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Day 10 of Protests Remains Largely Peaceful; Mourners Honor Floyd, Demand Racial Justice at Memorial; U.S. Lawmaker Grill CDC Director Over COVID-19 Response; Two Coronavirus Studies Retracted Over Data Questions; George Floyd's Passenger: He Did Not Resist; Investigator: Evidence of 'Racist Attitude' Towards Arbery; Thousands Defy Hong Kong Ban to Attend Tiananmen Square; NFL's Drew Brees Apologizes for 'Insensitive' Comments. Aired 12-1a ET
Aired June 5, 2020 - 00:00 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.
NICK WATT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT/ANCHOR: Hello, and welcome to our viewers joining us from around the world. I'm Nick Watt.
A tenth day of protests across the U.S., largely peaceful, and plenty of pain, as family and friends of George Floyd held their first memorial service in Minneapolis. Demonstrators out in force again in New York City, and when the curfew hit, at 8 p.m. local time, police moved in to make arrests. In Brooklyn, police talked about how they were working to de-escalate tensions with protesters.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ASSISTANT CHIEF JEFFREY MADDREY, NYPD COMMANDING OFFICER OF PATROL AT BROOKLYN NORTH: Well, all the officers here, we're just trying to do our best. We want to be respectful and peaceful, but we also often follow instructions, too. So you know, I mean, listen, I'm the chief here. This is my borough, and my job is to make sure everybody is safe, and that's all it comes down to. I'm thinking about everybody's safety.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WATT: In Atlanta, Georgia, officers pushed back protesters refusing to obey that city's curfew. The mayor there telling demonstrators there is something better on the other side of this.
In Washington, D.C., crowds gathered near the White House and the U.S. Capitol. A huge downpour a few hours ago sent people running for cover.
Earlier, workers erected tall metal fencing and other barricades around the White House complex.
And here in Los Angeles, a huge crowd is on the march. They gathered outside city hall earlier in the day. Now the American Civil Liberties Union, by the way, has now filed a lawsuit on behalf of Black Lives Matter over curfews in Los Angeles and nearby San Bernardino.
Let's bring in CNN's Kyung Lah now. She is out there with the protesters here in Los Angeles. Kyung, no curfew tonight. Did that change things?
KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It almost takes a little bit of that pressure that's in the balloon a little bit out. It releases some of it.
And so what you're seeing is that picture you were talking about of protesters outside city hall. They are still here. But I want you to quickly look this way on the steps of city hall. When I'm talking about the tension being released, we're seeing the police with a bit of a different posture. Take a look at the law enforcement here. By this time last night, we were seeing police, as we were approaching curfew, putting on more armor, wearing helmets. That is not the case tonight. There is no posture for the police to move in and make any arrests.
So that certainly has changed the mood of the crowd. So they are still here. You can see how packed it still here in city hall. There are a number of people who have decided to stay. The chanting has continued.
It's almost a friendly atmosphere, but yet, a passionate one, as this crowd continues to say the chance that we've heard throughout the week. But there's no pressure tonight, Nick, of them having to pack up, have any sort of confrontation with police.
Also, those skirmishes with police, while there have been some verbal confrontations, we haven't seen any direct confrontation with the police like you just showed in Atlanta -- Nick.
WATT: Kyung, thanks very much for that report from the streets of Los Angeles.
Now, George Floyd's memorial service in Minneapolis, the city where he was killed, was filled with memories of the man and calls for justice and change. Family, friends, and community leaders stood in silence for eight minutes and 46 seconds, the exact length of time an officer knelt on Floyd's neck, ending his life.
CNN's Sara Sidner has more.
(MUSIC: "AMAZING GRACE")
SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At the memorial in Minneapolis, George Floyd's family took time to mourn.
PHILONISE FLOYD, BROTHER OF GEORGE FLOYD: That's amazing to me that he touched so many people's hearts. You know, because he's been touching our hearts, you know.
Everybody wants justice. We want justice for George. He's going to get it. He's going to get it. SIDNER: Historic national demonstrations in Floyd's name are now well into their 10th day.
REV. AL SHARPTON, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL ACTION NETWORK: What happened to Floyd happens every day in this country, and in every area of American life. It's time for us to stand up in George's name and say, Get your knee off our necks.
SIDNER: Less than a mile from the family memorial, National Guard troops stood watch as three former police officers charged with aiding and abetting in Floyd's death made their first court appearance. All three were granted $1 million bail, or $750,000 with conditions.
A potential key witness, the passenger in Floyd's car that fatal afternoon, says his friend did not resist arrest, telling "The New York Times," Floyd was, "from the beginning trying in his humblest form to show he was not resisting. I could hear him pleading, 'Please, officer, what's it all for?'"
