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AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA
Charlotte Officials Hold Press Conference; Officer Charged in Tulsa Man's Death Getting Death Threats; Trump, Clinton Prep for Monday's Debate. Aired 11:30-12p ET
Aired September 23, 2016 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:30:00] UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: The question being this, looking forward down the road, aside from Mr. Scott's case, do you believe that it is worth reconsidering how and when videos are released? Now that we live in this world where social media has the ability to create --
KERR PUTNEY, CHIEF, CHARLOTTE POLICE DEPARTMENT: You are going to create another question I think. Let met respond there and let -- is that OK? I'm not trying to be funny. I'm not.
But what I can tell you is we are always assessing our process and procedures. We have internal people -- we have external people who weigh in on that. So absolutely. What I can tell you is the time has to be right to give supportive information because we have yet to make a case solely on video. Solely. However, it can be compelling. Therefore, what we try to do is get the information as soon as we can. And what I would like for some of our homicide detectives and sergeants to see how nuanced that is, because I'm pushing hard to get information out but they also have to push back to say let's make sure we vetted this information. So the intent is to get it out and release it in a package so it can be consumed and fully understood.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: When you have social media as it has over the last 72 hours driving the narrative that may not be consistent with what you know, is it worth saying going forward down the road maybe we need to re-evaluate when we put that out, because of it may be inflaming protests?
PUTNEY: What I can tell you is this. If I were to put it out indiscriminately and it doesn't give you good context, it can inflame the situation and make it even worse. It will exacerbate the backlash. It will increase the distrust. So that is where discernment, judgment and reasonableness have to come in. Because I'm going to tell you, I'm not a very patient person, so if I were putting it out on my time frame, you would not have a whole case, though, and we would damage the very trust we are trying to build.
So it's not that I want to hide anything. It's I want to be more thoughtful and deliberate in delivering the whole story. Because I can tell you, I'm a skeptical person. I have my own trust issues and I want to make sure when I do say something and deliver something, it is complete as I can make it. I just -- it's an internal struggle. It's a professional struggle. It's a personal struggle. But I have to do what I think is absolute best for all of my community.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: This question is for you, Mayor. We understand that Attorney General Roy Cooper was here with members from his campaign staff yesterday here at the center. I'm wondering in your meetings with him what you and the attorney general talked about.
JENNIFER ROBERTS, CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA MAYOR: Sure. I didn't know who his staff -- you know, who they were, whether they were with the campaign. I thought they were official staff. We talked on official basis and I had some questions about how the local government can interact with the state government and, because the State Bureau of Investigation has now, is conducting an independent investigation, I had some questions about how does that relate and what is our role and what is their role.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Chief, this weekend, obviously, moving forward, you can keep outside resources here but, at this point, the NFL will keep the game here so you have the potential of tens of thousands of more people coming to the city. Any change? How will that work moving forward?
PUTNEY: We have adequate resources for the safety of the city. We're in good shape. We won't change the staffing model. We will make sure we're ready. And we strongly encourage the NFL to allow our Panthers to be victorious on Sunday.
PUTNEY: If you feel we haven't been receptive in the last 24 hours, we will fix that.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Thank you, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Excuse me. Just back to the video. You're admitting it doesn't show -- (INAUDIBLE). You will have to make the rest of your case with other evidence. What's the downside of releasing it now?
PUTNEY: That's a very good question. He's asking why not release it because it takes awhile to get the rest of the pieces together. So why not just release what we have, which is the individual video. As I said before, my job is to make sure I don't do more damage, more harm, and to be quite frank, fracture the trust that we have been trying to build here, and to do that just because of what's going on in social media is counterproductive.
ROBERTS: I just want to add in the question about the video because, as I said, I tend toward transparency and toward release, and I had to be convinced. And someone made a very good point to me that when you are still gathering eyewitness accounts, because the state is now doing its own independent, they are still talking to folks who are neighbors and were there, et cetera, and if you have already seen something on the Internet or wherever, it can cloud your memory. It can alter what you think you saw. We want to have integrity in this investigation. We want those eyewitnesses to tell us without being led or have their memories changed by something else they heard or saw, we want the most accurate accounting. And so, again, I had to get to this point as well. It was not easy wanting that transparency, but also wanting the integrity of the information as it continues to be gathered.
[11:35:36] UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: For the mayor and police chief, the two of you seem to be somewhat at odds over whether to release the tape or not. This morning, the mayor came out and said, and just now, maybe it shouldn't be released until the investigation proceeds or at least not until later.
