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Minneapolis Police Chief Says His Rookie Officers Should Rise Above The Lack Of Humanity; George Floyd's Brother Pleads With Lawmakers: Make The Necessary Changes That Make Law Enforcement The Solution; Ohio Lawmakers Introduce Bill To Declare Racism A Public Health Issue; Republicans Dodge On Trump's Latest Controversial Tweet; Trump Advisers To Present Police Reform Initiatives In Coming Days. Aired 12-12:30p ET

Aired June 10, 2020 - 12:00   ET



KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: Hello top of the hour. I'm Kate Bolduan thanks for sticking with us everybody. The push for police reform front and center today in a whole new way, Capitol Hill lawmakers are hearing George Floyd's brother as part of the hearing on police procedures and law enforcement accountability.

But also as we've been listening, a powerful statement and press conference out of Minneapolis, the city that has been the center of this crisis. We just heard from the Minneapolis Police Chief who is taking this on his shoulders, promising real and tangible change within the department saying at one point, "We will get better" listen.


CHIEF MEDARIA ARRADONDO, MINNEAPOLIS POLICE: I'm immediately withdrawing from the contract negotiations with the Minneapolis Police Federation. I plan to bring in subject matter experience and advisers to conduct a thorough review of how the contract can be restructured to provide greater community transparency and more flexibility for true reform.


BOLDUAN: Let's start with CNN's Lucy Kafanov. She is in Minneapolis. Lucy as folks can see, you were still are in the room where this press conference happened? I want you to take us through what the Police Chief really announced here.

LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Kate. This was a significant press conference by the Police Chief Medaria Arredondo. He spoke passionately, he refused to even mention the name of Derek Chauvin, the Former Minneapolis Police Officer charged in the killing of George Floyd.

He outlined a plan that in his words would shape a new paradigm in peacekeeping. The main announcement that he made as you heard in the sound bite right there is that they are effectively today going to stop negotiating, doing contract negotiations with the police union here.

The - about salaries or wages, he said. This is about restructuring new contracts that take into account things like excessive use of force, like the role that supervisors play and responding to calls, and being able to address, for example, misconduct by police.

He spoke about how difficult it is when you have grounds to dismiss a police officer for misconduct, that you have to negotiate with a third party that often prevents you from being able to actually dismiss that Police Officer.

He also announced that they are going to be looking at using research- based, early warning systems to effectively weed out, "Bad Police Officers" early on before things escalate to crises and tragic endings like what we saw in the killing of George Floyd.

This is part of - this is going to involve research that was used, for example, by the University of Chicago, to be able to identify that early on. On the topic of defunding police, he did not get behind that movement.

He said that he would need to see sort of a robust plan, in his words, in place that would assure the city of residents before he could get behind that, but this is what he came out with, Kate. This is a significant new announcement from the Minneapolis Police Chief.

BOLDUAN: Now I'm speaking in really personal in candid terms about his experience in the department and what he feels now as this is on his shoulders. Lucy, thank you so much. Let's go now to Capitol Hill, George Floyd's brother testifying before a House Committee. Listen to this.


PHILONISE FLOYD, GEORGE FLOYD'S BROTHER: George wasn't hurting anyone that day. He didn't deserve to die over $20. I'm asking you, is that what a black man's worth? $20? This is 2020. Enough is enough. The people marching in the streets--


BOLDUAN: CNN's Boris Sanchez, live on Capitol Hill. We've been watching this, Boris. It's still ongoing. Tell us more about what you're hearing?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes Kate, gripping testimony from Philonise Floyd, the brother of George Floyd. He talked about lamenting, the fact that he wasn't able to be there when his brother was dying, being strangulated at the hands of police.

He said that going through this ordeal has been the hardest thing he's ever had to deal with. But that he honors George's legacy by coming here and speaking to law makers, bringing them George's story firsthand.

He is effectively saying that they need to listen to the thousands of voices that have gathered in the streets calling for change. Listen to more of what he said.


PHILONISE: I'm tired. I'm tired of pain. Pain you feel when you watch something like this. When you watch your big brother, who you looked up to for your whole life die, die begging for his mom - I'm here to ask you to make it stop. Stop the pain. Stop us from being tired. George called for help and he was ignored. Please, listen to the call I'm making to you now.


SANCHEZ: Now we also we heard from Benjamin Crump, he is a Civil Right Attorney who has extensive experience with these issues. He's not only representing the family of George Floyd, he is also representing the family of Ahmaud Arbery. He has worked with Michael Brown's family, Trayvon Martin's family as well. These are the Democratic witnesses.