Minneapolis Police have released 235 pages of highly-redacted personnel records for the four officers involved in Floyd's arrest. They show Derek Chauvin, the officer now charged with second-degree murder, had at least 17 previous misconduct plants with the department. He was given a notice of suspension and was also reprimanded for removing a woman from her car in 2007.
Alexander Kueng had been an officer less than six months at the time of Floyd's death.
Prior to joining law enforcement, the four men held a variety of jobs including working at McDonald's, Target, Home Depot, and service in the United States Army. They now face between 10 and 40 years in prison, if convicted in Floyd's killing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Psalms 27, the Lord is my light and my salvation.
SIDNER: Following the memorial service, Reverend Jesse Jackson paid a visit to the site where Floyd died.
REV. JESSE JACKSON, FOUNDER, RAINBOW/PUSH COALITION: The law must change for the behavior to change.
SIDNER (on camera): What do you think about how President Trump has handled this situation?
JACKSON: We need reconciliation, not polarization. We need healing.
SIDNER: Reverend Jackson made very clear that protesting is a good way to start, but to get real change, it has to be policy change. And he says voting will help that happen.
Sara Sidner, CNN, Minneapolis.
(END VIDEOTAPE) WATT: And in Atlanta, the mayor walked with protesters on Thursday, but some people heckled her during her speech against racism and police brutality.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR KEISHA LANCE BOTTOMS (D), ATLANTA: I stand here today, the 60th mayor of Atlanta, the direct descendant of slaves in this state, because my forefathers believed that there was something better on the other side. And what I'm saying to you all today, there is something better on the other side of this. There's something better on the other side of this for us, and there's something on the other side of this for our children's children.
So I want to thank all of you all who have gathered out here today, and who have gathered across the country to honor these men and women who have died. They are lives matter. And I'm out here today to tell you, you all matter to me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WATT: And here to talk about all this is Van Jones. He's a former Obama administration official and a CNN political commentator.
Van, I was reading the complaint. And I just want to start with something that struck me, as I'm a white man who lives in America. I grew up in a country where cops don't generally carry guns.
And in this complaint, they're talking about Officer Lane, so they're not even talking about the man who -- who killed George Floyd. Let me just read it: "As Officer Lane began speaking with Mr. Floyd, he pulled his gun out and pointed it at Mr. Floyd's open window and directed Mr. Floyd to show his hands."
I'm assuming you're not as shocked as I am by that reality.
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I'm not shocked at all, unfortunately. That kind of behavior, that kind of escalation, needless provocation, is just standard practice.
And I think what's very, very hard for people to understand is that there really are two Americas. If you're -- if you have white skin, you see a police officer, you probably aren't nervous unless you're doing something wrong. And you probably expect to be spoken to in a respectful manner and give them the benefit of the doubt.
That is not the case if you have dark skin. We are guilty until proven guilty in the eyes of too many officers, and the officers who don't feel that way, don't speak up enough.
And, so it's not surprising at all that you start off at the -- at the top in terms of escalation against an African-American, and then you come down from there, whereas with white folks, you start off low and go up high.
So it's not surprising at all. And frankly, the most surprising thing about where we are now is that it was videotaped, and therefore, the world got a chance to see it.
WATT: And -- and the other question that's going around in my mind is, you know, we've been here before. Rodney King beating, also on tape, was, what, nearly 30 years ago. This happens so frequently. There's a lot of hand wringing. There's a lot of protests, and then it seems to me that almost nothing changed.
I mean, specifically, what do you think needs to change now, and are we at the point now where that is actually going to happen?
JONES: Well, listen, there are three things that have to happen. First of all, there has to be justice in this case. We cannot set a precedent where a police officer can literally just strangle a man to death in front of everybody, with body cams and his partners around, and nothing happens to that officer. You're basically saying that it's open season on black folks, even if you're not resisting.
So there has to be justice. All these officers have to go to jail.
But No. 2, from a reform standpoint, bipartisan legislation is possible this year for the first time, probably in 20 years, maybe 30 years. You could ban chokeholds this year. You could insist on de- escalation training this year. You could make it easier to sue police departments, and remove qualified immunity, and make it easier to sue police in certain circumstances this year.
You could begin to restore some checks and balances. Any human system without adequate checks and balances and oversight will tend toward corruption and abuse. You don't have to hate cops.
That's why you have meat inspectors. It's not because you hate butchers. Because you know, if nobody is watching, somebody is going to give you bad meat.
That's why you have building inspectors. Not because you hate architects and construction workers. If nobody is watching, you're going to have buildings falling down all over the place.
And that's what's happened in law enforcement. So we need the checks and balances restored so that good cops can arrest bad cops, and citizens can sue, and we can get back to normal. That can happen this year.
The third thing is we also need economic investment in some of these communities that have been hurt by all these disturbances.
