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Trump Orders Up Photo Op at Church Near White House; Democratic Governors Dispute Need to Invoke Insurrection Act; Rampant Looting and Violence in New York Despite Curfew; George Floyd's Brother Pleads for End to Violent Protests; Hennepin County Medical Examiner Says Manner of Death is Homicide; LAPD Arresting People for Curfew Violations; Companies Take a Stand as Protests Sweep America; International Eyes Focus on U.S. Unrest. Aired 4-4:30a ET
Aired June 2, 2020 - 04:00 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.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.
LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Laura Jarrett. It's Tuesday, June 2nd. 4 a.m. in New York. We begin this morning with a nation in dire need of leadership and healing getting what it needed the least. A photo op. Peaceful protesters exercising their First Amendment rights fired on with rubber bullets and tear gas by police, cleared away like garbage for a photo op. All of it under the watchful eye of the United States Attorney General, the Secretary of Defense and the National Security Advisor.
ROMANS: And what was it all for? To clear the crowd so President Trump could stand in front of a boarded-up church and hold up the bible as a political prop. The church's bishop was furious.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BISHOP MARIANN EDGAR BUDDE, EPISCOPAL DIOCESE OF WASHINGTON: The President just used a bible and a sacred text of the Judeo-Christian tradition and one of the churches of my diocese without permission as a backdrop for a message antithetical to the teachings of Jesus and everything our churches stand for. I am outraged. The President did not pray when he came to St. John's nor as you just articulated that he acknowledges the agony of our country right now and in particular that of the people of color in our nation. I just can't believe what my eyes have seen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JARRETT: A source says the President orchestrated this entire stunt because he was angered by reporting about him being hold up in the White House bunker during earlier protests. Trump called himself an ally to all peaceful protesters. But back in reality, he had peaceful protesters forcefully ejected from out in front of the people's house so that he could arrange a hastily arranged scene in front of a church.
ROMANS: The move endangered protesters, endangered Secret Service agents there to protect him and endangered the rule of law the President is sworn to uphold. And it happened moments after Trump announced he is planning to deploy the military to enforce order within the United States. A declaration that made Pentagon officials uneasy. More now from White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Laura and Christine, it had been several hours that these protesters had been out here in front of the White House yesterday and then abruptly about half an hour before that curfew for Washington was set to go into effect, you saw park police issue three abrupt warnings to these protesters to leave the area or they were going to be forced to clear the area. And then we start to saw them start to use that force. They rushed to the protesters. They had shields, batons, tear gas, and flash bangs as you saw several lines of officers some on foot, some on horseback pushing forward to get these protesters to disperse out of the street.
This is the street that is right in front of Lafayette Square, which of course is just several hundred yards in front of the White House. That is where you saw those protests happening over the weekend. That was including when the President was rushed to an underground bunker on Friday night, the first night that we really saw these protests start to break out here in Washington. The President then came out to the Rose Garden yesterday. He declared that he was a law and order President.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If a city or state refuses to take the actions that are necessary to defend the life and property of their residence, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them.
COLLINS: That came, of course, after he spent the day lashing out at governors on a call saying they were weak, that they were going to look like jerks if they did not crack down on these protesters and saying that those who were arrested should be given years of jail time, 5 to 10 years actually is what the President said.
Now we saw those protesters disperse before the President started speaking. And then we realized why. Because moments later the President exited the front door of the White House. It's something he does not often do and he walked out of the White House with a cadre of aides and a security detail. Came across Lafayette Square and then walked to St. John's church right here behind me. Of course, an historic church here in Washington whose basement had been actually set on fire the night before by rioters.
And the President came over. He did not go inside. But he did hold a bible up, and he posed for a photo and took several photos with his -- several aides including his national security advisor, his press secretary you can see standing next to him in these photos. And he was only there for a few brief moments before then returning to the White House.
Which of course is raising so many questions about why these peaceful protesters were pushed out of the way with tear gas and flash bangs so the President could come over here and take a photo -- photos that we should note came after the 7 p.m. curfew here in Washington had already gone into effect.
JARRETT: All right, Kaitlan thanks so much for that.
