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Atlanta Man Shot And Killed By Police; Press Conference With Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (D), Atlanta; Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms: Police Chief Stepping Down After Deadly Officer-Involved Shooting. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired June 13, 2020 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: Thanks so much for staying with me. You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York.
And we begin this hour with a movement that will not let up. And the calls are growing, still, nationwide, for police reform and an end to racial injustice. For the third straight week, protesters are taking to the streets in cities and towns across the country in the wake of George Floyd's death. In the nation's capital, chanting demonstrators marching with Black Lives Matter signs, wearing shirts that read, I can't breathe, the same words George Floyd said when an officer put a knee to his neck.
And this is all happening as we get word of a deadly officer involved shooting in Atlanta overnight. The Georgia bureau of investigation saying a man was shot and killed by police after taking an officer's taser outside of a Wendy's. Natasha Chen joins us now from Atlanta with more. Natasha, what more are you learning?
NATASHA CHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ana, there are a few important things that we learned from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation press conference within the last couple of hours. And, remember, the police were first called there because of a report of someone sleeping in his car in the drive-through, and a lot happened after that that is under investigation now. What GBI says is that they have video now from Wendy's as well as from witness video. And they are digitally enhancing it to take a closer look. But they can already tell some things just by watching the videos with the naked eye. Here is the GBI director describing what he sees in the video.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VIC REYNOLDS, DIRECTOR, GEOERGIA BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION: But 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, 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHEN: A reporter at that press conference asked the GBI director whether Mr. Brooks was facing the officer or had turned his back away again when he was shot. That part, we're waiting to watch the video that the GBI has. As they mentioned, they're going to release that to us. But the GBI director does not know where on the body Rayshard Brooks was shot.
We are standing in front of one of two protests in the city right now. This is at Centennial Olympic Park. Of course, the Wendy's location where this happened, there's also a group gathered there -- Ana.
CABRERA: So, Natasha, there's the body cam video as well as that Wendy's surveillance video. Any word on when that video might be released?
CHEN: By the end of the day, we're hearing GBI would like it to be released. They checked in with the prosecutor's office. It seems that everyone is OK with that happening.
And so, what we're wanting to note, though, is that body camera video may be limited because GBI says that one of the body cams that was worn by the officer was knocked off during the struggle between the officer and Mr. Brooks. The struggle over the taser. So, the body cam video may be incomplete. So, we're working off of that, as well as Wendy's surveillance video, as well as people's cell phone video who witnessed the event.
CABRERA: OK. Natasha Chen in Atlanta, Georgia, thank you.
Now to New York where protesters are marching for a 19th straight day on their way to the Brooklyn Bridge. Our Evan McMorris-Santoro is in the middle of that. What's their message, Evan?
EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Ana. Yes, we are crossing the Brooklyn Bridge now with another large group of protesters. As you mentioned, many, many days of this has gone on.
And today's a very interesting today for it because this morning, Governor Cuomo, in his press conference, he's been trying to cast this state as the leader in the reforms that this movement is bringing on. And he said today, look, we've done a lot. We've passed a lot of legislation. We've called for police to change across the state.
Protesters, you won. You can stop marching. As you can see, they haven't. I spoke with one protester from Queens, Melissa Morris (ph), and asked her about what the governor said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MELISSA MORRIS (ph), PROTESTER: Police officers still doing police brutality, even though the laws have changed. So, they've got to fire those individuals and got to get them off the streets. The same way you get criminals off the streets. The same way you've got to get the NYPD criminals off the streets.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: So, listen, that's one comment about what this march is about on a small level. But on a larger level, it's about political action and changing the way the country works.
Someone came up to me after I did that interview and mentioned to me, there are two voter registration sites at Barclays Center which is where this march began. So, this movement is about more than just maybe the direct police and now has moved into a change about how this country actually operates, Ana.
CABRERA: And you mentioned --
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: And that's why they're still out here and say they're going to stay out here.
CABRERA: -- and you mentioned that voter registration place being a focal point of these marches. Of course, the election now just about five months away. Evan McMorris-Santoro, thank you.
From New York now all the way across the country to Seattle where protesters have set up an autonomous zone. That's been heavily criticized by President Trump.
CNN's Dan Simon is there for us. Dan, what is the latest with this group? What do they want?
