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Congressman Finds 13 Chicago Officers Lounging in His Office as Violence, Looting Continued Around Them; Minneapolis City Council Meets to Decide Fate of Police Department; Officer Accused of Killing George Floyd Could Still Receive Pension; White House Refuses to Disclose Companies That Received COVID-19 Relief; Sen. Tim Scott to Lead GOP's Police Reform; NY Governor Cuomo Holds Press Conference Ahead of Signing Police Reform Legislation. Aired 11:30a-12p ET
Aired June 12, 2020 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Chicago police are investigating after not one, not two but 13 police officers were caught on camera lounging in a congressman's office while protests and looting happened around them.
Security camera footage shows them relaxing, sleeping, talking on the phone, even eating Congressman Bobby Rush's popcorn while the city was facing massive protests and violence.
CNN's Ryan Young is in Chicago and joins me now.
Ryan, the mayor called this disgusting. What is the police department saying about this?
RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this was astounding when we first saw it. When the news conference started, the phone began lighting up, and we watched as the mayor didn't mince any words. She really laid it out there.
Remember, Mayor Lori Lightfoot had been brought in sort of as a reformer. And this is one of things she's been pointing to in terms of police action.
When you look at the video, the fact that officers were inside after someone spoke called about someone breaking into the congressman's campaign office. The officers arrived. And even three supervisors are amongst the officers as they are hanging out, eating popcorn and drinking coffee on the inside there.
You have to think about this. This was a very violent night in Chicago. In fact, there were a high number of murders. There were officers in need. There were businesses being looted nearby.
And this is what the mayor was pointing towards. In fact, you can hear some of the anger in her voice as she speaks. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LORI LIGHTFOOT, (D), MAYOR OF CHICAGO, ILLNOIS: You know, it's really quite mind-boggling. And it's almost impossible to believe that it's true. But yet, we have five hours of videotape documenting exactly what happened.
It's one of the most disgraceful, disrespectful things that I've ever seen. And we are absolutely not going to tolerate it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
YOUNG: Kate, you know something that's very interesting about this. This has caught everyone's eye, but I want to mirror it to something else. There was video last week where there were officers last week who actually arrested the wrong women that they thought were looting and pulled them out of the car by their hair. That video didn't spread as fast as this one did.
You look at it and you know how they are trying to clean up this police department. It just shows you how something like this can spark a movement in terms of people calling for a change and wanting a difference inside the police department.
BOLDUAN: But, Ryan, what can the mayor, what is the mayor or the police commissioner saying about punishing these officers because as we often hear that there's now an investigation.
YOUNG: Yes. There's an investigation. They actually said to the 13 officers, come forward so we don't have to find you.
Let's also bring something out. There's a new superintendent in town. I think this is like the fifth or sixth one that I've covered since I've been here over the last six years or so. So this is a new superintendent who is just trying to get used to the city.
You add the fact that the mayor has been here about a year as the new mayor. And you add COVID to all of this. There's a lot of things for them to sort out.
But they say they will put heavy discipline on these officers. They have already suggested for some officers to be fired for other incidents that happened during all the looting and unrest.
It's a big mess when it comes to trying to change things. The union here has been pretty strong. The mayor wants to change how that is handled so they can go after some of these officers.
BOLDUAN: Yes, I think I even heard the mayor say I don't know how much there is to investigate when you've got five hours of security camera footage to look at.
Good to see you, Ryan. Thank you.
YOUNG: Thank you. BOLDUAN: In Minneapolis, the city council is meeting right now. They must decide their way forward in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd. And if the public comments of the council president are any indication, that way forward will include defunding police programs and moving towards dismantling that police department as they know it today.
Remember, earlier this week, we heard from the Minneapolis police chief who said the department must do better and be better. Must get it right, is how he put it. And he also announced immediate changes he was putting in place as well. But he also promised he will not be abandoning the department.
CNN's Lucy Kafanov is in Minneapolis and has been tracking the progress of what's going on with the city council.
Lucy, what's expected to come from the city council today?
LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, they are meeting right now as we speak. This is basically the beginning of a very looking process to do what some of these council members, the majority of the council, at least nine people of the 12 who are on the council right now, have talked about in terms of defunding and disbanding the Minneapolis Police Department.
Today, on their agenda, they are considering starting that process to effectively eliminate the police department, to replace it with a different agency that will oversee public safety. What that's going to look like though, well, the details are yet to be worked out.
They announced that they will be launching a year-long, effectively, investigative process where they will be working with the local community to try to figure out what kinds of practices that they can put in place, what kind of things that they would need to create an alternate agency that would oversee public safety -- Kate?
