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NEW DAY

Minneapolis City Council Vows to Dismantle Police Department; Soon: Final Public Memorial for George Floyd in Houston; New York City Begins First Phase of Reopening Today; CNN Poll: Biden Opens 14-Point Lead Over Trump in National Poll. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired June 8, 2020 - 06:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The peaceful fight for change is continuing across America.

[05:59:37]

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We need to look at how we are spending the resources and invest more in our communities.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We committed to dismantling policing as we know it in the city of Minneapolis and to rebuild a new model of public safety.

MAYOR JACOB FREY (D), MINNEAPOLIS: I'm not for abolishing the entire police department. I'm be honest about that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The former officer at the center of the latest controversy, Derek Chauvin, will have his first appearance by video link to a judge.

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Not only will Officer Chauvin's conduct be on display, what the others did during the course of his conduct will be on display. Did they hear George Floyd when he said, I want my mom, I can't breathe?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. It's Monday, June 8, 6 a.m. here in New York.

And breaking overnight, the Minneapolis city council vowing to dismantle the city's police department two weeks after the killing of George Floyd. The council determined that the current police operation there could not be reformed as is.

Now, this does not mean there would be no law enforcement or no policing, per se. Lawmakers are promising to create a new system of public safety in a city where law enforcement has long been accused of racism.

This follows a growing push to defund police departments across the country. Today, Democrats in Congress are approaching this in a bit of a different way. They're expected to release a sweeping reform package aimed at curbing excessive force.

In just hours, the fired police officer who knelt on George Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes will make his first court appearance. Derek Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter.

A public viewing takes place for George Floyd today in Houston, where he grew up. Joe Biden scheduled to meet with his family there.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: And voters have strong feelings about how President Trump has been handling the unrest after George Floyd's death. We have a brand-new CNN national poll this morning that shows Joe Biden has a 14-point lead over President Trump at this moment.

Our poll also shows an overwhelming majority of Americans support the peaceful protests.

Large marches were held across the country over the weekend, including New York, where because the demonstrations have been peaceful, a curfew was lifted one day early.

And today, New York City finally begins to reopen from the coronavirus pandemic. Hundreds of thousands of people will be returning to work as retail stores resume business.

And while every state is reopening in some manner, 22 states are still seeing a rise in cases this morning.

A lot to get to on this Monday morning. So let's begin with CNN's Josh Campbell, live in Minneapolis. A busy weekend there, Josh.

JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, good morning.

The prosecution of the four officers charged in the death of George Floyd is very much just beginning, but city officials here are moving to immediately reform the Minneapolis Police Department, including a drastic new measure to dismantle the agency.

Now, while Minneapolis remains the epicenter of the latest controversy involving police violence, the movement to defund law enforcement is beginning to spread across the country.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Black lives matter! Black lives matter!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Black lives matter! Black lives matter!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Black lives matter! Black lives matter!

CAMPBELL (voice-over): As protesters gathered for the thirteenth day, in the streets and even from caravans of cars, decrying racial injustice, one movement calling to defund or cut police department budgets is becoming the focus of some demonstrators.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are here today to begin the process of ending the Minneapolis Police Department.

CAMPBELL: In Minneapolis, where George Floyd died while in custody of authorities two weeks ago, nine members of the city council expressed their support to disband the police department.

LISA BENDER, PRESIDENT, MINNEAPOLIS CITY COUNCIL: We committed to dismantling policing as we know it in the city of Minneapolis and to rebuild with our community a new model of public safety that actually keeps our community safe.

CAMPBELL: Minneapolis City Council President Lisa Bender says this process will not be quick.

BENDER: When I think about that ask, is that instead of investing in more policing, that we invest in those alternatives, those community- based strategies. The idea of having no police department is certainly not in the short-term.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go home, Jacob, go home!

CAMPBELL: This one day after Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey was met with this reaction from protesters when he told them --

FREY: I'm not for abolishing the entire police department.

CAMPBELL: The idea of defunding police departments involves redistributing money from enforcement activities to programs that support the community.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti pledging to make a small step toward defunding the police, saying he will slash up to $150 million from the LAPD's proposed budget of $1.86 billion, about 8 percent.

(CHANTING)

CAMPBELL: And in New York City, where large crowds convened once again, Mayor Bill de Blasio says he's committed to use some NYPD funding on youth and social services programs.

MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK CITY: I also will affirm, while doing that, we will only do it in a way that we are certain continues to ensure that this city will be safe.

CAMPBELL: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo pushing back.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): No police? You get looting. That's what you get. Nobody wants that.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CAMPBELL: Now, while the debate over policing continues, the officer charged with second-degree murder, Derek Chauvin, will have his first appearance behind me by video link. He will be speaking to a judge in one of these courtrooms.