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, hi, Ana. First of all, one can debate whether or not it was a good decision or a bad decision for the police to leave their station and create this vacuum in here, the occupation zone as they're calling it or the autonomous zone. But the facts on the ground, Ana, indicate that this is an entirely peaceful situation.
We've been here for several days, and it feels like you're at a street festival, quite frankly. You have barbecues going on. You have live music. You have people walking around with their six packs of beer. Let me show you what it looks like here on the corner. There's some speakers talking about some of their demands.
You just asked me about their demands. The two primary ones is they want to see the police department defunded, which is what you're hearing all across the country. And they also want to see this police station, which you see here behind me. They want to see it turned into a community center.
And the mayor has been talking to CNN. She spoke to Chris Cuomo last night, and she indicated, basically, that all options are on the table. And even said that they're going to reevaluate whether or not there should even be a police station in this particular area.
So, the bottom line is that protesters are certainly getting the attention of city leaders, and there seems to be a negotiation taking place, Ana.
CABRERA: Dan Simon, thank you for us in Seattle.
Joining us now, CNN Law Enforcement Analyst, and former Philadelphia police commissioner, Charles Ramsey; and CNN Political Commentator, and "New York times" op-ed columnist, Charles Blow.
So, Commissioner, let me back up to what we just heard reported from Natasha. The new police shooting that happened overnight in Atlanta, a man there fatally shot after reportedly taking one of the officer's tasers and pointing it at that officer. We are still awaiting surveillance video, which will hopefully tell us a lot more. But what's your initial read of what we know right now?
CHARLES RAMSEY, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, the video will tell us a lot more, and we do need that. I don't know the distance between the individual and the officer, at the time he allegedly pointed the taser toward him. Did he point it at him? Was he still running? I mean, you have to see the video.
But, fortunately, there is video. It's not unusual, by the way, for an officer's body camera to be knocked off during a struggle. It happens. I know that many of these companies that make these body cameras are trying to come up with some way of making it more secure. But that's not unusual, just so you know.
But, yes, I think the video -- we have to wait for the video. But from what was described by GBI, this is not -- it doesn't sound like a Minneapolis type of situation. But we don't know until we get more evidence.
CABRERA: A quick follow on that, though, because I think a plot of people at home hearing, he had a taser and the officer --
CABRERA: -- responded with lethal force, I mean, a taser is not lethal force, right? So, what would justify lethal force?
RAMSEY: Well, taser is considered less lead lethal, not nonlethal.
RAMSEY: And the problem with that is if you get hit with a taser, it does immobilize you. Which means, while you're immobilized, somebody could take your weapon, could hurt you or what have you. So, I don't know all the details. I don't know all the facts. But they need to let the investigation continue.
So, it depends on the circumstances as to whether or not this was something where the use of deadly force would have been justified. And, right now, it's hard to tell without being able to see all the evidence.
CABRERA: Charles Blow, as we look at these images out of Boston and the protests that are now happening on a third weekend in a row, at least 20 cities and municipalities are starting to ban or will begin to ban chokeholds in policing. We also know Breonna's Law passed in Kentucky this week, banning no-knock warrants.
CABRERA: Does this tell you the protests are working?
CHARLES BLOW, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Absolutely that's what it means. This is -- they could have banned those chokeholds at any point. Black Lives Matter has been -- has been demanding that chokeholds be banned for a very long time. They refused to do it and they're only doing it now because these people are in the streets. So, there's a -- there's a direct correlation to that.
So, yes, the protests are working. But what I think we're seeing on the street is that it's figurative now, and they know that. That the protesters know that. That this is -- that the system actually puts the officers in that close of contact with particular people. Hyper- segregation in cities allows people like -- as Mayor Bloomberg said, you can just, you know, photocopy the description and send people into the neighborhoods, which is what he said he did. That's possible because of hyper-segregation.
So, the whole system is what is aiming -- the foot soldiers in the community and I think what the people in the streets are saying, we need to deal with the system itself. It's not just the officers. It's not just the last interaction. It's not just that the particular officer had a particular bias. If we try to do that like the bad apple philosophy, then we lose the battle.
It's not about bad apples. If the unions are going to defend the bad apples just as viciously as they defend the good apples, then you are linking the good and the bad together, not us.
CABRERA: And, Commissioner, in Buffalo, New York, we now have officials calling on the New York attorney general's office to open an investigation into a black officer being fired after she intervened when a white officer put a suspect into a chokehold. Now, important to note, this incident was in 2006 when it happened. The officer was fired. She lost her pension as a result. What's your reaction?
