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Huge Protests Across America Against Brutality, For Equality; Thousands In Los Angeles Protest Peacefully; Groups Pushing To Defund Or Disband Police; Black Lives Matter Supporters Gathering Around The Globe; Black Lives Matter Supporters In Berlin Hold Silent Protest; Fewer Police On Day 12 Of U.S. Mass Protests; Buffalo Officers Plead Not Guilty In Assault Of Elderly Man; Brazilian Government Hides Cumulative Case And Death Totals; JHU: More Than 40K Deaths In U.K. Aired 3-4a ET
Aired June 7, 2020 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Live from CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta, welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. I'm Natalie Allen and this is CNN NEWSROOM.
ALLEN: And thank you for joining us.
Police appear to have pulled back from confronting protesters in many U.S. cities, allowing some of the largest peaceful gatherings yet since the death of George Floyd nearly two weeks ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN (voice-over): One notable exception: Seattle, Washington; officers there used so-called flashbang devices to disperse this crowd several hours ago. Several officers were hurt when the crowd threw rocks, bottles and explosives. The city has temporarily banned the use of tear gas.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
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ALLEN (voice-over): Meantime, in North Carolina, a memorial service was held for George Floyd at a church near where he was born.
While in the nation's capital, the area near the White House designated Black Lives Matter Plaza clearly visible from space. The mayor joined a huge crowd there on Saturday.
(END VIDEO CLIP) ALLEN: Of course these protests, this protest movement has spread internationally and we have reports coming up from the United Kingdom and Germany. But we begin with day 12 of demonstrations in the U.S. from coast to coast. CNN's Paul Vercammen is in Los Angeles but first, Alex Marquardt is in Washington.
ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): These were the largest protests in Washington, D.C., since the death of George Floyd. Tens of thousands of people pouring into the streets of the nation's capital on Saturday. Many of them gathering right here on the newly commissioned Black Lives Matter Plaza.
So named by the mayor of D.C., who also had that huge mural, those yellow letters, painted over two city blocks on 16th Street, which runs right into Lafayette Park by the White House.
Protesters on Saturday adding the words "Defund the police," an indication they believe that the mayor has not gone far enough when it comes to police reform. But for the most part, many of the chants, much of the anger directed right there at the White House, at president Donald Trump.
You can see that fence there, which is as close as protesters can get to the White House, with a huge black banner, again, reading, Black Lives Matter.
President Trump today tweeting, Law and order."
But when it comes to law enforcement, not much of it was visible today, a testament to the fact that they felt that these protests would be peaceful. And they were almost entirely peaceful today, as they have been for the past few days.
Reflecting that, there is no curfew tonight. And you can see people are taking advantage of that, remaining out in the streets late.
Now the mayor of D.C. has demanded in a letter to President Trump that all what she called extraordinary federal and military officers be removed from D.C. because these protests have been quite peaceful.
And the commanding general for the D.C. National Guard spoke with CNN earlier, telling us that most of the National Guard who have arrived in D.C., some 4,000 of those who have come from out of state, could start leaving as soon as Monday.
As for what these protesters have planned next, many I spoke with today said they will continue protesting until they see significant change -- Alex Marquardt, CNN, Washington.
PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Spirited protests throughout Los Angeles. Many of them spread out. And as you see and hear this scene, the honking of horns, the celebrating of the protesters and the chanting that they're doing, it's clear that the LAPD took some sort of hands-off approach as we hear the chants of "George Floyd."
At this protest, we have not seen officers anywhere. And earlier in the day, we were at the University of Southern California; same thing. There were no officers in sight.
We talked to one young man. He just received his graduate degree in physical therapy and he wanted to make a point and that is, education is going to be critical to ending brutality by police against citizens.
VERCAMMEN: But he says it's a struggle for black men.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sometimes it feels like when you're getting these high-level degrees, you're trying to outrun racism and it's a race that you can't win. So we want people to help us carry this baton, stand by our sides.
And we want to take our allies and march toward the gates of racism and injustice and I don't think it stands a chance anymore.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VERCAMMEN: And now over here near Pan-Pacific Park in Los Angeles you can hear the chants. "No justice, no peace, no racist police." Among the chants, "George Floyd," we've heard all day long. Again, we have not seen a police presence here.
