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Peaceful Protesters Defy Curfews, No Widespread Looting; Minnesota Launches Civil Rights Probe of Minneapolis Police; New York Governor & New York City Mayor Feud Over Use of National Guard. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired June 3, 2020 - 05:00   ET





UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This early curfew's been a big difference. We've limited traffic belong 96th Street Manhattan and knocked the looters off their game.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bottles started flying after police officers and other debris. They've made several arrests.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There have been some individuals who have attempted to basically usurp the movement.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They are sitting. They have their hands up. They are being taken into custody for violating Los Angeles' curfew.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now that we have the National Guard in our city, we can't control what these other agencies do. Some of the protesters are being gassed today.

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I won't traffic in fear and division. The country is crying out for leadership.

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is a special edition of NEW DAY. It's Wednesday, June 3rd, 5:00 here in New York.

And the breaking news this morning, we're waking up to what seems to be a different situation in most cities around the country, much calmer. We saw thousands protesting peacefully, some in defiance of curfews. There were hundreds of arrests, and we did see isolated pockets of looting, but the scale much less than we have seen.

There was also some vivid imagery. In Denver, protesters silent for nine minutes, marking the time George Floyd was held under the knee of a white Minneapolis police officer.

And in New York, this remarkable moment.


BERMAN: Protesters cheering for health care workers and vice versa, frankly, as the protesters walked past a hospital.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: That was incredible, John.

There were some pockets of escalating violence last night. In Washington, D.C., clashes between protesters and law enforcement broke out following peaceful protests earlier in the night.


PROTESTERS: All power to the people!


CAMEROTA: In Seattle, protesters faced off with police using umbrellas to try to block the pepper spray.

The Floyd family lawyer says he expects the other three officers to be charged before Floyd's funeral next week.

This morning, we have a new interview with the mother of George Floyd's child, but we begin our coverage with CNN's Brynn Gingras, she is live in Times Square with our top story.

So, a much different night last night, it sounds like, than the previous?

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, that's right, Alisyn, a very much different night. I'm going to show you Times Square. It's still locked down at this hour and there's still barricades up. This area was shut down as if it was New Year's Eve. That's how much security was here overnight.

And basically, it seems that, along with the fact that there was an earlier curfew, there was more police presence, there are rideshare programs that were disabled because police believe looters were able to use those in previous nights. All of that may have turned the tide on this city.

Now, it doesn't mean to say there was no violence at all. We have just learned from police there are approximately 300 arrests at this hour. Of course, there's probably people still being processed. But for the most part, it seems that their protests here were largely peaceful here and across the country.


PROTESTERS: I can't breathe! I can't breathe!

GINGRAS (voice-over): The nationwide movement of Americans raising their voices and sometimes using silence to show their outrage over the death of George Floyd while under arrest by Minneapolis police continued for the eighth day.


GINGRAS: All day, New Yorkers organized peaceful demonstrations, sometimes by the thousands.

These nurses, essential health care workers during the COVID pandemic, taking a moment to join in. Overnight, some protesters pushing past the city's 8:00 p.m. curfew, imposed after scenes like this Monday night, showing looters breaking into stores in Manhattan, and there was still some tension between the NYPD and protesters, police arresting at least 200 of them last night.


GINGRAS: Authorities preventing demonstrators from exiting one end of the Manhattan bridge for a period of time.

Earlier, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo blasting Mayor Bill de Blasio and the NYPD's handling of protesters, calling it inexcusable.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: The police in New York City were not effective at doing their job. They have to do a better job. But separate the protesters from the looting.


GINGRAS: Floyd's family members joining tens of thousands of protesters at a march in Houston.

MAYOR SYLVESTER TURNER (D), HOUSTON: So, today, we want to -- we want to love on them. We want them to know that George did not die in vain.


GINGRAS: While in Minnesota, thousands met in front of the state capitol as Floyd's 6-year-old daughter, Gianna, and her mother, made their first public appearance since his death.

