June 12 Black Lives Matter protests

By Melissa Macaya, Meg Wagner, Jessie Yeung, Steve George, Helen Regan and Laura Smith-Spark, CNN

Updated 12:08 AM ET, Sat June 13, 2020
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2:30 p.m. ET, June 12, 2020

New York governor signs police reform bill into law

From CNN's Brian Vitagliano

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signs police reform bills at a news conference on June 12.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signs police reform bills at a news conference on June 12. Pool

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed part of a New York State police reform bill package into law.

The package — which consists of 10 police reform bills that passed both the New York State Senate and New York State assembly this week — will ban the use of chokeholds by police officers, among other reforms.

Cuomo signed four out of 10 police reform bills into law today. The other six police reform bills await the governor’s signature. 

The four bills signed today... 

  1. Allow for transparency of prior disciplinary records of law enforcement officers by repealing 50-a of the civil rights law
  2. Ban chokeholds by law enforcement officers
  3. Prohibit false race-based 911 reports
  4. Designate the Attorney General as an independent prosecutor for matters relating to the civilian deaths

Cuomo was joined by Rev. Al Sharpton and New York State Assembly speaker Carl Heastie at the bill signing ceremony at his Manhattan office.  

"We had many, many Republicans voting for these bills because I think the world has enough is enough, is enough," Heastie said. 

Speaking about Cuomo, Sharpton said, “he has raised the bar on how we deal with policing on this executive order.” 

"Make no mistake, this is a new level that all other 49 other state governors need to look at," Sharpton added.
12:56 p.m. ET, June 12, 2020

New York governor: Local governments and police must enact reform plan by April 1

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he will issue an executive order that will require local governments and police agencies, about 500, to develop a plan that "reinvents and modernizes" police strategies and programs in their communities.

The order is part of the "NYS Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative" that Cuomo said the state is launching.

Here's what's in the order: The agencies must formulate a plan that among other things, addresses the use of force by police officers. They also must have a transparent citizen complaint procedures. Cuomo called on community participation in the process.

Cuomo said the plan must be enacted by local law by April 1 for the agencies to be eligible for state funding.

"We're not going to fund police agencies in this state that do not look at what -- look at what has been happening, come to terms with it and reform themselves. We're not going to be as a state government subsidizing improper police tactics. We're not doing it. And this is how we're going to do it," Cuomo said.

Cuomo said no other state has done this measure, but New York will lead the way because "New York tough, smart, united, disciplined and loving."

"If there's no trust, the community is not going to allow the police to police. And there is no trust. Or there is a breach of the trust and that has to be restored and repaired," Cuomo said.

12:05 p.m. ET, June 12, 2020

Boston mayor announces major changes in law enforcement accountability

From CNN's Deanna Hackney 

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh speaks at a press conference on March 13 in Boston, Massachusetts. 
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh speaks at a press conference on March 13 in Boston, Massachusetts.  Scott Eisen/Getty Images

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced Friday that in addition to diverting $3 million in police overtime pay to public health, he is "taking a number of steps in law enforcement accountability." 

At a news conference Friday in front of City Hall, Walsh said that the Boston Police Department has completed a review of its use of force policies outlined by the National '8 Can't Wait' movement. The Boston Police Department is clarifying rules to meet the standards and "has immediately implemented several forms that they hadn't previously," Walsh said.

Walsh said the department is also adopting the training program known as ethical policing. This means that officers will not only be required to intervene when they witness unnecessary use of force, but will be trained with strategies to prevent abuses from occurring. 

Walsh also said that moving forward the Boston Police Department will no longer use the "hair test" for evidence of drug use.

11:57 a.m. ET, June 12, 2020

New York governor is about to sign police reform bill

Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks at a news conference on June 12 in New York.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks at a news conference on June 12 in New York. Pool

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that he will sign recently passed bills on police reform into law.

