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New Body Cam Video Shows Arrest, Shooting of Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta; 20th Day of Nationwide Protests Against Racial Injustice; Growing Concern Over Coronavirus Resurgence in America. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired June 14, 2020 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CABRERA: Our thanks to Tom Foreman for that. And that does it for me today. Thank you for being with me. I'm Ana Cabrera. A special edition of "THE SITUATION ROOM" with Wolf Blitzer starts right now.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington. This is a special of THE SITUATION ROOM.
We're now in the 20th straight day of protests in cities throughout the United States. George Floyd's death was the initial spark but as the movement enters its fourth week, it's now also fueled by the death of 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks. Police shot and killed him Friday night in an Atlanta drive-through, seen here live in our aerial shot.
As protesters gathered at the Wendy's restaurant where it happened, the fallout was swift. Not even 24 hours after the fatal shooting, the Atlanta police chief stepped down. Overnight, we learned the officer who shot Brooks, Garrett Rolfe, was fired. And earlier here on CNN, the district attorney says he's weighing murder charges for that officer.
(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. I believe in this instance what we have to choose between, if there is a choice to be made, is between murder and felony murder.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Today, as part of the homicide investigation, an autopsy of Rayshard Brooks was conducted and Atlanta Police released body cam footage of the incident. CNN's Boris Sanchez walks us through what those videos show. We want to warn our viewers some of the footage you're about to see is disturbing.
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Responding to a call from a Wendy's in south Atlanta Friday night, Officer David Brosnan approaches Rayshard Brooks' car.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's up, my man? Hey, what's going on, man? Hey. Hey, man, you're parked in the middle of a drive-thru line here. Hey, sir. What's up, man? Hey, you're parked in a drive-thru right now. Hey, sir, you all right?
SANCHEZ: Asleep in the drive-thru lane, police body cam footage shows the 27-year-old does not respond right away.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you just tired? All right, man. I'll move my car. Just pull up somewhere and take a nap. All right. All right, are you good?
RAYSHARD BROOKS, SUSPECT: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right.
SANCHEZ: Brooks eventually wakes up and agrees to move his car before he appears to fall asleep again.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My man, it doesn't mean go back to sleep. You've got to move your car. You're going back to sleep.
SANCHEZ: Brooks moves to a nearby parking spot where Brosnan asks --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How much did you drink tonight? Not much? How much is not much? You say one drink, what kind of drink was it?
BROOKS: Maybe that's one little margarita.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How about -- are you on any drugs today?
BROOKS: I don't do drugs.
SANCHEZ: Brooks struggles to find his license and tries to step out of the car.
BROOKS: I'm going to get out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, just stay in the car for a minute. All right. Just stay in the car, man. Just look for your license.
SANCHEZ: Brosnan then radios for another officer to conduct a DUI test.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's pretty out of it. Definitely got some good amount on him right now.
SANCHEZ: When officer Garrett Rolfe arrives, Brooks denies ever having been asleep.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The reason why we're here is because somebody called 911 because you were asleep behind the wheel while you're in the drive-thru, right? Do you recall that?
BROOKS: I don't. I don't. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don't recall that? You don't recall just
minutes ago where you were passed out behind the wheel in the drive- thru?
SANCHEZ: He agrees to a breathalyzer test, says he can't remember how much he had to drink and then he tells police --
BROOKS: I know, I know. You just doing your job.
SANCHEZ: When Rolfe tries to handcuff Brooks, he resists. Witness video shows Brosnan readying his taser.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're going to get tased.
SANCHEZ: Brooks grabs it out of his hand.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hands off the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) taser.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stop.
SANCHEZ: Breaking free, Brooks punches Rolfe who fires his stun gun as Brooks takes off. And here's the moment the altercation becomes deadly. We slow 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.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stop. Stop.
SANCHEZ: Bystanders almost immediately begin cursing and shouting at the officers.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Both of your careers are definitely done because you just shot a man for no reason.
SANCHEZ: A few minutes after he's shot, Officers Rolfe and Brosnan begin to provide medical treatment.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Brooks, keep breathing.
