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Deadly Police Shooting Sparks Fiery Protests In Atlanta; Trump Reschedules Tulsa Rally Out Of Respect For Juneteenth; Smithsonian Curators Look To Preserve Signs, Stories From Protests. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired June 14, 2020 - 15:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[15:00:39]

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: Hello again, everyone. Thank you so much for joining me. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. We begin with the protests growing this afternoon following the death of another black man by police.

A live look at Atlanta right now. Protesters gathering for a second straight day at the Wendy's restaurant where Rayshard Brooks was shot and killed.

Last night, protesters set that Wendy's on fire as tensions rose with police. The deadly officer-involved shooting that left Rayshard Brooks dead happened Friday night. His death coming nearly three weeks since the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis set off nationwide protests.

New body cam video in this Atlanta incident shows the officers attempting to arrest Brooks before a struggle breaks out right there. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation says Brooks grabbed one of the officer's tasers and took off running.

The officer who fired the fatal rounds, Garrett Rolfe was terminated from his position after Brooks took off running and the officers followed. It's alleged that Rolfe then a fire the shot killing the 27- year-old.

Officer Devin Brosnan is being placed on administrative duty. The Fulton County District Attorney telling me last hour that charges could come this week.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL HOWARD (D), FULTON COUNTY, GEORGIA DISTRICT ATTORNEY: I can tell you definitely that probably, sometime around Wednesday, we will be making a decision in this case. When I saw that footage that you just displayed, that conversation went on about 22 minutes with Mr. Brooks talking with these two officers.

And it's very difficult when you see it, when you see the demeanor of Mr. Brooks to imagine that some short time later, it ends up with him being dead.

(END VIDEO CLIP) WHITFIELD: And I asked the DA how would he describe that demeanor? And

he says, very cordial and cooperative. Let's get straight to CNN's Boris Sanchez in Atlanta.

Boris, a very tense situation. People want answers. Hearts are broken. This 27-year-old man is dead, and you heard from the DA there who says you know, there was a conversation between the officers and Mr. Brooks and it seemed cooperative.

And then suddenly things turned.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Fred. We will show you that video in just a moment. But I want to paint a picture for you of what we're seeing outside at Wendy's in South Atlanta right now where all of this unfolded Friday night.

A large presence of protesters. They cleared out a short time ago because there was rain and they're back now. People lining the sidewalks, honking horns. There was chanting. There was singing. There was even artwork made honoring Rayshard Brooks.

And what happened to him on Friday night is a complex story. The video we should warn you is graphic and parts of it are very difficult to watch.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SANCHEZ (voice over): Responding to a call from a Wendy's in South Atlanta Friday night, Officer Devin Brosnan approaches Rayshard Brooks' car.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OFFICER DEVIN BROSNAN, ATLANTA POLICE: What's up, my man? Hey, my man. Hey. Hey, man, you're parked the middle of a drive-thru line here.

Hey, sir. What's up, man? You're parked in the drive-thru right now.

Hey, sir. You, all right?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ (voice over): Asleep in the drive-thru lane, police body cam footage shows the 27-year-old does not respond right away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BROSNAN: Are you tired? All right man, I'll move my car -- just pull somewhere and take -- all right. All right, are you good?

RAYSHARD BROOKS, VICTIM OF POLICE INVOLVED SHOOTING: Yes.

BROSNAN: All right.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ (voice over): Brooks eventually wakes up and agrees to move his car before he appears to fall asleep again.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BROSNAN: My, man. I'll let you go back to sleep. You've got to move your car. Go on back to sleep.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ (voice over): Brooks moves to a nearby parking spot where Brosnan asks --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BROSNAN: How much did you drink tonight? How much? How much not much? When you say one drink, what kind of drink was it?

BROOKS: It was just one margarita.

BROSNAN: How about have you had any drugs today?

BROOKES: I don't do drugs.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ (voice over): Brooks struggles to find his license and tries to step out of the car.

[15:05:07]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BROOKS: I want to get out the car.

