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Fifty-Seven Buffalo Officers Leave Unit After Two Suspended For Shoving Elderly Protester To The Ground; Two Buffalo Officers Plead Not Guilty To Assault Charge, Released Without Bail; Washington Braces For Protesters Demanding Justice; Minneapolis Votes To Implement Choice Hold Ban Among Other Reforms; Misclassification Makes Jobless Rate Look Better Than Reality; Some Demonstrations Across Mexico Turn Violent. Aired 12-1p ET

Aired June 6, 2020 - 12:00   ET



FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: Elizabeth Cohen, thank you so much for that. All right, the next hour of the Newsroom starts right now.

Hello again, everyone. Thank you so much for being with me. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. We begin with the protests not only in the U.S. but around the world. People demanding justice for George Floyd as protests enter the 12th day.

Moments ago in Buffalo, New York, two officers are now pleading not guilty to assault charges after this shocking video you see officers pushing a 75-year-old protester to the ground, which ends up bleeding from his ear, the County's District Attorney saying this just last hour.


JOHN J. FLYNN, ERIE COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: This particular assault charge in the second degree is a felony. Now, again, there may be some who say that I am choosing sides here by arresting and prosecuting these police officers. And I say that's ridiculous. I'm not choosing sides.


WHITFIELD: CNN's Vanessa Yurkevich joins me now. What kind of reaction has come from this?

VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN BUSINESS AND POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi Fredricka well those two officers have been charged with second-degree assault. As you said they pled not guilty. And that's after it was seen on video. They were pushing 75-year-old man Martin Gugino to the ground. He lay on the ground bleeding as the two officers passed him by.

But just last hour, there was a large group of law enforcement here who were here in support of these two officers. They were released on their own recognizance and they were released without bail. Once they were arraigned and entered those police have guilty the crowd here erupted in cheers. You could feel that they were here to support those two officers.

Now this came after the community, Governor Cuomo, the County Executive called for these two officers to be fired and charged. The District Attorney here moving very swiftly, bringing those charges. This happened Thursday night. This incident with Martin Gugino and they were charged this morning.

Now last night here in Buffalo, there were black lives matters protests. And it was very peaceful. The officers, the cops and the state police were here. They were monitoring the situation but there were no incidents. Today we are expecting more protests here in Buffalo. And they are expected to again be peaceful.

But there is that 8:00 pm curfew, Fredricka, and after that curfew passes, after 8:00 pm, police and law enforcement will be asking folks to go home. That incident that we saw with Martin Gugino where he was pushed to the ground that did happen after curfew but last night was rather peaceful here and organizers are hoping for the same thing tonight here in Buffalo, Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: All right, Vanessa Yurkevich in Buffalo, thank you so much. All right, joining me right now to discuss Areva Martin CNN Legal Analyst and Civil Rights Attorney along with Charles Ramsey, Former Philadelphia Police Commissioner, good to see both of you.

So Areva, you first you know the District Attorney says he'll hand the case to the grand jury and intent will be key. Listen.


FLYNN: The analysis that the grand jury is going to have to consider is whether or not there was intent to cause physical injury here. That's the legal analysis here. So I think there is, obviously. I thought there was an act or two, okay. So I clearly think there is. But at the end of the day, the way our legal system works is that I'm not a king. I don't decide it. So I will put this case in front of the grand jury 23 members of society from at large.


WHITFIELD: So Areva, intent. How will that be proven? Will it be a big challenge for prosecutors?

AREVA MARTIN, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY: I don't think it's going to be a challenge at all, Fred, when you look at that videotape. The prosecutor is going to present this evidence to the grand jury. And we know the standard with respect to grand juries is pretty low in terms of how the prosecutor presents the case.

If he presents the case, the case that we all witness before our very eyes, I don't think there's going to be any issue with this grand jury coming back with an indictment against these two officers.

But one thing really bothered me, Fred, listening to the press conference by this District Attorney. He said that he was being accused of choosing sides, and he gave statements to me trying to justify even the charges that he filed against these officers. That's so much a part of the problem that we see in these police cases.

