Return to Transcripts main page


"Defund The Police" Movement Meets Political Pushback; Police Unions Prepare For Generational Showdown; Israel Hitting Emergency Brake On Reopening. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired June 9, 2020 - 05:30   ET



CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: George Floyd's family says a final goodbye today. And now, another video emerges of a black man pleading for air during a deadly arrest in Texas.



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There won't be defunding. There won't be dismantling of our police.


LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: A push to defund police being met with resistance on both sides of the aisle. What's next in the effort for real police reform?

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

ROMANS: Nice to see you all this morning. I'm Christine Romans. It's 30 minutes past the hour this Tuesday morning.

A final farewell to George Floyd today. His private funeral will be held in Houston a day after the public had a last chance to say goodbye at a public viewing. Thousands lined up to pay their respects in the blistering Texas heat. The viewing was supposed to last six hours but was extended late into the day to accommodate the huge number of mourners.

JARRETT: Yes, those at the service and far beyond are hoping George Floyd's legacy extends well past today's private burial. He'll be taken by horse-carriage to his gravesite, buried next to his mother.

The protests in Floyd's name are now at two weeks and going strong.


PHILONESE FLOYD, BROTHER OF GEORGE FLOYD: My brother was a huge role model for a lot of people. He was the first person who everybody looked up to in our neighborhood because he was the first one to get a scholarship to go and play basketball or football -- what he wanted to do. A lot of people didn't have the money and he was one of the ones that say hey, you can do it -- you can do it. He would help you do a lot of things.

And I'll tell you what. If he was told he would have to sacrifice his life to bring the world together, knowing him, I know he would have did it. And I mean, again, I know there's love and we all are hurting as a family.


JARRETT: Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden visited Floyd's grieving family for more than an hour and spoke for a time with his 6- year-old daughter, Gianna.

ROMANS: George Floyd's death exposing several other cases where black men have pleaded for air in encounters with police. Officials in Austin, Texas have released disturbing body camera footage of a black man's arrest that led to his death. The local prosecutor now pursuing charges.

More from CNN's Ed Lavandera in Texas.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On March 28th, 2019, Williamson County sheriff's deputies are pursuing 40-year-old Javier Ambler just after 1:00 in the morning.

According to a sheriff's department incident report, Ambler failed to dim his car's headlights as he drove past a deputy. The report says Ambler tried to flee, leading officers on a 22-minute pursuit that ended up in the city of Austin.

The incident report says Ambler crashed his car five times during the pursuit and that's where the officers' body camera footage captures how the arrest turned deadly.

POLICE OFFICER: I need double cuffs.

JAVIER AMBLER, ARREST LED TO DEATH: I have congestive heart failure. I have congestive heart failure.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): According to the documents obtained by CNN, Ambler exited his car with his hands up. He was not intoxicated and unarmed. Officers tried to handcuff Ambler but say he resisted and pushed back on the officers as he refused to follow the verbal commands. But the body camera footage captures Ambler in distress.

AMBLER: Sir, I can't breathe.

POLICE OFFICER: Flat on your stomach.

AMBLER: I can't breathe.

POLICE OFFICER: Flat on your stomach. LAVANDERA (voice-over): Multiple times on the video, Ambler is heard saying he can't breathe and that he's not resisting.

AMBLER: I can't breathe.

POLICE OFFICER: Stop resisting.

AMBLER: Sir --

POLICE OFFICER: You need to comply.

AMBLER: -- I'm not resisting.

POLICE OFFICER: Stop resisting.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Several minutes into the arrest, officers realize Ambler is unresponsive.

POLICE OFFICER: Sit up, bud. Hey, wake up.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): You can no longer hear him talking on the video. Officers then unhandcuff Ambler and can be heard administering CPR compressions until medical units arrive on the scene.

LAVANDERA (on camera): According to documents filed with the state's attorney general's office, Williamson County investigators ruled that Javier Ambler's death was a quote "justifiable homicide" and that the deputies acted in accordance and followed the guidelines of the department and used reasonable force the night they tried to arrest Javier Ambler.

We have reached out to the Williamson County Sheriff's Department but have not heard back. The district attorney in Austin, Texas says she hopes to present this case for possible criminal charges to a grand jury, but that might not be able to happen until at least July or August.

Ed Lavandera, CNN, Houston, Texas.


JARRETT: All right, Ed, thanks for that.

The renewed movement to defund the police now meeting pushback at the highest levels of government.

First off, what exactly does this mean? Well, some supporters want to shift some, but not all funds away from police departments to social services. Others do want to strip all police funding and dissolve departments.


But many Democratic leaders are lining up publicly against the defunding movement, including the presumptive Democratic nominee who faces a tough balancing act on criminal justice reform. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BIDEN: No, I don't support defunding the police. I support conditioning federal aid to police based on whether or not they meet certain basic standards of decency and honorableness and, in fact, are able to demonstrate they can protect the community and everybody in the community.


ROMANS: One of the most prominent black lawmakers in the country is also against the defund the police idea. A source says House majority whip Jim Clyburn told other Democrats police need to restructure, but he warned talk about defunding the police could hijack their efforts on that very reform.