But if you have justice in this case, if you have bipartisan legislation, and economic renewal, we could actually end the summer stronger as a country than we went in.
WATT: One other thing I wanted to ask you about. I'm not sure if you saw on our air the other day the owner of the night club where Derek Chauvin, this cop, used to work on the door. You know, she said that he was always more on edge, he was tense, on
urban night, when there was a lot of -- when the crowd was largely black in that nightclub. I mean, he seemed to me, and I do see this in people in this country. He seemed, as a white person, to be innately, unjustifiably, but innately fearful of black people. And I mean --
JONES: Yes, well --
WATT: -- do you agree with that?
WATT: How does that change?
JONES: Well, listen. You're always going to have some people who are stupid and hateful. That's not the problem. The problem is, if a stupid, hateful person becomes a city bus driver and starts driving over people, that stupid, hateful person goes to jail.
If a stupid, hateful person becomes a teacher, and starts shooting her students, that stupid, hateful person goes to jail.
But if you're a stupid, hateful person and you become a police officer, you're protected by layer upon layer upon layer of bureaucratic and other obstacles to any kind of justice.
I don't mind having stupid, hateful people. They just need to be punished like everybody else. And if somebody happens to have on a blue uniform, as opposed to a brown bus driver's uniform, they shouldn't be treated any differently when they break the law.
And so, we're not -- I don't imagine a world where we somehow have all perfect people. But you can begin to perfect the systems that take away the ability for people to hurt people with impunity. That's the problem. It's the impunity in the system, not what's wrong in people's hearts. You're always going to have mean people.
WATT: And this may be an awkward segue, but what about the man in the White House right now? Is he the right person in the right job at this crucial time?
JONES: Well, listen, I will shock you by saying that, from a technical point of view, the Trump administration has actually done a good job. From a technical point of view, the Department of Justice went in early. The FBI went in early. The president said very clearly he was opposed to what happened. He was disturbed by it, et cetera. So from a technical point of view, they've done a good job.
At the same time, there have been some inflammatory statements and tweets and other activity with regard to the demonstrations that I can't support on First Amendment -- First Amendment grounds.
So the reality is this. Under Democratic presidents and Republican presidents, and Democratic governors, and Republican governors, and Democratic mayors, and Republican mayors, we have had the same thing for 40 years, which is an unrelenting tide of police abuse against African Americans.
And so this is the time for people to come together. I think Republicans are appalled by what they saw happen to that man on the ground there for seven minutes. He was not fighting back for 7 minutes, and he -- and he was basically lynched in plain sight. I think Democrats are, as well.
I think African-Americans, white folks, and every color. We are united in our disgust about what happened. And so this is the opportunity to not try and score political points on either side, but to get something done.
WATT: Van Jones, thank you very much for joining us.
JONES: Thank you.
WATT: You are watching CNN.
The U.S., fighting a pair of pandemics at the same time. One of body, the other of conscience. Still ahead, a closer look at why one of the nation's top medical officials is under fire.
Plus, a medical journal retracts a study that found hydroxychloroquine does more harm than good for coronavirus patients. We'll explain why, ahead.
WATT: Now, these protests across the U.S. are, of course, taking place with another crisis as a backdrop: the coronavirus pandemic. And the American government is criticized for its handling of both.
When it comes to the pandemic, early mistakes apparently let the virus get out of hand, and lawmakers want to know why. One of the country's top health officials has been testifying on Capitol Hill, and there are also some questions about his past.
CNN's Kristen Holmes explains, from Washington.
KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After months of near silence during the global coronavirus pandemic, the head of America's top health agency finally speaking out.
DR. ROBERT REDFIELD, DIRECTOR OF THE CDC: As you know, we have now done over 17 million tests.
HOLMES: CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield testified before Congress today, defending his agency, which was criticized for faulty COVID tests in the early days of the outbreak, as the virus spread, unchecked, across the country.
REDFIELD: The CDC developed, within 10 days of tests, from the time the sequence was published. And that test is not a flawed test; it works perfectly.
HOLMES: The coronavirus pandemic isn't the first time Redfield's been embroiled in a controversy during a national health crisis.
In 1992, the height of the AIDS epidemic in America, the then-Army doctor and top AIDS research was involved in another scandal. Redfield presented findings from a study he was doing on a vaccine treatment for HIV at a prestigious AIDS conference.
Dozens of interviews and internal documents obtained and reviewed by CNN reveal fellow researchers accused Redfield of scientific misconduct, claiming he oversold the data and cherry-picked the results. Multiple officials attempted to rerun his numbers but failed to replicate the same results he had.
An internal military memo calling for an investigation shows that Redfield continued to publicly tout the data, despite assurances in private meetings that he understood his past presentations to be in error, and that he would refrain from repeating that error.