SANCHEZ: A short time later Brooks is rushed by ambulance to a nearby hospital where he's later pronounced dead.
BLITZER: Our special thanks to Boris Sanchez for that report.
Joining us now, L. Chris Stewart, he's the attorney for the family of Rayshard Brooks. Chris, thank you once again for joining us. First of all, give us any
update you can on where the investigation stands, where the case stands right now.
L. CHRIS STEWART, ATTORNEY FOR FAMILY OF RAYSHARD BROOKS: We're waiting on the decision from the district attorney, Paul Howard. We saw the statement that he put out, the options that he's weighing and we're continuing to keep trying to find witnesses and video of the incident.
BLITZER: Well, based on the video we've all seen, Chris, right now, what's your analysis of what we've seen?
STEWART: It showed you what kind of person Mr. Brooks was in the beginning of this incident. It's literally what you tell people how to act when an officer approaches you. Even though he had had something to drink, he was polite. He was using sir. He was conducted a 20 to 30-minute sobriety test. Did the leg stand, did everything possible. And it should have ended when he said, simply, can I walk to my sister's house? I'll lock my car. It should have ended right there. That's what citizen policing is about. You let him just walk home. He's not driving. He's not going to harm anybody. He's coherent. Let him walk home.
BLITZER: But he had been driving -- he drove to the -- he drove to the Wendy's, right?
STEWART: Yes, he did drive to the Wendy's.
BLITZER: Because I assume the police were suspicious about if he was driving under the -- you know, while drunk. But you make an important point, though, he did say, I'll leave my car at the Wendy's and I'll walk to my sister's house, but that clearly wasn't good enough for the police.
STEWART: It wasn't good enough for Officer Rolfe. The first officer appeared to be contemplating, he said pull over there and apparently take a nap or sleep it off. The first officer actually was being polite, was trying to be understanding, and it escalated once Rolfe got there who didn't want to allow any type of compassion or empathy or understanding or even let this man just walk home.
BLITZER: Because when he started to handcuff him and put his hands behind his back, that's when Rayshard Brooks started to resist, right?
BLITZER: Should he have resisted at that point or should he just complied?
STEWART: Well, I mean, I can't get into the mind of what he was thinking at that point. I'm sure that, you know, having had a few drinks, maybe he didn't believe that he should be arrested at that point. But, you know, it's beyond the point. You know, what happened in that moment when he resisted doesn't allow a police officer to become judge, jury and executioner. We watch videos all the time where it is a Caucasian individual or a
person of a different race that resists and lives. We've watched videos of a person go do a mass shooting and live. There was absolutely no reason for him to die because he resisted and ran away.
BLITZER: The Fulton County district attorney, as you know, Paul Howard, says a decision on charges against this police officer who shot Brooks will be made, and I'm quoting him now, sometime around Wednesday, and that three charges were relevant under consideration, murder, felony murder, or voluntary manslaughter. What's your reaction to that?
STEWART: Just totally up to the district attorney's office. I try to stay out of the criminal charges or the work being done by the district attorney and just handle what we can do on our side. You know, we don't want to have any role in tainting the view of what happens with the criminal charges.
BLITZER: You have confidence in this district attorney?
STEWART: I have confidence in any district attorney that sees a videotape like this where an officer's life was not in the immediate threat of losing his life or immediate harm. It was a taser which falls under the exact category of pepper spray and a baton. So if he had been running with pepper spray and sprayed it backwards or waved the baton at the cop, should he have been shot then?
BLITZER: Basically what you're saying is when he started to run away, the police officer should have just let him run away and they could find a way to catch him later, they obviously had a name -- they had his car, they would have found him, he shouldn't have taken out his gun and basically shot him in the back?
STEWART: Yes. What it is with a lot of policing and they're trained to do an examination of the totality of the situation. They saw that this individual was not aggressive in the beginning. They did a full pat down so they knew he wasn't armed, they knew he didn't have a gun. They had his license, they had his vehicle, they had his keys. He wasn't going anywhere. And if he did, they could find him. He ran away with the taser which falls into the category of OC spray and a baton. He wasn't posing an immediate risk to anyone, but yet the officer opened fire in a packed parking lot.
