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Police Officers Injured Across the U.S. As Protests Continue; Peaceful Protesters Tear Gassed for Trump Church Photo Op. Aired 5- 5:30a ET
Aired June 2, 2020 - 05:00 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.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We're going to welcome our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Tuesday, June 2nd, 6:00 here in New York.
And breaking overnight, it's been a violent past few hours in the streets and cities across America. In St. Louis, four police officers have been shot during protests. None of their injuries are thought to be life-threatening at this hour. But in New York City, a police officer is in serious condition after being intentionally run over in the Bronx.
We're also following reports of two police involved shootings in Las Vegas with one shot there.
The violent night follows a day of mostly peaceful protest. And in Minneapolis, George Floyd's brother begged for peace at the memorial where his brother was killed.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: And there was what looked to be a completely peaceful protest in front of the White House last night. It was peaceful until authorities used tear gas, flash grenades and rubber bullets against the protesters all so President Trump could take a picture in front of a church while holding up a Bible.
The bishop of the church is speaking out. She says she is outraged and calls President Trump's message antithetical to the teachings of Jesus.
We want to begin, though, with the very latest in what we've seen over the last few hours, with CNN's Brynn Gingras live in New York with the breaking news -- Brynn.
BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, John. Good morning.
Yes, it is 5:00 in the morning. I can tell you from talking to police, there are still incidents going on in this city at this very moment. There was a lot of chaos that happened in different pockets I'm told across the city even before the curfew because, remember, there was a curfew, 8:00 in New York City, even before that was in place there was violence happening amidst all the protests.
So, this is an example. There's looting that happened here in this Urban Outfitters in Midtown Manhattan. You can see the windows were smashed and the place completely ransacked. And driving around even this morning, I can tell you that if you were a business that didn't have wood boarded up, you pretty much were going to get hit by looters at some point within the evening.
And I do want to talk about that video, that police are experiencing, incidents where they're being pretty much attacked by these looters, by these criminals. Let's take a look at the video, it's kind of disturbing. It shows essentially at 12:45 in the Bronx. The police officer, a sergeant who is responding to a looting incident, a burglary, was hit by a car. The car took off and we're told that police sergeant is now in serious condition in the hospital with a head injury among other injuries. But he is stable. So, that's the good news here.
But, guys, listen, that's not even -- the only incident of a hit and run with a police officer. One happened overnight yesterday as well, in the West Village. We're still trying to get a tally of how many incidents there were with the police, how many clashes, but we're waiting to get that number. More than 200 people, though, arrested.
If you guys look over here, you can see the cops outside of Macy's. They're standing post. It's boarded up. But even still, we're told about five people were arrested inside Macy's last night.
So, this is really chaos that's kind of getting out of control here in New York City. Talking to authorities, official sources, I'm hearing that basically these protesters, there are groups that are protesting and they are civil but then there are pockets of people who are coming in and have the upper command of saying an anarchists breaking off into smaller groups until police can't follow them and then causing all of this criminal activity.
So, this is essentially what the NYPD is having to deal with at this point amidst all the protesters who are actually trying to get their message across.
BERMAN: All right, Brynn, please keep us posted as news develops there.
Also breaking overnight. Two shootings involving police officers in St. Louis. At least four officers were shot as hundreds of officers were looting downtown, reportedly throwing gasoline and fireworks at police. All four officers there are expected to recover.
And in Las Vegas, CNN affiliate KVVU says police are investigating two officer-involved shootings on Las Vegas Boulevard just before midnight. Police have taped off areas near the Circus Circus Hotel and another downtown by the federal court house. Nevada's governor has tweeted he is in touch with law enforcement and is monitoring the situation.
CAMEROTA: In Washington, D.C., military helicopters patrolled the skies overnight after that violent crackdown on peaceful protesters.
CNN's Boris Sanchez is live in Washington for us.
What's the situation, Boris?
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Alisyn.
I just want to show you the latest addition to Lafayette Park just outside the White House. What appears to be an eight-foot fence put up overnight to block access to the park from protesters. Sources indicate that President Trump yesterday was angry of reports that he hid out in a bunker at the White House over the weekend as protesters were clashing with police at his front door.
So, yesterday, he showed force. He was trying to show that he is in control. As the nation is in agony, the president came out here outside this church, holding up a bible and posing for cameras.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: These are not acts of peaceful protests. These are acts of domestic terror.
SANCHEZ (voice-over): Right before President Trump addressed the nation from the Rose Garden, police dispersed peaceful protesters with tear gas, flash grenades and rubber bullets just outside the White House gates.
