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NEW DAY

Peaceful Protestors Defy Curfews, No Widespread Looting; Mother of George Floyd's Daughter Speaks Out; Some Protestors Clash with Police Near White House; Rep. Steve King Loses Primary After Racist Comments. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired June 3, 2020 - 06:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


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(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're using the cover of protests to fill their pockets. It got out somehow that it's all right. It's part of a protest to loot.

[05:59:45]

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Allowing people to break curfew, police again taking a back seat, allowing these demonstrators to march.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Say his name!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: George Floyd!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: George Floyd!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: George Floyd!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Even though they are not in compliance with the curfew, you can see they're sitting, they have their hands up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I look forward to the day when we get rid of a curfew, when we don't have National Guard, when our police officers don't have their helmets on.

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This has taken on a decidedly different tone than what we have seen throughout the course of the entire day.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If we don't choose wisely, I think that we are seeing the demise of the greatest democracy.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We want to welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Wednesday, June 3, 6 a.m. here in New York. And this morning, we're waking up to a more calm America than we saw

yesterday. Overnight, thousands of people did turn out to protest, but the protests remained mostly peaceful. There were hundreds of arrests for mostly violating curfew. But we did see isolated pockets of looting. It was on a much smaller scale than the previous night.

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

And in New York, this remarkable moment.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look at this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMEROTA: That is protesters cheering for healthcare workers as they passed a hospital.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: A wonderful sight that was.

Now, there were some pockets of violence overnight. In Washington, D.C., some clashes between protesters and law enforcement following peaceful protests earlier in the night.

In Seattle, protesters faced off with police. That's a remarkable picture using umbrellas to block pepper spray. That looks like Hong Kong.

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

And this morning, we have a new interview with the mother of George Floyd's child.

We begin our coverage, though, here in New York City. CNN's Brynn Gingras live here on the streets. It was a largely calmer night. But not completely, Brynn.

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, John. I mean, it was a significant difference. So that's the good thing. Definitely different than what we've seen in previous nights.

Listen, the curfew has now lifted. The street closures that we were seeing across Manhattan have now been lifted. Those all, combined with the fact that the NYPD disabled rideshare programs because they believed looters were using them in previous nights. It all helped, possibly, hopefully, turn the tide on the violence that we have been seeing in the city.

But as you said, it wasn't a perfect night. You can see here behind me, we are at a Starbucks in the East Village of New York City. Pretty much this entire street was vandalized, and the looters broke right through this particular Starbucks. We talked to police. About 300 people have been arrested so far. But

largely, the protests here and across the country were peaceful.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't breathe! I can't breathe!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't breathe! I can't breathe!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 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, it continued for the eighth day.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No justice!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No peace!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No peace!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No peace!

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

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Black lives matter!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Black lives matter!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Black lives matter!

GINGRAS: These nurses, essential healthcare workers during the COVID pandemic, taking a moment to join in.

Overnight, some protesters pushing past the city's 8 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.

(CHANTING)

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 protestors, calling it inexcusable.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): 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 all them. We want them to know that George did not die in vain.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Say his name!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: George Floyd!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: George Floyd!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: George Floyd!

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 --

[06:05:03]

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

(CHANTING)

GINGRAS: 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.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GINGRAS: So the curfew is intact again tonight here in New York City. At 8 p.m., it's unclear if we're going to see those massive street closures that we saw last night or the obvious difference in police tactics, but we do know that the mayor did say -- he almost apologized for the fact, knowing that that 11 p.m. curfew wasn't effective. He basically admitted to that.

And we -- like I said, there was these trading of insults between the governor and the mayor yesterday. We'll see how both of them react to the obvious change in the city when they both speak later today -- John.

BERMAN: All right, Brynn, thanks for being there. It's astounding to think of all the things you have reported on from the streets of New York City over just the last two months. What a time.

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 Floyd. Omar joins us now, live from Minneapolis.

Omar, tell us about that interview.

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, it's been more than a week since George Floyd's death. But the pain is still very raw for those that knew him best.

As you mentioned, we sat down with their 6-year-old daughter, Gianna; the mother, Roxie Williams; their friend and former NBA player Stephen Jackson; and their attorney, Chris Stewart. They say he moved from Houston to Minneapolis to try and find work and provide for the family, a family they say he was very much present for. So I asked the mother how she even began to try and explain to their 6-year-old daughter how he died. And she says at first, she couldn't.

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WILLIAMS: She was standing by the door, and she said, Mama, something going on with my family.

