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At Least 13 States Activate National Guard Amid Violent Protests; Interview With Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber (D); More Than 300 Protesters Arrested In New York City, 33 Officers Injured. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired May 31, 2020 - 15:00   ET



ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: We want to welcome our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington. This is a special edition of THE SITUATION ROOM.

Happening now, a nation under siege on two fronts: Protests and a pandemic.

And today, silence from the White House as mayors survey the damage in the cities and plead for calm and order. We're already seeing some protests take an ugly turn today.

In Philadelphia, just a few moments ago, look at this, a crowd apparently began looting one business. It comes as the Mayor denounced what he calls anarchists and imposed a new curfew for his city.

Thirteen states have already activated the National Guard trying to take scenes like this away. That's what's happening as protests spread throughout the country.

The outrage boiling over following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers. Today protesters and police face backlash from the growing violence of these demonstrations.

The NYPD is investigating after this video showed a police SUV driving into a group of protesters after they threw objects at the vehicle.

And there is mounting economic frustration in the United States right now. More than 40 million Americans facing unemployment because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The disease has taken the lives of more than 104,000 Americans in only three months and it is just the latest issue disproportionally affecting the African-American community.

We have a team of correspondents around the country to bring you the very latest developments on the protests that are unfolding.

But let's go to Chicago right now, a city that has just announced very strict new precautionary measures. We are seeing more protests happening there right now and they come a day after violent protests in the heart of the city's business district.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot responded to those protests just a little while ago.


MAYOR LORI LIGHTFOOT, CHICAGO: I'm also hurt and angry at those who decided to try to hijack this moment and use it as an opportunity to wreak havoc, to loot and to destroy.

You should be ashamed of yourselves. What you have done is to dishonor yourself, your family, and our city.


BLITZER: CNN's Ryan Young is on the ground for us in Chicago right now. Ryan, first of all, what more do we know about these new safety measures in the city that they are imposing? We see the destruction, the damage, behind you.

RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, just a lot of damage all around, Wolf. I can tell you, 375 National Guard members are headed here, and they have already started to shut down major streets throughout the area.

But to tell you how dangerous this became, just last night, we are talking about six people shot. One person died from being shot. It is just unbelievable.

We were in the middle of it as people were throwing rocks, and using large objects to break windows and run through the street. We were there as they were pepper sprayed, but now, the businesses are trying to get themselves ready and back together.

There is a massive effort all the way down Michigan Avenue to try to make sure these boards are up, should there be more protests. Michigan Avenue

The first night we had protests, it was mostly peaceful and then late at night, some people gathered and started breaking windows.

Yesterday was a totally different situation. People came with the intent to do damage. In fact, the Mayor and even the Governor mentioned it was a coordinated effort. They brought U-Haul trucks and people in U-Haul trucks jumped out, started breaking windows and started looting stores.

Even on the way home last night, we saw several stores that had dozens of people running in and grabbing items.

Protesters though were very upset. They believe they watched a man lynched on TV and now, the focus has changed. They believe we're putting too much focus on these businesses and not on what happened in that video.

And that is the whole point that they were trying to make. We saw protesters trying to police their own protest because they were very upset about an element that showed up.

We saw men wearing using almost the same sort of uniforms and clothing with bags of spray paint, who were running through the city spray painting symbols all over the area.

And it wasn't the same people. They were going on overpasses and they were shutting down highways. It was a coordinated effort.

The Mayor for her part says that has to stop and that's what they are going to try to do today.


YOUNG: There's not a business down this street that looks like it wasn't impacted in some way, but I've even talked to some of the protest organizers, and they tell us what they want is to get the conversation back to what they were working on.

Social change, social justice. That's not what happened. And if you think about all of the officers who were injured as well, 240 arrests, Wolf, it doesn't look like it is going to stop. We are moving closr to where the protesters are at this point.

BLITZER: Just be careful over there, Ryan Young on the streets of Chicago for us. Thank you.

Out in California, the Mayor of San Francisco has just imposed a curfew over there after surveying what she calls, and I am quoting her now, "significant damage to the city."

This as the state of emergency is now put into effect in Los Angeles County, in response to the unrest there. CNN's Paul Vercammen is joining us from Los Angeles.

