June 17 Black Lives Matter protests news

By Melissa Macaya, Mike Hayes, Meg Wagner, Helen Regan and Adam Renton, CNN

Updated 12:03 a.m. ET, June 18, 2020
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12:53 a.m. ET, June 17, 2020

Mother of Ahmaud Arbery: Trump's executive order doesn't go far enough 

From CNN's Mitchell McCluskey

Wanda Cooper-Jones, mother of Ahmaud Arbery, speaks to reporters outside of Sen. Tim Scott's (R-SC) office in the Hart Senate Office Building on June 16, in Washington, DC.
Wanda Cooper-Jones, mother of Ahmaud Arbery, speaks to reporters outside of Sen. Tim Scott's (R-SC) office in the Hart Senate Office Building on June 16, in Washington, DC. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

After meeting privately with US President Donald Trump, Wanda Cooper, the mother of Ahmaud Arbery, told CNN's Don Lemon that Trump's executive order doesn't go far enough.

"I didn't think that order addresses anything that concerns Ahmaud's case at all," Cooper said.

Cooper added that she "didn't have high expectations" going into the meeting but wanted to learn more about the executive order.

Trump signed the executive order on Tuesday, enacting some reforms to train police and reduce the use of excessive force


12:21 a.m. ET, June 17, 2020

Rayshard Brooks shooting was "justified under Georgia law": Police union president

CNN's Chris Cuomo and Steven Gaynor, the President of Cobb County Fraternal Order of Police.
CNN's Chris Cuomo and Steven Gaynor, the President of Cobb County Fraternal Order of Police. CNN

Steven Gaynor, the President of Cobb County Fraternal Order of Police, said that the police shooting of Rayshard Brooks was justified under Georgia law.

Brooks, 27, was killed by an Atlanta police officer outside a Wendy's restaurant after failing a sobriety test, fighting with two officers, taking a Taser from one and running away.

"I think you can justify this case by Georgia law. It specifically gives the right based on the aggravated assault and the threat he poses to the public and the officers there," Gaynor told CNN's Chris Cuomo. "It specifically gives them by law the right to shoot him. He chose to make those actions. He chose to do what he did. He could have been like 100 other DUIs that night -- got arrested, bonded out, and brought home to his family."

Officer Garrett Rolfe was fired after footage showed him shooting at Brooks multiple times from the back as Brooks fled. The second officer, Devin Brosnan, is on administrative duty.

Gaynor said that a Taser is not a deadly weapon when used by a trained individual, because a "trained individual knows where to aim it," but "an untrained individual does not and then it becomes a deadly weapon at that point."

Of the officer's decision to shoot and not just let Brooks run away, Gaynor said, "now we know what the criminal history is, but we didn't know at the time."

"Could he carjack somebody? Could he be scared so much that he’s going to kidnap somebody in another car? Is he going to hurt a civilian? There’s a lot of things that come into play that you have to play out and go 'I am responsible for this person I was going to arrest' and he now has a weapon that I provided him because he took it from me," he said.

Gaynor said that Brooks' actions when he was placed under arrest "causes what occurs in his death, not the previous action where they are all compliant."

"They go to put the handcuffs on him -- a lawful arrest with detention -- and he chooses to fight. That causes all of these things to then spiral. So you’ve got to take those into account," Gaynor said.


11:03 p.m. ET, June 16, 2020

Brooks family lawyer says he's been flooded with calls from people who had "negative interaction" with Rolfe

From CNN's Allison Flexner

A lawyer for the family of Rayshard Brooks said on Tuesday he's been flooded with calls from people in the community, who have had negative interaction with former Atlanta police officer Garrett Rolfe.

Rolfe was fired after footage showed him shooting at Brooks multiple times from the back as Brooks fled. 

"We’ve turned over the significant ones to the authorities," attorney L. Chris Stewart said during an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.

Stewart added that he will be following up on all the complaints and looking into why nearly 12 of them were dismissed.

On Monday, Atlanta police released the disciplinary records for the two officers involved in the fatal shooting.

Rolfe's record shows a use of force complaint from September 19, 2016, which resulted in a written reprimand the following year. It also included several citizen complaints, all with notes that no action was taken. 

Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard, Jr. is weighing charges for both officers. He expects to make a decision as soon as Wednesday.

11:04 p.m. ET, June 16, 2020

Sen. Scott and Leader McConnell to introduce GOP police reform bill tomorrow morning

From CNN's Manu Raju

Senator Tim Scott and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will introduce the Republican police reform bill Wednesday morning in a 9:30 a.m. ET news conference.

They, along with Senators Shelley Moore Capito, John Cornyn, Lindsey Graham, James Lankford and Ben Sasse will detail the Just and Unifying Solutions to Invigorate Communities Everywhere (JUSTICE) Act.

They say the JUSTICE Act “provides long-term solutions focused on police reform, accountability and transparency,” according to a news release from Scott’s office.

11:04 p.m. ET, June 16, 2020

Statue at the heart of Albuquerque protest that led to shooting will be removed

From CNN’s Konstantin Toropin

Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller condemned the violence that led to a shooting at yesterday’s demonstration and announced at a news conference today that the city will be removing the statue that sparked the protest.

“The shooting last night in Old Town at the Oñate sculpture was a horrific and unacceptable act of violence,” Keller said today at a news conference provided to CNN by affiliate KOAT.

“Last night the sculpture became more than a symbol, it became a matter of public safety, and it is being removed today,” Keller added.

The protest was over a statue of Spanish conquistador Juan de Oñate.

Both the mayor and city’s police chief also reiterated that the violence was the result of a small minority of “agitators.”

“The continued involvement of agitators, whether the single individual or group of vigilantes is resulting in this violence,” Police Chief Mike Geier said today.

“Our officers gathered more than 20 guns from just four individuals,” Geier explained. 

Keller also echoed the reports from protesters that the man arrested for shooting and seriously injuring a protester was harassing the crowd.

Steven Ray Baca, 31, was arrested in connection with the shooting, according to Albuquerque police. Baca is accused of aggravated battery.

“It appears that the perpetrator was agitating at the protest well before the shooting took place,” Keller said.

The investigation into the shooting has been handed off to the state police “to make sure that this is an independent investigation,” Keller said.

1:02 a.m. ET, June 17, 2020

Lawyer for Floyd family on why they didn't meet with Trump: They didn't "want to talk politics"

Philonise Floyd and Benjamin Crump with Erin Burnett.
Philonise Floyd and Benjamin Crump with Erin Burnett. CNN

Asked by CNN's Erin Burnett why Philonise Floyd, the brother of George Floyd, didn't meet with US President Donald Trump today, Benjamin Crump, an attorney for the family, said they didn't "want to talk politics." 

"They just want justice for their family," he added.

In the interview, Floyd told Burnett the family wants to see Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee's bill, H.R. 7120, supported on Capitol Hill.

The bill would bring reform and oversight to policing, including a ban on chokeholds, a registry of police officer conduct complaints and ending police protections that make it hard for people to sue them for excessive force.

"All I was saying was that Philonise Floyd just got from testifying before the United States Congress where he made a passionate plea that this is our opportunity to get meaningful systematic reform to stop this police brutality, these police killings, unjustifiable killings of black people in America," Crump said.

He continued: "And he's testifying before the United Nations tomorrow. And he wholeheartedly supports the legislation that has been put forth by the Congressional Black Caucus because they have been dealing with this issue for decades, and they know what meaningful legislation needs to be passed that they can attach George Floyd's name to. And they don't want to do anything unless it's meaningful."


11:17 p.m. ET, June 16, 2020

Ahmaud Arbery's mom describes meeting with Trump as "very emotional"

From CNN's Ali Zaslav

Wanda Cooper-Jones.
Wanda Cooper-Jones. Pool

Ahmaud Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, said her private meeting with US President Donald Trump and other victims’ families on Tuesday was “very, very emotional.” 

Talking to reporters on Capitol Hill this afternoon, she described Trump as “very compassionate.” 

“He did assure each family member that we would and should expect change,” she continued.

Cooper-Jones also said Trump “showed major concerns for all families, not just one family.”

On Trump’s executive order on policing, she said, “I don't think that's enough, but I do think that is a start.”

More on this: At the signing of a new policing executive order, Trump said he held a meeting earlier today with several families of victims of police shootings and racially-motivated violence.