President Trump threatening military force in any city or state that he feels isn't under control.
TRUMP: If a city or state refuses to take the actions that are necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them.
SANCHEZ: By most accounts, the protests were peaceful. But moments before Trump's speech, military vehicles were seen near the White House. And as the president spoke, bangs and helicopters could be heard in the distance as police officers in riot gear broke up the demonstrations before the D.C. curfew was to take effect.
The reason? A photo opportunity so the president could walk across the street to St. John's Episcopal Church which had been damaged by a basement fire the night before. He stood outside the church and held up a bible before posing with administration officials.
The bishop who oversees the diocese outraged by the president's action.
BISHOP MARIANN EDGAR BUDDE, EPISCOPAL DIOCESE OF WASHINGTON: The president just used a bible, the most sacred text of the Judeo- Christian tradition, and one of the churches of my diocese, without permission as a backdrop to a message antithetical to the teachings of Jesus and everything that our churches stand for. I just can't believe what my eyes have seen tonight.
SANCHEZ: Trump threatening to deploy military troops, using the Insurrection Act of 1807. But some governors feel that law does not law.
GOV. GRETCHE WHITMER (D), MICHIGAN: My understanding is they can't do that without the approval of the governors and I can also tell you that it's probably not going to happen in a lot of our states.
SANCHEZ: Many governors upset by the president's calls to send the military to states and feel his language is just further stoking fears and tensions among Americans. In a heated teleconference Monday, Trump blasting governors calling them weak.
TRUMP: You got to arrest all those, and you got to try them. And the word is dominate. If you don't dominate your city and your state, they're going to walk away with you.
GOV. J.B. PRITZKER (D), ILLINOIS: He's been a miserable failure. You know, what I talked about on the call today was the fact that his rhetoric is inflaming passions around the nation. He should be calling for calm. He should be calling for bringing the temperature down. He's doing the exact opposite.
SANCHEZ: And very quickly, I want to show you that there's still a police presence just outside Lafayette Park. They've been questioning people who drive by, stopping traffic, keeping the area closed off.
Back to President Trump, a senior administration official denied to CNN that what we saw last night was an orchestrated photo opportunity. They say they just wanted to get the protesters out of the way early.
Keep in mind, before being hit with the tear gas, these protesters were peaceful and standing out here well before the 7:00 p.m. curfew -- John.
BERMAN: Boris, such an important point. I'm glad you reiterated it there. It was a peaceful protest before curfew dispersed by tear gas, rubber bullets and flash grenades, astounding to see. Boris, please keep us posted throughout the morning.
It was a largely peaceful night in Minneapolis following a plea from George Floyd's brother for the violent protests to stop. An independent autopsy and county medical examiner both say Floyd's death was a homicide but they differ on what caused it.
CNN's Omar Jimenez live in Minneapolis with the latest on this.
That, of course, behind you, Omar, I should say, is also the sight where George Floyd was killed, which has been peaceful for days now.
OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, John.
Now, we are basically coming out of the curfew here in Minneapolis that went from 10:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. And the people you see here behind me stayed out all night specifically between those hours in peaceful protest of that order that went into effect and as you mentioned, this is at the intersection next to where George Floyd's final moments played out on camera there.
And while this demonstration was largely peaceful, that's not all we saw over the course of last night in places across the country.
PROTESTERS: Say his name! George floyd.
JIMENEZ (voice-over): Protesters continuing to take to the streets.
PROTESTERS: I can't breathe! I can't breathe!
JIMENEZ: Amplifying their anger and frustration over the death of George Floyd.
The nationwide calls for justice as Floyd's death was ruled homicide by both the Hennepin County medical examiner and an independent autopsy authorized by the family.
DR. MICHAEL BADEN, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST FOR GEORGE FLOYD'S FAMILY: The autopsy shows that Mr. Floyd had no underlying medical problem that caused or contributed to his death.
Cause of death, in my opinion, is asphyxia due to compression of the neck.
JIMENEZ: But the Hennepin County medical examiner released its summary, saying Floyd died of cardiopulmonary arrest without explaining what caused his heart to stop. Overnight, curfews enforced in cities and at least 20 states and Washington, D.C., many stayed out late into the night instead of going home.
Protests were largely peaceful and in some marchers, police even joining the people in solidarity. Like in Atlanta where some officers were seen taking a knee before renewed violence.
But unrest and clashes between authorities and demonstrators were on display in many cities. Police firing tear gas into this crowd of protesters in Philadelphia, sending them scrambling off the highway. In Washington, a chaotic scene, as police cleared this peaceful protests outside the White House.
