tv The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN June 1, 2020 2:00pm-3:00pm PDT
appetizing for you to take this issue seriously. >> jemele hill, always great to have you on, thank you so much, appreciate it. our coverage on cnn continues right now. this is cnn breaking news. welcome to our viewers here in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer in "the situation room." we're following breaking news, a crisis here in america. at this hour, the nation is bracing for what could be yet another night of unrest. mandatory curfews have been announced again in cities including new york, philadelphia, washington, d.c., atlanta, chicago, and los angeles, as more than 17,000 u.s. national guard troops have been deployed in more than half the nation's states. also lawyers for the family of george floyd have just announced the results of an independent autopsy they say show that floyd
died of asphyxiation at the hands of police. floyd's brother visited the scene of his death and the large memorial there, appealing for protests to remain peaceful and calling for an end to the violence that has rocked cities across the united states now for days. first let's go straight to minneapolis right now where national correspondent sara sidner is on the scene. sara, a very emotional day there. it continues with the release of this independent autopsy. >> reporter: that's right, we were here ast terrence floyd, george floyd's brother, came to the memorial for the first time where his brother lost his life. he said one thing to protesters: stop it. don't do this violence in our name. weful family.
the results of the independent autopsy are in contrast with the minnesota medical examiner's preliminary report. >> this is the point at which we do disagree. >> reporter: this as terrence floyd visited the site of his brother's death for the first time, calling for calm. >> if you're messing up my community, what are you doing? what are you doing? y'all are doing nothing. >> reporter: demands for justice are expanding across the country. still, just one of the four minnesota police officers fired after floyd's death has been charged. >> in my mind this was a violation of humanity. >> reporter: the minneapolis police chief took a knee in solidarity with demonstrators on sunday, calling out his own officers for not intervening as floyd struggled to breathe.
>> being silent, not intervening, you're complicit. >> i'm in charge of the prosecution and i'm helping work on the investigation. >> reporter: the state's attorney general, keith ellison, is now assigned to prosecute the case against derek chauvin, the officer who need on floyd's neck. ellison told xm radio the evidence is not necessarily enough for a murder conviction. >> i don't deny that your eyes are working well. you saw what you saw. but that doesn't mean when we get to a courtroom that it will be an easy slam dunk. history proves it isn't. >> reporter: but pressure is mounting. protests continue, pleading for drastic changes in law enforcement. over the weekend, demonstrations were reported in all 50 states and the district of columbia and in more than half the country, the national guard has been called in to keep the peace. a slew of videos now emerging showing a semi driving through protesters in minneapolis at
some 70 miles per hour according to police. no one, though, was seriously injured. just one of several similar incidents in minnesota and new york. >> i knew i was in ground zero. i knew i was in danger, potentially. but we kept walking. we kept marching. >> reporter: when you say ground zero, that is a term used in war. is that what it feels like here? >> it kind of does. >> reporter: as america nears a full week of unwavering unrest, peaceful protesters and police are also kneeling together. marching together. and embracing. here we watched as the police chief also kneeled. and he prayed. the crowd played along with him. today they prayed with terrence floyd. they sat here for five minutes in complete silence with their hands in the air and prayed for
him and for the family, wolf. >> sara sidner on the scene for us, doing excellent reporting, thanks so much. for more on the independent autop autopsy, we're joined by cnn's chief medical correspondent sanjay gupta. what exactly does this report say, sanjay? >> i should point out we still don't have the full copy of the original medical examination. so the context by which some of what we know how that's presented, i think that's going to be important. they did not equivocate with this, wolf, let me just tell you a few things. first of all, they said this was a homicide, it was due to mechanical asphyxiation. so basically depriving the body of oxygen. also depriving the body of blood flow. blood flow to the brain was
compromised. they said that was due to two pressure points, wolf. one because of the knee that was placed on mr. floyd's neck. but also because of the pressure on his back. they bring up both these things, wolf. and they say that according to the physical evidence, which in this case they're describing the video that they watched, they said within four minutes, i think three minutes, 50 seconds, they believe that mr. floyd essentially became unconscious and unresponsive at that point. and they say he had no pulse after that point, three minutes and 50 seconds. also, wolf, one other thing brought up in the original report, you remember, was this idea that maybe there was contributing underlying problems such as heart disease or potential intoxicants. and they said there was really no evidence that there was any other cause or contribution to mr. floyd's death other than the pressure on the neck and pressure on the back. so again, not equivocating here, wolf, in this particular report. >> we see people are gathering already on the streets of
washington and atlanta. these are live pictures, look at this, sanjay, from philadelphia. we'll go to brian todd shortly. you can see it's already getting unruly there in philadelphia. and we're going to obviously be covering all of these demonstrations around the country as it gets later into the evening. there seems to be a bit more violence. you can see the folks running already. i don't know if brian todd is ready to explain what may have just happened. sanjay, hold on for a moment, let's see if brian is there. brian, what's going on? it looks like people are running away. >> reporter: wolf, i'm here, i can hear you. people are running away. they had streamed onto this highway a short time ago. we're getting creamed with tear gas here. i'm trying to get my bearings. people came onto this highway. they were stopped, they were turned back. there was a bit of a stampede going backward. then police started firing tear gas all the way to that well by the highway.
