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Louisville Police Chief Fired; Trump Threatens Military Action; Coronavirus Update from Around the World; Car Strikes NYPD Officer Amid Unrest. Aired 6:30-7a ET
Aired June 2, 2020 - 06:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking overnight, the police chief in Louisville, Kentucky, has been fired after it was revealed that officers involved in a shooting that killed a local business owner on Monday did not activate their body cameras.
CNN's Evan McMorris-Santoro is live in Louisville with more.
So what happened, Evan?
EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning, Alisyn.
Yes, listen, obviously America has been having a conversation about policing for decades. But the conversation of 2020 that's sparked all these protests and all these conversations that's going on now, it really began here in Louisville, because in March here, Breonna Taylor died in a police -- from police bullets in an incident that led to a big conversation here about no knock warrants and policing. That conversation, those protests led to the police chief announcing his retirement at the end of June and changes to the way the no knock warrant process works here in Louisville.
Now, those protests were then refueled by the George Taylor protests that we've seen across the entire country and that ended on Monday -- on Sunday night. Monday was supposed to be a day of reflection declared by the governor -- by the mayor here in Louisville to reflect on both those two cases, Breonna Taylor and George -- Breonna and George Floyd. Speaking about -- and thinking about them on Monday, but it ended up being -- that ended up being changed because on Sunday night, late Sunday night, there was another shooting in which a local barbecue restaurant owner named David McAtee was killed in another police incident that led to more investigations of the police here.
That led to the police chief, who was, again, already set to retire at the end of the month, being fired outright. So really a conversation about policing that's been going on while these protests are happening is happening hear in Louisville, really stepping up to the next level now with this next incident that's now currently under investigation by state police, the U.S. attorney and the FBI.
CAMEROTA: Yes, we can just imagine the frustration given how long that has been going on there.
Evan, thank you very much.
President Trump threatening to deploy the U.S. military to cities facing unrest. Is that even legal? What is the Insurrection Act? Jeffrey Toobin has the answer, next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
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 residents, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: OK, that's President Trump threatening to invoke the Insurrection Act of 1807, an extraordinary use of military force to stamp out violent protests. Does the president have the legal authority to deploy U.S. troops to police American cities?
Joining us now is CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.
Jeffrey, great to see you.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Hi, Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: What's the answer? Does he have the legal authority?
TOOBIN: Well, the main provision of the Insurrection Act states very clearly that it can only be -- the troops can only be brought in an American state if the governor or the state legislature requests it. That's the -- that's the main provision of the law. So the answer seems to be, no, he doesn't have that authority.
However, there is another provision of the law which states that under certain limited circumstances involving the defense of constitutional rights, that the president can send troops unilaterally. So, as so often is the case in the law, the answer is not totally clear, although it does seem to me the better reading of the law is that he can't do it without a request from the state.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Look, and you know, Jeffrey, there are those who look at the law and say there are provisions to send troops in above the objection of state governors, which is something more or less that was done with Eisenhower and Johnson during civil rights era situations.
I think the important thing here, though, is that the president hasn't done it yet.
[06:40:02] The president has not invoked the Insurrection Act. He has threatened to. And if he did do it above the objections of a state governor or a mayor, for instance, it would create problems. I don't -- actually think the courts would back up the president here given this court -- or these courts and -- and how the law is written, but it would create an enormous amount of tension and conflict.
TOOBIN: Well, absolutely, just from a practical level. You know, the whole notion of civil defense is based on the idea that state, local, and federal officials and people on the ground coordinate and work together. The idea that you would send in the American military, which is extremely rare in American history, in conflict with a state, you know, that's something that -- that really has almost never happened in American history. It did happen in 1957 in Little Rock to integrate the schools. Eisenhower sent in -- sent in troops.
During -- in 1967, when the troops were sent in to Detroit to -- to quell the riots there, that was at the request of Governor George Romney. So the idea of doing it over the objections of local officials is almost, not totally, but almost without precedent in American history.
CAMEROTA: Yes, but I think that the 1957 example is the instructive one because we've already heard mayors and governors say that -- that they don't know what he's talking about and they don't like this. But if he were to do it, since we have the 1957 precedent, then what happens?
TOOBIN: Well, that -- that's -- you know, one of the many mysteries here. I mean how -- how would you coordinate? You know, the National Guard is out in virtually every state. The National Guard is a paramilitary force. But would they work with the 101st Airborne, you know, the real Army? Would the Army try to push the National Guard aside? I mean that is really without precedent in -- in American history, the idea that you would have conflict between state and local officials.
It's also worth considering that this may be simply an empty threat by the president, an attempt to sound tough without any intention to back it up. That's always a possibility.
BERMAN: Look, it may be the most likely scenario. And, Jeffrey, you bring up the key difference between the National Guard and the military, the actual Army. There is a difference. And the National Guard is out and helping with law enforcement. They're trained for that, whereas the Army isn't necessarily trained for law enforcement capabilities. It is a very, very different thing.
TOOBIN: And, in fact, you know, there is a long tradition in the United States, and laws. There's a famous law people may remember called the Posse Comitatus law, which says the American military does not get involved in law enforcement. That's really a principle that goes back to the 18th century in this country, that we don't like the armies patrolling our streets. That is something that is really against the American tradition. Now, it is true that the Insurrection Act is an exception to the Posse
Comitatus law, but just as sort of background history and law in this country, is that we don't want the American military patrolling our streets. That is something that is not historically been done in the United States. Whether we want an exception to that is something the country's going to start debating now.
I don't see a great demand for it. Certainly last night you had the governors of Michigan and governors of Illinois and New York saying, we don't want the military on our streets. The question now is whether the president is going to impose that -- the military. I don't pretend to know the answer to that at this point.
