June 6 George Floyd protest news

By Helen Regan, Brett McKeehan, Rob Picheta, Peter Wilkinson, Fernando Alfonso III and Amir Vera, CNN

Updated 12:37 AM ET, Sun June 7, 2020
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12:36 a.m. ET, June 7, 2020

Our live coverage of the nationwide George Floyd protests has moved here.

12:30 a.m. ET, June 7, 2020

Trump tweets "Thank you" to Washington DC's National Guard and police

US President Donald Trump tweeted about the protests in Washington, DC, tonight.

"Much smaller crowd in DC than anticipated. National Guard, Secret Service, and DC Police have been doing a fantastic job. Thank you!" he tweeted.

Fact check: There were tens of thousands of people on the streets in DC today, in what appears to be the biggest gathering in the city since Floyd's death, said CNN Correspondent Alex Marquadt, reporting from the scene.

Things stayed peaceful all day, with no reported clashes with police. Reflecting the more peaceful nature of the protests, there is no curfew tonight.

There was also a much lighter police presence, in sharp contrast to earlier in the week, when National Guard troops and federal agencies swarmed the city. Earlier today, the commanding general for the DC National Guard told CNN that the thousands of out-of-state troops could start leaving the city as soon as Monday.

11:45 p.m. ET, June 6, 2020

Protesters are calling to defund the police. What does this mean?

From CNN's Scottie Andrew

Demonstrators calling to defund the Minneapolis Police Department march on University Avenue on June 6, in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Demonstrators calling to defund the Minneapolis Police Department march on University Avenue on June 6, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

There's a growing group of dissenters who believe Americans can survive without law enforcement as we know it. America, those dissenters believe, may even be better off without it.

The solution to police brutality and racial inequalities in policing is simple, supporters say: Just defund police.

What does this actually mean? This proposal means instead of funding a police department, a sizable chunk of a city's budget is invested in communities, especially marginalized ones where much of the policing occurs.

The movement is a spectrum: Some supporters want to reallocate some, but not all, funds away from police departments to social services. Some want to strip all police funding and dissolve departments.

Both interpretations center on reimagining what public safety looks like.

It also means dismantling the idea that police are "public stewards" meant to protect communities, since many black communities and people of color feel unprotected by police, said Philip McHarris, a doctoral candidate in sociology at Yale University and lead research and policy associate at the Community Resource Hub for Safety and Accountability.

What about implementing reforms? Police trainings and body cameras haven't brought about the change supporters want -- and often, communities don't feel safe calling the police when they face real threats of danger and violence. Growing up, McHarris instead relied on neighbors who helped him navigate these threats.

What if, he said, those people could provide the same support they showed him on a full-time basis?

So where would the funds go? Instead of the police force, city funding could go toward social services for mental health, domestic violence and homelessness, among others.

Those dollars can be used to fund schools, hospitals, housing and food in those communities, too -- "all of the things we know increase safety," McHarris said.

Read more here:

11:31 p.m. ET, June 6, 2020

Police in Seattle are clearing protesters with flash bangs

In Seattle, Washington, police and protesters are clashing near Capitol Hill.

Police, standing on the other side of a fence, appear to be trying to clear protesters by using flash bangs on the street. There is smoke hanging in the air.

This comes after the Seattle police chief ordered the suspension of tear gas in crowd management on Friday.

KOMO
KOMO

11:38 p.m. ET, June 6, 2020

Protesters in Atlanta danced to Childish Gambino and a live band played to families on the street

Zachary Nealy leads a brass band calling itself the Protesters Mass Band atop a parking garage in downtown Atlanta, on Saturday, June 6.
Zachary Nealy leads a brass band calling itself the Protesters Mass Band atop a parking garage in downtown Atlanta, on Saturday, June 6. Jeff Amy/AP

Earlier today in Atlanta, the marches saw pockets of joy, as protesters danced to blaring music on the crowded streets.

They danced to Childish Gambino's "This is America," and did the electric slide dance near Centennial Olympic Park in the city's downtown.

The mood was light, with cheering and applause. Families marched with children; at one point, a live band even played on top of a parking garage.

“Music has completely changed the atmosphere, as you can see," the band director told CNN. "As soon as we started playing, the crowd just immediately came this way. We just want justice. We understand what’s going on. Music will bring togetherness and everybody is here now."

CNN Correspondent Martin Savidge said: "We went from a street protest to what is now a party in the street -- but still with the consciousness of what this is all about. You can dance and still chant 'Black Lives Matter.'"

It's a stark contrast to just a week ago. Last Friday, there was chaos on the streets of Atlanta, when demonstrators lit a car on fire and broke windows at the CNN Center. Protesters threw firecrackers at police and smoke bombs into buildings.

Watch:

11:08 p.m. ET, June 6, 2020

Some protesters are still out in Buffalo, New York, where police shoved a 75-year-old man

Robert McCabe, left, and Aaron Torgalski.
Robert McCabe, left, and Aaron Torgalski. Erie County District Attorney's Office 

It's past curfew in the city of Buffalo, in upstate New York, but there is still a small group of protesters on the street.

They're gathered in Niagara Square, in the city's downtown -- where police officers pushed over and injured a 75-year-old man, Martin Gugino, during protests on Thursday night.

Video of the demonstration shows a row of officers walking toward Gugino and two pushing him. His head bleeds onto the sidewalk as officers walk past him, some looking down at him.

Gugino was hospitalized with a head injury.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo called the incident "wholly unjustified and utterly disgraceful," and said on Twitter that "police officers must enforce — NOT ABUSE — the law."

Officers plea not guilty: The two officers were suspended without pay, and pleaded not guilty earlier today to charges of assault in the second degree.

