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Minneapolis Police Chief Announces Department-Wide Change; Police Chief's Statement May Make Officers' Defense More Difficult; Interview with Ludacris. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired June 10, 2020 - 14:00   ET




BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST, NEWSROOM: Top of the hour, I'm Brianna Keilar.

Sixteen days after the death of George Floyd, the Minneapolis police chief is announcing a major department-wide change, answering demands from protestors and public figures for reform.

Chief Arradondo announced that he will immediately withdraw the department's contract negotiations with its police union, and implement an early warning system to identify signs of officer misconduct.


MEDARIA ARRADONDO, CHIEF, MINNEAPOLIS POLICE: So for the first time in the history of policing, we here in Minneapolis will have an opportunity to use real-time data and automation to intervene with officers who are engaged in problematic behavior.


KEILAR: CNN's Sara Sidner is joining us live now.

And, Sara, we heard the police chief talking passionately about growing up in Minneapolis. He also said that race and policing there are intertwined. Tell us more about these changes, tell us why they're happening now?

SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Look, this is really the department at the center of all that has happened across the country.

We have never seen a response like this before. When you go back and look at other cases of police officers taking the lives of black men, this has sparked a change in all 50 states, with people protesting at the very least there, never mind some policy decisions that some of the leadership in some states are making at this point.

But to hear from Chief Arradondo, he was very pointed and he answered all of the questions. There was no sort of trying to glaze over what has happened here. He recognizes that this is a huge moment, and a chance for him to push through reforms that he has been trying to push through for some time. And you talked about two of those reforms, but I thought it was remarkable.

He again reiterated that he believed that the other officers who were next to now-fired Officer Derek Chauvin, who had his knee pressed down on George Floyd's neck those officers that didn't take part in the pressing down on George Floyd's neck but stood by and watched or were kneeling down near him as well but did not stop Derek Chauvin, were complicit. And he responded and re-said that again today, when asked.

They have said, you know, look, a couple of those officers were rookies, they were very new to the force. And the question remains as to whether or not it was their training or they were just taking orders from somebody who was more senior, as in Derek Chauvin.

And he said, look, he would not say Derek Chauvin's name, he refused to name the officer who he fired and is accused of murdering George Floyd. But he did say, this is not a part of any training he's ever seen, or any of his officers should have ever seen.

And, he said, this is, once you're on the force, you're expected to treat people with humanity. And he said he did not see that happening out there that day, so rookie or not, he says they are complicit.

He also was asked a question, and had a remarkable answer when someone said to him, you know, If this person had not have recorded what they saw in the streets that day, would we have ever known what happened? And should people record, and really police the police?

Here's his answer.


ARRADONDO: I'm thankful, absolutely, that this was captured in the manner that it was. No excuse for the actions.

Record, call, call a friend. Yell out. Call 9-1-1, We need a supervisor to the scene, absolutely. I need to know that, we need to know that. So the community plays a vital role -- and did, two weeks ago, absolutely.


SIDNER: He is basically telling people to call the police on police. And I thought that was a remarkable statement today, that I have never heard from a chief in the past before.


We should also mention, though, that there are a lot of political gears going here. You have some city council members who would like to defund or dismantle the police. The mayor says absolutely not, he says the police department is an integral part of the community that just needs reform, and he has signed onto the chief's decision and his two- pronged approach at reform.

KEILAR: Sara, thank you so much. Sara Sidner in Minneapolis for us.

George Floyd's 6-year-old daughter said her daddy changed the world. And now, the nation is seeing police reform plans unveiled around the U.S.

Three states and at least 11 cities have banned police chokeholds or are in the process of writing laws to end them. Plus, Republicans and Democrats in Congress are working on federal legislation of their own to fix policing.

This is a testament to the power of these nationwide protests that we have been seeing. Last week, Republicans dismissed the idea of a legislative response at all, and now they have the broad outlines of their own proposal.

George Floyd's brother testified on Capitol Hill today. He was pleading with lawmakers not to fail his family and the tens of thousands of Americans who are demanding an end to the police killings of unarmed African-Americans.


PHILONISE FLOYD, BROTHER OF GEORGE FLOYD: -- man who took his life, who suffocated him for eight minutes and 46 seconds, he still called him "sir" as he begged for his life. I can't tell you the kind of pain you feel when you watch something like that.