Many of these protesters walking miles throughout Los Angeles and getting appreciative honks from passersby -- reporting in Los Angeles, I'm Paul Vercammen, now back to you.
ALLEN: As we mentioned a moment ago, a memorial for George Floyd was held Saturday near his birthplace of Fayetteville.
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ALLEN (voice-over): Family members sang and celebrated Mr. Floyd's life. The service obituary called him "a gentle giant" and talked about his ability to find the good in every situation. Many who spoke noted that the terrible circumstances of his death had triggered a global moment movement for change.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEREMY COLLINS, NORTH CAROLINA GOVERNOR SPOKESPERSON: I want to remind each one of you that some death ain't about dying. Some death is about waking all of us up. (END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: Hundreds lined up to pay their respects to George Floyd ahead of that service in North Carolina. Dianne Gallagher was there.
DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The second of the three memorials set for George Floyd was a much smaller affair. Organizers called it intimate, a way to make sure that his family was able to say goodbye.
George Floyd was born about 20 minutes from here in Fayetteville, North Carolina. They held a service in Raeford, where his sister, Bridgett, still lives. The family coming together, all dressed in white, during the service alternating between cheers and dancing and tears and hugging during this memorial service.
As speakers talked about George when he was young, personality traits and also how he died and for some, what they believed that his death could become the catalyst for, change in the United States.
Now before this private memorial service, there was a public viewing that allowed people here in North Carolina to pay their respects to George Floyd with the proper conditions.
The sheriff had people wearing masks and social distancing inside, not spending too much time there. This has been something that people in the area say they are affected by, they wanted to be here in person and see George Floyd.
People in the state of Texas will get their opportunity to do so on Monday and Tuesday, when a public viewing and private service and then burial for George Floyd's family will take place -- Dianne Gallagher, CNN, Raeford, North Carolina.
ALLEN: The killing of George Floyd is fueling calls to defund America's police department. "Defund the police" chants are spreading at protests and the hashtag is gaining momentum on Twitter. The idea may also be catching on at city halls.
Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti said Wednesday he will not be increasing the police budget. He also announced $250 million will be invested in such areas as jobs and education, especially in black and non-white communities.
But not all big city mayors think taking money away from law enforcement is the right move. The leaders of Houston and Atlanta say police can be part of the solution.
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MAYOR KEISHA LANCE BOTTOMS (D), ATLANTA, GA: We need police on our streets. We need them in our communities. And we all call upon them at one time or another. But again, we can't let these bad actors overshadow the partnership
that we're supposed to have with our police departments. They're not there to be guardians. I mean, they're not there to be warriors. They're there to protect us and to work alongside us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
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MAYOR SYLVESTER TURNER (D), HOUSTON, TX: We need more police officers. Most of our people in our community are saying we need more. It's not the question of how many or defunding.
What people want and they deserve is good policing. They're wanting police officers who recognize that every single person, every community is important. Everyone needs to be respected.
TURNER: So they want good policing. They want accountability. And they want a system that they can believe in. That's what's important. If you do that, then people will be supportive.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: Let's talk about this issue with retired Los Angeles police sergeant Cheryl Dorsey, the author of "Black and Blue." She also spent two decades in the LAPD, her assignments including vice, narcotics and gangs.
Thanks for coming on.
CHERYL DORSEY, RETIRED LAPD SERGEANT: Thanks for having me.
ALLEN: Well, we just heard from the Atlanta mayor and the Houston mayor, saying we need to support the police, yes.
But what about this issue of defunding?
It's not disbanding, it's restructuring.
Where do you stand in this issue?
DORSEY: Listen, I don't even know what that means. Our mayor here in Los Angeles is going to take money from the police department and put it where?
He says that this is going to help people be able to complain about police abuse?
Are you kidding me?
Police chief Michael Moore has no appetite for hiring people who look like me to be on the Los Angeles Police Department. And if Mayor Garcetti wanted to compel his police chief to do
something about errant police officers, how about we fire those when we identify them as having abused their authority, violated policy?
ALLEN: Right. This isn't an idea that's come out of nowhere, this, you know, restructuring the police departments came from the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.