As thousands of demonstrators marched in New York City, others looted some of Midtown Manhattan's most iconic stores. Similar scenes playing out in Los Angeles with businesses broken in.
Earlier in Minneapolis, Terence Floyd for the first time visiting the very location his brother took his last breaths overwhelmed with emotion.
PROTESTERS: What's his name? George Floyd!
JIMENEZ: Before saying this to demonstrators.
TERENCE FLOYD, GEORGE FLOYD'S BROTHER: If I'm not over here wildin' out, 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.
JIMENEZ: Now in regards to violence and fires that we saw in places across the country, Terence Floyd was basically saying, let's do this another way.
Now, while we still did see some arrests here in the Minneapolis area over the course of last night, again, things were largely peaceful. And in regards to the dual autopsy reports we have seen, the Hennepin County autopsy report saying that Floyd's death was basically due to heart failure while the independent autopsy commissioned by the family saying it was due to asphyxiation.
A memorial for Floyd is set for Thursday -- John.
BERMAN: Both reports, it is important to note, say it was, they believe, a homicide.
Omar Jimenez, at the site where George Floyd was killed, Omar, thanks for that this morning.
We have a lot of news developing at this hour. We're following the aftermath of the ejection of peaceful protestors in front of the White House and new reports of attacks against police officers. We have new information coming in. That's next.
CAMEROTA: Breaking overnight, violence against police in several cities across America. This comes after peaceful protesters were tear- gassed outside of the White House so that President Trump could stage a photo-op at a church.
Joining us now, civil rights activist DeRay McKesson and CNN national security analyst Juliette Kayyem. She's a former assistant secretary at the Department of Homeland Security.
Great to have both of you with us this morning.
So, police use tear gas, Juliette, and rubber bullets on these peaceful protesters around Lafayette Park so the president after curfew could go out and have this photo-op. From your national security expertise, what did you see here?
JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: I think you disconnected me.
CAMEROTA: Oh, we don't have Juliette at the moment. Juliette, can you hear me?
All right. DeRay, tell us from your civil rights -- Juliette, can you hear me?
DeRay, I know you can hear us. So, tell me what you saw happened last night.
DERAY MCKESSON, AUTHOR, "ON THE OTHER SIDE OF FREEDOM": You know, it's -- let me just stop by saying that the reason people are on the street is because police have continued to kill people. So, when they think about it, a third of all the people killed by a stranger in the United States is actually killed by police officers.
It is shock to go see Donald Trump use his power to do what he did last night to just attack peaceful protesters. And I will say, you know, we also saw D.C. police in D.C. attack the protesters who were holed up in that neighborhood in D.C. So we have seen all across the country, a colossal failure of leadership, we've seen in the White House. But we've also seen mayors put these curfews in with 30 minutes, one hour time for people to get home.
This is a setup that's happening, and that's really disappointing, because, you know, the only reason people are in the street is because police kill people in the first place.
BERMAN: What's interesting, Juliette, is that those protesters in front of the White House last night were peaceful. They weren't looting. They weren't attacking anything. And yet they were dispersed using the tear gas and the smoke grenades and the rubber bullets.
So protesters are being told you can't be peaceful here. And then you have something else happening overnight, something that is totally different, which is, you have stores being smashed in. You have looting. And we have these examples of police being shot at in other places.
So what's the connection here?
KAYYEM: So, I mean, the connection is obviously that there's tremendous unrest. And there has to be lawful outlets for people to protest police brutality. So, what you generally would want is you would want to see mayors, governors and a president aligned in bringing down the temperature, meeting with community members during the day, talking to the community, giving enough notice for curfew. A curfew is appropriate right now, bringing in additional first responders if not the National Guard, so that people are prepared and can anticipate and have an outlet.
What President Trump did yesterday is he denied an important outlet for lawful protesters and then created an image that this was a war. Later on, a totally different group of people interpreted that as a war and went after our first responders. I think there's a direct line. [05:20:00]
You have a president who is just basically suffocating First Amendment freedoms right now, and utilizing the military or the threat and use of the military to do so. And he -- you know, he knew exactly what he was doing yesterday. And one of the most objectionable things about this is the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Milley, was there with him. That was beyond civil military relations. That was more than a subtle threat.
And you saw Milley tried to take it back overnight to say, you know, basically what the president has done was not respectful of First Amendment rights. But the president is suffocating lawful protests right now.
CAMEROTA: So was the Attorney General Bill Barr.