If police commit a crime, if the crime is videotaped, like in this case, those officers should be held accountable. And the justice - the District Attorney shouldn't feel any need to justify why he's moving forward with charges?

We have to end this system where the police expect to be treated above the law or to have some kind of special favor as it relates to District Attorneys.


MARTIN: That's the symbiotic relationship that we keep pointing to which is so problematic in so many of these cases.

WHITFIELD: But what does that say to you about the current climate as it pertains to that because we also heard from Vanessa's reporting that there were people cheering for the officers? And we also know that what, some 57 officers walked off the riot control team as a result of the two being suspended and now consequently, you know, facing charges. So there was a lot of empathy that is going to these officers.

MARTIN: I say good riddance to those 57 officers that stepped down from that team. If they can't protect and serve, if they can't conduct themselves as professionals, if they can't engage in crowd control without resorting to the kind of violence that we saw in that videotape, they should not be officers.

They should not be on the streets protect anything citizens. And as it relates to the cheering, I find that utterly disgusting. That's the kind of culture that we're trying to break. That's why millions of people around the world are protesting.

And they continue to protest even after the officers in Mr. Floyd's case have been arrested because those arrests don't end the injustices that permeate our criminal justice system from policing to prosecution, even through trials and actual convictions or the lack of convictions that we see in so many of these cases.

And that those officers would cheer, rather than hold, respect the decision by the district attorney to hold those officers accountable is disgusting to me.

WHITFIELD: And Chief Ramsey, your thoughts on the cheering, the support that some of the officers are giving to the two who are now facing charges? And also do you think that these charges are fitting?

CHARLES RAMSEY, FORMER PHILADELPHIA POLICE COMMISSIONER: Well, as far as the charges go, obviously, that's something that the District Attorney reviewed and made a decision to move forward with charges. When I watch the video, I, too was appalled with what I saw. When they pushed the man, who is clearly a senior citizen, I don't know if they intended to push him to the ground, but that was the result. That's what happened. And also what disturbed me which I think also may have influenced the charges is the fact that they failed to render any first aid. In fact several other officers just walked right by the man even though there was blood from around his head.

WHITFIELD: And it appears that one wants to but then another officer--

RAMSEY: Right and he's pushed away.

WHITFIELD: --discourages it.

RAMSEY: Exactly, he's pushed away. So that certainly didn't help their cause when it comes to a review by the District Attorney and later as it is presented to a grand jury. As far as officers in support, listen, if 57 officers decided to resign from their positions, which to me, you don't get a vote in that. That's where I need you, that's where I put you.

But they're not doing us any favors. And I agree it would have been better if they just resigned from the force. If that's what they feel, then we don't need them as police officers. In today's job climate, I guarantee you, you fire 57 people willing to take on a new job and do a very good job at it.

WHITFIELD: And quickly, Chief Ramsey, so you know we're seeing so many contrasts now caught on videotape. And you see the world now demanding an end to police brutality and looking for the same justice is for everyone that videotape, the 75-year-old white man being pushed down by Buffalo police officers.

And then you see some officers, some police leadership hugging protesters in solidarity. So which is it? Is this a turning point, or are these reminders that change is going to be slow if it comes at all?

RAMSEY: Well, I mean it is both. But I would like to think that the majority of police officers bend toward what you've seen with the Florida State Police Captain that you just showed. And officers walking arm in arm or taking a knee and things of that nature.

But having said that, it doesn't mean that we don't have some officers who just don't conduct themselves properly they use excessive force. They have no business being police officers. And we have to root them out.

WHITFIELD: You put more pressure on police leadership to root them out?

RAMSEY: Well, it is up to police leadership, but you also have other issues you have to deal with police unions, for example are a way too powerful in my opinion. I can't tell you how many people I fired and they just got back through arbitration. In fact, I've got a couple I fired more than once and they were able to get their jobs back.

And a lot of that is done behind closed doors and the light of day isn't shown. So we need to be able to read those cases as well and have that arbitrator to stand it up and say y did you let this person back on knowing this is an individual not fit to be a police officer.

WHITFIELD: All right. We'll leave it there for now. Chief Charles Ramsey, Areva Martin, thanks to you both. Really appreciate it.

MARTIN: Thank you.

