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George Floyd Remembered, As Officers Appear in Court; Officers Caught on Camera Manhandling Protesters; NBA on the Verge of Returning. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired June 5, 2020 - 05:00   ET



AL SHARPTON, NATIONAL ACTION NETWORK: Get your knee off our necks.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: While Minneapolis paid tribute to George Floyd, three former officers charged in his death previewed their defense. We'll lay out the strategy.

LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: Disturbing acts of violence by law enforcement in several cities caught on video during a night of peaceful protests.

ROMANS: And after months benched by coronavirus, the NBA is on the verge of tipping off. We'll tell you when and how.

Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world, this is EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

JARRETT: And I'm Laura Jarrett. It's Friday, June 5th, 5:00 a.m. here in New York.

And as friends and family said good-bye to George Floyd, three former Minneapolis police officers appeared in court pointing a finger at a fourth.


Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and Alexander Kueng already mounting a vigorous defense, illustrating in part why the A.G., the attorney general in the state, had said these cases are hard.

Lawyers for the three officers seemed to place blame directly on Derek Chauvin, the senior officer who pressed his knee on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes, and tried to highlight their relative lack of experience.

ROMANS: Now, we have learned it was only Lane's fourth day on the force. He says he tried to give Floyd CPR on the way to the hospital. It was only Kueng's third full shift and Chauvin was his training officer. Those details emerging just a half mile from the memorial site where

family and local officials, like the Minneapolis mayor, were visibly emotional ten days after a death that reignited a worldwide movement for change.

CNN's Sara Sidner reports from Minneapolis.


SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At the memorial in Minneapolis, George Floyd's family took time to mourn.

PHILONESE FLOYD, GEORGE FLOY'DS BROTHER: That's amazing to me that he touched so many people's hearts, you know, that he'd been touching our hearts, you know?

Everybody want 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 tenth day.

SHARPTON: 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 says his friend did not resist arrest.

MAURICE LESTER HALL, PASSENGER IN GEORGE FLOYD'S CAR: What I believe, the energy was set wrong by the police when they approached him because they approached with like an energy where it startled Mr. Floyd. Once they reached for Mr. George Floyd's hands, it took the whole situation into turmoil that didn't have to be.

SIDNER: Following the memorial service, Reverend Jesse Jackson paid a visit to the site where Floyd died.

REVEREND JESSE JACKSON, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: Laws have to change for behavior to change.

SIDNER (on camera): What do you think about how President Trump has handled this situation?

JACKSON: We really need reconciliation, not politicization. We need healing.

SIDNER: Reverend Jackson made 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)

JARRETT: All right, Sara. Thank you so much for that.

Meanwhile, damaging new evidence revealed as the three men charged in Ahmaud Arbery's case appeared in court and the judge determined there was probable cause for murder charges. But Arbery's mother was left frustrating, claiming the information has been available for some time.


WANDA COOPER, AHMAUD ARBERY'S MOTHER: The case was mishandled 100 percent. The facts that were revealed today, the D.A. Johnson and D.A. Barnhill, they had the same exact -- they had the same exact evidence. They chose not to make an arrest.


JARRETT: CNN's Martin Savidge was in court for us.


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN NATIONAL 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.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On February 23rd, 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 Roddie Bryan Jr. appeared via video link from the county jail. The McMichaels told authorities they thought Arbery was a burglary suspect. The prosecution says Arbery had done nothing wrong.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The fact of the matter is there is no evidence that these defendants saw a burglary, saw any crime, had any subjective belief or hunch 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 was what he loved to do. Prosecutors detailed the events leading up to Arbery's death, saying all three men using two pickup trucks became a neighborhood hunting party blocking and redirecting Arbery as he tried to flee.


Before they finally cornered him, one of the suspects captured Arbery's final moments on cell phone video.

On the witness stand, the lead investigator in the case said 34-year- old Travis McMichael admitted to the first officers on scene he deliberately shot Arbery three times with a shotgun. Then Agent Richard Dial shocked the courtroom recounting what alleged co- conspirator William Bryan says Travis McMichael said next.