ROXIE WASHINGTON, MOTHER OF GEORGE FLOYD'S DAUGHTER: I wanted everybody to know that this is what those officers took from.

GINGRAS: In the nation's capital, the steps of the Lincoln Memorial filled with national guardsmen. Below, a diverse crowd meeting in solidarity.

Protests in front of the White House were also mostly calm until just after midnight, with tension growing during a standoff between remaining demonstrators and authorities. A large police presence in Atlanta with tear gas deployed on protesters there after the city reached its curfew last night.

And in Los Angeles, police arresting a small group of protesters outside the mayor's residence overnight after thousands gathered there during the day and in other parts of the city.

MAYOR ERIC GARCETTI (D), LOS ANGELES: I'm proud of the protesters across the city who are peacefully expressing themselves.


GINGRAS: Now, there is another curfew set tonight here in New York City at 8:00 p.m. It's unclear if we're going to see the widespread street closures, the obvious change in police tactics that we saw last night, the mayor admitting that the Monday night curfew at 11:00 p.m. just wasn't effective. Of course, as you saw in that piece, they were trading insults between the mayor and the governor here of New York.

So, we'll see if this change that we saw overnight will last and how both of them are going to respond later today -- Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Absolutely. It seems to be on a better track as of this morning. Thank you very much, Brynn.

For the first time, we're hearing from the mother of George Floyd's 6- year-old daughter. CNN's Omar Jimenez sat down with her, her lawyer, and former NBA player Steven Jackson, who was a close friend of George Floyd's.

Omar joins us live from Minneapolis.

Omar, what did they tell you?

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Alisyn, for starters, they're wrapping up a curfew protest, as they've done every day for George Floyd as we come out of curfew.

But more than a week after George Floyd's death, the pain is still very raw for the people that knew him best. And as you mentioned, we sat down with his 6-year-old daughter, Gianna, her mother, Roxie Williams, his friend and former NBA player Stephen Jackson and their attorney, Chris Stewart.

They told me he moved from Houston to Minneapolis to try and find work and provide for his family, a family they say he was very much involved in. And so, I asked the mother how she even began to try and explain to 6-year-old Gianna what had happened to her father, and she says, at first, she couldn't.


WILLIAMS: She was standing by the door, and she said, Mama, something's going on with my family. And I say, why do you say that? She said, because I hear them saying my dad's name on TV.

She wanted to know how he died. And the only thing that I can tell her is he couldn't breathe.

STEPHEN JACKSON, FORMER NBA PLAYER: We have to get convictions.

WILLIAMS: Right. JACKSON: That's what we talk about. We have to get convictions. These

tears are from real pain, you know? And the only way they're going to stop is these convictions.

CHRIS STEWART, ATTORNEY: It's just accountability. A cop hurts somebody, he gets arrested, not just fired. They should also fear going to jail instead of being able to just transfer to another county, because that's what happens. They get fired from one, they go work in another.


JIMENEZ: Now, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, who's leading this investigation, has said it won't be long now before they take proper and deliberate action. And the family attorney, Benjamin Crump, has said they expect to see charges against the other officers before George Floyd is laid to rest early next week.

But let's remember, these protests we have seen aren't just about Floyd. It's about trying to change policing culture as a whole, and it's part of why the Minnesota department of human rights has launched an investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department to look into their practices over the past ten years and examine just that.

And this comes as a series of memorials is set to begin for Floyd starting tomorrow, leading up to the funeral on Tuesday. And while I personally did not hear a lot from Gianna in the interview as we sat down, this is how she is remembering her father.


GIANNA: That's right.

JACKSON: He did what?

GIANNA: Dad changed the world!

JACKSON: Daddy changed the world.



JIMENEZ: And the first of those memorials is set to begin tomorrow here in Minneapolis for her dad, who changed the world -- John.

BERMAN: Daddy changed the world. I'm sure Gianna would much rather have her father alive right now, though, than even everything that's happened since.

Omar, I'm reminded from your report of a few things. Number one, what this all is about still. It's about justice. It's about equal justice for all Americans. I think that can be lost as we see some of the demonstrations, the destruction over the last few nights.

