Return to Transcripts main page


Americans Protest Racism, Police Killings for 11th Straight Night; Calls for Justice as New Police Incidents Emerge; White House Defensive about Clearing Protesters from Park; Protests over Police Brutality Spread Worldwide; Los Angeles Protesters Encourage Voter Registration; Trump Invokes George Floyd in Self-Aggrandizement; Brazil's Bolsonaro Threatens to Quit WHO as Cases Soar; Over-the- Counter Heartburn Drug May Ease COVID-19 Symptoms; Global Protests Increase Fears of Coronavirus Spread; NFL Commissioner Admits League Was Wrong for Not Listening to Players. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired June 6, 2020 - 02:00   ET




MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello, welcome to CNN NEWSROOM, I'm Michael Holmes, appreciate your company.

Now demands for justice and sweeping change being heard all across the United States. Tonight's demonstrations, of course, by George Floyd's death. Being largely peaceful. In Minneapolis, the city where Floyd was killed, thousands are marching, calling on leaders to make good on promises of reform.

In the nation's capital, protesters gathered near the White House demanding justice not only for Floyd but for all who have died at the hands of racial injustice.


HOLMES (voice-over): Protesters in Atlanta were heard chanting Floyd's name and that, of Breonna Taylor, another victim killed by police, would've been 27 on Friday.


HOLMES: Despite a global pandemic, the streets of Los Angeles packed as protesters stood hand in hand, raising their arms and solidarity.

But the calls for justice have reached far beyond the United States. Right now, protesters in Australia, rally in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, after a court overturned a ban on the gathering. We will have a live report from Sydney a little later this hour.

These 11 straight days and, nights of protests, have led to some long- delayed changes in the U.S., at least on paper. In Minneapolis, the city council has voted to ban police chokeholds and neck restraints like the one used on Floyd when he died. The city will also require officers to intervene when they see

inappropriate uses of force by other officers.

In Seattle, Washington, the police department temporarily suspended the use of tear gas for 30 days, after concerns were raised for using it as a way to disperse crowds.

Also, a stark warning for Chicago police officers, the mayor says there will be no tolerance for those who cover their badges or turn off their bodycams, saying, they will be fired.

Protesters will be back out on Saturday, all across the United States, in numbers.


HOLMES (voice-over): They will be in places like that, Buffalo, New York, where 60 police officers suddenly quit the department's emergency response team. Protesting these suspensions of 2 members of their squad, who had shoved an elderly man to the sidewalk and then lied about what happened.


HOLMES: New York's governor called the incident unjustified and disgraceful. If you have not seen, I caution, you it is difficult to watch.


HOLMES (voice-over): It happened right in front of city hall, a 75- year-old, man approaching riot police peacefully, he gets shoved, falls backwards and hits his head on the pavement and lies still, bleeding profusely from his ears, a pool of blood forming on the pavement. Yet, none of the officers are scene coming to the man's aid, they walk past him in fact.


HOLMES: The mayor, blaming the police union for the mass resignation of officers from that squad.


MAYOR BYRON BROWN (D-NY), BUFFALO: I think it was an action inspired by the union, the Police Benevolent Association in Buffalo, putting pressure on those officers and indicating that they would withdraw support for those officers if they needed union support.

I think that was a wrong action. I do not think unions should behave that way. Unions are there to protect the worker and workers' rights but that was not an act to protect the worker. That was an act to intimidate police officers and to not protect the residents of our community.

(END VIDEO CLIP) HOLMES: The shoving incident, under investigation, not surprisingly. A lawyer for the 75-year-old victim says he is in serious but stable condition. His niece said, he was at the protest to discuss his free speech rights with police.

New body camera video shows another disturbing incident, this one in Atlanta, on the first night of the protests. The footage shows an officer, pulling a woman from a car, body slamming her.


HOLMES: Breaking her collarbone and then handcuffing her. A warning, the video is hard to watch.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get out of the car. Get out.




HOLMES (voice-over): Clearly, the woman, terrified. That officer, now on administrative assignment, pending an investigation.


HOLMES: The woman, Amber Jackson, said she was with her fiance, who is a grandson of the civil rights leader, Hosea (ph) Williams. She was cited for disorderly conduct and she told CNN what had happened.


AMBER JACKSON, POLICE VIOLENCE VICTIM: Me and my fiance was heading home and I removed the barricades and I get back in the car. And all of a sudden, I just see hands out my window, trying to snatch me out, snatches me out and pretty much slams me down.

We weren't a part of any of the looting or anything. We were peacefully protesting and trying to go home.


HOLMES: New York City, investigating, meanwhile, at least 3 incidents of alleged police misconduct, including this one last week.

It shows an officer violently shoving a woman to the pavement during a protest march. He does swear at her and abuse her as well. The police commissioner says the two officers have been suspended without pay, a supervisor has been transferred and there are many such videos out there.