RICHARD DIAL, SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE, GEORGIA BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION: Mr. Brian said after the shooting took place before police arrival while Mr. Arbery was on the ground that he heard Travis McMichael make a statement (EXPLETIVE DELETED).

SAVIDGE (on camera): Defense attorney for Travis McMichael said he never made that racial slur. And overall, the defense attorneys say 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 were 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.

Lastly, I'll point out that horrific alleged racial slur that Travis McMichael made may not be used against him because Georgia is one of 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, Glen County, Georgia.


ROMANS: Tough story there. All right, Martin. Thank you.

A tenth night of protests nationwide remain mostly peaceful. Curfews have now ended in Los Angeles and Washington. But there is new controversy this morning over incidents caught on video, much of it disturbing to watch.

Two Buffalo, New York, police officers suspended after a viral video showed them shoving a 75-year-old man to the ground. You can see the man approaching officers, but then he stumbles backwards. They said he tripped. The mayor of Buffalo says that man is hospitalized in serious but stable condition.

Governor Andrew Cuomo called the incident wholly unjustified and utterly disgraceful. The two officers have been suspended without pay.

JARRETT: In response to so many large demonstrations what you're seeing across the country, we're also seeing more and more exactly how police have used force on some protesters. Now, it's impossible to quantify how much this is happening. But the camera doesn't lie.

Watch this video closely as it happens all very quickly. This white Florida police officer now under investigation for shoving a kneeling black protester to the ground. We don't know everything that led up to that moment but you can see his fellow officer, a black female officer, appears to reprimand him.

ROMANS: Wow. Ft. Lauderdale police officer has confirmed Officer Steve Pohorence has been relieved of duty and placed on administrative leave pending an investigation and then there's this video from "The Atlanta Journal Constitution". That is Amber Jackson being body slammed by an officer during a May

29th protest. She suffered a broken collarbone. Again, we don't know what came before the moment on camera. CNN has reached out to the Atlanta PD.

JARRETT: And now from Maryland, we have video of a cyclist attacking a group of young activists hanging Black Lives Matters posters, I should say. Watch this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, leave her alone.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do not touch her. Do not touch her. She has nothing. Do not touch her, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Leave her alone. Sir, just walk away.





JARRETT: And you can see the man takes a run with his bike at the person holding the camera. Police say they're trying now to ID that cyclist. The attack happened Monday afternoon on the Capital Crescent Trail in Montgomery County. Police say the suspect started arguing with the victims and tried to grab their flyers.

CNN can't independently verify what happened before and after that video as well.

An emotional exchange on the floor of the U.S. Senate after Republicans blocked anti-lynching legislation. GOP Senator Rand Paul has been holding up a popular bipartisan bill to make lynching a federal crime, claiming it is overly broad.


SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA): And it should not require a maiming or torture in order for us to recognize a lynching when we see it and recognize it by federal law and call it what it is, which is that it is a crime that should be punishable.

SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ): I'm so raw today, of all days that we're doing this, of all days that we're doing this right now, having this discussion when, God, if this bill passed today, what that would mean for America that this body and that body have now finally agreed.


JARRETT: The House has already passed anti-lynching legislation. The measure is still waiting approval in the U.S. Senate. ROMANS: So how much damage has the coronavirus recession caused the

jobs market? We'll know for sure in the few hours. Here's what we know right now -- nearly 1.9 million workers filed for unemployment benefits for the first time last week. More than 42.6 million over the past 11 weeks either laid off or furloughed.

Look at it this way, that's 26 percent of the entire labor force. Now, that's the weekly snapshot. Economists expect for the month of May, 8 million jobs were lost, bringing the total job loss to 28.5 million during the pandemic.

