June 11 Black Lives Matter protests

By Meg Wagner, Melissa Macaya, Mike Hayes, Joshua Berlinger, Steve George, Laura Smith-Spark and Peter Wilkinson, CNN

Updated 12:41 AM ET, Fri June 12, 2020
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4:22 p.m. ET, June 11, 2020

Aisha Tyler on "Friends" creator apology: I'm glad, but she likely "knew then what she knows now"

From CNN's Maureen Chowdhury

Aisha Tyler speaks onstage at IMDb LIVE Presented By M&M'S At The Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Awards Viewing Party on February 9 in Los Angeles.
Aisha Tyler speaks onstage at IMDb LIVE Presented By M&M'S At The Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Awards Viewing Party on February 9 in Los Angeles. Rich Polk/Getty Images for IMDb

Marta Kauffman, the co-creator of the popular sitcom "Friends," recently apologized for the lack of diversity on the show during its 10-year run.

Actress Aisha Tyler, who appeared on the show as its first black series regular, said that while she's glad and appreciates that Kauffman is attempting a "full-throated apology" she believes that Kauffman "knew then what she knows now."

"I think it points to a large issue not just in Hollywood, but culturally … the casual racism of apathy," Tyler told CNN's Brianna Keilar.

Tyler said that she thinks that the "show was just a function of Marta’s personal experiences, and she was just telling the stories that she knew, and it just happened to be about white people."

Tyler also discussed how Hollywood needs to handle diversity better.

"It’s not enough to not be a racist, you have to be actively be anti-racist and making the kinds of choices that are not just representative, but compelling and interesting and telling new and different stories," she said.

"There’s always been code for, like, a non-white lead. Like a ‘diverse lead' or an ‘urban lead.’ These are just Americans and I think we need to get past this idea that we’re doing someone a favor when we decide to cast someone who's outside what’s been, for so long, in Hollywood the cultural norm and just start talking about telling American stories. It’s really important to tell black stories but that’s because they are American stories," Tyler added.

The discussion about the lack of diversity in "Friends" is not new. David Schwimmer, who played Ross Geller, addressed the issue back in January stating that "maybe there should be an all-black 'Friends'" — even though there was "Living Single," an all-black version of "Friends" that predated Schwimmer's series by a year.

Watch:

4:30 p.m. ET, June 11, 2020

House Democrats request answers on foreign efforts to exploit racial tensions in US

From CNN's Brianna Keilar and Zachary Cohen

U.S. Rep. Val Demings (D-FL) speaks during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on police brutality and racial profiling on June 10 in Washington.
U.S. Rep. Val Demings (D-FL) speaks during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on police brutality and racial profiling on June 10 in Washington. Greg Nash/Pool/Getty Images

Two Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee are asking Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe to provide answers regarding his plans “to ensure that foreign actors do not exploit the current heightened tensions in America by spreading misinformation, inciting violence, or utilize any other means to support a foreign agenda not in the best interests of American national security, public health, and safety,” according to a letter obtained by CNN Thursday. 

Specifically, Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi and Rep. Val Demings expressed concerns that foreign actors, including Russia, may seek to exploit racial tensions as part of a broader effort to interfere in November’s presidential election. 

“Unfortunately, we know that foreign actors have historically sought to exploit tensions in American communities during times like these. As has now been widely confirmed by the IC, the Russian government took various steps to exploit tensions in America in an effort to influence the 2016 Presidential Election. These actions included falsifying accounts from across the political spectrum, such as impersonating the Tennessee GOP party and even Black Lives Matter protestors,” the letter stated.  

The letter added: "In light of the above information and as a Member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, I am concerned that the current situation could give foreign actors the opportunity to advance their strategic agendas by interfering in our domestic affairs. In doing so, they could use the current situation to add to any efforts to interfere in the upcoming 2020 elections, as happened in 2016 with Russia."

3:18 p.m. ET, June 11, 2020

Austin police chief says department will ban chokeholds and suspend cops who turn off body cams

From CNN's Hira Humayun

Members of the Austin police department march to the State Capitol in Austin, on June 4 to protest the death of George Floyd,
Members of the Austin police department march to the State Capitol in Austin, on June 4 to protest the death of George Floyd, Eric Gay/AP

Austin Police Chief Brian Manley announced a series of measures discussed with local organization JUST America regarding police reform Thursday. 

“The Austin Police Department stands ready to make changes,” he said.