BOLDUAN: And, Lucy, before you go, there's new reporting from CNN about the officer who killed George Floyd, and charged with murder and facing prison time, and new reporting that he could still be receiving his pension.
KAFANOV: He could still be receiving his pension. Not only that, but it could be $1.5 million.
Basically, this boils down to state laws. In some states, if you're convict of a felony, you forfeit your pension. And that's not the case in Minneapolis.
My colleagues did some excellent reporting on Chauvin's pension qualifications. He basically stands to earn roughly $50,000 a year for nearly 30 years once he turns 55 years old. He's 44 right now. And over the course of 30 years, that could be more than $1.5 million.
It's difficult to take away a public officer's pension. This is something that police unions have bitterly fought for. And even if the law changes here in Minneapolis and Minnesota, he's likely to be sort of grandfathered in.
So he does stand to earn quite a bit even if convicted in the killing of George Floyd -- Kate?
BOLDUAN: Lucy, thanks so much. Great reporting.
Coming up for us, the only black Republican in the Senate, Senator Tim Scott, is now the Republican's point man on police reform. What this moment in the spotlight means for the Senator.
BOLDUAN: Now to a pretty astonishing reversal from the Trump administration. After committing to releasing the names of the small businesses and companies who have received billions of dollars through the coronavirus relief package, known as PPP, now the Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin says that information is confidential and will not be released.
CNN's Phil Mattingly is joining me right now.
Phil, this is billions of taxpayer dollars that, by their own admission and design, they pushed out the door fast, and now no transparency on who got the money. I am wondering if you are hearing that anyone might have a small problem with this.
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think you know the answer to that one. Look, the answer is yes. You talk to lawmakers up here, frankly, bipartisan lawmakers up here, that they don't even have the details.
The Government Accountability Office, kind of one of the key oversight entities, they don't have that level of detail as well.
And when you're talking about oversight of a half trillion dollars that have gone out the door and went out the door over a matter of weeks, that's problematic.
I think there's two pieces of what I hear right now that raise concerns.
The first is for lawmakers who are overseeing this program given the speed with which this was put together - and it had a rocky rollout. But, by all accounts, it's having a very positive effect for many of the four million businesses that were able to tap into it.
They want to know, where are the problems here. Are there things we can fix? Are there things we can change? And if they don't have that level of granular detail, there's concerns from some, Ben Cardin, the top Democrat on the Small Business Committee, that they can't actually pursue the changes that would make the program more effective. There's also the basic oversight perspective of things. You were here
back here in the financial crisis trying to cover with the stimulus as well. Trying to cover where the money went, who got the money, how they got the money.
When you're pushing that much money out that quickly, there are entities that get that money and shouldn't get that money. Lawmakers want to know who the companies are and reporters want to know who the companies are.
There are reasons why Steve Mnuchin, the treasury secretary, says they don't want to release the information.
I spoke to Marco Rubio, the top Republican on the Small Business Committee, largely the father of this program, to some degree, and he laid those out for me.
He said, look, you have small businesses who aren't taking out huge loans. These loans are dedicated for payroll. That's proprietary information. They don't want competitors to know. They don't want to be undercut on the payroll side of things or undercut in terms of how their business operates.
But they want to figure out a way to get as much information out as they can without running into those issues.
That's a needle they haven't figured out how to thread yet so, at this point in time, the answer is no information at all --
BOLDUAN: I mean --
MATTINGLY: -- in terms of the companies.
BOLDUAN: I mean, come on. There's a way to get it right. There's a way to protect the company's proprietary information and to get it right.
The number of stories you and I were both tracking down to find out if money was going to the right or wrong cause, and reason on recovery.gov in 2010 following the stimulus bill, that was my entire job at one point.
And -- but even -- no matter if you thought it was good or bad, you at least had the information and the name and the company and the organization that the money was going to. It's been done. It can be done. This is pretty ridiculous.
MATTINGLY: Yes. And, look, that's one of the issues. There's precedent here and precedent for a similar small business program
And to be fair, the Small Business Administration releases a large amount of information about the types of loans --
MATTINGLY -- where they are going, the industries. They are just not getting it at a granular level.
And I think that's what's causing the concern right now, given how much money and the stakes here with the economic crisis everybody is dealing with that are kind of laying things out right now.
BOLDUAN: Thank you for being fair. We can at least try to do that today.
Good to see you, Phil. Thank you, man,
Police reform is front and center in the halls of Congress as well right now. Democrats rolling out their sweeping proposal this week. Republicans leaning on one Senator in particular to lead the way for their conference, the only black Republican in the Senate, Senator Tim Scott, of South Carolina.