So, Paul, what are you seeing over where you are? We see lots of destruction.

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lots of destruction, Wolf. I'm on Melrose Avenue. This is a trendy shopping area. You see right here, this shop behind me, completely ransacked, as with many of the shops here, both looted and burned.

And then if you come down here, just a little further, three in a row smaller shops, all mom and pop shops. This one as well, looted and burned. Still smoldering in the back and then right next door, a jewelry and clothing store, window knocked out, looted and burned.

For these small business owners here, this is just a trying morning. People have come out to helped them clean up. I'm going to bring in Alan. This is his mom and pop store. And Alan, you have to be thinking to yourself, why?

ALAN, BUSINESS OWNER: Yes. Why? And at the end of the day, if you really think about it, it would have been cheaper for me to just give free shoes out to people because at this rate, we just -- we lost everything. Just like every other business on Melrose and this is not -- this is not, in my opinion, this is a staged thing because people basically were calling each other to come and do this.

Look what happened? Look at this. Thirty two years, and look what happened. So ...

VERCAMMEN: Did you see how they started the fire, by the way?

ALAN: Ah, basically, they are using Molotov cocktails, as I previously mentioned and they're using this little hammers, if you can -- little $3.00 hammers. You see? And they just break in the glass and they are just entering each particular store.

Here, this little $3.00 to $5.00 item causing million dollars of damage. So, yes.

VERCAMMEN: Any of this salvageable?

ALAN: Absolutely not. Actually, there is still a fire, literally in the back of the stores and we're talking about 12 hours later.

So, if there's still a fire 12 hours later that should tell you something.

VERCAMMEN: Do you plan to come out and rebuild here or can you?

ALAN: That's a great question. I don't know. I mean -- if you come back, you come back stronger, but, you know, it's -- I don't know yet. I don't know yet. Maybe we can work together. We can interview people.

VERCAMMEN: Yes, I think anybody who could do anything to help you get you back on your feet would do so. So, I wish you the best of luck, Alan.

ALAN: Thank you.

VERCAMMEN: I really appreciate it.

ALAN: I am smiling. You kind of changed my mood a little bit, you know?

VERCAMMEN: We don't blame you. Whatever helps you get through this, Alan.

ALAN: And you've been very nice to me, by the way, I want to say thank you very much.

VERCAMMEN: Thank you.

ALAN: You're welcome.

VERCAMMEN: I appreciate it.

ALAN: Thank you, guys, for coming out. Thanks for supporting us, independent mom and pop shops. At the end, where the middle class is pretty much the working class. So, you know, thank you for supporting us. Thank you so much.

VERCAMMEN: Appreciate your comments.

ALAN: Thank you. Very nice man over here.

VERCAMMEN: Wolf, those are the sentiments here on Melrose. The street is, as he said, filled with these mom and pop shops. Many of them looted and burned, and now they are all wondering, can we ever make it back on our feet?

First, they got hit by the COVID-19 crisis. Many of them were coming out of it, being allowed to reopen and then, wham. They got hit last night -- Wolf.

ALAN: Yes, we were open literally two days in ...

BLITZER: It is so, so heartbreaking. Please, tell him, we wish him only, only the best, and it just heartbreaking to see what's going on, on the streets of Los Angeles and multiply that, Paul, by a lot because it is happening not just in LA, but in cities across the United States.

People are watching us around the United States wondering what is going on. People around the world are watching us live right now. They are saying to themselves, is this really happening in the United States of America?

And I can assure our viewers, yes, it is indeed happening in the United States of America. So sad, indeed.

Our Paul Vercammen, thank very much.

Let's go to Minneapolis right now, the epicenter of the protests and we are getting a new look at some video during George Floyd's arrest. The clip taken from a security camera appears to show police struggling with someone inside their cruiser.


BLITZER: We cannot see Floyd directly in this new video, but let's discuss what's going on.

Omar Jimenez is on the scene for us. He is in Minneapolis as he had been for the last week or so, doing an excellent job for us. Omar, so what do we know about the events that led up to Floyd's death? There's new information, I understand, coming out.

JIMENEZ: Wolf, part of that new video that you showed adds context to what have been simultaneous ongoing investigations into the officers involved here.