But what pressure would this put on cities if they look to restructure police departments vis-a-vis their relationships with police unions?
DORSEY: Well, listen, the unions are a lobbying arm of the police department and so they have a part in it, part of it is to coddle and shelter police officers who commit misconduct. What needs to happen is just it's real simple. It's not rocket science: accountability.
How do you have a police officer like Derek Chauvin on a police department with 18 personnel complaints?
Why do we have to wait until an officer does something that makes national news before they decide to get that person off the police department?
And listen, in Buffalo, New York, you had 57 officers who cowardly decided to quit the emergency response team, not quit the department, because I think if they were really about that right, they would have quit wholesale the department.
To support an officer who shoved a 75-year-old man and now the mayor in Buffalo is trying to explain that this guy was told to leave and he didn't.
And somehow that justified those officers?
If sense were common, everyone would have it.
If that 75-year-old man was violating the law, then why didn't they just arrest him?
You don't shove people down.
ALLEN: And you have to wonder, if there wasn't video, where we would be right now with that story, with the George Floyd story.
So here we are in 2020. We remember the Rodney King riots that happened after he was beaten -- bizarrely, I was hired by CNN on that day, after watching that all day long on my television set.
But what is it about the training of police officers and the weeding out of ones that aren't up for the job?
The training hasn't worked, not even the bodycams have worked.
DORSEY: It's not the training. It's that the officers understand that police chiefs are going to minimize and mitigate bad behavior, because they want to protect the entity. And when they protect the entity, sometimes the officers benefit.
So, listen, if you don't do anything to deter the bad behavior, why would Derek Chauvin do anything different?
He sat with great pride and arrogance on Mr. Floyd's neck for over eight minutes, knowing he was being recorded, knowing that people were asking to intervene and get him to stop. And he sat there and he sat there because 18 previous times he had been engaged in probable police misconduct.
And nothing ever came of it. So he was on his way to complaint number 19, only this time, it ended in a death that we all watched.
ALLEN: And this time, we are seeing protests all over this country, 12 days of it. We're seeing protests around world. Of course we've had protests, you know, after Ferguson and after other police brutality issues.
Is this the issue, is this the moment that we might see change within police departments?
DORSEY: Well, not as long as you have police chiefs and mayors get on TV and lie about what we saw, lie about real reform, real justice, real accountability.
DORSEY: They're being intellectually dishonest when they pretend that taking money from one place and moving it to another place somehow is going to stop a police officer from using deadly force as a first resort rather than a last resort.
The two have no connection.
ALLEN: Sergeant Cheryl Dorsey, we appreciate your insights. You were in the business for 20 years. We really appreciate you being here. Thank you.
DORSEY: Thank you, Natalie.
ALLEN: Well, as I mentioned, the world has picked up U.S. calls for equality. Demonstrations are taking place around the world. We'll show you some of the highlights right after this break.
Also, we'll show you how German soccer players showed their solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.
ALLEN: The wave of outrage over the death of George Floyd has swept across the world. Demonstrations now in many nations, not just the United States. But while global protesters support calls for equality in the United States, they're also demanding justice closer to home. Here's Nic Robertson in London.
PROTESTERS: No justice, no peace. No justice, no peace.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice-over): The calls are getting louder, the voices more numerous. London is leaning into America's pain and demanding an end to its own.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel that what happened in the U.S. was just -- it was the spark that sparked everywhere. And it happens here. I've experienced it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, definitely.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you see that happening across the world, you feel a part of yourself die and everyone out here right now has felt that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I personally know more about the U.S. and issues there but it's definitely an issue here. And I think we all need to be here together.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a worldwide issue, no matter where you are. It's an issue everywhere. We all need to rise up.
ROBERTSON: What is clear, by the day, these protests are gathering global momentum, spreading so far around the world the sun never sets on someone demanding justice for George Floyd, asking us to understand Black Lives Matter and calling for change.
PROTESTERS: Black Lives Matter.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, right across Australia Saturday, the ripples of anger at George Floyd's killing have turned to waves of protests, demanding better rights for aboriginals.
In Northern France, crowds joined the global outrage; indeed, point to a place on the planet and they'll have had protests.