CAMEROTA: Here's another interesting legal tidbit that came up last night, and that is that the Arlington County police chief pulled his officers out of D.C. because he didn't like what they were being forced to do in terms of pushing back peaceful protesters or firing on them with tear gas to create a photo op for the president.
Here's what he said in a statement. The county is re-evaluating the agreements that allowed our officers to be put in a compromising position that endangered their health and safety and the people around them for a purpose not worthy of our mutual aid obligations.
So, this is also interesting, can local police departments be autonomous and decide they are not going to follow orders from the White House or previous agreements?
TOOBIN: Well, I mean, this -- you know, you raise a very important point, Alisyn, that it's very -- it's -- it's -- it's easy for people to me to talk about the law in the abstract.
But the law is only what human beings do on the ground. And there are a lot of people, including, as you point out, the police chief in Virginia there who are appalled by what's going on and how the president is running things.
So, it is not entirely clear that -- that there will be any sort of coordination, which is the bedrock principle of how we're supposed to deal with these crises, that state, federal, and local officials work together. Here we have a situation where the president is engaging in such unprecedented and polarizing behavior so that even if it is technically legal, will it accomplish the goals that he says he wants to accomplish? That's a question that is certainly not available -- that -- the answer to that is not clear at this point.
BERMAN: And just one other point, we're going to let you go, Jeffrey, what happens in D.C. is different than the rest of the country.
TOOBIN: That's right.
BERMAN: It is not a state.
TOOBIN: I'm glad you mentioned that. BERMAN: So the federal government and the military can do things there without permission that they can't do in the rest of the country.
TOOBIN: D.C. is not a state, as we all know. And the president has a much freer hand to bring in the American military in D.C. -- and he's already started doing that -- than he does in the other states where the Insurrection Act applies in terms of the governor's veto.
CAMEROTA: Jeffrey Toobin, great to have you with us. Thank you.
CAMEROTA: There's growing concern that coronavirus will spread as a result of these protests and their expansion. So we have reports from around the world to update you, next.
BERMAN: Major developments this morning in the coronavirus pandemic. Brazil has moved to ease lockdown restriction despite cases spiking in the country.
CNN reporters weigh in from around the world.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: I'm Nick Paton Walsh in Rio de Janeiro.
And here, the iconic Copa Cabana Beach in Brazil will see restrictions being only slightly eased in the day ahead, partially allowing people perhaps into the sea, but not really on to the sand of the beach, part of a loosening of the lockdown, which is being called a terrible disgrace by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, as the numbers continue to worsen here in Brazil. The peak's supposed to be hitting here, but it seems the pressure to reopen the economy is causing some of the lockdown to be lifted.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Ben Wedeman in Rome, where Italy's lockdown continues to ease. On Monday, the Colosseum, Vatican Museums, including the Sistine Chapel, welcomed visitors for the first time in three months. They do, however, have to book beforehand to get in, get their temperature checked before they enter, and wear masks at all times.
Now, on the 3rd of June, this coming Wednesday, Italy will welcome tourists for the first time in months. However, only those from the European Union and the United Kingdom. It's not clear at this point when American tourists will be welcome again.
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Ivan Watson in Hong Kong.
On June 4, 1989, the Chinese military marched into Beijing's Tiananmen Square and opened fire, killing, activists say, hundreds if not thousands of peaceful protesters. Every year since then, people have held a candlelight vigil in honor of the victims here in Hong Kong, until this year, as Beijing tightens its grip on this city. The Hong Kong police have, for the first time, banned the candlelight vigil citing coronavirus restrictions which restrict gatherings of more than eight people.
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm David McKenzie in Johannesburg.
The World Health Organization has announced a new outbreak in the deadly Ebola virus in the northwestern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Now, this area is a busy trade route, both with other countries and with the capital Kinshasa. The WHO has sent in a search team to help the government to try to stamp out the spread.
It comes as that country already faces the second worst Ebola outbreak in history in the eastern part of the DRC. The head of the WHO says it proves that Covid-19 is not the only health threat facing people right now.
BERMAN: All right, our thanks to our reporters around the world.
America in crisis this morning. We are following reports of several attacks against police officers overnight following the violent crackdown on peaceful protesters in front of the White House so the president could take a picture. We have the latest for you next.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
CAMEROTA: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY.
A seventh night of protests following the death of George Floyd. And it was a violent night against protesters and against police.
CAMEROTA: That was St. Louis just a few hours ago. Four police officers were shot in a gun battle downtown. Their injuries are not considered life threatening at this hour. Just an incredible scene.
Also, an officer has been shot outside of a Las Vegas casino in Nevada. That's what you're seeing on your screen there.
And in New York City, graphic new video of a police officer apparently run over intentionally at an intersection. We're waiting for developments on his condition.
Curfews are in effect in at least 40 cities, and National Guard troops are activated in nearly half of the United States, but that did not stop the looting in many cities.
BERMAN: President Trump is threatening to send active duty military into these cities, although it isn't really clear whether that's just an empty threat. Authorities did break up what appeared to be a totally peaceful demonstration in front of the White House. Tear gas, rubber bullets just yards away from the White House, all so the president could stage that photo op with a Bible in front of a church. Again, people were hurt so he could take this picture.
We'll have the latest from Washington in just a moment.
First, though, CNN's Brynn Gingras live in New York with the latest on that officer.
We saw the video. Disturbing video. Apparently targeted in the Bronx.
BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, police believe so, John.
What we're hearing from the NYPD is at about 12:45 in the morning in the Bronx, officers, including that police sergeant who you see in that video -- and, again, we'll show it to you again, it is disturbing, though, to watch -- were responding to a burglary in progress.