June 2 George Floyd protest news

By Jessie Yeung, Steve George, Melissa Macaya, Meg Wagner, Mike Hayes and Daniella Diaz, CNN

Updated 0515 GMT (1315 HKT) June 3, 2020
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9:40 p.m. ET, June 2, 2020

New York police officer who took a knee: "What happened to George Floyd was wrong"

New York Police Department Chief Terence Monahan takes a knee with protesters on Monday in New York.
New York Police Department Chief Terence Monahan takes a knee with protesters on Monday in New York. Craig Ruttle/AP

On Monday night, New York City Police Department Chief Terence Monahan knelt with protesters in Manhattan, holding the hands of those kneeling besides him.

Speaking to CNN on Tuesday night, Monahan decried George Floyd's death. "What happened to George Floyd was wrong," he said, adding that police around the country were now "paying the price" for what happened.

The protest on Monday had been tense and "contentious," with about 5,000 protesters gathered in Washington Square Park and around 50 officers, said Monahan.

He said as the crowd got more agitated, organizers asked the police to help — at which point Monahan asked for a microphone, and spoke directly to the protesters, asking them to help take back control of the city from "outside agitators."

"The cops in the community have had a great relationship (with the people) for the most part in this city," Monahan told CNN. "At that point, (the organizer) asked if I'd go down on a knee with him. I said, sure, and we went down. Very organic, nothing planned in what we did."


9:25 p.m. ET, June 2, 2020

Chicago mayor announces police reform measures and $10 million fund for businesses harmed

Mayor's Office
Mayor's Office

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has announced new reform measures for police accountability and a $10 million fund for businesses harmed in recent days.

"Regarding police reform and accountability, yes, we are under a consent decree, but the process of reform has been too slow and too narrowly focused," she said in a live video address tonight.

She laid out new directives, describing them as "immediate necessary next steps." These include:

  • Improved training for police officers, bringing in community leaders and members as teachers
  • Officer wellness programs that give police the tools to manage trauma and stress
  • Mandatory training on crisis intervention and procedural justice for all officers
  • New recruit program for police-community relations

Lightfoot said she would work with the department leadership and the superintendent to implement these measures within the next 90 days.

Business fund: She also discussed a $10 million dollar fund for businesses affected by the recent violence. 

"The city will dedicate at least $10 million of funds to help support businesses that have been most harmed in recent days. The funds will be provided city wide, with an equity weighting that focuses on South and West sides," she said. 

The mayor also voiced her support for the protests, saying, "I stand with those who are sick and tired of the lack of fundamental change. Change that results in the respect, dignity, and freedom that Black people deserve in this country."

9:42 p.m. ET, June 2, 2020

Protesters in Los Angeles and New York City still marching after curfews

Protesters gather in the streets of Manhattan on June 2, in New York.
Protesters gather in the streets of Manhattan on June 2, in New York. Lokman Vural Elibol/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Protesters in Los Angeles and New York City continued to march through city streets after their respective curfews went into effect.

In New York City, the curfew started at 8 p.m. ET. A citywide curfew went into effect at 6 p.m. local time (9 p.m. ET) in Los Angeles.

9:32 p.m. ET, June 2, 2020

Tear gas deployed on protesters in Atlanta

From CNN's Jamiel Lynch


Tear gas has been deployed on protesters in Atlanta as the city's 9 p.m. ET curfew went into effect.

Protesters had been marching peacefully on the streets of Atlanta and gathered near the CNN Center.

A CNN crew on the scene reported that the protest was peaceful, then when 9 p.m. came police and members of the National Guard started to sweep the streets to clear them.

9:11 p.m. ET, June 2, 2020

Defense Secretary Mark Esper defends military role in quelling civil disorder in memo

From CNN's Ryan Browne and Barbara Starr

Defense Secretary Mark Esper speaks at a press conference on March 5 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Olivier DOULIERY / AFP) (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)
Defense Secretary Mark Esper speaks at a press conference on March 5 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Olivier DOULIERY / AFP) (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images) Olivier Douliery/AFP/Getty Images

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper wrote a memo Tuesday defending the military’s role in helping to quell violent protests despite opposition from some lawmakers and senior retired military officers. 

“Department of Defense personnel have taken an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States. I myself have taken it many times in my military and civilian careers, and believe strongly in it. As part of that oath, we commit to protecting the American people's right to freedom of speech and to peaceful assembly,” Esper wrote.

“I, like you, am steadfast in my belief that Americans who are frustrated, angry, and seeking to be heard must be ensured that opportunity. And like you, I am committed to upholding the rule of law and protecting life and liberty, so that the violent actions of a few do not undermine the rights and freedoms of law-abiding citizens,” Esper added.

