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Why Are Police Using Excessive Force On Protesters?; More Former Military Officials Join Gen. Mattis In Criticizing Trump; Talking To Your Kids About Race And Police Violence. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired June 5, 2020 - 07:30   ET




ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: New video of a 75-year-old man being shoved by Buffalo police during a protest last night, and it is going viral. He was hospitalized after suffering a head injury. We want to warn you this video is graphic.


Buffalo police officers shoving a 75-year-old man to the ground.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is bleeding. He is bleeding. He is bleeding out of his ear. Get a medic.


POLICE OFFICER: Back up, back up.


CAMEROTA: Here come the important points of this. Buffalo police first claimed that that man tripped and fell, but we have the video and we can see he was shoved by a police officer.

Joining us now is Cheryl Dorsey. She's a retired LAPD sergeant and she's also the author of "Black and Blue." Ms. Dorsey, it's great to have you here.

You know, here again, if we had just had the police's statement they would have said that that man tripped and fell and got hurt, but we have the video. And that's what we have seen obviously cropping up over these tumultuous weeks that thank goodness, we all have the video and we're not just relying on the police trying to cover these things up.

And so, from your police perspective, what do you see when you're seeing these things that appear to be police acting in an unnecessarily aggressive way? And then -- I mean, what else that video of the 75-year-old man shows us is that not -- once he's bleeding from his head -- you know, their first response is not to get down and to try to help him. It's like move along, move along, and try to figure out what they're going to do.

CHERYL DORSEY, RETIRED LAPD SERGEANT, AUTHOR, "BLACK AND BLUE" (via Cisco Webex): Well, what it shows me is that nothing has changed. And so, listen, we know that police officers will lie. They will try to excuse away bad behavior. And unfortunately, on up the ladder, police chiefs and presidents of unions will condone and corroborate their foolishness.

And so, I hope this elderly gentleman is OK. I mean, I -- it says that he's doing better but he could certainly have a setback.

And so, there need to be real consequences and it sounds like it's starting. But what do we do to deter this bad behavior if we don't get these officers off the force? I'm sure this is not the first time that they've acted in an aggressive manner. Yet, they've been allowed to live to offend again.

CAMEROTA: There's two more videos that are going viral that I want to show you from this week.

The first is in Indianapolis. This is a protester being confronted by police. First, you see a dust of, I guess, pepper spray that they hit her with -- she seemed stunned -- but then they go further again. So watch this.


POLICE OFFICER: Get on the ground, get on the ground.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why? Why her? Why her?

POLICE OFFICER: Get on the ground.



CAMEROTA: So we still see her -- I don't know if you could see it but there was a police officer just whacking her with his baton over and over in her legs, saying get on the ground, get on the ground. She wasn't doing anything at that point. She sort of had already seemed overwhelmed by what was happening.

And when you see this -- I mean, are these just -- help us process what we're seeing here. Are these just one bad cop -- one super- aggressive cop -- or are cops just being pushed to the limit right now and they are reacting in being afraid or being angry? What is that dynamic?

DORSEY: It's police culture. I think it's a combination. I don't know that they're necessarily afraid right now but this has been going on for several days. I'm sure that they're a little tired, they're a little agitated. And also, this is an opportunity for officers who are provocateurs who live for what we called on the LAPD, stick time. And so this is an opportunity for someone who's aggressive anyway in the field to get in some licks and not have to worry about completing paperwork -- a use of force report.

If there's no supervisor around, they get in a couple of licks and then they brag and boast and commiserate with one another afterwards about did you see that guy? Did you see his reaction?

Some of them revel in the misery and harm that they cause. It's a real thing. We need to acknowledge it and we need to identify those officers as well and get them off the force.


CAMEROTA: And just to be clear, what is stick time? What's the definition of stick time?

DORSEY: It's a term that's used on the LAPD and it means you hit someone with your baton, so you get in stick time.

And there are officers who live for protests. I've witnessed it. I've heard them talk about it, brag about it, relive, memorialize it -- and so, it's a thing. And it's police culture. It's been around forever.

