Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

Retired Navy Captain Accidentally Live-Streams Racial Slurs; Texas Governor Abbott Speaks Outside George Floyd Memorial Service In Houston; Prosecutors: Man Who Drive into Protesters Was KKK; Ivanka Trump Blames "Cancel Culture" For Cancelled Speech; Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-OH) Discusses Congressional Bills For Police Reform. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired June 8, 2020 - 13:30   ET

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


[13:30:00]

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: Plus, also just learning the identity of the driver that rammed protesters in Virginia this weekend. It was a KK member. And we will have more on that.

A white man goes on an angry tirade against Black Lives Matter protesters. I'll be speaking with that woman who stared him in the eye, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[13:35:07]

KEILAR: This just in. Joe Biden's campaign release a statement saying that he, quote, "does not believe that police should be defunded." This comes as President Trump and his campaign tried to tie Biden to the growing calls of protesters to defund the police in an attempt to paint him as weak on crime.

Joining me now is Democratic -- pardon me. Excuse me. OK. We are going to speak just in a moment to a congresswoman on standby.

Meantime, a retired Navy captain apologized after using racial slurs in a conversation that he accidentally streamed live on Facebook.

We have CNN's Rosa Flores with that story.

ROSA FLORES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Brianna, Retired Navy Captain Scott Bethmann resigned from the U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association board after he and his wife accidentally livestreamed a conversation on Facebook for more than 30 minutes where he used racist language and slurs, according to a statement from the alumni association and a family spokesperson.

The Jacksonville Chapter of the Navan Academy Alumni Association said, quote, "The nature of the comments are not consistent with our volunteer leadership or the Navy."

CNN affiliate, WJXT, obtained a statement from Bethmann through a spokesperson saying, quote, "There are no words that can appropriately express how mortified and apologetic my wife and I are about the insensitive things we said that were captured on social media."

CNN made attempts to speak to all parties involved and has not heard back -- Brianna?

KEILAR: All right. Rosa Flores, thank you so much.

I want to head to Houston where the Texas Governor Abbott is there and actually addressing the George Floyd memorial. Let's listen.

GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R-TX): I've had the opportunity to visit with the George Floyd family. And what a tremendous family. I tell you what. They love the state of Texas. And George loved the state of Texas. We are proud George Floyd is a Texan.

Today is a sad day. Ever since his death has been a sad day. This is the most horrific tragedy I have ever personally observed. But George Floyd is going to change the arc of the future of the United States. George Floyd has not died in vain. His life will be a living legacy about the way that America and Texas respond to this tragedy.

I'm here to tell you today that I am committed to working with the family of George Floyd to ensure we never have anything like this ever occur in the state of Texas. We're already working with legislators.

(APPLAUSE)

ABBOTT: We are working with his family.

His family asked me and I promised his family that I would use and incorporate their family in these discussions, the discussions about the pathway forward. It will not be taken over by politicians but led by family members, led by victims, led by the people who suffer because of racism for far too long in the state and in this country.

(APPLAUSE)

ABBOTT: We will, we will build a pathway forward.

(CROSSTALK)

ABBOTT: But in the meantime, in the meantime, we are working on peace and celebrating the remarkable life.

I'm leaving now to go personally meet in person with the family of George Floyd to, in private, give my condolences and give a flag flown over the Texas capitol in honor of George Floyd.

A couple of quick questions and then I have to go meet the family.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Governor, what do you think --

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Will change in Texas after this reform?

ABBOTT: Several things are already beginning to change and then additional things will change.

The things that are currently changing is both in police departments and in city halls, either some things that some actions have been taken and making sure that we will not have police brutality like what happened to George Floyd. And then when we get to the Texas legislature discussions have begun.

Remember this. Texas has a legacy of success, whether it be the Timothy Cole Act, the Sandra Bland Act and maybe now the George Floyd Act to make sure that we prevent police brutality like this from happening in the future in Texas.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Governor?

(CROSSTALK)

ABBOTT: Two more. Two more.

(CROSSTALK)

ABBOTT: Say it again.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Thank you, sir. I appreciate it. Are you going to make sure, ensure that the police training and diversity training is implemented everywhere in the police --

(CROSSTALK)

[13:40:07]

ABBOTT: Very important point right there. Because, of the members of the legislature I have talked to already, they said one of the charges that we have is we have inadequate training so we need better training before a police officer goes out on his first patrol.

