June 16 Black Lives Matter protest news

By Melissa Macaya, Meg Wagner, Mike Hayes, Helen Regan and Steve George, CNN

Updated 9:34 AM ET, Wed June 17, 2020
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7:15 p.m. ET, June 16, 2020

Ahmaud Arbery's mom describes meeting with Trump as "very emotional"

From CNN's Ali Zaslav

Wanda Cooper-Jones
Wanda Cooper-Jones Pool

Ahmaud Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, said her private meeting with President Trump and other victims’ families today was “very, very emotional.” 

Talking to reporters on Capitol Hill this afternoon, she described Trump as “very compassionate.” 

“He did assure each family member that we would and should expect change,” she continued.

Cooper-Jones also said Trump “showed major concerns for all families, not just one family.”

On Trump’s executive order on policing, she said, “I don't think that's enough, but I do think that is a start.”

More on this: At the signing of a new policing executive order, Trump said he held a meeting earlier today with several families of victims of police shootings and racially-motivated violence.

6:29 p.m. ET, June 16, 2020

L.A. police union commends motion to replace some officers with non-law enforcement agencies

From CNN's Alexandra Meeks

The Los Angeles Police Protective League, a union representing nearly 10,000 L.A. sworn personnel, said the move to replace some LAPD officers with non-law enforcement agencies would help improve outcomes between police and the communities they serve.

In a statement to CNN Tuesday, the union said the motion, introduced by Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson Jr., would help to ensure more safe and appropriate outcomes in non-violent situations.

"We agree with Councilmember Wesson that not every call our city leaders have asked us to respond to should be a police response," said Tom Saggau, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles Police Protective League. "We are more than willing to talk about how, or if, we respond to non-criminal and non-emergency calls so we can free up time to respond quickly to 911 calls, crack down on violent and property crime, and expand our community policing efforts."

Saggau said LAPD could do better to meet their mandated response times for emergency calls if other professionals responded to matters like mental health crisis situations, homelessness, loud music complaints and neighborhood disputes. 

"We only go where policymakers say to go, and they always say 'let's send the police to these situations,'" Saggau said. "For years, we've asked why are you first dealing with the systemic issues that contribute to homelessness and mental health on the front end and why aren't you sending folks that are trained to manage these types of situations that aren't violent?"

This comes just days after police unions in Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Jose unveiled a collective agenda calling for national police reform and pledging to root out racist officers.

"Unfortunately, there is racism in our communities and that means across our country there are some racist police officers," the unions said in a joint statement. "Police unions must root out racism wherever it rears its ugly head and root out any racist individual from our profession."

6:48 p.m. ET, June 16, 2020

Family of black man found hanging seeks independent investigation and autopsy

From CNN's Sarah Moon

Courtesy Fuller family
Courtesy Fuller family

The family of Robert Fuller, the 24-year-old black man found hanging from a tree in Palmdale, California, on June 10, is seeking an independent investigation and autopsy to determine the cause of his death, the family’s attorneys said in a statement on Tuesday.

“The Sheriff’s Department immediately declared his death a suicide without completing a full and thorough investigation. The lack of investigation and dismissal of this as a potential murder or hate crime has enraged Mr. Fuller’s family and the entire Antelope Valley community,” attorney Jamon R. Hicks said.

“To rush to the conclusion that this was a suicide and not a homicide is extremely disturbing,” Hicks added. “For African-Americans in America, hanging from a tree is a lynching. Why was this cavalierly dismissed as a suicide and not investigated as a murder?”

Fuller’s family is asking for the independent autopsy to be paid for by the city, according to the statement.

“We want complete transparency. To that end, the family should choose the pathologist to conduct the independent autopsy,” Hicks said.

The city declined to comment on details at this time.