RAMSEY: Thank you.


WHITFIELD: Still ahead - protesters are gathering in Washington, D.C., rallying against police brutality and racism and the death of George Floyd. We'll take you there live.


WHITFIELD: All right. Right now in the nation's capitol, demonstrators are gathering in Washington to protest racial injustice and the death of George Floyd. Suzanne Malveaux is at the Lincoln Memorial for us. And folks were gathering last time we spoke. Now it seems like you've got a much bigger crowd behind you. What's happening?

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Fredricka, it was really a very touching moment that just happened here at the Lincoln Memorial. There are about 1,000 people who have been gathered here. Various families and organizations and just students, people who organically are coming together but there was a young man who asked.

He had a bullhorn and he simply asked, can I read something to you that I wrote? An article he wrote an op-ed about race relations this African-American young man.


MALVEAUX: He just read this to this crowd. They all listened intently. They were all saying, sure, of course, man, go ahead. And he made his remarks. He read this op-ed about race, relations and then he started to sob. He started to cry at the end, and people just came up and hugged him just started hugging him. And it really brings a tear to your eye when you see what is happening here.

And it is happening organically that people just want to talk. They want to share. They want to be with each other. And there is no program. There's nothing really formal here that's going on, just people passing around this bullhorn that have something to say to each other.

And that is what's taking place here on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial as you know a very historic and symbolically significant location. 57 years ago where Martin Luther King gave his "I Have a Dream" speech and 200,000 gathered for civil rights and racial justice and workers rights.

And this is also going to be another gathering. Another place where the Anniversary, the 57th Anniversary, August 28th, there will be another march on Washington that according to the Reverend Al Sharpton to acknowledge and appreciate so many black families who have had relatives slain and killed and abused by police authority and many of the allies here who say enough is enough.

And so it really is kind of very touching and extraordinary moment that is taking place here as young people and various ethnic backgrounds and diversity among people who just want to speak to each other. And that's exactly what they're doing right now, Fred. They are just speaking to each other, hoping that each other will understand what they have to say.

WHITFIELD: And there have been so many pivotal moments, you know, over the last 12 days in particular. But even far beyond that. Pivotal moments where people just need to hug each other. They're feeling very emotional. Sometimes people are weeping and they feel like they can't put a finger on why, but this is definitely a moment where it's a touchstone for so many of us. Suzanne Malveaux, thank you very much.

As tens of thousands continue to protest police brutality in Minneapolis, a City Council Member has taken a stand against rebuilding a police station in order to honor the protesters' message.

CNN's Josh Campbell joins me from outside the police station that was ravaged in Minneapolis last week. Many of us watched it live on television. You were there. Not far away from it all. So Josh, what are you learning now about this movement to - is it almost like to preserve, you know, what's left of that building?

JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Fred. What's left of the building is still being sifted through right now. You can see behind me as I step away that fire, forensic investigators are still trying to pick up the pieces here and identify exactly what happened.

As you pan up, you can see that now there are some boarded windows there. They were shattered. This was that scene that we were at that night when fire was set to this building. But as you mentioned, there are people here in the community who are questioning what should happen next, including one City Council Member who says that in her view, this building behind me should become a symbol. Let's listen here.


ALONDRA CANO, MINNEAPOLIS CITY COUNCIL MEMBER: As the council member for that area, I will say that I do not support rebuilding the 3rd precinct as a police headquarters or operations. I think that it is extremely important for us to symbolically and physically respect the legacy of the moment by ensuring that that area is reclaimed by community and by healing and by justice.


CAMPBELL: Her comments there are being echoed by other members of the community that we talked to. I talked to one man who has been a resident of this area his whole life. He said that he doesn't want to see a police station here. He wants this building to stand as it is. Burnt marks and all so that people in this community as they go by and police officers, in his view, will remember exactly what happened here the response from the community at the death of George Floyd. What happens next will yet to be seen Fred, whether they rebuild. But again, some members in this community want to see it become something else, Fred.

WHITFIELD: And Josh, you know what more can you tell us about the City of Minneapolis voting to implement a chokehold ban among other reforms.

CAMPBELL: Yes, so there are a number of investigations under way right now into the actions of these officers, including by the state, by the Federal Government, by the Human Rights Commission here in the state. But city officials in Minneapolis, they don't want to wait for an investigation. They are instituting reforms now in an emergency city council session that was called yesterday by Mayor Jacob Frey.


CAMPBELL: He signed a temporary restraining order instituting new reforms, including a - blocking the use of these chokeholds, these neck restraints. The same type of restraint that we saw on that video with the officer with his knee on George Floyd's neck that's now going to be banned and in addition to that, there are a number of other processes that they're instituting.

One of which is if that you are a police officer and you see a colleague using one of these techniques, it's not enough for you to verbally tell them to stop. You must physically intervene. And, in fact, for officers that don't intervene, that don't stop their colleagues from using these types of tactics, they themselves will be disciplined the same amount as the person who actually used the technique.

So they're trying to send a message through the department that these techniques are going to be banned. They are trying to institute these reforms that so many members of the community here have continued to call for, Fred.

WHITFIELD: Well, standing by and equally culpable. All right, Josh Campbell, thank you so much. All right, many others are gathering today to honor the life taken which started all of these protests. A second memorial for George Floyd is expected to begin in the next few hours. It's happening in North Carolina where he was born.

But this one will look very different from the public display held in Minneapolis on Thursday. CNN's Dianne Gallagher is in Raeford, North Carolina. What more can you tell us about what's expected?

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes Fred, you are exactly right. This is not going to look like what we saw on Thursday and probably not like what we're going to see next week in Houston. The word that's being used to describe what we'll see is intimate.

The Floyd family told the Sheriff here in Hope County that they wanted this to feel like church. They wanted to honor a life that George had lived. And they said that God and religion was very important to him. So this is about the family.

Now in order to accomplish that and also honor all the people who wanted to pay their respects, they have done this public viewing period, which is what we're in right now. And people started lining up early this morning here in the community. If you take a look at some of the cameras, they're still out on the streets.

People just want to feel like they're here. They just want to be together. We've seen people emotional going in, emotional coming out. I was inside. As people go by George Floyd's casket which is open, they stop and pause.

I've seen several people break down into tears and discuss what his death has meant to them and what they've seen happen in this country in the days since then? And how it's made them feel and made other people have to talk about how they feel as black men and women in this country? That's important.

But the family today wanted this time this afternoon starting at 3:00 to talk about who George was before he died. And to do that with people who knew him before he died. His stepmother is going to speak at this particular memorial. They do have two Congressmen, a Republican and Democrat, who are going to speak here.

For the most part, it's family, its pastors. And they want to talk about who George was and they want to be able to relish in that today. They are going to be able - let us live stream this and let people see inside because they understand the world wants to mourn with them.

The Sheriff here has had to deal with, of course, still the pandemic going on. And so they've been using shuttle buses because people haven't been able to park here. It is so crowded. They're making people wear masks and they're giving them out Fredricka and they're trying to limit how many people can go inside at a time so that they don't deal with the spread even more so in these communities while everyone can grieve.

WHITFIELD: Another powerful send-off for George Floyd. All right, thank you so much, Dianne Gallagher. All right, since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic, unemployment numbers have reached record levels. And in this newest jobless rate, is it worse than what is being reported? Up next, how a misclassification error could have affected the numbers.



WHITFIELD: Welcome back. When the May jobs report dropped on Friday, the numbers were shocking. 2.5 million Jobs were added in May and unemployment actually fell to 13.3 percent defying virtually all economists' predictions?

But it turns out a classification error could be making the unemployment numbers look better than they actually are. If it weren't for that mistake, the unemployment rate could have been as high as 19.2 percent in April and 16.1 percent in May. CNN's Cristina Alesci joins me now with more on this. So Cristina, what can you tell us about this error, this misclassification number?

CRISTINA ALESCI, CNN POLITICS & BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, the government told us flat out that it didn't know how to classify about 5 million people? These are people who technically didn't go to work but it's unclear whether they're unemployed.

Now what I would argue in all of these situations is that you have to go beyond the headline number. And if you factored in that 5 million into the overall rate, you're right, we'd get to a point where the headline number in May's report would have been 16 percent as opposed to the 13.3 percent which was widely reported.