Now, for context, that is three times the number lost during the great recession. That would push the unemployment rate to a record 20 percent, the worst since the Great Depression. Now, these overall numbers are so big, they're almost hard to grasp. Now, the hope is the worst I behind us. But the timing all news depends on how many people get back to work and how quickly. First time unemployment claims have been declining since the peak in the final week of March. That's good. But continuing claims rose a little bit last week. We want to see that number falling before we're sure that hiring has started again, Laura.

JARRET: All right. Well, still ahead, they were key pillars of early coronavirus research. But now, two -- two major studies have been retracted. Why and what it means for the battle to slow the pandemic.



JARRETT: As protesters continue marching all over this country for justice, the U.S. commander in chief is now endorsing an idea that they are terrorists. President Trump sharing a post on Twitter he says was written by his former lawyer, John Dowd. It refers to the peaceful protesters you see there forcibly removed from a park near the White House as terrorists.

The rant appears to be addressed to James Mattis, the former defense secretary who called out the president for threatening a military response to the nationwide protests. Mattis is one of several former military leaders to speak out against the president in the last few days.

Now, Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski breaking with her Republican colleagues applauding what Mattis said this week.

ROMANS: That's right. Murkowski says: I felt like perhaps we're getting to a point where we can be more honest with the concerns that we might hold internally. I thought General Mattis's words were true, honest, necessary and overdue. Murkowski has demonstrated an independent streak in the Senate and said she is still struggling with whether to support President Trump in November.

The president, of course, fired back, promising to back any candidate against Murkowski. He tweeted: If you have a pulse, I'm with you. Note that she's not for reelection until 2022. Could a popular over-the-counter heartburn medication ease the effects of COVID-19? And not one but two coronavirus studies are now retracted after questions emerged about the data used.

CNN's Elizabeth Cohen has the latest developments for us.


ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: A small study published in a medical journal suggests that ten people home sick with COVID had their symptoms improve after taking an over-the-counter heartburn medicine. It's called famotidine and it's the active ingredient in Pepcid.

Now, we have to say, this is a very, very small study. Even the people who wrote it talk about how small it is. What they say is that this is a suggestion, an indication that they should do a larger study. So, they're planning on doing a larger study with people to see if famotidine makes a difference. They're already doing a large study on hospitalized patients to see if it makes a difference.

Now, news of a very different kind about two other studies in medical journals. These studies were published in "The New England Journal Medicine" and in "The Lancet". Those studies relied, both of them relied on an international database of patients, and now, the reliability of that database is being called into question and both journals have retracted the studies.

One of the studies, the one in "Lancet" looks at COVID patients who are taking hydroxychloroquine. And it found that it didn't help, and in fact, that it hurt, and it increased their chances that the patients would die. But now, that study being called into question, the journal is retracting that study. But it is important to note the other two large studies found that hydroxychloroquine didn't work. Those studies did not rely on this database. Those studies are still considered -- Christine, Laura.


JARRETT: All right. Elizabeth Cohen, thank you so much for laying all of that out.

A global vaccine summit hosted by the United Kingdom just raised $8.8 billion for vaccine research but less developed countries could be left out.

Nic Robertson joins us live now from London.

Nic, what more can you tell us about this?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, they got $8.8 billion, they raised that, from 32 different countries, 12 different NGOs and global foundations. That exceeded what they were hoping for. They were hoping for $7.4 billion.

This is part of a vaccination program aimed at children in poorer countries. Vaccination for polio, diphtheria, measles, 300 million children will get this vaccination it is hoped by this financing by 2025. But there were some other key elements that came out of this global vaccine summit. One was the raising of $567 million in what's been called new financial instruments to make sure that poor and middle income countries can get access to COVID-19 vaccines when they become available.


So, this is important. But I think one of the other key issues that was discussed at the summit, and this was sort of perhaps headlined, if you will, by the U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres talking about this is a unique global solidarity. Vaccine needs to be available to everyone.

The recognition that in poorer countries, the COVID-19 -- the impact of COVID-19 could really harm and hurt, overwhelm health care systems and therefore harm and hurt vaccine-making capacities or distribution capacities across those countries.