Two Chicago police officers involved in this May 31st incident have been relieved of police powers, while an independent team investigates. Police show -- a video shows police swarming a car, smashing the windows, pulling a woman out by her hair, who is then thrown to the, ground and restrained and, yes, with a knee on the neck.


HOLMES: Charles Ramsey is a CNN law enforcement analyst, he's also a former Philadelphia police commissioner and former Washington police chief, he joins me now.

It is an honor, Chief, to have you on the program, I want to start off with this incident with the elderly gentleman being knocked down.

What do you make of 57 police resigning from Buffalo's emergency response team to support 2 officers suspended for pushing that man to the ground and then lying about it?

CHARLES RAMSEY, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, first of all anyone who saw that video realizes that, one, the use of force was inappropriate. That even if they shoved him and didn't intend for him to fall, which I don't believe they did, once he hit his head and you saw that pool of blood begin to form around his head, you have to immediately take action and do the best you can to provide some aid, some first aid to that individual.

And what hurt me more than anything was seeing all those officers just file past him as he was laying there, not taking any action. Those 57 officers, they want to resign, that's fine, let them go. Let them go.

I would only ask that they not only resign from that unit but please resign from the police force because we don't need people like that in our profession. We truly don't.

HOLMES: There is solidarity and then there is -- I don't know whatever that is. I think most people think that most police are good people.

But as a former commissioner, what are your concerns about the actions of some police other enforcement groups as well, there are many of them out there. Countless videos that I've seen of people being maced at close range, unnecessary beatings, pepper balls being fired with no warning, all of this on camera.

RAMSEY: Well, you know it's a shame that the few define the many. That's just the reality because there are videos of officers marching with protesters, taking a knee with protesters and so forth.

But it doesn't take much for people to get that impression and understandably so. I mean, I've seen some things that really just are frightening and I was in law enforcement for 47 years as an active member. And I just don't get it, whether it's clearing Lafayette Square or Lafayette Park behind the White House, which was a gross overuse of force in that instance.

The Buffalo situation, Atlanta, either the tasing of the 2 people in the car or the body slam of the young woman that took place recently.


RAMSEY: And then, of course, now we know about Tacoma, Washington. These, of course, are just absolutely unacceptable, cannot be tolerated and that's why people have taken to the streets now. That's why we're having the problem we have right now is because of actions of people like the ones you've seen in the video.

HOLMES: That is the irony, people are protesting over the police brutality and then there are instances of police brutality


HOLMES: Go on.

RAMSEY: I was going to say that it may prove that they're right. I just don't get it.

HOLMES: One thing that struck me, too, is there are different groups involved in law enforcement in some cities, notably Washington, D.C. You've got prison officers, Border Patrol.

And one thing that's interesting, a lot of them are showing up on social media without identifying insignia or with their badge numbers covered up. There's a large protest planned in D.C. for Saturday.

I wonder what you made of that, these mobile forces and some hiding their identity.

RAMSEY: Well, when I was chief of Washington, D.C., there are a lot of police departments that operate inside the district, not all of them are the ones you see in Lafayette Park, for example. I guess the president ordered people in from Texas, for whatever reason I don't know.

But these are federal law enforcement, the metropolitan police department, which I was the chief of, that's the city police department. They are not involved in Lafayette Park or the area right there at the White House.

But the demonstration planned for tomorrow will cover city streets, no doubt about it. The metropolitan police department will be involved. Under no circumstances should officers be concealing their identity, covering up their badge or anything like that.

I know we took and put their badge numbers on top of their helmet in big numbers because when you put on some of that gear, if the crowd gets unruly, it does cover up your badge because the badge is pinned to your shirt. If you put that vest on, there was no badge holder on it.

So we put it right on the helmet. But, intentionally, some officers are doing that and that tells you right there, if they do that intentionally, then they are planning on doing something probably they have no business doing.

It's a shame. I just don't like the way this whole thing is going down. It just is not -- it's not good.

HOLMES: We've only got a minute left but when it comes to things like reform, you are concerned about a lot of these and I think a lot of people are.

When it comes to police reform, what do you think should be worked on first?

RAMSEY: Well, trust and legitimacy, first of all. I had the honor of serving as President Obama's co-chair on the task force for 21st century policing a couple of years ago and we had 6 areas we looked at. The very first was building trust and legitimacy, that's the problem now.

We don't have the kind of trust in communities, especially challenged communities, communities of color, that we ought to have and they're the ones that need us the most and we need them the most.

So we have to build trust in order to be effective in legitimacy. Having officers conduct themselves and that would be how everybody sees it, like you saw in Buffalo, like you've seen in Washington with the clearing of the park and so forth, it erodes that trust and the legitimacy that you need to have for people to have for people to be able to work alongside you and make a difference in the lives of people living in these communities, many of which are very, very troubled communities.

HOLMES: Hopefully, there will be change, Charles Ramsey, it is a pleasure to have you on, thank you so much.