After a months-long investigation, the Army did not charge Redfield with scientific misconduct, but the then-lieutenant colonel was found in violation of Army code for his relationship with a conservative AIDS organization run by evangelist Shepherd Smith. Redfield served on the group's scientific advisory board.
The Army determined Smith's organization received information from Redfield and his lab "to a degree that is inappropriate" and that the group appeared to be an outlet for marketing Lieutenant Colonel Redfield's research.
The allegations hung over Redfield until his retirement from the Army in 1996, years before ending up on the short list to become President Trump's CDC director.
REDFIELD: Thank you, Mister President.
HOLMES: Several former collaborators told CNN they did not think Redfield was a good fit for the job.
Now, amidst the COVID pandemic, some CDC officials describe a deep frustration with Redfield, blaming him for the sidelining of the agency, and not doing more to advocate on its behalf.
One doctor, who retired from the CDC in 2019, said that under Redfield, the agency had been handicapped, and lamented that Redfield is not as visible as some of his predecessors. Quote, "From the outside, we don't see him. We don't hear him. He often doesn't even come to the White House press conference. And when he does, it's usually as wallpaper, silent."
WATT: CNN's Kristen Holmes, reporting there. Now, the coronavirus death toll in the U.S. alone is now more than
108,000, with almost 390,000 lives lost worldwide so far.
Two medical journals have just retracted studies they published on coronavirus treatments. One of the studies, published in "The Lancet," found that COVID-19 patients treated with the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine were more likely to die.
Both studies relied on data from the analytics company Surgi sphere. The authors requested the studies be retracted after auditors couldn't access, or verify, the raw data on their own.
Dr. Amy Compton-Phillips is the chief clinical officer for Providence Health System. She joins me now from Renton, Washington.
I mean, what I just read there, I think, gives us a glimpse of part of the problem we have with this virus, is that we're still learning about it as we're trying to fight it. That makes this very, very difficult.
DR. AMY COMPTON-PHILLIPS, CHIEF CLINICAL OFFICER, PROVIDENCE HEALTH SYSTEM: It is absolutely difficult, because we're working very hard to learn fast, but when you learn fast, you know, you're in a rush, and you cobble together data, and then you look back at the data, and you go, oh, no, that data wasn't right.
And so, the whole time we've been dealing with this virus, it's felt like two steps forward, one step back.
The good news is, though, I do think we are making forward progress, it is just messy, and is slower than everyone wants it to be. But it's because we're trying to aggregate information so quickly.
WATT: And the vaccine, also, is something that we're racing to get. I mean, I just read now, Novavax, which is one of the companies, hasn't even gotten to human trials yet. They just signed a deal, $60 million deal, with the Department of Defense here.
I mean, we're throwing a lot of money around. A lot of scientists are working on this, but there's absolutely no guarantee we're going to get a vaccine.
COMPTON-PHILLIPS: There's no guarantee we're going to get a vaccine, but one of the really great things from some of the early vaccine trials is we know that some of the early ones -- and I'm thinking the Moderna one in particular -- has been able to generate something called neutralizing antibodies. And that's a really hopeful sign.
And that's a hopeful sign, because a neutralizing antibody prevents the virus from -- the business end of the virus from joining up to a cell, from joining the receptor of a cell. So it blocks the virus from getting inside a cell.
Because we know that's possible now, we do think that a vaccine will work. Will one of these that are far -- you know, it's over 100 that are in development -- will it be one of the first 100 that's going to be the one that is the be-all, end-all answer? I sure hope so. And that's what these dollars are going towards. So they're going towards these high promising, likely vaccines, but no guarantees.
WATT: And bear with me on this, OK? I'm not a doctor. I'm also a very bad mathematician. But if we don't get a vaccine, OK, we would need to get to, in the U.S., let's say, 60 percent of people who have been exposed until we get to that herd immunity.
Now, I did some bad math, and I reckon that if we carried on at our current rate of infection -- 20,000 a day is roughly what we're seeing in the U.S. -- it would take us 26 years to reach that threshold where we had heard immunity.
So, without a vaccine, what would we do?
COMPTON-PHILLIPS: I think that is a hypothetical we're not going to have to find out.
WATT: OK, good.
COMPTON-PHILLIPS: Because I do think we will find a vaccine. I really do think we'll find a vaccine. And because the -- we don't even have to get into that hypothetical. So -- so we will get to a vaccine.
WATT: Really? You're being that confident? OK. I threw out --
COMPTON-PHILLIPS: I'm confident.
WATT: -- I though, a pretty good hypothetical, and you're not even biting. You're -- you're that confident?
COMPTON-PHILLIPS: I am very confident we're going to get to a vaccine. Because we know that people can generate neutralizing antibodies. This is a disease that we can get a vaccine for.