And we need to make sure that that training is done repeatedly to make sure that they incorporate the appropriate training, to make sure that what happened in Minneapolis never happens in the state of Texas.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Governor, the Houston police have come under scrutiny for not releasing the body camera videos of in Houston Six officer-involved shootings. Do you believe there should be some statewide policy as for whether or not body worn cameras should be released from all police departments in the state of Texas and implement that as a legislator?

ABBOTT: I signed the body camera law into law. I wanted to ensure that there would be a recording of every interaction that police officers have with people that they encounter and done on purpose to make sure that we would know what happened so the public gets to see what is happening with those police officers.

I don't know the specific circumstances you are talking about but that law signed by me for greater disclosure of interaction that police officers have.

Thank you all very much.

(CROSSTALK)

ABBOTT: One more question.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Is it time to -- (INAUDIBLE)

ABBOTT: I can't hear you.

(CROSSTALK)

ABBOTT: I can't hear you.

KEILAR: Ivanka Trump blames Cancel Culture after she is dropped as a commencement speaker over the administration's protest response.

Plus, moments from now, the fired officer who kneeled on George Floyd's neck will make his first court appearance on the second-degree murder charge.

Plus, we are also just learning the identity of the driver that rammed protesters in Virginia this weekend. It was a KKK member. We will have more on that.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[13:46:28]

KEILAR: We have some breaking news. A man charged with intentionally driving his car into the group of protesters this weekend is the head of the Virginia Ku Klux Klan.

CNN's Ryan Nobles is learning more.

Ryan, tell us what you learned.

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Brianna, this happened on Sunday evening. A group of protesters that were peacefully demonstrating just outside of Richmond, Virginia, and that's where this man, Harry Rogers, took the truck into the crowd and, according to a release from the commonwealth attorney, revved the engine and rammed his truck into some of those protesters.

There were some protestors that were hit by the truck. At this point, they say that none of them were seriously injured.

But the man who has been arrested is a gentleman by the name of Harry Rogers. He's been charged with attempted malicious wounding, also felony vandalism and assault and battery and held without bond.

And what is interesting, Brianna, is that the commonwealth's attorney, Shannon Taylor, said, judging by the social media post for Mr. Rogers, he is someone they describe as being a part of the Ku Klux Klan and also someone who sympathizes with Confederate ideology. So as a result Taylor is now looking into possible hate crimes charges against Rogers.

There's still a lot we don't know about the situation, exactly what they're basing this on, just a social media post? More to it?

But, Brianna, there was a lot of social media uproar of Mr. Rogers' actions over the weekend, many people sharing this video of him in the big blue truck. That's what led to the outcry, the investigation, the calls to find him. Police arresting him and charging him.

He is expected to be in court for a hearing on August 18th -- Brianna?

KEILAR: Ryan Nobles, thank you for that from Virginia.

Now to the commencement speech that wasn't. This one involving first daughter, Ivanka Trump. On Twitter, Trump is blaming what's popular known as Cancel Culture after a technical school in Kansas sided with student and faculty demands and shut down Ivanka Trump's virtual commencement speech in light of her father's response to George Floyd's death and his handling of nationwide protests and protests in Washington.

She posted an excerpt of the speech she was planning to make.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

IVANKA TRUMP, SENIOR ADVISOR & DAUGHTER OF PRESIDENT TRUMP: You commence at a moment unlike any other. America and the world are battling a terrible pandemic. Our entire society is engaged in a national endeavor to defeat the virus, protect our fellow citizens, and open up America again to rebuild our economy, and take care of the safety and well-being of our people. You are a wartime graduate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KEILAR: is with us now. She graduated from Wichita State University in 2018.

And tell us, you signed an open letter that opposed this speech. Tell us why.

KAVYA NATESAN, WICHITA STATE UNIVERSITY 2018 GRADUATE: Yes. Thank you so much for your time. I appreciate you having me.

I think at a time when black communities and allies throughout the United States and even the world at this point have been risking their lives to prevent the system at large from perpetuating such evasive injustice and violence.

The tech school invited a person who is a senior adviser and daughter of a man who has a platform, the power, the resources and the ability to heal our nation and truly work towards deconstructing the system but none of that transpired.

I think Ivanka Trump is as complicit as her father to incite violence against the people that want to end it. And I think that seeing her is the definition of an allyship. [13:50:02]

She talked about equality, spoke on unity and achieving justice, but that's all completely unsupported by the policies or tangible constructions or change.