When you talk about just the importance of video to begin with, that video, or the cell phone video that we saw emerge early this week of the actual arrest, where we saw officer -- the former officer Derek Chauvin's knee on the neck of George Floyd was sort of was what kicked all of this off.

And of course, that is part of the investigation. They are also looking at surveillance video from businesses across the street. We also know that there were body cameras -- that all of these body cameras were rolling on these officers, so investigators are likely going through that as well, all to try and get to the question of whether the other three officers will face charges on top of what Chauvin already has been charged with, third-degree murder and manslaughter -- Wolf.

BLITZER: We're seeing, Omar, the city prepare for another night of protests. Minneapolis, the Twin Cities, Minneapolis and St. Paul, for that matter. What are you learning on that front?

JIMENEZ: Well, that's the question. How bad is it going to be tonight? We've sort of gotten into this cycle where we see peaceful protests throughout the day in places across Minneapolis.

Then evening time, it tends to devolve into a little bit more violence, some rioting and looting. And then, the next morning, you have community members coming outside and cleaning up their communities, volunteers and alongside public officials as well.

So, that has sort of been the cycle and the relationship of things, but look, Governor Walz wanted to put an end to some of the extreme images we had seen over the three nights prior of buildings on fire and literally anarchy in the streets.

And last night was the strongest law enforcement presence I think we have seen yet up to this point and Governor Walz spoke a little about that this morning. Take a listen.


GOV. TIM WALZ (D-MN): I want to say thank you to all of the people of Minnesota who protected their neighbors, who took an unprecedented step last night of making sure they created the space that an unprecedented force of our neighbors and our public servants were able to come together, execute the most complex -- public safety operation in the state's history.

They did so in a professional manner. They did so without a single loss of life and minimal property damage.


JIMENEZ: And you heard the Governor use the word unprecedented there multiple times. We did see the largest domestic deployment of the National Guard for Minnesota in the state's history there.

They say right before their operation kicked off, they saw their entire state computer systems suffer some sort of cyberattack that they say had to -- or could not have been an accident, so that is something they are currently investigating.

They also closed major highways into the city over concerns that a lot of the violence that was being committed here was from people coming from the outside as well. And tonight, we did hear from the Governor. They are reinstituting

that that 8:00 p.m. curfew that was put in place yesterday trying to keep order in the streets, and he says, some of those same strategies they used yesterday, including prioritizing high-level targets are going to be out today and we will see if what happens tonight matches any of the magnitude of what we have seen earlier this week -- Wolf.

BLITZER: You know, Omar, I want to just move aside for a moment. I want your photojournalist, I assume it is still Leonel Mendez, if you could just show us a wider view of the destruction that happened where you are.

These used to be shops. These used to be stores. They are family owned and operated. These were, you know, businesses, restaurants, that people, including a lot of minorities in Minneapolis had built up for many, many years working.

This was their life-savings in these stores and look what has happened to this community right there. They are -- I mean, these are scenes I could have been reporting from a war, these scenes over there.

It's just horrendous and so heartbreaking to know these used to be restaurants. These used to be little stores. These used to be wonderful places and now it's -- they're completely, completely destroyed.

Omar, I know it's heartbreaking for you to see this up close. It is heartbreaking for Leonel Mendez, our photojournalist, Bill Kirkos, our producer who is with you as well to see how these areas, and once again, multiply it many times across the United States and we get a sense of the enormity of what has happened.


BLITZER: Omar, we are going to get back to you. Thanks for your excellent reporting as usual.

Heartbreaking to see all of that. I want to go to Philadelphia right now. The Mayor there denouncing looters, calling them anarchists.

And just a few moments ago, we actually saw some very large-scale looting at one store in Philadelphia. You can see people climbing in and out of the windows in the store.

They're coming in with suitcases. They are carrying out goods.

Brian Todd, you're at the scene. A very large police presence in North Philadelphia, but what are you learning right now?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, we just got on the scene where the looting was and that video earlier and we actually just saw people going back into one of these stores.

This is a Forman Mills store where some of the looting was taking place earlier. It got broken into. When we came upon the scene here just a minute ago, we saw some people going in there, and then a couple of police officers came and some people took off running.