RAMSEY: Thank you for having me.


HOLMES: President Donald Trump, applauding new unemployment numbers that just came out and, while doing so, making a pretty shocking reference to George Floyd, the man whose death spurred the protest in widespread unrest gripping the country. Here's Jim Acosta.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ladies and gentlemen.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It could be the most Trumpian departure from reality yet, as the president suggested police killing victim George Floyd is giving a thumbs up to Mr. Trump for his job performance this week.

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. This is a great day for him. It's a great day for everybody.

ACOSTA: Just days after his administration tear-gassed and pummeled demonstrators outside the White House, the president defended his harsh tactics, urging other mayors and governors to militarize their response to the protest.

TRUMP: This was like a piece of cake. And I really am suggesting, because if you look at Minnesota and the great success we had there and other places, you will end up looking much better in the end. Call in the National Guard. Call me. We will have so many people, more people than -- you have to dominate the streets. You can't let what's happening happen.

It's called dominate the streets.

ACOSTA: The president pointed to the latest unemployment numbers as a success story, comparing the economic hardship during the coronavirus pandemic to a hurricane.

TRUMP: You have a horrible hurricane in Florida or Texas and it's devastating. And then the hurricane goes away and within two hours, everyone's rebuilding and fixing and cleaning and cutting their grass. And I have seen it in Texas. I have seen it everywhere.

ACOSTA: Mr. Trump is also touting the jobless numbers as proof African American prosperity. But hold on. While the jobless rate dropped to just above 13 percent and white unemployment is on the decline as well, black unemployment is not.

A reporter tried to ask about that but was cut off.

TRUMP: I'd like to sign this bill. This is a very different thing.

And, by the way, what's happened to our country and what you now see has been happening is the greatest thing that can happen for race relations, for the African-American community, for the Asian-American, for the Hispanic American community, for women, for everything.

ACOSTA: As for the brutal clearing of Lafayette Park on Monday ordered by the Trump administration, the U.S. Park Police is now acknowledging protesters were tear gassed.


ACOSTA (voice-over): After initially denying tear gas was used in a press release, a Park Police spokesman told the Vox website, "It was a mistake on our part for using tear gas, because we just assumed people would think C.S. or C.N., two types of tear gas."

The spokesman acknowledged other agents were used, adding: "I'm not saying it's not a tear gas, but I'm just saying we use a pepper ball that shoots a powder."

Tell that to the White House.

(on camera): Chemical agents were used.

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: So, again, no tear gas was used. No rubber bullets were used.

ACOSTA: Others say they were tear-gassed in that area. MCENANY: No one was tear gassed.

ACOSTA (voice-over): The D.C. government is making its own statement about the protests, adding a Black Lives Matter mural and street signs to the area across from the park.

The president lashed out on Twitter, complaining: "The incompetent mayor of Washington is constantly coming back to us for handouts." Mayor Muriel Bowser, who learned the Pentagon is now beginning to pull U.S. troops out of Washington after her request to withdraw all extraordinary law enforcement and military presence from the district, fired back at the president.

MAYOR MURIEL BOWSER (D), WASHINGTON, D.C.: You know the thing about the pot and the kettle?

ACOSTA: The president is also getting feedback from former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, who echoed the stinging criticism from former Defense Secretary James Mattis, who accused Mr. Trump of dividing Americans.

JOHN KELLY, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: I think we need to look harder at who we elect. I think we should start, all of us, regardless of what our views are in politics, I think we should look at people that are running for office and put them through the filter.

Are they -- what is their character like?

What is their -- what are their ethics?

ACOSTA: White House officials are brushing off public health concerns over the seating arrangement for the news conference in the Rose Garden. The seats for journalists were initially set up spaced apart for social distancing.

Then, at the last minute, White House staffers rearranged the seats, making sure reporters were sitting close to one another, despite the health risks during the coronavirus pandemic.

It appears aides to the president were using reporters as props to make a statement about the virus -- Jim Acosta, CNN, the White House.



HOLMES: Rashad Robinson is the president of Color of Change, an online racial justice organization, joining me now from New York.

Good to see you again. Something that was in Jim Acosta's piece, President Trump saying that a rebound in job hiring could address racial tension in the U.S. and that George Floyd was somehow looking down, saying, what a great day.

How tone-deaf is that? RASHAD ROBINSON, COLOR OF CHANGE: It is the classic gaslighting from this president, who has really no interest in building a path forward. This is not just about the president. This is about all of those that enable him.

While we see some cracks in that enabling over the last several weeks, we still see lockstep for Republicans in the United States Senate, for the most, part the House, standing by this president too afraid to speak out, not showing any leadership whatsoever.

Their fate is tied to his fate. And in so many ways, whether it's major corporations that still engage with this president and still may say Black Lives Matter, while at the same time, show up for councils that engage with the president, whether it's members of Congress who still support him and defend him, those are the folks I want to concentrate on right now. We know who Trump is.