BLITZER: You want the DA to charge him with what? With murder?
STEWART: We want the DA to charge him with any of the different degrees that he's looking at right now. like I said, I'm not going to comment on Paul Howard's investigation.
BLITZER: Because that police officer, as you know, he's been fired. The other police officer who was there, he's been reassigned, basically, to clerical duty. Should the second police officer who didn't fire the shots, should he be charged as well? STEWART: We're still looking into his behavior once the chase started.
I will say that his behavior when the entire incident began is what policing is supposed to be, as polite as he was, as understanding, even looking like he was going to let him park on the side and sleep it off. You know, that's the whole thing that I'm trying to get this entire country to get back to is community before search and destroy.
It is -- there will be situations where you have to give people a break, where you let someone sleep it off, where you let someone lay down or walk home instead of putting cuffs on them. But we're just too militarized in our policing in the community.
BLITZER: Tell us how the family of Rayshard Brooks is doing right now. I know you represent that family, the kids, everybody else. How are they doing?
STEWART: We can't really describe it. I mean, think about an 8-year- old who now on top of her birthday is also going to remember that this is the day her dad was murdered on video for the rest of her life. So I'll just leave it at that.
BLITZER: Yes, it's a sad -- and yesterday was her birthday, right?
STEWART: Yes. And, you know, they're just trying to make it through.
BLITZER: Yes. Well, give the family our love, obviously. And we'll stay in very, very close touch with you. Thank you so much for joining us. This is a heartbreaking situation in Atlanta. We've certainly seen the fallout unfold.
Chris Stewart is the attorney for the family of Rayshard Brooks. Thanks so much for joining us.
STEWART: All right. Thanks, Wolf.
BLITZER: We'll continue this conversation down the road for sure.
We're also continuing to monitor nationwide protests now for the 20th straight day as demonstrators around the United States are calling for an end to racial injustice. We'll speak with the former president of the NAACP.
Stay with us, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: We're continuing to see nationwide protests calling for an end to racial injustice here in the United States. The protests now in their 20th day.
I want to bring in Ben Jealous right now. He's the former president of the NAACP and he's the president-elect for People for the American Way. Ben, thank you so much for joining us. You've lived through events
like this before, specifically in Baltimore, notably the case of Freddie Gray, a black man who died after being taken for a rough ride by police. Six officers were later charged but, as you well remembered, they were eventually acquitted or have charges dropped against them.
So what do George Floyd, now Rayshard Brooks mean Black Lives Matter, for the movement and for the fight for racial justice in our country?
BEN JEALOUS, FORMER PRESIDENT, NAACP: Well, this moment shows us that we're at a tipping point. What black folks have not been allowed to forget for hundreds of years, everybody in our country has been forced to watch for three decades. I think everybody is fed up and tired of seeing black lives devalued and destroyed so senselessly. And both of these were caught on video, Freddie Gray, it happened in the back of a van. And, you know, there was frankly the one person whose testimony would matter most is dead.
It would be much easier to prosecute George Floyd. It'd be much easier to prosecute this latest case in Atlanta as well. I'm hopeful that we will keep going much further. I think the biggest news of the last few days that comes out of Colorado where they -- finally that state ended qualified immunity. We need to see more of that at the state level, the city level, at the local level.
We have no hope that Donald Trump is going to give us any real relief, but there's a lot that can be done at the state level, at the county level, at the city level.
BLITZER: We'll see if that happens. Senator Tim Scott, South Carolina Republican as you know, he says the Brooks case in Atlanta isn't the same as the Floyd case. Listen to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TIM SCOTT (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: That situation is certainly a far less clear one than the ones that we saw with George Floyd and several other ones around the country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: You agree that the circumstances are less clear in this most recent case?
JEALOUS: You know, this is a distinction without a difference. Obviously, they are very different cases, certainly a man being strangled for eight minutes and 46 seconds caught on video is perhaps the most jarring thing that we've ever seen. And yet, we know that a DUI stop should not result in you being killed.