BROSNAN: No, just stay in the car for me, all right. Stay in the car, man. I just want your license.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ (voice over): Brosnan then radios for another officer to conduct a DUI test.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BROSNAN: Pretty out of it. Definitely got some good amount of liquor right now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ (voice over): When Officer Garrett Rolfe arrives, Brooks denies ever having been asleep. He agrees to a breathalyzer test, says he can't remember how much he had to drink, and then he tells police.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BROOKS: I know. I know. You just saw your --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ (voice over): When Rolfe tries to handcuff Brooks, he resists.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, stop that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ (voice over): Witness video shows Brosnan readying his taser.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BROSNAN: You're going to get tased.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stop.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ (voice over): Brooks grabs it out of his hand.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hands up [bleep].

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stop.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ (voice over): Breaking free, Brooks punches Rolfe who fires his stun gun as Brooks takes off, and here's the moment the altercation becomes deadly.

We slowed this down for you. You can see Rolfe chasing Brooks, each man now carrying a taser. Watch as Rolfe moves his taser from his right hand to his left and reaches towards his handgun. That's when Brooks turns and fires the taser and Rolfe shoots firing three times at Brooks as he flees.

Bystanders almost immediately begin cursing and shouting at the officers.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Both of your careers are definitely gone because you just shot a man, for no reason.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ (voice over): A few minutes after he shot, Officers Rolfe and Brosnan begin to provide medical treatment.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Brooks, keep breathing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ (voice over): A short time later, Brooks is rushed by ambulance to a nearby hospital where he is later pronounced dead.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SANCHEZ (on camera): And Fred, you already noted the investigation that is now underway. Officer Rolfe, the policeman who fired those shots has been terminated. Officer Brosnan who first responded to the scene, he is on administrative duty.

Of course, Atlanta's Police Chief, Erika Shields stepped down just yesterday and we're hearing the chants behind us the outrage and grief in the community in full display -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: Yes, lots of grief and outrage indeed. All right, Boris, thank you so much. Again, the District Attorney saying that they're looking at all the evidence, all the angles of the videotape there, and that charges against Garrett Rolfe are likely to come this week.

All right, Cedric Alexander is the former President of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives and the former Director of Public Safety in De Kalb County, Georgia. Good to see you and Page Pate is a criminal defense attorney and a constitutional lawyer. Good to see you as well.

All right, gentlemen, Cedric, you first. You know, one of the first things that that happened here after the shooting is that the Police Chief of Atlanta would resign. Your reaction to her decision.

CEDRIC ALEXANDER, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, that's decision I'm quite sure was made with her and the Mayor and I'm quite sure they did that in a very respectable way, and they came to a decision which would be at best interests of the city.

So, that decision was made and we'll see what comes, you know, what's forthcoming after that.

WHITFIELD: All right -- yes.

ALEXANDER: It was a decision that they made that would be in the best interest of the city overall.

WHITFIELD: Okay, let's zero in on a portion of the video. You know, take a look at this moment, you know, after the tussle. Rayshard Brooks, you know, running with a taser as we saw in that reporting from Boris there.

He turns and appears, you know, he's about to fire that taser and then the officer use his right hand with the revolver even though he had switched hands from what could have been the use of his taser. How do you evaluate that? Cedric, what is an officer trained to do here knowing that the subject is not armed with a lethal weapon?

ALEXANDER: Well, first of all, let's understand and I think we have to be very clear about this. The officers had reason to be there. They were called there by the establishment there at Wendy's.

WHITFIELD: But that's not the issue. It's the issue of the decision making.

ALEXANDER: Right, I'm going to get to that. But the point that I'm making is I want to be clear that they had a reason to be there. So, what I'm saying is, at the time of that shooting, when an officer pulls his service weapon, he pulled his service weapon, obviously feeling that he was at threat.

Now, I can't speak to why he should have done that. I can't speak to his training policy.

WHITFIELD: Well, I am asking you to evaluate what you've seen, though, because we know that that might be a reason that the officer uses the justification of firing the weapon, but based on what all of us are looking at, and we know because even GBI -- Georgia Bureau of Investigation said that Mr. Brooks grabbed the taser and it appears he turns to use the taser.

It had been established he didn't have a lethal weapon and now a decision is made. What is the training for police officer confronting a situation like that? Is it to deescalate? Is to take down the subject? Is it to do what we saw?

[15:10:09]

ALEXANDER: He had a number of options he could have taken, and the one that he took, Fred, is the one that he took that we see in this particular video.

Now, they could have continued to chase him. They could have set up a barricade. They could have done a number of things. But that officer in that particular moment at that time, that decision he made, I can't tell you really that was a trained decision or that was a decision he made.

