Return to Transcripts main page
Interview With Minnesota State Senator Jeff Hayden; Minneapolis Police Officer Charged With Third-Degree Murder. Aired 3-3:30p ET
Aired May 29, 2020 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Now, it is also worth noting the president mentioned several other realities that are playing out within Hong Kong and the fear and the concern that's happening just over the border there.
He's talking about removing certain policies that now contribute to that special trade status. This is really the tariff-free, in some cases, enjoyment that a lot of the businesses have there. And, so, for that to be rolled back, that will be significant, not only for those international companies, but also for U.S. companies, quite frankly.
That will impact them as well. He's talking about even changing some of the immigration policies for those who come from Hong Kong into the U.S.
I mean, essentially, what's happening here, as the president has portrayed it, is, they're removing the border. In their mind, Hong Kong is now part of China in a complete sense. He brought up what is a real concern in China, and that is with, this new national security law, that the state security ministry here in China will be able to operate rather openly in China -- in Hong Kong.
And that's a lot of concern there, Brianna, because the belief is, it could then turn essentially into a police state. So, he highlighted a lot of the concerns. The question is going to be, how's it going to be received?
I think the Chinese have prepared for this in some sense. And they say they have countermeasures that will be rolled out. They have not specified what those will be.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: All right, David, we will be watching this with you. It is certainly a big development there. Thank you so much for that report from Beijing.
I want to go back to Jim Acosta. He is at the White House.
And, Jim, we have covered the White House together. There's sort of a formula to these things. If a president were to go ahead with their business of the day, and they had something so big happening, like it is happening in Minneapolis, they would comment about that at the top of their remarks, for sure--
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right.
KEILAR: -- and -- or maybe take questions at the end. It's shocking that the president didn't mention Minneapolis, a city on fire, where he has actually talked about the shooting should start when the looting starts overnight in tweets.
ACOSTA: You're right, Brianna, it is shocking, but it's hard to be shocked anymore, quite honestly.
We should point out, the president was supposed to hold a news conference out here. I don't know if we want to show this empty Rose Garden, because the reporters just cleared out of here. But this Rose Garden was just set up for all of these reporters to ask questions of the president , who came up to the podium and talked about what he's doing with respect to China.
He talked about terminating the U.S. relationship with the WHO, the World Health Organization. But you're right, Brianna. Typically, at an event like this, this is a perfect opportunity for the president of the United States to comment on something of the magnitude of what we're seeing right now in Minneapolis, and he just completely punted on that.
Now, I suspect that's because, in the minutes just before this news conference happened, or I guess we shouldn't call it a news conference anymore -- a statement happened, he put out this tweet trying to clean up the tweet that he posted last night, saying, when the looting starts, the shooting starts.
He tweeted just before this press conference got started that he didn't mean that police officers or National Guard forces should open fire on protesters in Minneapolis. That obviously is a difficult pill to swallow. That's a lot to absorb and consider to be anywhere near reality or the truth.
And yet that's what the president tweeted. My suspicion is, Brianna, is that he just knew that cleanup was not going to cut it, and that these reporters gathered in this Rose Garden were going to ask him this question.
And, as you saw, as he left the Rose Garden, reporters were going up to the microphone and trying to ask him about that tweet. I was trying to ask him, where is the decency? Where's the decency in tweeting, when the looting starts, the shooting starts, when a U.S. city is going up in flames and there are people in harm's way?
Obviously, the president doesn't want to deal with those kinds of questions right now. He is a president at times, as we know, who likes to light the match, set the fire, and then run away from the flames. And that's essentially what he did in the Rose Garden just a few moments ago, Brianna.
KEILAR: Jim Acosta, thank you for that report. And it is really -- it is -- it just -- it's stunning that he didn't
talk about this. I mean, you can look at the pictures coming out of Minneapolis, coming out of other places around the country. This is a nation that is in pain after the death of George Floyd.
And the president just completely whiffing on a chance to comment on what is happening here. This is the story of the day. This is the story of the week. This is such an important moment, as we see the pain here of this community looking for answers.
We know that the -- Derek Chauvin, the officer, the MPD officer, who had his knee on the neck of George Floyd, has been charged with third- degree murder.
But, overnight, the president tweeted. He tweeted that, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. This was actually something that hearkened back to what a Miami police chief said decades ago.
And as the president tried to clean that up and basically say that was just an observation of shooting happens when looting happens, no, that cleanup, it doesn't fly, because that's not what this was about.
