June 22 Black Lives Matter protests

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11:55 p.m. ET, June 22, 2020

Constitutional law expert says attempts to remove Andrew Jackson statues "long overdue"

Michael Higginbotham speaks with CNN's Don Lemon on Monday, June 22.
Michael Higginbotham speaks with CNN's Don Lemon on Monday, June 22. CNN

Michael Higginbotham, professor of constitutional law at the University of Baltimore, said from a historical perspective attempts to pull down statues of former US President Andrew Jackson were "long overdue."

"Many Americans, they have sort of a movie version of American history, like a Birth of a Nation or Gone With the Wind version, and it's false, it's one-sided, and it's superficial," Higginbotham told CNN's Don Lemon.

A debate has raged across the US over recent weeks over whether statues of controversial figures from American history should be removed or left standing, include Confederate war heroes and former slave owners.

On Monday, protesters in Washington D.C. attempted to pull down a statue of Jackson, the seventh US President, who has been criticized for his harsh treatment of Native Americans. Jackson's policies eventually led to the forced relocation of Native Americans, killing thousands along the infamous "Trail of Tears."

President Donald Trump in a tweet on Monday described the protesters' actions as "disgraceful vandalism."

But Higginbotham said that the US needed to be "more sophisticated about our analysis of our founders and of our history," including adding statues of people whose morality has "stood the test of time."

"People like George Wythe, who signed the Declaration of Independence but freed all his slaves at the time he inherited them," Higginbotham said.
11:37 p.m. ET, June 22, 2020

Trump warns protesters who defaced church exterior could face up to 10 years in prison

President Donald Trump listens during a roundtable meeting at the White House on June 15 in Washington.
President Donald Trump listens during a roundtable meeting at the White House on June 15 in Washington. Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

US President Donald Trump has warned that protesters who defaced the exterior of St. John's Church close to the White House could face up to 10 years in prison.

A group of several hundred protesters tried to occupy Lafayette Park across the street from the White House earlier tonight, to create what some called a "Black House Autonomous Zone," similar to the "Capital Hill Autonomous Zone" in Seattle.

"BHAZ" was spray-painted across the front of St. John's Church. Protesters also tried to remove the statue of former President Andrew Jackson in the park.

In a late night tweet, President Trump described the protesters' actions as "disgraceful vandalism."

"Numerous people arrested in D.C. for the disgraceful vandalism, in Lafayette Park, of the magnificent Statue of Andrew Jackson, in addition to the exterior defacing of St. John’s Church across the street. 10 years in prison under the Veteran’s Memorial Preservation Act. Beware!" he said.

11:23 p.m. ET, June 22, 2020

Confederate flag "represents treason," says former NASCAR driver Willy T. Ribbs

Willy T. Ribbs speaks with CNN's Don Lemon on June 22.
Willy T. Ribbs speaks with CNN's Don Lemon on June 22. CNN

Former NASCAR driver Willy T. Ribbs has compared the Confederate flag to the Nazi swastika, saying a decision to ban the flag from all NASCAR events is overdue.

"The Confederate flag means the same to African Americans as the swastika does to Jewish people," Ribbs told CNN's Don Lemon tonight.
"It's more than demeaning, it represents the support of slavery, it represents treason. For this country to survive socially, we've got to get through this or we're not going to make it to 2050. We'll be done."

NASCAR announced on June 10 that it would be banning the Confederate flag from all events, saying it "runs contrary to our commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment."

But there was pushback to the move. After NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace repainted his car with a "Black Lives Matter" slogan, a noose was found in his garage.

Ribbs said that he had regularly experienced racism during his time as a NASCAR driver, saying he had received abusive letters and death threats.

"There is going to be some people are going to push back and it's not everyone ... The good thing is, that the good people in all colors are going to push for the right thing," he said.

Watch:

11:07 p.m. ET, June 22, 2020

Protesters tried to form "Black House Autonomous Zone" in front of White House, CNN reporter says

Protesters pull down a fence surrounding the statue of Andrew Jackson in Lafayette Square near the White House on June 22 in Washington.
Protesters pull down a fence surrounding the statue of Andrew Jackson in Lafayette Square near the White House on June 22 in Washington. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Protesters in front of the White House told CNN's Boris Sanchez that they had been attempting to start a "Black House Autonomous Zone," similar to the one in Seattle, when they were forced out by police.

Hundreds of protesters are still on the scene, being held out of the park by police lines.

CNN's Sanchez said he was walking away from the area at about 6:30 p.m. ET when he saw protesters grab a fence from a nearby construction site and try to block access to the area.

"They let me in and I spoke to one of the organizers of what they're calling the 'Black House Autonomous Zone' ... (One protester said) that this spontaneous move was not planned, this is something that protesters are just sort of doing spontaneously," Sanchez told CNN's Don Lemon.

Images of the historic St John's Episcopal Church showed "BHAZ" spray-painted on the pillars at the building's entrance. US President Donald Trump held a controversial photo-op outside the church earlier in June.

The Seattle "Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone," as it is known by protesters, is an area of the city occupied by protesters surrounding the East Precinct police department, which has been boarded up and abandoned. Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan called for it to be cleared on Monday.

