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Erin Burnett Outfront
Protesters Marching to White House Over George Floyd's Death; County Prosecutor: "I Anticipate Charges" for Other Officers; Preliminary Autopsy: No Physical Findings Supporting Diagnosis of Traumatic Asphyxia or Strangulation; White House Now On Lockdown Due to Protests; Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) is Interviewed About Trump Denies Knowing Racist Origin of the Phrase "When the Looting Starts, the Shooting Starts"; CDC: 20K More Deaths By Mid-June as Cases Surge in 15 States. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired May 29, 2020 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Ex-police officer Derek Chauvin simply kept his leg, his knee on his neck for nine minutes and in the end, unfortunately, sadly George Floyd is dead.
I'll be back tomorrow with a special edition of THE SITUATION ROOM 11 am Eastern tomorrow, 11 am Eastern. Our special live coverage of all of this continues right now with Erin Burnett OUTFRONT.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, protests growing across the United States at this hour as the officer who was seen using his knee to pin down George Floyd is in custody charged with third degree murder, but does a new preliminary autopsy report complicate this case?
Plus, Minneapolis bracing for another night of protests. I'm going to speak to one black business owner whose place was ransacked. What is his message tonight?
And the Coronavirus death toll in the United States now topping 102,000. New evidence that the virus was in the United States much earlier than thought, the CDC on defense tonight.
Let's go OUTFRONT.
And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.
OUTFRONT tonight, outraged protests growing across the country, as prosecutors announced the first charges in the death of unarmed black man, George Floyd. The officer who was seen using his knee to pin down George Floyd's neck for more than eight minutes nearly nine has been charged with third degree murder and manslaughter. The prosecutor in the case also saying he anticipates charges for the other officers involved.
Now, the charging document also revealing some disturbing details about the moments leading up to Floyd's death. After about six minutes, he stopped moving. An officer checked his pulse, but said he couldn't find one. The officer there did not lift his knee. It would be almost three more minutes, two minutes and 43 seconds before Derek Chauvin removed that knee from Floyd's neck after they said there was no pulse.
It comes as the anger and frustration continues to grow. Minneapolis now bracing for more protests after the outrage boiled over last night. Other cities tonight also on a high alert, protests have been building all day, live pictures out of Washington, D.C. Protesters there marching to the White House. Protesters also blocking a major highway in San Jose, California. All of this, of course, in the time of Coronavirus. Many of those masks and social distance not all of them, these two stories meeting tonight.
Miguel Marquez is OUTFRONT tonight along with Omar Jimenez. He and his team were arrested today live on television.
I want to start with you, Miguel. What is the mood on the ground where you are after the county prosecutor announced Derek Chauvin is now facing charges manslaughter, third degree, for George Floyd's death?
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Very little has changed. The anger is just as great. The crowd here has been growing for some time now. The authorities here needed to connect with the people here and for them to believe them, given that these charges came so late and only after a night of wanton destruction. No one is putting much belief in what authorities here say right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE FLOYD: I can't breathe.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARQUEZ (voice-over): Derek Chauvin, that fired Minneapolis police officer who is seen here kneeling on George Floyd's neck is now under arrest and charged with third degree murder and manslaughter.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE FREEMAN, HENNEPIN COUNTY PROSECUTOR: He's in custody and has been charged with murder. This is by far the fastest we've ever charged a police officer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARQUEZ (voice-over): The other three officers involved are still under investigation and prosecutors say will likely face charges. Floyd's families and supporters say it's not nearly enough.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are not satisfied with one officer.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's right. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's crime. All of them are complicit in his
murder and they all need to be held accountable, just as if it was four black men that killed somebody. That would be under the jail by now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARQUEZ (voice-over): And new tonight, another angle showing Floyd's brutal killing. A warning to our viewers that this video is gruesome and jarring. The video depicts the moments before the previous known eyewitness video of Floyd's death, here you can see three officers holding Floyd down, kneeling on his body.
Officer Chauvin's knee on Floyd's neck as Floyd pleads to catch his breath.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FLOYD: I can't breathe, man. Please.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARQUEZ (voice-over): A preliminary autopsy report showed no physical findings that support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation, but the combined effects of Mr. Floyd being restrained by the police, his underlying health conditions and any potential intoxicants likely contributed to his death.