"We show the nation what it should do. We lead by example," he said. "Talking is not enough. Being angry is not enough. Being emotional is not enough."

Some background: Earlier this week, New York legislators passed a package of bills providing for comprehensive police reform.

One of the bills — which passed in the state assembly and senate bodies — mandates that a police officer who injures or kills somebody through the use of "a chokehold or similar restraint" can be charged with a class C felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

The bill is named for Eric Garner, an African American man who died as a result of a police chokehold during a 2014 arrest. The chokehold tactic was already prohibited by the NYPD at the time of the incident.

Another bill will designate the attorney general as an independent prosecutor for matters relating to the deaths of unarmed civilians caused by law enforcement.

Another action will allow disciplinary records for individual police officers, firefighters or corrections officers to be released without their written consent. It is the reversal of a 1976 statute known as Section 50-a of the New York State Civil Rights Law, which was originally enacted to exempt police officers from being cross-examined during criminal prosecutions, according to the bill.

WATCH:

11:25 a.m. ET, June 12, 2020

Minneapolis police officers condemn ex-officer Derek Chauvin in open letter

From CNN's Melissa Alonso and Josh Campbell 

Members of the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) condemned Derek Chauvin's actions in an open letter, which was obtained by CNN's Josh Campbell. 

Chauvin — who pressed his knee on George Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes as the man begged for his life and was charged with second-degree murder — had his bail set at $1.25 million during a Monday hearing. Chauvin's actions and Floyd's death have prompted protests across the United States and the world.

 "Derek Chauvin failed as a human and stripped George Floyd of his dignity and life. This is not who we are," said the letter, signed by fourteen MPD officers. "We’re not the union or the administration," the letter says. 

"We stand ready to listen and embrace the calls for change, reform and rebuilding," says the letter.

"There were many more willing to sign, but the group opted to showcase people from across the PD as well as male/female, black/white, straight/gay, leader/frontline, etc. Internally, this is sending a message" said Paul Omodt, a spokesperson for the officers who penned the open letter.  

All the officers hold ranks of lieutenant or sergeant, according to Omodt.  

11:22 a.m. ET, June 12, 2020

Virginia governor: "We still have black oppression in our society today"

From CNN's Chris Boyette

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam answers a question during a press briefing inside the Patrick Henry Building in Richmond, Va., Thursday, June 11, 2020. (Bob Brown/Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP)
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam answers a question during a press briefing inside the Patrick Henry Building in Richmond, Va., Thursday, June 11, 2020. (Bob Brown/Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP) Bob Brown/Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP

The Civil War and Jim Crow laws may be in the past, but black oppression still exists today, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said in an interview Friday with David Rubenstein at the Economic Club of Washington, DC,

“I think that if you look at our history, you know, we obviously had the Civil War. And that's behind us. And then we had Jim Crow, and now that's behind us, then we had massive resistance and then mass incarceration and I think what this episode in Minneapolis just displayed, brought into focus, was that we still have black oppression in our society today just in a different form,” the governor said.

He continued:

“And so there are a lot of what I would call other monuments of inequity. Inequities in access to health care, access to education, access to the voting booth, access to business opportunities. And so our administration has been working on a lot of those, but we obviously have a lot more work to do and we're committed to doing that.”

Northam, a Democrat, announced plans to remove a statue honoring Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from Richmond's historic Monument Avenue, but a county circuit judge temporarily blocked the removal this week.

“We've actually been looking at this legally, talked with our council over the last year. We feel that we're on solid ground… We hope this process will go quickly, and at the end of the day this statute will come down,” Northam said Friday.

11:15 a.m. ET, June 12, 2020

Boston mayor diverts $3 million from police overtime budget to public health

From CNN's Deanna Hackney

A Boston Police officer stands beside a protest on June 4 in Boston, Massachusetts.
A Boston Police officer stands beside a protest on June 4 in Boston, Massachusetts. Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh is diverting $3 million from the police department overtime pay budget, he said during a news conference Friday.