people are scrambling up here to try to get over the fence and get back to some safety over here on the street. but we saw a real scrum down on the highway, on 676. they successfully blocked the highway there. and they got under this bridge over here when all of a sudden they streamed backward in almost a stampede, something, possibly a police presence, we couldn't see it, made them turn back. some people got stuck and they started dispersing tear gas. i'm not sure what provoked the police to do this because the people on the highway were just kind of standing there in kind of a holding pattern, many of them bunched together. we did not see anyone provoke the police. but again, we didn't see it, we don't know what happened. i can't tell you why the police did this. i can tell you the result is chaos. you can see it, people scrambling over these fences, trying to get away from the tear gas, coming on here, trying to organize somehow to possibly
march. this march was peaceful until it got to this point and obviously it's chaotic now. i don't know what's going on on the highway, i know they've been firing tear gas there. i'm going to try to move a little bit closer but it's a little dicey for us because we got pelted with tear gas, we got some of it in our eyes, but we're fine, we're clearing it right now. you can see i'm really hoping people are not crushed there. we did see a man down on the highway, injured. but people did help him. he looked to be just possibly overheated, exhausted. people helped him up. i'm hoping, andrew, we can move a little closer, i think we're okay to move a little bit closer here. >> be careful, brian, i don't want you to get hurt yourself. >> reporter: no, we won't. we're just trying to see if anyone is injured. i don't need to describe it you to, it's a melee, trying to get over that fence.
let's move over here. and again, look down here. people are streaming over here, they're rushing over here. again -- we do not know what caused the police to do this other than possibly the fact that these people were on the highway and they wanted to clear it. but there could have been something else that happened that we just did not see. the police clearly are not tolerating them being on the highway. we were covering similar protests in d.c. a couple of nights ago and police did allow demonstrators to go onto the highway. when that happened, the demonstrators went onto the highway and then they exited and there was no injury. but here, police have felt compelled to use tear gas to disperse them. the result is what you see here. there are people running that
way. there are people running over here to your right, to camera right. >> you can see, brian, helicopters flying overhead. maybe you could grab someone who climbed over that fence and they can explain why they're running away. >> reporter: we've got tear gas. we've got to drop back. >> all right, go ahead. brian todd is on the scene for us. to our viewers, you can see what's happening in philadelphia right now, tear gas coming from below the fence over there, from this major road over there, you can see the tear gas coming as well, very disturbing developments. as brian had been telling us, it was a very peaceful demonstration, things were moving along nicely, people were protesting as they have every right to do. then all of a sudden something happened that generated the local authorities, the law enforcement authorities to fire tear gas against these protesters. and now they're trying to get away for good reason. you saw brian todd, our reporter there, he's moving away as well.
something is going on over there. we'll stay on top of this and watch. sanjay, you're still with us. as we show our viewers these pictures, i just want to button up what this independent autopsy showed. how do we know, is there a way to determine whether -- which autopsy, the official or the independent autopsy, is more accurate or is that essentially left up to a juror? jury? >> i think that's right. the official report is going to be the official report, wolf, although we should point out again, we haven't seen the official report. we just saw a few lines that were provided i think by the prosecutor at that point. i think it's going to be really important to see that full report, ultimately, and see the context in which some of that information was given. but i will say that this independent examination, again, was not equivocal. they were very clear. sometimes the language will be hedged a little bit, you have to read into it a bit.
what they're saying is this was a homicide, it was caused by both pressure on the neck and pressure on the back, both, that they believe mr. floyd became unresponsive, and pulseless within four minutes. and when he was taken first into the ambulance, we did not see cpr being given at that time. there was a shock to restart his heart in the ambulance, that didn't work. the independent examiners said they believed it was after three minutes and 50 seconds after which mr. floyd did not have a pulse. they think there was no underlying contributing cause, heart disease or intoxicants. it takes a while to get lab results back but that's what they leave. mr. lloyd had significant
abrasions on the left side of his face and they say that in addition to the video of the incident and other things was physical evidence of how much pressure and how strong that pressure was on his neck. there was a fair amount there, wolf. but again, it was not equivocal, it was pretty clear. >> sanjay, thank you so much. brian todd, if you can still hear me, i can see you're getting away from the tear gas. if you can still hear me, have you heard from any of the protesters, why they were jumping over that fence and why the local law enforcement authorities or the national guard for that matter were firing tear gas at them? >> reporter: wolf, i just asked a couple of them. they said basically they didn't really start firing tear gas until they were on the highway, they wanted them to get off the highway, apparently. we don't know if there was some kind of act that would have provoked them more specifically than that. but clearly the police, you could see them moving in behind me, excuse me, they're establishing some kind of a presence. that's the overpass where
everybody has kind of come up to, which was right overlooking where they were. the only motivation i can tell you is that police were looking to clear people from that highway, they did not want them down there. a few hundred did go down there anyway, they were chanting. from what we saw, they were peaceful when they were down there. they were marching forward. if the pattern held, i would have guessed they would have marched under the overpass and then exited, that's usually what protesters do in situations like this. they don't stay on highways long, they block them but they keep going. but police weren't having it, because as soon as they got under the overpass, there was suddenly a stampede, the police or somebody did something to cause a panic. the protesters have split, some of them are going down here, some of them are dispersing. was this maybe a goal of the police? we don't know. did they want them to disperse and become disorganized?
