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CNN NEWSROOM

Fires, Protests In Minneapolis As Outrage Spreads Across U.S.. Aired 10-10:30a ET

Aired May 29, 2020 - 10:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


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[10:00:00]

POPPY HARLOW, CNN NEWSROOM: It is Friday morning. We're glad you're with us. I'm Poppy Harlow.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN NEWSROOM: And I'm Jim Sciutto.

It's a sad day, it's a jarring day in this country. The streets of Minneapolis filled with outrage, with looting, with fires. Today, the fourth day of unrest after the death at the hands of police of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died with a police officer's knee on his neck. He kneeled on him for more than seven minutes while, we should note, he was handcuffed on the ground, all the while Floyd said Repeatedly these words, I can't breathe.

The third police precinct itself was breached and set on fire last night.

HARLOW: And right now, there are buildings in Minneapolis this morning that are still on fire. Police in riot gear blocking streets with litter and debris, more than 500 Minnesota National Guard soldiers now on the scene. The four officers involved in George Floyd's death still have not been charged and they have not been arrested.

But this morning, members of the free press, our CNN crew, arrested doing their job.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm sorry?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're under arrest.

JIMENEZ: Okay. Do you mind telling me why I'm under arrest, sir? Why am I under arrest, sir?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARLOW: That is our Omar Jimenez and his team. Minnesota's governor has apologized for that. He said it never should have happened and he will address it next hour. Overnight, President Trump appeared to be fanning the flames of unrest, not urging calm, even called out by Twitter for glorifying violence.

Let's begin with our Josh Campbell. He's on the scene with what's happening right now. Good morning, Josh.

JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, good morning. As you can see behind me, a show of force from law enforcement here in Minneapolis, quite different than what we saw last night. We've been showing these images of the third precinct here in Minneapolis. This is near the scene where a black man was killed. Near that location, we saw protesters out torching the local police precinct, officers opting to let that building burn rather than move in with some type of force that could further inflame tensions.

But right now, as you can see, that's different. You see officers from the state police behind us, and as we pan, you can see the destruction is not yet over. There are still fires that are burning in the distance. Last night, this whole area was just total bedlam. There were protesters and looters, again, folks outside that police precinct clearly angry with what happened, the killing of a person of color by police officers.

Now, I think one thing that's important to note, and we've been saying this, is that my colleague, Sara Sidner and I, we were on the ground talking to people. The destruction that you see does not represent the protesters who were here peacefully simply trying to express their anger at this apparent overuse of force by the police. But yet there were people that came that opted to engage in violence.

We just talked to one witness who lives in this area who said that he's talking to people and said a lot of the people that were looting were coming from outside of this area, outside this community. Nevertheless, this here left in destruction. Police continue to sift through the scene behind.

We just saw an SUV drive by with a couple FBI agents. There are a number of agencies here, including the National Guard. They've pushed people back, they've controlled the scene, and now they start the process of going through that police station to see how much damage was done.

SCIUTTO: Josh Campbell, thanks so much on the scene there.

Joining us now is Joey Jackson. He's a criminal defense attorney and CNN Legal Analyst, and Sergeant DeAndre Hutschison, he is with the Houston Police Department. He's also President of the African-American Police Officers League. Thanks to both of you.

Cedric -- let me call you sergeant -- sorry, DeAndre, let me call you sergeant. I don't want to take your rank away from you. As you watched that video of George Floyd, both the method with the police officer, the physical method he is using to restrain George Floyd, knee on his neck for several minutes, but also the officers, his colleagues, standing back and watching it, what are officers taught to do? What are they taught not to do in their training, and what did you see violated their beyond the obvious? What do you see, more than one thing, I imagine, violated there as a fellow police officer.

SGT. DEANDRE HUTCHISON, HOUSTON POLICE: Yes, exactly, a lot of things violated.

[10:05:01]

And we're trained here in the Houston Police Department that when the cuffs go on, the fighting stops, and that situation is under control.