Now, that is the problem with HIV, for example. HIV, we've never been able to find anybody who can generate, or a vaccine that can generate, neutralizing antibodies. And so that's one that is not the case for. Right?
But flu, measles, rubella, all these other ones that we can generate neutralizing antibodies for, vaccines are possible. And that falls in -- and COVID, coronavirus, SARS-COV-2, falls into that latter category.
So we're going to get to a vaccine, and the question is just how long will it take?
WATT: Dr. Amy Compton-Phillips, thanks for joining us and thanks for filling me with a little bit more hope that I had five minutes ago.
COMPTON-PHILLIPS: Thank you so much.
WATT: We will get back to our top stories after a short break and a firsthand account of what happened when police arrested George Floyd nearly two weeks ago. We'll hear from a friend who was in the car with him at the time.
Also new, horrifying details from the Ahmed Arbery case, the 25-year- old man who went out for a jog, and in a horrifying scene, was chased down and shot. His brutal death sparked outrage.
WATT: Welcome back to our viewers here in the U.S. and around the world. I'm Nick Watt. Let's get you up to speed on our breaking news, with peaceful protests underway in cities across the U.S.
In Brooklyn, New York, police stopped and talked with demonstrators out in streets, despite an 8 p.m. curfew. Others in Manhattan were arrested without incident.
Tense at times, sure, but there was also dialogue in Atlanta, Georgia. That city's mayor, Keisha Lance Bottoms, told protesters that there is something better on the other side of all this.
In Washington, crowds gathered near the White House and the U.S. Capitol, but a sudden rainstorm late Thursday cleared out a lot of the protesters.
Earlier in the day, workers erected new barricades and fencing around the White House.
Hundreds gathered in Minneapolis to honor George Floyd. This, the first of several memorial services for the man whose death convulsed a country.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WATT: Friends and family called Floyd a gentle giant. Mourners stood for nearly nine minutes in silence, the same amount of time that now former police officer, Derek Chauvin, knelt on Floyd's neck, killing him.
Throughout the service, activists and community leaders called out racial injustice and planned for change in the criminal justice system.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: What happened to Floyd happens every day in this country, in education and health services, and in every area of American life. It's time for us to stand up in George's name and say, Get your knee off our necks.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WATT: We're hearing also, for the first time, from a friend of George Floyd, a passenger in his SUV on the day Floyd was killed. He spoke earlier with CNN's Chris Cuomo.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAURICE LESTER HALL, GEORGE FLOYD'S LONGTIME FRIEND: On Memorial Day, Mr. Floyd and I were approached by two officers. One had took the side of my car door and asked for my I.D., which later I heard a loud distraction of a sound coming from Mr. Floyd's direction of another officer, sounding like he was trying to break the window of Floyd's side, of the driver's side of his SUV truck.
And our -- at that moment, it started, Mr. Floyd and myself and maybe even the partner, the officer, because he then ran from my side to the other side of the vehicle, after his partner was on my brother's side. I believe using the use of force.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Well, Mo, help me understand the situation. So the officers came up to both sides of the vehicle, asking for I.D. What happened on George's side of the vehicle that made the officers run after there -- over there? Do you remember?
HALL: I do. I remember hearing a loud -- like the object of a blunt force, some large object, whatever the officer had in his hand. Again, I'm turned, because I'm taking care of the officer that's on my side. I can only hear this.
And once I hear this loud distraction of this officer trying to break George's window, then he's demanding things. And I can hear George asking him what do -- you know, what did he want him to do?
CUOMO: So he's asking him -- so George wasn't saying, Get away from the car, leave me alone. I'm not going to get out.
CUOMO: Nothing like that?
HALL: No. Not at all. No, not at all. No. In fact, he was only asking -- he said, what do you want me to do? He, the officer startled George, first of all, by bluntly banging on the window.
Once he done that, then I can see Mr. George putting his hands above the steering wheel of the -- of the vehicle. And once he did that, then I witnessed the officer reaching in and grabbing Mr. Floyd's hands.
CUOMO: Now, when they grabbed Floyd -- when they grabbed George's hands and put them behind his back, in the videotape, it seemed like it took a long time to get him out of the car. What was happening during that time?
HALL: He was asking them questions. They asked him, Let me see your hands. George showed him his hands over the steering wheel. And when they -- when he did that, the officer reached in and grabbed his hands.
Now, keep in mind, he did startle him by, like, he was trying to break the window. Open the door! He demanded.
What I believe, the energy was set wrong by the police when they approached him, because they -- they approached with, like, an energy where it startled Mr. Floyd. That's what I believe.
And he was just trying to defuse the situation as best, as humbly that he could. The man asked him, what did he want him to do, Mr. George. And then the cops said, Put your hands up. Show me your hands.