Secondly, first of all, Minneapolis has been peaceful the last few nights, and we need to be reminded of that. Where you have seen instances of looting is in other areas around the country. Minneapolis largely peaceful.

Omar, finally, as we see you with a mask, there is a pandemic still going on, so thank you for all the work you're doing in really incredible conditions. Appreciate it. We'll check back with you in a little bit.

Overnight in Washington, D.C., some protesters did clash with police in front of the church where president Trump staged that photo op one night earlier. But again, a different situation in Washington.

Let's get a sense of the whole night. CNN's Boris Sanchez live outside the White House with the latest.

Boris, what are we seeing?


Yeah, no demonstrators out here right now, no protesters. But despite that, we see military police preparing, either briefing or preparing for some kind of mobilization. There are dozens of them just beyond that enormous eight-foot barrier that was put up in front of the White House on Monday night. We are seeing more National Guard down the street. In fact, there are two buses of what appear to be nothing but military police down from where we are right now. They've got their shields out. It appears that they're either doing an exercise or preparing for some kind of reconfiguration of the area.

Earlier today as I was walking over here, there was a hotel, hundreds of National Guard unloading their buses, getting into the hotel. You know, last night, it was mostly peaceful, as you said. That 7:00 p.m. curfew came and went, and the protesters were allowed to sit outside of Lafayette Park without incident.

It was when we got closer to 1:00 a.m. and the crowd started thing thinning out that some of the protesters started pushing up against that fence. That's when the law enforcement officers on the other side started shooting pepper spray and pepper balls to get them to disperse. Protesters became agitated, started launching water bottles and milk jugs. Eventually, they all left.

One other thing I wanted to point out. There is a very low-flying helicopter that's been flying around Washington, D.C., in the last few days. We understand that the D.C. National Guard is now investigating one of them Monday night for flying at a very low altitude and using the air from its rotors to try to disperse protesters.

We've heard the helicopters already this morning. And a final note. I did want to show you this photo from the Lincoln Memorial with several dozen National Guard standing outside. The protesters there were peaceful. They left before that 7:00 p.m. curfew went into effect.

But again, it underscores the militarization of this effort to try to keep the protests under control -- Alisyn. CAMEROTA: Boris, thank you very much for the update on all of those things.

Overnight in Los Angeles, a third straight night a curfew, not keeping protesters off the street, though they were mostly peaceful. Many people, as you can see, quietly kneeling with their hands up in the air.

CNN's team on the ground witnessing dozens of arrests, mainly for violating curfew. CNN's Stephanie Elam is live in L.A. with more.

So, what is the latest, Stephanie?

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Alisyn, you can take a look here, we're in Hollywood. One of the places that the Los Angeles Police Department saying that they don't want them to come, they don't want them to come here. They don't want them to go downtown. The curfew is in effect from 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.

As you can see, there is National Guard out here in Hollywood. They're saying that 1,000 National Guard members that are on the streets here in Los Angeles. I can tell you that last night, we were at the protest downtown for hours, and it was very much a peaceful scene.

That number was growing as the day moved on. There's probably over 1,000 people out there, but it was mostly peaceful, lots of chanting, lots of singing. There was also people making references to George Floyd and the fact that he was on the ground underneath that former police officer's knee for almost nine minutes.

So, references to that. But as you can see, a lot of storefronts still boarded up because of the protests that were here, where they also saw many hundreds of people coming out. And also, outside of Mayor Garcetti's home in Hancock Park, which is just a bit south from here, the mayor also coming out and addressing, saying he was proud of people for peacefully demonstrating.

Earlier in the day, he actually came out to people who were protesting and kneeled with them, spoke with them. So, you're seeing a change in tone. For the most part, peaceful.

I saw people talking to each other, making sure that, as you were mentioning, John was mentioning the fact that there's still a pandemic, offering up hand sanitizer, offering up free bottles of water, looking after each other and asking each other to pick up after the protest was done, which they wrapped up two hours after that 6:00 curfew to give people time to get home.