So to see that man in cuffs, to see nobody checking on his wellbeing, it seemed very, very inhumane. And witnesses crying out like, he's not breathing, check on his breathing, check for a pulse, to no avail. So it was very, very disturbing to watch that video of George Floyd.

And like I say, the human part of it was ignored tremendously and that how could another human being hear somebody say, I can't breathe, and had that been that officer's mother, brother or sister or dog, for that matter, he would have checked his breathing or their breathing.

So to that part of it, that's not what we're trying to do, and I don't know why that was allowed to take place in Minnesota.

SCIUTTO: Yes. Poppy, I mean, it's not the first time we've heard that phrase, dehumanizing, used from fellow police officers, right? We've heard that and that really strikes you.

HARLOW: You're right, Jim, including the St. Paul police chief to us yesterday, right?

Joey, why have these officers not been charged or arrested?

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: That's a great question. Good morning, Poppy. Good morning, Jim. So let's start here. The fact of the matter was, what did we see this morning? We saw our colleague, Omar Jimenez, be arrested for nothing, right, in the broad daylight.

And the fact is he's doing nothing but his job. We heard him being respectful. We heard him doing everything he could to comply, but yet he's put under arrest for what? How many times has that happened where it's not on camera, and then we question the narrative of the person about, you must have been doing something wrong. He wasn't.

So why do I say that before I get your question? If he can be arrested, that is, Omar, for doing nothing, why wouldn't the officers be arrested here?

Now, let me tell you what concerns me. What concerns me is you don't have to wait to get every single bit of information that you need in order to establish someone guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. That's not how our system works.

I practiced in state court and federal work, and here is how it works. If you have probable cause to believe, reason to believe that a crime occurred, you make the arrest. You charge someone as it relates to what you saw. Thereafter, if you want to amend the charges, modify the charges, upgrade the charges, you're allowed to do that.

But what we heard at the press conference was very disappointing and it's very concerning when you think about what we saw and you think about what was said.

And so I can't answer that question, Poppy. I understand due process greatly. I think everyone should be afforded due process, but I don't believe my eyes were lying when I saw what I saw, and I do believe that arrests should have been forthcoming and should have happened already.

SCIUTTO: Sergeant Hutchison, we talked about how officers are trained in terms of arresting and using violence, right, what they're trained to do, not to do and so on. How about that arrest of a journalist doing his job? And we should note, our colleague was later released, but the state police of Minnesota, they have not apologized. They claimed that they were just confirming he was a member of the press, though he repeatedly identified himself as so and was live on the air, we should note.

What are officers like those under your command trained to do regarding journalists who are covering news as it happens?

HUTCHISON: Like I say, I apologize to Omar Jimenez. Good morning, Jim and Poppy. Thank you for having me on.

But before I answer that question, it's just-- it's yet another incident where it looks like those officers were just overreacting for whatever reason, you know. We know that race could play a part in that, but they were overreacting. But I'm going to say because the tensions were high in the area that there might be some legitimacy to what they did.

But we have a policy here at the Houston Police Department that allows media. We normally set up a staging area for media on very controlled scenes. But when a journalist is starting to interfere with public duties -- like I say, I'm not very familiar with what the goal of those police officers were, what was going on in that intersection and that type of thing, but if they're interfering with the mission of whatever they're trying to complete, then there's possibility.

But they should have never arrested. Like you say, I don't believe the probable cause statute that he just mentioned was satisfied.

[10:10:00]

They did not have enough probable cause to say that that (INAUDIBLE) not just, in fact, doing his job. So I don't think that --

HARLOW: Just for clarity, Sergeant, because I know it's early in the morning and you may not have seen the full video, but four minutes ahead of his arrest, not only does Omar hold up his credential and the producer says he's from CNN live T.V., he repeatedly asked the officers, I'll go wherever you want, where do you want me to move, it's up to you, just tell me. And I think that's so important here.