In terms of body cameras, Manley said, “it was important when JUST America met with us that there were appropriate sanctions for any officers that were intentionally deactivated body worn camera during a critical incident. And we agreed.”

“If you are intentionally deactivating a body worn camera during a critical incident, that is a huge problem for our community and for a department that is deserving of the highest of sanctions," Manley said. "And in our discipline matrix, it does call for the indefinite suspension. And we support that."

Manley said if there was “an indication that there was any criminality in their intent when they did that,” it would be reviewed by the district attorney's office.

He also explained the police department has a policy to release video of a critical incident within 60 days, saying, “We've taken steps here as a community to work towards releasing video in critical incidents, something that we have not done before. We've always awaited the grand juries review of a case or the declination of that case by the district attorney. But as you well know, we now have a policy that says within 60 days from critical incident unless there's a reason that it cannot be done, we will be releasing a video of that incident that outlines what happened and what led up to that critical incident.”

Manley said the ban of chokeholds would be written into policy, stating, “although we have spoken regularly about the fact that the Austin Police Department has not approved or taught chokeholds in decades, our policy did not explicitly exclude it. So we're taking that extra step so that the community understands where we stand on that issue.” 

The police chief also spoke about having the mayor and city council more involved with police department policy and making changes to their policies available to the public.

“A third area of interest that was brought up as we discussed with just America was having our mayor in and council more involved in the policy push out of the police department, specifically when we make changes to the policies." 

He said this was to ensure the elected officials of the city “are the ones to ensure they're communicating with their constituency as well, what has been changed within policy,” adding, “we will share policy changes with our mayor and our council and our city leaders and others, as they're made.”

“The policies of the Austin police department are public, they're online, they can be found there. But what often goes unnoticed sometimes is when we make changes,” Manley said, “we do see the importance of this community understanding when we make changes to policies.”

2:35 p.m. ET, June 11, 2020

Minnesota governor will announce a police reform and accountability legislative package this afternoon

From CNN’s Gregory Lemos and Steve Almasy

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz speaks to the press on June 3 in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz speaks to the press on June 3 in St. Paul, Minnesota. Scott Olso/Getty Images

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz will announce a police reforms and accountability legislative package at today's press briefing at 4 p.m. ET.  

"Governor Tim Walz, House Speaker Melissa Hortman, Senate Minority Leader Susan Kent, and members of People of Color and Indigenous Caucus will hold a press conference to announce a police reform and accountability legislative package," a statement released by the governor's office said. 

Some context: Demands for police reform continue to grow in Minnesota and across the country. In Minneapolis, where George Floyd's death focused the nation again on police brutality, enough members of the city council are calling for a major shift in policing that they might dismantle and replace the police department.

Cities like Los Angeles and New York have also said they will cut millions of dollars in police funding.

2:27 p.m. ET, June 11, 2020

New York City mayor: "Nothing should be named after Robert E. Lee"

From CNN's Sheena Jones

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks during a press conference in New York on June 11.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks during a press conference in New York on June 11. NYC Media

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said he will speak with military officials to let them know how important it is to remove Robert E. Lee’s name from Fort Hamilton and “everywhere else.” 

This comes after a reporter asked him a question about a street in Fort Hamilton named after Robert E. Lee and if it should be changed. 

“Nothing should be named after Robert E. Lee at this point in history,” de Blasio said.

New York City Deputy Mayor J. Phillip Thompson shared a moving story about his family being enslaved on the plantation of Robert E. Lee’s father, Henry Lee.

“This issue is an emotional issue for many people like me,” Thompson said. 

As Black Lives Matter and anti-racist protests continue to spread in the wake of George Floyd's death, many Confederate statues — which some consider racist symbols of America's dark legacy of slavery — have been removed.

Additionally, the GOP-led Senate Armed Services Committee adopted an amendment behind closed doors for the Pentagon to remove the names of Confederate generals from military assets within three years.

2:19 p.m. ET, June 11, 2020

Lawyer for Buffalo protester who was pushed by police officer says his "brain is injured"

From CNN’s Jacqueline Rose & Elizabeth Joseph

Martin Gugino is shoved by Buffalo Police Officers during a protest in Buffalo, New York, on June 4.
Martin Gugino is shoved by Buffalo Police Officers during a protest in Buffalo, New York, on June 4. @MikeDesmondWBFO/Twitter

The attorney for Martin Gugino, the 75-year-old Buffalo protester who was hospitalized after he was pushed to the ground by a police officer, says Gugino's "brain is injured" and he is not interested in giving interviews at this time.