So, the president not taking questions on a tweet that he put out, and then actually, once Twitter noted that it was inciting violence, he had the White House retweet it. So it just doesn't fly.
And special coverage continuing now with Brooke Baldwin.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Let's get right to it. I'm Brooke Baldwin.
It is an extraordinary Friday for a multitude of reasons, breaking news out of Minneapolis. That's where I want to begin this hour.
One of the four police officers involved in the death of George Floyd has been taken into custody and charged with third degree murder and manslaughter, his name, Derek Chauvin. He is the white officer you see right here who kneeled on Floyd's neck for multiple minutes, as you can hear Floyd saying, "I can't breathe."
We are also getting a new look at that whole thing, another angle that appears to show three Minneapolis police officers, three, kneeling on George Floyd during that arrest.
And as we play this for you, let me just warn you, this new video we have is graphic.
So, from this perspective here across the street, this video shows these three officers. You see them, not just the one, pinning Floyd down, again, as he pleads for his life, saying, "I can't breathe."
Last hour, the big news dropped. The county attorney talked about Chauvin's arrest and why he is right now the only officer charged. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL FREEMAN, HENNEPIN COUNTY, MINNESOTA, ATTORNEY: He's in custody and has been charged with murder.
QUESTION: What about the other three officers involved?
FREEMAN: The other -- the investigation is ongoing. We felt it appropriate to focus on the most dangerous perpetrator.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: But activists and protesters are saying, that arrest is not enough. They are demanding all four officers involved be charged.
They took to the streets last night and into the wee hours of the morning, literally setting the city of Minneapolis on fire and clashing violently with police.
Overnight, President Trump making matters worse, tweeting a message that Twitter even labeled as glorifying violence.
Part of the tweet read: "When the looting starts, the shooting starts."
Now, the president tried to clean that up moments ago, but that quote, first coined by a Miami police chief during the civil rights era, he was unveiling new tough-on-crime tactics, and in the same press conference said, "We don't mind being accused of police brutality."
That's where that phrase comes from, that message resonating with everyone watching, as police and protesters clashed overnight and into the morning.
So, let's go straight to Minneapolis to our correspondents there.
Sara Sidner, I'm beginning with you outside the 3rd Precinct.
Tell me more about this officer being taken into custody and charged.
SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Let me give you a scene- setter just real quick.
We were here last night when the 3rd Precinct was set ablaze. You are seeing state patrol here. This is one side, the opposite side of where the actual precinct is. I want to show you what the precinct looks like this morning, very different than when we first got here more than 48 hours (AUDIO GAP).
It is find behind the barricades there, and we can't get as close, but you will see that much of it in the front at least is gone, the fire very strong last night. We watched it go up. And it is now rubble, basically.
I do want to talk about the arrest of Derek Chauvin. We know that his history with the department was put out by the department. He had 18 prior complaints from the citizens that he is supposed to serve and protect. He was only disciplined on two of those complaints.
Now he has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. For the folks that are out here who feel that they really have never seen justice when it comes to how police treat black and brown people in this city, they are not satisfied with that. They are not satisfied that just one officer has been taken into custody.
What they want to see is all four officers taken into custody and charged in this case. And you just showed that video that NBC News has obtained that the other officers, some of them taking part in this.
And what has gotten people even more rattled is the words that you hear coming out of George Floyd's mouth, when he keeps saying he can't breathe, when he keeps asking, telling the officer, "I can't breathe."
But the thing that has really gotten people is to hear him call for his mama. When we talk to mothers here, when we talk to black mothers here, they keep repeating that. They think of their children. They hear that word mama in their ears.
And that has -- what really has stabbed at the heart of people here, who cannot believe that that played out the way it did. And they believe the arrest wasn't fast enough,. They are glad to see that there has been an arrest, but believe it wasn't fast enough, because, had the shoe been on the other foot and that had been a civilian caught on tape doing that, they believe that civilian would have been taken into custody and charged later, as often happens with civilians.
The county attorney has been very clear, though, that they had to have all their ducks in a row, that they wanted to make sure that they had the evidence that they felt like they needed. He says they do have that beyond a reasonable doubt in their mind. And, therefore, they went forward and they arrested the officer who you're seeing there with his knee on George Floyd's neck -- Brooke.
BALDWIN: To all the people who say, I can't watch that video of that arrest, and the knee the neck, do not turn away.
Sara Sidner, thank you very much, on the streets there in Minneapolis.
Let me go now to my colleague Josh Campbell. He is there as well.
