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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7:57 p.m. ET, June 4, 2020

Here are the latest developments on the George Floyd protests and memorial

It's almost 8 p.m. in New York. In case you're just joining us, here are the important headlines from today:

  • Emotional debate erupts over anti-lynching legislation: In an emotional exchange on the Senate floor, Democratic Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Kamala Harris of California spoke out Thursday against an amendment that GOP Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky was trying to add to anti-lynching legislation.
  • Bail set at $1 million for three ex-officers charged in George Floyd's death: A judge on Thursday set bail for three former Minneapolis police officers charged in George Floyd's death at $1 million each, or $750,000 under certain conditions, including that they do not work in law enforcement or have any contact with Floyd's family. J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao appeared in court one day after they were arrested and charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.
  • At his memorial, Sharpton said George Floyd changed the world: The Rev. Al Sharpton spoke near a casket carrying Floyd's body at the North Central University in Minneapolis. The event was the first in a series of memorial services honoring Floyd. It was a time for Floyd's family to mourn a man who in his 46 years of life "touched many hearts" and whose death sparked momentum toward change within days.
  • Ahmaud Arbery was hit with a truck before he died, and his killer allegedly used a racial slur, investigator testifies: The hearing lasted about seven hours, with the judge ruling all three defendants — Travis McMichael; his father, Gregory McMichael; and William "Roddie" Bryan — would stand trial on all charges.
  • The Floyd protests are sparking a surprising debate in black America: Protesters have captured the attention of the world over the past week. But there's a difference between getting attention and getting change. How can people translate the energy unleashed by the protests into transformative action?
8:00 p.m. ET, June 4, 2020

Bishop Michael Curry: Trump could have been an "example of moral" leadership with church visit

From CNN's Leinz Vales

Rev. Michael Curry, the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, said President Trump could have been an "example of moral and spiritual leadership" if he read from the bible he held up when he visited a church that had been damaged during demonstrations.

"I really do believe that the President could have gone over to the church and open the bible and read from it where it says, blessed are the peacemakers," Curry said. "Opened it and read from it where it says, 'do unto others where you would have them do unto you.' Read from it where it says, 'you should love your neighbor as yourself.'" 

Trump received backlash Monday after he walked from the White House to St. John's Episcopal Church, as peaceful protesters just outside the White House gates were forcefully dispersed.

Curry added that if Trump read the bible, he could have "invited the nation to a moment of silent prayer, asking everyone to pray for God to help with us, to find our way, to come together and to heal our land."

Watch:

7:52 p.m. ET, June 4, 2020

Arbery family attorney says he is meeting with FBI, DOJ over possible prosecution of state officials

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

Lee Merritt, the attorney representing the family of Ahmaud Arbery, said he and the family are going to meet with the FBI and Justice Department tonight after new evidence was revealed in the case during Thursday's preliminary hearing.

"Our next meeting is with the FBI and it is with the Department of Justice to speak to them about some of the additional facts that came out during this case and talk about the prosecution of Mr. George Barnhill and any other state actors who may have been involved in this cover up and the denial of this family justice for so long," Merritt said.

Waycross Judicial Circuit District Attorney George Barnhill was the second district attorney to recuse himself in this case.

Georgia Bureau of Investigation special agent Richard Dial revealed in his testimony during the preliminary hearing Thursday that Greg McMichael was in contact with his former employer, the Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney's office, while still at the scene of Arbery's fatal shooting. 

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."