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Atlanta Approves Funding For Police Training Facility Dubbed "Cop City"; Human Rights Campaign Declares State Of Emergency For LBGTQ-Plus People; OK Board Approves Taxpayer-Funded Religious School; Meeting Tonight To Show Findings After Toxic Spill in East Palestine; Arctic Sea Ice Melting Quicker Than Predicted; WH Announces Ambitious Clean Hydrogen Goals For 2050. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired June 06, 2023 - 14:30   ET



JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: But there are a lot of questions because consumer privacy is something these Web sites take very seriously.

Some of them try not to cooperate with law enforcement, but some of the major ones still do. And their efforts have led police to catch many perpetrators.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN HOST: Such an interesting case.

Josh Campbell, thank you so much for walking us through all of that.


BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: Atlanta's city council voted today to provide funding for the controversially public safety training facility dubbed Cop City. The vote came this morning after 16 hours of heated public comment.

This is a project that's faced strong opposition from protesters over environmental and social justice concerns.

In January, a 26-year-old activist was shot and killed by Atlanta police during a protest at the site of this planning training facility.

State investigators saying the protester fired a gun but his family disputes that. And an autopsy shows he sustained at least 57 gunshot wounds.

CNN's Ryan Young is joining us now on this story.

Ryan, tell us where the debate on this facility goes from here.

RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Still ongoing. This was a marathon city council meeting for a training facility that so far is getting national attention.

Activists have been angry about the loss of trees and the funding going towards the center. The trees were cleared out several weeks ago. The city says they plan to add about 85 acres of trees to replace those that were cut down.

Before this vote, city services at city hall was temporarily stopped because they were worried about safety. They even banned aerosol cans from the building to make sure those safety concerns were taken care of.

But hundreds of people showed up for public comment. Public comment didn't stop until around 3:00 a.m.

Many of the leaders in Atlanta believe this facility is needed to train fire, EMS and the police. They're trying to consolidate all of these services together.

But you talked about the shooting of Manuel. It was actually done by state troopers. They say he shot first and they returned fire. But since then, dozens of protesters have been arrested. This hasn't stopped.

Take a listen to both sides.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I needed more confidence in my no vote today.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My position has not changed. So, I'm sensitive to what I'm hearing today.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're obligated to do something. So even though this is an extreme show of opposition, our obligations still remain.


YOUNG: Yes, there's been a lot of talk about this.

Of course, the Atlanta mayor says partially in a statement that "this center will work on anti-bias training, de-escalation techniques and other community-based solutions to keep our city safe and focus on the citizens of Atlanta."

They believe this will be a model for teaching police officers going into the future.

There was all that talk in 2020 about changing how police interact with the community. Atlanta feels this will be that first step.

But let's not forget, there's been a lot of focus just on the police portion of this. There's also the EMS and fire training.

But I can tell you, in terms of passion involved in this, with people staying until well after 3:00 in the morning, this won't go away for some time.

And $31 million of public money. There's also private money being raised to complete this center -- Brianna? KEILAR: Ryan Young, thank you for that report from Atlanta.


SANCHEZ: Get ready for the legal battles. Oklahoma just approved the first taxpayer-funded religious charter school in the nation. We have the latest on that.

And the Human Rights Campaign just declared a national state of emergency for the LGBTQ community as threats and violence against its members ramp up. Stay with us.



SANCHEZ: As millions of people around the world celebrate Pride Month, today a chilling warning from America's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer civil rights foundation.

The Human Rights Campaign is now declaring a state of emergency for LGBTQ-Plus people for the first time in its four-decades existence.

CNN's Miguel Marquez has been following this story for us.

Miguel, what does this declaration mean, and why is it being issued now?

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: What it means in practical terms is that they are trying to bring attention to the fact that the nature of the argument and discussion around gay rights right now has become very toxic as the political season is heating up.

They point to the number of anti-LGBT-plus legislative efforts in states across the country. This year alone, so far, over 525 such pieces of legislation have been introduced.

They touch on all sorts of things, everything from health care to mental health services to gender affirming care to drag shows and to education, especially.

Most of these -- or many of them are targeted at the transgender community. More than 220 of the bills across the country are focused on the transgender community.

In all, 75 so far have been enacted into law. And this sort of is a growing trend they expect will continue as the political season continues as well.

You know, the federal government has some statistics bearing this all out. From 2017 to 2020, the Bureau of Justice Statistics indicates that violence against the LGBTQ-plus community is more than -- is two times that of straight people.