Now, that's going to come out in this investigation because part of investigation to those investigative bodies, he is going to have to be able to articulate why he felt his life was a threat.

And it wasn't so much that the taser itself was a deadly weapon. It was a dangerous weapon. So that DA and that investigate body there and the GBI are going to make that determination, but to people who are watching that video.

What people are very sick and tired of is that could there have been some alternative measure that could have been taken at the top of this investigation such as giving Mr. Brooks a ride home, calling an Uber? Did he really have to be arrested from the get go?

And no matter how people look at this video today, people are so enraged and angry at this very moment. None of it will make sense to them because it is another dead man who has lost his life at the hands of a police officer. WHITFIELD: Yes. Many are going to argue. There's only one way to look

at that video because it shows you kind of front to end, so Page, you know, I spoke to the Fulton County District Attorney who says they are gathering evidence or you know, assessing charges, looking at all the angles of the video and they're assessing charges ranging from murder to voluntary manslaughter. Listen to what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HOWARD: That charge is a charge that is directly related to an intent to kill. The second charge is felony murder and that is a charge that involves a death that comes as a result of the commission of an underlying felony, and in this case, that underlying felony would be aggravated assault.

The only other charge that might make any sense at all would be some voluntary manslaughter charge. But, I believe in this instance, what we have to choose between if there's a choice to be made is between murder and felony murder.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: Page, how do you see all this?

PAGE PATE, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, Fred, I think it's either murder or it's nothing because there's no question that when he fired his service weapon, he intended to kill Mr. Taylor. There's no doubt about it. It wasn't an attempt to shoot him in the leg, shoot him in the arm, fire off a warning shot, so, he intended to kill him.

Now, the only question is going to be, was that justified? Was he in reasonable fear that he was about to be killed himself? It is not just, I think that this guy may hurt me. I think he may hurt someone else. Is Mr. Taylor at that point a risk of death or serious violent injury to the officer or someone else close by? If he is not, then you have no right to take his life.

WHITFIELD: So, not only are the actions being evaluated, but you heard Paul Howard, if you listened to my interview with him earlier, he also said he is listening to the words and he heard in that videotape the officer, Mr. Rolfe, say, "I got him" after the lethal, fatal shot was fired.

So Page, how does that assist prosecutors going after this officer?

PATE: Well, clearly, Fred, it shows that that intent was there. I intended to shoot him. I intended to kill him. Now, again, the officer I'm sure is going to say my actions were justified and I will promise you this, but for those videos that were made on the scene, we wouldn't be talking about this. There wouldn't be any considerate prosecution of this officer, because there was at least some attempt by the individual to pull some sort of weapon and aim it towards an officer.

Last year, five years ago, 10 years ago, that would have been the end of the story. But now, we've been able to see it play out in real time. And to see that that officer did have other options. There was no reason to shoot to kill when the officer absolutely knew that the only weapon the man had was a taser, and he wasn't even firing it in any way that could have harmed the officer at that time.

So, I think it shows the intent. The question is going to be, is there a defense? Was the shooting justified? Ultimately, that may be up to a jury?

WHITFIELD: Among those questions, Cedric, that remains, you know, how is lethal force the response to someone who fails a sobriety test, struggles with police, takes a taser, runs and tries to use a nonlethal taser on the officer, misses, as Page was saying and then ends up dead.

ALEXANDER: Yes, well, you know, I agree with everything that Page just said and I'm very clear about that. Because I think there could have been some other options and I think that's what the community is asking in a situation such as this. Could some other steps have been taken from the first moment of interaction up to the time of that shooting?

[15:15:09]

ALEXANDER: So that is what people are sick and tired of. That is what people are questioning, and they have a right to question them because they're tired of seeing this same old footage over and over and over again, and we all -- and people are afraid, people are scared, people are afraid for their sons and daughters and husbands and uncles to get in the car and be stopped by police. It is not supposed to be that way. But unfortunately, it is, and that's the environment we're in.

So, I wish that office had had taken some other alternative. They have a number of things they could have done, quite frankly. But he is going to have to articulate his reasoning for that, as you just heard Page state.

WHITFIELD: All right, Cedric Alexander, Page Pate, we'll leave it there for now. Gentlemen, thank you so much.