At a time when the Republican Party is struggling with how to respond to America's racist past, the southern politician is now front and center with the challenging task of not only getting Republicans and Democrats on board with his proposal in Congress for police reform but also a Republican president who, to say the very least, has so far denied that there's a problem and resisted change.
CNN's Lauren Fox is in Washington following all of this.
Lauren, what are you learning about Scott's role in all of this?
LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Well, you know, Scott is in a challenging position trying to lead on this issue that Republicans have struggled with for decades, Kate.
And, you know, I talked with the Senator yesterday. He told me late last week he went to the majority leader. He wanted a conversation about some proposals that he had on policing. And he said, you know, this was a time when a lot of Republicans were saying publicly that this wasn't something Congress needed to delve into.
McConnell held a meeting with the Senator as well as a couple of other members and actually put him in this charge of this effort.
Here's why Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told me yesterday that he put him in charge.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY) (voice-over): He's one of our strongest members. He's responsible, for example, for economic opportunity zones, which were a major feature of the tax reform bill that we passed and the president signed into law. He was major player on criminal justice reform. One of our most respected members.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOX: And, you know, Senator Tim Scott is not someone who is always in the center of every legislative push, but he was really incremental to tax reform. I asked him yesterday, you know, when do you decide to jump in and
lead on an issue, when do you decide to speak out against the president. And he said when no one else is talking and when it's quiet in the Senate, which is seldom, that's when I speak up -- Kate?
BOLDUAN: Quite a moment for him and quite a moment for all of Congress to get this right and get something done.
Great reporting, Lauren. Thank you very much.
On this very topic, we'll jump right over to New York's Governor Andrew Cuomo who is expected to be signing legislation into law regarding police reform.
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): This goes back to the '90s and the crime bills. Looking at the population explosion in our prisons, this was a long time coming. And this is not about a press release that's going to solve it.
The way we really solve this is we say to every police agency in this state I believe it should happen in the nation, sit down at the table with the local community, address these issues and get to the root of these issues, get a plan, pass that plan by your local government. And if you don't, you're not going to get any additional state funds. Period.
We're not going to fund police agencies in this state that do not look at what -- look at what has been happening, come to terms with it, and reform themselves. We're not going to be, as a state government, subsidizing improper police tactics. We're not doing it.
And this is how we're going to do it. I'm going to sign an executive order today. We'll require local governments and police departments all across the state, about 500, to develop a plan that reinvents and modernizes police strategies and programs in their community.
They must formulate a plan. They have to address the use of force by police officers, crowd management, community policing, bias awareness, de-escalation, restorative justice, community-based outreach.
They have to have a transparent citizen complaint disposition procedure, so if you make a complaint, it's not just yelling out the window. You find out what happened to that complaint.
They should talk about appropriate equipment, what's not appropriate equipment, and any other issue that that community believes is relevant. That discussion has to happen with the community participants in the room.
That plan has to be enacted into local law. Every city, every county. It has to be done by April 1. If it's not done by April 1 and not passed, they're not going to be eligible for state funding. Period.
And, look, it is simple. This is something that has to be done anyway. Because what we know is certainly true is there's no trust between the community and the police. That's what the protests have said. There's no trust.
And if there's no trust, the relationship doesn't work. If there's no trust, the police can't effectively police. If there's no trust, the community is not going to allow the police to police. And there's no trust, or there's a breach of the trust and that has to be restored and repaired.
And the only way to do it is to get in a room, get to the table, let everyone say their peace and let's figure it out community by community all across this state.
It will be statewide. No other state has done it. But New York State will lead the way because New York is New York tough, smart, united, disciplined and loving.
With that, let me turn it over to the great Senate leader. I thank Andrea Stewart-Cousins very much for her leadership.
I know we have worked long and hard over this past week. We have been working long and hard for a long time but especially this past week and it turned out great.
Thank you very much --
STATE SEN. ANDREA STEWART-COUSINS (D-NY): Thank you.
CUOMO: -- Senate leader.
STEWART-COUSINS: Thank you so much, Governor. And thank you for your leadership.
I'm certainly so happy to be here at this moment, at this historic moment, and to share this with my colleague and partner in the assembly, Speaker Heastie.
And certainly to be always in the presence of Reverend Sharpton, who, you know, is an icon for all of us in this movement. As is everybody's mother. So Hazel Dukes, who has been so, so clear in so many ways and obviously in the presence of Valerie Bell and Grant Carr.