Floyd showed him hands, put his hands in the air as a sign of, here go my hands. I'm not moving in the vehicle. I'm not trying to -- I'm not trying to flee. Or no --
CUOMO: George was saying things like that. George was saying things like, I'm good. I'm not going to do anything here. Here it is.
He was speaking that way?
HALL: By -- by action.
CUOMO: By action.
HALL: By showing him, here's my hands over the steering wheel. When he shows his hands and puts them over the steering wheel, the cop reached in and grabs his arms.
CUOMO: Got it.
HALL: When he grabs his arms, George asked the cop, Why are you grabbing me with this use of force? Why are you doing this. You asked to see my hands. Here go my hands.
He's a big fellow. Now it's a cop -- one officer is touching with Georges hands while George is still sitting in a peaceful form. He's in his vehicle. And the cop is -- it's like it seems as if he's trying to pull him out or something. I can't really -- you know -- because --
CUOMO: Did you hear them telling George to get out of the car?
HALL: No, I just -- I witnessed and remember the officer then from my side taking off to his partner's side.
HALL: Now there's two cops on George's side.
WATT: Maurice Lester Hall, who was in the car with George Floyd on the day he died, speaking with CNN's Chris Cuomo just a couple of hours ago. The death of African-American men at the hands of American police is
not a new phenomenon. There are sad parallels between the killing of George Floyd and the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore five years ago.
Maryland state attorney, Marilyn Mosby prosecuted the Gray case, and she joins me now.
I suppose the first and most obvious question is how hard is it for somebody like you and prosecutors in this case to do their job in the face of so much protest and so much scrutiny?
MARILYN MOSBY, MARYLAND STATE ATTORNEY: So I mean, first and foremost, I think that you can draw parallels in that five years ago, I was in the same position. And that it is a 25-year-old black man by the name of Freddie Carlos Gray Jr. made eye contact with police.
He was placed in a metal wagon headfirst. First, he was unconstitutionally arrested, then placed in a metal wagon headfirst, feet shackled and handcuffed. And his pleas for medical attention were ignored.
I did my job, which was to follow the facts with the law, and I charged those officers, accordingly.
And I think that what I've learned, which is what we all see right now, is that you can't underestimate the power of a prosecutor to do your job, to apply one standard of justice in a system that has disproportionately impacted black people.
The anguish, the anger, the protests that you see is a direct result of a lack of faith in a system that has not been fair and have -- has not held police officers accountable.
And so I think when I say don't underestimate the power of the prosecutor, what comes with having courage is that you get intimidated. When it comes to applying one standard of justice to those, regardless of their occupation.
I received hate mail. I received death threats. You know, there were all sorts of intimidation and my -- on my family. My children's pictures were published online. My family's personnel records were subpoenaed.
So you get a lot of political and personal sort of backlash. I was actually sued. But your job as a prosecutor is to pursue justice over convictions. And that's what people are looking for right now.
WATT: And I mean, it is a hard job. I mean, as I understand it in the Freddie Gray case, all of those officers were acquitted in the end. I mean, it is -- it is hard in the United States to actually hold a police officer to account in a case like this.
MOSBY: Well, I mean, it's definitely harder to hold police officers accountable in that, you know, just the dynamic of the working relationship between a prosecutor and police. You typically work with the police. You don't -- you know, there's a working relationship, and that prosecutors are not the enforcers of holding accountability for police.
And what happened in this -- in the Freddie Gray case is that I learned a number of lessons, one of which should be one in which at no profession should investigate theirself [SIC], right? There should be independent investigations into police officers.
So, you know, one of the problems that we had in the Freddie Gray case was that, you know, search and seizure warrants weren't executed. You had witnesses to the case that were assigned to lead the investigation.
You had all sorts of questions to the case that were being asked but not the most pertinent questions, because these were their colleagues.
You need an independent sort of agency that are investigating police accountability cases, not the same agency in which their colleagues are being required to investigate themselves.
WATT: What do you think is going to happen? Will this officer be convicted?
MOSBY: I think he will be convicted. And, you know, what is most compelling about this case is that you have the murder on camera. You know, and at the end of the day, there's -- there's not very -- there's not a way for you to be able to refute it. There's -- there's not a way for you to impose that doubt, that reasonable doubt in the minds of any jury and/or any judge.
And in this moment, people are aware, consciously aware. The onion has been peeled back. The rose-colored glasses have been taken off. And you have to recognize the point at which we are when it comes to community and police relations in America in this country and in this moment.
WATT: Maryland state's attorney Maryland Mosby, thank you very much for joining us.
MOSBY: Thank you.
WATT: Demonstrators are also calling for justice in the Ahmaud Arbery murder case, including protesters in Brunswick, Georgia, which is where Arbery's killing was videotaped back in February.
He was 25 years old, out for a jog, and he was chased and fatally shot. Three white men are now charged in the case. And today, in a Georgia courtroom, investigators shared details.