ALEXANDER: Thank you.

PATE: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right. We've heard a lot about implicit biases lately. What is it? How to correct these behaviors, especially within the law enforcement community? Up next, how one organization is tackling this by training police.

Plus, the protests nationwide in the wake of George Floyd's death are historic, and the Smithsonian is making sure no one forgets this movement. Still to come, how they are already preserving protest mementos?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:20:28] WHITFIELD: Since hosting our "Unconscious Bias" one-hour special last

Sunday evening, we're continuing the conversation this weekend about what implicit biases are and how we can recognize them and fix them especially when preconceived judgments stand in the way of progress.

Joining me right now to discuss is Leland Hardy, the Founder and Director of racialbias.org, which works to help police departments identify biases in its ranks, assist in reform and mend relations between police and the communities they serve. Leland, good to see you.

LELAND HARDY, FOUNDER AND DIRECTOR, RACIALBIAS.ORG: It's good to see you, Fredricka. Thank you for having me on.

WHITFIELD: So first off before we talk about your program, you know what is your reaction to this Atlanta police shooting of 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks?

HARDY: Well, first of all, I want to offer my sincerest condolences to the family of Mr. Brooks. I understand he had young children, and that he had an eight-year-old girl who was celebrating her birthday, expecting her father to come home to celebrate with her.

So, my sincerest condolences to the family.

I was fortunate to hear the comments of the District Attorney and to see him on your air saying very, very carefully looking at what's transpired and if charges if warranted will be served, and I just think it's a further evidence of the need for de-escalation.

This is arguably one of the more de-escalatable encounters between police and what ended up being a deceased when the gentleman was literally sleeping in his vehicle. So, it's just another example that we have that kind of speaks exactly to what we do as an organization.

WHITFIELD: So, you know, one of the tools of de-escalation, I know you're a big advocate of, you know, disarming people of their biases. And now we talk about the Minneapolis City Council unanimously passing a resolution to create a transformative new model for cultivating safety, including community engagement, and structural change.

So, how vital is bias training in the ranks? And what should it look like? You've also reached out to Minneapolis to see how you can assist. What is the suggestion that you have?

HARDY: Well, first of all, we were fortunate in our case where we had a very proactive Police Chief down in what was known as the most racist police department in America down in Gretna, Louisiana, which had the title, the arrest capital of America because they arrested more minority persons per capita in every other city in the country.

They came to us and said, you know, we need to get ahead of this. We haven't had someone, you know, whenever officers murder civilians or anything, we want to get ahead and they brought us in.

Of course, we had a team that consists of -- part of it was the foremost criminologist in America, Dr. Peter Sharp --

WHITFIELD: And let me show real quick because we're about to lose our signal because it's very difficult to hear you, but then you're not taking a tactical approach in this training, but you are trying to change people's thinking. How do you get at that?

HARDY: Well, what we do, we have a very direct protocol and very direct pedagogy we have developed. We train officers in the non- tactical aspects, emotional intelligence, helping to understand how you control your emotions, how do you engage with individuals who are not of your culture, and part of that involves a great deal of training.

We do a great deal of role playing. We have an Emmy nominated actor Ameer Baraka. We have Dr. Sharp who has a degree from Harvard in Criminology. And we use role playing, these reenactments from videos. We go directly to the source and ask, what have been the bias that you have? Have you ever used the N word?

We also have their peers call them out. If an officer is acting being racist, then that has to be called up. The department has to act swiftly and immediately to remove those individuals from their ranks.

So we have very science based protocols that we use that allows police departments to identify those who in their ranks, who can be identified as potential problem sources and then eradicate them.

In addition, we have a social media component of our training. So you can't post things on social media without tremendous repercussions especially in the state --

WHITFIELD: Leland Hardy. You are very confident in your three-day program, but at the same time when you work with these departments you also follow up throughout the year. I know we'll have you back, because there's still so much unfinished business and we really appreciate your time today. Leland Hardy, Director of racialbias.org. Thank you.

HARDY: Thank you.

