Return to Transcripts main page


George Floyd Remembered, As Officers Appear In Court; Police Violence Caught On Video; Big Companies Begin To Take A Stand For Social Change. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired June 5, 2020 - 05:30   ET



CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: We'll lay out the strategy.

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

Good morning, this is EARLY START. I'm Laura Jarrett.

ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans, 30 minutes past the hour this Friday morning.

JARRETT: As family and friends said goodbye to George Floyd, three former Minneapolis police officers charged in his death appeared in court yesterday pointing the finger at the fourth. Thomas Lane, Tou Thao, Alexander Kueng already mounting a vigorous legal defense illustrating, in part, why the attorney general in that state has said these cases are so hard.

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

ROMANS: Yes, for two officers, in particular. Now, we've learned it was only Lane's fourth day on the force. He said he tried to give Floyd CPR on the way to the hospital. It was King's third full shift on the job and Chauvin was his training officer.

JARRETT: Those details emerging just a half a mile from the memorial site where the family and local officials, like the Minneapolis mayor, were visibly emotional 10 days after a death that has reignited a worldwide movement for change.

Today, the Minneapolis City Council will vote Friday on some of the first changes to the police department since all this began.

CNN's Miguel Marquez reports from Minneapolis.


MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Christine, Laura, this is the memorial to George Floyd. It has been going all week. And today it is -- it is celebratory but it's also -- it feels like a somber protest.

This is the spot where George Floyd had his knee to the neck. That mural has been added in the last couple of days, and the stage has gotten bigger and bigger.


CROWD: George Floyd.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I said what's his name?

CROWD: George Floyd.

MARQUEZ: And this is what they do all day. They have person after person coming up to the mic. It's become sort of a communal open mic here in this neighborhood.

It's also a place where you can get almost anything you need -- water, groceries, Pampers. You can register to vote down here. It's become a real center for the community.

This, on the day that George Floyd was memorialized here in Minneapolis.

BRANDON WILLIAMS, GEORGE FLOYD'S NEPHEW: Growing up -- I mean, I'm a lot younger than him, but my grandmother raised him. I didn't have a father figure present in my life so I grew up in the same house with him. And, you know, my uncles were more of a father figure in my life and him being the alpha male, I gravitated to him.

Coming up, I played sports -- he did. You know, that kind of connected us and brought us real close.

I'm trying not to be sad. This is a lot harder than I thought it would be.

PHILONESE FLOYD, GEORGE FLOYD'S BROTHER: When you spoke to George, they felt like they was the president because that's how he made you feel. He was -- he was powerful, man, He had a way with words. He could always make you ready to jump and go all of the time. Everybody loved George.

MARQUEZ (on camera): Mr. Floyd's body will be moved to Houston, Texas where there will be a public memorial on Monday, and then he will be laid to rest in a private ceremony on Tuesday.

Three of the officers involved in his death were in court. They had their bail set at at least $750,000.

And lawyers for two of them, Keung and Lane, actually said that those officers had only been on duty for a couple of days -- had only been officers for a few days, each.

They talked to Officer Chauvin, who -- at the scene, telling him that they -- that he shouldn't be doing this, but that fell on deaf ears. One of the officers even providing CPR in the ambulance on the way to the -- on the way to the hospital.

Still, all three officers now charged with aiding and abetting -- second-degree murder and aiding and abetting manslaughter.

Laura, Christine.


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

A 10th night of protests nationwide remained mostly peaceful. Curfews have actually ended in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.

But there is new controversy this morning over alarming incidents caught on video. In response to so many large demonstrations across the country we are seeing, more and more, exactly how police have used force on some protesters. Now, it is impossible to quantify exactly how much this is happening but the camera simply doesn't lie, and this video will be disturbing to watch.

Two Buffalo, New York police officers suspended after a video showed them shoving a 75-year-old man to the ground. You can see right there the man approaching the officers, then he stumbles backward, hits his head on the ground after being pushed, is bleeding. Police originally said the man tripped.

The mayor of Buffalo says the man is hospitalized in serious but stable condition.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo called the incident "wholly unjustified and utterly disgraceful."

The two officers have been suspended without pay.


ROMANS: All right.

A top cybersecurity official at Google says hackers with ties to China and Iran have tried to access the presidential campaigns of Joe Biden and President Trump. Shane Huntley, the head of Google's threat analysis group, said hackers targeted the G-mail accounts of staffers working on those campaigns but they were unsuccessful.

The disclosure highlights the continued risk of foreign interference in U.S. elections, even as the country responds to a pandemic and protests across the country.

Meanwhile, Facebook announced it will start labeling posts and pages from state-controlled media outlets. The labels will immediately start showing up for users in the U.S. on pages belonging to outlets like "Russia Today" and China's "Xinhua." The labels will eventually be introduced in other countries. Facebook says it's rolling out these labels so users know more about where their information is coming from.

Facebook also plans to start blocking state-controlled media outlets from running ads in the U.S. later this summer out of an abundance of caution ahead of the election in November.