And, Josh, we heard from the county prosecutor, saying that the investigation as it pertains to those three other officers is ongoing. He expects charges, but he kind of left it nebulous. What do you -- what do you know about the other officers?
JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Yes, we have been digging into the people that were depicted on this video and, obviously, a lot of the reporting that we have been doing from eyewitnesses who were there.
And it's important to note that the first officer, the one who has just been arrested and charged, had 18 complaints against him in the past. Obviously, officers, as they go about their business, if a member of the community has some type of interaction that they think is either illegal or inappropriate, they will file complaints.
That officer had 18 of them. But one of the officers, Tou Thao, which was -- this was the other officer that was on that cell cam video, that we saw Mr. Floyd there on the ground with the knee into his neck, the other officer also had past complaints against him as well.
One of them had resulted in a settlement for the wrongful use of force that the city actually ended up settling on. The other two officers, we don't have records for. Again, we're trying to dig and gather more information about their past.
But I think it's so important, as we have been covering this story, and a lot of the writing and the protesting, we can't forget that this -- the catalyst for all of this was that cell phone video and what was depicted on that. It was the actions of these officers, the alleged overuse of force, that is now causing this community to be outraged.
We're seeing their outrage continue. One thing that we will be looking for tonight, we have a whole team here that's going to continue to cover this as it unfolds, is, will the protests tonight be any different than they were last night?
There were people here last night who were protesting peacefully. Some of them become -- became very violent, not associated with the peaceful protests. But with this arrest, is that enough to allay some of the concerns in this community that justice is being served?
Brooke, time will tell.
BALDWIN: Thank you, Josh.
And to that point, Miguel Marquez, I know you have been in the thick of things.
And, Miguel, you're talking to folks who have been using their voices. Is this enough for them?
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: What is not going to help is the sense that they are not being told the truth, essentially.
And to watch that video, seven minutes, with a police officer's knee on the neck of George Floyd, and then to have the medical examiner of Hennepin County come out and say that there's no preliminary autopsy findings and -- quote -- "no physical findings that supports a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation," that is going to send a signal that it is just the old playbook that is being used again, that, despite the evidence, despite how you or I or anybody who lives in this community might be treated and arrested if we had similar evidence against us, that that is not going to work when it comes to a police officer.
So, every bit of information that comes out of officials now is going to be seen through that lens. And it is going to be a very high bar for them to get back to a place where people trust them again. I can tell you that downtown Minneapolis is now boarding up like it's getting ready for a hurricane to hit. There are police precincts across the city that are preparing for violence.
It is not clear that what we saw over the last couple of days has been spent -- Brooke.
BALDWIN: No. And, as I'm listening to you, obviously, we're getting information on this charging document that Floyd was nonresponsive for two minutes and 53 seconds before the officer took his knee off of his neck.
Miguel Marquez, you have been doing a phenomenal job. Keep it up. Thank you very much.
I want to broaden out this conversation.
And with me, former prosecutor and civil rights attorney Charles Coleman, CNN legal analyst Joey Jackson, and ESPN host and sports and culture columnist for "The L.A. Times" L.Z. Granderson.
So, gentlemen, we have got some stuff to get through today.
Joey, let me just begin with you on this charge itself against this officer, Derek Chauvin, charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.
Break those charges down for me.
JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, first of all, it's the right call, Brooke.
It's good to be with you.
And it's the right call, because when someone commits what we believe to be a crime, they're arrested, right? There's not a standard where you wait for all the evidence until you can prove someone guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and then you effect an arrest.
People I represent would wish that were the standard. It's not. If there's reason to believe a crime occurred, you're under arrest. OK. It took them long enough, but that occurred.
So, what did they arrest him of? The reason you see a third-degree murder charge, Brooke, is because the absent -- absent the element of intent, right? When we talk about murder, people may be wondering, how can you charge the officer with murder?
Well, reasonable minds could agree or disagree. But what prosecutors did here is say, look, we don't have to demonstrate intent, that he meant to do it, that he knew he was going to die. We just have to demonstrate something called depraved indifference. That means you disregarded the risk. You did something that was so
dangerous that you knew death could potentially occur. That's what the third-degree murder charge is.
And then, Brooke, breaking it down further, now we look to manslaughter. What is that? Now prosecutors would just have to demonstrate that you were careless. Certainly, the actions that you undertook were so careless that they could have led to death, and, if they weren't careless, they were reckless.
That means you consciously disregarded the risk that, if you had your knee on someone's neck, they could die. And so I think certainly, as it relates to the charges, it's a good start. Now we look for accountability in two different ways.
