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Nationwide Protests Over George Floyd's Death Continue For 19th Day; Trump Thanks National Guard For Keeping Rule Of Law On Streets; CDC Official: We Know The Pandemic Is Not Over; CDC Issues Updated Guidance As 19 States See Spike In Coronavirus Cases; Dr. Celine Gounder Discusses Spike In Coronavirus Cases; Georgia NAACP President Calls For Atlanta Police Chief To Resign; NASCAR Removing Confederate Flags At Races At Request Of Driver Bubba Wallace. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired June 13, 2020 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANA CABRERA, CNN NEWSROOM: Hello on this Saturday. You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I am Ana Cabrera in New York.
We begin with growing calls for police reform and an end to racial injustice. For the 19th day in a row, protesters are marching in cities and towns all across the country in the wake of George Floyd's death. You're looking live here at the nation's capital. Demonstrators taking to the streets with Black Lives Matter signs, also some wearing shirts with the words, I Can't Breathe, the same words George Floyd says when an officer put a knee to his neck.
And as we continue to watch these protests, let's begin our coverage with CNN's Abby Phillip, she is live at Tulsa, Oklahoma, where the president has changed the date for an upcoming rally there due to controversy. What can you tell us?
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ana, in the midst of all of these protests unveiling all across the country, President Trump is backtracking now on his plans to host a rally here in Tulsa on Juneteenth.
Now, Juneteenth is a day of significance for African-Americans in this country where they celebrate when many slaves, particularly in Texas, learned that they were free years after the emancipation proclamation was signed.
It's usually a day of celebration. But here in Tulsa, because of the coronavirus protests, they had actually postponed their Juneteenth celebration.
But when President Trump announced his rally here, people were flabbergasted and angry. This is a city that has experienced almost a hundred years ago a massacre of what they called the Black Wall Street in a neighborhood here in Tulsa.
This is something they've been dealing with for decades and decades on top of that recent police incidents have really upped the tension here in this town and drawn attention to some of these concerns that we're hearing from protests. They were angry that President Trump would decide to bring his rally here when they believe that the president is not listening to their message.
So now, President Trump, in a series of tweets, says he has actually heard that message but from his supporters, black supporters of the president, he said, have reached out to him and said that, in response to this historic holiday, he should postpone the rally. He is pushing it one day to Saturday.
However, there are still a lot of concerns here, frankly, Ana, from black residents who simply do not want the president here at all. They think it is a slap in the face that he is coming at this really raw time for the city.
But I should mention also, on top of all of this, there is the coronavirus pandemic, there are a lot of questions and concerns about this rally which is set to be taking place in an indoor arena where some 20,000 people could be packed shoulder to shoulder at one of these ruckus events. That could be really a formula for spreading the virus.
And there are concerns about whether the Trump campaign will ask attendees to wear masks. Here in Oklahoma, we've seen a lot of people going about their day-to-day lives with no mask on.
And, of course, there is a waiver that the campaign asked folks to sign when they agree to come to the rally, saying, essentially, if you get sick with coronavirus, you have to agree not to sue the president and not to sue the campaign. The message here from the Trump campaign appears to be rally at your own risk, Ana.
CABRERA: OK. Abby Phillip in Tulsa, Oklahoma, thank you.
Let's head to Georgia, where an investigation is under way after a man was shot and killed by police at a Wendy's drive-through. And CNN's Natasha Chen is live in Atlanta, where protesters have gathered this afternoon.
Natasha, what do we know about this case? What happened?
NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, a lot is still being under -- is under investigation, Ana. And, of course, this is actually the second protest location near Centennial Olympic Park. We were at the Wendy's earlier with a group, but this is a second group.
Of course, this here is really United in Christ, and then, of course, across the street, you have other folks who are here with Black Lives Matter posters. There were a larger group that just started walking around the block. So they will probably be circling back at some point. We're also hearing a marching band in the distance.
So This is, like you said, a continuation of the conversation that's been going on for a couple of weeks, exacerbated now by what happened last night. What we know is that this happened in the drive-through of a Wendy's where the Georgia Bureau of Investigation says that there was a report of someone sleeping in his car in the drive-through.
The GBI press release said there was a struggle over a taser. And in the course of that, this man, a 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks, was shot by police and died. And so right now, there is an investigation by GBI, as well as an independent investigation by the district attorney here in Fulton County.
We did meet the family of Rayshard Brooks at that Wendy's location. His cousin spoke to us, very distraught about what's been happening. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DECATUR REDD, COUSIN OF SHOOTING VICTIM: I don't know how to do this, because I never knew I was going to have to do this. I watched this on the internet from the whole George Floyd situation to us coming together like we're doing something, and this whole thing landed on my doorstep with my little cousin.