CNN's Martin Savidge was in the courthouse. And a warning: Some of this footage is hard to watch.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, OK.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I understand.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was a hearing that sounded like a trial. Georgia prosecutors summed up their case against three white men accused of killing a 25-year-old black man running through their neighborhood.
JESSE EVANS, COBB COUNTY CHIEF ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY: On February the 23rd of 2020, victim Ahmaud Arbery was chased, hunted down, and ultimately executed at the hands of these men.
SAVIDGE: The three defendants, Gregory McMichael and his son Travis, and William "Roddy" Bryan Jr. appeared via video link from the county jail.
The McMichaels initially told authorities they thought Arbery was a burglary suspect. The prosecution says Arbery had done nothing wrong.
EVANS: The fact of the matter is that there's no evidence that these defendants saw a burglary, saw any crime, had any subjective belief, or even a hunch by these civilians that would authorize their choices that they made to chase after and ultimately gun down this unarmed victim in the middle of the street.
SAVIDGE: In fact, Arbery was out jogging the day he died. Friends say it's what he loved to do.
Prosecutors detailed the events leading up to Arbery's death, saying all three men, using two pick-up trucks, became a neighborhood hunting party, blocking and re-directing Arbery as he tried to flee, before they finally cornered him. One of the suspects captured Arbery's final moments on cellphone video.
SAVIDGE: On the witness stand, the lead investigator in the case said 34-year-old Travis McMichael admitted to the first officers on the scene he deliberately shot Arbery three times with a shotgun.
Then, agent Richard Dial shocked the courtroom, recounting what alleged coconspirator William Bryan says Travis McMichael said next.
RICHARD DIAL, GBI ASSISTANT SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE: Mr. Bryan said that after the shooting took place, before police arrival, while Mr. Arbery was on the ground, that he heard Travis McMichael make the statement, "(EXPLETIVE DELETED)."
SAVIDGE (on camera): Defensive attorney for Travis McMichael maintained he never said that racial slur and overall, the defense attorneys say, overall, all three men were only trying to have a conversation with Ahmaud Arbery that day when they were trying to stop him, even though two of the men who are armed.
They maintain it all went wrong when Ahmaud Arbery turned on them, and Travis McMichael had to fire in self-defense. The prosecution says that is not what happened.
And lastly, I'll point out that horrific alleged racial slur that Travis McMichael made may not be used against him at a trial, because Georgia is one of only a handful of states that does not have a state hate crimes law. Now, that could change by the end of this month, but even if it does, it would not apply to the trial of Ahmaud Arbery's death.
Martin Savidge, CNN, Glenn County, Georgia.
WATT: Ahmaud Arbery's mother says she was devastated here the testimony about her son's last moments. She spoke also to CNN's Chris Cuomo.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WANDA COOPER, AHMAUD ARBERY'S MOTHER: It was very heartbreaking. I often imagine the last minutes of my son's life. I didn't imagine it would be that harsh. But to learn that that statement was made in the last seconds of his life, it -- again, it was very heartbreaking.
CUOMO: Is this a situation where, as a mother, you wanted to know what happened? Or do you wish you had never heard?
COOPER: I wanted to know. I think knowing what happened would give me a little sense of closure of what actually happened out in Satilla Shores.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WATT: An attorney for some of Arbery's family members says that the U.S. Justice Department has launched a hate crime investigation.
Public gatherings tomorrow at the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre were banned this year. But that didn't keep thousands in Hong Kong from gathering anyway. The message they're sending to Beijing.
Plus, a famous American quarterback has issued an apology for his comments about kneeling during the national anthem. What his teammates are saying about that, just ahead.
WATT: Protests against the killing of George Floyd continue to spread far beyond the United States. Thousands of people demonstrated in the Austrian capital, Vienna, on Thursday, carrying placards and chanting, "Black lives matter."
In Poland, hundreds of protesters gathered outside the U.S. embassy in Warsaw to protest racism and U.S. police violence.
And in Malmo, Sweden, hundreds joined in anti-racism rallies, despite coronavirus restrictions against gatherings of more than 50 people.
Thousands gathered in Hong Kong to commemorate the 31st anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre. That's even though officials had banned the event for the first time in three decades. Coronavirus was the reason police gave.
To remember the 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in China, people gathered in football fields, chanting slogans for greater democracy in Hong Kong.
CNN's Kristie Lu Stout is there now -- Kristie.
KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Nick, yesterday was a significant turning point for Hong Kong, where you had thousands of protesters defy a police ban to mark and commemorate 31 years since the crackdown on Tiananmen Square.
They went to Hong Kong's Victoria Park. They pulled down the barriers. They stepped inside. They held lit candles and sang songs that were used by the pro-democracy movement in China in 1989.