And for the transgender community it is even worse, two and a half times that of cis gender or straight people. So there's great concern in the community. They are ringing the alarm

bell with this state of emergency, expecting that as the political season moves on and as the rhetoric around LGBTQ-plus issues continues, it will get worse.


We have seen Pride parades and Pride events canceled in a few towns in Florida. You saw Target pull some of their Pride displays out of stores because of -- they were concerned about safety to their staff.

And the trans community in general across the country is very concerned about the tenor, the rancor and the direction of LGBTQ-plus rights in this country right now -- Boris?

SANCHEZ: Miguel Marquez, reporting from New York, thank you so much for that.


KEILAR: Oklahoma's state school board just approved what will be the state's first taxpayer-funded religious school.

The Catholic archdiocese of Oklahoma City will run this charter school for students grades K through 12.

But the board's decision is already getting fierce backlash. The state's Republican attorney general calling the approval unconstitutional.

Let's bring in CNN's Ed Lavandera on this story.

Is he planning any legal action here, Ed?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There's no question this is headed for the courts, Brianna. But this small state agency, known as the Oklahoma Statewide Virtual Charter School Board, which many probably didn't know existed 24 hours ago, is sending shock waves through the education community across the country.

This is the board that approved the application by the archdiocese of Oklahoma City and Tulsa to open up the St. Isadore of Seville Virtual Catholic Charter School.

This happened during a three-hour debate yesterday. The board voted 3- 2 to grant the application for the school to open up in the fall of 2024 with an initial enrollment of about 500 students.

This approval has sent shock waves, as I mentioned, through the education community across the country.

It does have to support of the Republican governor and the superintendent of the Oklahoma Education Board.

The governor called it a win for religious liberty and education extreme. But the Republican attorney general in Oklahoma very critical of this,

saying that "the approval of any publicly funded religious school is contrary to Oklahoma law and not in the best interest of taxpayers."

The A.G. went on to say he's extremely disappointed that board members violated their oath in approving this application and went on to say it would eventually cost taxpayers a great deal of money as well.

Another group called The Americans United for Separation of Church and State described this as a sea change for American democracy and added that public schools must never be allowed to become Sunday Schools.

So clearly, this headed for legal challenges, Brianna. And the reality of all of this is that the fate of this school, and whether or not it even opens in the fall of 2024, will end up in the courts.

And a judge or perhaps even the Supreme Court, as some people seem to believe, this is a case will reach that level, might decide the fate of the school -- Brianna?

KEILAR: The impact could be very broad.

Ed Lavandera, live on the story, thank you so much.


SANCHEZ: Today, disease detectives are at the scene of the toxic train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio. Four months later, we still know exactly why so many people got sick.


And an Arctic with no sea ice? Scientists are warning it could happen faster than expected. We'll break down what that signals in the fight against climate change.



SANCHEZ: Tonight, major answers could be revealed to the people of East Palestine, Ohio. Many of them have been suffering from headaches, rashes and more after a train derailment led to a toxic chemical spill some four months ago. And people are still out of their homes.

This evening, federal health specialists are expected to present their findings of the investigation they conducted. They have been working to understand the health impact for more than a million pounds of hazardous chemicals contaminating the soil, water, and air.

Let's get perspective now from CNN medical correspondent, Meg Tirrell.

Meg, CNN was given rare access to accompany one of the teams doing this research. What have they found?

MEG TIRRELL, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Boris, people are hoping to find answers. And tonight, perhaps they will.

What we know from initial survey findings of more than 700 residents in East Palestine, more than half said that they experienced symptoms after the crash, things like headaches, coughing, fatigue, skin rashes or irritation.

The challenges are tying symptoms to the effects from these chemicals. So far, official tests have not found concerning levels of chemicals in the soil, air, or in drinking water.

Another thing that residents are reporting is high levels of anxiety. One resident told the team, along with our reporter, Brenda Goodman, who was there with them, that this is worse for them than the Covid pandemic.

Because at least, during Covid, you could stay in your house and feel safe. Now she says you can't feel safe in your house -- Boris?

SANCHEZ: Meg, CNN found it's been especially difficult to conduct this kind of research in East Palestine. Why is that?

TIRRELL: A few reasons why this is so challenging. One is the nature of the chemicals involved. There are more than six substances involved in this crash and maybe the cocktail of them together can make it even more difficult to test for.


But then also, the community itself. A lot of folks have left. They haven't returned necessarily.

