June 4 George Floyd protest news

By Jessie Yeung, Steve George, Laura Smith-Spark, Peter Wilkinson, Melissa Macaya, Meg Wagner, Mike Hayes and Fernando Alfonso III, CNN

Updated 12:28 AM ET, Fri June 5, 2020
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3:08 a.m. ET, June 4, 2020

Why posting a black image with the "Black Lives Matter" hashtag could do more harm than good

From CNN's AJ Willingham

Yesterday Instagram feeds turned into endless scrolls of black squares, as people observed "Blackout Tuesday" -- a day promoted to mourn and call for policy change in the wake of George Floyd's death.

Organizations, brands and individuals posted solemn messages featuring stark black backgrounds, sometimes tagging the posts with #BlackLivesMatter.

But it quickly drew controversy for two reasons: Critics argued the use of the hashtag in these posts clogged up critical channels of information on social media, and that it was being used as a form of performative self-promotion in place of more substantial action.

Clogging up channels: Hashtags on Twitter and Instagram are a common way for people to monitor a situation or interest. And since people have been including the #BlackLivesMatter tag on their black square posts, the actual protests have been erased from social media feeds.

"When you check the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag, it's no longer videos, helpful information, resources, documentation of the injustice, it's rows of black screens," music artist Kehlani explained on her Instagram story.

What does it actually do? Some argued that instead of posting a black square -- which doesn't contribute much to the actual conversation surrounding racial injustice or the ongoing protests -- allies of the movement could simply observe a virtual day of silence and pause posting images that are unrelated to Black Lives Matter.

This could redirect attention away from the poster and toward the protests, and open up much-needed space for the voices of black activists and advocates.

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3:01 a.m. ET, June 4, 2020

Crowds gather in France to hold Black Lives Matter protests in solidarity

A demonstrator holds up his hands with the lettering 'Don't shoot' and wears a face mask with the lettering 'I can't breathe' in Toulouse, southern France, on June 3.
A demonstrator holds up his hands with the lettering 'Don't shoot' and wears a face mask with the lettering 'I can't breathe' in Toulouse, southern France, on June 3. Lionel Bonaventure/AFP/Getty Images

The George Floyd in the protests have sparked solidarity demonstrations in a number of cities outside of the US -- and in some cases, highlighted the problems surrounding racism in different countries.

In Paris, Floyd's death has struck a nerve with many people, who faced their own crisis of racial injustice in 2016 when a black man, Adama Traore, died while being detained by police.

"(There is) a great deal of anger out there on the streets about the fact that nearly four years on, no one has been brought to justice," said CNN Correspondent Melissa Bell Thursday. "And there is still controversy over how, exactly, he died."

Now, with Black Lives Matter protests across Paris, the hashtag #JusticePourAdama (Justice for Adama) is trending in France.

“Adama Traoré’s case has become a symbol of police violence in France,” said his brother, Assa Traoré, during comments made earlier this week.

2:59 a.m. ET, June 4, 2020

NBA star Kareem Abdul Jabbar: "Democracy doesn't work" for black Americans

Los Angeles Lakers great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar attends the Los Angeles Lakers and Memphis Grizzlies basketball game at Staples Center in Los Angeles, on February 21.
Los Angeles Lakers great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar attends the Los Angeles Lakers and Memphis Grizzlies basketball game at Staples Center in Los Angeles, on February 21. Kevork S. Djansezian/Getty Images

NBA legend and Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul Jabbar said the decision to charge the Minneapolis officers was "a step toward justice," and praised the Minnesota governor and Minneapolis mayor for acting quickly.

Speaking to CNN on Wednesday, he offered an analogy for what it's like to be black in America.

“It’s like, you know, the United States is this wonderful bus with great seats in the front of the bus. But as you go further to the back of the bus, the seats get worse and the fumes from the exhaust leak in and really wreck with people's health and their lives. But the people at the front of the bus, they have no complaints. It's kind of like that," he said.
"That dust accumulates in the lives of black Americans, and it eliminates all the mechanics of democracy. Democracy doesn't work for us."

He added that nothing had changed in the past 30 years in regards to systemic racism and injustice, pointing to the Rodney King beating and Los Angeles riots in 1991 and 1992.

"Something has to be done." he said. "It's not enough to say, 'That was terrible and my thoughts and prayers are with you.' That's not getting anything done."

2:46 a.m. ET, June 4, 2020

200 members of the National Guard will support local police in San Diego, California

At least 200 National Guard members will be working across San Diego County in southern California to prevent looting and arson, according to the sheriff’s department.

"They will work alongside law enforcement providing security to critical infrastructures (public buildings, courthouses, power grids, etc.) during the protests to prevent looting & arson,” the department tweeted.

The troops would also support local police to "thwart any vandalism, destruction of properties and business break-ins. This mutual aide will help keep our communities safe while protecting everyone's right to protest," said another tweet.

8:45 a.m. ET, June 4, 2020

It's past 2 a.m. in New York and Washington, DC, but peaceful protesters are still on the streets

Demonstrators sing "Lean On Me" near Lafayette Park and the White House in Washington, DC, on Wednesday, June 3.
Demonstrators sing "Lean On Me" near Lafayette Park and the White House in Washington, DC, on Wednesday, June 3. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

In Washington, DC, it's now past 2 a.m., long past the 11 p.m. curfew -- but protesters are still out on the streets.