we don't know. sir, were you down there? >> no, i wasn't. >> reporter: okay, just trying to get a version of anybody, i've asked a few people down there what happened. most of them, wolf, have said they don't believe they did anything to provoke, that they were just there and they were packed into a tight space, a little bit vulnerable, you know, at a lower elevation, and all of a sudden the tear gas started flowing into that area beneath the overpass, wolf. >> i suspect we're going to see more of that in the coming hours. not only philadelphia but in other major cities in the united states as well. brian, be careful, we'll stay in close touch with you when you have more information, obviously, just let us know. jim acosta is over at the white house for us, our chief white house correspondent. i want to get the latest on what the president of the united states, jim, is saying and what we're learning over there, i know you have an update. >> reporter: and just before i get to what the president said earlier today and what he may say this evening, i want to
report something we just saw a few moments ago that is pretty breathtaking. we saw nine large military style vehicles roll through the white house complex, going from the south side of the white house complex all the way through on west executive drive which separates the white house and the eisenhower executive office building. those military vehicles have moved on to pennsylvania avenue, the pedestrian part of pennsylvania avenue just outside the white house. those vehicles are filled with what appear to be national guard troops. we have footage of this. as soon as we can rewra wrac-ra we'll show it to you. wolf, in the seven years i've been at the white house, i've never seen that kind of military presence at the white house. it was about eight or nine large military style vehicles rolling through the white house complex just a few moments ago on the pedestrian part of pennsylvania avenue, that separates the north lawn from lafayette park where
those national guard troops presumably are staging right now. as for what the president is doing, we've been told that they're making some kind of preparations in the rose garden for a possible address from the president. that has not been confirmed by the white house yet. but there may be some preliminary preparations under way right now. we know it's been some debate going on here at the white house as to whether or not the president would do that. but getting back to what the president was saying earlier today, after days of violent protests across the u.s., the president is continuing to inflame tensions, as we've been reporting all day long, lashing out at the nation's governors and urging them to crack down on the demonstrations. during a phone call with the governors earlier today, the president we want on a tirade, insisting authorities should bring in national guard troops and should try to dominate the situation on the streets. here is more on what the president had to say earlier today. >> you have to dominate. if you don't dominate, you're wasting your time, they're going to run all over you, you'll look like a bunch of jerks. the tougher you are, the less
likely you'll be hit. it's happened before. it's happened numerous times. and the only time it's successful is when you're weak. and most of you are weak. so i say that, and if you don't dominate, you're sitting and you're staying, they're going to walk away with you. what's incredible, what happens, in the state of minnesota, they were, uh, a laughingstock all over the world. they took over the police department. the police were running down the street. signs blazing. the rest of them running. it was on camera. and then they went down, you probably have to build a new one, but i've never seen anything like it, and the whole world was laughing. >> reporter: now, right now you can see some of the video of the protesters lined up outside lafayette park across from the north lawn of the white house. that is where a lot of these protests have been going on the last few days. here is the video i was talking about, a few moments ago, these eight or nine large military style vehicles, wolf, i've never
seen this happen before over at the white house, rolling up what we call west executive drive, that is the driveway, parking lot area that separates the white house from the eisenhower executive office building. as you can see, these nine large, eight or nine large military style vehicles are filled with national guard troops that are now staging on lafayette park. they're on the pedestrian part of pennsylvania avenue right now. i take note of it just because it's an extraordinary sight. now, contrast that with the words of calm that we saw earlier today from former president barack obama who put a post on the social media site medium, trying to calm things down across the country. we can put some of the things up on screen. this is what the former president has been saying. if you want to bring about real change, then the choice isn't between protest and politics. we have to do both. we have to mobilize to raise awareness and we have to organize and cast our ballots to make sure we elect candidates
who will act on reform. if going forward we can channel our justifiable anger into peaceful, effective and sustained action, then this moment can be a real turning point in our nation's long journey to live up to our highest ideals. wolf, those words stand in stark contrast with some of the tough talk we're hearing from the president right now. he's all but calling on authorities to crack skulls at these protests. it's a striking sight when you show the video one more time, just because it's so remarkable, to see military style vehicles rolling through the white house complex. you know, it's not something you normally see in the united states of america. it's something you see in more authoritarian countries. and those vehicles are now staging themselves on pennsylvania avenue, the pedestrian part of pennsylvania avenue, filled to the brim with national guard troops, presumably, wolf, as a show of force and potentially to repel any kind of violence that we
