June 19 Black Lives Matter protest news

By Meg Wagner, Melissa Macaya, Helen Regan and Steve George, CNN

Updated 0504 GMT (1304 HKT) June 20, 2020
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12:32 a.m. ET, June 20, 2020

Colorado governor signs bill mandating police body cameras and banning chokeholds

From CNN's Caroline Kelly

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis speaks before signing a police accountability bill on Friday, June 19 in Denver.
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis speaks before signing a police accountability bill on Friday, June 19 in Denver. David Zalubowski/AP

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed new police accountability legislation into law on Friday that would create new officer requirements including body cameras and limits on deadly force.

The move -- coinciding with the June 19 holiday Juneteenth, which commemorates the end of slavery in the United States -- makes Colorado the first state to codify broad policing reform since the start of nationwide protests decrying police brutality, the Democratic governor said.

What the bill says: The bill requires that all police officers use activated body cameras or dashboard cameras during service calls or officer-initiated public interactions. It also bars officers from using deadly force against those suspected of minor or non-violent offenses, requires officers to intervene should they witness another officer using excessive physical force and establishes new data reporting on the use of force.

The measure specifically bans officers from using chokeholds, a long-controversial technique, particularly following the death of Eric Garner in 2014 when a police officer was accused of choking him. The death of George Floyd, who died after a Minneapolis police officer restrained him by pressing a knee on his neck for nearly nine minutes, has prompted nationwide protests.

The bill also designates qualified immunity -- a legal doctrine that critics say shields law enforcement from accountability and has garnered recent attention -- as an unacceptable defense against liability for violating a person's rights.

"This legislation specifically contains landmark, evidence-based reforms that not only protect civil rights but will help restore trust between law enforcement and the communities that they serve," Polis said during the bill signing Friday.

Colorado joins several other states and localities that have moved to reassess their police rules and regulations following widespread protests across the US.

Read the full story here.

12:15 a.m. ET, June 20, 2020

Protesters pull down two statues from Confederate monument at North Carolina State Capitol

From CNN’s Jennifer Henderson

Protesters pull a statue down from a Confederate monument on Friday night in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Protesters pull a statue down from a Confederate monument on Friday night in Raleigh, North Carolina. WRAL

Protesters have pulled down two statues at a Confederate monument at the North Carolina State Capitol.

After one protester tried unsuccessfully to push a statue off the monument, another climbed up and wrapped a strap around the statue’s neck and successfully pulled it down, according to footage taken by CNN affiliate WRAL.

A second statue on the other side of the monument was then pulled down.

According to WRAL, earlier in the day protesters tied ropes around the statues -- but those ropes were cut by police. 

Protesters then marched down the street and hung both statues from a light post. 

As the second statue was being hung, protesters put up umbrellas and physically tried to block WRAL’s reporter and crew. The strap holding the statue broke, and protesters dragged the statue down the street to the Wake County Courthouse.

Protesters hang a Confederate statue from a light post on Friday, June 19 in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Protesters hang a Confederate statue from a light post on Friday, June 19 in Raleigh, North Carolina. WRAL

11:55 p.m. ET, June 19, 2020

Police officer who helped restrain George Floyd released from custody after posting $750,000 bond

J. Alexander Kueng
J. Alexander Kueng Hennepin County Sheriff's Office

J. Alexander Kueng, one of the officers who helped restrain George Floyd, was released from custody Friday evening on “bond and conditional release.”

Hennepin County Jail records indicate Kueng was released from custody at 7:27 p.m Friday. Reasons for release were listed as “bond and conditional release.”

According to jail records, Kueng posted a $750,000 bond.

The background: Prosecutors charged four officers involved in the arrest that ended in Floyd's death last month.

Derek Chauvin, the former officer who kept his knee on Floyd's neck for almost nine minutes, has been charged with second-degree murder.