We know that a taser is not a lethal weapon so there was no reason for the officer to fear for his life. What this looks like, as in so many cases, frankly, the officer was more concerned about making sure that this man did exactly what he told him to and the consequence of that was death. I mean, you should not run away from an officer. At the same time running away from an officer is not cause for death. You're not -- it's the opposite of threatening the officer. A taser is not a lethal weapon. It's just not.
BLITZER: Yes, and if you're unarmed, except for a taser which is not, you correctly point out, not a lethal weapon, even if you run away, that doesn't -- you don't deserve the death sentence, you don't deserve to die, to be shot in the back as you're running away and killed as a result of that especially when the police will have opportunities to catch you down the road in the not-too-distant future.
Republican Senator James Lankford of Oklahoma is co-sponsoring a bill with Senator Scott on police reforms. He told our Jake Tapper earlier today that he supports a ban on chokeholds. This comes after the House minority leader Kevin McCarthy said the same. Are you encouraged to hear that?
JEALOUS: Sure. I mean, the way that this works in criminal justice reform is you'll find common cause with some Republicans on some reforms and you've got to take that victory and keep on moving. But let's be clear, those are very specific reforms that are part of a much broader range of reforms that are needed if we're going to transform public safety in this country and ensure that everybody can be confident that their son will come home or their daughter will come home that night.
And that's really what we're dealing with is this deep-set fear amongst black children that our children are not safe, our loved ones are not safe. And in order to get to that place, we're going to need to change everything, frankly, about public safety in this country. So getting rid of one technique, yes, that's progress. It's a small step.
BLITZER: Yes, the situation right now is a critical situation here in the United States. Let's hope there is some significant progress and we're all counting on that.
Ben Jealous, as usual, thanks so much for joining us.
JEALOUS: Thank you, Wolf. Good to be here.
BLITZER: We're continuing to monitor those nationwide protests, now on their 20th day. But also staying on top of the coronavirus pandemic. I'll have much more on that, all the day's news.
Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: We're covering the nationwide protests. Look at this, live pictures coming in from Atlanta. That's the Wendy's which was the site of the shooting of Rayshard Brooks Friday night. It was burned in the unrest last night. That followed -- we're staying on top of this story. Much more on that coming up.
And we're also staying on top of the pandemic that has been ravaging our country now for months. Here in the United States, coronavirus cases are now clearly on the rise in a number of states. As of Saturday, 18 states were trending upward in new reported cases, several are seeing record or near-record highs.
Last week the U.S. reached a troubling milestone of more than two million confirmed cases and the CDC's latest ensemble forecast predicts the U.S. death toll could be around 130,000 by the Fourth of July. That's coming up pretty soon.
Joining us now, Dr. Ashish Jha, he's the director for the Harvard Global Health Institute.
Dr. Jha, thanks so much for joining us. Unfortunately, we still don't have a vaccine. We don't know when we'll have a vaccine. But as states move to reopen and now with people protesting for justice in America, you're predicting an additional, perhaps as many as 100,000 deaths by September or so. Are states doing enough right now to stop that from happening?
DR. ASHISH JHA, DIRECTOR, HARVARD GLOBAL HEALTH INSTITUTE: You know, Wolf, thanks for having me on. The short answer is no. We're seeing the increases in the 18 states that you mentioned but a lot of states across the country are seeing very substantial increases in the number of cases. And the 200,000 mark that I suggest we're going to reach sometime in September largely assumes that the number of cases and the number of deaths in America remain flat throughout the summer. Obviously, if we have increases like the kind we're seeing, we might hit that grim milestone even earlier.
BLITZER: Yes. We're still having maybe 800, 900, 1,000 deaths here in the United States every single day. So if you do the math, by multiple by 30th, you can see what's happening every month. Do you suspect it's going to go down anytime soon, that number of 800 or 900 or 1,000 deaths a day?