CAMEROTA: I mean, very quickly, I do think that we need to say that I'm sure that both of us have had the experience of working with wonderful police officers who expend blood, sweat, and tears to try to bring justice to the victims of crimes. There are so many good cops out there.

But these viral videos are exposing, as you say, a culture of stick time -- or call it whatever you want -- that is finally being exposed and that obviously, police departments need to do something about.

Cheryl Dorsey, thank you. I wish we had more time. Thank you very much for your perspective on all of this.

DORSEY: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: Strong condemnation from former military leaders to President Trump's crackdown on peaceful protesters. How do you balance law and order while respecting the duty of those serving in our armed forces -- that debate.



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: New this morning, retired Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly, who was also President Trump's former chief of staff, is defending Gen. James Mattis after the former Defense secretary released a scorching critique of the president and his threat to use military force against protesters. Gen. Kelly joins a growing list of former military leaders breaking their silence in recent days. Joining me now is retired Army General and former American ambassador to NATO, Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute. He's now the president of Cambridge Global. General, thank you very much for being with us this morning.

Let me just throw up on the screen the list of military leaders who have spoken out against the president in just the last few days -- Gen. James Mattis, Adm. Mike Mullen, Gen. Martin Dempsey, Adm. James Stavridis, Gen. John Allen. You know, Gen. Richard Myers said something critical yesterday.

And, you, too, have been critical. And you told "The New York Times" that something basically changed this week. What changed?

LT. GEN. DOUGLAS LUTE (RET.), FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO NATO, PRESIDENT, CAMBRIDGE GLOBAL (via Cisco Webex): Well, I think all the attention this week is clearly on the protests centered in and around the White House. And, in particular, the president's walk across Lafayette Park with his -- essentially, with his national security team in tow.

And while that rightly gains a lot of attention this week, I think the basic point is that there's been a steady incremental change over the last 3 1/2 years as to how the president relates to the military. It has only sort of burst onto the public scene, most prominently this week, but this has been a process that's been underway for at least 3 1/2 years under President Trump.

BERMAN: I do get that it's an incremental process, as you say, that's underway but there does seem to have been a tipping point this week and you talk about that walk across the street. So why was that a tipping point?

LUTE: Well, I think it's a combination of vignettes, right?

So you have the president talking to the governors and recommending that they crack down violently and strongly against these largely peaceful protests, which the president refers to as being sponsored by terrorists when, in fact, they're sponsored by concerned and outraged American citizens.

You have the secretary of Defense using inappropriate terms that the U.S. military could be used to dominate the battlespace, while that's -- those terms just don't apply to the U.S. military and the American citizens.

You have the president then saying that he was placing in charge the chairman of the Joints Chiefs, Gen. Mark Milley.

All of this then led to the walk across Lafayette Park, which had just been violently cleared of peaceful protesters so the president could have a photo op.

So the combination of these vignettes, I think, makes this decidedly different and in my view, crosses the line in terms of appropriate presidential leadership, clearly -- but also, appropriate relationship between the president and the military. BERMAN: OK, so what's at risk if that line is crossed?

LUTE: Well, we've, of course, got a tradition in the military that's as old as the -- as old as the country and dates all the way back to the Constitution that the military will stay non-political or apolitical -- certainly, nonpartisan. And what you've seen under this president is a series of examples where he doesn't fundamentally understand that point -- that divide between partisan activity and the professional military.

I mean, this started very early in the Trump administration with the signing ceremony of the -- of the immigration ban on Muslims in the Pentagon.

You then have funding taken from the military and deferred to the border -- the building of the border wall.

You've got the president intervening in military justice cases. It's his right to do so but he did so in a very sort of heavy-handed way.

And now, you have the president visiting troops. Very common among all our 44 previous presidents but here, the president turns those troop visits into political rallies.

So it's been this sort of steady drumbeat of erosion of norms, of civil-military relationships, and presidential leadership that I think culminated this week.

BERMAN: Yes, and I guess what I'm asking is what's the impact of that?