I just think, for me, the most hurtful thing for me is to watch the video, wake up and watch that video. I've got two little boys. They've seen the same video. That's their cousin. That's why it hurts so much. I thought (INAUDIBLE) was higher than that. I thought he was bigger than that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHEN: And, Ana, all of these people who are gathered there and gathered here now are really asking for some kind of tangible accountability.
CABRERA: And it's interesting, Natasha, because, obviously, there's so much to learn here, but the timing is so crucial, given what the country is currently talking about in the wake of George Floyd's death. And the perception here is fueling the narrative that has so many people in pain.
I was looking at a tweet from Stacey Abrams, who has been talked about as a potential vice presidential pick for the vice president, former Vice President Joe Biden, and she wrote, the killing of Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta last night demands we severely restrict the use of deadly force. Yes, investigations must be called for, but so too should accountability. Sleeping in a drive-through must not end in death.
We know you will continue to gather information on this, Natasha. We'll check back. Thank you.
Let's head to protests in Los Angeles and CNN's Suzanne Malveaux. Suzanne, these protests have inspired even some Hollywood stars to get involved.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Everybody is getting involved here. It is really quite incredible, the energy, the momentum of these protest groups. We expect tens of thousands to appear on Sunday. Today, perhaps, in the hundreds of various in West Hollywood, as well as downtown L.A. and Beverly Hills, groups as diverse as Buddhists for Black Lives, a law school group, an event that's called more Skating and Less Hating.
We are here in front of a makeshift memorial in West Hollywood. And I have to share with you what we saw yesterday really was an extraordinary event. It was a rally right here at the Laugh Factory, this historic as well as you know a very well-known comedy club. Many artists, actors and people who gathered here in a stand up for social justice rally.
I had an opportunity to talk to comedian and activist, Tiffany Haddish. It was raw. It was emotional. She described -- this is somebody who grew up in South Central Los Angeles, worked her way up to have a respectable and very successful career, only to find that she is currently being harassed by police. And she wanted to share her story to make it clear how important change is necessary.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TIFFANY HADDISH, ACTOR: I shouldn't be afraid when I see those lights come on behind me, right? I shouldn't feel like is this going to be the last day that I'm on earth. I shouldn't feel like it's dangerous to be born the way that I was born. I'm mad, I'm fed up. And when I get upset, I try to -- you know, it hurts, so I try to laugh and try to figure out a way to make it funny so you can process it and deal with it. It's really hard.
I've got PTSD. I've watched many of my friends be killed by the police and it is devastating, it is scary. Sometimes I go out, I want at least two white friends to go with me so I know we'll be safe all night.
Definitely something is happening. Definitely there is a transition. People are waking up. Yes, there's something happening here. People can see now. There's more information. People's hearts are opening up. The systemic racism and everything that's been going on for hundreds of years, it's embedded in people's hearts. Because I feel like a lot of the media and the old Jim Crow, like there's so much stuff.
But now people are looking and they can see and I do believe change will come.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MALVEAUX: And, Ana, she tells this story about really being pulled over by a Beverly Hills police and she's driving a Tesla. She doesn't understand. She's worked so, so hard to get where she is, to be successful. And so she says this is something that, no matter what station in life that you experience here, there are a lot of other actors and comedians too that describe and explain about the frustration with Hollywood, with the business itself and not having the kind of opportunities that their peers have as well.
[15:10:08] So this is something that is really systemic. It happens to so many people in this community. She wants people to understand it doesn't even matter going from being homeless to being so successful that she is treated the same way, essentially, but she does have some hope here.
So, Ana, we're going to be going to those protests, we're going to be watching those swells of folks gathering, the protesters already really encouraged by some of the things we're seeing in Los Angeles, a reallocation of funds from the police department to social services and communities that need it most, Ana.
CABRERA: And systemic racism is an issue that is deep and wide, of course. Thank you, Suzanne Malveaux.
And just in, the Georgia NAACP branch is calling for Atlanta's police chief, Erika Shields, to be terminated immediately after the death of Rayshard Brooks, Friday night. That was the man shot and killed by police at a Wendy's drive-through where Natasha was reporting from this afternoon, after that man apparently resisted arrest and a struggle over an officer's taser ensued, according to a statement from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. And these are live pictures of protests in the street right now after this incident.
We'll continue to follow the story and bring you the latest. Stay with us.
CABRERA: During a commencement address today at West Point, President Trump thanked the National Guard for the role they've played during nationwide protests, even as the Department of Defense conducts an after action review of their deployment to cities across the country. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: I also want to thank the men and women of our National Guard who respond with precision to so many recent challenges, from hurricanes and natural disasters, to ensuring peace, safety and the constitutional rule of law on our streets.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Joining us now, retired Major General Spider Marks and retired Rear Admiral John Kirby.