RAMSEY: Well, I mean, I'd like to see that case file, because that, by itself, doesn't seem to me to be anything that would even require any level of discipline. That's what you would want someone to do. There must be something more to this than just that. I just -- you know, I have seen duty to intervene for a long time, even before it was written in policy.
I mean, you would hope that somebody would actually intervene if they saw something wrong. Unfortunately, it doesn't happen often enough, so it should be encouraged, not discouraged. So, I would -- yes, I mean, I would dig a little deeper into that one. But if it happened as she said, and then she was fired for that, then that is absolutely terrible, and it would seem to me like she would have one heck of a lawsuit. CABRERA: And, again, this is a new investigation, but it happened in
2006. What kind of value does going back to look at old cases and incidents like this provide?
RAMSEY: Well, I mean, in this case, it would provide a lot of answers. Because, to me, that's a serious allegation that's being made against the department. So, you would need to find out exactly what it is that took place in in that case.
But it would also -- I mean, highlight, if that's a problem. If that actually happened, that's one more thing that has to be corrected, in not only that department but other departments that think similarly. I mean, that just cannot be accepted. Duty to intervene is something that ought to happen if a police officer sees something that they need to step in and stop. Whether it's another police officer. If it's a citizen. I mean, you intervene in anything you see that's wrong, irrespective of who it is.
CABRERA: Charles Blow, 14 officers from the Minneapolis Police Department penned an open letter, condemning ex-police officer, Derek Chauvin. And they write this. Derek Chauvin failed as a human and he stripped George Floyd of his dignity and life. This is not who we are. We are not the union or the administration. We stand ready to listen and embrace the calls for change, reform, and rebuilding. How does that sit with you?
BLOW: I mean, it sounds good. But as the last speaker was talking about the duty to intervene, we keep seeing these things happen not by a single officer. Right? There are always another -- there are other officers there and no one is intervening. No one is intervening in the -- in the images that we see.
So, the police department can come out and condemn, yes. But there were four -- there were three other people right there on the body, physically on his body. And there were other officers around. Where is this duty to intervene showing up in these videos?
CABRERA: You're right. And the videos tell a lot of the story, and we've talked so much about the --
RAMSEY: Well, --
CABRERA: -- importance of the videos. Go ahead, Commissioner.
RAMSEY: Well, videos don't tell everything that goes on in policing. But, in all fairness, it was horrible what we saw in Minneapolis, and what we've seen elsewhere. But that you -- I mean, you've got 800,000 police officers, 18,000 departments. So, you know, I want to keep things in context.
Policing needs reform. The entire criminal justice system needs reform. It would be a huge mistake if we stopped at just police. Prosecution, courts, correction, re-entry.
RAMSEY: And then, hit economic inequalities, housing inequalities, education.
RAMSEY: I mean, the whole system needs reform. So -- but I also think we need to keep it in context and not act as if intervention never takes place in policing.
BLOW: I'm not saying it never takes place.
RAMSEY: There are some good police officers.
BLOW: I'm not saying it never takes place. I'm just telling you, point me to the videos where it is happening.
RAMSEY: Well, everything's not going to --
BLOW: Because what I'm -- because what I'm seeing -- what I'm seeing is that I don't see it. And I -- and I keep seeing Eric Garner. I see, you know, whoever, you get -- name me the case and I'm -- they're not happening by single officers. There are other people around. And I'm, like, well, why wouldn't somebody there do something? And I'm not saying it never happens. I just want to see the video of it. It would make me feel a whole lot better to see those videos. Because I don't see it.
RAMSEY: I'm not arguing with you here. But I spent 47 years as a cop. I've seen a hell of a lot more than you have and not watching a few videos. And all I'm saying is that we can't act as if there's nothing happening in policing because that's just not true.
But having said that, it doesn't mean it's where it needs to be. It's nowhere near where it needs to be. And they need to be held accountable. Those officers need to be held accountable and any officer that fails to intervene when they should ought to be held accountable. Period. That means firing, criminal charges, whatever the heck it means is what it means.
But I just want to keep this whole discussion in some kind of context. And not make it seem as if it just never, ever happens. They only show you videos that's just a small percentage of what actually takes place out there on the street.