Watch:

10:35 p.m. ET, June 22, 2020

Rep. Val Demings calls for police reforms

Val Demings speaks with CNN's Anderson Cooper on June 22.
Val Demings speaks with CNN's Anderson Cooper on June 22. CNN

Changes need to be made to help resolve growing tensions between police and the communities they work in, former police officer and Democratic Rep. Val Demings told CNN's Anderson Cooper Monday.

"I spent 27 years as a law enforcement officer. I had the honor of serving as the chief of police. And yes, quite frankly, there are reforms that need to take place," she said.

Demings called for greater authority to be given to police chiefs and sheriffs to allow them to hold personnel to account, including the authority to fire or discipline officers.

"Also, banning chokeholds. I'd like to say banning neck restraints of all kinds, any restraint above the shoulders should be banned. Also looking at training ... police departments all over the country should already know that the use of deadly force should be a last resort," Demings said.

Demings has been mentioned as a potential vice presidential nominee to run with Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.

Speaking about the ongoing removal of statues by protesters and authorities across the country, Demings said that while she wouldn't call for the statues to be "removed or destroyed," it was time to "address racism in America in a most serious way."

"In this country, for the past 400 years, racism has been the ghost in the room," Demings said.

Watch:

10:00 p.m. ET, June 22, 2020

Autopsy for teen shot dead by deputy placed on "security hold"

Andres Guardado's shooting in the city of Gardena sparked protests over the weekend.
Andres Guardado's shooting in the city of Gardena sparked protests over the weekend. Noe Abarca via AP

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has placed a "security hold" on the autopsy report for Andres Guardado, the 18-year-old man who was fatally shot by a sheriff’s deputy last week in the city of Gardena.

“Since LASD placed a security hold on the case, the report and the cause of death cannot be released to the public,” Sarah Ardalani, the Public Information Officer for the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner’s office told CNN on Monday.

Ardalani said a security hold can last “from months to years, depending on the investigation and the agency.” Guardado’s body was scheduled to be examined on Monday. 

A spokesman for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office told CNN they could not immediately comment on the matter.

Guardado’s shooting in the city of Gardena sparked protests over the weekend with hundreds of demonstrators demanding justice for the 18-year-old, leading to clashes with police.

9:33 p.m. ET, June 22, 2020

Seattle mayor says it's time for people to leave the city's "autonomous zone"

From CNN’s Andy Rose

People walk around the "Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone," on June 11 in Seattle, Washington.
People walk around the "Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone," on June 11 in Seattle, Washington. Jason Redmond/AFP/Getty Images

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said Monday that authorities will be working to get protesters to clear the “autonomous zone” established in the Capitol Hill neighborhood -- but they won't use force.

“It’s time for people to go home,” Durkan said. “We can still accommodate people who want to protest peacefully ... but the impacts on the businesses and residents in the community are now too much.”

The "Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone," as it is known by protesters, is an area of the city occupied by protesters surrounding the East Precinct police department, which has been boarded up and abandoned.

But after a weekend with three nighttime shootings in the area, Durkan said the city will be working with Black-led community organizations to speak with leaders of the “autonomous zone" to convince them to leave the area, especially during the most dangerous overnight hours.

“We don’t have a specific date by which I can promise you it’s all going to be resolved,” Durkan said.
9:09 p.m. ET, June 22, 2020

Press told to leave White House grounds amid protests

CNN
CNN

In an unusual move, CNN’s team at the White House, along with other members of the White House press corps, have been told by the US Secret Service to immediately leave the White House grounds.

The move comes during an ongoing situation in Lafayette Park in front of the White House, where protesters have been trying to bring down the statue of former President Andrew Jackson.

Those protesters have now been pushed back out of the park by police.

"Protesters put ropes around a statue of Andrew Jackson in the park, they were trying to topple that statue and very quickly you saw police push those protesters back," CNN's White House Correspondent Kaitlan Collins said from in front of the White House.

Watch:

8:34 p.m. ET, June 22, 2020

Seattle police will return to precinct emptied during protests

From CNN’s Andy Rose

The vacated Seattle Police Department's East Precinct is seen in the area known as the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone on June 12 in Seattle, Washington.
The vacated Seattle Police Department's East Precinct is seen in the area known as the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone on June 12 in Seattle, Washington. Jason Redmond/AFP/Getty Images

The Seattle Police Department will be returning to the East Precinct, which was boarded up and abandoned after protesters established an “autonomous zone” outside the building.

Mayor Jenny Durkan, speaking at a news conference Monday evening, did not give an exact deadline for officers to return. 

Three people were shot in the Capitol Hill Organized Protest area over the weekend, said Police Chief Carmen Best, including a 19-year-old man who was killed. "It is not unnoticed that the victims were Black men,” Durkan said.

Best said officers who responded to the most recent shooting were met by a “hostile crowd” who prevented first responders from quickly reaching the victims. Best said there have also been reports of rape, arson and property destruction in the zone.

“We cannot walk away from the truth of what is happening here,” Best said. “This is about life or death.”

The police chief strongly criticized City Council's decision to prevent officers from using crowd control weapons like tear gas.

“A life might have been saved if not for the circumstances created by hasty legislation,” Best said.