Now, Admiral Kirby, the president was thanking them, but there has been a lot of controversy over how the National Guard has been used.
REAR ADM. JOHN KIRBY (RET.), CNN MILITARY AND DIPLOMATIC ANALYST: The controversy predominantly circles around the D.C. National Guard and the way they were used in Lafayette Square on the 1st of June in the evening when the president decided to make that walk over to St. John's Church.
And there were National Guardsmen in and amongst the security personnel as they very forcibly pushed peaceful protesters out of the way and then later that evening, you'll recall there was a National Guard helicopter that flew low over the crowd, including, you know, having them experience that prop wash, and that's under investigation now.
But, by and large, the president was not at all wrong to thank the National Guard for what they've done across the country, supporting domestic law enforcement, very legally, very ethically, in concert with the orders that they got from the governor.
So I'm glad that he called that out. But, yes, with regard to D.C. in particular, that is still a matter under investigation and I'm sure the Army will get to the bottom of that.
CABRERA: General Marks, just days before the speech, a group of West Point grads, hundreds who were part of this group, issued a message to the class of 2020. And in part, they write, we are concerned that fellow graduates serving in senior level public positions are failing to uphold their oath of office and their commitment to duty, honor, country and their actions threaten the credibility of an apolitical military. How extraordinary was this?
MAJ. GEN. JAMES "SPIDER" MARKS (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: It is quite extraordinary that they would do that. I also think they've got the message a tad reversed. I think what they should do is say, look, we're graduates of this institution, we happen to be a part of this great institution, greater institution called the United States Military, very specifically the Army piece of that.
And we're encouraged by your commissioning, we're encouraged by your graduation, what you're going to stand for, and I guarantee you you are going to have some choppy waters, you're going to have some really rough terrain that you're going to have to navigate and we're confident you're going to do it well.
Look, every generation is confronted with immense challenges. We are in one of those periods right now. We are not going back to what was before. We are moving forward. We have to make some adjustments. And what we have coming out of West Point and across the board in all the services, John knows this, as a great Naval graduate out of Florida State. Am I right, John? That there are immensely talented young men and women that are bringing incredible talents, they've been trained, they are open minded and they are going to do what's right.
CABRERA: And, Admiral Kirby, the military has now gotten wrapped up over this debate about confederate statues and military bases named after confederate leaders. The president has come under fire for saying he will block the renaming of military bases around the nation that are named after these leaders.
Defense Secretary Esper and General Milley have made it known that they were willing to have a bipartisan conversation about doing this. What's your sense of how the rank-and-file feel about it? KIRBY: Well, I'm sure there are parts of the army that are just fine with the bases staying named for these confederate generals, but I suspect that Secretary McCarthy and Secretary Esper, they know where the winds of change are going in this country and they recognize the very legitimate argument by those who say that our military bases should not be named after traitors.
And I think they were willing to have that conversation because I feel like they were feeling not just politically in the country at large in the wake of these protests, but also because they're hearing from soldiers in the ranks who are ready to move on.
So I suspect they are reflecting very much the will of most of the soldiers under their charge.
CABRERA: General Marks, the argument against renaming the statues is that we would be sanitizing history, washing away the reminders of how far we've come.
I just want to get your thoughts on that and if you had something else you wanted to respond to Admiral about.
MARKS: Yes, Ana, thank you very much. We cannot push our history under a carpet. We can't stick it in a corner and forget about it. I agree with John. I think we should be open to the discussion about renaming these posts. It's not one of those issues that I would say is non- negotiable or I would dive on a sword about. But I think it's important to have that discussion.
But bear in mind, where the graduation was today up at West Point, Robert E. Lee was the superintendent at West Point, was graduate of West Point, one of the most incredibly talented young cadets to come out of West Point. There is not one statue or recognition to General Lee that exists at West Point.
Now, that was a decision that was made years ago, years ago. And right there where the graduation took place, which is on the plain, is a place called Trophy Point. And the monument on Trophy Point is to the union dead that were killed in the war of insurrection. They don't talk about the civil war. They talk about the war of insurrection. This was a war that was endeavored to rip apart our Constitution, regardless of what the times were like back then. And West Point recognized that.
So I think that discussion took place years ago and could be had today.