JARRETT: All right.

Well, coming up, after months benched by coronavirus, the NBA is on the verge of tipping off. Coy Wire is back with this morning's Bleacher Report.



JARRETT: All right. Historically, most big companies have shied away from taking sides in public debates, but the death of George Floyd is changing all of that with varying degrees of success.

Here's our Abby Phillip.


ABBY PHILLIP, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It started as a trickle -- Silicon Valley companies like Salesforce and Apple speaking out days after the killing of George Floyd. But now, it has become an avalanche as corporate America breaks it silence on race amid nationwide protests. The leaders of America's most powerful businesses are facing pressure from their customers and employees to act.

MARK STEWART, CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER, NORTH AMERICA FIAT CHRYSLER AUTOMOBILES: I say to you today, no more -- no more. Racism of any kind is decisive -- divisive, it's ugly, and it brings about the worst of humanity.

PHILLIP (voice-over): Ben & Jerry's, the Vermont-based ice cream company that is no stranger to activism, offering one of the most strongly-worded statements, calling for concrete steps to dismantle white supremacy in all its forms.

CHRIS MILLER, CORPORATE ACTIVISM MANAGER, BEN & JERRY'S: In order for us to make the kind of progress that we need as a nation and as a society, it requires us to acknowledge and to embrace some hard truths.

PHILLIP (voice-over): Nike flipping its iconic slogan "Just Do It" on its head, now pleading "For once, Don't Do It. Don't turn your back on racism."

And nine of Detroit's largest businesses, including General Motors CEO Mary Barra, now coming together to pledge that they will push for action.

MARY BARRA, CEO, GENERAL MOTORS: We will stand up against injustice, and that means taking the risk of expressing unpopular or polarizing points of view because complacency and complicity sit in the shadow of silence.

PHILLIP (voice-over): It's a dramatic change for predominantly white corporate America but for some, the outpouring of support for protests rings hollow.

Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez blasting companies for releasing bland statements with the hashtag, tweeting "Your statement should include or org's internal commitments to change."

Activists also panning this statement from the National Football League, which they noted failed to mention policing or racism at all. And it comes four years after NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick's protest against police brutality prompted a threat from the league to punish players who knelt during the National Anthem.

Today, something has changed, and for the companies like Ben & Jerry's that have long spoken out, it's overdue.

MILLER: Typically, what companies do is use that power to advance their own narrow self-interest. There is a cost to that, that if the rest of society is burning down around us, you can't have a healthy company in a sick society.

PHILLIP (on camera): These statements, in large part, are welcomed. But we're starting to hear some criticism, increasingly, of these companies saying what are you doing beyond writing a statement to promote diversity within your companies? How diverse is your board? Are you hiring black employees, are you promoting them, and are you paying them fairly?

There is, increasingly, a sense that these companies need to match their words with their actions.


ROMANS: Such an important story here. And, you know, press releases are great and you want those public statements of support for really investigating the causes of racial inequality in this country.

But companies write the checks -- they have the pocketbook. They know how much they pay, and who they pay, and what their workforces look like. They really need to look into internally to help fix this as much as they can. I hope they are policies and not just press releases here.

JARRETT: Absolutely. As Abby mentioned, people want to know how many black people are on your corporate boards --

ROMANS: Right.

JARRETT: -- and what are -- what are just the rank-and-file people being paid compared to their white counterparts. So, important questions there.

ROMANS: Yes, diversity and inclusion -- all right. Basketball could be back by the end of next month but it's going to look a whole lot different. Coy Wire has more in this morning's Bleacher Report. Hey, Coy.


The NBA Finals were supposed to begin yesterday. Can you believe that? Instead, the league's Board of Governors approving a plan that would restart the Covid-canceled season July 31st.

Twenty-two of the league's 30 teams would be involved. The proposal calling for an eight-game regular-season schedule before the playoffs to determine who would get in. A new champion would be crowned no later than October 12th.


Now, the Players union still needs to approve the plan and two big questions remain -- where to host the games and how to keep everyone safe. The league saying that it's working on a deal to play the games at a Disney sports complex in Florida without fans.

Commissioner Adam Silver, speaking to TNT on an "INSIDE THE NBA" special last night, saying that the games will go on even if a player tests positive for Covid-19.


ADAM SILVER, COMMISSIONER, NBA: The view is that if we were -- if we were testing every day and we are able to trace, in essence, the contacts that player has had, we are able to, in essence, contain that player and separate him from his team. And we're continuing to test every day. But the belief is we would not have to shut down if a single player tested positive.


WIRE: Now, Silver's appearance on "INSIDE THE NBA" came -- it was part of a larger discussion about race relations in America.


CHARLES BARKLEY, BASKETBALL HALL OF FAMER: It's just tiring being black all the time because it's something all the time. You never get to relax.