BLOW: Well, of course that's the case. But no video is following every officer, every day. Of course that's the case. I'm just saying in the cases where these people are being killed, I would like to see, --
BLOW: -- sometimes, an officer intervene in those cases. In those cases.
RAMSEY: Yes, but you --
BLOW: Not that it never happens.
RAMSEY: I don't disagree with you. I don't disagree with you. BLOW: Life is precious. None of these things are happening that are happening, even this case here in Georgia. None of that's happening -- none of those are capital offenses. You don't deserve -- nobody deserves to be able to take your life in the street without a trial. This idea that, like, I -- yes, I want to see them. I'm going to keep saying that.
I want to see the images of people intervening in these cases, even after the -- even after the bodies fall. Even after the person's dead. I'm still looking at the video, toward the end, and nobody's saying anything. Nobody's moving to resuscitate. Nobody's -- can't -- like, I want to see those.
CABRERA: OK, got to end it there, guys.
RAMSEY: I would also love for you to see those. But I would also love to see the media sometimes show those kinds of videos.
CABRERA: We welcome them and, obviously, it's an important part of the conversation right now. Thank you, both, for having this discussion with us. Charles Blow and Commissioner Charles Ramsey, we appreciate it.
The protests are continuing. And you're looking at images out of Boston right now. One of those protests taking place at this hour on the 19th straight day following the death of George Floyd. We'll take you live to Los Angeles next.
CABRERA: We're going live now to Atlanta and Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms addressing an overnight incident in which a black man was killed by police. Let's listen.
MAYOR KEISHA LANCE BOTTOMS (D), ATLANTA, GEORGIA: I do not believe that this was a justified use of deadly force and have called for the immediate termination of the officer. What has become abundantly clear, over the last couple of weeks in Atlanta, is that while we have a police force full of men and women who work alongside our communities with honor, respect, and dignity, there has been a disconnect with what our expectations are and should be as it relates to interactions with our officers and the communities in which they are entrusted to protect.
Chief Erika Shields has been a solid member of APD for over two decades and has a deep and abiding love for the people of Atlanta. And because of her desire that Atlanta be a model of what meaningful reform should look like across this country, Chief Shields has offered to immediately step aside as police chief so that the city may move forward with urgency in rebuilding the trust so desperately needed throughout our communities.
Former Assistant Police Chief and now interim Corrections Chief Rodney Bryant will serve as the interim police chief, as we immediately launch a national search for new leadership. Chief Shields will continue in a role to be determined.
To the men and women of APD, your service and sacrifice on behalf of our communities is not lost upon me, and I remain grateful for the work that you do to keep our city safe. But as Dr. King reminded us many years ago, there is a fierce urgency of now that calls upon each of us, myself included, to be held accountable to the communities in which we are entrusted to serve. For that reason, we have already convened an advisory committee to examine our use of force policies in our city and expect feedback within the next two weeks with final recommendations within the next 45 days.
To the family of Mr. Brooks, there are no words strong enough to express how sincerely sorry I am for your loss. I do hope that you will find some comfort in the swift actions that have been taken today.
BOTTOMS: And the meaningful reforms that our city will implement on behalf of the countless men and women who have lost their lives across this country.
With that, I'll take any questions that you may have.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chief Shields' resignation, was that her decision or was that your recommendation?
BOTTOMS: This was her decision to step aside as police chief, yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you formally accepted that resignation?
BOTTOMS: I have accepted it. She will remain with the city in a role to be determined to help us plan and implement a course forward. But she is stepping aside as police chief.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) just one officer who fired his weapon.
BOTTOMS: Just one officer who fired his weapon. The other officer has been placed on administrative duty.
All right. Thank you.
CABRERA: OK, you were listening live there to Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, and a lot of news that she just made. She just made an announcement that she's calling for the firing of an officer involved in an overnight shooting in which a man was shot and killed by police. And she made a big announcement, that the police chief of Atlanta has volunteered to step aside, following calls for her resignation or firing in light of this most recent incident.
Erika Shields, you're seeing there, she says will continue on in a new role. And the mayor announcing the new interim chief of Rodney Bryant. He's the former assistant police chief there in Atlanta. She also announced a commission to work on police reforms. Let me bring in Natasha Chen who has been following this story overnight. I'm told she's getting set up for us. And let me tell you what happened overnight, what we have learned about this incident that took place outside a Wendy's in Atlanta. We were told by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation director this afternoon that there were officers called to this Wendy's around 10:30 local time last night because there was somebody, they were told, in the drive-through asleep in a vehicle.