And in this story -- the David Sanger piece in "The New York Times" in which you're quoted on the record -- there is a general officer quoted on background. Let me read you that quote.


"One general officer speaking on the condition of anonymity to avoid punishment from his superiors, said on Thursday that he was hoping to make it through another day without having to cite his constitutional obligations to decline an illegal order. He said he would not be surprised if he faced such a dilemma in the coming weeks."

That's a pretty startling statement from a general.

LUTE: Well, it's something that senior officers live with all the time. You know, we -- day-to-day, general officers understand that they go to work facing -- perhaps facing that day this question of abiding by their oath of office, which is loyalty to the Constitution -- protect and defend the Constitution of the United States -- not loyalty to a particular partisan leader.

So I think what brings this to light today and why that perhaps anonymous source was especially concerned is that the acts of this week and the acts of the previous 3 1/2 years suggest that that day where an officer might have to choose is perhaps -- is perhaps coming closer.

Now, I will also tell you I have confidence in the professional military ethos that sort of secures America from an inappropriate use of military force on American soil. I have a lot of confidence in the officer corps and in the very deeply-held ethic that we protect and defend the Constitution.

And, of course, the protests -- the demonstrations that are going on across America and frankly, beyond America, are being done in America based on constitutional rights.

BERMAN: Gen. Douglas Lute, thanks for being with us this morning. Appreciate your time, sir.

LUTE: Thank you.

BERMAN: So, with so many of us at home watching these images play out on T.V., what's the effect on children? A helpful guide to navigate these difficult topics, next.



BERMAN: As protests across the United States continue, parents are confronted with the challenge of how to talk to their children about race and police violence.

Joining us now with some tips is Dr. Harold Koplewicz. He's a psychiatrist and president of the Child Mind Institute. Doctor, thanks so much for being with us right now.

I guess the basic question is --


BERMAN: -- how do you approach this? And it seems to me the first answer is you have to approach it. You have to have these discussions.

KOPLEWICZ: I think you've got it -- don't avoid this topic, and parents tend to avoid difficult topics. And I think we should put a proviso here that this discussion is different for families of color versus white families but it's something that's essential.

And I think you have to start with checking in with your child and get an understanding of what they've seen and what they think is going on. But certainly, we have to calm them down. We have to do this in a calm way and yet, make this discussion an important discussion that keeps ongoing.

CAMEROTA: Yes. I mean, you point out black families have been having these conversations forever. Black mothers have been having to tell their black sons how to be careful and what to do if they're ever pulled over in a way that white mothers never have to tell their sons. And white people have been probably woefully late to this conversation, but now we're all attempting it. And so, I hear you that we need to start the conversation, but a lot of people don't know what to say. I mean, where do you start? What do you tell your kids?

KOPLEWICZ: Well, I think you have to start with their understanding. What are they seeing on television? What have they heard? I think you have to be calm with them and explain to them that what is going on is wrong.

I think it's very clear no matter how young a child is that you have to say that racial violence is bad. That the fact that a white policeman murdered a black man is a bad thing. I think also, most kids understand bad versus good and that the policemen sometimes, who are supposed to protect, do things that are not correct and then they get punished. That's why these people are arrested.

I think that what's really upsetting most children, though, is the sense -- these large protests and then also, the small group of people who are looting.

And again, you have to explain to your children that this country really is based on the fact that we have freedom of speech. That when people gather and people are really angry, and people are coming out and talking and saying that they want change and that they're willing to stay up for many hours and walk on the street that our government listens to them. That's how change occurs. And that it's upsetting and we don't want anyone to get hurt.

We particularly have to remember there's a coronavirus and that we want people to wear masks.

And that's how you have to start the conversation. But I think the conversation for white families also has to continue, so they have to make sure that they are talking about racial diversity. They have to make sure that they buy dolls that are black. They have to buy books that have predominantly black characters in them.

This isn't magic, this is something that they have to work on. The difficult part is that these discussions might ask parents questions that they can't answer, and it's OK to say I can't answer it or that it's making me so uncomfortable. Particularly, it can be very traumatic for a black man or a black mother to listen or to see things or to hear their child is upset, and to be able to say this really upsets me.