Thank you. Thank you for being brave and strong.
You know, we are at a moment of reckoning. There's no question about it. And I am just so thankful that I have a historic role at this moment. I have an opportunity to lead 40 Senate Democrats who unanimously decided this was the time.
Many of my colleagues will sit -- stand on the floor and certainly colleagues who are younger and they'll talk about the hip hop and give verses.
For me, I remember, in 1999, when Bruce Springsteen, you know, the working-class hero, did 41 shots, American skin. When that happened in 1999, I thought that that was the moment where people outside of black and brown communities were finally going to get the message that bad things are happening.
And that refrain, "You can get killed just for living in your American skin," I thought would ring a note but it didn't. And that was right around Amadou Diallo, why he did that.
And so here we are after the horrific murder of George Floyd, we finally got it.
But every parent, every mother who looks like me understood that scary notion with our kids, with our husbands, with our brothers.
I got that call when my son, my youngest son was only 18 years old, and he was, quote/unquote, "on the wrong side of the town." He was stopped, frisked.
Next thing I know, after we're out of the police station, we're in the emergency because he's got a fractured nose. Thank god I was able to bring him home. I ache for when -- Valerie, I understood that.
And I want to be clear. Obviously, every police officer is not a bad police officer.
My brother, Bobby, was a police officer. He was a transit officer. He worked for New York City Transit. He went in there because he wanted to help his community. He spent about six years there.
He was 24. He was a -- he is a Marine. Vietnam vet. Went into the police department. And came out within six years because he was convinced that the department, that the system was designed so that every young black man would have a record.
He knew. He was a good cop. He worked with good cops. But he couldn't change that. And he knew the system couldn't change itself. And so, here we are.
We know this isn't a cure, as the governor said. We know that this is -- this is the beginning but it's a move to bring justice to a system that has long been unjust.
And again, I thank you for being a partner, for making sure that we take to heart this moment that has taken too long to come to.
And I thank all of the people in the streets and the leadership of the families to make this happen.
So thank you, Governor.
CUOMO: Thank you. Thank you Senate leader.
You're exactly right. It is good to be part of the solution. And I'm proud of New York and I'm proud of what we have done together.
Speaker Carl Heastie, a pleasure to be with you, my friend.
STATE ASSEMBLYMAN CARL HEASTIE (D-NY): Thank you, Governor.
Let me first thank everyone here for being part of this historic moment. But it's a moment I wish that we never had to deal with.
And you know, when I was first elected speaker of the assembly on February 23rd, 2015, I said that of all of the great things that I would be a part of and working with the governor and working with Leader Cousins that nothing would mean more to me.
And I felt my legacy and who I was as speaker of the assembly would mean nothing to me if we didn't make the systemic changes in how communities of color were policed and judged and here we are.
So I really want to thank the advocates. We have two of the mothers here. And I want to thank all of the mothers who aren't here with us.
And I want to point one out in particular, Constance Graham, who's the mother -- Constance Malcolm, who is the mother of Ramona Graham (ph), who is a constituent of mine. I have gotten very close to her. I was there with her and with the family throughout the entire time.
And I was recently asked on an interview, why now. Why did it happen now with George Floyd?
As Leader Cousins said, we thought every time it happened, when it was Diallo, it was time. When it happened with Anthony Bias (ph), we thought it was time. When it happened with Eric Garner, we thought it was time. When it happened with Sean Bell (ph), we thought it was time. When it happened to Ramona Graham (ph), we thought it was time.
But for some reason, I think what people viewed I think it just touched a nerve on every person because it wasn't just people of color issue. It wasn't just the families. I think watching a man being suffocated by strangulation, you know, crying for his deceased mother, I think struck a nerve.
For us, even in the assembly, I actually thought that the bill was going to be Democrat versus Republican. We have many, many Republicans voting for these bills because I think the entire world has just said enough is enough is enough is enough.
How many -- how much more bloodshed had to be -- had to happen for the consciousness and heart of this nation to finally open up and say we have to do better and be better? I think that moment has come.
But it doesn't just end there. You know, there's still many other issues of systemic injustice and systemic racism that people of color have to deal with, whether it's education, health disparities.
And these are all things that we have to continue as government to be a part of. Government is supposed to be problem solvers. When a society can't fix things, that's when government is supposed to come in and chart that course. And so, this is just a very -- you know, it's an emotional day.
[11:59:50] But I was also asked in one of the interviews, you know, how emotional was I when we actually passed the bills. I said I was actually more emotional when my House and Andrea's House agreed on the bills because that's when we knew that we were going to be able to get it done.