might see, as we have seen, over the last three nights outside the white house. >> and not very far away from where you are right now, right across pennsylvania avenue, lafayette park, where the protesters where gathered, you can see law enforcement right in front of them. alex marquardt, our correspondent, is there in the middle of all of this. alex, tell our viewers what you're seeing now, what's going on. >> reporter: wolf, there has been a bit of an accusation at what's otherwise been a relatively quiet and peaceful protest. clearly in the past few moments, what you're seeing there is u.s. secret service police, armed uniformed officers who have come forward, the protesters right now are behind barricades. it looked like they had been poised to push forward, wolf. what jim was just talking about there, that brings up a very
good point about the variety and the scale of the authorities that are involved in keeping the peace here in washington, d.c. this is of course not just one of the country's major cities, but it is the seat of the federal government. you have the white house right there, just across lafayette park. and we've just learned from our team at the pentagon, barbara starr and ryan browne, that 200 to 250 military police have just been deployed to washington, d.c. to help keep the peace here. they will not be involved in normal policing duties like arrests but they will certainly be reinforcing the authorities that are already out in force here, wolf. and really, when it comes to the variety of forces, you name it, fbi is involved, the attorney general said earlier today that riot teams from the bureau the prisons is going to be helping out. we have the metropolitan police department, the u.s. park police. so it really is a huge -- there's a huge number of manpower, of firepower, to help
keep the peace in the nation's capital, wolf. that's because over the past few days we have seen a significant amount of violence at night. you have these quiet, peaceful protests during the day, and then as the evening wears on, they have given way to more violent protesters. that happened right here last night, i was here around 10:00 when a number of fires had been set by protesters, just about a hundred yards that way, including just outside the famous st. john's church, there were fires set in the basement. [ inaudible ]. to board up their windows on this side of the street. and they are one of a number of buildings that have decided to do so, because as the police then swept through here, flushing all these protesters out of the area, away from the park, away from the white house, there were protesters who moved into the city, causing a
significant amount of damage to businesses and shops, shattering windows and looting. as a result, the mayor has called for a curfew much earlier than the one that she imposed last night, which was 11:00 p.m., she moved it up to 7:00 p.m. tonight, which is under two ours from now. that's for tonight and tomorrow. so the mayor has said that [ inaudible ] she clearly feels the need not just to impose a curfew but to call out the national guard to support the various police forces here. what she has said, what she wants to hear from the president is a sense that justice is being served in the wake of the killing of george floyd, wolf. >> alex, stand by, alex marquart is right there in lafayette park across the street from the white house on pennsylvania avenue. we're watching u.s. military
police arriving at the white house, pretty extraordinary sight in and of itself. momentarily i'll speak with the mayor of atlanta where there is a lot of activity going on right now as well. but i want to go to don lemon very quickly. don, we've seen this happen now for days, peaceful protests, all of a sudden something happens whether in philadelphia or washington. you can see what's going on here. all of a sudden it gets really nasty and ugly. >> it's a powder keg. and really it can blow up or explode at any moment. but, you know, it's really surreal, wolf, i think sometimes we are a little close, we don't see the forest for the trees sometimes because we're sitting watching these pictures from a very close vantage point. but if you're sitting at home watching this, and you're listening to the president of the united states and you're seeing military vehicles, army vehicles, and the national guard
rolling into washington, d.c., and you're seeing these people who are protesting, we haven't seen this sort of unrest in the country since 1968. that was a year of unrest, as i'm sure you know. we're looking at a country now, wolf, that is in desperation. the people who are out here yelling at the top of their voices, fighting back against police, they're desperate to be heard, they're desperate to get food on the table, they're desperate to be treated equally under the law. many of them are desperate to find employment with the pandemic and being shut down for months. they're desperate to be heard. this president is desperate to try to keep some sort of order and desperate to be reelected coming november. and now you have these two forces that are clashing. what i hear in the president's voice, and this is just what i hear, i hear fear.
any time you are saying, you guys are weak, you need to apply force, what are you going to do? put a fortress around the white house, put a fortress around america and not engage with the people who are telling you, who are outside of your door screaming, hey, we need to be heard. listen to us, listen to us, we matter. black lives matter. we matter in america. you're not listening to us. and here you are with the president of the united states building a fortress around. it does not -- it does not compute. the way that you engage with people, the way to stop this, is to engage with the people who are screaming at the top of their lungs for you to pay attention. you represent these people who are outside of your door screaming, desperate to be heard. engage with them. listen to them. meet them at their level.