On the Republican side they've actually heard from one, especially controversial witness, Dan Bongino, he is a Former Secret Service Agent, someone who's a really strong defender of President Trump.


SANCHEZ: Who is espoused deep state conspiracy theories repeatedly on cable news. He's effectively making the case that police should not be defunded and the federal funds that are provided to them should not be altered.

Really it's a question of whether the legal system, the policing system in the United States is affected by racial prejudice or not. That is the line of questioning that we're expecting these lawmakers to present to these witnesses shortly. We'll, of course be monitoring and bring you what we hear, okay.

BOLDUAN: Boris, thank you very much. Let's go to Texas right now. Authorities are investigating the death of another man Javier Ambler, who died in the hands of police, more than a year ago, that the video of that just released.

It is tragic to watch and hard to listen to as he's heard saying "I can't breathe" multiple times during his arrest, saying he's not resisting arrest, that he can't breathe. You can hear him say it over and over again.

CNN's Ed Lavandera has being following this. He's now joining us now from Austin. Ed, you sat down with ambler's parents. What did they tell you?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Kate. We know it was local news reporting that brought the details of this story to light. And his - the parents of Javier Ambler told me that it's been more than a year since their son died.

And it's taken this long just to get the most basic of details, the basic details of his death to come to light for them. And that is what is as troubling as they wait to find out more details about how their son died and why.

Body camera of a police officer captured the final moments of Javier Ambler life. And his parents can't bring themselves to watch. It sounds too similar to the way George Floyd died.


LAVANDERA: So when you saw that George Floyd video - you saw your son?

MARITZA AMBLER, MOTHER: I saw my son. I saw it. I just saw - that's exactly, you know, most likely, what my son went through.


LAVANDERA: Maritza and Javier Ambler set down with CNN for an extensive interview, the day after the horrific video was released that showed the death of their son. The couple is angered that it's taken more than 15 months to learn the most basic details of how their son died.

They were stunned that it all happened because Javier Ambler allegedly failed to dim the headlights of his car.


JAVIER AMBLER, FATHER: It could have been prevented, it could have been avoided. If the officers were to just use common judgment. And don't do - don't look at my son as just a big, black - black guy that his life doesn't matter.


LAVENDERA: It was just after 1:00 am on March 28th of last year when according to a Williamson County Sheriff Department incident report a deputy starting pursuing Ambler for failing to dim his headlights as you approached oncoming traffic for unknown reasons that triggered a 22-minute pursuit that ended in the City of Austin when Ambler crashed his car.

The incident report says Ambler stepped out of his car with his hands up and was unarmed. The report says Ambler failed to follow verbal commands of laying down on the ground. Within moments, several deputies were on top of Ambler who suffered from cardiovascular disease and congestive heart failure. Officers chased him.


AMBLER: I just wanted some justice. I want these people - suffer exactly, go to jail. Be responsible for what, your actions. They used their badge, they used their gun. They used their position to try to overcome people, and it's not right.


LAVANDERA: Ambler's death was ruled a justifiable homicide. The Williamson County Sheriff's Office of Professional Standards determined the deputies acted properly and used reasonable force. Those deputies are still patrolling the streets according to local prosecutors.

Riding alongside the lead sheriff's deputy that night was a film crew with the A&E network show called "Live PD". Their cameras were rolling. But prosecutors say they haven't been able to get their hands on it. Maritza Ambler believes the pursuit of her son was entertainment. She hasn't seen the video, but has strong opinions about it.


AMBLER: That's exactly what it was. He was just putting on a show to show that he has the power. And didn't care who got hurt, he didn't care what was the consequence.


LAVANDERA: This Sheriff's office is refusing to comment on the case. But in the statement A&E says, investigators never asked for the video captured by the show's producers and they no longer have it available. The footage was deleted as part of the show's policy to avoid having the footage used by police against private citizens.

After Javier Ambler lost consciousness, deputies administered CPR until medics arrived on the scene. But it was too late.


LAVANDERA: Javier Ambler has two children. His mother carries her son's ashes on a locket around her neck. His father called him a gentle giant.


AMBLER: He's my fog soul buddy. I'm sorry - I'm not as tough as his mom. Everything has changed since - since he was taken from us.


LAVANDERA: The Williamson County Sheriff is under fire for his deputies' actions. Several commissioners have called for him to resign. The Sheriff says that he will not back down. He calls the attacks partisan and cynical. And there is also some back and forth between investigators, the Travis County DA.