Japan, South Korea, Kenya, South Africa, Lebanon, Canada, where PM Justin Trudeau took a knee, all of these just in the past 48 hours. Everywhere there is hope the swell of support will amount to change finally.
PATRICK BAYELE, LONDON PROTEST ORGANIZER: I've awoken a part of me which has been begging to be released for years and years. And this year, 2020, there's something in the air about 2020. I think it's a culmination of many different variables, Trumpian anxiety, coronavirus, George Floyd, Belly Mujinga.
And so to be here, it feels like I should have been here -- I should have been here from day one.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): Every indication here, still plenty more protests to come -- Nic Robertson, CNN, London.
ALLEN: I want to go now to Nina dos Santos in London.
These protests in London were tense on Saturday.
What are we expecting in the coming hours?
NINA DOS SANTOS, CNNMONEY EUROPE EDITOR: Things appear to be quite peaceful up until the end of the day when the weather changed. There was a big storm brewing and the protesters amassed outside the residence of Number 10 Downing Street, which has a key security point in this country, not very far from the office's headquarters of the Metropolitan Police, the biggest police force in this country and that's where we saw those tense scenes at Whitehall, when police officers decided to get them away from Downing Street using horses.
So we saw this barrage of mounted police officers not wearing riot gear but all-weather gear because of the weather conditions, trying to charge at the crowds. Objects were thrown at some of them and their animals and one woman police officer fell off her mount and had to be taken to hospital.
So dramatic scenes at the end of the day but, otherwise, up until then, it had been largely peaceful. Thousands of people here converging upon the British capital. By all accounts, visual accounts, social distancing rules appear to have gone completely out the window.
And that was a real concern to authorities here. We had various cabinet ministers, the health secretary, also the home secretary, appealing on television to people to not take part in these protests, because although they absolutely acknowledged the right of those who took to the streets to wish to protest in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States, now was not the time because the country has not fully emerged from lockdown.
What they are worried about is a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic taking place just before they try to reopen the economy, which is set to happen in about 10 days' time. More protests set to take place in London and other cities in the U.K. in a few hours' time -- Natalie.
ALLEN: Nina dos Santos for us. Thank you so much.
People in Berlin are also protesting racism and police violence, this time through silent demonstrations. One took place in the heart of the city. Police asked the 1,500 people present to maintain social distancing because of the pandemic.
ALLEN: Demonstrators say they wanted to remember George Floyd in silence and by wearing black clothing. Some of them shared other reasons why they wanted to be there.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I am here because there is a racism problem in Germany. That's so in the whole world but especially here in Germany. If you are black, brown or just not white in Germany, then you experience racism. That is quite normal, almost every day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: There have been calls for silent demonstrations in other German cities as well.
Players from several teams in the German Bundesliga demonstrated their solidarity with the global Black Lives Matter movement Saturday. Teams knelt before kickoff and held a moment of silence at one match while others wore Black Lives Matter armbands. Patrick Snell has more about it.
PATRICK SNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The most powerful of images, two rival Bundesliga teams, Borussia Dortmund and Hertha Berlin, amid a moment of silence, 22 players on one knee together, in the center circle ahead of kickoff.
Even in the pre-match warmup, support for the Black Lives Matter movement was on full display. The Dortmund team's T-shirts bearing slogans against police brutality and the ugly stain of racism.
This in tribute to the memory of George Floyd, the 46 year-old unarmed American, whose death last month in Minnesota police custody led to widespread protests across numerous U.S. cities.
Elsewhere, in Germany's top football league, another poignant show of unity and solidarity on Saturday, as Mainz's Cameroonian player Pierre Kunde Malong took a knee after scoring in his team's victory over Frankfurt.
Meantime, ahead of them, match Leverkusen, champions-elect Bayern Munich with another hugely symbolic gesture, as borne out by their Reds against Racism message. Each and every player on the Bavarian team also wearing arm bands displaying their own powerful message of support.
And this on a weekend where players knew in advance there would be no sanctions against them for anti-racism protests.
SNELL: With just four games left and a 7-point lead, an eighth consecutive title looked a mere formality now for Munich. An important 4-2 victory for sure but as FC Bayern star Leon Goretzka himself put it in a post-match tweet, it comes with an even more important message -- Patrick Snell, CNN, Atlanta.