When you watch your big brother, who you looked up to your whole entire life, die? Die, begging for his mom? I'm tired. I'm tired of pain, pain you feel when you watch something like that.

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, to the calls of our family and the calls ringing out the streets across the world. People of all backgrounds, genders and races have come together to demand change. Honor them, honor George and make the necessary changes that make law enforcement the solution, and not the problem.

Hold them accountable when they do something wrong. Teach them what it means to treat people with empathy and respect. Teach them what necessary force is. Teach them that deadly force should be used rarely, and only when life is at risk.

George wasn't hurting anyone that day. He didn't deserve to die over $20.


KEILAR: With me now to discuss this further is Yodit Tewolde. She is a criminal defense attorney and a former prosecutor. Yodit, thanks for joining us. We know that part of this defense strategy for the two officers charged with aiding and abetting in Floyd's murder, is that they were very new to the job. You heard Sara describing that the police chief really dismissed that argument, he expects all of his officers to treat people humanely, whether or not they've been on the job for a day or for 19 years.

But when it comes to legally, this being a defense, what do you think?

YODIT TEWOLDE, FORMER PROSECUTOR: I mean, watching the police chief say that basically just muted any type of defense that these other officers could even serve. I mean, thinking about how he made this statement to a possible jury pool, these people, these individuals in the community that could possibly serve on this jury that's going to try these officers, are listening to what the police chief is saying.

He's saying, forget policy, where's your humanity? And at the end of the day, these officers put on a badge and they're first responders. They saw someone who was physically harmed, on the ground calling for breath, this individual on the floor was dying. They had a responsibility to at least interfere and get medical personnel there.

So their defense is going to be weak at best, but even weaker would be Chauvin's defense.

KEILAR: Could you see -- so even weaker would be Chauvin's defense, but could you see a situation where the police chief is on the stand in this trial?

TEWOLDE: Possibly. I don't think that that's necessarily the case, or has to be the case. I think the prosecution could have more evidence to -- listen, prosecution always has more evidence, they know more about the case than the public does.

So we don't know what they actually have right now. I don't think as it stands, it's necessary to have the police chief actually testify to this, but that's a very good point. And obviously would be willing to say what he said out in public today.

KEILAR: George Floyd's family's lawyer, Ben Crump, called for a national standard for policing. He said that this should be considered obstruction of justice, to turn off a bodycam for instance. Is that idea possible?


TEWOLDE: Well, first of all, bodycams should be required on all officers. There's absolutely no reason for bodycams to be turned off if an officer is on duty.

The act of obstructing is an act that's willful, that someone is willfully trying to interfere with a process of justice, or impeding some sort of an investigation. Bodycams serve as that third eye for us, they serve as that replacement for the competing narrative with just one narrative, and that's the truth. So bodycams are extremely important, Dashcams, I know in the city of

Dallas, when the sirens above, the headlights come on, that dashcam turns on as well and even goes back 30 seconds. There's no reason why bodycams shouldn't work the same way.

And they shouldn't have the capability of an officer to freely go and turn it off, it just doesn't make sense. What are you trying to hide? Bodycams, extremely crucial and I can understand that argument of obstructing justice.

KEILAR: Yodit, thank you so much. Yodit Tewolde, with us.

First, though, I am going to be joined live by rapper and activist Ludacris, who attended the George Floyd memorial service. We're going to ask him about the protests in his hometown of Atlanta, the voting debacle in Georgia, where he voted, and a new video that he released to help kids understand racism. It's fantastic, you should really check it out.

Plus, new details about the condition of the 75-year-old man who was pushed to the ground by police in Buffalo, New York. His friend will joins us to respond to the president's attempts to spread conspiracy theories about this incident.

And new data suggests the lax coronavirus restrictions on Memorial Day Weekend have led to a rise in hospitalizations.



KEILAR: Complete catastrophe, full-scale meltdown? And those are the polite things that are being said about Georgia's statewide primary elections. Voters had to wait in line for hours in the hot sun to cast their ballots, especially in counties that are predominantly minority voter. Keep that in mind.

New voting machines were reported to be missing or malfunctioning, and polling stations were said to be staffed with inexperienced workers.