When they arrived, they encountered a man who they believed to be inebriated. They say -- the police say that he failed a sobriety test. There was a confrontation with police. He managed to get the taser from one of those officers and took off running. The director of the GBI says that man turned toward police and pointed the taser, and that's when an officer opened fire, shooting and killing this 27-year- old man now identified as Rayshard Brooks.
We understand there is video from this incident. Multiple -- you can see, even one person in this video right now with their cell phone, so there's cell phone video. There's surveillance video as well from that Wendy's. And there's body cam video, at least partial body cam video. Although, as the director of the GBI told us, that body cam video is incomplete because it was knocked off during the confrontation, according to him, with this now victim of the police shooting.
So, we're hoping to get that police video sometime today. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation says that is their goal to turn that video around, to provide as much transparency as possible into what exactly happened. And protesters are gathering outside that Wendy's today and in other parts of Atlanta, protesting what happened overnight and protesting the broader issues that have been a big part of the conversation around the country for weeks now.
In fact, these are live pictures in Atlanta today. As you can see, ongoing protests, day 19 following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis that has brought to the forefront the conversation about police brutality and excessive force, especially involving people who are African-American, as well as the injustices systemically, racial injustice in the criminal justice system and in society at large.
So, again, the mayor of Atlanta, Georgia announcing the police chief in Atlanta is stepping aside and calling for the firing of an officer who shot and killed a man overnight in that city. I am being told we have some sound right now from that press conference this afternoon with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REYNOLDS: But 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.
REYNOLDS: You can see that at least to the naked eye, that's what it appears. He runs a relatively short distance, looks like it's probably five, six, seven parking spaces distance, and at that point, turns around and appears to the eye that he points a 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Again, that was just within the last couple of hours. That was Vic Reynolds, the director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, giving an update on their investigation and detailing what he says is shown in the surveillance video that, again, they're working to bring to the public sometime today. They say they are trying to digitally enhance that video as well to get a clearer look.
He is urging the public not to rush to judgment. He says their investigation will be thorough but expeditious.
That's where we are at this hour as protesters continue in the streets of Atlanta.
And again, the police chief of Atlanta now stepping aside. Interesting timing because we did hear from the Georgia NAACP president earlier this afternoon calling for Atlanta police chief, Erika Shields, to be terminated immediately following this event.
He said, "We are done dying. The city of Atlanta must not only address this with their words but also their actions."
Well, today, Keisha Lance Bottoms, the mayor of Atlanta, is taking action.
And now let me go to Natasha Chen live on scene for us in Atlanta.
So, this was obviously a call that the mayor is hearing.
NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Ana. And I am looking at my cell phone right now at the video that the Georgia Bureau of Investigation has released. It's on YouTube.
It looks like surveillance video from the Wendy's restaurant showing what happened here as Mr. Brooks seems to be fleeing from the officers with the taser in hand belonging to police.
And so, we're going to be taking a much more -- a closer look at what happened there.
But behind me right now, you see all these people gathered. The way they have been gathering in the last couple of weeks. The names on these signs are names of people who have been killed at the hands of police.
And right now, as far as this incident is concerned, there's also a group outside the Wendy's location where this happened last night. So there are two locations right now, this group right here and the group, including family members, of Mr. Brooks, that I met outside the Wendy's -- Ana?
CABRERA: So, Natasha, did the protesters get the news that Keisha Lance Bottoms just announced, and what was their reaction?
CHEN: You know, I'm not really sure if they have. Because I just walked up toward them.
But let's listen to what they're chanting here.
CROWD: Breonna Taylor.
CHEN: OK, so they're saying the names of people who have been killed by police.
I'm going -- right after I'm finished talking with you, I'm going to be checking in with some of them about whether they heard that announcement.
As you know, it was just in the last few moments, so people, even if they do know, are still processing this breaking information, again, that the Atlanta police chief, Erika Shields, has offered her resignation, that mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms is calling for the termination of the officer involved in the shooting.
And of course, the resignation of Chief Shields is something that the local NAACP president had called for earlier today and it looks like that is what has happened -- Ana?
CABRERA: And, Natasha, you mentioned you spoke with family members of this man, Rayshard Brooks, the family members of the man who was killed overnight.