[15:25:19]

WHITFIELD: All right tonight, join Laura Coates with four of the nation's top mayors D.C.'s Muriel Bowser, Atlanta's Keisha Lance Bottoms, Chicago's Lori Lightfoot in San Francisco's London Breed. "Mayors Who Matter," a CNN Town Hall on race and COVID-19 live tonight at nine.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:30:01]

WHITFIELD: All right, the numbers of people just seems to continue to grow. You're looking at Los Angeles Hollywood Boulevard and just take a look at how many people just to see if humanity there out in full force, fighting against injustices, all fighting for racial equality. We will keep an eye on the growing protests in many of the major cities across the country right now particularly Los Angeles, downtown Los Angeles.

All right happening right now, also in New York, Black Trans Lives Matter. Protesters have begun marching in New York following a rally outside the Brooklyn Museum. CNN's Evan McMorris-Santoro is there for us.

So, Evan, what's happening? You're marching with?

EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Fred. By now, this scene should be familiar. Hundreds if not thousands of New Yorkers marching around downtown Brooklyn in peaceful civil disobedient, emotional protest trying to make some change in society.

The chant here is a little different, not just Black Lives Matter, but Black Trans Lives Matter. This moment in America is coming on Pride Month and people here want to send a different message to the people watching at home and all over -- the government all over the country that black trans lives are a part of this conversation -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: Evan McMorris-Santoro, we will keep tabs with you there out of New York. Appreciate that.

All right, right now in Florida, NASCAR is holding its First Cup series race since banning the Confederate flag being flown. NASCAR telling fans they may no longer wave the flag many Americans view as a reminder of slavery in the wake of nationwide Civil Rights protests as this welcomes a limited number of fans back to the stands today.

CNN sports correspondent Carolyn Manno joining me now with more on this. Carolyn, so this is a major shift for NASCAR.

CAROLYN MANNO, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, absolutely, Fred, and I think drivers for the most part are very supportive of this decision, which a lot of people feel was very, very overdue, and the sport fans, that's going to be a different story. We're going to have to see when they get back in full attendance, whether or not they're going to adhere to these new guidelines, this precedent that NASCAR is setting and that's the key moving forward. It is going to be enforcement of this.

That's something that falls on NASCAR and the tracks themselves to really police this and make sure that Confederate flags no longer have a place in the sport. It's not, you know, on teams or individual drivers themselves to do that sort of thing.

They do have a little bit of runway here, Fred, to kind of get these protocols in place, to make sure that they're really going to put their money where their mouth is and take a firm stand and prove that they are really listening to what's happening nationally and not just kind of falling in line with what other sports have done.

But you know, Fred, the other thing that NASCAR really needs to do is that they need to acknowledge that they have not shied away from pushing this myth, this narrative that the Confederate flag is somehow a symbol of southern racing culture and not exactly what it is, which is a symbol of racism and division and hatred.

I mean, the Confederate flag is very much woven into the history of NASCAR. So, they're really going to have to show through action over the next couple of months that they're prepared to deal with this challenge and not just fade away, keep their foot on the gas, so to speak -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: Carolyn Manno, thank you so much for that. All right, we are days away from President Trump's campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Reports are hundreds of thousands plan to attend. Will this put attendees at risk?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:35:35]

WHITFIELD: A top Trump Cabinet member and one of the few African- Americans in the President's administration says it's time for America to grow up and stop being offended about everything related to race.

Housing Secretary Ben Carson's comments came today when he was asked if it was appropriate for the President to give his actual acceptance speech at the G.O.P. Convention in Jacksonville on August 27th. That date is the 60th Anniversary of an attack by a white mob organized by the Ku Klux Klan on mostly black Civil Rights protesters in that Florida city.

Former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, blasted Carson's comments.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STACEY ABRAMS, FORMER GEORGIA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: I think that is a fairly infantile response, actually to say that words don't have meanings, that dates don't have meanings, and that dates don't have power.

This is from the administration that on the Fourth Anniversary of the Pulse murders of the LGBTQ community stripped away health protections for that community.

This is the same person who had to be convinced that having a rally that would necessarily and has traditionally attracted people who do not care about black lives that they were going to have this rally in Tulsa at the sight of a black massacre.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: The massacre Abrams rare references happened in Tulsa 99 years ago. Carson's comments follow the President's decision to move the rally in Tulsa by a day after criticism that it was falling on -- the rally was falling on June 19 or Juneteenth, the date slaves in Texas finally learned of their freedom nearly two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation. Well today, contradictory explanations on why the President moved the

event and what Trump and his advisors knew about the significance of that day.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TOM SCOTT (R-SC): My understanding is he moved the date once he understood that Juneteenth -- I'm not sure that the planners on his inner circle team thought about June 19, Tulsa Oklahoma race riots, unless you're doing a historical check, you probably don't get those dots connected.