So that was a scene of some heavy looting earlier. I can also show you this AT&T store here got broken into. There is a very heavy police presence now and our photojournalist, Andrew Smith and I can pan down this way, Andrew if you want to show them these blockades.

We were not allowed to go back down that way where we were told there might have been looting on this side of the street just a few moments ago, as Wolf mentioned, where we saw that aerial video. That's where we were at this spot and we came here again, just a couple of minutes ago, we did see people trying to break back into that Forman Mills store and they were chased away by a police officer.

We also just saw, Wolf, a stream of police cars heading down this way. We're going to check that out in a second. We are going to try to get there on foot and see what is going on.

But this was the scene of some heavy looting earlier: a couple of stores, we know the AT&T store got broken into, we know this Forman Mills store was broken into because we saw people going in there, Wolf.

This is at the north eastern section of Philadelphia, away from the Center City area. We are going to check out some more scenes, maybe over this way where the police headed.

BLITZER: All right, Brian Todd, be careful in Philadelphia. We know it's a dangerous situation unfolding there and indeed across so many cities here in the United States.

Brian Todd reporting for us. Thank you.

George Floyd's death at the hands of police in Minneapolis, just the latest in a very long line of unarmed African-American men who have died in police custody and many of those high-profile deaths have sparked protests against what a lot of people see as police brutality in the past.

Today, the President's National Security Adviser, Robert O'Brien told CNN he is blaming a few bad apples, his words, a few bad apples for the problems.


ROBERT O'BRIEN, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: I don't think there is systemic racism, I think 99.9 percent of our law enforcement officers are great Americans, and many them are African-American, Hispanic, Asian. They are working the toughest neighborhoods. They have got the hardest jobs to do in this country and I think they are amazing and great Americans and they are my heroes.

But you know what? There are some bad apples in and there and there are some bad cops that are racists and there are cops that maybe don't have the right training and there are some that are just bad cops.

And they need to be rooted out, because there's a few bad apples that are giving law enforcement a terrible name.


BLITZER: Susan Rice is a former National Security Adviser to President Obama, the former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. She is also the author of the book "Tough Love." There you see the book cover.

Ambassador Rice, thanks so much for joining us. What's your reaction to what you hear to -- you were the National Security Adviser, O'Brien is now the National Security Adviser, where he blames this on a few bad apples.

SUSAN RICE, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA: Wolf, when he says there's no systemic racism, it's ridiculous and it's so out of touch.

We sat in the same corner office of the West Wing of the White House. We had the same job. But there's a big difference between us.

I'm the mother of a black son. I'm the aunt of a black nephew. I'm the sister of a black man, and every day, when they go out whether they're driving or jogging or bird watching, as my son likes to do, I fear.

I live with that visceral fear that something terrible could happen to them, they could be jacked up or worse, shot and killed.

Robert O'Brien doesn't live with that fear and that's the difference. That is -- racism -- that is a system that is unfair. It treats African-Americans very differently, regardless of their education, their socioeconomic status, based on the color of their skin. So, to say it is not systemic is deeply out of touch.

That's not to say obviously that all police are bad or evil, quite the contrary, but there are enough who have for decades, generations acted against African-Americans with impunity and extraordinary brutality that it is deeply painful, it's dangerous, and it has led to the kind of expression of anger and despair that we are now seeing.


BLITZER: Ambassador, tell us about the conversation as an African- American mother, it is a conversation I suspect that every African- American mother in the United States has to have with her son.

Tell us about the conversation you have had to have over the years with your son, given the racism that exists in our country.

RICE: Wolf, you've heard it before. When you're driving, what do you do when -- or if you're pulled over by the cops? What do you do with your hands? How do you speak? How do you behave so as not to give them any excuse, any basis for acting inappropriately?

And yet, what we're seeing is so often, it doesn't matter how you behave. There is a system that is not working fairly. It's based on history.

It's based on the legacy of slavery. It's based on disparate socioeconomic conditions and the reality that for many, it's okay not to treat African-Americans as if we're full human beings.

That's the problem, and that's the conversation that sadly I, and so many African-American parents have to have with their children, and by the way, it's not just our sons. It's our daughters, too.

BLITZER: What do you mean by your daughters, too? Tell us about that.

RICE: Because look at Breonna Taylor or look at so many other instances we've seen of African-American women being treated with violence and excessive force.

