June 4 George Floyd protest news

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7:45 p.m. ET, June 4, 2020

Trump says he has no problem with low-flying helicopters over Washington, DC

From CNN's Jason Hoffman and Barbara Starr,

CNN
CNN

President Trump has said that he did not view low-flying military helicopters over Washington, DC, Monday night as a problem, despite an investigation into those actions by the District of Columbia National Guard and an inquiry requested by Secretary of Defense Mark Esper.

“The problem is not the very talented, low-flying helicopter pilots wanting to save our city, the problem is the arsonists, looters, criminals, and anarchists, wanting to destroy it (and our Country)!” Trump tweeted Thursday evening.

Some context: The National Guard helicopter that was seen flying low over protesters in Washington, DC, on Monday night had a “stated mission” in part to “deter” criminal activity including rioting and looting by keeping a presence overhead, a defense official who has direct knowledge of the orders the crew had. 

The official declined to be identified because the Washington, DC, National Guard is now investigating whether flights were conducted appropriately.

The Lakota UH-72 was also supposed to also deter "unlawful assembly,” provide medical evacuation from the crowd if needed and provide surveillance to command and control for force protection, the official said. 

The investigation, the official said, is focusing on how those orders resulted in the low level flights that sent debris flying and was intimidating to civilians, the official said.

7:28 p.m. ET, June 4, 2020

A lone police officer takes knee during protest in Atlanta

From CNN’s Kevin Conlon and Sharif Paget

CNN
CNN

A lone police officer in Atlanta, Georgia, took a knee Thursday evening during a protest near Centennial Olympic park to show solidarity with those protesting the deaths of black people at the hands of police. 

The white police officer, dressed in tactical gear and wearing a helmet, approached the front lines of the protest to speak with demonstrators. 

Soon after, he removed his helmet and took a knee with some protesters — only a police barricade between — as others nearby chanted “no justice, no peace.”

Some in the crowd shouted at some black police officers further back, asking why they weren’t also participating.

One protester, visible upset, yelled “don’t shoot me” several times at the officers who did not take a knee.

7:25 p.m. ET, June 4, 2020

Atlanta mayor to protesters: "There is something better on the other side of this"

CNN
CNN

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms just addressed protesters in Atlanta a second time, telling the lively crowd, "there is something better on the other side of this."

“I stand here the 60th mayor of Atlanta, the direct descendants of slaves in this state because my forefathers believed there was something better on the other side. And what I’m saying to you all today: there is something better on the other side of this.”

The mayor also urged demonstrators to get tested for Covid-19 because the virus “is still impacting our communities.”

7:39 p.m. ET, June 4, 2020

National Guard helicopter had orders to "deter" criminal activity in Washington, DC, official said

From CNN's Barbara Starr

Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images
Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images

The National Guard helicopter that was seen flying low over protesters in Washington, DC, on Monday night had a “stated mission” in part to “deter” criminal activity including rioting and looting by keeping a presence overhead, a defense official who has direct knowledge of the orders the crew had.   

The official declined to be identified because the Washington, DC, National Guard is now investigating whether flights were conducted appropriately.

The Lakota UH-72 was also supposed to also deter "unlawful assembly," provide medical evacuation from the crowd if needed and provide surveillance to command and control for force protection, the official said. 

The investigation, the official said, is focusing on how those orders resulted in the low level flights that sent debris flying and was intimidating to civilians, the official said

7:02 p.m. ET, June 4, 2020

White House fencing will stay up until June 10, Secret Service says

From CNN's Betsy Klein 

Olivier Douliery/AFP/Getty Images
Olivier Douliery/AFP/Getty Images

Fencing constructed around the White House this week will stay up until June 10, a US Secret Service spokesperson tells CNN.

“The U.S. Secret Service, in coordination with the U.S. Park Police, is announcing the closure of the areas in and around the White House complex. These closures are in an effort to maintain the necessary security measures surrounding the White House complex, while also allowing for peaceful demonstration. Security fencing has been erected and the areas are clearly marked,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

The statement continued: “The areas, including the entire Ellipse and its side panels, roadways and sidewalks, E Street and its sidewalks between 15th and 17ths Streets, First Division Monument and State Place, Sherman Park and Hamilton Place, Pennsylvania Avenue between 15th and 17th streets, and all of Lafayette Park, will remain closed until June 10.”

 

Hear more:

7:11 p.m. ET, June 4, 2020

Ahmaud Arbery's mom says case was mishandled and now it's in the "right hands"

From CNN's Martin Savidge, Angela Barajas and Hollie Silverman 

Ahmaud Arbery's parents Marcus Arbery Sr., left,  and Wanda Cooper speak outside  the Glynn County Courthouse in Brunswick, Georgia, on Thursday, June 4, after a court hearing for the three white men accused in the shooting death of unarmed black jogger Ahmaud Arbery.
Ahmaud Arbery's parents Marcus Arbery Sr., left, and Wanda Cooper speak outside the Glynn County Courthouse in Brunswick, Georgia, on Thursday, June 4, after a court hearing for the three white men accused in the shooting death of unarmed black jogger Ahmaud Arbery. Erik S. Lesser/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Ahmaud Arbery's mother Wanda Cooper spoke with the media outside of the courthouse after the preliminary hearing in her son's killing Thursday.