ALLEN: Extra troops sent to Washington could soon leave the U.S. capital. Coming up, we'll have an exclusive interview with the commanding general of the D.C. National Guard.
Also protests gaining momentum in France. How George Floyd's death is inspiring demonstrations there and reigniting anger over a case with many similarities.
ALLEN: Welcome back to our viewers here in the U.S. and around the world. I'm Natalie Allen and you're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Atlanta.
There were noticeably fewer police on U.S. streets on Saturday as massive, peaceful protest marches took place across the country.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN (voice-over): Here you see a large crowd moving through New York City. One woman told CNN why she felt it was important to make her voice heard.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want them to be able to grow up in a world where they're not going to be stopped just because they're black. I want them to be able to have a good education. I want them to be able to go to the hospital and get the best care that they can get.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: That sentiment being repeated all over the country. In Washington, blocks from the White House, one of the largest gatherings of protesters yet. The city's mayor has renamed the area Black Lives Matter Plaza.
Thousands of National Guard troops sent to Washington after the protest over George Floyd's death began could be leaving as early as Monday. D.C.'s mayor had complained about the presence of troops from outside the region. Pentagon reporter Ryan Browne has more in this CNN exclusive.
RYAN BROWNE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Some of the nearly 4,000 additional National Guard troops that were brought to the nation's capital in the response to the recent protests could start going home as soon as Monday. The top general in the D.C. National Guard told CNN in an exclusive interview at the D.C. National Guard headquarters.
MAJ. GEN. WILLIAM J. WALKER, D.C. NATIONAL GUARD: They'll be redeploying this week, probably as early as Monday.
BROWNE: Do you have a sense of how many, is that all of them?
Or just a portion of them?
WALKER: They will leave as the situation dictates.
BROWNE: Now the presence of those troops from some 11 states was a major point of contention between the White House and the D.C. local government, D.C.'s mayor asking the White House to remove those troops and telling the governors to send their troops home, saying that local law enforcement could handle the protests.
But Defense officials say because of the peaceful nature of the recent protests, they could potentially begin drawing down the number of troops. The general also addressed another controversy involving the National Guard here in Washington, that is those low-level helicopter flights that took place Monday.
Some accuse those helicopter flights of being intended to disperse some of the peaceful protests. The top general said the flights were not directed by the Pentagon but that the flights themselves were under investigation.
WALKER: I have a joint task force commander, a general that serves under me. And so he had the aircraft in the air. I am not a pilot. So I don't know if that was the -- if they were too low. I don't know if they were too low.
Here's what I can tell you, a full investigation is underway right now and it's going to be thorough. It's going to be comprehensive.
BROWNE: The general echoed other senior military leaders saying, at this time, active duty troops were not needed to respond to the recent social unrest but saying he did not have a crystal ball and would remain watchful as the days moved forward -- Ryan Browne, CNN, Washington.
ALLEN: Two police officers captured on video pushing a senior citizen protesting in Buffalo, New York were arraigned Saturday morning. Both officers have pleaded not guilty to one count of assault in the second degree and they've been released without bail.
ALLEN: A crowd welcomed the news with cheers and applause. The district attorney says the 75-year-old man had to get treated for a head injury, loss of consciousness and bleeding from one ear. People in France are rallying there against police brutality both
abroad and at home as the George Floyd case reignites outrage over the 2016 killing of a black man in a Paris suburb while in police custody. CNN's Melissa Bell brings us that story.
MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For a while, Paris looked like an American city. Protesters tear gassed as they demonstrated against police brutality, but here, their focus was on the death of Adama Traore.
The 24-year-old Frenchman died nearly four years ago, just after he was taken into police custody for failing an identity check. Adama Traore, his sister, who called for the protest, believes the similarities with the George Floyd case are striking.
ASSA TRAORE, SISTER OF ADAMA TRAORE (through translator): They died in the exact same way. They carried the weight of three police officers, three cops on them. They had the same words -- "I can't breathe, I can't breathe," and that was the end for George Floyd and that was the end for Adama Traore.
BELL: A new medical report blamed laid the blame for Traore's death on underlying health conditions that his family says he didn't have. The Gendarmes' lawyer believes they should now be cleared.