And it indicated Officer Chauvin's knee was on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes. Two minutes and 53 seconds of which Floyd was unresponsive. CNN has learned that Chauvin also worked in security at the same Minneapolis nightclub as Floyd and may have known him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYA SANTAMARIA, FORMER NIGHTCLUB OWNER: I don't suspect that they recognize each other, even though they may have crossed paths working together with me and my team.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARQUEZ (voice-over): Today, the city began boarding up businesses, prepping for another night of anger spilling into the streets. After the National Guard was called in and police clash with protesters overnight.
Parts of Minneapolis and Saint Paul burned including a local police precinct.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. TIM WALZ (D) MINNESOTA: Minneapolis and Saint Paul are on fire. The fire is still smolder in our streets.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARQUEZ (voice-over): Minnesota's Governor pleading that for calm.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WALZ: ... and I will not patronize you as a white man without living those lived experiences of how very difficult that is. But I'm asking you to help us, help us use humane way to get the streets to a place where we can restore the justice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARQUEZ: Now, there is a curfew in effect for both Minneapolis and Saint Paul tonight. It goes into effect in about two hours till 6 am tomorrow morning and then the same for Sunday. The crowd here has only gathered, State Patrol and National Guard are here right now. Protesters, I know they're moving in other parts of the city as well. There's no indication that they are going to stop, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Obviously, setting up for what could be - who knows, obviously, we all hope it'll be a peaceful night but they're gathering and not looking like they're willing to move. Thank you very much, Miguel.
And as I mentioned, obviously, Miguel is on the ground there in Minneapolis, but we're also following protesters now around the country, Washington, D.C. among the places, right, across the street from the White House right now and our own Brian Todd is there as people are gathering. So Brian, what are you seeing?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Erin, a pretty dangerous situation just unfolded here in Lafayette Park. You see the protesters now going back into the park. They were just crowded right here at the steps of this bank building where we are now, where there was a pretty violent scene.
I just got some more information about what had happened when we came upon the scene here a few minutes ago. The police were escorting a young white male out of the park. The crowd had turned on the police and we thought they might have turned on that young man. What we were just told was that the young man didn't do anything wrong, that anybody here saw that the police just basically jumped on him and accosted him and tried to get him out of here.
And that's when the crowd got very upset because they didn't think that the young man had done anything wrong. The police brought him up these steps and it was pretty violent here for a few minutes and they got him inside this back building here. They went right through this entrance. To our knowledge, he's still in there. He might be getting medical attention because he didn't look like he was doing so well physically.
But that's what really turned the crowd against the police here. They started throwing objects at them. And a couple of the protesters just told me that young man didn't do anything wrong that they knew that the police just turned on him and they got very upset with that and follow them here.
The police hurriedly rushed the man this way. This gentleman here, he's showing me the video of how it unfolded.
Sir, did you actually witnessed this?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, sir. Right here. This is my live video here.
TODD: What do you believe happened to him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So nothing happened to him specifically. We're just marching and then all of a sudden two cops came and then we tried to help them out, but next thing you know they were being aggressive. As you can see in this video.
TODD: Let's try to train on that a little bit. But anyway, well, thank you very much. Again, it escalated very, very quickly, Erin. They got him into this building. We don't know what has happened to that young man. The crowd is going back to Lafayette Park.
These people were very upset a short time ago before that incident. This was a very boisterous, but very peaceful protest. Hopefully it's going to be going back to that right now.
BURNETT: All right. All right. Thank you very much, Brian Todd. You could just see how on edge and how 1905 [00:03:35] these moments are. We're going to be checking in as I said with reporters around the country, Atlanta and other cities where we are now seeing these mass protests.
Of course, keep in mind a lot of these places, people have not been going to work or out of work and you're layering that on top of what is happening.
OUTFRONT now the President of the Minneapolis NAACP, Leslie Redmond, she joins me now on the phone. And Leslie, look, we have a charging document. You've got third degree murder and manslaughter charges for Derek Chauvin. But do you think this is going to calm things? Is this going to be enough? Is this what people think is fair?
LESLIE REDMOND, PRESIDENT, MINNEAPOLIS NAACP: This is not enough, excuse my voice. I've been getting hit with the tear gas as well. But this is not enough. We need to see all of the offices charged. And I believe in this specific instance, I am glad that the officer was finally or the former officer was finally arrested.
But I believe that the charges are not severe enough either. This could potentially even be premeditated murder, right? George and the officer, they actually worked together for a number of years as bouncers and the fact that this was not a split second decision, but this was an over a course of almost 10 minutes of him having his knee on George's neck, Mr. Floyd's neck, it really does show that there was some intentionality behind it.
BURNETT: And obviously, these are really, really crucial questions and could matter a whole lot to what happens here.