stop pushing them back. stop trying to use military force to push them back. what are you going to do, all the might in the world, and use the military to push them back? these are americans. your constituents. your fellow americans. and so i don't understand what the president of the united states is doing by bringing all of this in. there is a very simple solution to this. listen to the people. and that could have been solved a long time ago, if you just listen and engage the people who are desperate for you to pay attention to them, to include them. >> you can see those trucks bringing in u.s. military police on the grounds of the white house. here you see the standoff in lafayette park right across the street from the white house out on pennsylvania avenue. and you see the police there standing in formation against these protesters who are obviously very, very angry right
now over what happened to george floyd and so many others over these past few years. a very, very dangerous situation. don, stand by. the mayor of atlanta, i want her reaction to what's happening as well. we'll keep these pictures up. mayor keisha lance bottoms is joining us from atlanta right now. mayor, thank you so much for joining us. hard to believe this is going on here in the united states of america. right now u.s. military personnel in formation being driven onto the white house grounds in these trucks. give us your reaction to what you're seeing in philadelphia, in washington, d.c., and of course in atlanta as well. >> you know, wolf, watching these images, the first thing that came to mind is, america is a tinder box, and donald trump's tongue is a flame right now. each time he opens his mouth, he throws another match on the fire. and it's not what we need right
now. if he can't lead us all, then he should not lead any of us. and by that i mean he's got to assess where we are as a country and he has to know that his actions are not helping us right now. i think if there's ever been a time in our history for a president to perhaps even be silent, this is the time. >> he's not going to be silent, we're bracing now in the next hour to hear directly from the president. he may be making a statement in the rose garden in the white house. we don't know for sure, there's no official announcement yet but it looks like they're preparing for something along those lines. as you know, mayor, earlier in the day, he had a conference call with governors from all over the country. he called minneapolis, and you heard this before, a laughingstock. he urged all the governors to get tough on protesters. what does that tell you,
specifically, mayor, about his understanding of this very tense situation that's unfolding across the country, including in your beautiful city of atlanta right now? >> he doesn't have an understanding of what's happening right now in this country. and he seems to be destabilizing our country even more with his unstable behavior and assessment of where we are. and again, you know, we've called on people of good conscience across the country to speak up and stand up and really feel what people are feeling in america. and that applies to the white house too. there has to be people of good conscience in that white house who can speak reason, i would hope. and if that's not where we are, you know, call upon his wife and upon his children. you are destabilizing our
country in real time. the images that we are seeing are like nothing i've ever seen in my lifetime. and it is confirming to me as a mayor, and obviously concerning to me as a mother of children who are witnessing this. >> do you fear, mayor, that his comments, that he may be making a statement in the next hour that could actually make matters, make the situation a whole lot worse? >> i absolutely fear that. he seems to have an inability to offer any empathy or offer any reassurances to what we're dealing with. you know, he's calling people weak. i was on the phone with governor kemp an hour ago. this is not about political position or party affiliation. this is about what we need to do to help our communities during this time. our communities are in chaos
right now. and we're working across the hours in georgia to make sure we're doing the right thing with the protesters here. the inability for the president to do that across the country speaks to where we are in america right now. >> mayor, don lemon is with us. he has a question he wants to ask you. don, go ahead. >> mayor, you are the leader of atlanta, and you know there are some great civil rights leaders that have come out of that city and who still live in that city. we have seen unrest in your city and many around the country, and we're watching it happen in atlanta and washington, d.c. right now. i said moments ago, the images that we're seeing on television, i don't believe have been seen since the civil rights movement, 1968. this is a real turning point in our country. we know that dr. martin luther king jr. said that a riot is a
language of the unheard. i believe that the people who are out here, not necessarily the rioters but the protesters who are yelling at the top of their lungs, they want to be heard. i'm not sure if this president is capable of that. but that is the type of leadership we need in this country right now. can you please speak to that? >> you're absolutely right, don. i know it sounds very strange for me to sit here as mayor of atlanta and call upon someone's wife or children to attempt to reason with him. but that tells you where we are right now in america. we're all searching for solutions. we're all looking to stop the bleed that our cities are experiencing right now. and while we're dealing with all of this, even in the course of this interview, not once have i even mentioned the name of george floyd or any of the other people who have been killed in america. we're losing sight of where we
are, not to mention covid-19 and what we're going to see likely two weeks from now with all of the people that are gathering at protests in this country. and i've said it repeatedly, right now in america our communities are sick and they are tired and they are dying. and this is the time that we look to national leaders to offer reassurance that there is hope for a better tomorrow in this country. if you can't do that or he's unwilling to do that, then i wish he would allow someone else to step up who can. >> mayor, very strong words. we're showing live pictures coming in from atlanta, protesters there obviously very angry, understandably so. as you see these protesters, and i know you've gone out and spoken to them, what's your message to them right now? >> i hear you. i see you and i hear you. my son sent me the video, i had
already seen it, but he sent me the video, the college students who were snatched out of their cars and tased in atlanta. and he said, this is why we're burning up cities. this is why we're tearing up communities. so i get it. i'm getting it in every direction, in real time. and each and every day, i get up as mayor of this city to try and make my city better. and to the extent that we've had any grace in atlanta, i think it's because our communities know that. whether it's closing our jail and converting it to a community center or closing our jail to i.c.e. and having prisoners come out to full-time jobs in the city of atlanta, we're trying to do better each and every day. that's what we want from our president. we want to be able to look at our president and at least know that he's trying to do better.