For these four officers and the death, Joey, of George Floyd, for Officers Chauvin, who had his knee on his neck and for Officers Thao, who stood and watched, and the other officers Keung and officer Lane, what about those others who didn't have their knee on him but didn't do anything to stop it when he was begging for air, what would they be charged with?

HARLOW: I think then, Poppy, you're complicit with it. The fact of the matter is you have a duty and an obligation if you're there. If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem. You have the ability as an officer to stop a fellow officer and you see a crime in progress.

That crime is not being engaged in by a member of the public. It's being engaged in by a person who wears a badge. It's being engaged in what I believe and what I see to be very willful, we see a person who clearly is in distress, who is saying he can't breathe, you have other bystanders pleading not only with that officer, Poppy, but the officer with respect to the one that had his knee on his neck.

But with the others, do you see what he's doing, can you stop it? They do nothing. That's official misconduct, and certainly worse than that as it relates to, are you that complicit that you should be charged with the crime that he is?

And so the fact of the matter is that firing clearly is not enough. There is reason to believe that a crime occurred by the other officers there, and I am not sure at all why the trigger shouldn't have been pulled as it relates to an arrest in this case.

SCIUTTO: We'll be watching closely. Listen, Joey Jackson -- sorry, Sergeant Hutchison, final thought.

HUTCHISON: And that's absolutely correct. Those officers are just as guilty, and that needs to be the resounding theme to stop this violence. That needs to be the theme that goes across the country. If you stand by and you do nothing, you do nothing on a scene where you know that an officer is using excessive force, you are just as guilty. Our public deserves better, and we vow that trust, and we need do a lot of work to build it back up.

SCIUTTO: Powerful words from a fellow police officer. Sergeant Hutchison, we appreciate what you do, and your insight here, Joey Jackson, as well.

JACKSON: Thank you.

SCIUTTO: Well, this Sunday night, join our colleague, Don Lemon, for an important conversation about the deaths of black men at the hands of police. Why we witness it continue to happen? I Can't Breathe, Black Men Living and Dying in America, it airs this Sunday, 8:00 Eastern Time right here on CNN.

HARLOW: We are going to have much more on the arrest of our CNN crew taken into custody on live television while doing their jobs, and covering the protest and the violence in Minneapolis.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're under arrest.

JIMENEZ: Okay. Do you mind telling me why I'm under arrest, sir?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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[10:15:00]

SCIUTTO: You can be forgiven for finding the last 24, 48 hours, 72 hours jarring. Minutes from now, the Minnesota governor, Tim Walz, is expected to apologize during a news conference, this after, in the midst of all this, a CNN crew was arrested, handcuffed, earlier this morning.

HARLOW: It is surreal and it all played out on live television. Our crew led by our correspondent and our friend, Omar Jimenez, taken into custody as they were covering the protests in Minneapolis.

Here is exactly what happened.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JIMENEZ: Yes, we've got one person being arrested here. We've got -- yes, we're good. Yes, hold on. I got you. I got you. Hold on. Hold on. They had us here. They had us here. We're speaking with state patrol right now, give us a second, guys. We can move back to where you'd like. We can move back to where you'd like here. We are live on the air at the moment.

This is the four of us. We are one team. Just -- put us -- put us back where you want us. We are getting out of your way. So just let us know. Wherever you'd want us, we will go. We were just getting out of your way when you were advancing to the intersection. So just let us know and we got you.

And this is the scene here playing out in Minneapolis. This is part of the advanced police presence that we saw come over the course of really minutes when the local police showed up at the fire department -- or with the fire department, I should say, on that building we showed you that was burning. This is among the state patrol unit that was advancing up the street, saying and scattering the protesters to that point for people to clear the area. And so we walked away.

I'm sorry?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're under arrest.

JIMENEZ: Okay. Do you mind telling me why I'm under arrest, sir? Why am I under arrest, sir?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Officer, we're with CNN and he's on the air right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's on the air with CNN.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are arresting him live on CNN. We told you before that we are with CNN.