Leslie, when you see these images these images, I don't know if you just saw in Washington, D.C. people gathering but of course in Minneapolis tonight people gathering. Our reporter was saying if people are gathering, people want to protest, people want to be out, do you think that people are going to pay attention to the curfew or not, what is your sense of this evening.
REDMOND: D.C. is actually my home state, so I'm really keeping them in my prayers during this time. I believe people should have the right to protest and I've really been on the front lines since the beginning. And I think there's been an unnecessary escalation going on from the police officers and there are also a number of disruptors and professionals in the crowd. I believe that a lot of the burning and different things that have been going on are not actually done by the young people that are being caught in the cross-fire.
So I'm extremely concerned about the curfew. I've been witnessing young people have anxiety attacks after getting tear gassed and it's just been very unfortunate. And I'm not just talking about young black people. I'm talking about young black people of all different races and backgrounds. And so I'm very concerned whether 1910 [00:01:18] intention of going out, talking to the young people, making sure that they know it's a curfew, seeing if they need a ride home. And if not, and they end up getting arrested, how do we have legal services to help and protect them?
BURNETT: And I also just want to get your bottom line here as you raise the issue of - you're saying possible premeditation. That was the word you used. But I guess the bottom line is are you satisfied with the charges against Chauvin which are for manslaughter, unintentional.
REDMOND: I don't know. I'm not satisfied with it, but I am glad that he at least got arrested and is in custody. And I think the next step is also having the other three officers arrested. This was not an individual act, this was really a group activity. It talks about the culture in the Minneapolis police department and had one of those officers simply said this is enough, right?
The other two are on his back. They contribute it in a real way that third of the fourth officer made sure that bystanders weren't able to intervene and potentially save Mr. Floyd's life. Like this was a real joint effort and all of them need to be arrested.
BURNETT: All right. Well, Leslie, I appreciate your time very much. Thank you.
REDMOND: Thank you.
BURNETT: Leslie Richmond, I said President of the Minneapolis NAACP in the center of this at this hour.
I want to go now to Criminal Defense Attorney and former prosecutor Paul Martin, along with Lawrence Kobilinsky, Forensic Science Professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
So Lawrence, we have now seen this video and I warn viewers, it's graphic. It's hard to watch someone's face as you are watching their dying moment and that's what these are. The officer kneeling on George Floyd's neck pleading for him to stop, saying he can't breathe.
We do now have the autopsy the preliminary findings tonight and they say, "There are no physical findings that support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation. So put that in English for us and why could that be so significant?
LAWRENCE KOBILINSKY, FORENSIC SCIENTIST, JOHN JAY COLLEGE OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE: Well, when there is trauma to the neck, there's usually evidence of that internally. Typically, a medical examiner will look at the various cartilages that are in the neck as well as the hyoid bone to look for breaks or fractures.
There's an examination of the muscles on the side of the neck, the strap muscles to see if there's bruising. In other words here, the medical examiner did not find any evidence of internal damage. However, he did discuss these other, perhaps, contributing factors, namely hypertension and the coronary artery disease.
The other thing that I think is very important is that Mr. Floyd was placed on his stomach. He was prone. And that is something that prevents breathing. In normal breathing you inhale, the chest rises, it goes outward and upright and that expands the lungs. But when you're in a prone position and somebody is on top of you, pushing down, you can't breathe.
BURNETT: So let me just asked you that, so when they're saying that there are no physical findings that support a diagnosis of strangulation and they raise coronary artery disease, hypertensive heart disease, along with any potential intoxicants in the system contributing to his death. However, it does seem it boils down to, Lawrence, and I guess this is the question for you at this point from what you have seen, if the officer had not kneeled on George Floyd's neck, would George Floyd be alive today?
KOBILINSKY: That's the key question and I think he certainly would be. I think this is what the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back. When you are on top of somebody like that for a prolonged period of time and there are underlying factors and there may be other factors we don't know about, like pulmonary dysfunction. He may have had asthma, which could have been another contributing factor. We haven't got the toxicology report.
There's a lot that we don't know. This is still a mystery until we get the full autopsy report.
BURNETT: And but it's interesting what Lawrence says, Paul, which is that he would be alive today, even if you have all of these other contributing factors. So Paul, the charging document says that Derek Chauvin, the officer kneeled on Floyd's neck for a total of eight minutes and 46 seconds, OK? And at that one point, another officer 'checked' Mr. Floyd's right wrist for a pulse and said I couldn't find one.