Madam Mayor, were you convinced by the chief to change your position on this, this morning or overnight, and what about the letting community leaders view the tape and disseminate it for the rest of us?
ROBERTS: Yeah. The question is another question about the video and has my mind been changed. I think that I actually just transparency initially, listening to the community, understanding the frustration. I have been convinced in hearing from all sides that there is value in the timing and waiting for that investigation to be more complete, to have all the pieces of the puzzle but also to respect the integrity of getting those eyewitness accounts that we want to be accurate and true to what happened. So we are going to continue to assess with our law enforcement partners the timing on that, how that works in the community. I understand the frustration. We will continue to have those conversations.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: This question is for the chief. Chief, you said Officer Vinson was not wearing a body camera at the time. Were any of the other body cameras the other officers were wearing not working?
PUTNEY: The ones that we have were working. We have -- I don't know the complete total yet. That was part of what we are going through. I know there's at least one body cam and one dash cam that I have reviewed. And we are still working through all of the other people who were involved. But what you will see, based on my experience, is body cam and dash cam of people responding to the scene, body cam of people who were out on the outside of the scene, so a lot of it is not specifically relevant to what we are trying to capture.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Independently, at this point, it means the body cameras on scene were or were not working?
PUTNEY: I know at least one was, because I have seen it. I haven't seen all of them that would be relevant.
ROBERTS: Question over here.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: With the family now seeing the video and talking about the video, describing it to members of the media, to members of the community, has that made you guys reconsider trying to push for that video being released sooner, especially because they're describing the video as him not being aggressive at all.
PUTNEY: The question -- good lord. The question was are we reconsidering putting out that information since the family has made a statement about what they saw and requesting that we do so. Ultimately, timing has never been in my favor. I don't know why. But just as we are getting ready to do a case update is when the decision was made and everything else. So, again, I can't put out more information because I'm not the lead investigative body now. But -- and I can talk about intent all day long. But I was adamant I'm not going to put out one piece of evidence that could further inflame and not tell the full story. But times have changed as more evidence and now it's out of my hands.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Chief, about the curfew, was there any discussion as to limiting the scope of the curfew to just the center city area? We have businesses in Balentine (ph), Plaza Midwood, who are saying you're killing us here. We need that business after midnight.
PUTNEY: Yes. Again, I wish it was just a random way of coming to decisions. It's not. It's a lot more thoughtful. If you recall, Tuesday, the protest didn't happen in uptown. They were there. They were spontaneous. And there are businesses all over we have to protect so the curfew has to protect all businesses that could be vulnerable.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We have been listening to officials in North Carolina. Major Jennifer Roberts and Police Chief Kerr Putney giving the latest they have into the investigation of the police shooting death of Keith Lamont Scott. The chief and mayor saying this is handed over to the state at this point, which meant the state is gathering information, re-interviewing witnesses and reinforcing the point they will not be releasing the video that protesters have been calling for.
[11:40:14] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: If it comes out, it will be the state that releases it, note the chief and mayor.
Couple other quick points. Three arrests last night as compared to 44 the night before, but significantly, the arrest of a man now charged with killing that man, shooting and killing that man who died in the protest, Justin Carr, who was shot Wednesday night. They have a suspect in custody that they are charging with his death.
Want to bring back our panel to discuss what we just heard.
Laura Coates, let me first go to you here.
The state now has to make the decision. You heard from the mayor there who says she would love to be transparent, she would love this video to come out but it has to happen in time. The police chief says I want the video to come out as well but it has to happen at the right time. You think the state may decide that right time is now? LAURA COATES, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it's a little bit of a punch
they were doing, I wish I could help you but I can't now that I tied my own hands. When the state has taken over now, it will restart the investigation clock essentially because they have to re-interview who the officers in the police department did. They have to gather information and decide what's already been gathered, whether it's credible to continue with the investigation or not. It tolls it in a way. I think they will not release it any time soon until they have retraced the steps of the police officers. In that respect, I think that people in Charlotte will be a little more convinced about transparency because they have an independent entity doing it. But they still demand the video now. I think they are entitled to it based on the different narratives.
BOLDUAN: Motivations aside, Mark, what Laura just said, does that make the police chief's point, when he said one piece of evidence will never make a good case, I could hurt things, inflame things more if I put it out? Did he convince you?
