 you had an encounter with police that left you feeling and fearful that you could end up like George Floyd. You have lived this.
Where do we go from here? Is this the moment for actual change?
WHITE: Well, I hope it's the moment. I know it's the moment for myself and a lot of the people that have come out to support in the immediate aftermath here in Minnesota. There's definitely a different energy. There's definitely a different level of support and commitment.
I think where we go from here is, we have to take a strong look at rebuilding this thing from the ground up. You know, the communities in this country have to take back their sovereignty, and it's going to be ugly. It's going to be ugly.
And our president, Donald Trump, being the liar that he is, ran on the idea of sovereignty. But for some reason it doesn't apply to black communities, brown communities, and for some reason he believes that we're beneath philosophical ideas like sovereignty. But we are not. We do believe we deserve sovereignty, and we will stand up for it.
HARLOW: You know, I think it's worth everyone knowing who's watching how -- how much this means to you given how difficult it is for you to step forward. You have dealt with crippling anxiety. You have been an outspoken mental health advocate for years. And I'd just like to hear from you what it has been like for you to rise up and to lead this, given that personal challenge? And if we could show these two photos of your beautiful children, how much of it is for them and their future?
WHITE: Well, listen, you know, I deal with anxiety, but, you know, also the elephant in the room is that I told people that this would happen. You know, I told people that these corporate oligarchs, that these corporations were incompetent, that these corporations lacked the necessary vision and humanity to protect us. And America is the world's biggest corporation.
And like I said, in the -- in the tweet there, if Donald Trump continues to threaten us with the military, this will escalate. You know, we -- we are tired of tyranny. We are tired of the tyranny of the police. We are tired of the tyranny of corporations. And we are tired of his tyranny.
HARLOW: Your leadership in this has been a peaceful movement. And I know that you are frustrated and upset that the violence in those images is often overshadowing what you have been leading. And you call this an existential crisis. And it is.
What I was so struck by was this line about you from "The Washington Post," that you are, quote, one of the freshest emerging leaders in this new civil rights moment. I think -- you know, maybe you thought, and many people thought, at the beginning of your basketball career, the NBA, basketball would be your legacy. I wonder if you think civil rights and this fight will be your legacy.
WHITE: Well, I think civil rights was going to be my legacy regardless. And I think, in the context of basketball, civil rights is still my legacy. My advocacy for mental health, my fight against the NBA and their oligarchs is fruit from the same poisonous tree. You know, I want people to consider who it is that influences their politicians, who it is that influences their local communities, who is it that influences local tax dollars.
You know, these are your NBA owners, your NFL owners. You know, these are your corporate oligarchs. These are the 1 percent of 1 percent. And it's become very clear that black lives do not matter to them. But it's also clear that -- it's also not clear what lives do matter.
You know, in 2013, when I said that mental health was going to be the next crisis that we face, it was going to be the biggest social issue we face, not only did they laugh and mock me, the sports world and their fans did the same, and the main street media did the same. And now, here we are, seven years later, and that was just as prophetic as what Colin Kaepernick did.
HARLOW: Royce White, I hope you come back. I know you're going to continue to lead. And I really appreciate you being with us this morning. Thank you so much.
WHITE: Thank you. Thank you.
HARLOW: Of course.
SCIUTTO: Important conversation. Presumptive Democratic presidential candidate and former vice president, Joe Biden, is set to deliver a speech on the unrest across this country in just minutes. We're going to give you those comments live.