He showed us who his character was years ago when he took out that ad against the Central Park 5 and called for the death penalty and has still not apologized, even after DNA evidence exonerated them.

HOLMES: He never apologized.

Big picture then, what will it take for the nation to learn from and heal from all of this?

What would be the thing?

ROBINSON: Justice, justice and structural change. I do not think there can be any healing unless we actually solve the problems. There is a way in which people hope this goes away, that we will return to normalcy.

But returning to normalcy oftentimes puts those who are oppressed, brushing under the rug. It does not mean that oppression goes away. Far too often, we do not even want to deal with the root causes of these issues.

These issues we are dealing with did not start with Trump, they will not end when he leaves office. They are issues at the very heart of how this country was founded, how its economic system was founded, about how this criminal justice system was founded.

Sometimes we talk about the systems in this country as broken. But in fact, they are working exactly the way they were designed, for the criminal justice system, for the economic justice system.

It's not that black communities are vulnerable, black communities have been under attack. We have been targeted. We need to not work on trying to fix black folks or fix black families but fix these systems. This is the only way we will have a path forward in terms of healing or anything like that.

HOLMES: I guess it is not a good sign; when George Floyd is killed by a brutal police action and then, during the protests, against that action, you can see some police, not all but some in other enforcement groups, many of them, being brutal to protesters who are, in many cases, not doing anything, getting maced in the face, beaten with clubs.

ROBINSON: For the folks watching around the world, I want them to know that this is actually nothing new. Black people continue to be treated like enemy combatants in our own neighborhoods.

I remember during the Obama years when I went to the White House to talk about criminal justice. And President Obama brought folks from civil rights and law enforcement and elected officials together to have conversations.

We were around the table and the head of the Fraternal Order of Police, which is the association of police officers, said directly to all of us that he did not believe racial profiling was a real thing. He talked about it as a figment of our imagination.

So this is not a question about whether or not they think our proposals are too radical or whether or not they think we are asking for too much in terms of change. We have police associations in this country that are pretending that racism in their ranks does not exist.

At the same time, we have the FBI publishing reports, talking about a rise in white nationalists and white supremacy inside of police forces. The fact of the matter is, folks who are unwilling to address it, who gaslight us when we talk about these problems, are not going to be honest actors at the table, to actually address these problems.

HOLMES: We are almost out of time but I want to get this in, because you are a good man to ask this. Clearly, I'm a white male, I cannot and won't for a second pretend to understand the black experience.

What do you tell your white friends, those who may be listening to this, that may help them understand all of this?

ROBINSON: I think more people are starting to understand. I actually think white people do understand. I think if you look at that video in Central Park, the video of the woman, of Amy Cooper, calling the police. Very rarely do we actually get to see the strategy in the video.

She didn't just call and say, I'm being harassed; she said, I'm being harassed by an African American man. So she knew that the police would react differently, that police would engage differently.

So I want to give more credit to my white friends and say that they actually know. They have a very good understanding of their privilege. Whether or not folks are giving up that privilege, whether or not folks will address that privilege and start uprooting it is a different question.

But I don't want to treat folks like they're infants, I don't want to infantilize them. I believe they understand. The question is whether or not we will do the hard work to lean into it, whether or not white folks will do the work to dismantle privilege and systemic benefits that they have been given and start working toward a society that is equal.

But time after time again, I have come into contact with folks that I believe do understand but sometimes want to act obtuse because it is to their own benefit.

HOLMES: You can only hope that there is that change out of this.


HOLMES: Rashad, I'm glad we got to talk, thank you so much.

ROBINSON: Thanks for having me.

HOLMES: Rashad Robinson there.


HOLMES: As the protests go on, Barack Obama has dropped his traditional silence and has been speaking out more lately. At a town hall on Friday, the former U.S. president said that he is encouraged by the scores of young people who are demonstrating. Have a listen.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I do think that why I am motivated and as I mentioned the other day, inspired by so much of what I have been seeing, despite the real tragedy of it, is that there has been as much honest conversation, about the topic of race in this country in the last week, as has taken place, in my living memory. And it is a conversation that is not exclusive to one community but the whole country.


HOLMES: And note for you, CNN and Sesame Street, teaming up today for a new town hall to help kids and families discussed racism and the worldwide protests. The hour-long special, called, "Coming Together: Standing Up to Racism," will be hosted by CNN commentator Van Jones and CNN anchor Erica Hill.

And they will be joined by Sesame Street, Big Bird, Elmo, other Muppets as well and cast members, 10 o'clock in the morning Eastern time in the U.S., that will be 3:00 pm if you are in London, 10:00 pm if you are in Hong Kong.

We will take a quick break. When we come, back this has become a global movement. We will show you how people in Australia and, elsewhere are protesting racial injustice.