JHA: Well, we've got to do something to bring it down. It won't naturally go down, it won't automatically go down. It will go down if we act. And actions certainly include people universally wearing masks, which I'm not seeing in a lot of the states that are opened up. Obviously, as much social distancing as possible. And then the only other tool we have left is a really aggressive testing and tracing program which most states I think are trying. But without federal help, they can't ramp up. So that's it. That's the entire set of tools that we have for preventing the 200,000 deaths by September and I'm not seeing those tools used as seriously and effectively enough.
BLITZER: President Trump is preparing to resume his political rallies in the coming days despite evidence that this kind of gathering is likely to wind up spreading the virus. I want you to listen to what White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said this morning here on CNN,
[19:30:00] on "State of the Union" about wearing masks at these rallies.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LARRY KUDLOW, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL: People must observe the safety guidelines, okay. Must. The social distancing must be observed. Face coverings in key places must be observed.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: I'm glad to see you calling for people to wear masks and I assume that that also means at the Trump rally in Tulsa, people should be wearing masks at the Trump rally in Tulsa this Saturday.
KUDLOW: Well, okay, probably so.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: So, what do you think, Doctor? These rallies that we know they will draw very, very large crowds, the upcoming rally next weekend in Tulsa are massive. Is this an outbreak potentially waiting to happen?
DR. ASHISH JHA, DIRECTOR, HARVARD GLOBAL HEALTH INSTITUTE: Yes, so any large gatherings whether they are rallies or protests increase risk, all right, so we should be very clear about that. But things that make it much worse being indoors, much worse than being outdoors, not wearing masks worse than wearing masks. And then being stationary in one place is a real problem.
So, one of the things that has made me feel a little bit better about the protests is that people are moving, they're outside, and they're largely wearing masks. So, I want a lot more people wearing masks.
The rallies really make me nervous, Wolf, because they don't have any of those mitigation factors and unless everybody is really made to wear a mask at the rally in Tulsa, I'm very worried we are going to see large outbreaks from it.
BLITZER: You would be much more comfortable if the rallies were held at an outdoor stadium as opposed to indoors, right?
JHA: Yes, and again, and then everybody was asked to wear a mask, and this wouldn't make it low -- make it no risk, it would just make it lower risk. And the goal here is it's very hard to get to zero risk, unless we're all staying at home which we can't do anymore.
But we've got to lower the risk outside, mask wearing and people being stationary in one spot for many hours is also a problem, which, you know, ideally you could mitigate in some way, but doing it inside is a real problem.
BLITZER: Yes, it's a real potential risk indeed. Dr. Jha, as usual, to you, thanks so much for what you're doing. Thanks so much for joining us.
JHA: Thanks, Wolf. BLITZER: A crowd of protesters are gathering right now outside that
Wendy's where Rayshard Brooks was shot and killed by police Friday night after an altercation. We're going to have a live report from there coming up. Stay with us.
BLITZER: Right now, we're monitoring a growing protests outside the Atlanta Wendy's where police shot and killed Rayshard Brooks Friday night after an altercation in the parking lot.
I want to go straight to CNN's Boris Sanchez. He is on the scene over there for us. So, explain Boris what's happening now.
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Wolf, yes, in just the past few minutes, an enormous caravan of cars and people showed up to this Wendy's where we had seen several different people showing up, waves of people showing up throughout the day.
I'm going to get out of the way so you can get a better -- clearer image of what's going on. There were chants. There were singing. There was music. There was even a cookout at one point. And you can see the mass of people. It looks like they may be walking toward the highway. It is just off to our left right here. I'm not sure which direction that is. But a massive crowd of people just swung by here.
It has been relatively peaceful the entire day, despite what we saw happen last night when there was arson committed on the Wendy's and it was burnt down. Now, there's a memorial to the memory of Rayshard Brooks outside of that front of the Wendy's.
I spoke to a woman named Michelle who lives just around the corner from here, Wolf. She tells me that she hasn't been able to sleep the last two nights, in part because she could hear all of the commotion that was going on right in her neighborhood just outside her window.
She says that today, coming out here today, it was her first protest and she said she wanted to feel like she was among family. Here's more of what you shared with me.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHELLE JONES, PROTESTER: Like I can't even imagine the families of the people whose lives are taken away because it takes years for some people, me, to get over people who I love that died.