RODOLPHE BOSSELUT, GENDARMES' LAWYER (through translator): The Traore family are suffering in a wave of approximations and lies and true comparison does not stand up. The Floyd case has absolutely nothing to do with the case of Adama Traore.
BELL (on camera): But many of the protesters who came here today clearly were inspired by events over in the United States. You can see it on some of the signs. You can see it on their t-shirts and in many of the chants. Also, by this sense that here in France, too, all too often, allegations of police brutality have gone unpunished.
CECILE COUDRIOU, PRESIDENT, AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL FRANCE: We have too few cases proving that a policemen can be brought to court and can be sentenced to jail and not simply a suspended sentence, but that's what brings also outrage.
BELL (voice-over): Outrage that turned to violence on Tuesday evening as police struggled to contain the anger unleashed against them -- Melissa Bell, CNN, Paris.
ALLEN: As the U.S. closes in on two straight weeks of huge protests, some local officials are scrambling to prevent another spike in COVID- 19 cases. We'll talk about that coming up here.
Also in the U.S., communities along the U.S. Gulf Coast are preparing for a tropical storm. We'll have the details.
ALLEN: We turn now to the coronavirus. The United States has the largest number of cases globally. Now local officials are scrambling to keep the huge anti-racism demonstrations from feeding another spike of infections.
In Seattle, Washington, the mayor has expanded testing criteria to include anyone who has participated in the protests. In Atlanta, the scene of enormous demonstrations and even a dance party with little social distancing, the city has decided to offer free testing to protesters.
And New York governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Saturday his state had its lowest daily COVID-19 death rate since that number started decreasing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): We use to talk about flattening the curve, these signs that the state put up. Do your part, flatten the curve. That's where we started. We didn't just flatten the curve. We bent the curve, right?
Flatten the curve was stop the increase and get to a plateau. That's the flat of the curve. Get to a plateau. We went beyond that in New York. We didn't flatten the curve. We bent the curve.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: Coronavirus continues, though, to rampage through Brazil, which recorded 900 more deaths and more than 27,000 new cases on Saturday. The country's caseload at more than 672,000 is second only to the United States.
Drive-through testing sites are now popping up around the country. People can be tested without leaving their cars and get the results via text within two days.
While the coronavirus infection rate has been slowing down in the United Kingdom, the pandemic is far from over and the country is approaching a grim new milestone. Milena Veselinovic is at Downing Street in London with more about it.
Good morning to you, Milena.
MILENA VESELINOVIC, CNN PRODUCER: Good morning, Natalie. That's right. The U.K. is expected to announce 50,000 deaths from coronavirus on Tuesday officially and, as the country approaches this grim milestone, as you say, it will increase the scrutiny of this government's approach to handling the pandemic. Widespread testing was not available in the U.K. until quite recently.
And some public health experts are saying this was a missed opportunity to control the virus in the community.
There were instances of elderly people sent back to their care homes with coronavirus symptoms without getting a test. And that's where this pandemic really exploded.
There were also criticisms that Boris Johnson did not impose a lockdown soon enough. In early March when it was raging in Italy and Spain, U.K. went ahead with two very high profile sporting events, a horse racing festival and a football match. They were attended by tens of thousands of people.
Once the lockdown was officially imposed, there were controversies along the way. The government told people to stay at home, only make essential journeys. And it transpired later that Dominic Cummings traveled 260 miles to his parents' home with his wife, who had coronavirus symptoms at the time, and his son, because he had a child care issue and the prime minister said this was OK, that he had done nothing wrong.
Now the government says that they're dealing with the biggest crisis since the Second World War and that they were successful in ensuring that the health care capacity was not breached.
But it's important to remember that the U.K. chief scientific adviser said in March, that if the U.K. managed to get 20,000 deaths, that would be a good outcome. But as it edges to 50,000 deaths, questions will be raised as to why the United Kingdom had to suffer such a devastating loss of life.
ALLEN: Thank you so much, Milena Veselinovic for us there at 10 Downing Street.
Now we want to turn to a weather situation here in the United States. Several parishes in Louisiana are under evacuation orders as tropical storm Cristobal approaches the United States. It is packing maximum sustained winds of 50 miles per hour and is expected to strengthen as it moves north in the Gulf of Mexico.