So just what is this 1807 law President Trump is threatening to use? Well the Insurrection Act has been invoked before. Actually during the Detroit riots of 1967 and nearly 30 years ago during the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles. But the deployment of active duty military on states that do not want it would be a recipe for some very strong push back from governors who just don't see the need for it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. J.B. PRITZKER (D) ILLINOIS: I reject the notion that federal government can send troops into the state of Illinois.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I say thank you, but no thank you. Look, the President wants to recreate reality here, right.
GOV. GRETCHEN WHITMER (D) MICHIGAN: If it ever came to that moment, it would be because they've just thrown a lot more gas on a fire that is burning. I don't want that to happen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JARRETT: Now one section of the law suggests states must request the help but in the past Presidents have actually used troops in the face of governor's objections. In other words, this is all asking for a serious legal fight. But Trump has also yet to formally invoke the act. And it would not be the first time that he has floated a controversial plan only to pull it back.
ROMANS: All right, breaking overnight a very troubling trend here. Violence turning against members of law enforcement in several major cities. In St. Louis at least four officers have been shot while deploying tear gas and flash bangs. The department said about 200 people started looting downtown throwing fireworks at officers and pouring gas on officers. Before shots were fired all of the officers were taken to the hospital. They are expected to survive. Also, a New York City police sergeant was the victim of a hit and run and there are reports of an officer shot in Las Vegas. We'll bring you more details as we get them.
All right, night seven of protests in the wake of George Floyd's death. Overnight more violence in New York City. Protesters breaking into stores before and after an 11 p.m. curfew causing extensive damage to the iconic Macy's Herald Square. The scene last night making peaceful protests like these seem like a distant memory. New York officials now forced to make a change to their curfew today. Shimon Prokupecz has the latest.
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Christine and Laura, I'm outside the Macy's in Herald Square, and you can see people are boarding it up again. It was boarded up and now they're back here doing it again. Because looters here in Manhattan broke through the Macy's here and have looted. Police were able to make arrests and ran in after them.
But this is just one of the many scenes across Manhattan that for several hours the NYPD has been dealing with as looters descended upon this city in the dozens and dozens of locations that have been looting. The police have been responding to those locations throughout the night making several arrests. Now as you know, the city put a curfew in place until 11 p.m. Many of the people violated the curfew were still out on the street and police are dealing with the looters, not really able to make arrests on the curfews. Now for (INAUDIBLE) the curfew is changing. The mayor saying that the curfew will go into place at 8 a.m. and will go to 5 a.m. So that's going to be three hours difference. We'll see if that makes any difference.
JARRETT: All right, Shimon in New York. Thank you so much.
And a very emotional moment in Minneapolis. George Floyd's brother, Terrence Floyd, visiting the site where his brother was killed. And he had a simple message for those instigating violence. Stop.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TERRENCE FLOYD, BROTHER OF GEORGE FLOYD: I understand you're upset. But I can hear what he said. (INAUDIBLE). So if I'm not over here well enough, if I'm not over here blowing up stuff, if I'm not over here messing up my community, what are y'all doing? What are y'all doing? Y'all doing nothing. Because that's not going to bring my brother back at all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JARRETT: Experts hired by the Floyd family and Hennepin County medical examiner have both concluded George Floyd's death was a homicide but they don't exactly agree on what caused it. Let's go live to Minneapolis and bring in CNN's Josh Campbell. Josh, explain the disagreement here and walk us through the forensics.
JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, good morning. And let me first apologize to our viewers as we get into the details of the forensics. I know it can be something that's very sensitive to talk about but it's so important when it comes down to the potential prosecution of these officers.
[04:10:00] Now as you mentioned, the family of George Floyd commissioned an independent autopsy looking into the cause of death. That came after the medical examiner here released a preliminary report indicating that the cause of death did not include asphyxiation, the lack of oxygen. Now that conflicted with a report that was released yesterday by the family, even this independent commission that determined that he did, indeed, die as a part of lack of oxygen.
Now we did hear last night from medical officials here, the medical examiner's office indicating that the cause of death was, indeed, a homicide based on heart failure. So at this point it does not appear to be a disagreement that it was the action of the officer, the knee on the neck that caused Mr. Floyd's death, guys.
JARRETT: Bottom line, it was a homicide, both agree on that. And we also know, Josh, that police and the National Guard have shown a really heavy presence in the past few days. We're also hearing authorities are now tracking down people involved in fueling some of this violence in Minneapolis. We know we've seen one charge in Chicago. What more can you tell us?