11:33 p.m. ET, June 19, 2020

No one hurt in Atlanta protest shooting, police say

From CNN's Jamiel Lynch

No injuries were recorded in a shooting at a protest in Atlanta on Friday evening, a police spokesperson said.

According to the Atlanta Police Department, a male was shot at while inside his vehicle at an intersection.

"The victim was not injured during the incident but his vehicle was damaged by gunfire," the department said. "Preliminary investigation indicates a confrontation ensued between the victim and protesters."

The suspect has been detained.

11:13 p.m. ET, June 19, 2020

Prosecutors are investigating possible evidence tampering in Javier Ambler's death

From CNN's Nicole Chavez and Jennifer Henderson

In this image from a March 28, 2019, body-worn camera video provided by the Austin Police Department in Texas, Williamson County deputies hold down Javier Ambler as one of them uses a Taser on Ambler's back during his arrest. 
In this image from a March 28, 2019, body-worn camera video provided by the Austin Police Department in Texas, Williamson County deputies hold down Javier Ambler as one of them uses a Taser on Ambler's back during his arrest.  Austin Police Department/AP

Prosecutors in central Texas are investigating whether there was evidence tampering in the death of Javier Ambler, a Black man who died last year while being arrested. 

The Williamson County District Attorney's office announced Friday it was investigating "the possible tampering with evidence 'by personnel from Williamson County Agencies who have had contact or communications with the television show, Live PD.'"

What's the background? Ambler died last year after he told Williamson County sheriff's deputies that he could not breathe during an arrest.

Earlier this month, authorities released body camera footage of the March 2019 incident, following months of records requests by Austin TV station KVUE and the Austin American-Statesman.

A production crew from the A&E show "Live PD" was at the arrest scene, having ridden with some of the officers. The footage never aired and neither the network "nor the producers of 'Live PD' were asked for the footage or an interview by investigators from law enforcement or the district attorney's office," A&E has said.

A search for truth: On Friday, the district attorneys of Williamson and Travis counties released a statement saying they have been conducting a joint investigation into Ambler's death. 

"This is a search for the truth and is necessary because even now we have not obtained the information we seek from Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody, despite his public statements pledging cooperation," the prosecutors said in a statement.

Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore has previously said that she had requested body cam videos from the Williamson County Sheriff's Office and the television show, but was unable to obtain them.

Read the full story here.

11:06 p.m. ET, June 19, 2020

Police sergeant fired after sending "racist and derogatory" email to mayor and local media

From CNN’s Rebekah Riess

Erie Police Department
Erie Police Department WJET

A police sergeant in Pennsylvania has been fired after sending an email with racially insensitive language to the mayor and local media, including CNN affiliate WJET.

According to Erie Mayor Joe Schember, the email from Sergeant Jeff Annunziata contained “racist and derogatory statements and assertions.”

Police Chief Dan Spizarny said once he discovered the email, he directed his internal affairs inspector to perform an internal investigation.

That investigation confirmed Annunziata sent the email from his City of Erie account, and that within his email he identified himself as a City of Erie police officer, according to the chief. Annunziata was immediately suspended. 

Here's what Spizarny said:

“I speak for the command staff when I say that we were all sickened by the language of Mr. Annunziata. We took an oath to protect and serve everyone. Mr. Annunziata’s language should not be construed as a reflection of the rest of the Erie Police Department,” he said.
“Though our country was founded with the long-standing principle of freedom of speech, the city of Erie cannot and will not allow taxpayer money to be used to spread hatred and bigotry. Mr. Annunziata’s views are not reflective of the Erie Police Department, and his actions, including sending this email, warrant immediate termination.”

The mayor has since fired Annunziata from his job as an Erie police officer.  

 “I condemn the statements made by Sergeant Annunziata. I am appalled and disgusted by the racial insensitivity in his email," the mayor said.
“We have been working hard to build relationships in the community and to heal the deep scars of racism and prejudice. The views and language expressed in the email diminish the trust between the police and the community, at a time when that trust and partnership is critically needed."