So it's really fundamentally a problem of our society still bearing the vestiges and the realities every day of racial disparities and prejudice and that's what needs to be addressed.

We need leadership, Wolf, that is interested in our common humanity, in treating all Americans as if they count and belong equally. Not leadership like we have in the White House that's invoking the language of segregationists and talking about seeking dogs and shooting peaceful protesters.

This is a time when we need empathetic, rational, constructive leadership that seeks to bring us together, and deal finally seriously with the root causes of this racism and the root causes of our inequality.

BLITZER: We haven't heard from President Trump today, other than a couple of tweets. One tweet going after the news media for fomenting in his words hatred and anarchy, another tweet, the United States of America will be designating Antifa, which is a far left group as a terrorist organization.

What does that say to you?

RICE: Well, when he goes after journalists, which he does, as you know very well on a daily basis, but does so at a moment when journalists are out on the streets trying to exercise their constitutional rights in keeping the American people informed and they are being attacked themselves by police officers.

We just had your colleague on the line who was arrested. We've seen local reporters being shot in some of our streets, with rubber bullets and everything else.

This is not a moment for a leader to incite violence against the media or violence against peaceful protesters, and you know, to designate Antifa, a terrorist organization, fine, but let's also talk focus on the rightwing terrorist organizations, the white supremacists that he has called in the past very fine people.

We have a problem here, Wolf. We have peaceful protesters focused on the very real pain and disparities that we are all wrestling with that have to be addressed and then we have extremists who have come to try to hijack those protests and turn them into something very different.

And they probably also, I would bet based on my experience, I'm not reading the Intelligence today, or these days, but based on my experience, this is right out of the Russian playbook as well, but we can't allow the extremists, the foreign actors to distract from the real problems we have in this country that are longstanding, centuries-old and need to be addressed responsibly by new leadership.

BLITZER: You're absolutely right on the foreign interference, because we know for decades, the Russians, when it was the Soviet Union, the communist, they've oftentimes tried to embarrass the United States by promoting the racial divide in our country, but what you are suggesting, Ambassador is that they're still trying to do that? Is that what you're saying?

RICE: Well, we see it all the time. We've seen it for years, and, frankly, every day on social media, where they take any divisive painful issue whether it is immigration, whether it is gay rights, whether it is gun violence, and always racism, and they play on both sides.

Their aim is not simply to embarrass the United States, Wolf. They're aim is to divide us, to cause us to come into combat with each other. To disintegrate from within, and I would not be surprised to learn that they have fomented some of these extremists on both sides using social media.


RICE: I wouldn't be surprised to learn that they are funding it in some way, shape or form, and that is something that we need to take seriously, but we cannot allow it to distract us from the real problem that is an American problem, that we alone can address and we need leadership desperately, Wolf, that doesn't demonize peaceful protesters from -- frankly from Colin Kaepernick to those who have tried peacefully protest in recent days.

We need leadership that listens, that understands that these are very real problems that we have to address.

And here we are in the middle of a pandemic with over 100,000 Americans have died, many more than needed to die had we had more competent and effective leadership, and yet, we're not focused and that and we are not focused on the reality that among those 100,000- plus disproportionately were African-Americans and Latinos, people of color.

We have real fundamental issues in this country that is long past time we address through new policies that, you know, allow people to have decent jobs with livable wages, real education, real healthcare. Housing that's, you know, suited for all of us.

There's just a huge amount of work to be done and it's past time we do it and the only way we're going to get there is if we have real change in November. BLITZER: Ambassador Susan Rice, thanks very much for joining us.

These are awful, awful, such painful times between what we're seeing on the aftermath of the death of George Floyd, and the coronavirus.

The people who have lost their jobs. It's just a very, very painful time here in the United States of America. Thanks so much for joining us.

RICE: Thank you for having me, Wolf.

BLITZER: Coming up here in our special SITUATION ROOM, cars burning, protesters storming highways. In Miami, the situation is so dangerous right now, officials have delayed reopening beaches.

The Mayor of Miami Beach is standing by live. We'll discuss.

And take a look at this. These are live pictures coming in from Boston where a peaceful protest is taking place right now. Let's hope it stays peaceful. We'll be right back.