None of the officers moved from their positions. That's a quote from the charging document. Say check for a pulse, they don't get a pulse and another one minute and 53 seconds go by, right? No pulse, one minute and 53 seconds go by.
Officer Chauvin does not lift his knee. So when you hear that, Paul, I wonder is manslaughter third degree murder sort of unintentional, the right charge for that?
PAUL MARTIN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY & FORMER PROSECUTOR: I don't believe so. I believe based upon those facts, you just decided that the defendant (inaudible) least second degree murder. The reason why, just like you see it, once he was aware of the condition of Mr. Floyd, he took no action. And so his failure to act at that point time was intentional.
They told him he did not have a pulse and he did nothing. So therefore, at the very least, you charged with the highest charge that you believe that you can sustain in a court of law and that would have been murder in the second degree.
BURNETT: And so to that point, let me ask you, Paul, because this was just raised, the NAACP Chief in Minnesota raised it, but also it was in Miguel's piece talking to a nightclub owner, Mr. Floyd and Officer Chauvin worked at the same nightclub. And the nightclub owner says she doesn't know if they knew each other, but obviously this does open the door to the fact that they may have known each other and how important could that be here?
MARTIN: Well, I mean, if they knew each other, that may be just a red herring. My real issue is what is stated in this charging document. I'm a little concerned with what the prosecutor has put forward. In this charging document. All they needed to put forward is the bare minimum facts in order to sustain the charge.
It seems to me that they're trying to send too many dog whistles to the defense side to say, listen, you have a basis to try to beat this case. And then in the event that they keep on this type of prosecution, I'm very concerned and maybe this is not the type of case that this district attorney's office should be prosecuted.
BURNETT: So Lawrence, to that point you went to the bottom line of it, they put in there that strangulation wasn't the cause of death. These other things could have contributed, which led to the bottom line question, right, of would he be alive if they had not had that knee on the back of his neck. You say the answer is pretty clear that he would be. What other questions, Lawrence, do you want answer right now?
KOBILINSKY: Well, I will tell you one other thing to add to what Mr. Martin just said. There's something which is very controversial about cause of death. It's called excited delirium, which is something that happens to a person. It's a tremendous physiological response. It could be to drugs, it could be to excitement or getting into a violent, fisticuffs situation. People can die very suddenly.
So that's something that the defense will probably grab onto. But yes, there are still missing pieces here. There's a missing autopsy report, which we don't have. The toxicology report. We really don't know what the history was of pulmonary condition. But I think there's enough here to sustain the charges and I do believe that the underlying factors were contributory. But the primary factor was the police officer with his left knee on Mr. Floyd's neck.
That's right and doing so as we said for almost two minutes after he was told there was no pulse that there at this point does not seem to be any possible answer to that question, which would exonerate this officer in any way. Thank you both very much.
MARTIN: Thank you.
BURNETT: And OUTFRONT next, we are going back to the White House where protesters are gathering the White House now on lockdown.
Plus, CNN's Omar Jimenez and his team arrested today while on the air.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're under arrest.
OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: OK. Do you mind telling me why I'm under arrest, sir? Why am I under arrest, sir?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Omar (ph) is with me live next.
Plus, President Trump trying to explain why he tweeted when the looting starts, the shooting starts at the height of protests in Minneapolis last night.
BURNETT: Breaking news, protests growing in Washington, D.C. At this moment, the White House now is on lockdown. Protesters are gathering right across the street and Kaitlan Collins is right near the White House.
Kaitlan, what are you seeing from where you are?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, these protesters started out on 14th Street in Washington and Main Street, they were going down and now they have come into Lafayette Square in front of the White House. You can see them behind me. I'm going to step out of the way and let you see these protesters that are gathering here.
This park is technically closed. My producer and I were actually walking by it just a few moments ago and the Secret Service Officers told us that we could not get in even though we do hold a hard pass to get into the White House. And then you saw these protesters initially to the left of the park, not where they are now, and then they moved in at once. They're now in front of the White House chanting George Floyd's name, also chanting no peace, very audible.
We're a little bit away in a hotel right off of the park, but you can definitely hear them. If you're in the White House, you can hear them as well. And we should note, people inside the White House grounds are not allowed to leave right now.
Secret Services bar reporters, anyone from leaving the grounds at this moment. As you're seeing, these protests breakout here in front of the White House. They've got signs. They're chanting right now George Floyd's name is something that we've been able to hear pretty audibly several times, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Kaitlan Collins, I know we've had reports of tear gas there as well from our Jim Acosta, so we're going to keep watching that. The live pictures out of Minneapolis as well as crowds are building there. There's supposed to be a curfew starting in less than two hours, but our Miguel Marquez said he didn't see any indication of people planning to comply with that.