And I said, Why 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 AND FRIEND OF GEORGE FLOYD: We have to get convictions. That's what we're talking 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.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's just accountability. A cop hurt 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.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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

But also, let's remember why we have seen these protests to begin with. It's not just about Floyd's death. It's about trying to change the culture and policing as a whole. It's part of why the Minnesota state department of rights has launched a civil rights investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department to examine policing practices here over the course of the past ten years. And of course, this all comes as we are set to see a series of

memorials for Floyd begin tomorrow and go all the way up until his funeral on Tuesday. And while I personally didn't hear much from 6- year-old Gianna as we sat down, here's how she's describing her father.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's right --

GIANNA FLOYD, DAUGHTER OF GEORGE FLOYD: Daddy changed the world!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He did what?

FLOYD: Dad changed the world!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Daddy changed the world.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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

CAMEROTA: Omar, I mean, we're all just watching her, as a 6-year-old, try to process this, from, you know, silently playing with her mom's hair to trying to put a good spin on it or face on it. I mean, it's just unimaginable to know what's happening in a little 6-year-old girl's heart and head at this moment.

But thank you very much for all of your reporting.

Overnight, in Washington, D.C., protesters clashed with police in front of the very same church where President Trump staged that photo- op a day earlier.

[06:10:04]

CNN's Boris Sanchez is live outside the White House with more. So what has been the mood in the past few hours now?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, there, Alisyn.

There's been quite a bit of movement here, though not by protesters, but law enforcement. If you recall, in the last hour, we were showing you that some law enforcement officers were mobilizing just behind that massive 8-foot fence outside of Lafayette Park right in front of the White House.

They've now asked us to move back a block. These officials are with the Bureau of Prisons. Clearly not playing around. They've asked us to move back, effectively, so that some municipal workers can get to cleaning up the area just outside of Lafayette Park, where there were clashes last night between protesters and police.

We've seen them clear debris, detritus, even supplies that were used by protesters, things like water and milk to clear the irritants that were shot out by law enforcement yesterday, things like pepper spray and pepper balls.

Things were peaceful here when that 7 p.m. curfew came and went. They got really heated closer to 1 a.m. when some of the protesters started pushing on that 8-foot fence. Law enforcement responded. The protesters started throwing projectiles, water and milk, over the fence.

Law enforcement responded, again, with pepper spray and pepper balls until they dispersed.

It is clearly a militarized response that we're seeing. And one of the examples is this helicopter, a military helicopter that's been flying around D.C. this morning. It's been flying here for several days and later into the evening especially.

On Monday, one of them actually flew at such low altitude that it's now being investigated by the D.C. National Guard for using air from its rotors to try to disperse protesters.

Again, a very serious militarized response to some of the unrest that we've seen here in the nation's capital -- John.

CAMEROTA: I'll take it, Boris. Thank you very much for that update.

So President Trump and Joe Biden offer very different approaches on how to address systemic racism. How do they want to move forward? We discuss that next.

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CAMEROTA: The eighth night of protests were more peaceful than previous nights. New York City's mayor says the earlier curfew definitely helped contain the widespread looting we had been seeing.

Joining us now is Errin Haines. She's the editor-at-large of "The 19th." And CNN political analyst Mitch Landrieu. He's the former mayor of New Orleans.

Errin, I want to start with you, because was this just about, maybe, a larger police presence or about a curfew? Or do you think that there's something we can glean about the movement going forward, in the fact that things seemed to be more peaceful and subside a little bit from the widespread looting?

ERRIN HAINES, EDITOR-AT-LARGE, "THE 19TH": Well, good morning, Alisyn.

And as you mentioned, I mean, this was the first night where you did have more of a focus on the peaceful protesters, because there was less widespread looting. We did have curfews in effect in multiple cities. And in those cities, you did have an increased police presence.

But you did still see protesters out past that curfew, whether they were continuing to protest peacefully or whether they were casting ballots -- (UNINTELLIGIBLE) where I am or Washington, D.C. And you know, there was varied response to those protesters being out.

In many cases, the police continued to let the protests -- in other cases more of a response and more arrests. So I think it remains to be seen whether the focus on the peaceful protesters will continue.

But certainly, last night was an indication that there may be a turn in the tide of the tenor of these protests, especially after dark and after these curfews go into effect.

BERMAN: Yes. And now we'll see if people focus on the message, which is the important thing. Now we'll see if the country's leaders are ready to address the issue of justice, which I think is paramount, you know, eight days, nine days after the killing of George Floyd.

So Mayor Landrieu, the question is, how and what will happen next? I do want to read you a statement from former President George W. Bush. We're hearing from former presidents about what needs to happen and how to move forward.

Former President George W. Bush said, "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".

So listen to those voices and what needs to happen now, Mayor?

MITCH LANDRIEU, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I was very thankful for President Bush's statement. I thought that it was right on point. I thought President Obama's statement was on point.

I thought President Trump's statement could not have been more wrong.

And the point of the matter is that almost every African-American in this country saw themselves in the face of George Floyd when he was killed.

And one of the things that's underpinning all of the protests is the intensity and the duration of that kind of behavior that's preyed upon the African-American community, not just relating to police community relations but out of the institutions, as well, which is why we constantly talk about we have to fix institutional racism.