This was a moving public display of mourning. It was a protest for greater democracy that took on added meaning and added significance because of the national security law that is looming over Hong Kong that would ban sedition, secession, foreign interference, and terrorism here in the territory.
A number of high-profile pro-democracy leaders and icons were in attendance at this vigil, including Albert Ho, who spoke to CNN. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALBERT HO, FORMER HONG KONG LAWMAKER: There is no room for optimism. But I would say that we will always maintain a positive attitude. You know, always with hope and continue with the determination, courage to fight. I think that is important. If you ever give up, that would be -- we're bound to be a loser. But we will continue to fight with hope. And there is always a chance that we will be able to achieve what we have been aiming at.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STOUT: And that was former opposition lawmaker Albert Ho, speaking to CNN's Ivan Watson.
And what also caught our attention at this vigil for the first time since we've been reporting on this, growing calls for independence. In fact, amidst the protesters who were there in Victoria Park, many were holding black banners, calling for the liberation of Hong Kong, calling for independence. You're seeing some of those banners there on your screen.
This movement, a localist movement, this independence for Hong Kong movement, had been a fringe movement. But in the last year, the calls for independence have been growing, and the movement has been gaining more support.
Now, hours before the vigil in Victoria Park took place, there was a critical moment at the legislative council, where Hong Kong lawmakers voted to pass controversial national anthem bill that would now ban the mocking or the insulting of China's national anthem, punishable with up to three years in jail.
The scenes in the legislative council had been fraught. There had been fighting, scuffles, and eventually, it did pass. You know, people here in Hong Kong have booed the national anthem. Because of this law, that would now be a crime.
Back to you.
WATT: Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong, thank you very much.
Now, a U.S. Navy veteran detained for more than a year in Iran has been freed. Forty-eight-year-old Michael White traveled to Iran in 2018 to visit a woman he said was his girlfriend. He was arrested and sentenced to 13 years in prison for insulting Iran's supreme leader and posting private information online.
White was diagnosed with coronavirus in March.
As part of the deal, the U.S. released an Iranian-American doctor accused of violating sanctions against Tehran.
German media have identified the new suspect in Madeleine McCann's disappearance as "Christian B." The 48 -- 43-year-old is already in prison on unrelated charges.
Three-year-old Madeleine disappeared from her family's vacation apartment in Portugal in 2007. German prosecutors say they assume she's dead.
British police are looking for information about two vehicles linked to the suspect at the time of McCann's disappearance, an early Eighties VW camper-van and a 1993 Jaguar.
In northern Russia, a state of emergency after a major oil spill into an arctic river. Investigators say 20,000 tons of fuel leaked into the Ambarnaya River when a power station lost pressure in the remote industrial region.
Mr. Putin, President Putin, blasted local officials who learned about the spill from social media two days after it happened.
A cleanup is underway, but environmental experts say it will take the river decades to recover.
And one of the biggest stars in the NFL apologizing for what he called the insensitive remarks he made as people protest racism in the U.S. We'll look at what Drew Brees said and how his teammates are reacting.
WATT: One of American football's biggest stars has now apologized for controversial comments he made about demonstrations against racism in the U.S.
New Orleans Saints quarterback, Drew Brees, said on Monday it is always disrespectful for players to kneel during the national anthem to protest police brutality.
Our Patrick Snell has more on the apology and how Brees's teammates are reacting.
PATRICK SNELL, CNN SPORTS (voice-over): Drew Brees is a very popular figure in American sport, but his comments during an interview with Yahoo! Finance on Wednesday had fans, fellow athletes, and even his own teammates in an uproar.
Early Thursday morning, Brees taken to Instagram to apologize. He said, "In an attempt to talk about respect, unity, and solidarity centered around the American flag and the national anthem, I made comments that were insensitive and completely missed the mark on the issues we are facing right now as a country. They lacked awareness and any type of compassion or empathy." Brees added that he needed to do less talking and more listening.
Meantime, wide receiver Michael Thomas was one of the first Saints players to criticize Brees's comments. After the apology, Thomas tweeted, "He apologized and I accepted it, because that's what we were taught to do as Christians. Now, back to the movement. #GeorgeFloyd."
Fellow teammate Demario Davis said the apology showed true leadership.
DEMARIO DAVIS, NEW ORLEANS SAINTS PLAYER: He admitted he missed the mark. So for him to come out and say, You know, I missed the mark, I've been insensitive, but what I'm going to start doing is listening and learning from the black community and finding ways that I can help them, I think that's a model for all of America. Because historically, in general, most of America has missed the mark.
SNELL (on camera): And the question now is how many players will feel empowered to defy a league ban and kneel during the anthem when the NFL season starts this fall?
Patrick Snell, CNN, Atlanta.
WATT: Thanks for joining us. I'm Nick Watt. I'll be back with much more live news right after this.