But still, hundreds were arrested, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: And moments of kindness within that. Thank you for highlighting that for us, Stephanie. We'll check back with you.

President Trump and Joe Biden taking two very different approaches towards the unrest in the country. So, what will happen next?


BERMAN: Developing overnight, the curfew in New York City seems to have reduced the looting from the previous night as thousands around the country still peacefully push for action following the death of George Floyd.

Joining me now, CNN political analyst April Ryan. She's a White House correspondent for the American Urban Radio Network.

Also with us, CNN political commentator Terry McAuliffe. He's a former governor of Virginia and the former chair of the DNC.

There was a serious dust-up between the governor of New York and the mayor of New York City over what has been happening in New York City the last few nights.


The previous night, there was significant looting in midtown, and Governor Andrew Cuomo said that the mayor and the police failed the people of this city.

So, let's listen to what Governor Cuomo said.


CUOMO: What happened in New York City was inexcusable. My option is to displace the mayor of New York City and bring in the National Guard as the governor in a state of emergency.


BERMAN: And to be clear, Governor Cuomo said that was a bad option. Still, the criticism stung and Mayor de Blasio didn't like it. Listen.


MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK CITY: He dishonored the men and women of the NYPD in an absolutely inappropriate way for any leader to do. Any elected official who blames the NYPD while they were out there fighting in the streets to restore order and protect people, I think, that's disgraceful. I think he owes -- he owes an apology to 36,000 hard-working men and women who have been putting their lives on the line for all of us.


BERMAN: All right, so, that's the backdrop here. I'm not sure that necessarily matters this morning, Governor. What does matter is it appears to have been a calmer night here in New York. You among us are the one who's run a state before.

Why? Why do you think last night appears to have been better, not just here, necessarily, but around the country? TERRY MCAULIFFE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think, first of

all, John, you've got to remember, people are out protesting against racism. And the vast majority of the people who have come out all across the country, these are peaceful protests. And you have a few that have been involved who are taking advantage of the situation, who are creating havoc in the cities, and they've been looting and throwing bricks through windows.

I think they are better prepared in the states as we move forward, in the different cities as we go forward. They have the police I think are doing a better job understanding these people are peaceful protesters. Give these protesters the opportunity to talk, to march, to sing, to chant. Let them do that, and then isolate those that are really trying to cause problems and take advantage of the situation.

So, I think the police are actually doing a better job. But you've got to remember, the vast majority of people who have come out across the country are protesting against racism. They have every right to be there. That's who we are as Americans.

I am proud of the folks who were out there protesting against racism. We need to let them do it, but we do need to do an effective job to make sure we're keeping our communities safe.

CAMEROTA: Well, I mean, April, it was hard to understand what was happening, what we were seeing on Monday night in New York and elsewhere.

When you see the aerial shots from news choppers of looters taking over an entire city street and smashing glass windows and running off, hauling off merchandise, it's hard to know, where are the police? Are they intentionally leaving that alone because they think that the situation is so hot and they're willing to let some Chanel bags go out the door because they don't want violence, or was that just a breakdown in law enforcement?

And it's still -- I mean, that's what Governor Cuomo was suggesting and Mayor de Blasio was saying he didn't want more national guard because that could make things worse. But it's hard to know what went wrong on Monday night.


MCAULIFFE: Clearly, not prepared in the manner which they should have been prepared. You knew there would be people who would try to take advantage of the situation, so we should have done a better job, as I'm saying, as a nation. These law enforcement understand that these problems were going to occur after the death and the horrible murder of George Floyd. We needed to be prepared in the cities, in the state.

This is what governors, mayors, your law enforcement -- you practice for this every single day. We as a nation spend hundreds of millions of dollars on training --

CAMEROTA: Yeah, but governor, when it doesn't happen, why weren't police in position? What went wrong, in your mind? MCAULIFFE: That's a good question. I can't answer that. I'm not in

New York. But I can tell you, as a governor, your responsibility is to keep your communities safe.