May white people in America dismiss that. They don't particularly understand it. And the African-American community should and wants to be heard. That's the basis of what's going on in the streets of America.

Mayors and police chiefs will find that those departments that give the protesters, the peaceful protesters their room and give them their space, things are going to go much better.

But the issue, the underlying issue is not going to go away. And we as a country have to confront this. We have to acknowledge it. We have to deal with it. And then we have to take specific actions to begin to change the way that institutions in America are designed.

[06:20:12]

That is what's being called. That's what we are being called upon to do. And that is what's going to move us into the next phase of what America needs to become.

CAMEROTA: Hey, Errin, how about former President Barack Obama? He put a statement out on Medium, and today he's going to be speaking live at 5 p.m. Eastern, I believe, in this live streaming event. But we're on day nine.

I mean, would you like to see him play a more visible, more vocal role as some sort of, you know, racial reconciliator during this time?

HAINES: Well, you know, I think what's important here is that President Barack Obama, you know, has already served eight years, right? And although, yes, he was our historic country's first black president, and that is a role that a lot of people would like to see him in, I think that what Americans are looking for is who the next leader of the White House is going to be and what they have to say about the future of race relations in America.

And, you know, to Mayor Landrieu's point, we saw two very contrasting messages yesterday, including Vice President Biden, who looked presidential, in the city where I am, Philadelphia, the cradle of our democracy. Vice President Biden's launched his campaign saying that his candidacy was a battle for the soul of America.

And I think he -- you know, not knowing then how -- how prescient that motto was going to be. And I think, you know, a year ago he was declaring that this is not who we are as a country.

But yesterday, you had him kind of amending that, asking the question, is this who we are and is this who we want to be?

BERMAN: We have some sound from that speech yesterday in Philadelphia. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Donald Trump has turned this country into a battlefield driven by old resentments and fresh fears. He thinks division helps him.

His narcissism has become more important than the nation's well-being that he leads. I ask every American -- I mean this from the bottom of my heart. I ask every American, look at where we are now and think anew. Is this who we are? Is this who we want to be?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Is this who we are? Is this who we want to be?

Mayor Landrieu, it is interesting that is the message from Joe Biden, who I know you are supporting. In terms of the president's response over the last few days, most

Republicans in Congress are lining up behind the president. However, we are seeing, I think, a bigger handful of rebukes than we've seen before. I was just reading through a list of some of them. Ben Sasse spoke out. Senator Lankford, in a way.

Lisa Murkowski said, "I did not think what I saw was the America that I believe in." That's regarding what's happening in front of the White House. But I do think it's part and parcel of the larger response from the White House.

LANDRIEU: Well, I want to make a couple of points. I was happy to see some of those Republican senators finally begin to find their voice. Because we are so outside of constitutional framework now. The president is. That it would have just been egregious if none of the senators have spoken up.

But they are late, and they are not loud enough.

I will make a very simple point. There -- there are two world views here. President Trump has one of them and almost everybody else has another one. Which is simply this.

He believes that, in some form or fashion, that white people are superior to African-Americans. That -- that is essentially the problem with almost all of the institutional bias that we have talked about. That's No. 1.

No. 2, he believes that militarizing the streets of America is the way to end this particular problem. He could not be more wrong. No. 1, constitutionally, he's incorrect; and the military should not have boots on the streets of America, treating America like a battleground and American citizens liken enemy combatants.

The First Amendment gives Americans the right to protest and to address their grievances against the government. That is what it is that is happening right now. Because what's being protested are some serious problems that have to be fixed for all of us. It is every American's right to address those issues.

And the way that you do that is you listen and you open up. And if you hear that there's a problem, you acknowledge it, and then you try to change. That is the pathway forward that's going to work for all of us.

The militarization of this is not going to make the problem go away. It's going to make it much worse, and it misdiagnoses what is wrong and what has to happen.

CAMEROTA: Mayor Mitch Landrieu, Errin Haines, thank you both very much for your perspectives on this.

A controversial Republican congressman ousted overnight after losing his primary race. We have the breaking political details for you, next.

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[06:29:14]

BERMAN: Breaking news. Nine-term Republican Congressman Steve King defeated. He lost a primary in Iowa. King over the last few years has been shunned by the GOP leadership for racist remarks.

CNN's Jeff Zeleny live in Washington. A lot of people on both sides of the aisle, Jeff, had their fingers crossed for this.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: John, good morning.

There's no question, Steve King has been a thorn in the side of Republican leaders here in Washington for a long time. And last night was soundly defeated in that aisle of primary in northwest Iowa.

This is Republican as Republican territory gets. Look at these numbers here. He was defeated by State Senator Randy Feenstra by ten percentage points, after Steve King has won primary and general election again and again nine times, serving 18 years in the U.S. Congress. Before that was a state senator, as well.

END