You are watching CNN NEWSROOM, I am Michael, Holmes we will leave you at those live pictures from Sydney.

Also, that's when we come back.




HOLMES: Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, joining a Black Lives Matter protest in Ottawa on Friday. You can see him there kneeling. He did so, silently, for almost 9 minutes. Of course, that is the amount of time that the fired Minneapolis police officer knelt on the neck of George Floyd.

Several protests on Canada on Friday, against police brutality and systemic racism. Some protesters, outside the U.S., are bringing up other cases in their own countries, they say are similar to what happened to George Floyd.

France is just one example.


HOLMES: People, they're defying coronavirus rules to rally in support of Black Lives Matter, as well, as a young black man killed in French police custody in 2016. Senior international correspondent Jim Bittermann, joining me now, live.

Jim, great to see, what have you been seeing and tell us about this other case?

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SR. INTL. CORRESPONDENT: Michael, there is a series of 2 demonstrations scheduled today in Paris and other demonstrations scheduled in eight other cities across France.

Basically, people are upset about the way George Floyd has been treated by the police. But also, Adama Traore, who is a young black man who was taken into custody back in 2016, as you said, and died in police custody. There is an investigation going, on a new investigation going on.

And already, new witnesses are being heard in that case, because the justice ministry feels that the first investigation was not properly prepared. They are reinvestigating that case.

This also has to do, basically, with the overall issue of racism, the police and racism, in the security forces. As you mentioned, because of security rules, because of the pandemic, both of these demonstrations today and all other demonstrations in France, are forbidden by police. We will see what happens later on.

They're due to begin a couple of hours. We will see if there is any kind of confrontations between the police and the demonstrators. Michael?

HOLMES: Jim Bittermann, good to see, you thank you so much, keeping an eye on it from Paris.

Right now, protesters in Australia are rallying in support of Black Lives Matter. The march in Sydney, going, ahead as a court rules to overturn a previous protest ban that had been put in place because of social distancing rules.

The police have gathered in Adelaide and Brisbane, the pictures there you are seeing are from Sydney and that is where we take you now to get a sense of what they look like.

Angus Watson joining us from Sydney.

What is the message there?

There is a domestic message in Australia involving indigenous people, correct?

ANGUS WATSON, JOURNALIST: Yes, Michael, exactly. Thousands of people have come to Sydney's town hall to protest against racial injustice in the United States but also in racial injustice in Australia.

Australia's indigenous community (INAUDIBLE) have been in 432 indigenous deaths in custody since 1991 and not a single conviction. So people here are demanding justice, demanding justice for people who died in 2015 in a city jail, while being constrained by officers. His last words were, I can't breathe.

HOLMES: Thank you very much, Angus Watson, in Sydney, covering those protests, appreciate it.

OK, we will take a quick break, when we come back, police protesting police, police, people protesting police brutality. Fighting for change, may mean catching and, spreading coronavirus. We'll hear from Dr. Sanjay Gupta, when we come back.





HOLMES: Welcome back to our viewers all around the world, I'm Michael Holmes. You are watching CNN NEWSROOM. Let's check the headlines this hour.

I want to get you up to date on our top story, an 11th straight night of protesters across the U.S., demanding justice for George Floyd, who was killed nearly 2 weeks ago now, while in police custody.

Protests were peaceful on Friday night in Washington, as demonstrators marched towards the White House but couldn't get too close with all of those new fences around there. They were calling for sweeping change across the nation.

Thousands of people, taking to the streets of Los Angeles, where protesters were seen handing out voter registration forms.

In Denver, protesters marched well into the night, Friday, the first time in a, week that the city did not have a curfew. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HOLMES: Patrisse Cullors is cofounder of the Black Lives Matter movement and she joins me now from Los Angeles.

Really glad that we could get you on, appreciate that. I'm wondering how what we have seen play out around the country, how has that affected the impact of your movement?

And how do you sustain momentum and not allow George Floyd to be another name until the next incident?

PATRISSE CULLORS, COFOUNDER, BLACK LIVES MATTER MOVEMENT: Sure, I mean I just want to start by sending my condolences to George Floyd's family, Ahmaud Arbery's family, Breonna Taylor and so many other families that have lost their children and their daughters and their fathers too soon.

I think this current moment is so powerful because people across the country in the world are saying they will not take this any longer, they won't take law enforcement brutalizing and beating and killing our loved ones. That is why you've heard such a profound call to action which is defunding the police.

HOLMES: What is your reaction to what we were just discussing earlier, about the continuing examples of police violence during these protests which, of course, are protests against police violence?

CULLORS: Well, it really begs the question, what are police for?

What are they trained to do?

And why are they unable to de-escalate situations?

In fact they are often escalating harm when it comes to protests. Here in Los Angeles hundreds of people were arrested, beat, some women were sexually assaulted. Folks are going to head down to the mayor's office, I mean the mayor's mansion, to sit in and do a hunger strike.