and what i see right now is a man who has no interest in doing better for the people in this country. >> is there a curfew that you've imposed in atlanta right now? have you invited or asked for national guard troops to be deployed? how worried are you that these peaceful protests could get violent? >> well, we do have national guard troops here. they have been here since friday. there is a curfew in place at 9:00 p.m. we've had that for the past couple of days. it is our long standing policy in atlanta that we do not arrest peaceful protesters. but what we have now, we have national guard troops here, we have other agencies here. we have the state of georgia that's involved with state patrols. that's not necessarily their policy. and so we're just trying to strike this balance here, honoring the legacy of martin luther king jr. and so many others, ambassador young and so many others, and that we want to allow these peaceful protests.
but when interstates are closed down, and of course when they turn violent, then of course other decisions have to be made. and i can't control what the state does in our city. but we're certainly working together to try and strike a balance here. >> mayor keisha lance bottoms of atlanta, thank you so much for everything you're doing. we are all grateful to you, especially grateful for your joining us here in "the situation room" tonight. good luck tonight. obviously everybody is bracing for a deterioration of the situation. let's hope that the protests remain calm. people can be angry, people can be protesting. this is the united states of america. but let's hope they don't get violent. thanks so much for joining and you say -- for joining us and good luck. >> thank you. what's going on in philadelphia right now is also especially disturbing. brian todd, you're there for us. last time we spoke, we saw the
tear gas, we saw people jumbpin over a sense. you were tear gassed as well. we saw a lot of people running. what's the latest? >> reporter: wolf, the protesters seem to have regathered at least in some numbers here. we have probably, i don't know, a few hundred following us and heading towards city hall. we're trying to get -- we're going to go this way a little bit. they were very disorganized, once the tear gas was fired at them, and they sddispersed in my different direction. now they've regathered in smaller numbers but are headed to city hall. we saw police tactical vehicles at a distance. the police are ringing this area, they've got tactical vehicles, they've got some riot gear. we're going to see if there's a confrontation. we thought there might be one a few moments ago but a really heavily armed police vehicle moved along and did not confront
them. so, andrew, if you want to pan to your right, you can see, they've really regathered in some numbers. this is not as big a crowd as we saw earlier. earlier, i would say at least 2 or 3,000 people, this is down to 500 or so, we don't want to get into the numbers but you can kind of estimate here. but it could grow, because they're going to go to city hall. we'll see if there are confrontations there. city hall is ringed by national guardsmen and philadelphia police and state police. so, you know, i can tell you that this crowd is angrier now than they were an hour ago. they were spirited, they were passionate, like many crowds across the country. they were not angry. now they're angry, because the tear gas that was fired down into that overpass area that you saw, and you saw people scrambling over that fence, that really riled up this crowd, and we're going to see if there's an i don't think so he confrontation here at city hall.
i talked to the protesters, some of them, before this happened and after this happened. they said, they don't want the image of the looting and burning in philadelphia over the past couple of days to be the narrative of this city in any of these protests. they want to express their outrage at the death of george floyd. they want to express their outrage at the death of other african-american young men through the last several years at the hands of police. that's what they say they're here to do. they're very concerned that that message was getting lost in some of the violence in the city. so they were really kind of cheerful, they were in very good moods, they thought this was a chance tonight to express that positive message of, you know, antiracism and calling attention to police brutality. but once they got under that underpass, the entire dynamic changed, once the tear gas started to be fired into the air and fired down onto the highway under the overpass, where hundreds of them were packedyna.