So, watching it all on TV, it's like you never get over it even though you don't know them. It's just a lot of grieving.
I'm talking about myself, but I also know that it's happening to you know, my family, and this is my family. This is my neighborhood.
(END VIDEO CLIP) SANCHEZ: Some quick notes, Wolf. I should have mentioned that police
actually closed down the highway in this area earlier today. That's where it looks like those protesters are heading right now.
Again, this enormous caravan showing up just a few moments ago. Clearly, a lot of anger, a lot of grief in this crowd. They will be contending with weather, though. It has started raining. And I saw lightning strikes just a few minutes ago, Wolf.
BLITZER: It looks like they're climbing that hill over there to get back up, to try to block off potentially what? Interstate 75? That's what happened yesterday. They shut down that interstate. Is that what's happening, Boris?
SANCHEZ: From my vantage point, Wolf, if I can't tell you exactly what's happening on the highway, actually, I'm stepping over just a bit further and it looks like folks are actually walking on the Interstate right now.
Again, police showed up in this area shortly afternoon today, they closed off several streets nearby and we know that they shut off a portion of the Interstate and from where I'm standing now, I'm not sure if the camera could reach over there, but they are on the highway as we speak.
And it looks like there are actually several people on top of a police vehicle, too, not actual law enforcement officers, but protesters -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Yes, they're there on the highway there. Clearly, their intention seems to be to shut down this Interstate 75. You see a police officer there in front of the flag. These are affiliates showing us what's going on, on that. I-75, a major interstate in the Atlanta area.
BLITZER: You know, I want you to stand by, Boris, we're going to get back to you. But right now, I want to continue our conversation. We will continue to show our viewers the pictures of what's happening on that I-75 as these protests are sweeping the country in the wake of George Floyd's death.
I want to bring in the Mayor of Dallas, Texas, who had said he sees hope in the fight against racial injustice here in our country. Eric Johnson is joining us now.
Now, Mayor, what do you think? Are you still expressing hope that we're going to see some major changes unfold as far as racial justice in our country is concerned?
MAYOR ERIC JOHNSON (D), DALLAS, TEXAS: I really do, Wolf. I still maintain that confidence that ultimately although this is a difficult period that we're in and you know, things are in our cities across the country, mayors across the country, I've talked to every day, we are all Facing different challenges, trying to balance the need to bring about much needed change and also lead our cities through a pandemic.
But I do believe in the end, we are going to be a stronger nation for this and our cities are going to be stronger for this because I believe that this is actually bringing people together to bring about justice and to address an issue that has been 400 years in the making in our country, and I feel like we're finally getting some reconciliation on those issues.
BLITZER: I know you've been following what's been going on since Friday night in Atlanta, with the police shooting of Rayshard Brooks. Did the Mayor, Keisha Lance Bottoms of Atlanta make the right decision with accepting the move of the Atlanta Police Chief to step aside and calling for that police officer who shot and fired and killed Rayshard Brooks to be fired?
JOHNSON: Mayor are in a very, very difficult position in this country right now and I just have to tip my hat to Mayor Bottoms. I think she is doing a great job.
Our primary responsibility as mayors is to hold everyone that report to us accountable. In Dallas, the Police Chief does not report directly to me, but I believe that's not the case in Atlanta and I just have to commend her for doing a tough job under tough circumstances.
And you know, every city is different, every situation is different, but I believe she has done a very good job, not just with this situation, but over the past few weeks in dealing with a very tough situation on the ground. I mean, we're all dealing with similar situations in this country, those of us who are mayors.
BLITZER: We just learned, Mayor, that Rayshard Brooks according to the official autopsy, the details of which have just been released that he was shot in the back twice. He was shot in the back twice by that police officer, Garrett Rolfe, and I just want to get you -- you've seen the video, you've seen what's going on. I assume you've had problems in Dallas over the years as well. What's your reaction to all of these developments in Atlanta?
JOHNSON: You know, I'm not intimately familiar with all of the details of that individual case. I won't speak to that specific case.