Black Lives Matter Los Angeles have called for the defunding of law enforcement. We are in a moment where people are deeply questioning the role of the police.

HOLMES: It's interesting; we talk about police reform. And I want to ask you about that. But you're seeing increasing sort of hashtag of defund the police. I'm not sure what that actually means. Police reform is such a broad term.

What areas would you like to see prioritized?

CULLORS: Sure, we can look at a city budget or a county budget and look at the police's budget. And we can look at everything that they are supposed to do. These are 3 things that police are supposed to do that actually shouldn't be relegated to law enforcement.

Number one, the first responders to mental health crisis; nope, that should go to social workers.

Number two, the first responders to homelessness; nope, that means that we need to get housing. That should go to our mayors and our elected officials.

And three, first responders to issues around drugs and alcohol abuse. Those 3 issues are not actually crimes, they're public health issues. And so we can look at the line items of police budgets and we can start taking that money out of their budgets and putting it in appropriate places, places that really support economies of care instead of economies of punishment.

HOLMES: I wanted to ask you too about President Trump on Friday, basically saying employment, the numbers, unemployment could address racial tensions in the U.S., as if these tensions are about just that.

And it's hard to believe, even saying this, he said George Floyd would be, in his words, looking down, saying this is a great thing that is happening for our country, a great day for him.

It's just so tone-deaf.

CULLORS: It's tone-deaf, it's disrespectful, it's delusional, it's so many things, including a deep desire that he's no longer the president.


CULLORS: And we can get someone who is actually going to be fit for our country and really our world.

HOLMES: I want to ask you I mean a couple of emails here at CNN, with our parent company, and others of other major companies as well, reaching out to employees, not only to reinforce corporate citizen values when it comes to race but asking employees for suggestions on how can we do better.

How important is that sort of outreach?

Because it seems to be a growing at the moment because of all of this.

CULLORS: I think it's incredibly important that companies, corporations, are finally saying Black Lives Matter and thinking about what that actually means in real time. I often wonder if, 7 years ago when we started Black Lives Matter, they would've had a deep understanding of it so that we could be in a very different place today.

But that is not the case and so we are grateful for them being able to be here now. And we are going to keep pushing them, like we've pushed every other agency, to do better for black people.

HOLMES: And just finally and briefly, what is the single most important thing ordinary people can do to support the ideals of the movement?

CULLORS: Number one, get out and protest safely, we still have a pandemic. But if you can, get out there.

Number two, you could follow the movement for black lives, you can follow Black Lives Matter on all social media.

And number three, whenever you get into a conversation about law enforcement, start talking about what it means to reimagine a world where the police are not the first responders to everything.

HOLMES: All right, Patrisse Cullors, thanks so much, cofounder of Black Lives Matter. Lovely to talk to you. I appreciate you taking the time.

CULLORS: Thank you so much.


HOLMES: Mass protests and a global pandemic, making for a very complicated situation. Streets packed with protesters, chanting, screaming, potentially coughing, because of all the tear gas and all of that can help spread the virus out. Dr. Sanjay Gupta explains.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: I think there's no question there is a concern, when you look at what's happening with these protests from a coronavirus standpoint. Obviously these protests are very meaningful and important.

But the idea that the virus is somehow changed, that is not the case. The virus is still out there, it is still very contagious. So when you look at these images a couple things to keep, in mind.

A lot of people are wearing masks. That's good. We know masks can have a significant impact on the spread of the virus. These protests are mostly outside, so that's also good because the virus will disperse more into the air.

But people are in close proximity, they are obviously not physically distancing, in some of these images, and they are staying in these positions for longer than 10 or 15 minutes. So you have many situations where you have close contact.

And if people then are subsequently diagnosed with the infection, the question, how do you go back and trace all the contacts of people in the middle of a protest?

It's very hard to do. As a result we would have a hard time ever knowing how much of an impact these protests have overall on new coronavirus infections.

Keep in mind, at the same time, the country is starting to reopen, so you have 2 of these forces happening at the same time, which is going to make it challenging. Protesters need to do their best obviously to try and curb the spread of this virus and also think about, after they go home, what might they do to potentially not spread the virus to people within their family, within their community. That's all going to be sort of very important for the next several

weeks. We may not know the impact of this for a few weeks as well because between the time of exposure to the time of getting tested, the time of developing any symptoms for these people who do develop symptoms, it could be several weeks so we will keep an eye on it.

I want to show you quickly just this map of what's happening here in the United States week-to-week. You get an idea of places where the number of new patients with coronavirus are increasing and decreasing.

And if you look at the maps, you know they change quite a bit and not just week to week but even day-to-day.

Also look at the graph of new coronavirus cases and you can see here, get some idea of the overall trend line. There are some states where you have had the highest number of new infections reported.