But you have to look deeper into the report to get a clearer picture of what's going on?


I would argue that the U6 number which counts, people who did not look for work because they were discouraged, that number is much closer to the employment situation in the U.S. And that rate is actually 20 percent. But even that number does not address the misclassification issue that you and I are talking about right now.

And this all goes to underscore the fact that the data collection in this country is not equipped to deal with a pandemic like situation. And this has sparked some, you know, speculation that the Trump administration is cooking the books, which you spoke to the former deputy labor secretary about. Listen to what he has to say about that.


SETH HARRIS, FORMER ACTING LABOR SECRETARY UNDER PRESIDENT OBAMA: I fear that because this was a fairly serious misclassification that people are going to have a bunch of conspiracy theories around it. They shouldn't do that. I don't think the folks at BLS are trying to cook the books or make President Trump look good. They're career professionals. They take their craft very seriously. They're trying to do the best they possibly can in a very complicated situation.


ALESCI: Now, according to my reporting, there's no evidence that the books were cooked or there was any kind of foul play here. But what is getting missed in all of this talk about misclassification and the fact that the President is declaring victory and over this pandemic and he's touting these employment numbers. Meanwhile, there are millions of Americans who are still out of work and they're nervous about their future.

And by ignoring that, and shrugging off questions about racial disparities in our economic system, the President is essentially not acknowledging the problems that still need to be corrected. Fred. FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: All right. People are still having a hard time, you know, in many cases, unable period to pay their rent, pay for groceries, pay their mortgages, losing a lot. All right. Cristina Alesci, thank you so much.

The White House is pushing back on that misclassification error. Today, CNN's Sarah Westwood is at the White House with the latest statement coming from the White House on this.

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: About this discrepancy that we just heard Cristina walk us through. The White House official tells me that this misclassification error was actually a factor in previous jobs reports and this person notes that the drop in the unemployment rate from April to May was still significant, even if you're accounting for that error.

So that is the White House's defense of what could be a much higher unemployment rate in the month of May. But nonetheless, yesterday we did see President Trump take a victory lap off that top line unemployment rate that 13.3 percent number even though as Cristina just mentioned, the economic picture may not nearly be as rosy as the one Trump was describing yesterday.

In an appearance in the Rose Garden, the President had very little to say about the issues of systemic racism, of police brutality, the kinds of issues that are animating the protests that we have seen around the country over the past 12 days. The President also came under scrutiny for invoking George Floyd's name as he touted the economic numbers and the response to the protests. I want you to take a listen to that moment from Friday's appearance.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Hopefully George is looking down right now and saying this is a great thing that's happening for our country. It's a great day for him. It's a great day for everybody.


WESTWOOD: Not only has Trump been largely silent about the issues that are underpinning the demonstrations, but he's also elevating a conservative commentator, who has called George Floyd a bad person.

That's Candace Owens, the President this week retweeted comments from Owens and when she said, she was sickened by the fact that George Floyd has been held up as a martyr. And that's not all. Owens was also invited to the White House this week to participate in a listening session with the Vice President here on the White House grounds.

The President is here at the White House this weekend behind an expanded security perimeter ahead of what are expected to be very large protests here in the nation's capital. He had been expected to go to his golf property in Bedminster, New Jersey, this weekend, Fred. But aides, according to sources who spoke with CNN, convinced the President that doing so would not look good for him politically if he was absent during yet another weekend of protests.


WHITFIELD: All right, Sarah Westwood, thank you so much.

All right, straight ahead, tough talk for children. How do we break down the evils of racism to our kids? That's next.


WHITFIELD: Talking about racism and injustice can be hard for all of us. But it can be especially difficult when talking to your children about discrimination in our nation.

Joining me now to discuss is Denise Daniels, a child psychologist and child development expert. Denise, good to see you.


WHITFIELD: So how important is it?

DANIELS: Thanks for having me.

WHITFIELD: Absolutely. So glad, so glad you were available. How important is it for us as parents to have these conversations about race, race relations, discrimination with our children?