CABRERA: When you mention Robert E. Lee, it's interesting that they don't have that special recognition of him there because encyclopedia of Virginia considered Robert E. Lee the most successful confederate military leader during the American civil war, and they said that, in effect, made him the most successful defender of the enslavement of African-Americans in this country. Admiral Kirby, let me ask you also about what we heard from General Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and his apology for taking part in the president's highly criticized photo op, an event that resulted in violence against peaceful protesters. Let's watch what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GENERAL MARK MILLEY, JOINT CHIEFS CHAIRMAN: I should not have been there. My presence in that moment and then that environment created a perception of the military involved in domestic politics. As a commissioned uniformed officer, it was a mistake.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Admiral Kirby, how unusual is it for a top general to make a public apology like this when the president has stood by the decision?
KIRBY: Well, it's very unusual, very significant for General Milley to come out like that so publicly and admit this mistake. I think it's a reflection of the kind of soldier that he is. I've known General Milley for a long time, more than ten years. I was not at all surprised that he was willing to own up to this and to do it so publicly.
And, frankly, I think very appropriately in a speech to graduates of his university, National Defense University reports up through the chairman so that he used that as an occasion to do this, I think, was very right. And I think it reflects also the degree to which he saw and he knew the position that he was put in, how difficult that was for him and for the military and that he was aware of that.
I know that he very much, I think, would have liked to have spoken sooner, but he really wanted to do this the right way and speak to his students at NDU. And, again, I applaud that. I think it was the right thing to do. And as unusual as it is, it also sends a strong message to junior officers in what can be a zero defect mentality in the military that it's okay to make mistakes and it's okay to admit them.
CABRERA: Admiral Kirby, General Marks, I don't think we say it often enough to you, thank you, first and foremost, for your service and thanks for being part of this discussion.
KIRBY: Thank you.
MARKS: Thank you, Ana.
CABRERA: Breaking news, we are standing by for a press conference from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation after a man was shot and killed by police at a Wendy's drive-through last night in Atlanta. The president of Georgia's NAACP calling for the Atlanta police chief to be terminated, as protests continue in that city this afternoon.
[15:25:00] CABRERA: Again, we are standing by for a press conference from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation after a man was shot and killed by police at a Wendy's drive-through last night. You can see they are setting up the podium for this presser.
Just moments ago, the president of Georgia's NAACP called for the Atlanta police chief to be terminated. We'll bring that to you live, this briefing, as soon as it happens. So stay with us here on CNN.
Meanwhile, a top warning from a CDC official. We know the pandemic is not over, that as the agency issued updated guidance for living daily life during the coronavirus pandemic. Stay apart from others, wear a face covering and try not to share objects.
This all comes as we are getting alarming developments about the virus from across the nation. Alabama, for example, saw its highest number of reported cases in one day on Thursday, the same day Louisiana reported an increase of more than 400 cases for a third straight day. In Arizona, the mayor of Phoenix says the state is not recovering from COVID-19. On Friday, Utah's governor hit pause on reopening following a spike in coronavirus cases in his state. Nashville, Tennessee pushed back its phased reopening as well because of an increase in cases.
Also, these alarming words from a South Carolina health official this week, quote, I'm more concerned about coronavirus than I've been before. And various beach towns are canceling July 4th events as coronavirus cases in the low country area of South Carolina double. And the list goes on.
Now, all these warnings come as 19 states are seeing an increase in new coronavirus case numbers, many with an uptick in hospitalizations as well. I want to bring in Dr. Celine Gounder, the former assistant commissioner of health in New York City and the host of the "Epidemic" podcast.
Doctor, what is your biggest concern as we see the warnings and spikes in cases across the country?
DR. CELINE GOUNDER, FORMER ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER OF HEALTH, NEW YORK CITY: Ana, my concern is that we still haven't learned from our experiences over the last couple of months.
And if you look at the states that are experiencing the biggest spikes, these are the states that waited the longest to implement shelter-in-place measures, the states that lifted those measures earliest.
And really across the board, even the states that did a pretty good job with their lockdown orders, we still haven't seen some of the measures taken to cope with what happens when you lift a lockdown.
In other words, the lockdown is a very blunt measure. It buys you time and suppresses transmission. But in the meantime, you need to be scaling up testing. And very importantly, you need to be hiring legions of contact tracers
who are prepared to follow up on infected person and then figure out how to prevent them from transmitting on to others.
We just don't have a plan for that right now.
CABRERA: I want to play what the nation's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci said last night about reopening.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY & INFECTIOUS DISEASES: We all do want to reopen the country for a number of important reasons. But we've got to do that in a way that's careful and prudent.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Doctor, it sounds like you don't think states are being careful and prudent as Dr. Fauci says.
GOUNDER: Yes, I would agree with that assessment. I think, one, we didn't make use of the time during the lockdown so we inflicted tremendous economic damage, And we saved some lives during that period, but we didn't use that time wisely to build up the measures that would allow us to reopen safely.