"The case it was mishandled a hundred percent," Cooper said.

"The facts that were revealed today, DA Johnson and DA Barnhill they had the same exact, they had the same exact evidence and they chose not to make an arrest," Cooper added. "It was really, really mishandled. Very much so."

Cooper went on to say that it is "very troubling because it makes me think that this happened to Ahmaud but how many more people this has actually happened to?"

Regarding the current prosecutors Cooper said, "I'm very confident it's in the right hands at this point."

6:54 p.m. ET, June 4, 2020

Nearly 1,200 complaints have been made against San Jose police since protests began

From CNN's Cheri Mossburg

Nearly 1,200 complaints have been made against the San Jose Police Department since protests began in earnest four days ago, according to Chief Eddie Garcia.

In that same time frame, 180 people have been arrested for looting and vandalism, among charges.

Most of the complaints center around the actions of one officer, who was seen on video verbally antagonizing protesters.

In a news conference Thursday, Garcia vowed that his agency will look into every complaint, and review the actions officers took during protests and look at ways to improve.

“We will look at everything not because of public outcry, but because that’s what professional police departments do,” Garcia said.

When protests turned violent Friday night, Garcia described the scene as agitators riled up protesters, and numerous projectiles, including frozen water bottles, rocks, and metal rebar, were thrown at officers. Garcia defended the decision to use chemical agents and rubber bullets to disperse the crowd.

“We are not going to lose this city,” Garcia emphasized.

“I stepped into a war zone. I have never seen anything like it,” Capt. Jason Dwyer said, explaining his experience in policing the violence. “So much chaos was raining down at one time.”

Dwyer acknowledged the optics of using chemical agents, saying, “we know it looks bad.” He then questioned, “which one’s gonna look worse? People rubbing their eyes and coughing or officers striking individuals with batons and breaking bones?”

6:43 p.m. ET, June 4, 2020

Police and National Guard withdraw from protest near White House

From CNN's Brian Rokus

Police and National Guard troops – seen in great numbers last night – have withdrawn from one of the main protest sites near Lafayette Park and the White House.

Last night, lines of National Guard troops and large military vehicles separated protesters from the newly-established fence on the edge of the park. This afternoon, in contrast, protesters were seen sitting immediately up against the fence without any authorities in sight, CNN's Brian Todd reported.

Earlier Thursday, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser said she was "very concerned" about how federal law enforcement expanded farther out from the White House complex on Wednesday night, and said she had requested the DC police chief talk to federal leaders to push the perimeter line back to Lafayette park, which is in front of the White House.

"When they pushed out onto a DC street, that is too far and that is what we push back on," Bowser said, confirming that the city was successful in moving the federal forces back toward Lafayette park.

DC streets are under the jurisdiction of the Metropolitan Police Department, but the area around the White House complex falls under federal jurisdiction. 

Washington, DC, has eliminated its curfew tonight.

6:59 p.m. ET, June 4, 2020

NYPD commissioner says he expects suspensions for some officers captured on video using force

From CNN's Sarah Jorgensen

WABC
WABC

New York City Police Commissioner Dermot Shea outlined three groups of people involved in the protest dynamic during a news conference on Thursday evening – anarchists, looters, and core protesters who he described as being worried those other groups could “hijack” their message. 

After Shea recalled the killings of NYPD officers over the years, he expressed concern about the way that words can be “weaponized” to incite hate. 

But he turned contrite.

“For there to be calm, there must be contrition. So I am sorry. Sometimes even the best – and the NYPD is the goddamn best police department in this country – but sometimes even the best fall down," he said. "So for our part in the damage to civility, for our part in racial bias, in excessive force, unacceptable behavior, unacceptable language, and many other mistakes, we are human. I am sorry. Are you?”

Shea led off the briefing with a montage of body camera video and what appeared to be cell phone video showing encounters between police and protesters this week.

“Just look at those images. Look at them. You can hear the horrific pleading in some of them," Shea said.

Shea then slammed what he described as “intentional violence during what could have been and should have been peaceful protests.” 

“This is not what democracy looks like. This is violence, pure and simple,” Shea said, after listing examples of violence from the past few days, including an arrest that he said had happened “five minutes ago” in the Bronx of a person with a firearm at an otherwise lawful protest, and the stabbing of an officer last night.

Shea said that investigations into the incidents seen on video where police officers are seen acting “unprofessional” are progressing as fast as possible “in the middle of a riot situation.”

“Without a doubt there will probably be a few officers suspended as a result of those actions,” he said.