So I think inviting someone of that caliber to support students of color and in an environment of equity and justice, it sends a different message.

KEILAR: Kavya, you've probably seen part of her address because she posted it online. We just played some of it.

In another part, she talks about all of the effort, including tears, that have gone in what students have done. For instance, some critics have used that image, along with tear gas, too, sort of play off of her using the word, "tears."

What have you thought about her address?

NATESAN: So I didn't read the entire thing. I can tell you I've cried a lot, too. And I can tell you a lot of activists doing more than me have cried just as much.

But when she passively watched as her father ordered federal agents to spread this tear gas in front of the Washington protesters, I think that's very further corroborates what I'm saying.

Tell me you have these tears and you want to make these changes, but there has been no policy, nothing tangible that helps the fight we're in right now.

So, how can someone speak about inclusion when her father's policy, and she's senior advisor, hasn't been able to contribute towards them being able to have the same liberties that she does. I think that further illustrates my point even more.

KEILAR: Kavya, thank you for joining us. Kavya Natesan, we appreciate it.

NATESAN: Thank you so much.

KEILAR: And this just in. Joe Biden's campaign has released a statement saying he does not believe that police should be defunded. It comes as President Trump and his campaign have tried to tie Biden to the growing calls from protesters to defund police in an attempt to paint him as week on crime.

Joining me now is Democratic Congresswoman Joyce Beatty, of Ohio.

And you were pepper sprayed by police when you pepper sprayed a group of demonstrators in downtown Columbus.

Can you explain as many of the protesters have been calling to defund police, exactly what they're calling for? And that may be a number of different things. What does that mean to defund police? REP. JOYCE BEATTY (D-OH): I think you're hearing that from a number of

sources. But what I'm most proud of is that today we announced, the Democrats with Congressional Black Caucus, with Speaker Nancy Pelosi, out bill, Justice in Policing Act of 2020.

And it goes far into not allowing police officers to do the no-choke hold. It also bans them from racial profiling. It also bans the no knock. Calls for a data basis system so police can't go from one police force, after being terminated, into another police force. It has whole host of things that will help us change the culture. It's bold, unprecedented.

But look at the time we're in. I was, as you said, at a peaceful protest march, and in just a few seconds, things went awry because there was unnecessary force. No announcement of the pepper spray.

When those protesters were out there wanting to be heard in light of what decades and decades of racial profiling of the disparities with African-Americans' innocent lives being taken, they wanted to be heard.

And what we're doing now, across this nation, and internationally, is getting a different kind of attention where we must put action into place. And that's what you're seeing in Congress.

We're not putting additional funds into the police department. Our recommendation is to rearrange those funds and make them put training into place, culture change, protocols. And I think that's extremely effective or should be.

KEILAR: So to that point, it seems like when people are talking about defunding the police, there are many different positions on this.

BEATTY: That's right.

KEILAR: We've heard from people who have taken an extreme point of view where maybe they don't see the need for police. And then you have people, it sounds like yourself, you see the need for police, but want to see maybe resources, reallocated.

Is that kind of a good way to explain this?

BEATTY: I think there's a combination of things that gives us a win. I do think that you do need citizen review and community review boards. I think we must be more engaged with the citizens at large. And I think that would be helpful.

[13:55:08]

I don't think we should put more funds in. I think we should look at the culture and protocols. And they need drastic changes.

When military forces brought into the local communities, we need to take a look at that. We need to change the culture of what we have right now. We need not to put additional funds. We need to take those funds and

reallocate them to things more appropriate that we're hearing from some of the same individual whose are saying we should defund the police department.

They have other demands also that I fully support. And our bill, Justice in the Policing Act, also includes that.

I've also introduced Resolution 990 that talks about racism is a national crisis. And it includes many of those same things that we need to do, looking at the disparities, discrimination in police force but also in health care, in economy, in the criminal justice system, in housing.

So, we know that there are many systemic problems we have to take a look at.

KEILAR: Congresswoman, thank you for being with us. Congresswoman, Joyce Beatty.

BEATTY: Thank you.

KEILAR: Right now, the fired officer who kneel on George Floyd's neck is making his first court appearance on the 2nd degree murder charge, that charges that was updated after it was initially a third-degree charge. We'll see what happens. Might we see an early defense?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

[14:00:59]

KEILAR: We're at the top of the hour now. I'm Brianna Keilar.

You are looking at live pictures we have out of Houston where the public visitation for George flied is underway in his hometown.