MARK O'MARA, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, we can look at it this way. If it was the police who just released the picture showing what seems to be a gun on the floor, then a certain segment would be very upset that that's what was let out. If we showed a picture of where the gunshot actually entered his body, then another segment would be upset.
I do agree that now that the state has it, they are going to take their time, they will be less concerned about the transparency that the mayor is concerned about within their own city, and they will make sure they focus on maintaining the integrity of the investigation.
By the way, long term, I think that's a much better solution to even though we don't have that immediate satisfaction we want. We can look back at Ferguson and remember they took a long time to come out with their investigation, and when they did, they dumped everything. But the frustrations that happened in Ferguson were they were letting out snippets of information that frustrated certain segments.
In one sense, we are being cautious here with that history of Ferguson and many other cases of doing it the right way. So although we are going to have to wait, I think the wait will be worth it. They will have a complete investigation. If charges come, there will be a reason for them. If charges don't come, there will be a reason for it.
BERMAN: I should say, I believe the governor, Pat McCrory, is going to hold a news conference later today where he may face questions about what he intends to do or would suggest to do with the videos. There might be clarity there.
Matt Horace, quickly, the curfew. The mayor signed orders for a curfew between midnight and 6:00 a.m. The police chief didn't impose it last night. He let the protesters stay on the streets after midnight because they were largely peaceful. But I got the sense from both the mayor and the chief that they are concerned about the weekend ahead. Weekends can be different animals when you are talking about this type of thing. They may be concerned that the protests could flare up again. You think they may actually enforce the curfew tonight?
MATTHEW HORACE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: I think they will only enforce if they are pushed to. The chief made it very clear it's a soft curfew. They will do whatever they can to build that trust between community and police and make sure the protesters know they can do whatever they want within the confines of the law.
BOLDUAN: There was progress last night.
HORACE: Very much so.
BOLDUAN: The police chief complimenting protesters as well as commending the work of the law enforcement involved in keeping the peace.
Guys, thank you so much. We will follow this. A lot more to come.
Also this ahead for us, we are watching our other breaking news. The officer that was charged with manslaughter in the fatal police shooting of a man in Tulsa, Oklahoma, now receiving death threats. A live report of the news just coming in straight ahead.
[11:48:16] BOLDUAN: Let's turn to the fatal police shooting of a black man in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The other shooting we have been following very closely. Officer Betty Shelby is now charged with manslaughter. She turned herself in overnight. If convicted, she could face four years to life in prison.
BERMAN: Prosecutors say her actions were unlawful and unnecessary. She shot and killed Terence Crutcher in the street after his SUV broke down. The video that so many people have seen now.
CNN's Sara Sidner joins us from Tulsa.
Sara, I understand you have new information for us?
SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. We were able to speak with his attorney and basically the attorney said he feels this is a rush to judgment for Officer Shelby. He also said she is receiving death threats. She was booked in overnight here at the jail and she's now home. She has bailed out. Since then, he says his client has been receiving death threats.
We also got new information from the medical examiner's office who has released the cause of death, and the cause of death was a penetrating gunshot to the chest. It was deemed a homicide. The toxicology report, as you know, takes time, four to six weeks. That is not done yet. But the attorney for the family, for Terence Crutcher's family says it shouldn't matter at all whether or not he had drugs in his system, if you look at the video that should be enough.
We know the district attorney did look at that video. We know there was an investigator for the district attorney's office who looked at some other evidence as well and filed that in court, talking about this idea that we heard from the attorney that she feared for her life.
There is a lot of discrepancies in what the attorney for Miss Shelby is saying and what the district attorney is saying, basically that Miss Shelby went and cleared the car so when Terence Crutcher walked back to the car toward the window, when they said he tried to reach in the window and had already tried to look in the passenger side and driver's side to make sure the car was clear. This is the kind of thing you'll see if it fully goes to a trial. She is facing very serious charges. No, not the murder charges the family asked for, but very serious charges, two potential counts of manslaughter, one first- degree heat of passion, the other manslaughter first-degree with resisting criminal attempt.
[11:50:40] BERMAN: Four years in prison if convicted.
Sara Sidner thanks for your reporting. Appreciate it.
BOLDUAN: Thank you, Sara.
Turning to politic, Monday could be the biggest night of their political careers and that's not necessarily likely an overstatement. Is it? Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, facing off in the first presidential debate. What she they do and absolutely positively never, never not do. The debate over the debate, ahead.