And prosecutors, they're investigating the case. They say that the Sheriff has stymied and stonewalled this education. The Sheriff insists that is false. But as these agencies go back and forth Kate, it is the family of Javier Ambler that is still waiting for answers more than a year later.

BOLDUAN: Hearing that father's cry is just - it's just too much. Ed, thank you for keeping the story - bringing the story to light I really appreciate it. Coming up next for us, as the states across the country consider reforms, two police departments, a major question is being considered right now in Ohio. Should racism be declared a public health crisis?

And as Republicans and Democrats tried out their proposals for police reform, sources are telling CNN that the White House is considering its own set of proposals on police reform. But does anyone know what the President would actually sign on to? We'll be right back.



BOLDUAN: Right now there is growing pressure across the country to curb police brutality, of course. At least twelve cities and municipalities are starting to ban or have already banned the use of chokeholds by police after the death of George Floyd. That's just one example of change and reform that is really being discussed in a very real way now across the country.

One state is also considering now something quite different a measure to declare racism, a public health crisis. Joining me right now is, Sandra Williams, she is a Democratic State Senator in Ohio, Co-Sponsor of this measure. Senator thank you for taking the time to speak with me today I appreciate it. Talk to me about this measure. What does this measure intended to do?

STATE SEN. SANDRA WILLIAMS (D-OH): Thank you, Kate for having me on today. I really appreciate it. Here in the State of Ohio, we have introduced resolutions in both the House and the Senate. The Senate's version is Senate concurrent resolution number 14, which would declare racism a public health crisis in the State of Ohio.

And it would require our colleagues to go through the entire revised code, and look at it from racial ethnic lanes to find out what policies and laws we have are contributing to equality in the State of Ohio?

BOLDUAN: Is this - is this more a strong statement, a public declaration of the importance that this conversation that needs to be had in the state legislature right now? Is it more that than, than changing actual policies?

WILLIAMS: For years now, we have been trying to change the policies, since Tamir Rice, since Alisa Williams and others died at the hands of law enforcement officers. So, this is in addition to what we've tried in the past.

Nothing so far has worked besides the community and police and taskforce that were put in place several years ago. So this is a real statement. This is an opportunity for the leaders of the State of Ohio to publicly accept and say to the public that racism does exist.

And perhaps maybe some of the laws that we have passed over the years have contributed to how African-Americans are seen, and how we're treated in the State of Ohio, and across the entire country.

BOLDUAN: And Republicans control the state legislature. Of course, Governor DeWine is Republican as well. Do you have Republican support for this? And where is the Governor on this?

WILLIAMS: Yes, we do. But the resolution was introduced last week. And at that time, we had one Senator to sign on, but since then we've actually gotten two more Republicans. So right now, we have three Republicans that are signing on. We have first hearing yesterday.

And I can tell you that we had over 200 people sign up to testify within a three-day time span. Yesterday, we started the Committee at 9:30 am. And we did not leave until 8:45 last night. People stayed, because they wanted to be heard.

The President of the Senate, President - and Chairman Burke, both been leaders, and they say, they actually want to get something done. The testimony that they heard yesterday, the President of the Senate sat here on the Committee hearing, it was jaw-dropping. And I believe that we will successfully have this measure passed.

BOLDUAN: Sandra, it's a really interesting approach, as folks were talking about this all across the country. Thanks for coming in. I really appreciate it.

WILLIAMS: Thank you so much for having me.

BOLDUAN: Thank you. Coming up next for us, just as the White House considers possible proposals for police reform sources inside the administration are telling CNN already that they're worried that the President won't be able to leave his law and order message behind. We'll be right back.



BOLDUAN: Republicans today are facing a familiar problem. One that they have faced over and over again since Donald Trump became President. How to respond when President Trump tweets?

Well, most Congressional Republicans that CNN spoke to dodged questions Tuesday when asked about the really jaw-dropping conspiracy theory that has been pushed by the President on twitter since the protests and death of George Floyd.

The one when he suggested a peaceful elderly protester who is still in the hospital after being pushed by police was all set up by the protester. Beyond that, there is another big question that Republicans and the President are facing.

At this very moment, how do they move forward on police reforms if this is the tone that is being set by the President? Joining me right now is CNN's Kaitlan Collins and Phil Mattingly. Guys, I'm really interested in your take on really where things are and where things are going to go with this?