Here's the statement from Gugino’s attorney Kelly Zarcone:

“I spoke with Martin a few minutes ago. He reports that he is feeling better than yesterday. He is starting physical therapy today which is definitely a step in the right direction. As most of you know, Martin is a soft spoken but thoughtful and principled man. As heartbreaking as it is, his brain is injured and he is well aware of that now. Because of this, he told me that he is not interested in media interviews right now. He feels encouraged and uplifted by the outpouring of support which he has received from so many people all over the globe. It helps. He is looking forward to healing and determining what his “new normal” might look like."
2:10 p.m. ET, June 11, 2020

Microsoft joins IBM and Amazon in halting sales of facial recognition tech to US police departments

From CNN’s Brian Fung

The Microsoft logo is illuminated on a wall on May 2, 2017 in New York.
The Microsoft logo is illuminated on a wall on May 2, 2017 in New York. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Microsoft said today that it will not sell facial recognition technology to police departments in the United States, at least until there is a federal law to regulate the technology.

The announcement follows in the footsteps of tech giants IBM and Amazon, who each rolled out limitations on plans to sell facial recognition.

Microsoft's president Brad Smith said any legislation on facial recognition should be firmly grounded in human rights.

"We need Congress to act, not just tech companies alone," Smith said at a virtual Washington Post event.

Some context: Microsoft's decision adds to the pressure on lawmakers to respond to the protests focusing on racial injustice and police brutality. Studies have shown that commercial facial recognition algorithms frequently misidentify minorities and people of color.

Technology companies have rapidly expanded their partnerships with law enforcement agencies in recent years, providing them with sophisticated surveillance tools that have raised concerns about citizen privacy and discrimination. 

Amazon's Ring subsidiary, for instance, has partnerships with more than 1,300 police forces in the US. The company said Wednesday that it will put a one-year hold on sales of its facial recognition technology to law enforcement. 

Earlier this week, IBM said in a letter to Congress that it will no longer sell general purpose facial recognition services, and said in a separate statement that it would no longer invest in research and development of the technology. 

Civil liberties advocates welcomed Microsoft's announcement, but called for more. 

"We also urge these companies to work to forever shut the door on America's sordid chapter of over-policing of Black and Brown communities, including the surveillance technologies that disproportionately harm them," said Matt Cagle, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California.

 

1:24 p.m. ET, June 11, 2020

Denver to investigate police handling of Floyd protests in the city

From CNN's Leslie Perrot and Gregory Lemos 

Police officers walk through a cloud of tear gas as they try to disperse people protesting against the death of George Floyd in front of the Colorado State Capitol on May 30 in Denver.
Police officers walk through a cloud of tear gas as they try to disperse people protesting against the death of George Floyd in front of the Colorado State Capitol on May 30 in Denver. Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images

In response to calls from the Denver City Council, the Denver Office of the Independent Monitor (OIM) said Thursday that it is launching an investigation into the Denver Police Department's (DPD) handling of the protests over George Floyd's death.  

"The investigation will evaluate, among other things, the DPD’s use of physical force, chemical agents, riot gear, and surplus military equipment, as well as its handling of community complaints regarding alleged officer misconduct during the demonstrations," OIM said in a statement Thursday.  

OIM said it will look through hundreds of hours of body cam footage, video taken by the community, review radio transmissions and documents, and conduct interviews of both police and community members.  

The OIM monitors the disciplinary systems of the Denver police and Sheriff's Departments, according to the statement.  

1:03 p.m. ET, June 11, 2020

Former NBA player Stephen Jackson will lead march to Minneapolis District Attorney's office today

From CNN’s Gregory Lemos and Kara Devlin

Former NBA player Stephen Jackson, a friend of George Floyd's, speaks at a memorial on June 3 in Minneapolis.
Former NBA player Stephen Jackson, a friend of George Floyd's, speaks at a memorial on June 3 in Minneapolis. Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Former NBA player and George Floyd friend, Stephen Jackson, will lead a march Thursday to the Minneapolis District Attorney's office to "demand convictions are made swiftly on all four officers involved in this case," according to an Instagram post from Wednesday.   

Using the hashtag #IVEHADENOUGH, Jackson posted of his plans to march and said he will not leave Minnesota until "justice has been served." 

Jackson also called on every team in the NBA to send a player to join him in his march "to take a stance against police brutality and systemic racism." 

The march will start at 6 p.m. ET.

Read Jackson's post: