Return to Transcripts main page
Officer Charged With 3rd Degree Murder and Manslaughter; Trump Fails to Mention Minneapolis and Protests; Actor Uses Comedy to Address Serious Issue. Aired 3:30-4p ET
Aired May 29, 2020 - 15:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Welcome back. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Breaking news out of Minneapolis. One of the four police officers involved in the death of George Floyd has now been taken into custody and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. He is Derek Chauvin. He is the officer that you see here who kneeled on Floyd's neck for several minutes during the arrest that ultimately led to his death.
Also, notable, the President just made a statement and didn't address this at all. So let's go straight to Kaitlan Collins at the White House for you know what we thought would have been a news conference, reporters were ready for questions, the President comes out on a huge day like today and it is shocking that he doesn't say a word about Minneapolis.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and Brooke, it was even surprising to some of his aides because this morning they had been expecting him to address it. They were trying to figure out when he was going to do so today. They had thought that it was going to be at this press conference on China that had been long planned for several days.
And then the President came out, it was not a press conference, he did not take questions. And instead he spoke about China and only China for about ten minutes. And he turned on his heels and he left the Rose Garden, Brooke, without taking any questions or addressing what has been unfolding in Minnesota.
So often you hear the White House say, you know, the President's tweet speak for themselves and that's really the only time that we've seen him address this in recent days and this is this tweet from last night that the President is now trying to clarify on Twitter where he was talking about these riots that had broken out in Minnesota. And at the end, of course, he had the quote that said when the looting starts, the shooting starts.
That came after the President had been talking about sending in the military if he needed to, talking about those riots that we had seen playing out, of course, those fires, destroying those businesses there in the city of Minneapolis. And now, Brooke, the President is trying to clarify just moments
before he came out to the Rose Garden that he did not know origin of that quote, which is, of course, is from a very controversial police chief down in Miami in the middle of the civil rights movement. And the President is instead saying that this was just a statement that he was making and saying, basically, it was a concern that when people are looting there will be shooting.
That is obviously not the connection that had drawn from the President's tweet. Twitter certainly didn't take it that way and they put a warning label on it saying that he was glorifying violence with the tweet that the President had issued late last night. And, Brooke, that is all we've heard from the President in recent days -- in recent hours as you've seen today where the city of Minneapolis has been on fire. The officer who had his knee on George Floyd's neck was arrested and taken into custody and the President has not commented on that.
And I should note, Brooke, another development that happened this afternoon is that we heard from Joe Biden saying that he had spoken to George Floyd's family. We still do not know if President Trump himself has spoken to George Floyd's family. And yesterday the White House Press Secretary said she was not aware if the President had and so far, today, they have refused to answer multiple questions from us about whether or not that contact had been made yet.
BALDWIN: Kaitlan, thank you. I want to start with your last point with my next guest, with me now, CNN political correspondent Abby Phillip and CNN political analyst Astead Herndon. And Abby, just first to you. You know, to Kaitlan's point we don't know if this President has reached out to George Floyd's family.
We do know from that Joe Biden Livestream that only has he done that but he said the latest edition to the endless list of stolen potentially wiped out unnecessarily in a veiled swipe at Trump, this is no time for incendiary tweets, its not time to encourage violence. And then also from former President Barack Obama where he released a statement, this shouldn't be normal in 2020 America. It's striking to juxtapose those various leaders' responses.
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It is. And I think that, you know, all along this has been a really difficult thing for President Trump to deal with. He was asked by reporters yesterday if he planned to talk to George Floyd's family.
He said he didn't know just yet. But he offered, you know, some sympathy saying that the video looked awful. But one of the things that we almost never hear from President Trump is him addressing the underlying issue. Which is what is his view of the appropriate use of force by police? What is his view of how police treat black people in this country?
This is coming at a time when the President is trying to appeal to black voters and yet he still, before and during and after this situation, is not able to articulate his views on any of these things. And then he upsets the apple cart even more by sending that tweet overnight that seems to imply that looters should be shot.
I definitely think that this is something the President and the White House are struggling with which is why they're trying too hard to clean this up right now. The problem is it might be too late because all of this has just reinforced what is already out there in terms of how a majority black people in this country view President Trump and how he deals with race.
BALDWIN: Well, he then tried to clean it up, you know, this afternoon but still tweeting looting leads to shooting again. And Astead, just listening to Jim Acosta characterize what was and what wasn't today in the Rose Garden, he said, you know, this is typical Trump in the sense that he lights the match, sets the fire, walks away from the flames.
ASTEAD HERNDON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It is. And we have not seen the President really take any serious interest in being the kind of unifier in chief that sometimes he has promised to be, that sometimes his supporters have said he would grow into. That's never being something that has been a sustained effort by this President and has never been something that he's shown real interest in.
I mean I think it's important to note that as Abby said, this is a White House that thinks they can make inroads with black voters as we get closer to the November election. But how seriously can we take those efforts, how good faith can we see these efforts if in these moments of crisis, the President is going to send an incendiary tweet and that that is obviously going to upset what is already a tense situation?