BLITZER: Following a night of violent protests in Miami Dade County down in Florida, officials have announced a curfew will be place starting at 9:00 tonight. That's an hour earlier than previously planned.

The City of Miami has a separate curfew starting at 8:00 p.m. tonight. The city is also delaying the reopening of its beaches, which was originally set for tomorrow.

Joining us now is Dan Gelber, he is Mayor of Miami Beach, which of course, is right next to the City of Miami. Mayor Gelber, thanks so much for joining us.

So give us a sense of what you've been seeing so far? What impact all of this is going to have?

MAYOR DAN GELBER (D), MIAMI BEACH: Well, listen, we were pretty focused on just trying to figure out how to navigate out of this pandemic as we sort of begin the beginning of the next part of it, and, of course, with now all of the other issues with regards to the death of George Floyd, and the killing of George Floyd, and the protests, we now have another issue that really is very significant.

So, we're going to delay the opening simply because of concerns for unrest and things like that, but, obviously, this pandemic didn't -- hasn't repaired any of the racial divides in our country. If anything, it just laid them bare or magnified them, and I think we're trying to address all of those issues simultaneously.

BLITZER: The protests down in Miami, they started largely peacefully, we're told, and then turned violent. We see that, by the way, going on in cities across the United States. They start very peacefully, and then, all of a sudden they become very violent.

What do you think could be done to keep, for example, your community safe and other communities safe right now? The looting, the pictures we have seen. These family-owned businesses for a long time simply destroyed.

GELBER: Well, you know, it's really hard, because obviously, as Dr. King said, an injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

You want protests. You want people to be heard and you want people to stand up, but you should separate protesters from the looters. They're not protesting. They're stealing. And I think police have to make clear that with the way they have been.

Our city has a pretty good history recently at least of learning from the lessons of the past and I think that my colleagues over in the City of Miami exercised the appropriate restraint and they made 57 arrests, but they really waited until there was violence at the police station and things like that. They didn't, I think, exercise anything excessive, if I could use that phrase.

BLITZER: You're a former, correct me if I am wrong, Mayor Gelber, a former Federal prosecutor. What do you make of the handling of the George Floyd case?

GELBER: I actually was -- I was a Civil Rights prosecutor, so I did police cases pretty regularly. I am pretty familiar with use of force.


GELBER: First of all, and I've talked to police officers and other prosecutors. Nobody believes that the amount of force that was being used was appropriate, obviously. It was not -- you can only use the amount of force necessary to achieve a lawful purpose, and that clearly was not what it should have happened.

And more than that, I think the people around him, the other officers who were keeping the public from coming or assisting him, that is also very problematic and I think, a crime.

I think that they are probably trying to figure out the evidence right now, hopefully before they level the ultimate charges.

It is hard to do it immediately and that quickly. Most investigations take longer and there's great pressure on the investigators.

But there was nothing about that that looked right. Nothing. And obviously, anybody who saw it and people in law enforcement know that.

BLITZER: The ex-police officer has been charged, Derek Chauvin, 44 years old, third-degree murder and manslaughter.

The other three police officers have not yet been charged. Do you anticipate they will be charged, and do you also believe the Justice Department, the U.S., the Federal government could launch -- and you're an expert in this area -- Civil Right charges? GELBER: Well, it's clearly within Title 18 which is color of

authority. Clearly, they were acting under color of authority there, the police officers, so it is within the province, it's exactly what you do in an excessive force case.

It is both a homicide and it is a Justice Department Civil Rights violation, so if they all try to coordinate to make sure, hopefully they don't step on each other or hurt each other's investigations.

But one, either the Fed or the state will have to go first, but I think it's clearly both of those offenses.

And I also think the other police officers. When a police officer stops people who might come to the aid of that person, when they protect a person who is committing it, as some of them did put their knee on other parts of his body, that's assisting.

There was no lawful purpose in what was going on for the amount of time it was going on.

So, I think you're going to see more charges of more people. I would expect that, and by the way, the Justice Department has some very good Civil Rights prosecutors and the local U.S. Attorney, they are also, I understand, very competent.

So, I expect there is going to be a lot of attention and more charges.

BLITZER: I suspect you're absolutely right, Mayor Gelber.