Now we're really in a difficult position because the only instrument truly at our disposal is re-implementing lockdowns when, ideally, we would be doing is massive testing and contact tracing.
And we know that much of the transmission occurs in families. If you have an infected family member, how can you separate them safely from the rest of the family so they're not getting everyone sick..
We didn't make plans for that. So it's not wise planning.
CABRERA: So as we talk about the cases going up, and the lack of confidence in the testing and contact tracing capabilities that we have right now, do you see any state that is up to par and where it needs to be, and who should be getting tested at this point?
GOUNDER: Well, my home state of New York is probably one of the better ones that is farther along in terms of making plans. I think it's no surprise. They were hit pretty early and hit very hard. So we saw firsthand how bad this could be. So we were pretty progressive about implementing lockdown measures. We're still having many of those in place right now.
And importantly, we've been trying to put testing facilities and programs in places that are the most underserved. So some of that has been in black churches, for example, in places like the Bronx and New York City. And there's also been an effort to start hiring those contact tracers.
So there are some states that are at the leading edge, but even there, the situation is not perfect.
CABRERA: Dr. Celine Gounder, as always, good to have you here. Thank you.
We are still standing by for that press conference from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. This is in Atlanta. A man was shot and killed by police in a Wendy's drive-through last night. The president of the NAACP branch in Georgia calling for the Atlanta police chief to be terminated. We will bring you the press conference just as soon as it begins.
Stay with us. You're watching CNN.
CABRERA: Welcome back as we continue to await this press conference from the George Bureau of Investigation. They are in Atlanta. We have the podium in our shot, And as soon as it begins, we'll take you there.
This coming after a man was killed by police at a Wendy's drive- through last night in Atlanta. And again, as soon as we learn more we'll go there live.
Let me get to Natasha Chen who is on site.
Just moments ago, Natasha, the president of Georgia's NAACP calling for the Atlanta police chief to be terminated. We know protesters are gathering at this hour. What is the latest and what do we know about what happened?
NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There are multiple groups of protesters. And one group is still behind us here. But a much larger group is taking a walk around downtown. You can see some of the people still here on the corner.
And what we know from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation is that they are looking into this. They are aware that there are social media videos out there allegedly showing the incident, recorded by witnesses.
Now, in a tweet earlier, GBI said that some witnesses on the scene did not want to talk to investigators and so they are asking for the public to come forward and speak to them if they witnessed anything that happened at the Wendy's last night.
Now, we have also seen some of these videos. We are working on talking to the people who recorded them to get more information about what they saw.
We're also looking to see if GBI will comment on those videos at all during this upcoming press conference.
In addition to GBI's investigation, we know that the Fulton County district attorney's office is doing an independent investigation as well, also asking the public to come forward if they have witnessed anything.
Over at the Wendy's location, there's another group of about three or four dozen people gathered there. And that's where we met the family of Rayshard Brooks, who said that they are just shaken by this. His cousin said this is the worst thing to wake up to.
That's where we also met the first vice president of the Atlanta NAACP, who said that she thinks Rayshard Brooks should be the last person to die like this. And she's also calling for accountability.
Which matches the messaging of what you were saying that the president was calling for the termination of Atlanta police chief, Erika Shields -- Ana?
CABRERA: And also calling on the mayor to speak out on this issue.
Thank you very much, Natasha Chen. We'll check back with you.
Again, we'll await the press conference and bring our viewers lives when it happens.
Let's turn to some changes in the world of sports. Racing star, Bubba Wallace, says he has seen more good than bad in fan reaction since NASCAR announced it will ban the Confederate flag from all of its events.
Wallace is the only full-time African-American driver in NASCAR's cup series. He made national headlines this week calling for the Confederate flag's removal and racing in an "I can't breathe" shirt with a car featuring a Black Lives Matter paint scheme.
Here's what he told CNN's Don Lemon about NASCAR's decision.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUBBA WALLACE, NASCAR DRIVER: I get both sides of it. I've been getting a lot of positive outreach, a lot of positive impact and gaining new fans as we got.
Then you're getting the fans that will never watch a NASCAR game again. The same fans that will never watch NFL after the kneeling, the same fans that are crying out that we're ruining their lives and just throwing a pity party as to whether accepting change and understanding why we need this change and why it's such a pivotal moment for our country.
I heard the conversations -- you were talking with the mayor there in Houston and it's like -- you know, it's on a global level that this is an impact. So I'm excited about the change.
I wish fans could come back ASAP so we could see the demographic and who shows up, what shows up. Everybody who shows up, I just want to see and hear what they have to say.
But through social media, you're getting both sides of the story. But there's obviously more good than there is bad, so I'm excited about it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Here to discuss, ESPN host and sports and culture columnist for the "L.A. Times," L.Z. Granderson.