people panicked, you saw it on lea live tv, they scrambled and could have been injured, although we don't believe they were. some of the people were arrested. we're headed to city hall a couple of hundred yards away. >> we'll get back you to, brian, we know there's a 6:00 p.m. curfew, that's in 17 minutes, in philadelphia. we'll see if that curfew is implemented and what these protesters will do at 6:00 p.m. when that curfew goes into effect. we've looked at philadelphia, looked at washington, d.c., looked at atlanta. the situation is tense in all those cities. i want to go to new york city right now, shimon prokupecz is on the scene for us. shimon, tell us where you are and what you see and what you hear. >> reporter: it is quiet here,
wolf. we're in union square, which has been the place in the last few days that a lot of protesters have come to. there have been peaceful protests here and there have been flareups here. just last night there was a flareup here. two nights ago there was confrontation with police. so you have police officers, as you can see, there's police officers here, standing behind me. there are more police officers up the block in vans that are just wait to go deploy if needed. right now, wolf, new york city has been peaceful. the protests have been marching through the streets. they've marched from times square to downtown. we mancrched with them. they were peaceful. there is now a curfew in new york city, the governor and mayor say at 11:00 p.m. everybody will be ordered off the streets, it will go from 11:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m., this is because of the last few nights, what we've seen. i've been on the streets every night. people have been breaking into stores, shattering the class,
the storefronts. they have been -- there have been several confrontations with police. police have been attacked. they have set fires to police cars, vans. so as a result of all that, the mayor and the governor have come together and said, we're going to do this curfew starting today and they'll see how it goes. the thing that happens here, as this has been happening across the nation, is at night, when it gets dark, it tends to get more violent. during the day today, there have been peaceful protests. around 8:00, 9:00, things start to heat up. the curfew starts at 11:00. we'll see what leads up into the curfew which starts at 11:00, wolf. >> remind us what happened overnight in soho specifically, because it was very peaceful, and all of a sudden something happened. >> reporter: yeah, something did happen, wolf. there was a group of protesters
that marched from brooklyn over the manhattan bridge into manhattan. and the police have said that there were people in that group, it was a peaceful protest but there were elements in that group that were not peaceful. and they started to throw bottles at police, so there was a confrontation. they split up the groups. police were able to split up the group. some of the members of the group split off into soho and there, there was looting. they broke into stores, there was shattered glass at many of the stores, the storefronts, some high end shopping stores. as a result of all that, the police have also decided that they are going to have more officers on the street tonight. they had about 4,000 working each night. they are now doubling that to 8,000. i can tell you, wolf, i've been out every night. i have definitely seen more officers out tonight, out today so far than i have previously.
you can see that already. some of them even driving around. there is a caravan of officers driving around in unmarked vehicles. i was speaking to some sources who say that they have called up everyone below a captain. officers, other ranking members of the department, to be ready to be deployed, to have their equipment ready, and they can be called at a moment's notice to be sent out. they are trying to avoid what happened last night. the mayor talked about this today, the looting, the vandalism we've seen here in new york city just doesn't happen. i also want to make a point, and this is so important, wolf, there have been a lot of peaceful protests, there were beautiful moments, we covered it, where people were gathering and chanting and doing what they do to voice their angry and frustration with what has happened. what the police say they have found is that there are elements, there are bad people who are hijacking the good
protests. they are inserting themselves in what are peaceful protests and then agitating the police or even trying to get protesters to act and agitate the police. because of that, that is why we're seeing what we don't normally see here in new york city during these protests, the vandalism, the shattering of glass, the breaking into stores. the graffiti all over the city. that is no normally something that we see during these kinds of protests. and as a result of that, the mayor and the governor have gotten together and decided they're going to put in extra police officers and do this curfew at 11:00 p.m. tonight, which -- i mean, i've covered so many protests here in new york city, there's never been a curfew as a result of that. it is because of the looting and the violence that we've seen, certainly from last night. and as you said, wolf, soho, it really is what happened in soho
last night, what finally made the mayor and the governor and the police say we need to do something else to get this under control. so you'll have the curfew and obviously the more police out, the presence will be much larger tonight, wolf. >> i want you to be careful, shimon, over there, because i'm worried about what might unfold in the coming hours. don lemon is still with us. don, you live in new york city, you know this area, you know union square, you know soho. give us a little big picture of what you sense we should be bracing for. >> it's interesting, wolf, because the number of cities that we've had on our screen, are cities that i've lived in for a number of years. it's surreal to see these images playing out in these beautiful cities.
we're looking at this cavernous city with thousands of people out, a city that has been virtually empty for months because of covid-19, and all these people are suddenly showing up with a concern that cities may become super spreader cities. these protests i think we are braced for seeing similar scenes to what we saw last night. the protesters walked down the street and then police find them and they retreat and try to go to another spot and then police move towards another spot and retreat. they keep moving. this stance plays out in new york city which is dense, small streets, but we see a similar conflict that play out in cities throughout america, including new york, washington, d.c., atlanta, chicago, los angeles and on and on and on.