The state says it is investigating, but the man in charge of the elections, Georgia's Republican secretary of state, is already blaming county leaders.


BRAD RAFFENSPERGER (R), SECRETARY OF STATE OF GEORGIA: It's just totally disorganized mess. They had three additional months to get ready for this. They've had those machines for six months now, in their storage warehouses. They could have gone out and trained their employees, trained their precinct workers. And what did they do? They squandered that time.


KEILAR: Joining me now is Atlanta's own Ludacris, the Grammy Award- winning rapper, singer, actor and activist. Ludacris, thank you so much for joining us. And tell us, what do you make of the voting mess there in your home state?

CHRIS "LUDACRIS" BRIDGES, RAPPER, HIP HOP SINGER AND ACTOR: Oh, man, it's exactly what he said. And by the way, just so that everyone knows, somebody had to let me know this. The Supreme Court, on Tuesday, they effectively struck down the heart of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by a five-to-four vote. So that's freeing nine states -- mostly in the South, remember that, mostly in the South -- to change their election laws without advance federal approval. So we should be questioning why that is as well.

But it's definitely crazy. Luckily, I early-voted. But all of the crazy things that went on yesterday, they shouldn't be happening, just like you said, they should not be happening.

KEILAR: Are you worried that this is what's going to go on, come November?

BRIDGES: I'm definitely worried about it. Because, like you said, like -- just like he said, you don't see this going on in other communities besides the black community. And he said this should have been taken care of three to four months ago.

So if you look in the future three to four months, this needs to be fixed immediately and we shouldn't be having any excuses like that.

KEILAR: So you've been out, we've seen you out with protestors in Atlanta, demanding an end to police brutality and systemic racism. There's a picture that we have of you, holding up a Black Lives Matter sign.

And you also were in Minneapolis, you traveled there to attend the first memorial service that was held for George Floyd, and you met with his family. Tell us why you thought it was important to be there, and tell us what you talked with them about, what you wanted to discuss with them.

BRIDGES: It was important for me to pay my respects, one. There were so many different people there, and especially to hear from his family.

And, you know, I'm here -- I don't have all the answers myself, I'm here to learn as much as I possibly can. And when I did get a chance to talk to the family, I was just thanking them for their strength, and letting them know that we were going to back to our cities and make sure that we continue to fight.

Because, obviously, I've been taking care of my community for as long as I can remember, and trying to help out. But it feels good that there is a certain amount of change that we are seeing that's going to help us out even further with communities that we feel like we've been basically helping out on our own, so now we're starting to get some help.

So it was just important to give them that confidence, and for that family to give us the same confidence back.

KEILAR: You are trying to give confidence to kids, which -- we look at your T-shirt there, "Kid Nation," so this is a big project of yours -- educating children --


KEILAR: -- through your website, Kid Nation. You just released a couple of new videos, but one of them is about racial unity called, "Get Along." I want to watch a clip of this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because you're sick.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (SINGING) That's how I feel sometimes, with all the troubles in the world and how it scares a little girl and makes me want to cry. Because I'm scared to go outside because the world is so divided on who's wrong or right, black or white. Can't we all just get along?

Get along, along. Get along, along.


KEILAR: I think we're seeing, Ludacris, out there, that there is an appetite for people who are trying to explain to their children -- who are honestly asking some of the most basic, poignant questions about everything that's going -- it's beautiful --


KEILAR: -- right? To hear them ask questions. Tell us about why this was so important to you, to try to reach out to them.

BRIDGES: It's so important to me just because, you know, kids are still impressionable. And they lead with love. And they're very innocent, and they're very honest. And so I feel like we have so much more to learn from them than we can teach them at this moment. So I'm glad you showed a clip of that, because it's bringing the world to tears by watching this video. And it's like it's on, but it's a conversation that needs to be had nonetheless, depending on how old your kids are.

But these type of music videos and these type of songs -- which, by the way, is giving a voice to the kids, you know what I mean? This is -- we do research groups and we find out what they want to talk about, and then we help facilitate that.

So that's why this is so important, because we know that music is very, very -- you know, how much kids love music and how much it affects them, and it can help their motor skills and self-expression. So that's why I wanted to do this, and to come with answers and solutions, with all of the problems that are going on in the world today.