DANIELS: Yes. Well, you know, most kids have seen it on the news, the graphic depictions of the violence, and the looting and discrimination and all of those, the ugly side of America right now.

And we have to assume that our children know about this. We learned during 9/11 that kids were talking about it on the playground, if they were visiting somebody else's house. So we need to assume that when we start talking to our children about it, they get age appropriate and, I'm sorry, age appropriate information.

And we want to really provide reassurance to them. But now more than ever, it's important to be talking to our children. And I would also suggest that black families start talking to their children too, that the first thing we want to do is to be able to help parents cope and express their feelings with others adults and their friends or, you know, counselor if you need one.


But whatever, it's important that parents talk to their kids first because kids will pick up their cues from the adults in their lives.

WHITFIELD: Yes. Well, you know what, I feel like in this particular time, it's a real double whammy for a lot of young people. Because, you know, I just think about my seven-year-old twins at home who had to, you know, grapple with the whole fear that came with the virus, you know, coronavirus.

And that was one thing that, you know, we had to choose how do we have a conversation with them, so that they are not, you know, so afraid of everyone and everything all the time, but then educate them. And then now, you've got that same kind of age group, at least in my family, and then you've got other families with kids even younger, who you have to now break down some of the images that they have seen, whether it's, you know, the T.V. was on and you didn't really want them to see, you know, some of the images that are on right now.

But you're now trying to help educate them, pacify them, and allow them to not lose their innocence, you know, that comes with that age group, which is, you know, hey, we're all people we all get along, we're all kids. They don't necessarily see color and race as potential barriers of relation. So how do you do this?

DANIELS: You make sure you're a good role model. And I just can't stress enough how important it is. Ask yourself, would you like your children to be like you? And if the answer is no, it's time to change that.

Kids are bipartisan. And it's very difficult for children to be able to understand the politics that can be involved in some of the more grown up issues. For our little kids, what we make sure and do is minimize any television that they're seeing like preschoolers. They're in the stage of magical thinking.

And so if you don't tell your children that what's going on, they can sense it. They can overhear adult conversations. About that may seem anxious and stressful, and then they pick up on that. There was a recent survey that was done with Castle, which is a think tank for education in the United States, with the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence.

And every emotion that the parents had felt, the children in this survey, were mirroring the exact same, you know, emotions. So it's powerful for them to talk to their children. You need to give them the age appropriate information. You need to be the one that's reassuring your child and talking to them.

You have seven-year-old twins. Seven-year-old twins are more in the concrete thinking stage so they can have a little more, you can have more adult conversations with them. But you want to make sure and say, you know, a lot of kids are talking about this, what have you heard or have you heard it on the news or what's your understanding of what's going on right now.

And then listen to what they're saying and build on the information that they have. And correct any misconceptions that they're having? And let them ask questions. And answer in a honest, open communication way that you possibly can because that's how we need to support our kids right now.

WHITFIELD: Do you feel like it's a different approach however then for your, you know, older kids or teenage kids, I have a 15-year-old. I feel like I need to put myself in a position of listening to his thoughts more than I am to instruct or impose. I mean, what's your best advice? DANIELS: I can tell you're a good mom just by what you're saying. It's really hard for adolescence because they're capable of the abstract thinking and they're seeing this. And we need to teach kids about injustice.

Kids aren't born racists. And they are going to this is learn behavior. And so if the people around them are modeling the behavior that's not acceptable or dangerous, we tell kids, it's OK to feel angry. All feelings are OK. There are no wrong feelings. It's what you do with them and how you express them.

And, you know, sometimes kids that age are not that communicative.


DANIELS: Or it's one syllable words when they start talking. So you really do have to just casually bring up the conversation and say, you know, there are things we can do to bring peace, to help people understand that violence is not the way to resolve our issues.

WHITFIELD: So great, so helpful. Denise Daniels, thank you so much of equipping us all with better ways to communicate with our kids.

DANIELS: Thank you. Nice to see you.


WHITFIELD: All right, straight ahead. Protests against police brutality spill into Mexico. Several officers injured after the death of a 30-year-old man in Mexico at the hands of police. We're live next.


WHITFIELD: All right welcome back as thousands gather in cities large and small. You're looking at live pictures right now out of Philadelphia today, all protesting against injustices in America, injustices everywhere.