Following their suspension, 57 Buffalo police officers resigned from the force's emergency response team. They did not resign from the force.

10:37 p.m. ET, June 6, 2020

What the protests look like now in New York, Washington, DC, and Los Angeles

A demonstrator stands in front of West Hollywood Sheriffs Police Department during a peaceful protest in West Hollywood, California on June 6.
A demonstrator stands in front of West Hollywood Sheriffs Police Department during a peaceful protest in West Hollywood, California on June 6. Apu Gomes/AFP/Getty Images

It's about 10:30 p.m. in New York and Washington, DC, and 7:30 p.m. in Los Angeles, but big crowds are still out on the streets in both cities, and spirits are high.

In New York, protesters are marching through Greenwich Village in downtown Manhattan. Curfew was at 8 p.m., but there isn't a heavy police presence tonight, and police haven't been enforcing the curfew with arrests like earlier this week.

The protesters have been marching for hours now. Some of the organizers and leaders keep morale up with call-and-response chants like "Do not engage, we are united, we are peaceful" and "United, the people will never be defeated."

"The system is not going to win," one protester told CNN. "The people have a voice now and they're listening to us. They're listening to us because we are united. They're listening to us because stuff like this happens in the middle of Manhattan, where thousands upon thousands of people don't have to let injustice happen anymore."

In Washington, DC, crowds are massive tonight -- perhaps the biggest since they began, said CNN Correspondent Alex Marquadt on the scene.

Curfew was lifted earlier this week, and protests remain peaceful. People are gathering on the edge of Lafayette Park, close to the White House, taking photos with a new street sign that reads "Black Lives Matter Plaza."

There are some members of law enforcement and National Guard troops in sight -- but nowhere near the aggressive numbers seen earlier in the week, Marquadt said.

In Los Angeles, curfew has also been lifted and protests remain peaceful, with the mood light tonight.

The marchers, numbering at least 1,000, is diverse, said CNN reporter Lucy Kafanov on the scene. She described seeing "members of the Asian community, Latino community, white people, black people, LGBTQ, everyone."

"The community vibe is really notable," she said. "There's a lot of folks walking around handing out snacks, masks, hand sanitizer, food for the demonstrators ... One of the beautiful things on a human level we've seen is, as they go past various apartment buildings, people come out to their balconies, start clapping pot and pans in solidarity of the protest."
10:17 p.m. ET, June 6, 2020

In Paris, Black Lives Matter protesters have been demonstrating for days

Riot policemen gather during a protest at the Champ de Mars, with the Eiffel Tower in background in Paris on June 6, as part of "Black Lives Matter" worldwide protests.
Riot policemen gather during a protest at the Champ de Mars, with the Eiffel Tower in background in Paris on June 6, as part of "Black Lives Matter" worldwide protests. Geoffroy Van Der Hasselt/AFP/Getty Images

The Black Lives Matter movement and ongoing US protests have struck a chord with many around the world -- perhaps most notably in Paris, where protesters have been demonstrating throughout the week, and are on the streets again on Saturday.

The Paris protesters are marching in solidarity with those in the United States -- but also to protest racial injustice and police brutality in their own country.

At least 20,000 people demonstrated in Paris on Tuesday, in support of the family of Adama Traoré, a black man who died in 2016 in Paris police custody.

Traoré died on his 24th birthday after he was taken into police custody for fleeing an identity check.

His sister, Assa Traoré, says police told her his final words were "I can't breathe."

Adama and George Floyd "died in the exact same way. They carried the weight of ... three cops on them. They had the same words," she told CNN.

The protests on Saturday: Earlier in the day, several thousand people demonstrated in Paris as well as other French cities.

Traoré's name appears often in these protests, on signs and in chants -- but protesters here have also adopted some of the slogans from their counterparts in the US, like "No justice, no peace."

"You really sense this is a movement that's been given inspiration," said CNN Correspondent Melissa Bell at the scene.

9:59 p.m. ET, June 6, 2020

Protesters should wear face masks and bring hand sanitizer, experts say

Demonstrators wear face masks during a protest at Washington Square Park in New York on Junedenouncing systemic racism and the police killings of black Americans rally in Washington Square Park in the borough of Manhattan on June 6, 2020 in New York City. This is the 12th day of protests since George Floyd died in Minneapolis police custody on May 25. (Photo by Scott Heins/Getty Images)
Demonstrators wear face masks during a protest at Washington Square Park in New York on Junedenouncing systemic racism and the police killings of black Americans rally in Washington Square Park in the borough of Manhattan on June 6, 2020 in New York City. This is the 12th day of protests since George Floyd died in Minneapolis police custody on May 25. (Photo by Scott Heins/Getty Images) Scott Heins/Getty Images

The protests are seeing large crowds gather in close quarters across the country -- and, experts warn, could lead to a second wave of Covid-19 infections.

"Honestly, I am worried about a new spike. But I was worried about this new spike well before there were protests," said epidemiologist and former Detroit health commissioner Abdul El-Sayed.

But, he added, "I don't want to folks to think that we're pitting public health against the protests -- because we know that in excess of 83,000 black Americans die every year because of racism and that itself is also a public health issue."

Instead of framing it as a choice between protesting and coronavirus, here are some things he suggested protesters do to keep themselves as safe as possible:

  • Wear a face mask
  • Avoid shouting if possible, as more droplets are projected from the mouth when shouting. Instead, consider carrying signs or using objects to make noise.
  • Stay in tight groups and avoid intermingling with other or bigger groups, to limit potential exposure.

Authorities have a responsibility to address these concerns too, he said: keeping people tightly packed together in vans or cells can be dangerous for potential infection.