[10:20:01]

Can anyone tell me where he's being taken?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) guys, we were just out here reporting the closure of the streets. They just -- Omar was just arrested. I believe they're about to -- we're all about to be arrested. That's our producer. I'm probably going to be taken in a minute. We were just -- like I said, reporting on the closure.

Guys, why are you arresting us? We're just passing along the message, your message. Well, we know what you said, we're doing our job as well as you are.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sir, you're under arrest. Hands behind your back.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm being arrested now. I've got put the -- can I put the camera down?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HARLOW: Omar Jimenez has been released after being arrested for simply doing his job, and he is with us this morning.

Good morning, Omar. Thank you for trying to do your job through all of that, to you and your crew.

As you sit with this now, what are your reflections of what happened?

JIMENEZ: Well, there's a lot I've been thinking about. One, how surreal the experience actually was. I think just talking to some other people now, you get in this reporting mode, obviously, where you're talking about what's happening all around you, but you don't want it to be the case where you actually become the story and you get involved in it.

But then when things begin to shift, you had to turn off that reporter mode at least a little bit and become a literal human who is being arrested by the police in the midst of a story where the police are under criticism for how they are dealing with the public.

And as we were sitting in the back of the van being transported to the public safety building and transported downtown, with cuffs in the back, a lot of thoughts went through my mind. I thought of my grandmother who had been arrested when she was marching in the civil rights movement, and she had been arrested multiple times. When I called her, she jokingly welcomed me to the club.

And also I thought about my mom. When I called her afterwards, I felt my phone -- or I heard it, I should say, vibrating because it was in a separate bag going off. And when I called her, her biggest fear was that she was trying to track down where I was, but I wasn't booked into the system, so she had no idea. All she knew was that I was arrested, and in her mind, I had disappeared.

And the other thing that comes to mind is, as we've been analyzing how this story has affected communities across the country, particularly in the black community, there is one message that I think sticks out in that. When people say, oh, things are getting so much worse, how could things be this bad?

[10:25:04]

Partly that, but also it's not that it's getting worse, it's that it's getting filmed.

And I think the fact that this played out live on television, the account was very clear as to what happened, there was no doubt as to what happened. You saw it, I lived it. The audience saw it as opposed to so many situations where there is no camera, and the cops get called into question.

SCIUTTO: Also arrested along with you, you don't have to remind me, Leonel Mendez, a U.S. Army veteran, we should note, and Bill Kirkos, arrested and handcuffed, all, for doing your job.

The Minnesota State Patrol has not apologized for this. In fact, they put out a misleading tweet to explain your arrest saying, the three were released once they were confirmed to be members of the media.

Now, to get at the just utter absurdity of this supposed explanation, we just want to play a clip of you repeatedly identifying yourself as journalists, showing your credentials, not to mention the fact you were live on the air as it happened, and then I want to get your reaction to that. Let's play it for our viewers.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JIMENEZ: Okay. Do you mind telling me why I'm under arrest, sir? Why am I under arrest, sir?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Officer, we're with CNN and he's on the air right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's on the air with CNN.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCIUTTO: And before, we should note to viewers who may not have seen it, he showed his press credentials to those same officers. Did you get an explanation while you were being detained as to why then you were held?

JIMENEZ: I never really got a clear explanation in the moment as to why we were being detained, why cuffs were being put on us. All the arresting officer told me is that he was following orders. Orders from whom, I do not know and I don't know that I will know at any point. Our crew, as you mentioned as well, I definitely want to shout them out because they also were in this with me, and that they handled it with grace as well. You saw the camera and you heard the voice of Leonel Mendez, our photographer, and this was really a team thing. We stuck together here. But it definitely was a surreal moment going from doing your job to in the back of a van being transported downtown.

SCIUTTO: Yes, not what we expect in this country, and yet it happened. Omar Jimenez, thanks so much. We're glad you're safe.

Well, President Trump escalating the already sky high tensions in Minnesota with a tweet that forced Twitter to do something it has never done before with a presidential tweet. You'll want to see this. We'll be right back.

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