And then both peaceful and violent demonstrations in cities across Mexico in support of Black Lives Matter protests in the U.S. A solidarity march along one of Mexico City's main avenues ended up near the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City, turning violent at points.

In Guadalajara, many were also protesting against Mexican police who have been accused of brutality against some protesters. CNN Matt Rivers is in Mexico City. Matt, what more do we know about what sparked all of this?

MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, like we see in so many other cases around the world, Fred, there was a specific case in Guadalajara that really set off these protests that involves a 30-year-old man who died in police custody, people are angry and it's really just the result of decades of tension between police and the public here in Mexico.



RIVERS (voice-over): Giovanni Lopez was arrested the night of May 4th. Video from the scene outside of Guadalajara Mexico shows the 30-year- old struggling with police.

People nearby can be heard saying the police arrested him because he wasn't wearing a face mask, though, authorities say he was detained not because of mask issues, but for quote, acting violent without giving more detail.

You can't treat him like that somebody nearby shouts at police. If you kill him, we know you. The next day Giovanni was dead. Authorities would only say he died in police custody. They won't say how it happened and police haven't answered our requests for comment. They have arrested three people including one cop.

But a month later people are still angry. peaceful protests against police brutality Thursday in Guadalajara turned violent. Police vehicles were destroyed, set a light or smashed in, protesters brawled with police in the streets as some sprayed asesinos, murderers on government buildings.

But the enduring images from the day will be this, a police officer standing in the street and someone comes up pours liquid on his back and sets them on fire. He runs away and his colleagues try and put out the flames. He is alive, but he has severe burns across his body.

The video will likely take away from the message millions of Mexicans have tried to send for decades. They are tired of abuse from police, Giovanni Lopez, perhaps just the latest example of many.


RIVERS: And so there is an investigation ongoing into who set that Police officers are on fire. No arrests have been made yet. But you know, the big question here in Mexico is where does it go from here? Are there going to be more protests? Will this continue in other parts of the country? And Fred, I think the takeaway here is that the United States problem between the public and police certainly isn't unique. There is a lot of tension in other places around the world between the public and the police.

WHITFIELD: Yes. We see that indeed. Thanks to your reporting as well. Matt Rivers, appreciate it.

We have so much more straight ahead in the newsroom. But first, with the global pandemic, and now the traumatic death of George Floyd, people all over the world and in particular, many Americans are overwhelmed by pain, loss, and grief.

2014 CNN Hero, Annette March-Grier's nonprofit helps thousands of families process their grief each year. Here's her insight on coping during this very difficult time.


ANNETTE MARCH-GRIER, 2014 CNN HERO: Grief was already heightened with COVID-19, people lost jobs, family members, and then for the whole George Floyd incident to be witness nationally. This is now grief on top of grief.

CROWD: No justice, no peace.

MARCH-GRIER: It is a very sad, scary, (INAUDIBLE), not just African- Americans, anyone who has a heart, the tears, the yellings, even the violent behavior, these are all grief reactions. Grief is messy, the grief of not having a safe community or to have your store looted. That's also grief.

The way that we all can deal with grief constructively is to do something positive to take action, and protest peacefully, reaching out to help someone in need, act upon your grief to make positive meaning so that you can deal with this in a healthy way.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's his name?

CROWD: George Floyd.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's his name?

CROWD: George Floyd.



WHITFIELD: Wow, to hear more from our CNN Heroes go to And we'll be right back.


WHITFIELD: Hello again, everyone. Thank you so much for joining me this Saturday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

Right now protesters are taking to the streets across the country and around the world. You're looking at live pictures from Philadelphia where demonstrators are chanting, demanding justice for George Floyd, an unarmed black man killed at the hands of police in Minneapolis.

And around the world, the scene is similar with protests in London, Mexico City, and Sydney, Australia. And today CNN is learning that two Buffalo New York Police officers are pleading not guilty to an assault charge after video shows them pushing that 75-year-old protester to the ground as you see right there that county's district attorney saying this.


JOHN J. FLYNN, ERIE COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: This particular assault charge in the second degree is a felony.