MCAULIFFE: And you need to get your folks out there on the streets early to make sure that these peaceful protesters can exercise their First Amendment rights. And clearly, they were not in the places they should have been. You never should tolerate people going down the street throwing bricks through windows, going into stores and stealing things.


MCAULIFFE: That should have been stopped really from the beginning.


RYAN: So, Alisyn, yes. And the governor's absolutely right. And, Alisyn, it was more than Chanel bags. It was Gucci, it was Louis Vuitton. There were Mercedes cars. There were also mom-and-pop stores in the community, in the black community that were looted.

Peaceful protests are part of our democracy, but there is no stand, no -- we're not condoning at all violence and looting, but there is a fine line to how police have to carry this out, how the National Guard has to carry this out. If you go back years to Ferguson, after Michael Brown died, remember the militarization there, and there was a strong call from the community, from all communities, that this was looking like a police state.

So, because of that, the Obama administration decided to change the dynamic. Then they also did pattern and practice. But now with this administration, they've taken the pattern and practice out of the Department of Justice. They've also gone back to militarization.

So, at issue, peaceful protesters are allowed to take part of this democracy that this country has so long talked about. But when it comes to a police state, when it comes to pushing and going after the looters, there's a fine line. I don't know what is going on, but what we do know right now in this moment, tear gassing at a time of COVID is wrong, that coughing can cause a spread of COVID.

They have got to not only worry about looting but worry about the time that we're in, and we have to figure out where that line is. Where is the happy middle? Where can they marry the peaceful protests and policing and not go overboard to militarization?

BERMAN: Look, and the real question, and the important question going forward is, who is going to address the injustice highlighted by the killing of George Floyd, and how will it be addressed? We have heard from some different voices over the last few hours.

April, you'll appreciate this as someone who has covered the White House for a long time, including eight years --

RYAN: Twenty-three years.

BERMAN: -- including the George W. Bush administration. A really interesting statement from the former president, George W. Bush. I want to read part of that.

Quote: This tragedy in a long series of similar tragedies raises a long-overdue question: how do we end systemic racism in our society? The only way to see ourselves in a true light is to listen to the voices of so many who are hurting and grieving. Those who set out to silence those voices do not understand the meaning of America -- or how it becomes a better place.

Look, former President George W. Bush refuses to directly criticize the current president.

RYAN: Right.

BERMAN: He just doesn't do it.

RYAN: Right.

BERMAN: But if you do a forensic analysis of that language, he says there is systemic racism. The administration says there's not. The national security adviser says there's not.

The former president says to listen -- indicating, or at least implying that he doesn't think that people are listening. There's a lot in that statement, April. And also, I will note, we're going to hear from former President Obama today at 5:00 as well.

RYAN: So, the George W. Bush, the former president of the United States that I know, we had many occasions off the record to talk about matters of race as a heart issue. And it was ironic.

During the time when Barack Obama was running against Senator John McCain, Senator Barack Obama was running against Senator John McCain, George W. Bush, then president, talked to me about the subtle pieces of racism that he was noticing. He said that.

The George W. Bush that we saw publicly, you did not necessarily see the heart, but he is speaking from his heart, and that is -- that is not something unheard of or uncommon to me as it relates to him. He is a man who is still hurting from the missteps of Hurricane Katrina.

He is a man who is still going to Africa with the then First Lady Laura Bush. He's still going there to help with issues of malaria, to help with so many other diseases that he was dealing with during his administration.

So, this is not beyond the pale for me with George W. Bush, former president, but he is holding strong and holding true to what he said about not contradicting any other president. He didn't do it about Barack Obama and he's following suit not doing it directly about this president, but he's talking over-archingly about the moment, not necessarily the president, who has blaring faults for many of us to see.

BERMAN: All right, friends. Appreciate you being with us this morning.

Amid the protests, several states and Washington, D.C., did hold primary elections. One controversial congressman on his way out the door. That news, next.