SHAQUILLE O'NEAL, FOUR-TIME NBA CHAMPION: You can't separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace until he or she has freedom. And this is all we've been asking for, for 401 years -- freedom.


WIRE: All right. And finally, more than a dozen NFL superstars uniting to send a powerful message to the league about racial inequality. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NFL PLAYER: How many times do we need to ask you to listen to the players?

NFL PLAYER: What will it take --

NFL PLAYER: -- for one of us to be worried about police brutality.

NFL PLAYER: What if I was George Floyd?

NFL PLAYER: If I was George Floyd --

NFL PLAYER: What if I was George Floyd?

NFL PLAYER: If I was George Floyd --

NFL PLAYER: I am George Floyd.


WIRE: Now, the players saying the NFL must condemn racism and the systemic oppression of black people. The video closing with the players insisting they will not be silenced.

Earlier in the day, the league did post on social media channels, in part, saying that they stand with the black community and that black lives matter. And, Christine, for the players, that was a powerful, thoughtful message --


WIRE: -- released yesterday -- the same day that a dozen Minnesota Vikings attended George Floyd's memorial.

ROMANS: That video just gave me goosebumps. Really powerful stuff there.

All right, Coy, thank you so much.

We'll be right back.



JARRETT: Welcome back.

Some dramatic body cam footage shows police pulling a 12-year-old girl from a burning apartment in Sterling, Illinois. The girl is trapped and terrified, but officers talk her through it.


12-YEAR-0LD GIRL: I'm going to die.

POLICE OFFICER: No, you're not -- you're not. Just come over here, buddy.

12-YEAR-OLD GIRL: I can't.

POLICE OFFICER: Come here. Take my hand.

12-YEAR-OLD GIRL: I can't.


12-YEAR-OLD GIRL: (Screaming).

(Glass breaking)

POLICE OFFICER: Jump through the window.

POLICE OFFICER: Right here, right here. Yes, you can, buddy -- you can do it. Come on -- just stand up. Stand up -- stand up.

12-YEAR-OLD GIRL: I want my mommy.

POLICE OFFICER: We're going to get her, buddy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I got you, I got you.


JARRETT: All right, it's amazing. Well, unfortunately, three people did die in that fire.

An iconic monument to the Confederacy is coming down in Richmond, Virginia. Gov. Ralph Northam announcing plans to remove a statue honoring Gen. Robert E. Lee. He says the statue will be taken down as soon as possible and put in storage while they work to determine its future.


GOV. RALPH NORTHAM (D), VIRGINIA: When a young child looks up and sees something that big and prominent, she knows that it must be important. And when it's the biggest thing around it sends a clear message this is what we value the most. But that's just not true anymore.


JARRETT: A descendant of Gen. Lee appeared there supporting the decision to remove what he called a symbol of oppression.

This week, the monument was lit up with the face of George Floyd and the words "No justice, no peace."

ROMANS: All right, let's take a quick look at markets around the world this Friday, jobs days. You can see gains and European shares have all opened higher here. Looking at futures on Wall Street this morning, they look like they are poised for a rally as well. Look, it has been a remarkable run for stocks. The Nasdaq is closing in on an all-time high. The S&P 500 just recorded its strongest 50-day rally in history against the backdrop of nearly unlimited support from the Federal Reserve and trillions of dollars in bailouts from Congress.

A record run on Wall Street during one of the darkest periods in recent memory for Main Street -- a pandemic, emotional protests over racial inequality. Wall Street is signaling that the recovery will be swift when it comes.

All right, bankrupt JCPenney is permanently closing 154 stores in 20 states this summer. The retailer expects closing sales to last around three months. It will announce more closures in the coming weeks. JCPenney said it has now opened -- reopened nearly 500 stores as restrictions ease in some states.

JARRETT: All right, we're going to end here on a hopeful note to cap off what has been a very, very long week. A Minneapolis school asked people to donate after the neighborhood stores closed their doors - and, boy, did people respond.

Cars lining up for miles in Minneapolis to donate food. The students were hoping to receive 85 kits containing cereal, bread, apples, diapers, and detergent. Well, they wound up with 30,000 and were able to serve more than 500 families.

You know, it's so important to remember, Christine, we are still in the middle of a pandemic here and food insecurity is real.

ROMANS: It sure -- certainly is. I think what we've seen around the country are so many people with good hearts who want to do something for their communities. That's really wonderful.



ROMANS: All right, thanks for joining us, everybody, this Friday. Have a wonderful weekend. I'm Christine Romans.

JARRETT: I'm Laura Jarrett. "NEW DAY" is next.



MARQUEZ: The three former police officers made their first court appearance.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The big question will be for the prosecutor to show that what Officer Chauvin was doing was so outrageous that these officers were actually obliged to intervene.

SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Historic national demonstrations in Floyd's name are now well into their 10th day. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As this group of protesters moves north on Fifth Avenue, officers just started moving in and making arrests.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's amazing to me that touched so many people hearts.

REV. AL SHARPTON, ACTIVIST: It's time for us to.