BEN CARSON, SECRETARY OF H.U.D.: I did talk to the President about the Juneteenth event, I was pleasantly surprised at how much he knew about it already and knew about the black Walls Street there and the whole history of it, and was thinking about making some remarks to acknowledge what had happened there and why we don't want that kind of situation to ever occur in this country again.

But you know, it is what it is. And it's probably good to have moved it.

[15:40:18]

WHITFIELD: CNN's Kristen Holmes joins us now. So Kristen, the President's rally set for Saturday in Tulsa, aside from the racial, you know, significance there, it comes at a time when coronavirus cases are rising in multiple states.

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Fred, and not just in multiple states, but I was looking through the Tulsa Health Department information from just last week and they're seeing a spike in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Now, this is a campaign, a rally that they are expecting tens of thousands of people to be at. Now, just to make this clear, how many people they are expecting? There is talk of adding a second event that is how much interest there has been in this Trump rally in Tulsa.

But besides having all of these potentially massive crowds, it seems as though they are not that concerned about taking precautions. As of now, I've talked to a local official on the ground who said that they aren't planning on social distancing and that right now, they want to pack in that arena. It fits 20,000 people, and of course, as I mentioned, there might be a second event that will have also a lot of people, big crowds.

The other big thing here, masks will be optional. Now, again, they're going to come out with those finalized details at the beginning of the week, but this is what they're telling me right now. No masks are mandatory, and that there will not be social distancing -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: And people sign a release, saying they're going at their own risk as well. All right, Kristen Holmes, thank you so much.

All right, I want to bring in now Dr. Patrice Harris. She's a psychiatrist and the former head of the American Medical Association. Good to see you, Dr. Harris.

So, we're seeing tens of thousands of people sign up for this rally that the President will be hosting and they'll be signing, you know, this waiver saying we're not going to sue you if anything were to happen to our health. So, what is the scenario that you see potentially building with thousands of people gathering in a closed space, potentially not even being required to wear masks?

DR. PATRICE HARRIS, FORMER HEAD OF AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION: Well, it's very concerning. The virus is still here. You know, we've been hearing people talk about a second wave, but clearly we are still in the first wave and there are risks. The risks are individual, and certainly, the risks vary depending on where you live in this country and whether or not you have health risks or whether or not you wear a mask or not, but the risk is still out there.

And you know what? We can understand that people feel there is less risk out there. It is quarantine fatigue. We don't have that original biological response, but we need everyone to know that the risk is still there and we still need to remain vigilant.

WHITFIELD: So, that's a different battle, isn't it? Because people are feeling quarantine fatigue. They want to go out and do their thing. And, you know, sometimes they just feel like you know what, either I'm feeling really optimistic, I'm not going to get anything or at this point, you know, I'll deal with it as it comes.

So, what do you tell people when that's kind of the rationale that they're using. They just want to go back to doing things.

HARRIS: I can tell people that I can understand it. It's almost biology. I mean, just think of when a false fire alarm goes off a lot, maybe in a building. You tend to have less of a vigilant response the 10th time it goes off.

But that does not mean the risk is still -- it does not mean that the risk is not there. And so I need for everyone to continue to heed the warnings about the risk, make sure they were masks. Certainly outdoors is better than indoors. We need to continue to maintain good hand hygiene and hand washing techniques. Those things still matter today. And they are just as important as they were three months ago.

WHITFIELD: Dr. Patrice Harris, thank you so much.

HARRIS: You're welcome. Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right. As you've just seen, COVID-19 has created worldwide chaos since the disease emerged late last year and while its exact origins are still uncertain, scientists believe that the virus came from bats.

Tonight, Anderson Cooper explores the world of bats, their importance to our ecology and economy and how these winged creatures can carry thousands of viruses without getting sick themselves.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST (voice over): In the last 20 years, some of

the deadliest virus outbreaks have come from bats. SARS, Marburg, Ebola -- so what is it about these creatures and the way they spread pathogens that can be so dangerous?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The fact that bats are carrying viruses is not in and of itself extraordinary. Every animal has its normal suite of viruses and bacteria that it normally carries.