L.Z., back in February, the NASCAR season started with the president taking a lap at Daytona. Fast forward to this week and a NASCAR official took a knee during the national anthem. And we have this whole story of Bubba Wallace.
What is your reaction to these major shifts we're seeing?
L.Z. GRANDERSON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, we've seen some major statements and we've seen some major checks being written. But now it's about major action.
And I applaud Bubba Wallace. People really need to understand the courage it takes for him, as an African-American, to say what he said in that sport, recognizing that there's a great portion of the fan base that would not approve. Recognizing that there's a portion of that fan base that also showed up at the state capitol bearing guns and demanding to get tattoos and their haircut.
When you think about all of that, what this represents and what we've seen over the past few weeks, he is tremendously courageous.
Now the question is -- and I wrote about this in my column today for the "L.A. Times" -- it's about the follow-through. What is NASCAR going to do once fans show up and they have vehicles with Confederate flags? How are they policing their policy? How are they enforcing their policy? And are they going to support Bubba Wallace when he gets attacked?
Those are important aspects of this conversation.
CABRERA: And of course, fans haven't been at the recent events because of the coronavirus so it's hard to test it out at this point.
I just want to remind our viewers we're standing by for a press conference in Atlanta.
L.Z., if I have to interrupt, please forgive me in advance.
GRANDERSON: No problem. That's way more important.
CABRERA: Just to turn our attention away.
But as we continue our conversation, last week, we were talking about Roger Goodell's video admitting the NFL was wrong for not listening to players sooner. And this week the league says it's donating $250 million to fight racism, making Juneteenth, which marks the end of slavery, a league holiday.
I wonder, can the league's efforts ever be taken seriously while Colin Kaepernick remains unemployed?
GRANDERSON: It sends a mixed message. I've said it before and I'll say it again. I don't know the legalese or the agreement that they reached. I don't know if he legally cannot say his name in public because it may activate some verbiage that miter in their agreement. I don't know.
But it is really weird to try to pretend as if you're on the forefront of this conversation when the person that dragged you into this conversation was blackballed by your league. It's a conflicting message and one they need to find a way of cleaning up.
Personally, I think offer him an opportunity to prove himself on the field is a way to clean it up. Not just an apology but an opportunity.
But, again, I don't know what the legalese is with the agreement that they have.
CABRERA: We just got this in. This is from Dr. Anthony Fauci weighing in on the NBA, saying he supports their plan for restarting the NBA season. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FAUCI: I actually have looked at that plan and it is really quite creative. What they are really trying to do -- and I think they might very well be quite successful with it -- is to create a situation where it is as safe as it possibly could be for the players by creating this bubble.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: So it sounds like Dr. Fauci is on board with the plan, but are the players?
GRANDERSON: Well, you know, it's really interesting. First of all, a shout out to the CEO of world team tennis, Carlos Vilva, who had a plan similar to the NBA's, but he announced it in May. They got pushback from the players wondering if they would be protected.
In the NBA, you're hearing similar concerns. We recognize the importance of sports in terms of the morale of the country but also its economy. These are black and brown bodies and we know the coronavirus impacts those communities.
And I understand the concerns that some players have brought up, which I understand that we need to get sports back up again, but at what cost? Because some players aren't willing to put their health at risk and that needs to be honored and respected as well. CABRERA: Coming back to the issue of racism and inequality, it's not
just the teams. It's also the players who are taking action.
And it looks like we have this press conference that's happening right now in Atlanta. I'm going to sign off from here.
Thank you so much for being here with us.
GRANDERSON: Thank you.
CABRERA: Let's listen.
VIC REYNOLDS, DIRECTOR, GEORGIA BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION: Are you OK, man?
Are you ready, Nellie?
Good afternoon, everybody. Thank you so much for coming out. I apologize that we're running a few minutes late.
I was just thinking, ironically, it was about a month or so ago I stood in front of you upstairs as the GBI got involved in the Arbery matter in Brunswick. As some of you may recall, I asked that day for patience from the community. I know it was certainly difficult to ask then and it's probably tougher today.
However, I do come to you on behalf of this agency letting you know that we are involved in this particular case and I'll talk about it in a moment.
But as with the Arbery matter in Brunswick, we will ask again for the community's graciousness and patience as we work our way through this investigation.
About 10:33 or so last night, the GBI received a call from Atlanta police requesting us to become involved in the investigation of an officer-involved shooting down on University Avenue at the Wendy's restaurant concerning two Atlanta police officers and a gentleman, Mr. Brooks.
Upon, initial arrival, we began working the scene. We issued a statement early this morning based on what we knew at that point, and that was primarily based on body cam video that we had. I'll talk about why we were a little bit limited in what we had in a moment.