CNN has attempted to reach Annunziata for comment. 


10:40 p.m. ET, June 19, 2020

Police under investigation after Black British man shouted 'I can't breathe' during arrest

From CNN's Rob Picheta, Salma Abdelaziz and Samantha Tapfumaneyi

Simeon Francis
Simeon Francis Family Handout

An investigation has been launched after video footage emerged Friday showing a Black man shouting "I can't breathe" while being arrested in Britain last year.

What happened? Simeon Francis was arrested in July 2019 in the British seaside town of Torquay and later released. He died 10 months later while in police custody after he was arrested again in May 2020.

On Friday, his family provided CNN with a 19-minute video of last year's arrest, which shows Francis being handled by at least 10 police officers -- with several of them pinning him to the ground. He is heard shouting "Get them off me, you racists!"

After about 13 minutes, still yelling, he is lifted by the officers and carried into a police van.

Francis also tells them he "can't breathe," a plea that echoes the one made by George Floyd during his death in the United States in May, and which has become a slogan of demonstrators protesting against police brutality around the world.

It is unclear if Francis needed medical attention, why he was being arrested, or what led up to the incident, said Desmond Jaddoo, a community activist and representative for the family. Devon and Cornwall police have not responded to CNN's requests for comment, citing an ongoing investigation.

Family claims excessive force: The family believes the video shows police used excessive force during the incident, Jaddoo said.

"This is nothing new in terms of the plight of Black people. And clearly these disproportionalities that exist need to be challenged and need to be questioned," he added. "And most importantly we need answers because a family is in mourning and that must never be forgotten."

Investigation: The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), the UK's police watchdog, is investigating the case of Francis' death in police custody. A preliminary post-mortem examination did not identify a cause of death, the IOPC said in a statement.

Read the full story here.

10:41 p.m. ET, June 19, 2020

Cornel West: Vice President is living “in a state of denial”

From CNN's Leinz Vales

Political activist Cornel West speaks at a campaign rally for then Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., in Detroit, Michigan on March 6.
Political activist Cornel West speaks at a campaign rally for then Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., in Detroit, Michigan on March 6. Paul Sancya/AP

Professor Cornel West said Vice President Mike Pence is living “in a state of denial,” following his remarks about why he will not say the words “Black lives matter.” 

“I wish they would go back to the great Frederick Douglas’ powerful speech, what the July 4th means to the American slave,” West told CNN’s Anderson Cooper. “Listen, Pence, listen, Trump, when he says July 4th your celebration is a sham. National greatness is nothing but swelling vanity. That your boasted liberty is an unholy license and America has no rival when it comes to revolting and shameless hypocrisy.”

Backstory: Pence declined to say the words “Black lives matter” during an interview with an ABC affiliate in Pennsylvania on Friday, instead saying “all lives matter.”

“Let me just say that what happened to George Floyd was a tragedy,” Pence told 6ABC Action News in Philadelphia when asked directly if he would say that Black lives matter.

“And in this nation, especially on Juneteenth, we celebrate the fact that from the founding of this nation we’ve cherished the ideal that all, all of us are created equal, and endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights. And so all lives matter in a very real sense.”

West said the history of the United States should not be rewritten -- however, symbols like those of Confederate statues should no longer be celebrated.

“It is true that Pence and Trump, when they say they are preserving American heritage, they are, but they are reserving the worst of it,” West said. “The confederacy lost the war, white supremacy won the peace. And we’ve be wrestling with it ever since.”

9:20 p.m. ET, June 19, 2020

Suspect arrested after shooting during Atlanta protests

from CNN’s Ryan Young and Devon M. Sayers

A suspect is in custody after shooting a driver who became argumentative with protesters that were blocking a road in Atlanta, three law enforcement sources told CNN. 

The incident took place shortly after 8 p.m. local time, near Piedmont Park.