I mean, people do as well. We carry viruses. We carry bacteria. The majority of which are benign or beneficial, some of which cause disease.

It's the fact that bats do tend to carry a higher proportion of viruses that have the ability to infect people.

The question is really, you know, why do we see some of these incredibly bad viruses coming out of bats?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[15:45:33]

WHITFIELD: Wow. So, how do viruses jump from bats to humans and can we stop the next pandemic? Learn that and much more on CNN's special report "Bats: The Mystery Behind COVID-19," tonight at 10 Eastern.

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[15:50:23]

WHITFIELD: All right, welcome back in Washington, D.C. Curators from the Smithsonian Institution are showing up at rallies to document history. They're speaking with protesters, collecting signs that could one day make it into a museum. Here with me now to discuss, Aaron Bryant. He is a curator for the National Museum of African-American History and Culture. Aaron, good to see you.

AARON BRYANT, CURATOR, NATIONAL MUSEUM OF AFRICAN-AMERICAN HISTORY AND CULTURE: Yes, nice seeing you as well.

WHITFIELD: Well, this is a colossal undertaking, because there are so many protests now that are sweeping across the country. What are you looking for? What's the contact that you're making with demonstrators?

BRYANT: Well, for me, the process begins with reaching out to people, cultivating relationships with communities, and talking to people about their stories, the stories behind the objects that you'd like to collect and then later share.

But in many cases, the process might begin with people reaching out to us through social media or the museum's website. If you go to the nmaahc.si.edu, you can contact us that way. Reach out to us by e-mail.

And so that's how the process begins. WHITFIELD: Well, once you know, gather a lot of the artifacts,

mementos, have you made a decision on how to showcase them ultimately? Because there's so many different sections within the museum, you know, that talk about different journeys, different movements, and they're memorialized in different ways.

Have you already made a decision on how these will be showcased? Or what story will they tell?

BRYANT: Well, not just yet. Primarily, we're interested in making sure we preserve this history. I mean, right now we're in such a significant transformation in the life of the nation, and so, it's really important that we collect and preserve these memories, and this history. So, that's where the process begins for us.

But in terms of the museum and how we're organized, the museum is organized around the principles of history, culture, and community and so with current protests, they really do touch on every single gallery in our museum, from visual arts to music to our culture galleries, as well as history, our community galleries that focus on the ways that African-American Associations have come together to work on behalf of the black community, and even sports with current protests. There are ways for us to collect around sports as well.

WHITFIELD: A lot of these demonstrations are taking place right outside your doorstep there. You know, on The Mall, on Pennsylvania Avenue, Constitution and people are there. So are you and your team members going out actually approaching demonstrators taking, I guess, photographs of what you're seeing and incorporating it into what will eventually be a story told?

BRYANT: Yes, absolutely. I mean, I think it is incumbent on us. One of the principles, particularly for our museum, we're also working with the Anacostia Community Museum in Washington, D.C., as well as the National Museum of American History.

And I think, between the three museums, it's really important for us to be out in the community, talking to people, getting their stories, because when we collect artifacts, and when we present artifacts, it's really important to us that there is some sort of humanity behind it.

There was an individual story that speaks to every American. So, getting out in the community during this time and collecting is really important. We want to save not just the artifact, we want to save those voices.

WHITFIELD: And as a curator, is this different for you? Because you are living this experience like everybody else, and at the same time, you know, zeroing in on the treasures, that are artifacts to be put on display there, as opposed to usually there's some great distance between, you know, you collecting and years, you know, generations that come between you. How is this different?

BRYANT: Well, it's different as you mentioned. I'm a part of that history, but you know, history is made by ordinary people every single day and that's one of the things that we really focus on at the National Museum of African-American History, how ordinary people were able to step up and participate in changing the course of history through taking extraordinary measures.

So, whether it's me going out and talking to some of these protesters, who are organizing demonstrations, or me thinking about protests that was organized during the 1960s, it's really the same. It's about the human story behind these events, and how everyday people were able to change the course of history.

[15:55:16]

WHITFIELD: All right. We'll leave it there. Aaron Bryan, thank you so much, and all the best.

BRYANT: Thank you very much.

WHITFIELD: And thank you so much for joining me this Sunday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. The NEWSROOM continues with Ana Cabrera right after this.

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