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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4:25 a.m. ET, June 12, 2020

Denver School Board votes unanimously to remove the Denver Police from schools

From CNN's Joe Sutton

The school board in Denver, Colorado, voted unanimously on Thursday to remove the Denver Police Department from their schools. 

The plan will be to phase out four of the police officers by the end of December 31, 2020. On June 4, 2021, the remaining 13 police officers at Denver Public Schools will be phased out, board of education member Tay Anderson told CNN.  

“We already have your own safety and security department to patrol our schools,” Anderson said.   

12:46 a.m. ET, June 12, 2020

A Minnesota man will be considered for posthumous pardon nearly 100 years after lynching

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison Glen Stubbe/Star Tribune/AP

Max Mason, a man convicted of a rape allegation that gave rise to the lynchings of several young black men in Duluth" nearly a hundred years ago, will be considered for posthumous pardon, said Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison.

Tomorrow, 100 years later, "we are poised to do justice," Ellison said in a tweet earlier today.

He also referenced the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests after the wake of George Floyd's death.

"Justice delayed is Justice denied. But 100 years later, Justice can still be done. The last weeks in (Minnesota) have shown us we have a need for a better quality of Justice. A pardon for Max Mason is another long-delayed step toward it," he tweeted.

The case for a posthumous pardon: A letter of support dated this March said there are two reasons for the Minnesota Board of Pardons to issue "this pardon extraordinaire."

"First, there is strong consensus in the articles and books written about the Duluth lynchings that this conviction occurred because of Max Mason's race," read the letter. "Current St. Louis County Attorney Mark Rubin wrote, 'The historical record clearly reflects that Mr. Mason was investigated, charged and convicted because of his race and not because of the strength and sufficiency of the evidence." 

Rubin stated that "this case would not have been charged today," according to the letter.

"Second, a pardon reminds all of us that the lynchings and circumstances giving rise to them were a stain on the history of Minnesota and do not reflect who we are as a state," added the letter.

According to Ellis, a posthumous pardon has never been granted before in Minnesota.

12:45 a.m. ET, June 12, 2020

New Zealand city removes statue of British captain who waged war against indigenous tribes

From CNN's Sophie Jeong in Seoul

Workers remove a controversial statue of Captain John Fane Charles Hamilton from Civic Square in Hamilton, New Zealand, on June 12.
Workers remove a controversial statue of Captain John Fane Charles Hamilton from Civic Square in Hamilton, New Zealand, on June 12. Michael Bradley/AFP/Getty Images

Across the United States, statues of Christopher Columbus are being taken down as protesters point to his role in violent colonization at the expense of Indigenous communities.

The conversation around race, history and violence is taking place around the world as well -- in New Zealand, a statue of a British naval captain who fought land wars with Maori was removed from public grounds after a formal request by a tribal organization.

The Hamilton City council said they decided to remove the statue of Captain John Charles Fane Hamilton after "it had become clear the status was likely to be vandalized," said the city publication "Our Hamilton."

The city was renamed after Captain Hamilton, who was a commander of the Esk and was killed at the Battle of Gate Pa, according to a guide produced by the city council.

“I know many people – in fact a growing number of people – find the statue personally and culturally offensive. We can’t ignore what is happening all over the world and nor should we. At a time when we are trying to build tolerance and understanding between cultures and in the community, I don’t think the statue helps us to bridge those gaps," said Mayor Paula Southgate, according to "Our Hamilton."

Some context: New Zealand has its own history of violent colonization by white Europeans.

Recent years have seen increased scrutiny on Captain James Cook, the preeminent British explorer of the Pacific in the eighteenth century, whose arrival opened the way for often brutal imperialism and colonialism.

Activists in New Zealand and Australia have pushed highlight this bloody history; last fall, a Maori tribe banned a replica of Captain James Cook's ship from docking at its village during a national commemoration of Cook's first encounter with indigenous New Zealanders.

12:45 a.m. ET, June 12, 2020

The Chicago police who lounged in congressman's office during protests are "disgraceful," mayor says

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot CNN

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot told CNN on Thursday night that the police officers filmed lounging in a congressman's office on June 1 as protests and looting occurred throughout the city was "one of the most disgraceful, disrespectful things" she has ever seen.

"We are absolutely not going to tolerate it," she said. 

Asked how difficult it is to discipline officers, she said, "They do have extraordinary due process rights, which is in and of itself a problem that we've go to fix."

"We've got to start by licensing police officers, and I called for that today. We've got to change state laws so that we have a baseline of conduct that is acceptable," she said. "It is all about the will and really seizing this moment to take on the police contracts, and other things, that are an impediment to reform and accountability." 

What happened: 13 Chicago police officers lounged and slept in the congressional campaign office of US Rep. Bobby Rush on June 1, while protests raged citywide.

The officers, who included three supervisors, were seen on video sleeping in the office, eating the congressman's popcorn and talking on the phone, Rush and Lightfoot said.

The incident came to light after Rush reviewed security camera footage from his office, the mayor explained at a news conference.

12:20 a.m. ET, June 12, 2020

Seattle Mayor: "Our country was born out of a protest"

From CNN’s Andy Rose

The ongoing protest in Seattle around the East Precinct police station is not a threat to public safety, said city mayor Jenny Durkan on Thursday night.