[06:05:07]

We know that two of those officers, their attorneys have blamed Chauvin and his seniority, saying that he is largely responsible for Floyd's death. John and Alisyn, we will have to wait and see what Chauvin's strategy is. We will be in court, and we'll bring you the latest -- Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Really busy day. Thank you very much, Josh, for setting all that up.

Mourners will pay their respects today at a public viewing for George Floyd in Houston. Joe Biden plans to meet privately with the family before George Floyd's funeral tomorrow.

CNN's Omar Jimenez is live in Houston with more. Good morning, Omar.

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Alisyn.

Well, as you mentioned, Joe Biden is expected to travel to Houston today to meet with the George Floyd family. That, as opposed to attending the funeral service tomorrow, because reportedly, they didn't want their security presence to disrupt those proceedings. Though he is expected to record a video message for that service.

Now, what we are going to see today, this is the public's last chance to say good-bye to George Floyd over what we have seen to be a series of good-byes. Starting at noon to 6 p.m. local time today, people will be able to go into the Fountain of Praise Church behind me, where they will be able to pay their last respects.

And as far as people we know and are confirmed -- or expecting to attend, I should say, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner; rappers Paul Wall, Slim Thug; boxer Floyd Mayweather and more.

And as far as what we're going to see inside, we will see social distancing rules apply here. No one will be allowed in for more than 15 -- or 15 people, I should say. No more than 15 people will be allowed in at a time. You won't be able to spend more than ten minutes inside after viewing that body; and masks and gloves will be required.

Now I mentioned, this was the public's last chance to pay their last respects. Well, the first chance came back in Minneapolis last week. Then, over the weekend, there was a public memorial in his birth state of North Carolina, and then, of course, now we have the memorial here in his hometown.

Tomorrow, we will see the funeral service that is expected to be a private ceremony there. And where we do expect him to be buried next to his mother.

But as we have heard from protesters, family, and more, that is not where George Floyd ends. Specifically talking to his friend and former NBA player, Stephen Jackson. He says, "George Floyd is going to be the name of change. We're going to make sure of it" -- John. BERMAN: And Omar, Stephen Jackson will join us later in the show today to talk about that and talk about this homecoming for George Floyd and family. Omar Jimenez in Houston, great to have you there. Thanks very much.

Happening now, a big moment in New York City. This city enters phase one of reopening. Some 400,000 workers expected physically back on the job today. Sunday saw the lowest number of new coronavirus infections here since the beginning of the pandemic.

CNN's Alexandra Field live in a new New York with the latest -- Alexandra.

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A new New York, indeed, John.

This is truly a momentous day. These are just the first steps for New York City, which will begin to reopen, now finally joining the rest of the state.

But certainly, this was unimaginable, John, just a few weeks or even months ago. But the numbers have moved far enough in the right direction that, yes, hundreds of thousands of workers can get back to their jobs today. Buses and subways will be back in full service. We'll see how how many riders they have.

Some retail stores will be open for curbside pickup, also for some in- store pickup. We're going to see construction jobs, manufacturing jobs, wholesale jobs reopening to their workers, the day that so many people have been waiting for.

Of course, John, we can't say it enough. We are not out of the woods yet. Even with these positive numbers, the downward trend here in New York, we're still seeing an increase in cases in 22 states around the country.

Now, the name of the game here in New York, so that the city continue to progress in terms of reopening, would be to keep these case numbers down, to keep seeing this downward trajectory. In order to do that, a big premium on testing right here in New York City. We're going to be seeing officials doing 35,000 tests a day right here.

They're also going to be heavily prioritizing tests for people who participated in those protests and those demonstrations, where we saw thousands of people who were perhaps not able to properly social distance.

So certainly, some steps in the right direction this morning, John.

BERMAN: Alexandra Field on the streets of New York. As we said, it will be a new New York City today. The situation here, though, very different than in the rest of the country. And later in the broadcast, we'll talk about these states showing a fairly large increase in the number of new cases.

Meanwhile, the calls to defund the police are growing louder. What exactly does that mean, though? And what can you expect to see in your community? That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:13:44]

LISA BENDER, MINNEAPOLIS CITY COUNCIL PRESIDENT: We committed to dismantling policing as we know it in the city of Minneapolis and to rebuild with our community a new model of public safety that actually keeps our community safe.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMEROTA: That's the Minneapolis city council president, pledging to begin dismantling the police department in the wake of George Floyd's death. What does that mean?

Joining us now is Cedric Alexander, the former president of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives; and CNN political commentator, Bakari Sellers. Great to see both of you.