ALLEN: That area of Louisiana, south of New Orleans, is already fragile due to wetlands destruction. So we will keep an eye on that.
Some musical calm and the anti-racism protests. Just ahead, a traveling piano player with a healing melody.
[03:50:00] (MUSIC PLAYING)
ALLEN: Tension between protesters and police on the streets of America has been raw at times during the anti-racism demonstrations. But there have been many moments of compassion and understanding. CNN's Rosa Flores highlights one from Florida.
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: As tensions erupted between protesters and police in cities around the country and property went up in flames including here in Miami --
CAPT. ROGER REYES, FLORIDA HIGHWAY PATROL DISTRICT COMMANDER: I don't want nobody hurt. Don't hurt them no more.
FLORES: -- an emotional embrace between a Florida Highway Patrol district commander and a longtime Miami activist seemed to wash the tension with tears for a brief moment.
REYES: It was about humanity.
RENITA HOLMES, ACTIVIST: Yes, we love each other. We found a common ground.
FLORES: Common ground at a time when more than 9,800 people have been arrested nationwide amid protests while expressing pent-up anger from generations of inequality and police brutality.
HOLMES: (INAUDIBLE) I'm dealing with the pain from the pavement to the podium.
FLORES: Renita Holmes says she's been fighting for civil rights since she was a teenager and remembers the Miami riots of 1980 which erupted after the acquittal of police officers charged with beating a black man to death. The grievances and emotions then --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I wanted to believe in the American system. No more. Never again.
FLORES: -- resonate now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mama, I can't breathe.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mama, I can't breathe.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: George Floyd.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: George Floyd.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: George Floyd.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: George Floyd.
HOLMES: George Floyd was his last words were, Mama. Mama -- I can't breathe. That sounds like a call to action for me. FLORES: Holmes, who says she has lost two sons to gun violence is determined to make change.
REYES: She mentioned something that touched me and touched all of us. She says they have mamas. We have mamas. And it was all about humanity. It was about a group of people, not just the protesters. It was about law enforcement. Everybody has a mama.
FLORES: What Holmes didn't know was that District Commander Reyes lost his mom a year and a half ago.
REYES: She was a great woman. And we miss her dearly.
FLORES: And hugging Holmes, a total stranger, warmed his heart.
REYES: I haven't been able to hug my mom for a year and a half and it's very special.
HOLMES: I owe you -- Big Boo.
REYES: She gave me a funny nickname -- Big Boo. If that's what it's going to take to bring people together, I'll take it.
FLORES: Rosa Flores, CNN, Miami.
How nice. More of that, don't we need it.
A German piano player hopes his musical message of hope will help. He drove from Oklahoma to Minneapolis with his large piano on wheels to attend the memorial for George Floyd.
ALLEN: What happened next?
Well, here you go.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am from Germany and everybody is telling me how awful the pictures are. I just want to do something. Music is the perfect medium to restore peace, I think.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Didn't matter who it was, white, black, brown. A little girl came up and played "Happy Birthday."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was exciting.
(MUSIC PLAYING) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It brings a whole different vibe to us. Yes, we're
in the middle of a protest, in the middle of a riot, but music can change people.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're not rioters, not thugs, not looters. You see this beautiful, classic music.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just glad I had the chance to share my experience with the world, you know.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nobody would have imagined any of this would happen. Nobody would have imagined there would be a guy with a piano in the middle of the street.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You see someone and you don't know what they have in them. You don't know what talent they possess. You don't know what type of leader they can be.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everyone out here celebrating, everyone out here dancing, loving, whatever and we're having fun.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is what Minnesota is about. This is our community, our home. Rather than the damages we've seen, which regardless of how you feel about it, this is what we're about. Coming together. The music.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They need to hear us. Change starts with us and them. It starts with both sides.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Got to meet in the middle. Got to come together as one.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It doesn't matter what you look like. It is how you are here and how you show that to the world.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You all saw it today, so thank you.
ALLEN: And I love the flowers being placed on that piano.
We have another hour of news ahead. I'm Natalie Allen. Thanks for watching. See you in a moment.