wolf, someone asked me today after the autopsy report, the independent you a t independent autopsy report came out, someone asked me when will this stop? when the rest of the officers are arrested? i am not sure it will when the officers are arrested because there are so many unanswered questions for americans, for the unheard. i don't know when it's going to stop or if it's going to be soon. but i will tell you it's going to be interesting to watch and unfold on our city streets that i haven't seen this in quite sometime. >> a serious situation indeed. don, stand by. alex is over near lafayette park. these are uniformed secret service police.
they are facing off against the protesters at lafayette park behind these police is the white house and pennsylvania avenue. set the scene, alex. a while ago we saw trucks carrying military personnel onto the grounds of the white house. >> reporter: we talked about the huge have a right of peopforce is have turned out to keep peace here. uniformed secret service, a long row of them with their batons, clear plastic shields and helmets, fully dressed in right gear and right behind them have arrived a significant amount of camouflaged national guard. it says military police. they have taken up position behind the uniformed secret service police in the middle of
lafayette park. we have to emphasize over and over this is no normal standoff between protesters and police. this is right in front of the white house. that is why you are seeing such a significant amount of manpower. >> go ahead. >> and such a significant amount of firepower. but this is in stark contrast to the mood of this protest. there is no doubt that over the past few nights there has been violence and destruction in this city, but this is a wholly peaceful protest. moments ago we saw people kneeling down saying hands up, don't shoot. now you can hear them chanting "black lives matter." in the three hours we have been here, we have not seen any instance of violence. we have not seen the protesters throwing anything towards the police. obviously there is a possibly things can change. these protests can evolve and
certainly when it gets to the later hours. but when we talk about the balance of protesters versus agitators, those who want to come out for the right reason and have their message heard versus those who want to come out and cause destruction, this is a very peaceful protest right now, coming out to have their voices heard in the wake of the death of george floyd. but you are seeing this increased police presence, increased law enforcement presence in front of the white house. >> stand by. we are getting breaking news coming into the situation room right now. an official statement from the medical examiner's office in hennepin county, minnesota. the official report says george floyd's death was a homicide resulting from being strained. the cause of death is
cardiopulmonary arrest with subdued and neck compression. he died of cardiac arrest while being restrained by law enforcement officers. laura coates is back with us in washington from minneapolis. that's her hometown. what do you make of this medical county examiner's report? >> it seems to be in line with what we thought happened. this has to be done as part of a formal process of an investigation. it can't be lay persons looking at a scene and establishing a particular cause of death. when medical examiners right these report they do not have a disclaimer. they are not saying anything about liability on the civil side or talking about somebody in the conviction way as in this is a person who should be convicted. they don't make an assessment
about the legal conclusion. what they are saying is if this was not an instance of underlying conditions -- she's making a connection between the officer's conduct and compression, meaning the officer kneeling on the neck. and remember we have video footage of other officers also playing their bodies on in george floyd's body. there may be contributory ideas about what compression he did that led to the heart attack and pulmona pu cardiac arrest. but the defense may attack and say are you jumping to legal conclusions, making statements you may not otherwise be
qualified to do, arguing that the medical examiner is not qualified. but they will look at is there a direct relationship between the officer's asaulti officer's assaultive conduct. but this is getting stronger in favor of murder charges. when it says homicide, people think they are making a conclusion about murder. but homicide is a nonnatural death. that in and of itself does not persuade either way, but the findings therein are huge. >> dr. sanjay gupta is still with us. you have gone through this a little bit. what do you make of it?
>> just as laura was saying, they are saying that the manner of death, homicide, cause of death cardiopulmonary arrest complicated because of restraints. being subdued, restraints and neck compression is what led to that. from a medical standpoint it sounds like -- again, there will be a full report. this is a bit of a summary saying that due to inadequate oxygenation of the blood, the r organs, in this case the heart, wasn't getting blood and led to cardiac arrest. it is a short summary, but fits with what we heard earlier from that independent medical exam also being called a homicide in that case because of pressure on the neck leading to inadequate
oxygenation, inadequate blood flow. in the independent report it says it was also due to pressure on the back, two sources of pressure. but ultimately, it's the heart that stops pumping. that is the cause of death. that's what they are saying in this medical report, but they are saying it was a homicide due to the pressure on the neck. >> a serious development. we will continue to follow this. the hennepin medical examiner's report calling george floyd's death a homicide. there was dramatic video including three minutes after he had stopped moving at all. he had been restrained to a dangerous and deadly degree. everybody stand by. we have been showing our viewers live pictures from washington,
d.c. there is a standoff at lafayette park across from the white house. military personnel have already been brought in in trucks. these are u.s. military police. can you see them at lauf yfayet park. crowds are gathering there. we saw crowds gathering in atlanta, philadelphia and other major cities. we are staying on top of all of these developments hoping that all of these demonstrations remain peaceful. a lot of angry people there and don't deteriorate in the face of tension with the police and authorities and get ugly and violent as they have over these past several days in the united states. let's get reaction and analysis from the st. paul police chief, todd