This is now going to be the third night of protests over the death of George Floyd. While covering those protests this morning, our own Omar Jimenez and his crew were arrested. It was an incredible moment that we all saw this morning live on television by Minnesota State Patrol. And they had made it very clear and I'm going to make it very clear that they were members of the media. Let me show you what happened.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIMENEZ: Wherever you'd want us, we will go. We're just getting out of your way when you're advancing through the intersection, so just let us know and we got you.
And this is a scene here playing out in Minneapolis. This is part of the advanced police presence that we saw come over the course of really minutes when the local police showed up at the fire department or with the fire department, I should say, on that building. We showed you that it was burning.
This is among the state patrol unit that was advancing up the street saying and scattering the protesters at that point for people to clear the area and so we walked away.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) ...
JIMENEZ: I'm sorry?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're under arrest.
OK. Do you mind telling me why I'm under arrest, sir?
Why am I under arrest, sir?
CREW: Officers, we're with CNN and he's on the air right now.
CREW: He is on the air with CNN.
CREW: You are arresting him live on CNN. We told you before that we are with CNN.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: All right. Omar is now OUTFRONT. Omar, it was pretty incredible just to watch that, watch what was happening to you. So as this they come over and say you're under arrest, I mean, what went through your head?
OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, right off the bat, I was confused because we had been out there reporting for really days at this point, kind of maintaining that same even physical relationship with police trying to keep our distance from the line that they were holding to protect whatever was behind them from protesters that may grow violence.
So what ended up happening was as we were covering a fire that was burning out of control around there and people that were basically rioting and looting there, when these first responders and law enforcement showed up, we were outside of their perimeter. And then a protester or we believe to be a protester came running out of the fray. They ended up chasing that person right past us and then all of a sudden our crew was surrounded.
And as I tried to sort of get out of the circle that they made around our crew, that was when someone was behind me. And so I just waited there. I still didn't think they were going to put handcuffs on us like they eventually did. I just assumed they wanted us to hold in place for a second while they dealt with that situation.
So we were in a state of disbelief. I still can't tell you exactly why we were arrested, but we were.
BURNETT: So the State's Governor then issued a public apology. I mean, look, the whole world has seen what happened to you, Omar. Here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WALZ: I take full responsibility. There is absolutely no reason something like this should happen. Calls were made immediately. This is a very public apology to that team. It should not happen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: So I know you said you still have questions, but Omar mean, did you ever get an explanation for why you were arrested?
JIMENEZ: We never got an explanation. The closest I got was from the officer that was leading me away and I asked him straight up, I said, "Hey, man, what is the deal here? Why are we being arrested?" All they could say is, "Hey, we're just following orders. I'm sorry." And so we ended up - that was the closest I got.
Now, once we were actually released, the Minnesota State Patrol did put out a statement saying that they were basically holding us until they could verify that we were reporters. Well, when they took us to the van on scene, we sat in that van for 30 minutes. Not to mention, we were literally live on television on CNN, as this was happening.
On top of that, I had my press credential out and I was showing them multiple times ...
BURNETT: Yes, I'm looking at it.
JIMENEZ: ... over the course of this, what that was. And so that was their chance to sort of reattach some trust to the situation after it had finished. But they missed that opportunity. Our Communications Department called them out for it and we saw the Governor issue that apology and the Governor did make those calls to get us out as quickly as possible, because I think he knows how important trust is in the story (inaudible) ...
BURNETT: For sure. Can I just ask you the blunt question, Omar, that people have been asking all day, right?
BURNETT: We had a reporter who was nearby who was white, did not have this issue happen. You obviously are not white.
Do you think that that was part of it?
JIMENEZ: Well, in a moment, I didn't think it at all. And while we were actually being arrested, it wasn't until we had gotten off afterwards and it was my colleague Josh Campbell, who was just a block away, he was the first to come up to me, and say, once he had heard what happened, he said, oh, I had a similar interaction with police on a different part of the perimeter where they came up and asked him for credentials and asked him what he was doing. He calmly explained what he was doing and showed his credentials and he went about his day. So you can't deny the two different experiences there.
I'm not going to speak to exactly what is in their head and it's hard to pin their exact motivations --
JIMENEZ: -- but the two experiences there speak for themselves. And when you have a climate like this, and a story we are covering that has a climate like this, there are questions and questions that I think a lot of people assume answers to, Erin.