Esper wrote, “Our National Guard are now also being called upon across the country to help protect our communities, businesses, monuments, and places of worship.”

Earlier on Tuesday a former top Pentagon policy official resigned from the Defense Science Advisory board over what he said was Esper’s failure to adhere to that oath by appearing to visibly support the Trump administration’s clearing of protesters from Lafayette Square Monday night. 

“I appreciate your professionalism and dedication to defending the Constitution for all Americans,” Esper said while later adding, “As I reminded you in February, I ask that you remember at all times our commitment as a Department and as public servants to stay apolitical in these turbulent days.”

8:54 p.m. ET, June 2, 2020

Former top defense official resigns from Pentagon advisory board over Lafayette Square incident  

From CNN's Ryan Browne

A former top policy official at the Pentagon, James Miller, resigned from his role on the Defense Advisory Board due to what he said was Secretary of Defense Mark Esper’s visible support of the clearing of protesters from Lafayette Square Monday, an act Miller called a violation of Esper’s oath of office.

“When I joined the Board in early 2014, after leaving government service as Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, I again swore an oath of office, one familiar to you, that includes the commitment to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States ... and to bear true faith and allegiance to the same,” Miller wrote in a resignation letter addressed to Esper which was published Tuesday in the Washington Post.

“You recited that same oath on July 23, 2019, when you were sworn in as Secretary of Defense. On Monday, June 1, 2020, I believe that you violated that oath,” Miller wrote, referring to law enforcement officers clearing of peaceful protesters.

“You may not have been able to stop President Trump from directing this appalling use of force, but you could have chosen to oppose it. Instead, you visibly supported it,” Miller added.

Who is Miller: He served as the Pentagon’s Undersecretary of Defense for policy during the Obama Administration, joining the board after leaving active government service in 2014.

The Defense Advisory Board was established in the 1950s during the height of the Cold War is comprised of nearly 50 retired senior military, government, and industry leaders, and advised the Pentagon on issues such as acquisition, cyber, communication technology, and weapons of mass destruction.

8:47 p.m. ET, June 2, 2020

Georgia governor supports right to peaceful protests, but says "violence and destruction is unacceptable"

From CNN's Lindsay Benson 

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp addressed recent demonstrations in the state during a news conference Tuesday, saying he supported the right to peaceful protests, but said that "violence and destruction is unacceptable."

"Georgians are filled with fear, anger and righteous impatience. I realize that people are hurting and have more questions than answers right now. I support the right to peacefully protest, to honor the life of George Floyd and to demand action. As the cradle of the civil rights movement, this place where peaceful protests ultimately shook up the status quo. The birthplace of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., this is a city where his legacy looms, urging us all to seek justice, love mercy and treat others fairly with kindness and respect. And what started as a peaceful protest Friday, ended in violence and destruction. A powerful moment was ultimately corrupted by some with a different agenda," Kemp said. 

Kemp said that he is "outraged that Georgians are now in harm’s way because some are using this moment to riot, to loot and to compromise the safety of our citizenry. I will tell you that violence and destruction is unacceptable."

"We will do whatever is necessary to keep the peace," the governor said. 

8:42 p.m. ET, June 2, 2020

Marchers chant "no justice, no peace" at Houston protest

From CNN's Madeline Holcombe, Eric Levenson and Steve Almasy

People rally to protest the death of George Floyd in Houston on June 2.
People rally to protest the death of George Floyd in Houston on June 2. David J. Phillip/AP

In Houston, where a public memorial for George Floyd will take place next week, tens of thousands of people marched to City Hall to shout his name and call for justice after his death.

The marchers, who chanted "no justice, no peace" and "Peace on the left, justice on the right," walked or rode horses from Discovery Green park toward their destination, where organizers were scheduled to speak.

George Floyd's brother, Philonise Floyd, addressed the crowd asking for a peaceful protest. He told them to be steadfast in the quest for police reform.

"We're trying to break the cycle right now. We got this," he said.
10:05 p.m. ET, June 2, 2020

Protest in Atlanta "had gravity and meaning," onlooker says

From CNN's Lauren M. Johnson and Christina Zdanowicz

Protesters head through downtown into midtown during demonstrations on June 2 in Atlanta.
Protesters head through downtown into midtown during demonstrations on June 2 in Atlanta. Ben Gray/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP

A large, peaceful protest marched through Midtown Atlanta on Tuesday evening before the city's curfew.

"It had gravity and meaning, voices of all creeds united in purpose for what’s right and just," said Thom Henkel, who captured a video from his apartment.