But after the release of that statement this morning, we've continued the investigation. And we worked all through the night and through this morning.
Since then, we've talked to witnesses and also been able to see different video surveillance, both from Wendy's restaurant and from individuals that we've found on social media and began piecing the circumstances together.
It appears, from what we've seen to this point, that this gentleman, Mr. Brooks, was under investigation by Atlanta police for a suspected DUI offense there at Wendy's, that sometime during the course of that investigation he was out and engaged with two Atlanta officers and that engagement turned into a physical confrontation. We have seen the physical confrontation on video.
During the course of that confrontation, Mr. Brooks was able to secure from one of the Atlanta officers his taser.
We have now seen full video from the Wendy's restaurant showing this gentleman entering into the video frame running or fleeing from Atlanta police officers.
It appears that he has in his hand the taser. You can see that, at least to the naked eye, that's what it appears.
He runs a relatively short distance. It looks like it's probably five, six, seven parking spaces' distance. And at that point, turns around and it appears to the eye that he points the taser at the Atlanta officer.
At that point, the Atlanta officer reaches down and retrieves his weapon from his holster, discharges it, strikes Mr. Brooks there on the parking lot and he goes down. That information has been corroborated by a witness we interviewed.
That's the information we have at this point.
I will tell you, again, that that's what it appears in looking at the Wendy's surveillance video to the naked eye. We have not digitally enhanced the video yet. We will. We'll be in the process of doing that so we can enhance it and see. But that is what appears to be just from looking at the video.
I will tell you this as well. We intend to make that video available to you and to the public today so you all will have it and will see it. Our PIO's here, our Public Affairs Department will work with you in making sure you get that before the day is over. We'll make that public. We want everyone to see what we have seen in this case.
That's why, again, I would ask for some patience. I don't want anyone in any circumstances to rush to any form of judgment. It's very easy to do in these cases on either side.
We realize there's a tremendous amount of emotion, passion involved in these cases and certainly with the way the environment is now, it's only enhanced. But again, I would just humbly and respectfully ask the public to just wait a minute.
I want you to see what we have been able to see. I want you to have it and look at it as we have been able to obtain I want and look obtain it and look at it.
And we should before the evening is over make that available to all media outlets who want it so they can broadcast it and the public can see it as well. As I said a moment ago, we intend on digitally enhancing that video.
That's something that we're capable of doing here at the bureau. We will begin doing that soon.
As far as a timeline is concerned, it's always difficult to put a definitive timeline on it. But as you might well imagine, because of the nature of this particular case and the circumstances of what we're dealing in and the environment today, we have advised the agents to expedite the investigation.
Any additional work that needs to be done here at our laboratory, we will certainly prioritize that and do it as quickly as possible. We want to be very expeditious in this case. We want to be very, very quick in this case, but we have to be very thorough in this case. We have to do it the right way.
I'm sure when I speak to the public that anybody who had a loved one in this situation, on either side, either as a law enforcement officer or as someone who has been involved in a situation where officers used deadly force, that they want the investigation done correctly. They want it done thoroughly, and they want it done right. And that's exactly what the GBI intends on doing in this case.
Once that investigation is complete, we will submit it to the district attorney's office. And as with law enforcement-involved circumstances, they will make the final decision on what happens with the case.
But again, I just wanted to update you and update the public on where we were in this case.
It's been about, I guess, 16, 17 hours since the incident occurred. Our agents have worked through the night, continue to work. And we will do everything possible to expedite the investigation so we can turn it over to the district attorney's office.
And we will commit to you that we will provide you, the media, access to that video before the day is over so you can have it as well and show your viewers and show the public.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We'll take a few questions.
REYNOLDS: Yes, we'll take a couple.
Doug, go ahead.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Vic, based on your observation of the surveillance video, does it appear that the police officer was facing -- or excuse me, does it appear that the man with the taser was facing the police officer when he was shot?
REYNOLDS: It appears -- and you all will see it as well. It does appear in the video that he is fleeing from the Atlanta police officers, that as he's fleeing, he turns back over his shoulder with what appears to the naked eye to be this taser that eye-witnesses told us they saw the individual have that belonged to one of the officers. And as he turned it over, you'll be able to see on the video the Atlanta officer literally reached down to get his service weapon. And as he gets his weapon, Mr. Brooks begins turning his body away from him, I presume to flee, and it looks like when the discharge of the weapon goes off then.
REYNOLDS: It's just like that, literally.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Do you know what the range is of a taser?
REYNOLDS: I'm sorry, Doug, I do not know off the top of my head. I apologize. I don't know.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Do you know where Mr. Brooks was shot on the body?