BURNETT: Yes, we certainly do need answers. All right. Omar, thank you very much. Omar is still there on the ground. You know, 14 hours later, still covering this.
And next, the protests building in Washington. Crowds now building at the White House. The president trying to explain from inside why he tweeted when the looting starts, the shooting starts.
Civil rights leader, House Minority Whip James Clyburn responds.
Plus, some alarming warning by the CDC, 20,000 more Americans could die from the coronavirus in just the next few weeks.
BURNETT: All right, I want to go back to the White House. Brian Todd is there with the crowds. Obviously, just seeing the violence a few moments ago.
Brian, what's happening now?
TODD: Erin, a pretty tense standoff here at Lafayette Park right in front of the White House. These protestors here -- if you want to come in and get a little bit closer -- these protestors here have been pushing down this steel barricade and the police, the Secret Service police will push it back up and it got very tense.
One officer got in one guy's face, and it was going escalate. It looked like it was going to escalate for a few minutes, and it calmed down again. But it's a pretty tense flash point here in front of the White House. This fence keeps getting pushed down.
As we showed you earlier, there was -- it was an altercation with police earlier when the police jumped on top of one protestor and escorted him out quickly. Protestors got really behind that gentleman, wanting to know what happened, the police didn't give him much of an explanation. And what we hear from protesters was they didn't think that gentleman did anything wrong.
That got the crowd to turn against the police. They started to throw many objects, and got to be a scrum. They got a man in a bank building. It was a pretty dangerous and violent scene there for about, say, ten minutes and we have -- we go in again where the people are taunting the police, and the police have been standing their ground pretty calmly over there.
These are the Secret Service police because we are in front of the White House. The D.C. police have handled the situation until we got into Lafayette Park, and until we got here, it was a very peaceful protest. I'd say there were a couple of thousand people on the streets, they were marching down 14th Street. They made a right hand turn down here to the White House, and then it got really tense. There was actually a fire set here a short time ago. An American flag got set on fire here and quickly put out.
So, it's a pretty intense situation here, Erin. The police are trying to deescalate it. But right now, they are just standing there waiting to see if the people push the barricade down again.
BURNETT: Just the tenseness you're seeing. Again, I see with this happening and it's important for us to remember, it's happening in a time of the anxiety and the fear and 20-plus percent unemployment in this country and a pandemic, and all of these things are adding into what a very tense and frightening moment.
Tonight, President Trump is on the defense. He has been accused of inciting violence as part of all this, with a 1:00 a.m. tweet saying the thugs are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won't let that happen. When the looting starts, the shooting starts, thank you.
Now, thank you, the president claims that he did not know the history of that phrase, that it has a racist history specifically.
Here's what he just said moments ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I've heard it for a long time, as most people have been. And, frankly, it means when there's looting, people get shot and they die. If you look at what happened last night and the night before, you see that. It's very common. And that's the way that was meant. And that's the way I think it was supposed to be meant.
But I don't know where it came from. I don't know where it originated.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: OUTFRONT now, the House Majority Whip James Clyburn of South Carolina.
And I appreciate your time, Congressman. I'm glad to see you, and I'm sorry it's under the circumstances. What do you make of the president's attempt to cover himself for the when the looting starts, the shooting starts?
REP. JAMES CLYBURN (D-SC): Well, thank you so much for having me, Erin.
The president knows exactly what he's saying. He knows what he's doing. He is developed some expertise in inciting people. So, I don't accept service upon his statement at all.
BURNETT: So, I want to just make sure our viewers know here. Obviously, there is a blatant implication of when people are looting, you're going to start shooting them, and then there is the history. It appears to have originated in 1967, he said he's heard it many, many times, although he says he doesn't know where it came from.
It was a comment made by the then-Miami police chief, Walter Headley, during a press conference. He announced a campaign against crime that included using dogs, and shotguns, to police majority black neighborhoods. And according to "New York Times" account of that press conference, Headley also said, we don't mind being accused of police brutality.
And then, there are these pictures from 1968, according to a "Miami Herald" report at the time, he repeated the comment, when violence erupted in a predominantly black neighborhood during the 1968 Republican National Convention, when the looting starts, the shooting starts.
That is who the president was quoting. Trump says he did not know about this history, and most people have heard it for a long time, and did not know this link.
Do you buy that?
CLYBURN: No, I don't. The fact of the matter is, we all know that crimes like this, and they are, this is criminal behavior against property, when you start taking lives because of a property crime, you take us back to a place in our history that gave rise to all of this. It may not have had all of the cute phrases, like you just mentioned, but we all know what happened to people of color when they were accused of property crimes. And that's what's going on here.