It's always best to have discussions when we're calm and centered, but this is a conversation that's going to have to happen with every American family.

This has been more than a week of America being very, very upset. And if you look at the crowds who are protesting, this is not just black families. These are white families, these are families of all different colors. And so, it becomes the starting point, I think, for discussion. Unfortunately, this isn't the first time we've had this. We -- you know, I was checking how many times I've had this discussion with parents about having to talk about race and violence, and that it's not the talk -- it's not the one talk. This is a dialogue that you start with your children where they are developmentally.


Clearly, a very different discussion for very young children. Sometimes you might need art or toys and dolls to describe it.

And for older kids, particularly teenagers, I think it's really important that this be an open conversation so that if they don't get it completely or you haven't hit all your points, that you make clear that you're open to keep this discussion going.

BERMAN: Look, I think life is questions from kids that parents can't answer. And I think that when you talk about race it could be questions that are uncomfortable to answer, and that's OK.

So what about the question what can I do? If your child asks you what can I do, what do you say?

KOPLEWICZ: Well, I think that, again, two different kinds of conversations. I think for most white families they can really make sure they're educated about the history of racism. I think they should make sure they're children understand how this country started with -- by bringing people of color over and not treating them equally -- making them slaves. I think that's really essential.

I think that it's necessary to make sure that your children understand racial diversity and racial violence and the history.

But then I think it's really important that while not every family is ready to go out and to protest, there is the importance of writing to -- you know, remember there's a Constitution. Remember we have elected government officials and the fact that we tell our children that I am upset by this and I am going to write to my congressman, I'm going to write to my mayor about the way the police behave.

And I think that -- empower your children to know they can do something and that you, as an adult, will do something.

BERMAN: Dr. Harold Koplewicz, thanks so much for being with us and having this discussion -- appreciate it.

KOPLEWICZ: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: CNN and "SESAME STREET" are joining forces again to talk about kids and to talk about racism, and how to talk to kids about racism, the nationwide protests, and embracing their diversity.

So here's a little preview.


ELMO, "SESAME STREET": Are the protesters sad?

LOUIE, "SESAME STREET": They are sad and upset, and they have every right to be, Elmo. People are upset because racism is a huge problem in our country.

ELMO: Racism? What's that?

LOUIE: Oh, racism is when people treat other people unfairly because of the way they look or the color of their skin.

ELMO: The color of their skin? Oh, Elmo doesn't understand, daddy. Elmo has friends with different types of skin -- oh, and fur, too -- black, brown, pink --


ELMO: -- purple.

LOUIE: I know, Elmo, but not all streets are like Sesame Street. On Sesame Street, we all love and respect one another.

ELMO: Yes.

LOUIE: But across the country, people of color -- especially in the black community -- are being treated unfairly because of how they look -- their culture, race, and who they are. What we are seeing is people saying enough is enough. They want to end racism.

ELMO: Elmo wants to end racism, too.


ELMO: Elmo wants everybody to be treated fairly.


CAMEROTA: Elmo's father is laying down some wisdom on all of us. And you can watch more of it. It's called "COMING TOGETHER: STANDING UP TO RACISM," a CNN-SESAME STREET town hall. It's tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. eastern.

And NEW DAY continues right now.


MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The three former police officers made their first court appearance.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The big questions will be for the prosecutor to show that what Officer Chauvin was doing was so outrageous that these officers were actually obliged to intervene.

SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Historic national demonstrations in Floyd's name are now well into their 10th day.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As this group of protesters moves north on Fifth Avenue, officers just started moving in and making arrests.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's amazing to me that he touched so many people hearts.

REV. AL SHARPTON, ACTIVIST: It's time for us to stand up in George's name and say get your knee off our necks.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

BERMAN: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. It's Friday, June fifth. It's 8:00 here in New York.

And breaking overnight, a shocking incident of police pushing an elderly protester in Buffalo, all caught on video. And I want to give a warning here this is difficult to watch.