CHEN: I spoke to his cousin. And you can imagine just how distraught he is. He says this is the worst thing to wake up to after weeks of watching the unrest across the country, watching what happened to George Floyd. He said he can't believe this has now come to the doorstep of his little cousin.
And very emotional interview that he gave to the media. He says that there has to be account accountability, that someone needs to answer for this -- Ana?
CABRERA: Natasha Chen in CNN Atlanta for us.
We'll take a quick break and be right back.
CABRERA: Our breaking news, and back to Atlanta where the mayor has just announced the city's police chief is stepping aside following a deadly police shooting overnight. Mayor Bottoms saying this was Shields' decision, the police chief's
decision, and that she will remain with the city in an undetermined role right now. Rodney Bryant will become the interim chief of the police there in Atlanta.
And we also have a couple of new pictures of the man who was shot and killed last night. This is 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks.
And I want to bring in former LAPD sergeant, Cheryl Dorsey, who's joining me now.
Sergeant Dorsey, let me ask you for first your reaction to this swift call by first the mayor saying she wants the officer involved to be fired and that the police chief is stepping aside.
CHERYL DORSEY, FORMER LAPD POLICE SERGEANT: Well, listen, every police chief serves at the pleasure of the mayor so this was an easy fix.
In terms of the officers, they're entitled to due process. And I don't know that they will be able to be fired on the spot unless you want them to get their job back, but you see, swift action can be taken when they want to.
CABRERA: So, it's interesting that the video we've heard so much about apparently is from the Wendy's surveillance cameras, and some body cam video as well as video from people who were at the scene or nearby that investigators currently have and are using.
The mayor is saying, based on what she's learned, she does not believe lethal force was justified.
What are your thoughts about whether lethal force would be justified in an incident in which, you know, a person points a taser, which he had gotten from the officer, we are told, at that officer and the officer opens fire?
DORSEY: Well, as I previously stated, we're assuming that the taser was operable. I don't even know if the darts that were in it were able to be discharged, number one.
And number two, it sounded like they were saying that this man had turned and was fleeing. And so, listen, we've seen far too many times, officers who don't have the physical stamina or just don't want to run after someone who flees on foot and so they shoot them.
Because, listen, when an officer kills you, there's only one version and it's the one that they tell. And so I imagine these officers are crafting a story. They're going to stick to it.
And it will be interesting to see how the district attorney views this and then, ultimately, a jury.
CABRERA: We also have with us the former Philadelphia police commissioner, Charles Ramsey. And, Commissioner, we were just talking a short time ago about this case, and you really urged people to sort of pump the brakes, not rush to judgment. What are your thoughts about what has transpired?
RAMSEY: Well, you know, you have to see the evidence. But the mayor would have access to evidence that right now we don't have.
You know, mayors have a tough job. They've got to make tough decisions. And police chiefs, we all well know, are only one incident away from being fired or being asked to step down. I mean, that's the nature of the business.
But as that video is released, we'll be able to determine more, because you'll be able to see, did he turn around. What was the distance between the two?
I think your previous guest mentioned something very important. If the taser had been discharged before, would it be capable of firing again? I don't have the answers to any of that.
Again, you know, we need to know the evidence before we can really make a judgment. But the mayor made a choice. She made a statement, and you know, she knows more than we know.
CABRERA: I want to listen in again to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation director describing what happened last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REYNOLDS: 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, 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Sergeant Dorsey and Commissioner Ramsey, I feel like you both may have some different opinions about what we just heard, so I just want to get, again, both of your thoughts on that.
Because, Sergeant Dorsey, it sounds like you believe the officer made the wrong call to fire.
DORSEY: Well, let me be clear. When someone runs from you, a police officer has two choices. You can get ready to get exercise, or you let them go. You don't get to shoot because you can't catch them. And so based on what I'm hearing, based on what GBI just said, this was a shooting that was unnecessary and most likely out of policy.
CABRERA: Commissioner Ramsey, do you agree?
RAMSEY: Well, I don't have enough evidence to make that determination.
I mean, I spent 17 years as a chief, and I read a lot of files. And you have to read the file, you have to see the evidence, you have to view videos, if they're there. And then you make a determination as to whether or not the use of deadly force was justified or not.
Perhaps it wasn't. I don't know. But I haven't seen enough to be able to make a determination on this particular case.