And most of us know that the background, the history, and this president knows the background and the history. So much of what he says is coded. And he means to send a signal to a certain element that he calls his base. There are many people within that base who are not good people to say the least.
O'DONNELL: So, the president went to the Rose Garden today, he addressed the world. He did not mention George Floyd or Minneapolis, but later this afternoon, when he did address Floyd, he said he has spoken to his family, and that he, President Trump, is calling for the DOJ to investigate Floyd's death.
Here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I have asked that the Department of Justice expedite the federal investigation into his death, and do it immediately, do it as quickly as absolutely possible. I spoke to members of the family. Terrific people. And we'll be reporting as time goes by.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Are you confident that the Department of Justice will do a far and full investigation?
CLYBURN: Absolutely not. The head of the Department of Justice is the attorney general. And we've watched the attorney general, ever since he's been in office, in fact, we also watched him before he got out on office, as he wrote those letters, presented himself as being this president's Cohn. So, we know what he means by that. So, this attorney general is not about to go about meting out justice
in a fair and impartial manner. He showed us what he is. We have heard from him. I have absolutely no confidence that this lieutenant general will do what is right.
BURNETT: All right. I appreciate your time, very much. Congressman, thank you very much as always. I appreciate you.
And as we now see these protests, you see Washington, D.C., we showed Minneapolis. I want to go to Shimon Prokupecz who is here in New York, where we also have protests growing, and obviously, you can see people gathering here right now.
Shimon, what are you saying, where are you?
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME & JUSTICE REPORTER: We are in Brooklyn, at the Barclays Center. We were here for almost two hours, and what was a mostly peaceful protest is now turned violent, in some ways. The police have certainly been more aggressive than they've been out here the last two hours or so. We have seen police pepper spray, heading into the crowd, we've seen people throwing water bottles, at the police.
But something had occurred in the front of the line, which is all the way up ahead. I'm not go into the crowd, because it's not safe, but something was going on, and there are barriers in the front, and what was happening is that the protesters were pushing the barrier, and as they were pushing the barriers, police are pushing them back. At some point, the police made a decision to move in. It is been a mostly peaceful protest, but then they chose to move in.
So, that's the scene here right now. Certainly things, growing a little more tense and they've been all day, and we will see how this plays out as this goes on -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right, Shimon, thank you very much.
As we watch crowds and yet another city where this is happening, OUTFRONT, next, a business owner in Minneapolis bracing for tonight.
He -- you know, huge destruction last night.
And the global pandemic about to reach a major milestone, and the CDC tonight now saying the spread of coronavirus likely began in late January, weeks earlier than previously thought. Did health experts miss something that could've saved tens of thousands of lives?
BURNETT: You're looking at live pictures out of Minneapolis. Tonight, crowds are growing. The curfew is set to begin in just over an hour. So, we'll see what happens there, whether there is defiance or compliance. Businesses in Minneapolis meanwhile are bracing again for violence tonight. OUTFRONT now, Chris Montana, the owner of Du Nord Craft Spirits. His distillery was damaged in the protests.
And, Chris, you know, your business was severely damaged. We're going to show some of the pictures that you took. Look, this was your livelihood, your business you have built, and I am so sorry.
Are you -- are you bracing for more destruction tonight? What are you doing?
CHRIS MONTANA, OWNER OF MINNEAPOLIS BUSINESS THAT WAS DAMAGED IN PROTESTS: Well, there's only so much you can do. Thank you for having me on. Yes, this is difficult, I can't see the pictures you are showing, but I was there when they were taken.
And it's heartbreaking for me, and really, for many members of our community who are watching this destruction. As far as getting ready for today, and what we expect for today, I don't know that anyone really knows. A lot has changed in the past 24 hours.
And so, I am hoping that the community can keep it together, can keep the protest where it should be, speaking specifically about what happened to George Floyd, and not taking it to the extent it was last night, or the night before, where it evolved into wide scale destruction.
BURENTT: You know, I'm going to show you some video I know that you sent us, Chris, of damage from last night. On one side, you can see all of the damage to your business, to the distillery, on the other, fairly untouched. That is where your employees put sign saying that this is a black owned business.
So, on the other side, obviously, you did not have those signs up. Just to be direct here, do you think the looters perception about your race as the owner, was part of this? They didn't put touch the part where it's had black owner.