So the recognition here that you have to treat the global pandemic globally, that you have to support the poorer countries with COVID-19 and you have to ensure the system is preserved. So those are the real COVID-19 headlines out of this global summit.

JARRETT: All right. Nic Robertson in London, thanks so much.

ROMANS: All right. So, people are getting on planes again, folks. American Airlines is seeing improved demand for air travel. American plans to ramp up flights in July to 55 percent of its normal domestic schedule. And that's a pretty big jump from 20 percent level it flew in May. But United also plans to add up flights in July to operate at 30 percent of its normal schedule. That's u from just 10 percent in the spring.

JARRETT: (AUDIO GAP) verge of a comeback. The league's board of governors approving a plan to restart the season. The players are expected to sign off. Under the plan, 22 of the NBA's 30 teams would compete at Disneyworld in Orlando to crown a champion. The league is targeting a start date of July 31st with the NBA finals ending no later than on October 12th. Much more ahead in this morning's "Bleacher Report".

ROMANS: All right. Against the back drop of a new security law and a protest movement worldwide, thousands defy the police to mark the anniversary of Tiananmen Square massacre. CNN live in Hong Kong.



JARRETT: Welcome back.

A stunning about face at "The New York Times" overnight. Hours after the paper's editorial page editor defended a controversial op-ed from Republican Senator Tom Cotton, "The Times" backed away from it. "The Times" now says a review made clear that a rushed editorial process led to the publication of an op-ed that did not meet our standards. Cotton's piece arguing in no uncertain terms in favor of deploying the military to stop protests triggered outrage among many "Times" staffer who it contained misinformation, and, quote, put the black "Times" staff in danger.

Last night, Cotton said his op-ed far exceeded "The New York Times" standards which are normally full of left-wing sophomoric dribble.

ROMANS: All right. Thousands of Hong Kong residents defying a police ban to gather in Victoria Park marking the 31st anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre. Now, this year's remembrance comes as China moves to impose a new national security law in Hong Kong.

CNN's Kristie Lu Stout is live with the latest in some -- just amazing images of defiance there in Hong Kong last night.

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christine, it was a significant turning point last night for Hong Kong. Thousands of protesters defying a police ban to mark and commemorate 31 years since the Tiananmen Square crackdown. They went to Hong Kong's Victoria Park, they pulled down the barriers. They held -- lit candles and they sang songs of protests that were used by pro democracy protesters in 1989.

Back in 1989, it was a moving display of public mourning. It was a protest for greater democracy and it was also a moment of deep poignancy given the national security law that is looming over Hong Kong that will ban sedition, secession, foreign interference and terrorism here in the territory.

A number of high profile pro-democracy leaders were there last night, including Albert Ho who spoke to CNN. Take a listen.


ALBERT HO, FORMER PRO-DEMOCRACY LAWMAKER: But there is no room for optimism, but I would say we will always maintain a positive attitude, you know, always to a fault, and continue with the determination to fight. I think that is important, you give it up, we're bound to be a loser.


STOUT: Something else that caught our attention last night at the vigil, was something that we have not seen in previous vigils. Growing calls for independence, slogans and banners calling for the liberation of Hong Kong. And the independence is, quote, the only way out. You know, previously this type of slogan was believed to be part of a fringe movement. But it has grown in popularity in the last year, and these are very dangerous slogans, dangerous ideas, because as you know, Hong Kong is changing.

China is hashing out the details of the national security law. Beijing and the Hong Kong government believe it's necessary to fill the security loophole and end the scenes of unrest last year. They believe that those protests are a direct challenge to China's sovereignty -- Christine.

ROMANS: Fascinating moment there.

All right. Kristie Lu Stout, thank you so much for that.

Ninety-nine minutes past the hour. EARLY START continues right now.



SHARPTON: Get your knee off our necks.


ROMANS: While Minneapolis played tribute to George Floyd, three former officers charged in his death previewed their defense. We'll lay out their strategy.

JARRETT: Disturbing acts of violence by some law enforcement in several cities caught on video during a night of peaceful protests.