Number one, the other officers and to what degree they will be held accountable. If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem. They were there, had a duty to resolve it.
The second way, Brooke, and, finally, that we look for resolution is what the federal government. These are state charges. Let's see what the federal government does with regard to civil rights charges.
Last point. Last point is that, for civil rights charges to be put forward, you have to establish willfulness. That is intentionality. You knew you were violating someone's right.
I don't know any reasonable person who could look at that tape and look at the callous nature of what was occurring, and people telling him to stop, who don't see that as willful. But that's not today. We will see what the federal government does.
But I certainly would expect and anticipate that the federal government should do something as it relates to those civil rights charges moving forward.
BALDWIN: But it's the amount of time.
And, Charles, this is for you.
I appreciate that thorough explanation.
But, Charles, we have -- we're now getting this new information from the charging document that the officer's knee was on Floyd's neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds in total, and that two minutes and 53 seconds of this was after George Floyd was nonresponsive.
What does that tell you?
CHARLES COLEMAN, FORMER PROSECUTOR: So, hi, Brooke.
So, I think Joe is absolutely right. I think that there's no question, from a civil rights perspective, that there was a willful intention to violate his rights here. And when you talk about that, when you talk about police and what's going on with this particular case, the issue absolutely is, what else is going to happen?
The narrative does not need to be limited to just what happened to George Floyd in this case, especially not at a state level. This needs to be examined, of course, at a federal level. I don't know what the wait is. I don't know what the delay is.
As quickly as we have seen the leadership from Washington send out tweets about shooting looters, it should have been twice as quick for the federal government to take action with respect to bringing federal civil rights charges against these officers.
But that's what it tells me. It tells me that we do have--
BALDWIN: If I may, Charles, to your point about -- I keep thinking about swift justice.
And to hear the county executive -- the county prosecutor saying and really touting how this case has moved with extraordinary speed, you say what?
COLEMAN: I say that, if George Floyd had not been caught on camera, that this would have never happened as quickly or as swiftly as they believe that it had.
And the fact that I can say that is the problem. The fact that this justice, this sense of justice moving swiftly only occurs after we, as a community, have to set things on fire is a problem.
And even still, for the average person, for a civilian, as Joey mentioned earlier, that civilian isn't afforded the time to privately commiserate with their own family, develop a legal strategy in the comfort of their own home, and with dozens of police outside protecting them, amidst a national or global pandemic.
All (AUDIO GAP)
BALDWIN: Oh, we're losing you a little bit, Charles.
Let me -- L.Z., let me just bring you in, because I just always so value your perspective.
Just listening to this conversation about the law, but also about just justice for this family, what are you thinking? How is this sitting with you?
L.Z. GRANDERSON, ESPN: Well, first of all, Brooke, it's good to see you. I believe this is the first time we have been on air since your recovery.
BALDWIN: It is.
GRANDERSON: And-- (CROSSTALK)
GRANDERSON: -- very happy to see you healthy.
BALDWIN: Thank you.
GRANDERSON: And my mind's going across a lot of different places right now.
The first place it goes to the Laquan McDonald situation in Chicago that I covered and the cover-up with that. And the reason why is this. It took four years to go from the death until there was an actual conviction.
And within that time, we saw cover-up within the city itself, city officials, we saw a cover-up within the police department. The inspector general realized there were up to 16, if not more, police officers involved with falsified evidence or a falsified report. And yet there's only been one person in jail because of this.
This is the reason why there's such distrust. It's not that minorities or anyone feels as if police are completely rampant of racists or corrupt individuals. But what makes this so difficult is knowing that, when something like this happens, there's a tendency to surround this individual and protect them.
There's a tendency to surround this individual and create a slothful process for justice. There's no surprise at all that people are so upset that they took to the streets to vent. It's not because of this one incident. It's because of the compoundedness of one incident, followed by cover-up, that sometimes goes all the way up to a prosecutor or district attorney's office.
This is the frustrating part. And there's one other thing that I would like to share. There's a lot of people that I have read over social media who say they understand why people are upset, but they don't agree with taking to the streets, don't agree with protests.
The Boston Tea Party, despite its name, was not a party. It was a protest. It was a riot. What I'm saying is, the very foundation of this nation is based upon what's happening right now, which is, when there's an injustice, and those who are in authority do not hear the people's cries, the cries are emulated in other fashions, and sometimes they are violent.
I'm not advocating violence, but I'm just reminding people, particularly white people who may want to characterize this as just angry black people, that this is actually the way that things have gotten done in this country since its beginning.