I will say this, though, you know, as mayors, we've all dealt with -- you know, we've been in office for a while. I'm a relatively new mayor, and we've all dealt with situations with Police Community Relations being strained because of interactions with the police that have become deadly and it's a tough situation.
And again, I think the situation on the ground in Atlanta is a difficult one. I think the mayor is handling it well.
In Dallas, we've made significant strides over the years in trying to improve our police and community relations, but we have a ways to go and I think that those conversations are happening in our city in earnest right now and I want to make sure that the changes that we make in Dallas are the kind that prevent situations like what's happened in Atlanta from happening in our city.
BLITZER: Yes, it's an awful, awful situation. By the way, the Fulton County Medical Examiner's Office released the autopsy of Rayshard Brooks. It says he was shot in the back twice. It says that Brooks died from organ damage and blood loss from the two gunshot wounds.
It's a horrendous situation. Bottom line right now, what do you think? I assume that the District Attorney there in Fulton County, he says as early as Wednesday, he might file charges. Do you anticipate he will?
JOHNSON: Again, I can't say what's going to happen there. But I just know that we're at a point in our country now where people are tired. People want to see justice applied equally to not just everyday citizens, but also to the police.
And I think that's what -- that's what so much of this outcry is about, and hope that's the situation and that's the case in Atlanta. I hope that's the case across our country, that we don't have two systems of justice for those who wear a uniform and those who don't.
JOHNSON: And that these cases are -- they are like every other criminal case. They're fact driven. And I hope that people will look at the facts of those cases and make the right decision and not view it differently simply because the person involved is a police officer.
And I think that's what we're all trying to get at here. I think we all want law and order. We all believe in law and order. I support the police. I think most people do.
But I think people are saying we want the police held to the same standards that we're held to when it comes to the use of lethal force.
BLITZER: Important points, indeed. Mayor Eric Johnson of Dallas there. Good luck in Dallas. We will have you back and I want to talk about the coronavirus pandemic and how it's impacting your city as well. But we'll do that down the road.
Once again, thanks for joining us.
JOHNSON: Absolutely. Thanks for having me.
BLITZER: All right. We're following the latest breaking news out of Atlanta, Georgia right now. The Fulton County Medical Examiner's Office has just released the details of the autopsy on Rayshard Brooks. He was shot twice in the back. We'll have much more on that and all the day's news when we come back.
BLITZER: Updating the breaking news that we just received here minutes ago in THE SITUATION ROOM, the Fulton County Medical Examiner's Office in Georgia now says that Rayshard Brooks was shot twice in the back Friday night by police -- a police officer. The report says Brooks died from organ damage and blood loss from the
two gunshot wounds in his back. This comes as the United States is about to enter the fourth week of protests over racial, inequity and police brutality here in the United States. The country grappling at the same time with the coronavirus pandemic, which clearly continues.
At the same time, the 2020 presidential campaign could return to the spotlight later this week as President Trump holds his first political campaign rally since the country shut down effectively due to coronavirus back in March.
Our senior political commentator David Axelrod is with us. Our White House correspondent, John Harwood is with us. John, the President has been largely silent over these past couple of days about what has happened in Atlanta, very disturbing development. What are you hearing behind the scenes?
JOHN HARWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Look, the President last night while Atlanta was literally in flames was tweeting a defense of his shaky walk down that ramp at the West Point, the Military Academy Commencement.
He was commenting because he thought people were making him look bad on social media and saying, well, it was slippery, and I wasn't going to give anybody in the fake news the satisfaction of seeing me fall.
But the President hasn't spoken out, and of course, the one thing we've seen consistently from him is that he has labeled protesters for racial justice, for police reform, as radical Antifa militants, people trying to produce anarchy and destroy the country.
So, he is not really engaging with the merits of their claims, even though we see on one video after the other in one event, in one tragic death after the other, that there is a large real problem to be addressed.
BLITZER: What's your take David, on all of this? Because I've been looking at the President's tweets today. He was tweeting about Antifa, other far left militant groups. I didn't see him say anything, or tweet anything about what happened in Atlanta.
DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. Look, Wolf, I think these have been a disastrous few weeks for the President because he's completely misread the moment. You know, he is a cultural warrior and he saw an opportunity to drive a wedge, just at the time that the country really needed to be unified and needed someone in leadership, the President of the United States to speak to this moment, and it is so antithetical to his politics and who he is to play that role that he has defaulted to what he knows, which is to really run into that cultural divide.
And I think that you see, the impetus of what I am just pulling which is going south on him. He is just not meeting the moment and seems very satisfied through the fact that he had nothing to say in this moment, given everything that's happened about what happened in Atlanta last night is truly shocking in one way, but not surprising in another because it's consistent with the way he has handled this whole event -- this whole set of events.
BLITZER: You know, John, we're showing our viewers these aerial shots of that Wendy's, which was burned to the ground last night. The protesters clearly angry over what happened to 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks. He was shot in the back twice according to the autopsy and died as a result of the shot by that police officer.
The polling in recent days doesn't seem to be all that good right now for the President of the United States and his reelection campaign. These are live pictures, by the way, coming in from Los Angeles, John.
What are you hearing from some of the campaign officials for the President and others as they see these numbers unfold?
HARWOOD: Well, the numbers are terrible and the campaign. People show it but they understand that Donald Trump acts on his own impulses and instincts and they're exactly as David referred to a moment ago, to run into racial conflict rather than try to heal it.
And the President does not appear connected to the reality of the situation. He tweeted a few minutes ago before we came on air, the silent majority is stronger than ever.
HARWOOD: Well, what the polls are showing us nationally and in the battleground states is he doesn't have anything close to a majority. He is significantly behind Joe Biden nationally. He is behind in nearly all the battleground states, and so the President's conduct and his view of the world which is rooted in an America 30, 40, 50 years ago has isolated him from this moment, and that is compounding his political problems.
BLITZER: You know, David, it was really intriguing. Joe Biden earlier in the week weighed in on what he says might happen if President Trump loses in November. Listen and watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TREVOR NOAH, COMEDIAN: Have you ever considered what would happen if the election results came out as you being the winner, and Trump refused to leave?
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESUMPTIVE DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE Yes, I have, and I was so damn proud. You have four Chiefs of Staff coming out and ripping the skin off of Trump. And you have so many rank and file military personnel saying, whoa, we're not a military state. This is not who we are.
I promise you, I'm absolutely convinced they will escort him from the White House with great dispatch.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: You know, that's pretty amazing to hear a candidate say that. It's pretty shocking that he is even suggesting the possibility that the U.S. Military would have to go into the White House and escort the President of the United States if he loses out of the White House.
AXELROD: Yes, well, the fact that we're having this conversation is remarkable, Wolf. And you know, what we saw from the military in the last few -- and senior military leaders who are now retired, but highly respected, speaks to their sense of their role as an institution.
And in some ways, they were sending a signal saying, do not weave us into your political schemes. We are not a political institution and we are not going to play that role.
But I just want to say one quick thing about what John said before. There is a majority in this country, but it's not silent. And what's been remarkable about the last few weeks has been the millions and millions of Americans who have taken to the streets in peaceful protest after the Floyd murder, who sometimes not just on the subject of a Police Community Relations, but on the fundamental issues of Civil Rights and Human Rights.
And what's remarkable about the polling is how broad that majority is. So, the President is, as John says, working off of an outdated playbook and the morning he presses those old buttons, the more I think he complicates his political situation.
He is losing women. He is losing the suburbs. And he's losing non- college educated women who voted for him by 27 points. He is still winning with him, but losing them in large numbers, all because of the way he is handling situations like this.
He talks about law and order, but he seems to create and almost yearn for chaos, and that is making people very uncomfortable at this moment.
BLITZER: This moment is the key words because there's still plenty of time between now and November, as we all know. David Axelrod, John Harwood, appreciate it very, very much.
Once again, we're seeing nationwide protests now on their 20th day here in the United States as demonstrators call for an end to racial injustice.
I'll speak to the son of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for his take on what we've just seen over these past two days in Atlanta. The next hour of our special edition of THE SITUATION ROOM starts right after a quick break.