Some folks don't have access to good Internet. About 28 percent of this county doesn't have broadband.

There are a lot of challenges to being able to reach all of these folks and be able to assess both in the near term and in the longer term which is so important to these health impacts.

SANCHEZ: Also, it seems like many of the people impacted may be unaccounted for.

TIRRELL: That is one of the big challenges. A lot of people who felt the most health impacts have left and have not come back. It makes sense. If you feel this is affecting you, you are not necessarily going to return to where this is happening.

That is incredibly problematic just being able to find anybody who may have been there when this happened.

SANCHEZ: Four months on and people are still trying to get answers and back in their homes in some cases.

Meg Tirrell, thank you so much.


KEILAR: Now to some of the other headlines we are watching this hour.

Today, the NTSB plans to begin recovering parts of a Cessna Citation plane that crashed into a wooded area in Virginia on Sunday, killing the pilot and three passengers. A source tells CNN the pilot was observed slumped over in his seat.

And according to the FAA, the agency lost contact with the airplane 15 minutes after it took off. Investigators think hypoxia could be a possible cause of the crash.

Hypoxia, of course, a shortage of oxygen to the blood, that can render a person unconscious and is brought on by a sudden loss of cabin pressure.

Also a lawyer for Joran van der Sloot has filed a petition to block his temporary transfer from Peru to the U.S., arguing he was not officially notified. Van der Sloot is the prime suspect in the 2005 disappearance of Natalie Holloway.

Authorities in Peru said they would transfer him to the U.S. on Thursday. He is facing charges for allegedly extorting Holloway's family after she went missing in Aruba in 2005.

And the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is suing Coin Base, the country's largest crypto exchange.

The suit alleges the platform violated security laws as an unregistered broker one day after the SEC sued the world's largest crypto exchange, Binance. Coin Base did not immediately respond to comment from case from CNN.


SANCHEZ: There is a dire new warning out today about the fate of our planet. Climate scientists sounding the alarm about Arctic Sea ice and how it could be vanishing faster than expected.

If that ice disappears, it could have a devastating ripple effect on the rest of the world.

CNN chief climate correspondent, Bill Weir, joins us now.

Bill, how quickly is the earth losing this vital part of the ecosystem?

BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: Much faster than the models predicted, even five or 10 years ago, Boris.

The state of the science of the IPC's latest report since this report came out said it would be mid-century before the Arctic would be free of ice there. Now it could be in the 2030s.

This is new science out of South Korea that basically said the old models were too conservative. And we have some -- looks like it is going down about 12.6 percent per decade. We have some stunning animation from NASA over the decades from the

satellites. And you can just see the top of the earth, that snow cone, melting away over time.

The biggest effect is the sunlight it reflects. That white surface is so important to deflecting the sun's powerful rays. And open, dark water absorbs it much faster.

We know the Arctic is heating up four times faster than the rest of the planet. In 2021, it rained at the highest point in Greenland for the first time ever. Last year, a hurricane managed to push warm air all the way that far up north and create a September melt that has never been seen before.

Now the latest now, analysts giving this new modeling, it looks like 10 years sooner than we thought. It will open up shipping lanes. Some will see profits in this. But the scientists are seeing red flags.

SANCHEZ: I've spoken to lawmakers who see a big potential geo- political fight for that space in the future.

On the note of politics, the White House is now making efforts to lower the planet-warming emissions. And they have also announced a new plan for clean hydrogen.

Tell us about that.

WEIR: This is one of the tools in a massive suite of the big tool kit that is going to be needed to tackle this. It has its detractors, just like anybody else.

The idea that you can take hydrogen and put it in batteries, transport it more easily. It is lighter and would be better for aviation. That sort of clean aviation may be decades down the road but a lot of that stuff is a long way off.

The White House announcing a big new initiative to increase funding, spending in the hydrogen space.


There's different colors. There's blue hydrogen, green hydrogen depending on the energy sources you used to create it.

The latest technology is electrolysis machines that, if they are powered with clean energy, are really promising. And the goal from the Biden administration is a 2050 goal to produce 50 million metric tons.

Some say we'll need maybe a lot more than that to get the job done, especially for intensive industries like steel making and that sort of thing. But one more step toward a new world.

SANCHEZ: One small piece in the giant puzzle of trying to solve the climate crisis.

Bill Weir, thanks so much for the reporting. Brianna?

KEILAR: There is a seismic shift under way in sports. The PGA tour partnering with the Saudi backed LIV Golf League. We'll have details and reaction just ahead.