BALDWIN: Gentlemen, we need to have more of a conversation.
Stay with me. Forgive me, Robert (ph). What did you just say?
OK, gentlemen, stand by.
Joining me now, Minnesota State Senator Jeff Hayden, a Democrat from Minneapolis.
So, Senator Hayden, thank you so much for being with me in such a -- just a horrendous time.
You represent this neighborhood. These are your people. This is your community.
What have you been feeling watching all of this unfold, and, of course, the news today that this officer was charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter?
SEN. JEFF HAYDEN (D-MN): Well, I was glad that he was charged. I thought that it was a little slow.
I'm not a lawyer, but I thought that, if anybody else would have done that and caught it tape, he would have been in jail immediately.
We also hope that we could get Attorney General Keith Ellison involved. We really think that he'd be a much better person to prosecute the case.
It's been tough around here. Our communities are in pain. They're grieving. They're actually on fire as we speak, many parts of my community. People are protesting. And we certainly agree with that.
But we also are devastated from the loss of Mr. Floyd's life, but we're also becoming devastated because we're losing our grocery stores. We're losing our pharmacies.
And so we need to find ways in which to feed our people and to make sure that they're well at the same time. So, we are really working hard. We also are working legislatively to call for a special session to finally end the horrific injustice that the Minneapolis Police Department has put on African-American people.
BALDWIN: Senator, I want to ask you about that, because there have been promises. We have all listened to these news conferences, promises of swift justice.
Nothing about this seems to be swift. And you have said specifically that the legislature has this critical role to play, right, in adopting systematic changes to address racism and other issues with law enforcement.
Like, what specifically?
HAYDEN: Yes, well, we have been fighting hard in the legislature, especially those in the People of Color Caucus and African-Americans.
We are now prepared not to vote for anything moving forward, our bonding requests, our infrastructure, until the change happens. We want to have systematic change on how they get licensed. We want to get -- we want systemic change on how they get hired. We want systematic change to be able to bring the A.G.'s office in much more swiftly on their conduct. We want police officers to start carrying their own liability, so that
we don't have to pay after someone has lost their life, have been hurt. There are just a bunch of things that we are working on, that we have been working on, but now we are absolutely prepared not to vote for infrastructure bills and other things and other things that we need in this state if we don't get this reform now.
BALDWIN: And you have the support you need to do that?
HAYDEN: I believe so.
We certainly have it in the People of Color Caucus. A lot of my colleagues are certainly on board. We have the only divided legislature in the country. So, I want to implore my Republican counterparts and leadership in the Senate that now's the time. It's not time to sit on their hands.
We are going to grind this state and this legislature to a halt if we don't get change.
BALDWIN: When you look at the city of Minneapolis and just the history -- and I don't have to tell you this, you know this, but just reminding our viewers -- George Floyd is the latest name, right, to be added to this list of Minneapolis area police killings involving black men, Philando Castile, Jamar Clark.
BALDWIN: In a statement, the president of the National Fraternal Order of Police said that, in part -- quote -- "I do not believe this incident should be allowed to define our profession or the Minneapolis Police Department." But he acknowledged trust has been diminished.
So, with so many, Senator--
HAYDEN: It already had.
BALDWIN: It has. I hear you saying it has.
HAYDEN: It has.
BALDWIN: How -- I mean, your city is on fire.
BALDWIN: How do you establish trust between police and the community now?
It's time -- it's time for Mr. Crow to go. It's time for us to legislatively get inside, change the procedures, have the state take over. It is now that time. The trust has been broken. And it is time for us to change. No eating around the edges. No soft-pedaling this issue. I'm 53 years
old. I grew up in the same community that I live in. When I ran across the street, my mother told me to watch out for the Minneapolis police.
BALDWIN: Did she, back then, years ago? Years ago.
HAYDEN: Fifty-three years old, I am. And I grew up 10 blocks from where I live.
BALDWIN: I feel -- and, listen, you know this, as a 53-year-old. And you have got 13 years on me, but, I mean, I have met and interviewed phenomenal, phenomenal members of law enforcement.
But there is an issue in Minneapolis. And you're a part of what could fix it.
Senator Jeff Hayden, thank you very much.
HAYDEN: Thank you so much for having me.
BALDWIN: You got it.
Much more ahead here on CNN, including the president's tweets about shooting looters and how the president just held -- it's not a news conference. It was a statement. He didn't take any questions and, on a day like today, did not address the situation in Minneapolis once.
We will be right back.