Let's get back to Miami -- Miami Beach right now. What do you anticipate happening tonight? I assume the curfew of the Miami-Dade County curfew at 9:00 p.m. Eastern that goes into effect in Miami Beach. What do you anticipate happening?

GELBER: Absolutely. All the mayors, we talk to one another and there's a good amount of unrest and we wanted to just give a little bit more time, so that things seemed to escalate at night more than any other time. That's when the looting happens.

So, we wanted to stop that and we'll hold off the beach opening, because we're not sure what kind of crowds who are going to get to the beaches, at least a day.

And then after that, we'll consider the time to reopen it.

We wanted to open them up during the week because we typically will be talking about the pandemic and the reason we wanted to do it during the week as opposed to the weekend, we wanted to see what kind of crowds we have got to see what kind of measures we needed by the time the weekend came.

And so that's really the purpose we started on Monday, or maybe Tuesday now.

BLITZER: Well, good luck down there in Miami Beach. Mayor Gelber, I appreciate very much you joining us. We have been speaking regularly over these last few weeks on the coronavirus pandemic, and all of a sudden another huge, huge problem erupts.

Thanks, as usual, for joining us.

All right, coming up here in THE SITUATION ROOM, more than 300 protesters arrested in New York City and there is one troubling scene that is now under investigation.

What officials now saying about an NYPD truck that simply plowed into a crowd of people.



BLITZER: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says the National Guard is on standby after hundreds of people were arrested and dozens of police officers were injured during a chaotic night of demonstrations across New York City.

At least three New York residents are accused of attacking the NYPD with Molotov cocktails, as nearly four dozen police vehicles were damaged or destroyed just last night.

CNN's Polo Sandoval is joining us from New York right now. Polo, tell our viewers what you're seeing and what you're hearing?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, the days are quiet and peaceful, but it is really the evenings and the nights that usually bring the fury and those frustrations that tend to boil over and the result are these fiery clashes that we've seen across country.

And of course, here in New York, we have already seen dozens of people injured, hundreds of people arrested and tonight, the expectation is that we could see more of these demonstrations.

In the meantime, though, investigators are also taking a closer look at recent actions from the NYPD, specifically one case that happened yesterday in Brooklyn.

Captured on camera, you seen an NYPD SUV essentially plows into a crowd of people. We heard from the NYPD Commissioner today saying that this was not necessarily a protest. He described it more of a mob that was attempting to ambush their officer.

But nonetheless, it is certainly begging a closer look. One NYPD official saying that the officer behind the wheel here that was essentially afraid for his life and took that action is certainly meriting a closer look, not just that incident, but others as well as we prepare for again, another night of protests -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Polo, be careful over there. Polo Sandoval in New York.

The United States Bracing for a potential sixth night of unrest after the death of George Floyd.

People already hitting the streets in several cities right now. Many of the demonstrations are peaceful, at least so far.

Stay with us. This is a special edition of THE SITUATION ROOM.



BLITZER: Right now, we're continuing to monitor protests erupting in Philadelphia, just within the past hour. We've seen looters at one store there. This, as the mayor has denounced those partaking -- he is calling them anarchists.

Joining us now is Michael Nutter, he is the former Philadelphia Mayor and Charles Ramsey is the former Philadelphia Police Commissioner. He is a CNN law enforcement analyst.

Mayor Nutter, what's your reaction to what we've been seeing in Philadelphia, specifically your beautiful city over the past few days and just in the past hour, lots of looting going on.


MICHAEL NUTTER, FORMER PHILADELPHIA MAYOR: Sure. Well, Wolf, this is obviously very painful, but I want to start with quoting something I'm sure you'll be familiar, and the Commissioner, as well.

You know this. Our nation is moving towards two societies. One black, one white, separate and unequal.

What white Americans have never fully understood, but what the Negro can never forget is that the white society is deeply implicated in the ghetto.

White institutions created it, white institutions maintain it, and white society condones it.

Our daughter, Olivia, reminded me of that. Of course, that was February 29th, 1968, the Kerner Commission Report. We know the conditions that often lead to these kinds of circumstances.

Now, first and foremost, I never condone violence against people, violence against property. I am a strong supporter of the First Amendment and people should be able to protest peacefully. And with Commissioner Ramsey, we certainly did our best to help ensure that.