BOLDUAN: Kaitlan, first you, what are you hearing from the White House about possible reforms or where the President is on this?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: The White House certainly has not been leading on this issue. They have not put out any of their own proposals. But we did see some progress yesterday that they are realizing that this could be a moment where the attitude behind this is changing on Capitol Hill.

You saw that Chief of Staff Mark Meadows go up there meet with several other Republican Senators yesterday to talk about this. And what we know is happening back here at the White House is basically aides are looking at what they're proposing.

They're going to take that to the President and see what it is that he'll get behind and what he'll endorse. Because of course, that's going to be a big factor in this. And then we may see the President speak on that.

But so far, Kate, he has not really addressed any issues. He has not said whether or not he believes there is systemic racism in law enforcement as his top deputies have denied that they believe. There is - and you saw him on Monday as he met with law enforcement remark that he believes that 99 percent of officers are good.

So the question is, you can't - he pivot from this law and order stance that we've seen the President take over the last few days, the last two weeks, really, and turn that into the more police reform- minded conversation that you see happen on Capitol Hill.

And we may hear the President say that as soon as tomorrow, when he is going to Dallas, and he is going to have a roundtable with law enforcement of the shows and community faith leaders, according to the White House.

BOLDUAN: I mean, what are you hearing from folks inside the administration in terms of, you're talking about, can he pivot from this law and order message? But do they have any confidence that he doesn't - he doesn't pivot, Kaitlan.

That's the thing about Donald Trump. So, why would they think that he - he is, or are they kind of expecting that if - as happens once in a while, that Congress may just have to jam them, if they even can get their act together on this?

COLLINS: Yes. And you've seen aides before come up with these carefully crafted messages. The President will come out, he'll read the words. And then you can see him undo the message at times. And even now, as aides have been working on how they're going to really plot this path forward?

Looking at the President's poll numbers , worried that he's losing support within the black community, the support that he already had, then the President is going and tweeting, accusing an elderly protester of being ANTIFA, and raising things like that.

So it's in those times like that where the President can step on a message that White House aides are trying to hit that some kind of middle spot on.

BOLDUAN: Yes. So, Phil, where do things stand on the Hill? Democrats have a plan out. Republicans, we know they're - they have a draft outline. But honestly, give me a gut check on this?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, look, Kate, I'll be completely honest. I'm generally fairly pessimistic on the current state of affairs on Capitol Hill about any type of future for legislation pretty much regarding anything, except for maybe a resolution liking moms.

This feels different. And I understand feeling doesn't get legislation across the table, and certainly doesn't reach agreement on anything. But the political grounds right now on this issue on police reform have shifted inside the Republican conference, both in the House and the Senate.

Just take a look of Senator Tim Scott, the lone black Senator in the Republican conference who was leading the Senate GOP effort to draft a police reform bill. You mentioned we've seen the outline of that. Yesterday in a closed-door Senate Republican lunch, there's a wide ranging conversation from almost the entirety of the launch about how to try and address these issues?

The big issue right now I think on a policy side of things is it, Republicans what they're doing based on the proposals we've seen up to this point, the draft proposals certainly have a less aggressive version than House Democrats have. They have a different kind of philosophical take about how you try and get the similar end games.

They want to use grant money as incentives to try and bring about some of the changes at the local and state level, whereas Democrats want to use federal mandates for those things. But that said there is a legitimate effort going on right now.

I think the big question right now is Democrats don't feel like they need to compromise on this. Republicans need to come to them, and they're still pretty far apart and the wild card that matters more than anything else is what Kaitlan is talking about.

If the President doesn't get behind this, this isn't going anywhere period. So what he does will dictate a lot of what happens up here, regardless of whatever tracks they're on right now.

BOLDUAN: And that again leads us all back to Twitter, because that's where they're going to find out. Kaitlan and Phil thanks guys. I really appreciate it. Right, there is also new reporting today on who was really behind the violence that we saw in some of these protests across the country? CNN's Senior Justice Correspondent Evan Perez, he joins me now.

Evan, I think this is a very important reporting, because this gets to some of the narrative that we've heard from a lot of folks, including the President, the Attorney General. What are you learning?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, the picture is a lot more complicated when you talk to police departments from New York and Philadelphia, all the way to Bellevue, Washington and Los Angeles.

What you're hearing from cops, and from some of the officials in those cities is that, they're seeing mostly local, sometimes criminal gangs, criminal organizations, that took advantage of the protests essentially, and took the opportunity to carry out crimes, looting, destroying police cars.