[11:55:30] BOLDUAN: 72 hours away. The rumble in Long Island, or whatever rhymes with island in this, which is actually impossible.
BOLDUAN: Tried really hard. Two candidates, one stage. Hillary Clinton/Donald Trump facing off Monday night at Hofstra University. No secret these candidates have wildly different styles when it comes to debates. More of a secret, exactly how they're planning to take the other on.
BERMAN: Joining us now, Brett O'Donnell, Republican debate coach, preeminent Republican debate coach, Bret O'Donnell, president of O'Donnell and Associates.
BERMAN: I love introducing you like that. It happens to be true.
What I want to know is this, 72 hours to game time. What should these candidates be doing right now?
BRETT O'DONNELL, REPUBLICAN DEBATE COACH & PRESIDENT OF O'DONNELL & ASSOCIATES: Well, they should be going back through the various scenarios they're going to face, or that they think they'll face in the debate and practicing how they'll handle them. It's too late to cram. You don't want to be trying to cram over the weekend and jamming your head full of ideas. Right now's the time to go back through what you've studied, to go back through what you've practiced, and make sure that you've got it pitch-perfect, tone-perfect, tenor- perfect that you're going to execute in the debate. It's the time to practice how you're going to execute the arguments not planning what you're going to say. That should have been done long before now.
BOLDUAN: Brett, we've heard from the Clinton campaign they're working on ways to get under Donald Trump's skin. How do you do that without getting deep in the mud and losing like the Republican candidates did in the primary to Trump?
O'DONNELL: Yeah. I think that's a very big challenge for Hillary Clinton. You know, everyone who has played on Trump's ground in debates has done poorly, Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, all of them, Marco Rubio. When they got sucked into doing the kind of debating that Donald Trump did, it didn't work out well for them. She's got to figure out a way to stay above the fray and yet still have him have a moment where he does go across the line from aggression to offensive, and have him demonstrate that for the public.
BERMAN: You know, Carly Fiorina made Trump uncomfortable once, briefly, and I'm sure the Clintons looked at that tape.
BERMAN: Brett, this is 90 minutes long. There are two people onstage. That is a long time. Donald Trump admitted at one point he thought one of the early debates was too long.
BERMAN: What do you have to do to physically prepare for this?
O'DONNELL: Yeah. You know, that's why standing on your feet and actually practicing is so very important. That's what I've made all the candidates that I've prepped for these things do, because if you're just talking about the arguments and talking about the things you're going to do, it's very different from actually doing it. And so having that stamina. I think there's a big question for both of them. Donald Trump has never stood on a stage and talked about policy for 90 minutes. He might be like the band that's got a one-hit wonder. We're wondering whether any of the rest of his music is good. Same is true for Hillary Clinton. There's questions about stamina and whether or not she can go full 90 minutes. Neither have done a commercial-free 90-minute debate. So it will be interesting to see how that plays out.
BOLDUAN: You talk about 90 minutes. We have a 60-minute show. I cough or clear my throat at least several times in an hour, but that is very different than the environment obviously Hillary Clinton is facing right now following her pneumonia. What happens if Hillary Clinton coughs on the stage? How do you prevent it?
O'DONNELL: You folks will highlight it. So she's got to make sure that, you know, her voice is well warmed up, that she's drinking plenty of water, has done the things necessary to avoid those incidents. A little cough isn't going to matter, but if she has a coughing spell that's going to feed the argument that she is not -- doesn't have the stamina, as Trump has argued.
BERMAN: Quickly, Brett, general election debate, one on one, how is it different? What do these candidates need to know about the differences between the primary debates they all did so many of?
O'DONNELL: Yeah. Now they've got to pass the commander-in-chief test. Before, it was just passing the leadership test. Now pass the complexity of the commander-in-chief test. Shows they have command of the issues and make their case for moving country forward. It's a big challenge. And for Hillary Clinton the bar is a lot higher than it is for Donald Trump.
BERMAN: Well, and that's what the Clinton campaign complains about. They have a different bar than Donald Trump.
Brett O'Donnell, great to have you with us. You lived up to the billing as a preeminent debate coach on the Republican side.
BOLDUAN: We'll set the bar higher on Monday.
Great to see you. Thank you so much.
Thank you all for joining us AT THIS HOUR.
BERMAN: "Legal View" with Ashleigh Banfield starts right now.