CAMPBELL: Yes, that's right. Now we heard about this heavy police presence. The governor here indicated that officials will be using overwhelming force to quell the violence. What we hadn't heard until just recently is what was going on behind the scenes. Now as you mentioned, investigators have arrested one person thus far here. Federal agents took him into custody. I was an Illinois man who came to this area. And we're I'm standing is one of the areas where he was. You can see the burned-out rubble here.
Now this man, a 28-year-old, his name was Matthew Lee Rupert was seen on a Facebook video coming to Minneapolis and trying to fuel much of the violence. Now authorities have charged him with obtaining destructive devices. Now in this video you can see him apparently handing out explosives. He tells a crowd here that was engaged in this violent confrontation with police officers, that I have bombs. Here, use these bombs. And he hands a device to one person in one video. You can see the person throw it. You hear an audible sound of an explosion and then the man says, good shot, my boy.
Now this guy was coming around this area. We know he was standing in front of this area that was on fire at the time. He then went to Chicago. Police officers arrested him there when he broke one of the curfews. And he will be brought here to Minnesota to face these federal charges, guys.
JARRETT: All right, Josh, thanks so much for being there for us. Stay safe.
Well in Chicago after days of violence, protests took a peaceful turn Monday. But people are getting back outside after months of being locked down because of COVID-19 also meant the return of another kind of violence. CNN's Ryan Young has more now from Chicago.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Christine and Laura, Monday was a big different story for the city of Chicago. They used different tactics to sort of quell the protests that were going on throughout the city. Heavy machinery protected the downtown area, especially the business district that got hit hard during the protests. There was a massive protest though on Monday that walked several miles of the streets of Chicago. It even blocked Lake Shore Drive. But that one remained peaceful. In fact, Chicago police department flanked them the entire time. There were no incidents to report.
Over the weekend though we did see a massive number of arrests and Sunday alone 699 people were arrested. Now something that was not connected to the protests, 27 people were murdered throughout the weekend and 92 people were shot. It's been a busy weekend here in Chicago as they continue to try to quell some of the protests and the issues that come along with it.
ROMANS: All right, Ryan Young thank you so much for that. Protesters in Richmond, Virginia, hit with a tear gas toward the end of a rally and march to the Robert E. Lee monument downtown. Richmond police tweeted an apology to peaceful marchers saying that some officers have been cut off by violent protesters and had to deploy the gas to get to safety. Richmond's mayor also tweeted an invitation to City Hall at noon today where he says, he will also apologize.
JARRETT: Former boxing champ Floyd Mayweather is paying for George Floyd's funeral. The CEO of Mayweather Production tells ESPN the boxer does not want to talk publicly about what he's doing but he confirms the former five division world champion has been in touch with the Floyd family and the family has accepted that offer. Floyd's funeral is scheduled for next Tuesday in Houston, a day after the first court appearance for the officer who has been charged with killing him -- Christine.
ROMANS: All right, 14 minutes past the hour. Body cameras have been critical holding police accountable for misconduct. Now a chief is out of a job after a deadly shooting in Kentucky went unrecorded.
ROMANS: Overnight in Los Angeles dozens of people arrested for burglary. Police say they were caught stealing from a drugstore armed with large hammers. Officers also cracking down on curfew violations following a largely peaceful day of protests there. CNN's Kyung Lah has more.
KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christine, Laura, the Los Angeles police department now cracking down, enforcing the city's curfew. And you can see what they're doing. All of those people, and from the looks of it, it's dozens upon dozens of people. They have their faces against this business that has put up plywood to protect it. And their hands are in zip ties because they are out past the city's curfew, which was set by the mayor earlier in the day. They are in violation. They are now subject to arrest. And it is a lot of people out here on Sunset Boulevard in the center of Hollywood.
Throughout the day we saw relatively peaceful protests. The one that we were in, and there were hundreds upon hundreds of people in this march, they were peaceful. We did not see any confrontations with police, any direct confrontations with police, but that protest was eventually broken up.
There were some isolated reports of looting, but that was sporadic and it was not widespread like we saw over the weekend which was wide spreads and violent. So overall here in Los Angeles a much quieter day -- Christine, Laura.