And you have to judge cases individually, based on what you have, the facts you have at your disposal for that case. It may have been a bad shooting. I don't know.
But as we start to see the video and as more information is released, then you can start to make a judgment as to whether or not this officer should have used deadly force, should not have used deadly force, or what have you.
But again, the mayor probably has more information than certainly we do at this moment.
CABRERA: Commissioner, how do you anticipate this investigation will proceed?
RAMSEY: Well, GBI is -- they will handle the investigation. They've already shown a willingness to share some evidence, which, not all the time, the district attorney along with the investigating agency are willing to do. So that's a good thing. They understand the urgency and they understand the environment.
I'm sure that they will try to get this wrapped up as fast as they can. But it needs to be thorough, it needs to be complete in order to be a good investigation.
So I'm sure they'll go as fast as they can but not so fast that it will be sloppy. I'm confident that that won't happen. That's a good organization, the GBI.
CABRERA: OK, thank you very much, Commissioner Ramsey, as well as Sergeant Dorsey. I appreciate both of you very much.
And we are working to turn the video that we understand has been released now from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. So we're working on that.
We're also working to get reaction from protesters on the ground there in Atlanta. You can see them gathering as you look at these live pictures. You're watching CNN. Quick break. We'll be right back.
CABRERA: We are continuing to follow breaking news out of Atlanta where the city's police chief has stepped down following a deadly police-involved shooting last night.
This is the cousin of Rayshard Brooks, the man who was shot and killed, speaking earlier today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DECATUR REDD, COUSIN OF RAYSHARD BROOKS: 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 until 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 see the same video. It's their cousin. That's why it hurts so much.
I just -- I thought Atlanta was higher than that. I thought we was bigger than that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: I want to bring back CNN Political Commentator, Charles Blow.
Charles, the mayor taking swift action and the police chief stepping down. What's your reaction?
CHARLES BLOW, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR; Well, Ana, I actually commend Mayor Bottoms just for her response to this entire episode, including with this, because what she's demonstrating is that the city and her leadership will be responsive.
Now, I don't know -- we haven't seen this video, but she says that she has. And that, you know, that she didn't, from what I was reading in that statement, did not agree that that should happen and that the officer who did it should be fired. That's responsiveness.
And if the police chief resigned, as the statement said, there were calls for that, and they're being responsive.
I just appreciate the responsiveness of power when people say that they demand a response.
CABRERA: How important is it to see that video and to have that transparency and how even the Georgia Bureau of Investigation is handling this? I think we need to see it because there's already something in the
public domain. So we need to see the official video that they are seeing because, in that one that I watched, you don't see the turn. So that's important.
But I still cling to this belief. Nothing that I have heard or that I have seen about this demanded that that man be killed.
Now, can police justify that killing? Probably. We rarely see police charged, convicted, for these killings because, in fact, it's legal. That's the killer part, right? In most cases, you can justify the killing.
But the problem is not that it's legal. Slavery was legal. Jim Crow was legal. Mass incarceration is legal. It's just not right.
If the pattern disproportionately affects people who look like me, then there's a problem there.
You have to -- I know these are split-second decisions. That's a hard job for people to have. A lot of people have hard jobs, though. In this job, you have the power to take a life. That cannot be -- that is not a small thing.
If he was -- if he turned with a taser, you knew it was a taser, you'd know it wasn't a gun. Is that -- is that enough to take his life? That answer has to be bigger than it is -- that question has to be bigger in the discussion than it is because it's not necessarily that you can justify it.
I hate when people say that. I hate when people analyze this case and say we have a discussion and you can justify it because this could have happened and that could have happened and that could have happened.
Yes, it could have happened. But you have the discretion, you alone, and you have to look at that and say, if it's my brother, my sister, whatever, would I do this.
CABRERA: Well, that's an important question.
And according to the mayor, what she has seen, what she knows of this incident, she used the word "justified." She does not believe lethal force is justified and is, therefore, calling for that officer to be fired.
Charles Blow, please stand by.
I want to turn to Natasha Chen who is live in Atlanta for us and has been talking to protesters following this news and this announcement from the mayor.
Natasha, what are you hearing?
CHEN: Ana, when I last spoke with you, I think the news was still trickling in. Some people knew, some people didn't. The person with the megaphone did mention it at one point.