“We’ve got four blocks in Seattle… that is more like a block party atmosphere,” Durkan told CNN. “It's not an armed takeover. It's not a military junta.”

Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best expressed frustration earlier today that protesters had demanded the removal of police barricades, only to erect their own.

The police building was boarded up and emptied, and Durkan says there is no timetable yet for officers to return. “I don't know. We could have the Summer of Love,” said Durkan.

She also responded to President Donald Trump, who had tweeted earlier today, "Take back your city NOW. If you don’t do it, I will.”

"The fact that he thinks he can just tweet that, and not have ramifications, is just wrong," Durkan said. "Our country was born out of a protest. The right to gather, the right to protest, the right to challenge government when it is wrong, is our most fundamental constitutional right."
10:39 a.m. ET, June 12, 2020

Trump accuses Democrats of trying "to take away your police"

In a tweet on Thursday night, President Donald Trump tweeted, "The Radical Left Democrats: First they try to take away your guns. Then they try to take away your police!"

Some context: In the past week, calls have been growing around the country to defund, demilitarize, and in some cases, even dismantle the police.

What does this mean? It's as straightforward as it sounds: 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.

In some places, the protests have actually worked. A veto-proof supermajority of the Minneapolis city council pledged to defund and dismantle the police force.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced he would move funding from the NYPD to youth and social services.

And Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti agreed to slash between $100 million to $150 million from the proposed funding for the LAPD budget.

Read more here

3:36 a.m. ET, June 12, 2020

Breonna Taylor would be "amazed to see the world changing," her family said

CNN's Anderson Cooper
CNN's Anderson Cooper CNN

Breonna Taylor, the Louisville emergency medical technician who was killed by police in her own home, would be "amazed to see the world changing," said her mother Tamika Palmer on Thursday, speaking to CNN.

Earlier tonight, the Louisville Metro Council passed "Breonna's Law" -- an ordinance banning "no-knock" search warrants and regulating the execution of search warrants and the use of body camera equipment during the execution of search warrants.

"Breonna was saving lives while she was living, and now with the passage of the Breonna Taylor law, she will be saving lives forever," said attorney Benjamin Crump.

It was Breonna's 27th birthday last week. Mourners and activists around the country marked her birthday on social media and in marches on the streets.

"She was loving and caring and she loved to help people," Palmer said. "She loved to be around family. Everybody loved her. Her co-workers, her friends, her family. She just was full of life ... You couldn't ask for a better child at all."

12:45 a.m. ET, June 12, 2020

Seattle protesters are occupying the police precinct and it feels like a "street festival"

Protesters listen to a speaker as they sit in front of the Seattle Police Department East Precinct building, on Thursday, June 11.
Protesters listen to a speaker as they sit in front of the Seattle Police Department East Precinct building, on Thursday, June 11. Ted S. Warren/AP

In Seattle, protesters have occupied the area in front of a downtown police station -- and they're showing no signs of moving, even as evening approaches.

The police station has been "overtaken by these protesters," said CNN Correspondent Dan Simon from the scene. "It's totally been defaced."

The sign at the front of the building, which used to read "Seattle Police Department," now reads "Seattle People Department."

"For several days in the wake of George Floyd's death, you had violent clashes between protesters and police officers here in front of this department, and tear gas was deployed. It was not a pretty scene," said Simon.

After days of clashes, the police decided to try and de-escalate the situation and "essentially abandoned the department," he said. That's when protesters flooded in.

The situation remains peaceful and lighthearted at the moment. "It really has the feel of a street festival," Simon said -- there are people serving food to the crowds, there's a medical tent set up, and the demonstrators even watch movies and play live music at night.

"It's sort of a contradictory situation. On the one hand, it began with force, but right now it's peaceful," Simon said.

12:45 a.m. ET, June 12, 2020

Louisville Metro Council passes "Breonna's Law," which bans no-knock warrants

From CNN’s Rebekah Riess

A protester holds a sign during a protest over the death of Breonna Taylor, on Monday, June 1, in Louisville, Kentucky.
A protester holds a sign during a protest over the death of Breonna Taylor, on Monday, June 1, in Louisville, Kentucky. Darron Cummings/AP

The Louisville Metro Council in Kentucky passed an ordinance today banning "no-knock" search warrants.

The ordinance, which will be known as "Breonna's Law," also regulates the execution of search warrants and the use of body camera equipment during the implementation of all search warrants.

Breonna Taylor was killed after officers forced their way inside her home and exchanged gunfire with her boyfriend, while executing a search warrant in a narcotics investigation.

The council's vote was 26-0 in favor of the ordinance.

The ordinance requires all Louisville Metro Police Department officers present in the execution of a warrant to be equipped with an operating body camera, which has to be activated no later than five minutes prior to all warrant executions.

All recorded data also has to be retained for five years following an executing action, according to the ordinance. 

“I plan to sign Breonna’s Law as soon as it hits my desk. I suspended use of these warrants indefinitely last month, and wholeheartedly agree with Council that the risk to residents and officers with this kind of search outweigh any benefit. This is one of many critical steps on police reform that we’ve taken to create a more peaceful, just, compassionate and equitable community,” Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer Tweeted following the vote.