The President tried to obviously say it was something -- means something different today. But it has a root and a meaning. We know the origin of that and even so it shows a lack of care that they would put into that situation.
And so, no matter what, the walk-back is, the original statement was in line with his previous comments about how police should rough up protesters. Remember his campaign even with police saying be a little rough with them. That's the President that black voters know and it's going to be hard to roll back that perception.
BALDWIN: Right. Astead and Abby, thank you both very much.
More now on unrest in Minneapolis as anger spills into the streets. Actress Niecy Nash is taking out her outrage, her emotion. She's taking it straight to you, to social media. She joins me live to discuss her powerful tweet from earlier in the video that addresses hate with a little bit of humor. Stay here.
BALDWIN: All right. We are back. With our breaking news out of Minneapolis, this hour one of the four police officers involved in the death of George Floyd has been taken into custody and has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. That officer's name, excuse me, former officer, Derek Chauvin. The officer right there who was the one who kneeled on Floyd's neck for multiple minutes during the arrest that ultimately led to his death.
Charles Coleman and LZ Granderson are with me. And Charles, first to you, just from a legal perspective, I know that we mentioned this off the top of the show, but I think for people just tuning in, just catching up with this huge piece of news today, I want to really get into murder in the third-degree.
Looking at the statute in Minnesota, it says without regard for human life is guilty of murder in the third-degree and may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than 25 years. So, without regard for human life is what jumps out at me.
CHARLES COLEMAN, FORMER PROSECUTOR: So, right. What we are looking at with respect to what he was charged with which is essentially manslaughter is the lowest degree of murder that you could get to. It requires the least amount of intent. It doesn't require any intent, actually in (INAUDIBLE) to convict.
But the downside to this is that's very possible that we will end up with a situation where he does not do 25 years or anything close to it. As a matter of fact, it is possible under Minnesota law, that he could walk away with probation. This is nothing for us to celebrate at this time. The fact that this is the (INAUDIBLE) we could have gotten with respect to homicide.
BALDWIN: OK. Breaking up. Hate this. Era of television and COVID and trying to do this over the internet. So, Charles, hang with me.
LZ, let me come to you. You know, I don't know if you were listening to my conversation with the state Senator out of Minnesota. You know, he said, Brooke, I'm 53, I grew up in the same neighborhood where this happened with George Floyd.
I remember my mother, you know, telling me years ago when I should cross the street if I do see a member of the Minneapolis Police Department. And I know you, you know, you've been very open. I read a piece about how you had a horrifying experience at the age of 12 with police. I mean, I know just for so many people this brings up deep, deep wounds.
LZ GRANDERSON, ESPN HOST: Absolutely. You know, I'm sure at this point a lot of people know about the talk. They've heard about the talk. Even if they weren't required to give it. And it's true. You know, we have had -- we as African-Americans have had to pass down these lessons of survival for generation after generation after generation.
I give you another example. My mother is from a rural part of Mississippi. I was given he talk before we ended up getting down there. When my son went to go visit, his grandmother, I gave him the talk and I suspect, unfortunately that one day if he's blessed to be a parent as well, he too will have to give the talk. The talk has been handed down. The talk will continue to be handed down until we find a way to address these problems in a holistic manner.
BALDWIN: In terms of addressing the problems, you know, I go back to former President Barack Obama released a statement and part of what he said is this shouldn't be normal in 2020 America, and then he goes on to say it's on all of us to find, to create that new normal.
I know we're not going to solve this in two minutes on TV but just you have such a brilliant brain. You know, what thoughts have you been having, now can we all work together on finding, creating that new normal?
GRANDERSON: Well, I think first and foremost, it's about looking at who are some of the -- we have to figure out how going forward to -- I'm sorry, someone else was in my ear. You have to figure out how going forward to address something like the district attorney's office. We have to remember that local elections matter more than national elections. National elections get the attention for sure.
But more and often than not it's our local policies that really impact our daily lives. It's who's on your city council setting policies. It's who's in charge of making sure that if there is corruption in the police department that locally and statewide, they get prosecuted. So, I would encourage people of all races that if they want to know what to do, start at home.
Don't look at the President, don't look at the White House to solve the problems because, one, the person in office right now doesn't seem interested in doing that, but also, two, it's a large machine that takes a significant amount of time to do actually something.
But you can be -- you can respond locally and have much swifter action. So, I would encourage everyone that's listening right now, find out who the hell is on your city council. Find out how long that district attorney has been in office and whether or not you've been satisfied with the job she or he has been doing. And if you haven't been satisfied with that, find out what you can do to mobilize to get someone in that office.
Because the next time, and unfortunately there will be a next time, we find ourselves as a nation confronted with this. What you don't want to have happen is a city be set on fire before action has taken place. What you prefer have happened is that you have a mayor, that you have a city council president, that you have a district attorney who knows how to handle these things swiftly, so that you don't have to deal with violence, that you don't have to deal with an escalation. That is what I would encourage people to do after this episode. Think locally first.
