June 7 George Floyd protest news

By Jessie Yeung, Jenni Marsh, Rob Picheta, Peter Wilkinson, Fernando Alfonso III, Amir Vera and Steve George, CNN

Updated 1619 GMT (0019 HKT) June 8, 2020
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10:44 p.m. ET, June 7, 2020

Brazilians protest in support of Black Lives Matter and against President Jair Bolsonaro

A demonstrator holds a sign reading, "Racism is a virus", during a Black Lives Matter protest on June 7, in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
A demonstrator holds a sign reading, "Racism is a virus", during a Black Lives Matter protest on June 7, in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Victor Moriyama/Getty Images

Thousands of people in Brazil took the streets again this weekend in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and to protest President Jair Bolsonaro's government, including its handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

At the protests, scattered across the country's major cities, people chanted and carried signs bearing slogans like "Black Lives Matter" and "Bolsonaro needs to go."

About 3,000 people attended a rally in Sao Paulo to criticize the federal government and to protest violence against black Brazilians by police forces, said Brazil's Military Police. Protesters lay on the ground, shouting "I can't breathe" -- George Floyd's last words before he died in Minneapolis two weeks ago.

Demonstrations also took place in the country's capital, Brasilia, and other cities like Porto Alegre, Recife and Fortaleza. Protesters on the streets were joined by local residents who banged pans and pots from their balconies, while passing drivers blasted their horns in solidarity.

Raull Santiago, one of the protest organizers in Rio de Janeiro, said on Twitter that leaving home in the middle of a pandemic was a difficult but necessary decision.

“We, the people that live in the favelas, do not accept having as our only option to choose between being shot or [getting] infected by the virus. Today is an important day in the fight against the genocide of black people," he said.

Bolsonaro's response: Last Friday, Bolsonaro condemned participants in anti-government and anti-racism demonstrations as “thugs” and “terrorists,” words also used by his American counterpart, Donald Trump, to describe the protesters in the United States.  

He said the demonstrations could draw a violent response from law enforcement and warned Brazilians to stay at home Sunday, “so that the security forces -- not just state but also federal -- can do their duty in case these thugs go beyond the limits of the law. ”  

10:11 p.m. ET, June 7, 2020

Newspaper accused of removing black journalist from protest coverage after tweet about looting

From CNN's Taylor Romine

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette building in Pittsburgh.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette building in Pittsburgh. Keith Srakocic/AP

Leadership at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette newspaper are accused of removing a black journalist from protest coverage after she posted a tweet about looting last Sunday, the Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh said in a statement.

The paper has also banned others in the newsroom who spoke out against the paper's decision, they said.

"The move stifled one of the few black reporters at the paper," the statement reads.

Alexis Johnson, a journalist at the Post-Gazette, posted a tweet with pictures on May 31st saying, "Horrifying scenes and aftermath from selfish LOOTERS who don't care about this city!!!!! .... oh wait sorry. No, these are pictures from a Kenny Chesney concert tailgate. Whoops."

The pictures accompanying the tweet were of a parking lot at night, covered in trash and debris. The tweet went viral, accruing more than 178,000 likes.

The next morning, Johnson pitched four stories related to the protests to her editor and she was told to hold off, she told CNN.

Later, she got a call from editors saying that her tweet violated social media policy and that she was being pulled off protest coverage.

CNN has reached out to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette leadership for comment.

Read more here.

11:14 p.m. ET, June 7, 2020

Atlanta student who was tased by police in his car: "I was scared for my life"

Messiah Young, a student at Morehouse College, was driving in downtown Atlanta last Saturday with a friend when police officers stopped them, broke the windows of their cars, yanked out the other student and tased Young.

Six Atlanta officers have now been charged for the incident.

"Honestly, all I can can remember was complete terror and confusion," Young told CNN tonight.

"I was really confused as to why this was happening, and how barbaric the whole situation was. Once I got tased and saw it being pulled, I was scared for my life. I didn't know how that night was going to end."

The officers were giving so many commands -- stop, go, get out of the car -- that "it was honestly very confusing," Young said.

The fact that the officers have now been charged is "a very brief satisfaction," he said..

"It's bittersweet because something is being done about the situation, however, this is still happening across the board throughout the nation. Police officers are wreaking havoc and terrorizing American citizens. So until something is done in drastic measure within the police department, I think once there's change implemented, there will be complete satisfaction."

Watch the interview here:

10:11 p.m. ET, June 7, 2020

Trump Homeland Security official says he believes even if George Floyd had been white his life would not have been spared

From CNN's Mary Kay Mallonee

Ken Cuccinelli testifies during a House Committee on Homeland Security hearing on March 11.
Ken Cuccinelli testifies during a House Committee on Homeland Security hearing on March 11. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Ken Cuccinelli, acting deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, said Sunday on CNN that he does not believe that had George Floyd been white his life would have been spared.

CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked Cuccinelli, “If George Floyd had been white, would he be alive today?”

“No, I don’t think he would,” Cuccinelli responded. “I think the behavior by that officer, we’ll learn more as the FBI investigation goes on in civil rights if there is something special about this guy in terms of racism… but what I heard in that eight and a half minute clip, was someone who was a bully, who is abusing his position of authority and power in the law. And I have a funny feeling, I don’t know anything about his professional history, but I have a feeling that we’re going to find that he wasn’t necessarily that well thought of as a role model among law enforcement through the time of his career, to say the least.” 

Cuccinelli also joined other Trump officials who claimed Sunday that systemic racism is not an issue in US law enforcement agencies.

Attorney General Bill Barr and acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf both dismissed the idea that racism is a systemic problem in law enforcement.

And, when Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson was asked by Jake Tapper on “State of the Union” if he thinks systemic racism is a problem in US law enforcement, Carson, who is black, demurred, saying he grew up in a time when there was "real systemic racism."

When asked the same question about whether there is systemic racism in American police forces, Cuccinelli told Blitzer, “No, there is not. There are individuals who are racist, they’re a small number.”

8:55 p.m. ET, June 7, 2020

Two NYPD officers seen roughing up protesters on video are expected to be charged, law enforcement sources say

From Mark Morales and Shimon Prokupecz

Two New York Police Department officers who came under fire after being caught on video roughing up protesters during demonstrations are expected to be charged by the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office, according to multiple law enforcement sources.  

One of the officers was caught on tape aggressively shoving a woman to the pavement during demonstrations near the Barclays center, a source said. 

The other officer was caught pulling down the mask of a protester and spraying him in the face with pepper spray, the same source added.

There is currently no timetable for the charges to be filed, according to a source familiar with the investigation. 

The Brooklyn DA’s office confirmed that they are investigating both officers but declined to comment on whether charges would be filed.

The Patrolman’s Benevolent Association, the union that represents the officers, has not yet responded to a request for comment.

8:41 p.m. ET, June 7, 2020

South Carolina police chief says 'racism sucks!' as he stands with protesters

From CNN's Kaylene Chassie

Mount Pleasant Police Chief Carl Ritchie speaks during a protest rally on June 7, 2020
Mount Pleasant Police Chief Carl Ritchie speaks during a protest rally on June 7, 2020

Mount Pleasant Police Chief Carl Ritchie got the crowd excited with his speech before marching with demonstrators on the Ravenel Bridge in in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina on Sunday.

Racism sucks!" Ritchie yelled into the mic. "When this march is over, the conversation's gotta continue. I think that's where both sides fail."

"This profession is supposed to be protecting and serving," he said.

8:40 p.m. ET, June 7, 2020

California National Guard will be leaving Los Angeles Sunday evening, mayor says

From CNN's Artemis Moshtaghian

National Guardsmen watch over a protest in Los Angeles on June 3.
National Guardsmen watch over a protest in Los Angeles on June 3. Aaron Guy Leroux/Sipa/AP

The California National Guard is set to leave Los Angeles Sunday evening, with “a smaller number of units stationed nearby until June 10th to provide emergency support if needed,” according to a statement from Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office.

“We thank the members of the Guard for their willingness to serve — to ensure the safety of demonstrators, businesses, residents, and everyone in our city,” Garcetti said.

9:15 p.m. ET, June 7, 2020

Sen. Mitt Romney joins demonstrators marching in DC protest

From CNN's Kevin Bohn

Republican Sen. Mitt Romney marched in a DC protest Sunday afternoon along Pennsylvania Avenue to support the Black Lives Matter movement.

Romney posted images of himself wearing a mask and participating in the protest on Instagram, with the caption “Black Lives Matter.”

The first term GOP Senator and former Republican presidential nominee is one of a very few Republicans who publicly have said the words “Black Lives Matter.”

Finding a way to end violence and brutality and to make sure the people understand that Black Lives Matter,” he told Washington Post reporter Hannah Natanson, who was covering the protest.

“Finding a way to end violence and brutality and to make sure the people understand that Black Lives Matter,” he told Natanson.

Watch here:

7:10 p.m. ET, June 7, 2020

New York plans to move some police funding to youth and social services

From CNN's Theresa Waldrop and Laura Ly

New York City will move some of its funding from the New York Police Department to youth and social services, Mayor Bill De Blasio said on Sunday.

His announcement comes as discussions grow around the country about defunding police forces, with some activists calling on city officials to invest more of the city's budget in communities, especially marginalized ones where much of the policing occurs.

"These will be the first of many steps my Administration will take over the next 18 months to rebuild a fairer City that profoundly addresses injustice and disparity," de Blasio said in a statement.

De Blasio said New York City would find "find significant savings in the NYPD budget" that will go toward "youth development and social services for communities of color."

Going forward, the city will move street vendor enforcement out of the NYPD's responsibilities, so they can focus on "the real drivers of crime," the mayor said.