President Trump already proving that point.


TRUMP: There won't be defunding. There won't be dismantling of our police. And there are not going be any disbanding of our police.


JARRETT: Congressional Democrats unveiled a new plan to overhaul policing, including a ban on chokeholds, a national police misconduct registry, and limiting -- limits on transferring military-grade equipment to police.

ROMANS: All right, 36 minutes past the hour.

The airline industry hit hard by the pandemic, it's slowing beginning to bounce back. Airline stocks ended last week strong on rising hopes that summer travel would be better than expected. The country's four major airlines all posted solid gains, including a 77 percent increase at American Airlines.

Airline stocks also got a boost after the TSA said screenings at U.S. airports topped 400,000 on Friday and again on Sunday. Topping 400,000 for screenings, that's something -- the highest since March 22nd.

Another sign summer travel is rebounding, Airbnb is making a comeback. The rental company said it's experiencing a surge in U.S. bookings after months of customers staying at home. Airbnb's CEO told "Bloomberg" travelers are booking stays of one week or longer, adding work from home is becoming working from any home.

So people have a little bit of wanderlust there, Laura. They're trying to get out --


ROMANS: -- and go someplace else and do their work.

JARRETT: Yes, for sure. Well, you might remember the president claimed he went to a White House bunker for inspection. Well, now you might be surprised who's telling a different story.



JARRETT: Welcome back.

CNN has learned the Defense secretary is open to talks about renaming nearly a dozen military bases named for Confederate leaders. Those could include Fort Bragg in North Carolina, Fort Hood in Texas, and Fort A.P. Hill in Virginia.

An official tells CNN Army Sec. Ryan McCarthy believes he could unilaterally name the bases -- rename the bases, but there would need to be consultation with the White House, Congress, and state and local governments.

ROMANS: The Robert E. Lee statue in Richmond, Virginia, a symbol of the Confederacy, won't be going anywhere for now. A circuit court judge blocked the removal for at least 10 days, according to multiple reports. A lawsuit claims the state promised to protect the statue when it annexed the land it stands on.

Gov. Ralph Northam's spokeswoman tells "USA Today" the governor remains committed to removing this divisive symbol from Virginia's capital.

JARRETT: As public opinion begins to shift on police violence and race discrimination, powerful police unions are digging in for a once- in-a-generation showdown over the future of law enforcement.

Here is CNN's Sara Murray.


SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As protests across the country grow in the wake of George Floyd's death, elected officials under pressure to overhaul police tactics are pointing to a critical hurdle to reform -- police unions.

MAJOR JACOB FREY (D), MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA: Let me be very clear. We're going after the police union. We need to be able to have the culture shift.

MURRAY (voice-over): In Minneapolis, where four officers were fired and charged in Floyd's death, the head of the police union is a vocal supporter of President Trump.

LT. BOB KROLL, PRESIDENT, MINNEAPOLIS POLICE UNION: The Obama administration and the handcuffing and oppression of police was despicable.

MURRAY (voice-over): Lt. Bob Kroll called protesters a terrorist movement and vowed to fight for the officers' jobs in a letter shared by the former Minneapolis police chief.

In Buffalo, New York, the mayor says the police union pressured 57 officers to quit a special emergency response team after two of their colleagues were suspended for pushing a 75-year-old protester.

MAYOR BYRON BROWN (D), BUFFALO, NEW YORK: The Buffalo police union is on the wrong side of history. They are wrong in this situation. They have been a barrier to further police reform.

MURRAY (voice-over): Government officials and labor experts say contract provisions make it tough to remove bad cops in police departments nationwide. Contracts can limit officer interrogations and misconduct allegations, require the destruction of officers' disciplinary records, and prevent superiors from considering those records in promotion or removal decisions.

JONATHAN SMITH, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, WASHINGTON LAWYERS' COMMITTEE FOR CIVIL RIGHTS AND URBAN AFFAIRS: Chiefs will say, you know, I was forced to promote this guy and I know that this officer is problematic because three years ago -- and falling right outside of the period projected in the contract -- there were five incidents that nearly caused me heartburn. And that is troubling given the awesome authority that police have over people's lives.


MURRAY (voice-over): Officer discipline is often handled through arbitration where outside arbiters can overrule the police chief, often on technicalities buried in the contract, experts say.

KEITH ELLISON (D), MINNESOTA ATTORNEY GENERAL: We need reform in the area of the police union to make sure that a chief can actually have disciplinary control over the force.

MURRAY (voice-over): Police unions say they work to secure better pay and benefits for their officers, and that they have a duty to defend their members.

JOE GAMALDI, NATIONAL VICE PRESIDENT, FRATERNAL ORDER OF POLICE: So I think what we need to do is we need to slow down a bit and understand that nobody hates a bad officer more than a good officer because it makes us all look bad.

MURRAY (voice-over): They're also politically powerful, using a war chest of membership dues to fund litigation, back political candidates, and lobby against legislation that could put limits on policing.

MURRAY (on camera): Now, on Monday, Jim Pasco, the executive director for the National Fraternal Order of Police, told CNN that they want to be part of a constructive process and they're willing to listen to anyone.