BALDWIN: I so appreciate that. LZ Granderson, a pleasure and honor to have you on as always. Thank you very much, my friend. And Charles Coleman, thank you, as well.
Coming up next, arrests being made in New York City as protests build there. That's next.
[15:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BALDWIN: More on the breaking news, protests are building around the country, not just in Minneapolis, all in the wake of the death of George Floyd. So, let's go straight to New York City, to Shimon Prokupecz, where protests have been happening there. Shimon, set the scene for me.
Shimon, it's Brooke, you're live. OK, shall I continue. The outrage -- we'll work on getting him back. The outrage over what happened being felt all across the country, with social media becoming one of the main places for people to express their anger and as well as just their sadness.
I want to show a tweet to you. This is from actress Niecy Nash where she says, I wish American loved black people the way they love black culture.
And Niecy is with me now. And Niecy, I have so many -- first, talk to me about you, your tweet, and also I just want to say as you as a mother, we had learned, in another version of the video of George Floyd, that he was calling out "mama." How are you feeling as this has all been unfolding?
NIECY NASH, ACTRESS: I'm sad. I'm angry. I'm broken hearted. And more importantly, I'm afraid. You know, my son left my house the other day. He was stopped by the police. He came back and said, mama, I did a rolling stop through a stop sign.
He said, so I know I was wrong. But when they pulled me over, it was two cops, and one came and tapped on the window with his taser. And I was like, whoa. They asked for my license and registration. I gave it to them, insurance, the whole nine.
And while they were running his I.D. and all of that, one of them said, how did you afford this car? What do you do? When his license came back clean and everything was good, the guy with the taser, who never put it out, said to my son, today is your lucky day. And I said, why are you lucky if you're a law-abiding citizen? Why are you lucky if there wasn't a reason for them to handle you in an inappropriate way? I was livid.
But the conversation I have to have with my son is, even if you are right, you have to comply in order that you make it back to me alive. Now, that's what I have been telling him. And now we're looking at George Floyd who did comply, who was already handcuffed, who was already laying on the ground, and still didn't make it back to his family. So now what do I tell my son?
BALDWIN: What do you tell your son? What do mothers and fathers, black and brown families, what do they tell their children? What would you say to them?
NASH: I'm afraid. And so, I don't know how to tell you to not be afraid. And the people who we pay to protect and serve are beating and killing. So, I don't know what to say. I'm at a space and time where I'm at a loss for words.
But I will tell you this. As an actress and a comedian, I play a cop on TV in "Reno 911." You know, we played bumbling cops. What we decided to do as a cast was to donate money to go towards George Floyd's funeral. Because while we play cops, we take the idea of police brutality and excessive force very seriously. And I will tell you, as a mom, you want to know everything. You want to have all the answers. I have no idea what to say to my baby. I don't.
BALDWIN: I'm just sitting with that for a second. I've got a little bit of time left. Let's play the clip, because you are, as you point out, are a comedian, you used a little bit of comedy just to address the situation earlier this week in Central Park. Let's watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NASH: You're scared. You're white. Calling 911 on your black or brown neighbors just isn't what it used to be. Hi, I'm Niecy Nash, actor, inventor and advocate for not calling 911 on black people for no (BLEEP) reason. I'd like to introduce you to a radical new product that will save you all the headaches of being filmed and outed as a racist (BLEEP). It's called 1-844-white-fear.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: I mean somebody sent that to me this week and I was like, I've got to talk to Niecy Nash. I mean, I get that you're using comedy. It is so serious though. Just I've got a minute left with you. Why'd you make it?
NASH: Because I want people to not use their privilege to -- against other people. I mean, you know, literally, if 911 had come out, if the cops had come out for this man that this woman called in Central Park, that could have been his last day. We don't know. But you cannot use that, you know, as a weapon, just because you don't like the way somebody else looks. That's wrong.
BALDWIN: It is. Niecy Nash.
NASH: And I'm just tired. I'm tired.
BALDWIN: I hear you. And you're afraid, and what do these parents tell their children. Thank you so much for coming on. I will make sure we get this conversation out and about so other people can see it. Niecy Nash, I appreciate you. And just a quick check back to my colleague Shimon Prokupecz in New York, Shimon, tell me about the protest where you are.
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: So, it's not a very large protest. The police have been able to break them up. It started out about 100 people, certainly it's diminished somewhat. You can see the police behind me. What they're doing is they're moving these mopeds in, these scooters in to try and contain the crowd. And each time that they go into the street, then what you'll start seeing is police will move in. We have seen a couple of arrests.
So, it's been mostly peaceful here. At times they have been challenging the police. And, you know, what you don't normally see here, police moving in much quicker than they normally would under these circumstances. In the last two days the police certainly here have been more aggressive, we have seen several arrests here today.
And this week we expect now to go on through the night. There are more protesters planned around the city. So, we'll see, there's one that's supposed to get under way in a few minutes just south of here. But certainly, the NYPD very much prepared here, as we see behind me.
BALDWIN: Shimon, thank you so much for the update there in Manhattan.