It is painful to see this kind of violence and destruction, fires and fighting, in my city -- my city that I grew up in and born, raised, educated here all my life. It is very, very painful to see these images protests -- protest peacefully, protest morning, noon, and night.

This is a city born in a country born in protest. That's fine. But the destruction of property, the damage to people, the injury to our brave men and women on the Philadelphia Police Department are certainly unacceptable. I know that people are hurting. I know that they are in pain. I

understand why people are upset. I get that. But I cannot condone some of these activities.

BLITZER: All right, Commissioner Ramsey, what do you think?

CHARLES RAMSEY, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, I agree with the Mayor. I mean, you know, I think what's happening here, and I think many of us are guilty of it, we tend to refer to the entire group as protesters or demonstrators. But there are two distinctly different groups of people.

There are tens of thousands of people that are out there demonstrating, protesting, because they have a legitimate grievance, not just the death of Mr. Floyd, but all of the other things that the mayor talked about earlier and it hit a boiling point and that's what we're looking at and that's what we're seeing on streets across the country.

But then you have a small subset of individual who mix in with that group, using whatever the event is, in this case, the death -- the murder, actually of Mr. Floyd, to carry out an entirely different agenda.

That's where you start getting the burning. That's when you start getting the looting. That's when you start getting the rocks and bottles. That's when you start getting all of those things happening.

And so, I think it takes away from the message and the message is totally legitimate. This is a problem. It has been a problem. And it's going to continue to be one until thoughtful people sit down and actually talk this through and come up with real, tangible solutions.

But it doesn't happen when the city is on fire.

BLITZER: All right, Mayor Nutter, is it getting worse or is it getting better?

NUTTER: Well, you know, Wolf, it depends on -- as I say, where you stand depends on where you sit. I mean, think about what's happened in the last 10 years or so, right?

African-Americans, you know, top of the list for all of the worst indicators, bottom of the list for all the good indicators, people have been locked up in their house for two plus months, unemployment at staggering levels now.

Coronavirus, disproportionately affecting black people. And then many African-Americans are frontline workers can't work remotely and can't get a job. Businesses are closed.

People are really just kind of pissed off, to put it mildly, and then you see this murder of Mr. Floyd, on TV or you see Arbery -- Ahmaud Arbery chased down by two, three, crazy-ass white people who just killed him, flat out. A man watching birds in Central Park and a lady purposefully calls the

police and says, a black man is attacking me, which is just a lie. I mean, folks are tired of it, Wolf.

BLITZER: Mayor Nutter, we've got to leave it there, unfortunately. We'll continue this conversation down the road. Commissioner Ramsey, as always, thank you so much for joining us.

RAMSEY: Thank you, Wolf.

BLITZER: An awful, awful situation unfolding.

NUTTER: Thank you, Wolf.

BLITZER: I want to thank all of our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'll be back tomorrow in THE SITUATION ROOM, 5:00 p.m. Eastern.

But before I go, I want to mark what we've lost these past six days as a nation.

We've seen a shocking outpouring of grief, rage, and frustration on the streets of American cities. Protesters begging to be heard. Mayors pleading for calm.

Police trying to restore order, but sometimes clashing violently with protesters.

And all of this happening against the backdrop of a historic and awful crisis with the nation struggling to recover from a pandemic that has already taken more than 103,000 American lives.


BLITZER: One that has forced the virtual shutdown of our country and one that has left more than 40 million American workers without jobs and now searching for hope.

It is so heartbreaking to see the long lines of people here in the United States of America at food banks, simply trying to get food to feed their hungry children.

We are now going through a terrible crisis and it will take compassion, honesty, and very hard work from all of us to address it.

It also comes as our network, CNN, prepares to mark the 40th Anniversary of its founding by Ted Turner.

It was on June 1st, 1980, when CNN began reporting the news.

For 40 years, we have tried to tell the story of what is happening here in the United States and around the world. And I promise this, we will keep doing that job. We'll keep hoping that our reporting can help all of us better understand our country, our fellow Americans, and indeed, the world.

I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington. Thanks very much for watching.

Please stay safe. "CNN Newsroom" with Ana Cabrera starts right after a quick break.