So I want to introduce you to one of the folks here, Alex Fairley (ph). She's been out at these protests almost every day that you can, right?
Tell me what you felt and what you thought when you heard about the chief stepping down.
ALEX FAIRLEY (ph), PROTESTER: I mean, I guess it didn't really come as a surprise. But honestly, I don't really feel anything. It's a minor step. It is a step.
But it also depends on who they're going to replace her with. If it's another person that's not going to implement the change we want, we're still going to be out here fighting for what we want and that is a total change of this system of injustice.
CHEN: You said that you did view the video that the GBI released within the last hour or so of surveillance of what happened last night. What's your take on that?
FAIRLEY (ph): I think it's exactly -- it perfectly exemplified what we're out here fighting for.
And people might have their biases that they need to check on this situation and say that he reached for the taser or he was fighting back. But let's remember that Dylann Roof went in a church and killed nine people. Instead of being met with a bullet, he got a burger.
So it doesn't matter what kind of fighting they're doing. We see white people out with machetes or juking police officers like they're on a basketball court. When it comes to a black man, we are given no benefit of the doubt. We are not given justice, including black women as well.
So the video perfectly exemplified why we are out here. We cannot stop fighting. We cannot stop, or slow down. As much as we want to paint the streets or change the street name, we're not getting what we want and that's actual change.
CHEN: In case our viewers have not seen this this video, what I'm viewing so far, and probably what Alex has viewed from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, is that it seems Mr. Brooks was running away from the police, seemingly with a taser in hand that belongs to police, according to the witnesses.
And there's one moment where he's turning -- turning and reaching in this direction back toward the police with that taser in hand and is pointing it at police.
What in your view, in a reformed police in the future, the ideal future that you have, what would police have done that they didn't do last night? FAIRLEY (ph): Well, I think what should have happened, what we're
calling for is defund the police. That means taking money out of their enraged large budget and moving that into other resources.
So what could have happened is maybe someone could have called the police for them to come, not wake this man up and see what was the matter. If he was that inebriated, call a medic or someone who can help him as opposed to scaring this man awake, probably intimidating him, probably scaring him into reacting the way he reacted.
So instead of calling the police to handle the situation, top to bottom, you could have called in another reinforcement that might have been more appropriate for his situation.
CHEN: Alex, thank you so much for speaking with us. I appreciate your opinion here.
Of course, not everyone is going to have the same exact reaction to this, but it is a major breaking moment for this crowd to understand that the chief of police has stepped down, has offered her resignation. And to some, that is not a surprise and they are wary of what change may come -- Ana?
CABRERA: Natasha, since you've been on this story from the get-go, walk us through and just reset what we know about the events that transpired.
CHEN: Sure, right. So Rayshard Brooks, a 27-year-old man, was reported to be asleep in his vehicle in the Wendy's drive-through. That is when Atlanta police were called there and responded.
From what the Georgia Bureau of Investigation is releasing, they say that there was a struggle over the police officer's taser when they met with Mr. Brooks, that he resisted arrest.
Witnesses say that Mr. Brooks was able to take hold of the police officer's taser. And then in what we're seeing from the video that was released from GBI in the last hour or so, which seems to be surveillance video from the restaurant, it seems to show that Mr. Brooks was running away from police with something in his hand, which witnesses told GBI was the taser belonging to police.
And in one moment -- and of course, this is all happening in seconds -- it seems that Mr. Brooks had turned his arm back toward police pointing what was in his hand at the officer before he was shot down.
So of course, all of that in split seconds. It's going to take experts and, of course, the prosecutor's office to really determine what happened there and what should be done about it.
So at that point, this is where the GBI gathers the information, turns it over to the Fulton County district attorney's office. Fulton County D.A.'s office also says they're doing an independent investigation -- Ana?
CABRERA: And, Natasha, we see that crowd behind you, protesters, as we've been discussing in this day today. It's day 19 following the killing of George Floyd.
Atlanta has been through so much because it's been in the national spotlight with Ahmaud Arbery also prior to the death of George Floyd. What's the mood of the crowd there today?
CHEN: Yes, you know, they're mentioning all of these names. At least the crowd here. I should say the crowd at the Wendy's location where the incident happened last night, they're more focused just on Rayshard Brooks.
But all of them have been talking about the series of incidents that they feel are unjust. They are calling for a systemwide change to how police protect the community.