MONTANA: I think that's the only conclusion you can come to. If you were to understand where Du Nord is, where our distillery is, we are on the same block as the third precinct. That's the epicenter of these protests. You can't find a business and any direction that does not have damage.
The only spot that does not have damage is what you're showing your viewers right now, that one section of the business, that had the signs up. So, I have to believe, that it mattered. I certainly heard people saying that they did not want to affect black-owned businesses, or minority owned businesses. So, I think it did -- I think it did matter.
I have to point out, it touches me, so deeply, that my employees did that of their own volition. They came back, and they came back to a place where tear gas, rubber bullets, and flash bang grenades were going off. They came back, just to do that, and I will continue to thank them from the bottom of my heart.
BURNETT: So, you know, Chris, I just want to ask you, this is happening in a time when you're going through incredible difficulty as a business, right? You have coronavirus, and a pandemic, and you have shutdowns, to a community that is in distress, you are dealing with that professionally, and personally.
I know you've got three young boys, your oldest, 6, and I can relate to that. That's my oldest.
What are you telling them about this? They have this huge destruction to their lives, and now, this happening in their city, and to you?
MONTANA: Well, I'll be honest with you, and this is tough for me to talk about, I can't talk to them about it. I have to lie. As far as they know, there's been a number of accidents, and that cost some fires.
There is a terrible thing that parents of color have to do at some point, when they tell their kids that they are not going to be viewed the same way, in this case, because of the color of their dad. My kids are too young for that.
The moment that happens, it's a piece of childhood that dies. They are just not ready. I can't do that to them yet.
So, I prefer to be an honest and straightforward person, but I -- right now, I'm not.
BURNETT: Well, Chris, I thank you. Thank you for sharing all of that with us. I hope that your story touches people in many ways, but I think that perhaps, most poignantly. Thank you.
MONTANA: Thank you for having me.
BURNETT: And next, a sobering new protection from the CDC, predicting 20,000 more deaths in just weeks from the coronavirus.
BURNETT: Tonight, President Trump terminating America's relationship with the World Health Organization, in the middle of a pandemic. It comes as we're seeing cases trending up in 15 states. And as the CDC projects, more than 20,000 additional deaths here in the next three weeks.
Brynn Gingras is OUTFRONT.
MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D-NY), NEW YORK CITY: Well done, New York City.
BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Once the epicenter for the global pandemic, New York City about to reach a major milestone, it is set to reopen in less than 2 weeks.
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): June 8th, we have to be smart. Again, this is not happy days again, that it's over, we have to be smart.
GINGRAS: The city says it will monitor key data daily in phase one, and if the numbers reach a certain threshold, it could trigger restrictions again.
On Monday, five regions of the state are set to move into the next phase, where hairdressers, business offices, and retail, can open with limits. Like New York, 24 other states in the country are seeing a downward trend in the 7-day average of new coronavirus cases. In Washington, D.C., hair salons reopen today by appointment, and residents could enjoy dining out again, but outdoor only.
MAYOR MURIEL BOWSER, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Today is the first day of phase one, or, what I like to call, stay at home light.
GINGRAS: Georgia, which continues to hold steady, will take the major step of reopening bars and nightclubs with social distancing. Still, there is growing concerns about the rising cases in 15 states, primarily in the Southeast, like Arkansas, which saw its highest single day increase of community spread cases on Thursday. The situation is critical in Alabama, where cases are doubling, two weeks after the stay started to open, ICU beds are filling past, causing shortages in some cities.
DR. CELINE GOUNDER, INFECTIOUS DISEASES SPECIALIST AND EPIDEMOLOGIST: The rural parts of the country are the least prepared to deal with this kind of surge, have the least capacity really to do this. This is what we have been warning about for months now.
GINGRAS: In Washington and California, where the first cases in the country reported, both states are seeing cases spike. California recently, just feeling its biggest jump since the pandemic started.
GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): When you are testing 20 to 30 fold more individuals, you are going to have more positive tests. That's an inevitability.
GINGRAS: And a grim prediction from the CDC as we move into another month of this pandemic, the agency forecasting the death toll could surpass 123,000 deaths in the U.S., in the next 3 weeks.
GINGRAS: Back here live in New York, if that June 8th date that sticks, we can see construction, manufacturing, curbside retail come back to life. Meanwhile, across the country, in another major city, L.A., it's seeing the restart of hair salons, and in person dining, and, Erin, that's effective immediately -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Brynn, thank you very much, I appreciate all of you taking the time to join us on this Friday night is our breaking news coverage continues in Minneapolis, and around the country, "AC360" with Anderson starts right now.