KAYYEM: Yes. Oh gosh!
CAMEROTA: And the president said, I'm activating him very strongly. He's activating the attorney general very strongly. I don't even know what that means.
KAYYEM: Right. Yes, you know, Barr looks like he's in a candy shop. It's disgusting. It's disturbing. It's this weird sense of -- I hate to use the words of macho they think they really have rather than actually using their leadership to try to bring down the temperature.
The president's threat of the Insurrection Act last night, I want everyone to know, that was just a threat. He has not -- once again, the president asserts an authority that he doesn't know how to use. But he has threatened the use of the Insurrection Act against what a governor would want, that's lawful under the Insurrection Act. I don't think he's going to get there.
But it's the president always going to the far edges of his authority because he does not know how to govern. That is what's happening now. So he just ratchets it up and he has these, essentially, henchmen in the form of attorney general and others to sort of, you know, satisfying that sort of base desire by the president to not solve a really difficult problem.
BERMAN: So, DeRay, you know, you have been on the streets for protests. You have been in Ferguson, for instance, during protests that were peaceful. And then you see, as we saw overnight, things get violent in cities. The streets of Manhattan, central Manhattan, all these stores were smashed in. We've been reporting -- we're still getting information about police officers being attacked in different ways in different cities.
So what's the right way to keep that from happening?
MCKESSON: So, here's the thing. You should be clear about the language you have. What we have seen is property damage in the protest, the violence that actually -- that started this in the first place. And we think about that and (INAUDIBLE) this idea of what mayors and electeds should be doing is that we don't need more meeting, they know what they could do and they just start to do it.
They could ban choke holds tomorrow. They could require (INAUDIBLE) relation tomorrow. They could change use of force policies. They could negotiate better police union contracts so that there's more accountability and they actually refuse to.
So, the tactic with meet with us during the day is actually just stalling tactic. They said that to us in 2014? You know what happens since 2014? That police killed more since then, not lessens it.
So, I think about, if you actually want the protests in, you'd actually do something to end police violence. And I'll tell you, from all the mayors that I've seen, for the governors, I got phone calls from electeds at every level, and I am not seeing a lot of commitment to actually end the crisis.
They think a curfew or couple -- you know, boxing people in will stop the protests. In Ferguson, we were 400 days. And we are, what on day 10 now of this. So, until people -- until electeds actually stepped up and do the things they know -- so I saw Lori Lightfoot say we need better police community relations. The data is actually very clear that community policing has no impact on police behavior. We know what does, use of force cause (ph), and they've been unwilling to do that. Only 28 of the 100 largest cities even ban chokeholds. That's the choice (ph).
CAMEROTA: Those are interesting. I mean, I hear what you are saying about fundamental change being needed.
But something else interesting happened, Juliette, regarding the police yesterday. The Arlington County Police Department pulled their officers after that violence that you saw on the peaceful protesters. The police chief ordered his officers to come back to Arlington, cross the bridge away from D.C., come back and said the county is reevaluating the agreements that they have with I guess the White House and D.C. that allowed our officers to be put in a compromising position that endangered their health and safety and that of the people around them for a purpose not worthy of our mutual aid obligations.
That is interesting. And I'm not sure how this ends. If police are refusing to follow the president's orders, and if the -- the president says he's calling in the military. And if peaceful protesters are being fired on with tear gas, I'm not sure how this ends.
KAYYEM: Well, yeah. And I think that's everyone's concern. So I think part of it, what Arlington did was absolutely right, because remember, the mutual aid support to D.C. never envisioned, right, that you would have armed forces, active military calling the shots. So, Arlington was exactly right.
So how does this end? I mean, a lot of what was said in terms of long- term reform, I do believe that because most of these protesters, almost all of them are peaceful. That there's actually a window in which locals and community members can bring the temperature down.
I don't think it's going to end before the funeral on Thursday. I think there's going to be continuing sort of rallies and protests. And I think the president doesn't want it to end, Alisyn. That's exactly the truth of this.
So, how does it end? It ends either because people realize what's going on and they stop protesting, which is not good, or the president keeps ramping up. Your -- the question sort of assume a rational actor in the White House. He does not want this to end. This is what he wants.
And it will keep ratcheting up. I think the solution has to come from the ground, unfortunately.
CAMEROTA: Juliette Kayyem, DeRay McKesson, we really appreciate your perspectives and expertise. Thank you very much.
A very different scene playing out in cities in Kentucky and Georgia. Police kneeling, hugging, and praying with the protesters. So we have live reports of this collaboration in many cities, next.