They're gathered near Lafayette Square, which is located just a few blocks from the White House -- but protesters have been pushed further back today, with some areas blocked off.

St. John's Church, where President Donald Trump took a photo with a Bible earlier this week, was closed to worshippers today for the first time since the 9/11 attack, said CNN Correspondent Alex Marquadt on the scene.

"Still, (people are) protesting peacefully and the mayor of Washington said that curfew, in essence, would not be enforced as long as the protestors do, indeed, stay peaceful," Marquadt said.

In New York, there are also crowds of people still outside, in violation of the citywide 8 p.m. curfew. Law enforcement officers are also on the scene, but things remain calm for now, with protesters mostly kneeling and sitting on the ground with their hands up and holding protest signs.

There were no reported instances of looting tonight, police told CNN earlier.

1:56 a.m. ET, June 4, 2020

Rodney King's daughter says George Floyd's death was "sickening"

Lora King, the daughter of Rodney King, whose brutal beating by white police sparked the Los Angeles riots 20 years ago, spoke out on Wednesday about her father's case and George Floyd's death.

When asked whether she felt we would see justice for Floyd's death, she said, "I don't want to be negative, but no."

"I still don't feel like the officers that were involved in my father's beating -- I don't think we got justice for them," she said. "None of them got long-term sentences ... One of them is employed, I believe, by the Santa Monica department or Culver City department. Which is very depressing for me. Because that means he got his job back, which means somebody else is now suffering because I'm sure he didn't learn because I'm sure he did not get a long-term sentence."

Some context: In 1991, Rodney King was badly beaten by LAPD officers after a high-speed chase through Los Angeles County.

Video of the beating, taken by a witness, shows King being struck by police batons more than 50 times. Over 20 officers were present at the scene, most from the LAPD. King suffered 11 fractures and other injuries due to the beating.

Four police officers were indicted, but were acquitted -- and black Los Angeles erupted in outrage. The ensuing riots led to more than 50 deaths and $1 billion in property damage.

Lora on George Floyd's death: Lora King was roughly the same age as George Floyd's daughter during the beating and riots.

King said what happened her father was "something that I live with every single day. And that's something that (George Floyd's daughter) will, unfortunately, live with every single day. I don't wish that upon anybody."

"You know, that night, my father was beaten. I lost a part of him but I didn't lose him, luckily, by the grace of God ... as far as that night's concerned, I got to hug my father after that. Even though he was never the same. She will never get that opportunity. And, for me, that's -- that's sickening," she said.


1:42 a.m. ET, June 4, 2020

New Orleans police fire tear gas to disperse protesters

From CNN’s Sharif Paget in Atlanta

Police in New Orleans fired tear gas Wednesday night to disperse protesters who police say refused to comply with orders to not walk across the Crescent City Connection, a bridge that stretches across the Mississippi River. 

“Escalation and confrontation hurts us all. NOPD is committed to respectful protection of our residents’ First Amendment rights. However, tonight we were compelled to deploy gas on the CCC in response to escalating, physical confrontation with our officers," tweeted the New Orleans Police Department.

1:38 a.m. ET, June 4, 2020

Atlanta police arrested 43 people today

A woman is helped to her feet by police officers after she agreed to stop blocking a street during a protest, on June 3, in Atlanta.
A woman is helped to her feet by police officers after she agreed to stop blocking a street during a protest, on June 3, in Atlanta. John Bazemore/AP

The Atlanta Police Department said it made 43 arrests related to protests Wednesday.

Protests in the city were largely peaceful, after several days of high tensions and violent clashes that saw tear gas fired.

“Our message is getting out to protesters,” Lieutenant Kevin Knapp of the Atlanta Police Department told reporters earlier Wednesday. “We made strides today."

Officers charged: Earlier today, six Atlanta police officers are being charged with using excessive force during an arrest of two college students at a protest on Saturday night.

1:30 a.m. ET, June 4, 2020

US diplomats worry that crackdowns at home will undermine their mission abroad

From CNN's Jennifer Hansler, Nicole Gaouette and Kylie Atwood

Less than 24 hours after law enforcement officials violently dispersed peaceful protesters outside the White House with pepper balls and rubber bullets, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with survivors of China's brutal 1989 crackdown on the pro-democracy protesters in Tiananmen Square.

Although the protests raging in Washington and across the US did not come up in the meeting, one of those survivors, Henry Li, told CNN that they are worried.

"The US is the leader of the world. It is very tough for Americans right now," he said on Tuesday, a day after President Donald Trump called on state governors to pursue "total domination" amid violent crackdowns on protesters and journalists in cities across America.

Current and former diplomats tell CNN the events at home are "scary" and "heartbreaking" to watch -- and also undermine their mission.

Former US Ambassador to Bulgaria Nancy McEldowney noted that "under any other circumstances, it would of course be wonderful for the American Secretary of State to meet with the survivors of the Tiananmen Square Massacre, because that's what the United States stands for."

"We supported those protesters then. We supported the protesters in the Maidan in Ukraine, and in Tehran, and in Hong Kong. But how can we do so now?" she said.

A current State Department official said that America's "moral standing is challenged." Another State Department official described working with over 130 countries on police training, noting that recipients "are rigorously vetted for human rights compliance."

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