REYNOLDS: I don't know, physically, where it was. We'll probably be able to provide that to you, but I do not know right now. No, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Based on the use of force guidelines, a taser isn't -- is a taser considered a deadly weapon? I wouldn't think a taser could kill you, so would it be normal for them to respond with a gun?
REYNOLDS: You know, I'm not passed the buck but that's a question that's going to have to be answered by the prosecutor in this case.
Our job is to gather all the facts we can, do it as thoroughly, as completely and quickly as possible, and then give it to him. And then that D.A.'s office is going to have to make that call.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: What about the fact that this was an impaired person? They had already determined that the person was impaired. Does that factor in?
REYNOLDS: It probably won't factor into what we do in the investigation. It may very well factor in what ultimately a prosecutor will do in the case who has to make some legal decisions.
You know, our job -- having worn both those hats before in my days, the hat I wear now is to investigate, collect information, provide it to the local prosecutor. Then he or she will make those decisions from a legal point of view.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: There's also a question that may be a body cam might have been turned off at some point in all this.
REYNOLDS: I have no knowledge of that. No one has indicated to me any indication of any body cam being turned off.
It's my understanding that one of them was either knocked off or broken during the course of a fight or scuffle. But I have no knowledge of anything being turned off, no, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Do you know how many shots the police officer fired?
REYNOLDS: You know, I believe -- I believe it was three, Doug, but I cannot swear to that. I don't know.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: The decision to release the video, how much of the current environment, climate, played a role in that?
REYNOLDS: The GBI has generally had a policy to where if we can release information, we do. I think it works better in these cases, having said, as a defense attorney before, I know there's been a little bit of discussion and conversation that some prosecutors don't like that.
We checked with the D.A.'s office in Fulton County. In this case, they had no objection to it being released.
So that's generally -- if we had our way at the GBI, we would release them every time. I just think, overall, from a community perspective, certainly from a media-reporting perspective, it's better if you see what we've seen.
There's sometimes, in cases, there's information we cannot release based on the nature of it or what it lends to a case. But in circumstances like this, when an officer is involved in the use of deadly force, people have a right to know how it happened, where it happened, the circumstances surrounding the situation.
And so I'm a firm believer, at least from my perspective, sitting as a director of the bureau, that if we can release, have video, and we can release it, we need to do it.
In this case, the D.A.'s office did not object to it, so you'll have that, hopefully, before the evening is over.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Are we -- was he the driver of the vehicle?
REYNOLDS: He, being Mr. Brooks?
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Mr. Brooks.
REYNOLDS: I do not know, sir. Our involvement came after he was already taken out of the vehicle and placed in what we would call field sobriety test checking and then that's when our involvement came. We'll learn that hopefully during the course of the investigation, but I do not know right now.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One more question?
Thank you all. Appreciate your time. Sorry to keep you waiting today. Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Thank you.
CABRERA: OK, you were just listening in to an update from law enforcement about an incident where a man was shot and killed by police at a Wendy's drive-through last night. It happened in Atlanta, Georgia.
And our Natasha Chen is with us now, along with retired LAPD Sergeant Cheryl Dorsey.
Natasha, let me begin with you as we learn some new information at that press conference, particularly about video that the department plans to release of this incident. They say they're planning to release this video tonight.
What more can you tell us? What more did we learn about this incident?
CHEN: Right. So, what's interesting is that GBI was talking about the fact that their policy is that if they can share something, they will with the public, with the social media. So they do plan to share the video that they have once they've processed this.
Now, they did describe what was seen in the video, what they see in the video, and it does include the victim here, Rayshard Brooks, fleeing from the police officers in this situation.
And of course, we, in the past, I've already discussed that GBI reported a struggle between officers and Mr. Brooks over the officer's taser. And that GBI says, in this video, they seem to see Mr. Brooks with the taser that belongs to the police.
So, there are a lot of elements here that we are still waiting to see for ourselves. And we know that this video is circulating on social media. We are, of course, trying to, you know, talk to the people who recorded this video to try and understand a little bit more about what they saw.
But we are also, you know, hearing from members of the community who are very upset, obviously. You see the protesters that have actually taken a walk around the downtown area now. But they want accountability. They want someone to answer for this.
And as you mentioned earlier, Ana, the NAACP president here in Atlanta is calling for the termination of Police Chief Erika shields.
CABRERA: And, Sergeant Dorsey, the director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, you know, walked us through what they said happened, and that essentially, the taser was turned on the officer, that's when the officer fired.
Based on his description of events, would there potentially be justification to shoot this man?
CHERYL DORSEY, RETIRED LAPD POLICE SERGEANT: Well, there's some things that are unknown. First of all, what is the distance between the officers and the person who was shot?