He said, "We're talking with the White House, we're talking with Democrats, we're talking with Republicans, we're talking with activists. We'll talk to anybody that we feel is truly interested in making a difference."

Sara Murray, CNN, Washington.


ROMANS: All right, Sara, thank you for that.

Attorney General Bill Barr directly contradicting the president's explanation about why he was taken to an underground bunker during protests outside the White House.


WILLIAM BARR, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: We were reacting to three days of extremely violent demonstrations right across from the White House -- a lot of injuries to police officers, arson. And things were so bad that the Secret Service recommended the president go down to the bunker. We can't have that in our country.


ROMANS: Barr says the Secret Service recommended it. That's very different from what the president claimed.


TRUMP: I went down during the day and I was there for a tiny -- little short period of time, and it was much more for an inspection. There was no problem during the day.


ROMANS: On Sunday, former Secretary of State Colin Powell told CNN he will be voting for Joe Biden in November, in part because the president lies constantly and no one holds him accountable.

We'll be right back.



JARRETT: A cautionary tale for reopening amid this pandemic. Israel is putting a sudden stop to reopening after new cases doubled over the past 10 days.

CNN's Oren Lieberman is in Jerusalem for us.


OREN LIEBERMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Israel looked like it was on pace to continue its reopening of the economy and the country, schools were back in session, the economy was reopening with malls and restaurants. But now, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has hit the emergency brake, in his words, on continued reopening because of a sharp rise in coronavirus cases. As of about two weeks ago, there were only about 20 new cases a day and it looked to be consistent. But as the country reopened that number has risen, and risen fairly dramatically. On Monday, there were 174 new cases, according to the government. That's the highest number in at least a month.

And it's because of that sharp rise that the next phase of reopening, which would have included a resumption of train service, a reopening of music halls and cultural venues -- all of that is now on hold.

Netanyahu says the government will reevaluate in a week to see where the numbers stand. But it's because of this sharp rise that the continued reopening of the country is on hold.

Netanyahu stressed there are three elements to getting these numbers back under control. One is washing hands, two is wearing masks, and three is social distancing -- Laura and Christine.


ROMANS: Another example of how reopening is in fits and starts.

All right, let's get a check on CNN Business this morning.

Taking a look at markets around the world, European shares are lower. Asian shares closed mixed.

On Wall Street, watching futures right now, leaning down a little bit after a big day on Monday. Look, stocks rallied Monday. There's growing optimism about the pace of the economic recovery.

The Dow closed up -- look at that -- 461 points, now solidly above 27,000. The S&P 500 erased all of its losses for the year. It's up more than 40 percent from its March low. The Nasdaq closed at an all- time high, making it the first major average to reach pre-pandemic levels.

IBM says it is leaving the general-purpose facial recognition business and it's taking a stand in racial justice reform. In a letter to Congress, the software company said it firmly opposes the use of that technology for mass surveillance, for racial profiling, and violations of basic human rights and freedoms.

IBM added that artificial intelligence can help law enforcement keep people safe but it needs to be properly tested for bias. IBM said it will support existing clients as needed.

JARRETT: Well, a couple's first look on their wedding day took an empowering turn they hadn't quite planned for. Kerry Anne and Michael Gordon were preparing to see each other for the first time on Saturday when they found themselves in the middle of a demonstration over the death of George Floyd. The couple ended up celebrating in solidarity with thousands of uninvited guests before walking down the aisle.


KERRY ANNE, BRIDE: This was pre-ceremony, this was pre-married.

MICHAEL GORDON, GROOM: No rings. The end result, we were kind of just going through the buildup to --

ANNE: Right. That was not planned at all. It's not like the protest was ongoing prior to that and we're like oh, let's do this. Not at all.


JARRETT: Well, the newlywed says never in our wildest dreams did we think our love story would capture the hearts of so many people.

You know, they had already put their wedding plans on hold because of coronavirus so they decided they had to move ahead, Christine.

ROMANS: You know, so many of those people wearing masks but you can still see the smiles in their eyes to celebrate that important life milestone with that couple.

JARRETT: Absolutely.

ROMANS: Good for them.


ROMANS: Congratulations.

Thanks for joining us this Tuesday morning. I'm Christine Romans.

JARRETT: All right, have a great day, everyone. I'm Laura Jarrett. "NEW DAY" is next.



SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A somber homecoming for George Floyd in Houston.

FLOYD: Thank you all. We will get justice. We will get it.

GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R), TEXAS: George Floyd is going to change the arc of the future of the United States.

LISA BENDER, PRESIDENT, MINNEAPOLIS CITY COUNCIL: We need to make sure that every single person in our community feels safe, but we have a crisis of confidence in our police department.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Disbanding the police doesn't make any sense. It's an invitation to chaos.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What we heard from the Democrats in terms of a national agenda around police reform is very important.

BIDEN: No, I don't support defunding the police. (END VIDEO CLIP)

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

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Tuesday, June ninth, 6:00 here in New York.

Today is George Floyd's funeral in Houston, Texas. Floyd's death sparked global outrage.