So it means the world to me, that the world is overwhelmingly loving this video and the things that we're putting out.

KEILAR: And I think our kids are -- they're seeing things, right? On the TV. We have been watching protests in our house, I listened to one of our sons ask my husband, Daddy, why are they being so mean to those people? When violence --


KEILAR: -- broke out at a protest on the end of police. And it's hard to know, you know, what your kids are seeing and how to explain this to them. I wonder how you're explaining this to your kids.

BRIDGES: Listen, I am being the change that I want to see. So by giving all the parents that are home-schooling right now another option, and giving their kids something safe to look at -- and there are more videos and songs on the way, by the way, because we're doing a full launch at the end of the summer, but at least we felt like these were -- it was an emergency, to put these songs out.

But you're right, having these conversations is hard to have, and that's why I'm trying to do everything I can so that the next generation doesn't go through the problems and issues that we're going through.

And I'm just trying my best, that's what I can do. Because everybody's saying, what is everybody doing? Why -- I'm doing a lot of things, but this right here seems to be very impactful at the moment.

KEILAR: And I will mention real quickly, there's another great song on the website about washing your hands and hygiene, which is so important right now, as we try to convince our kids -- especially our smaller ones -- why it's so important.

I want to ask you about something that President Trump's top economic advisor, Larry Kudlow, just said. He became the latest White House advisor to say that systemic racism does not exist. Here is what he said.


LARRY KUDLOS, WHITE HOUSE ECONOMIC ADVISOR: And I don't believe there's systemic racism in the U.S. I'm not going to go into a long riff on it.


KEILAR: I think there's actually -- there's -- you're shaking your head, there's a lot of Americans who agree with him, Ludacris. What do you say to them?

BRIDGES: I don't care about the Americans that agree with him. That is -- it's the most ludicrous thing I've ever heard. And I can definitely say that all I feel like the Trump administration is doing is causing more dissension as opposed to unity in the world of today, and that's how I honestly feel. And you can quote me on that. KEILAR: There's a lawyer for one of the officers who was charged in

George Floyd's death, who's now blaming bystanders. He says that if the bystanders were so concerned, they should have intervened to save Floyd's life. What's your reaction to that?

BRIDGES: Man, listen, they're looking for any excuse to veer away from the issue at hand. And this video that all of us continue to look at, over and over again, which has caused all of this conversation. So like I said, it's a lot of negatives going on right now. I'm trying to focus on the positives, just based on the conversations that are being had right now.

So I want to look for solutions, and I appreciate love because love trumps hate, and that's why I feel like in the end, as long as we continue to preach love, we're going to get through this and we're going to make it better for our children. Period.


KEILAR: I wonder what you think about the NFL, which we've just learned has come out and said, Black lives matter. We saw an apology from Roger Goodell. What do you make of the league's response? And I wonder what you want to see, moving forward, here?

BRIDGES: I love that -- I think that's a great start. I feel like they should say who they're apologizing to because we have to keep in mind that Kaepernick was doing peaceful protesting for a long time -- and I stress the word peaceful -- and nobody has apologized to him yet.

So I feel like they need to say his name, because we're saying a lot of other names and I love that everyone is doing that. But right now, they also need to make sure that in this apology or in this explanation, they talk about the person who began the peaceful protest of kneeling, and why he did that ,and admit that.

KEILAR: Yes, kneeling because he was told -- right? -- by a former Green Beret about kneeling as a way to acknowledge that people of color were being hurt and killed by police, but also a way to show respect, as he saw it, to the flag as well.

Ludacris, thank you so much for joining us. We really appreciated this conversation, and I can't wait to show my kids your videos on Kid Nation, they're very cool.

BRIDGES: I appreciate that,, and follow us at KidNation on Instagram. I'm going to spread as much positivity and love that I possibly can. It means the world, thank you very much. Love.

KEILAR: All right, thanks for coming on. We'll see you again soon.

And the Minneapolis police chief just weighed in on whether the people who are rioting and looting in his city were outside agitators. And CNN has new details about that accusation at protests across the country. Plus, a friend of the 75-year-old man who was pushed to the ground by

Buffalo, New York police will join me, live. What he makes of President Trump's efforts to smear his friend's name without any evidence.