Cedric -- oh, sorry, he's the author of the new book, "My Vanishing Country." We'll get that in there right now.

Cedric, Minneapolis isn't alone. There are all sorts of police departments and cities this morning talking about beginning to defund or redirect millions of dollars away from their police departments to other community services. But Minneapolis is talking about dismantling the police department. What does that mean when you hear it?

CEDRIC ALEXANDER, FORMER PRESIDENT, NATIONAL ORGANIZATION OF BLACK LAW ENFORCEMENT EXECUTIVES: Well, when you hear the word "dismantle," you assume that they're going to take their department down and not have a police department at all. I don't think that's what they mean.

I think what they're saying is, they're going to take a very deep dive in the Minneapolis Police Department, which they certainly need to do. And look at what is it -- what is it that they can do to build that department back, along with input from the community.

[06:15:12]

So it's going to be interesting to see how they do that. They may set the tone or pattern for the rest of the nation to look at.

But in light of all the issues that Minneapolis has had over the years, nothing have seemed to have worked. So I applaud them for taking the initiative that they're taking. But it has to be something that is done very methodically and very strategically, because you still have to have good public safety in that community, as you will other communities across the country.

BERMAN: Yes, they haven't told us exactly what it means for them in Minneapolis yet, but it certainly doesn't mean that, in one week or two weeks or three weeks, or all of a sudden, there won't be law enforcement on the streets. Camden, New Jersey -- I think it was 2012 -- they closed their city

police department. It became a county police department. The unions went away for a little while, although they've started coming back there. But there are different ways of doing this type of thing.

But Bakari, what does the growing volume in the cries to defund the police overall in the country, what does this movement mean to you? What's the significance? And is there risk, political risk in the increasing volume?

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. I think Democrats, we need to hire a P.R. marketing firm, because our messaging usually gets muddled and lost.

People are chanting "defund the police." It immediately turns off those voters who are independent and swing voters. And that's not truly what the words mean.

I think that what our guest said is right. Like, what we want to do is, we want to take a line-by-line, in-depth review of law enforcement budgets. I mean, in many cities, the law enforcement budget is more than half.

And we want to redirect those funds to things like summer work programs, to keep young men out of trouble. We want to direct them to mental health programs. We want to direct them to our school budgets or broadband budgets, so that individuals have access to wi-fi or to our library budgets.

So -- so it's not necessarily saying -- well, it's not saying at all that we're going to take law enforcement off the street. But what we're going to do is reprioritize our spending, so we can actually be preventative and not need law enforcement on the back end.

CAMEROTA: I guess, except when I hear "dismantle police department," Cedric, what I wonder is, OK, in the middle of the night, if I hear somebody breaking into my house, who do I call?

ALEXANDER: Well, here again, terms like "dismantle," terms like "defund," as Bakari just indicated, are really not good words to use, because they can be confusing, and they can be somewhat overwhelming.

You cannot dismantle your police department to a place where you don't have public safety. You must have public safety.

So they want to go in; they want to reorganize. They want to reform. They want to create some new policies, get rid of some old policies, involve the community in the reformation of that police department, so that they're in sync together.

Any police department in this country should have influence from its public along with that of those who are experts within that agency itself.

And as Bakari indicated, right now, if they need to bring on communication companies or promotional companies to help them with the language and the processing of this, then they need to do so. But public relations is not that great, when you're using terms like (AUDIO GAP).

BERMAN: Yes. And Bakari, it's interesting, because where we are two weeks after the killing of George Floyd, to me, one of the remarkable things is the overall consensus. And David Chalian is going to be here in our next segment to talk about our brand-new CNN poll, which shows that the vast majority of people do believe that there is racism that needs to be routed out in various systems in the United States.

You know, you see Mitt Romney yesterday marching with Black Lives Matter protesters in Washington, D.C. There is this -- there he is. You can see him hidden by our banner there, but Governor/Senator Romney was out for an hour and a half yesterday.

This has crossed political mind -- lines here, and I think we're just in a vastly different place politically than we were a few weeks ago.

SELLERS: We are. And you know, I have to give kudos to Mitt Romney, just for having that courage.

I think what we see now -- and I don't know if many people, many viewers know this -- but what we see is -- is Mitt Romney channeling his father. And his father was a friend (ph) of the civil rights movement. And without allies like that Governor Romney, we wouldn't have had the success that we had during the civil rights movement.

So we're at an -- we're at an interesting moment. We're at a seminal moment.

[06:20:04]

But again, John, let me caution you, before saying our country is going to change, understand that George's body is not yet in the ground. And let's see what happens after the body is in the ground. Let's see what happens a week or two weeks out from today.