Walsh declared racism to be a "public health crisis," adding that "the health impacts of systemic racism are clear in our Covid-19 numbers." 

The mayor said that he is backing the declaration with an initial investment of $3 million that's going to be transferred from the police overtime budget to the Boston Public Health Commission. 

Boston joins other cities such as Los Angeles and New York have said they will cut or reallocate millions of dollars in police funding.

President Trump said earlier this week that the United States has the finest police in the world and cutting budgets would be a mistake.

Read the mayor's tweet:

11:10 a.m. ET, June 12, 2020

Minnesota grants posthumous pardon in rape case that led to lynchings of three black men

From CNN’s Kay Jones and Faith Karimi

The bronze figures of Elias Clayton, Elmer Jackson and Isaac McGhie, three black circus workers who were lynched the night of June 15, 1920.
The bronze figures of Elias Clayton, Elmer Jackson and Isaac McGhie, three black circus workers who were lynched the night of June 15, 1920. Bob King/The Duluth News Tribune via AP

The Minnesota Board of Pardons posthumously pardoned Max Mason today by unanimous vote.

Mason was accused of raping a white woman, Irene Tusken, in 1920. There was no evidence to support the allegations, and the Minnesota Historical Society said that a family doctor who examined her found no signs of rape or assault.

In the pardon hearing, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said, “This particular application is critical to the name of Max Mason, but also critical to our state.”

The pardon has been decades in the making, according to Gov. Tim Walz. It was added to the agenda over six months ago.

“I don’t believe anything happens by chance,” Walz told the board. “I believe we’ve been given this opportunity, and I would ask my fellow members of the pardon board to think deeply on this and understand the implications involved with clearing Max Mason’s name.”

In a letter to Walz in January, several pardon board members pleaded for posthumous pardon and listed the reason why they believed the Board of Pardons should grant one.

The application is supported by Mike Tusken, a family member of Irene. Mike is the Chief of Police in Duluth, the city where this alleged rape and the arrest occurred.

“Not only is the conviction unjust, but the facts lack the basis for an arrest in the first place," Tusken said during the hearing.

He also said his aunt spent the last years of her life in a nursing home, suffering from the effects of a stroke and unable to “reconcile the facts or tone for her role in the lynching or wrongful conviction of Max Mason”.

 “This is 100 years overdue,” Walz said. “The timing was for a reason. It was decades in the making.”

Some background: Three men who were arrested with Mason were beaten and lynched on the night of their arrests by an angry crowd on June 15, 1920.

The Minnesota National Guard later arrived and protected the three remaining suspects, including Mason.

The site of their deaths is now the Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial. It's inscribed with the words of author Edmund Burke: "An event has happened upon which it is difficult to speak and impossible to remain silent."

Mason was convicted with very little evidence and sentenced to about 30 years in prison. He was paroled in 1925, less than five years after his sentence began, on condition he leave the state.

Mason lived the rest of his life in Alabama before his death.

10:56 a.m. ET, June 12, 2020

Starbucks reverses course and allows employees to wear Black Lives Matter items

From CNN’s Cristina Alesci

Starbucks released a T-shirt design supporting the Black Lives Matter movement.
Starbucks released a T-shirt design supporting the Black Lives Matter movement. Starbucks

Starbucks, reversing guidance it previously provided employees, is now telling workers they can wear Black Lives Matter t-shirts and pins, according to a company tweet

It also designed a T-shirt for its employees to wear, expressing “solidarity during this historic time.” 

“Until these arrive, we’ve heard you want to show your support, so just be you. Wear your BLM pin or t-shirt. We trust you to do what’s right while never forgetting Starbucks is a welcoming third place where all are treated with dignity and respect,” said the company in the tweet. 

In an internal memo to employees obtained by BuzzFeed News, Starbucks previously said it prohibited employees from wearing paraphernalia, such as T-shirts or pins, supporting the "Black Lives Matter" movement.