Part of that is because of increased testing but part of that is because the virus continues to spread. So as states reopen, people are doing a reasonably good job of trying to maintain that physical distance, of trying to wear masks. Hopefully that will help.

And only time will tell just how much of an impact. As we get more information about all this, we'll certainly bring it to you.


HOLMES: Dr. Sanjay Gupta reporting.

Coming up from the program, scientists around the world are scrambling to develop a coronavirus vaccine and one that works. How close they are, coming up.





HOLMES: The Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro, threatening to pull his country out of the World Health Organization. He says it is ideologically biased and cited President Trump's recent decision for the U.S. to leave the World Health Organization as a precedent.

This coming as Brazil now has the third highest COVID-19 death toll in the world and the second highest number of cases, according to Johns Hopkins. The health ministry said that more than 35,000 people have died.

U.S. health officials, saying that the chances of developing a successful coronavirus vaccine by January is extremely ambitious but it is possible.

So how close are the scientists to the finishing line? CNN's Elizabeth Cohen with that.


ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SR. MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: There is a race on to get a vaccine for COVID-19. And scientists are working faster than they ever have before. It's really quite unprecedented. Let's take a look at some of the progress thus far.

There are 133 teams worldwide that are developing a vaccine; 10 are in human clinical trials, meaning they're actually trying them out in humans; 123 are at preclinical stages, meaning they're working with animals or they're working with the lab. Let's take a look at where these 10 teams are that are in clinical trials.

There are three in the USA, Moderna, Inovio and Novavax; there is one in the U.S. and Germany, Pfizer and BioNTech; one in the United Kingdom and that's AstraZeneca, which is teaming up with the University of Oxford; and there are five in China.

It's unclear which of these is going to finish first and more importantly, it's unclear which of these are going to work. We know that some of them won't work; that's why we have so many shots on goal, so to speak. Let's take a listen to what Dr. Anthony Fauci at the U.S. National Institutes of Health had to say about this.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: It means at risk for the investment. So we are going to start manufacturing doses of the vaccines way before we even know that the vaccine works.

We may know whether it's effective, efficacious or not by maybe November-December, which means that by that time we hopefully would have close to 100 million doses.


COHEN: By manufacturing while they are doing research, what that means is that, if a vaccine works, then there should be a supply of doses ready to go immediately. It also means that, if some vaccines don't work, then they will have been produced basically for nothing.

But it's been decided that that is worth it in order to try to have enough vaccines for the entire world as soon as possible.

Now this progress being made not just on vaccines but also in treatments of various kinds. There is some news out this week about famotidine. Many people know famotidine even if they don't know it by that name; in some places, it's sold under the brand name, Pepcid.

It's a very common heartburn remedy and there's been some thought that this might actually help against coronavirus.

[02:45:00] COHEN: What researchers found and what they published in a medical journal this week is that 10 patients, who took it when they were home sick with COVID, did find some relief. Now that doesn't mean that the drug did it; it may have been that they were just naturally going to get better anyway, which, of course, most COVID patients do, especially if they are at home.

But it could be that the famotidine played a role. So now they're going to plan a large clinical trial where half of the patients will be getting famotidine, half of the patients will be getting a placebo and they will see who does better -- back to you.


HOLMES: Joining me now Dr. Shoshana Ungerleider, she is from the California Pacific Medical Center.

Thanks for being with us, Doctor. I want to talk about social distancing, about the White House today, which had reporter chairs spread out initially, socially distanced and then the White House came out and crammed them all together just before the briefing and the president ten commenting on how good it was to see reporters closer together.

What is the message that sends?

DR. SHOSHANA UNGERLEIDER, CALIFORNIA PACIFIC MEDICAL CENTER: The decision to needlessly put reporters' health at risk by having them sit by side by side is extremely distressing to me as a physician.

We know this virus spreads through respiratory droplets, when a person coughs or sneezes or even speaks. So even though the press corps, the White House employees are tested for COVID, temperature checked often, they should absolutely be physically distanced and wearing masks, at all times.

There is no reason at all to put their health and safety at risk.

HOLMES: There is a disturbing CDC report which says that one third of people surveyed engaged in risky behaviors during this pandemic, some quite stunning, gargling with bleach, washing themselves with household disinfectant, putting bleach in their food, inhaling it -- I can't even believe I'm asking you about this.

But it is a CDC survey.

What does that say about coronavirus messaging and the dangerous of disinformation?

The president spoke of treating it with a disinfectant.

UNGERLEIDER: Michael, according to the report but the CDC, 39 percent of the people survived reported these high-risk practices you're talking about with the intent of trying to prevent COVID-19.

They washed their food with bleach, applied household cleaner to their bare skin, inhaled or even drank these products.

We know there's been a sharp increase in calls to poison control centers related to these since the onset of coronavirus. This is just one example of what happens when your government does not provide clear evidence-based public health messaging.