And that is -- that is going to be the test, the test of time, to see if these -- if minds continue to change and if hearts follow, and if even more importantly, actions follow thereof.

CAMEROTA: Bakari, I have a political question for you. So, since polls out this morning, our new CNN poll suggests that voters do not like how President Trump has handled all the protests and this unrest and just the outcry after George Floyd's death, do you, as a Democrat, worry that, with this new talk this morning of defunding, dismantling, call it whatever you want, that it will hand President Trump a talking -- a fantastic talking point, starting now for the election, and a platform where he gets to say, I'm the law -- the law and order president, and Democrats are not only going to take away your guns, they're going to take away the police department now.

SELLERS: Well, first of all, I thought the CNN poll had whether or not I should keep my beard or not. I thought that was first. I think I'm going to get rid of it this week. But I do believe -- I do believe, again, that -- that we always have

to tighten up our message. I have no faith in Donald Trump running away with this election because we're talking about reforming our budget priorities or the way that law enforcement behaves or interacts in our communities. I don't -- I don't think that he's going to, quote/unquote, "be able to take advantage of that."

And the reason being is because Donald Trump never, ever stays on message. There's no one who believes Donald Trump is a law and order president.

At the end of the day, this election's going to come down to a few things. Not Democrats saying, Defund the police. But it's going to come down to the fact that 104,000 Americans have died. I believe it's 104,000 have died from coronavirus; and 40 million Americans are out of work. I think that's what this election is going to come down to.

But I'll also caution everyone. I give you the preface that I also said Hillary Clinton is going to win 330 electoral votes. So at the end of the day, I just kind of shrug my shoulders.

BERMAN: But part of it's in the framing of the question. And Cedric, to you, there is not a single scenario to Alisyn's initial question where it will be an issue of, you have no one to call if someone's breaking into your house. It's just not what any of it means.

They may have language problems or slogan problems, but there will be nowhere where there is no law enforcement, when these changes or even if these changes are made.

ALEXANDER: That's correct. You have to have law enforcement. But the key is here, is that you have to have good, solid law enforcement in which people trust their local police agencies and its leadership and its elected officials.

That is the key, is that trust and that legitimacy. There needs to be reform. There needs to be policy changes. There needs to be an implementation as to how public safety is going to be delivered and who also is involved. And refocusing to the basics and taking those other things that they have been given to do over the years that kind of stretches them thin and creates other issues.

CAMEROTA: All right. Cedric Alexander, Bakari Sellers, thank you both very much.

ALEXANDER: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: And stick around, because coming up on NEW DAY, we are going to speak with the president of the Minneapolis City Council. That will be in our next hour, and we can ask her what the difference is between dismantling and reform.

Meanwhile, CNN's new national poll finds President Trump's job approval declining and Joe Biden's lead expanding. We'll take you through the brand-new numbers, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:28:02]

BERMAN: Happening now, a brand-new CNN poll, hot off the press. It shows a huge drop in the president's approval rating in just one month, down seven points. It also shows former Vice President Joe Biden opening up his biggest lead yet, 14 points over President Trump.

Obviously, this is in the middle of everything going on in the country.

CNN political director David Chalian joins us now with all these new numbers -- David.

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Yes, it's a big drop in the president's approval rating from last month, John, as you noted.

I want you to look at the president's approval rating. It showed the overall 38 percent by party breakdown here. There's the overall: 38 percent approve, 57 disapprove.

Look by party here, and you see where the movement comes from. He lost across all: Republicans, independents, and Democrats. But look at that independent number. He lost nine points among independents in the last month and six points among Democrats. That -- that is driving a lot of his drop.

Take a look at the president's approval rating by race. Ten percent approval among African-Americans. Thirty percent approval among Latinos, and 45 percent approval among whites.

And then this contextual graph for history. I think this is so important, just to assess where Donald Trump is now in his presidency. Do you see there's a natural break there between Ford and Trump?

Donald Trump, at 38 percent at this point in his presidency is in the realm there with Jimmy Carter at this point in '80, George H.W. Bush at this point in '92. As you know, John, the thing those two presidents have in common is that they were one-term presidents, and they lost re-election. That's the realm that Donald Trump is in right now.

BERMAN: Yes, and even Gerald Ford, above him at 45 percent, lost in his re-election bid, as well.

On the issues of racial justice and some of the unrest we've seen in the last couple of weeks, we have some interesting numbers on that, as well.

CHALIAN: Yes, I mean, we're seeing right now a country that is on the move, on these issues. Take a look.

Eighty-four percent of Americans in this poll say that the peaceful protests are justified. Eighty-four percent. That is a much bigger number than we saw just four years ago, when we asked this question, when we saw some protests against police brutality. Take a look here.

END