Watch here:

6:17 p.m. ET, June 16, 2020

Philadelphia police removes captain after "chaotic situation" at Christopher Columbus statue

From CNN’s Artemis Moshtaghian and Rebekah Riess

A statue of Christopher Columbus is seen behind barricades at Marconi Plaza, Monday, June 15, in Philadelphia.
A statue of Christopher Columbus is seen behind barricades at Marconi Plaza, Monday, June 15, in Philadelphia. Matt Slocum/AP

The Philadelphia police captain has been removed from command following “a volatile and chaotic situation” at the Christopher Columbus statue in South Philadelphia over the weekend, according to a statement from the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police.

The Philadelphia Police Department confirmed that Capt. Lou Campione's change of command was one of several changes made Monday, according to Staff Inspector Sekou Kinebrew.

On Monday, Philadelphia police also confirmed an active investigation by their internal affairs division in reference to the incident. 

“The Police Department has removed Captain Lou Campione from his command in the 1st District following his diffusion of a volatile and chaotic situation. A 43-year veteran of the department Captain Campione is well respected by his officers, fellow commanders, and most importantly the community he has served tirelessly. Captain Campione's dedication to the community he serves is second to none and is the Gold Standard in Police Commands,” the statement read. “The mayor and police leadership are more concerned with appeasing the anarchist mobs descending upon our city and are less concerned about our citizens, our neighborhoods and the overall public safety of our great city.”

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney announced plans on Monday to initiate a public process to consider the future of the Christopher Columbus statue located in Marconi Plaza. Barriers have been installed around the statue on Tuesday in order to preserve it while the process is followed.

In his statement on Monday, Kenney said he hopes "that by initiating this process, the current tensions in Marconi Plaza can end. I urge all South Philadelphians attempting to protect the statue to stand down and have your voices heard through the public process.”

CNN has attempted to reach Campione for comment.

6:02 p.m. ET, June 16, 2020

Hate crimes task force looking into noose seen hanging in Harlem's Marcus Garvey Park

From CNN's Mirna Alsharif

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has directed the New York State Police Hate Crimes Task Force to investigate a noose found in Marcus Garvey Park in Harlem on Monday.

"New York is no place for hate, and the progress we've made as a society will not be undone by the work of a few cowards," Cuomo said. "We will continue to stand united and condemn hateful acts that target and threaten people because of their race, religion or sexual orientation."

The noose, which was hung on a bell tower structure inside the park in the area of Mount Morris Park and East 122nd Street, was removed and collected as evidence, according to the New York City Police Department.

The New York City Parks Department filed a complaint report for aggravated harassment after they were alerted to the noose's presence on Monday.

“We are dismayed by this incident. NYPD was immediately notified, and we removed the rope from the tree," NYC Parks spokesperson Crystal Howard said.

5:21 p.m. ET, June 16, 2020

Richmond mayor announces police chief’s resignation

From CNN’s Sharif Paget

Richmond Police Chief William Smith has resigned, according to the mayor.
Richmond Police Chief William Smith has resigned, according to the mayor. Steve Helber/AP/FILE

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney announced Tuesday that the city’s chief of police, William C. Smith, resigned after protests following the death of George Floyd.

“As of this morning, I requested Chief Smith’s resignation and he has tendered it,” Stoney said at a news conference. 

“Chief Smith is a good man, he has served this city for a very long time…and I thank him for his service,” he added. 

Major Jody Blackwell has been appointed as the interim police chief.

“He will lead our healing and trust building within our community,” the mayor said. 

Stoney stressed that Richmond has a “good” police department, but said “we can be better.”  

4:55 p.m. ET, June 16, 2020

Mother of police shooting victim, Antwon Rose, says "contrary to reports" her family did not meet with Trump

From CNN’s Chloe Melas

Nate Smallwood/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review via AP/FILE
Nate Smallwood/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review via AP/FILE

 

Michelle Kenney, the mother of Antwon Rose II, issued a statement today, after President Trump mentioned her son, who was shot and killed by an East Pittsburgh Police officer, in a speech about police reform.