JARRETT: Kyung, thank you for that in Los Angeles.
Two officers in Louisville did not turn on their body cameras before a deadly confrontation this week. Now the police chief has been fired. David Maxey, a local business owner, was shot and killed as authorities tried to disperse protestors. Police return fired after they said they were shot at. But it's not clear by whom. Protests in Louisville have centered on the death of Brianna Taylor, an emergency room technician who was shot multiple times in her own home after officers stormed the apartment to serve a search warrant in a drug investigation.
ROMANS: All right, major companies are taking a stand supporting the black community and promising to address diversity and inclusion. Facebook is donating $10 million to groups fighting racial inequality. Facebook of course has been scrutinized over its hands-off approach to the President's tweets and posts. Twitter added #BlackLivesMatter to its official bio and created a list of accounts users can follow to hear more from underrepresented communities. Peloton said it would donate $500,000 to the NAACP's legal fund. Nike reversed its iconic "Just Do It" slogan in a new ad saying, "for once, don't do it." The message read in part, don't sit back and be silent. And Netflix and Disney echoed that sentiment. Netflix said to be silent is to be complicit. And Disney's top executives vowed to step up their inclusion efforts.
Though even as companies take a stand, really important to note the backdrop here. The fundamental inequality for African-Americans in this country. They continue to have less wealth than their white counterparts. Data from a former fed economist shows African-Americans with college degrees have less wealth than whites who didn't graduate high school. That is a fundamental inequality that has persisted for generations.
JARRETT: Yes, you know it's interesting it's one thing for a company to put out a statement but it's very different to pledge pay equality and put their bank account where their mouth is on that.
JARRETT: Well after a night of violence in Richmond, Virginia, Saturday dozens of community volunteers came out to help clean up local businesses. A scene we've seen many times around the country as communities try to come back together. One of those, a family owned jewelry store that has been around since the 1900s. Members of Greek organizations not only cleaned up but vowed to offer protection so the damage doesn't happen again.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is a business that's been here for generations. These businesses that you guys are out here tearing up, we need these businesses.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because this is not really us that's doing it. Because we know what they mean to our community. We can't let other people come in and tear them up (INAUDIBLE) and their doing it for us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JARRETT: You know, I think so many people just feel like their message has been coopted here. You know, we see scenes of people literally pulling away certain protesters who are about to do something and saying if you do this, they're going to blame us.
ROMANS: Right, the base of this is all the killing of George Floyd at the hands of police and as these riots and protests and vandals take that message, it's just such a shame for those business owners.
All right, the George Floyd killing put the U.S. in a tenuous spot. Protests around the world, even China taking advantage.
JARRETT: The world is watching what's happening in America right now. Grief, anger and violence are sparking protests playing out on live television around the globe. Often even during President Trump's own impeachment U.S. headlines take a back seat to each country's own domestic news. But not right now. CNN's Nic Robertson is live in London with more. Hi, Nic.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, hi, good morning. If you're one of the United States friends right now around the world then you are probably out on the street protesting. If you are one of their enemies, let's say China fits into that category neatly, you're criticizing the United States. You're taking advantage of what's happening on the streets.
China, and of course, this is the country that's locked up a million Uighurs in camps in China, is saying that the United States has a racism problem and is using language that you would might normally hear the United States using against China. Saying the United States needs to fulfill its international obligations and end this racism in the United States. So China taking advantage.
But you had protests on the streets in countries from New Zealand, and Australia, Greece, the Netherlands, Canada, Ireland, the United Kingdom. People have been coming out on the streets to protest that black lives matter, to repeat the last words of George Floyd, that I can't breathe. So there's a real connect that people feel there is racism in their communities. Here in the U.K. and Canada, we heard the Canadian Prime Minister speak about that as well. This is also, however, causing concern for leaders. We heard the New Zealand Prime Minister saying, yes, we feel this pain. Yes, I stand with you in your protests, but we must socially distance. Here in the U.K. another six people arrested at protests yesterday.
ROMANS: Yes, it certainly puts the U.S. on tough footing to hold itself up as the bastion of democracy when First Amendment rights are being trampled on here. Nic, thank you so much, good to see you as always.
EARLY START continues right now.