It is so dangerous for our elected officials to suggest the use of unproven treatments like injecting patients with bleach to treat or prevent COVID-19. You can see this clearly does harm to people. Leadership matters and words matter.

HOLMES: If it wasn't for the CDC, I would have a hard time believing that. That a third of people did that stuff.

Are you concerned when it comes to these protesters, there is a lot to be concerned, about including the distancing but I was reading that these irritants, tear gas, pepper, spray so, on do they increase the risks, either to those with lung issues already but also the coughing it creates and there was a suggestion that the gas can carry the virus further than it would without it.

UNGERLEIDER: I guess I first have to say, racism is a public health issue and standing up against police brutality is absolutely critical. But I am very concerned about the safety and the well-being of protesters. Of course despite protests being outdoors, people being packed together makes social distancing impossible. Asymptomatic, people can infect, others police and folks protesting, yelling also spreads droplets.

The use of smoke and teargas and pepper spray to disperse crowds, they are actual respiratory irritants, as you, said they are problematic, because, coughing, tearing sneezing, all increase the risk of spread.

So for anyone out there protesting, they are at much higher risk. Anything that causes you to cough or to have more respiratory droplets expelled, also increases the risk of other people being infected. And contact tracing in these groups is impossible if people do test positive.

HOLMES: You're right. We are just 2 weeks shy -- days shy of two weeks of protests and with the tight quarters and the rest of it.


HOLMES: Do you expect an uptick in cases any day now because of these protests?

Another thing, if you are, protester what can you do to mitigate?

UNGERLEIDER: I fully expect to see an uptick in cases. We are just right around the corner from where you would expect, about a 2-week mark. And unfortunately, I think that is inevitable.

I think if people are planning to join protests, of course, protest peacefully, wear masks, goggles, other eye protection, distancing away from others, wash your hands , try not to yell. You can use signs or noisemakers and stick to a small group.

Then of course, if pepper spray gets in your eyes don't rub them and carefully remove all your protective gear and wash your, hands and, clothes very carefully.

HOLMES: Good advice, Dr. Shoshana Ungerleider, thank you so much.


HOLMES: Well, the head of the National Football League, now saying it was wrong about racism in the past, so, why has the league not apologized to the Super Bowl quarterback who cannot get a job because of his activism?

We will have more on that, when we come back.




HOLMES: Welcome back.

Colin Kaepernick took a knee to protest police brutality, all those years ago. A form of peaceful protests that cost him his job, essentially, as a quarterback in the NFL.

Now the NFL commissioner says that the league was wrong for not listening to its players. Roger Goodell is now encouraging players to speak out and protest. But his apology did not directly mention Kaepernick or the controversy surrounding his taking a knee during the national anthem. CNN "WORLD SPORT's" Patrick Snell with the latest.



ROGER GOODELL, NFR COMMISSIONER (voice-over): We at the National Football League condemn racism and the systematic oppression of black people. We at the National Football League admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest.

PATRICK SNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is speaking out with a full and frank admission. The league's chief power broker reflecting Friday on what he called a difficult time for the country and in particular black Americans.

GOODELL (voice-over): We at the National Football League believe Black Lives Matter. I personally protested with you and want to be part of the much-needed change in this country.

Without black players, there would be no National Football League. And the protests around the country are emblematic of the centuries of silence, inequality and oppression of black players, coaches, fans and staff.

SNELL (voice-over): It comes after a video featuring over a dozen of the league's stars challenged the NFL to take a strong stance following the death last month of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): How many times do we need to ask you to listen to your players?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What will it take?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will not be silenced.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We reserve our right to peacefully protest.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It shouldn't take this long to admit.

SNELL (voice-over): Racism has been a big issue in the NFL.


SNELL (voice-over): Especially since the then San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick faced a backlash from the league and others for kneeling before games during the U.S. national anthem, in protest at police brutality.

SNELL: In fact no team has offered a contract to Kaepernick since 2017. And tellingly, he wasn't even mentioned in that video from the commissioner. Roger Goodell says he will be reaching out to players individually; whether that includes Kaepernick, though, remains to be seen -- Patrick Snell, CNN, Atlanta.


HOLMES: The NBA legend, Michael Jordan, and his Jordan Brand of apparel are donating $100 million to help fight for racial equality. The plan is to donate the money over the next 10 years to organizations dedicated to racial equality, social justice and education.

Jordan and his company issued a statement saying, quote, "Jordan Brand is us, the black community."

This comes a day after parent company Nike committed $40 million.

And finally there's been a week of powerful and poignant moments as protests grow across the United States and today I want them to leave you with these images.

Two officers from the Ocean City Police Department in New Jersey, one white, one black, both taking a knee alongside protesters. That city's police department, thanking the protesters who came out and thanking them for their respect and support.

Saying their voices were heard.

And thanks for watching CNN NEWSROOM and spending a part of your day with me. I'm Michael Holmes. Do stay with us. The far better Natalie Allen will have more in just a moment.