Kenney said, “Contrary to reports, I did not meet with the President today at the White House."

She continued: "I came to Washington with one sole intention – to meet and speak with the senators that are devoted to establishing legislation that will encourage better police practices. While my family and I appreciate that the President referenced Antwon’s name in his speech, we wanted to clarify that we never met with the President under any circumstances and do not plan to.”

What is this about: At the signing of a new policing executive order, Trump said he held a meeting earlier today with several families of black Americans who have been killed by police — including Rose's family.

Trump said relatives of Rose, Jemel Roberson, Atatiana Jefferson, Michael Dean, Darius Tarver and Cameron Lamb and Everett Palmer were all in attendance.

Relatives of Ahmaud Arbery, who was fatally shot  in a neighborhood outside Brunswick, Georgia, were also at the White House, Trump said.

4:47 p.m. ET, June 16, 2020

Sen. Scott says his bill does not include outright ban on chokeholds, but gets "very, very close"

From CNN's Manu Raju and Ted Barrett

Evan Vucci/AP
Evan Vucci/AP

Republican Sen. Tim Scott said his police reform proposal does not include an outright ban on chokeholds but argued “we get very, very close to that place” by blocking federal grant funds to departments that don’t ban chokeholds themselves. 

“It eliminates the possibility of getting grants from those departments that have not banned chokeholds,” he said, describing it as “similar” to both the House Democratic plan and President Trump’s executive order. “We believe that gets you to the same outcome.”

Scott, the chief author of the GOP Senate police reform bill that could be released this week, also said his bill’s requirement that states maintain a system for sharing records of law enforcement officers will work effectively with Trump’s executive order announced Tuesday that includes a national database of officers with a history of excessive force. 

“Having the opportunity to pay attention to the president’s executive order for the past several days, realizing that he was bringing the national database of officers who have poor conduct, our ability to preserve the records, makes it easier for that seamless transition to happen, and so I think we are in a better place because we worked on legislation that allows those records to flow up,” Scott said.

Scott was asked if he has any Democratic support for his bill, something that would be needed for it to get 60 votes to advance in the Senate.

“My understanding is that the Democrats have been told they are not allowed to get on this bill,” he replied, suggesting the bill might never be fully debated or amended on the Senate floor.

4:37 p.m. ET, June 16, 2020

White House says today's meeting between Trump and families of police shootings was "very emotional"

From CNN's Nikki Carvajal 

Ja’Ron Smith, deputy assistant to the President
Ja’Ron Smith, deputy assistant to the President Pool

Families of victims of police and racially motivated shootings did not join the President at the podium in the Rose Garden Tuesday because of a “mutual decision” between them and the White House, an administration official said.

Speaking to reporters at the White House on Tuesday, Ja’Ron Smith, deputy assistant to the President, said that the families and the administration agreed they didn’t want the moment to look like the photo op. President Trump signed his executive order on policing after a Rose Garden ceremony, surrounded by members of the law enforcement community.

“It was a mutual decision, because it really wasn’t about doing a photo opportunity,” Smith said. “We wanted the opportunity to really hear from the families and protect them.”

Smith accused “some civil rights groups” of attacking families that participated, calling that, “really unfortunate.” 

“I don’t want to speak too much of what happened in that interaction,” Smith said of the private meeting the President and members of the administration held with families prior to the Rose Garden event, “because the President really wanted to listen to them, and have a safe place, and make it more about listening to them than having a photo opportunity.” 

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said the meeting left the President “devastated."

“It was a very important meeting, a very emotional meeting,” McEnany told reporters Tuesday. “The President, it was an opportunity to hear one-on-one from these families, the painful and tragic, deeply personal stories of their loss of children. In most cases children, sometimes siblings.”

“There were a lot of tears, there was a lot of emotion, and the President was devastated. I was just in the Oval Office before I walked out and he said to me, ‘these were devastating stories. I love these families, and I will be helping these families,’” she said.