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Fresh Outrage Across the U.S. After Police Kill a Blackman in Atlanta; Police Killing of Rayshard Brooks Fuels Push for Reform; Athletes Become Activists Amid Protests Over Police Violence; New Video from Arrest and Shooting of Rayshard Brooks; Demonstrators Marching in Atlanta for Criminal Justice Reform; Interview with Fulton County DA Paul Howard about Rayshard Brooks Killing. Aired 9-9:30a ET
Aired June 15, 2020 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Good Monday morning, everyone. I'm Poppy Harlow. A lot of news to get to this morning.
Fresh outrage after the killing of a black man by police in Atlanta. Moments from now demonstrators demanding criminal justice reform will march toward Georgia's state capitol, you see them gathering. We'll take you there live. This just days after the fatal police shooting of Rayshard Brooks fueled protests once again across the country.
Brooks' killing was captured on video. You also see a struggle with two officers before he is shot twice in the back. We're going to walk you through the very painful video. One of the officers has been fired and the district attorney is now considering charges. We will speak to that district attorney in just a minute, but the wife of Rayshard Brooks says both officers should be in jail.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOMIKA MILLER, WIDOW OF RAYSHARD BROOKS: It was murder. That was not justified.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Why was it murder?
MILLER: Because he was shot and he wasn't armed. He wasn't dangerous.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: Brooks was the father of three young girls, including a 1- year-old and a 2-year-old. He also had a teenage stepson. We will hear more from his family just a few hours from now. But first more on the protests in a moment. Let's begin with our Dianne Gallagher in Atlanta for the latest on the investigation.
I mean, at this point, the D.A. says maybe Wednesday is when charges may come. What else do we know at this point?
DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's what we're hearing, Poppy, from the district attorney here in Fulton County. And look, we're also getting a look at more video showing those moments between Rayshard Brooks and the police officers, and look, he talked about going to visit his mother's grave site with the officer. He talked about his little daughter's birthday, and overall it was a pretty friendly conversation and casual, almost half an hour, and then in a matter of seconds, it turned deadly.
And I want to warn you that what you are about to watch is very disturbing.
GALLAGHER (voice-over): Protests against police brutality pressed on for the 20th day in cities across the country, including Atlanta, outside this burned out Wendy's. Here a memorial is growing in memory of Rayshard Brooks, who was shot and killed by police Friday.
Last night, the Fulton County Medical Examiner ruling the 27-year- old's death a homicide, saying he was shot two times in the back. This police body cam footage showing the start of the interaction. Watch an Atlanta police officer respond to a call reporting a man asleep in his car at the Wendy's drive-thru.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's up, my man? Hey. What's up? Hey. Hey, man, you're parked in the middle of the drive-thru line here.
GALLAGHER: Officer Devin Brosnan asked Brooks to move his car. He eventually does to a parking spot close by where Brosnan asks --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How much did you drank tonight? Not much? How much is not much?
GALLAGHER: Brosnan calls in another officer to conduct a DUI test.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got a guy sleeping in the Wendy's parking lot, smell of alcohol. Hard to wake him up.
GALLAGHER: That's when Officer Garrett Rolfe arrives on the scene. Brooks agrees to a breathalyzer test and tells the police --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know. I know you're just doing your job.
GALLAGHER: Rolfe tells Brooks that he's had too much to drink and tries to handcuff him. That's when Brooks begins to resist.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, stop that. You'll get tased. You're going to get tased.
GALLAGHER: Video from a witness shows Brosnan get his taser ready. Brooks grabs it out of his hands, seen on this dash cam video, before running away. Rolfe fires his taser and follows. At this moment, surveillance video shows the incident take a deadly turn. During the chase, Rolfe reaches for his handgun. Brooks turns back and appears to fire the taser, and Rolfe shoots his handgun three times.
The officers eventually provide medical treatment on site before an ambulance arrives to take Brooks to the hospital, where he's later pronounced dead. After the shooting, Rolfe, who shot Brooks, was fired from the Atlanta Police Department and Brosnan placed on administrative duty, but that's not enough for Brooks' wife.
MILLER: I want them to go to jail. I want them to deal with the same thing, as if it was my husband who killed someone else. If it was my husband who shot them, he would be in jail. He would be doing a life sentence. They need to be put away.
GALLAGHER: The Fulton County district attorney says his office is weighing charges against the officers and a decision could come as early as Wednesday.
PAUL HOWARD, DISTRICT ATTORNEY OF FULTON COUNTY, GEORGIA: If that shot was fired for some reason other than to save that officer's life or to prevent injury to him or others, then that shooting is not justified under the law.
GALLAGHER: Atlanta's Mayor Keshia Lance Bottoms believes that Brooks' death was entirely avoidable.
MAYOR KEISHA LANCE BOTTOMS (D), ATLANTA: This was not confrontational. This was a guy that you were rooting for, and even knowing the end, watching it, you're going, just let him go. Just let him go. Let him call somebody to pick him up.
GALLAGHER: And according to the medal examiner here in Fulton County, Brooks was shot twice in the back. We have reached out to the officers and their union, and at this point, Poppy, have not heard back at this time. Here at the Georgia state capitol you probably can see behind me they are getting ready for the protests today. There are a few people who are already arriving a little bit early, but we are prepared and ready to see people start coming here to march for justice.
HARLOW: Dianne, thank you. We'll watch and we'll dip in live when that begins. We appreciate your reporting.
Now for a lot more on this march to Georgia's state capitol, let's go to our Boris Sanchez who has more.
Good morning. We see them forming around you, obviously also the first day you've got, you know, folks back working in that building. What is the main message?
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Poppy, it is change, and to keep the momentum of this movement going, we're actually set to hear from about a dozen speakers here, just outside the Richard B. Russell federal building in downtown Atlanta. The rapper Jeezy is actually emceeing this event. We're set to hear from the head coach of the Atlanta Hawks as well as local state lawmakers and the head of the Georgia NAACP. Of course the Georgia NAACP helped put this event together.
I got a chance to speak with Jeezy just a few moments ago and I asked him about how he felt watching the video of Rayshard Brooks and his encounter with police. He told me it was devastating. He said that he's motivated, though, by the diversity of this movement. He said it's something that Martin Luther King didn't have. So many people of so many different races and ages gathered behind this message. Listen to more of what he told me.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEEZY, RAPPER, ATLANTA NATIVE: I want to commend the youth. I want to commend the people, even those people that are here today, because this is what it's about. It's about presence. Our presence has to be felt, and I don't think that the momentum is going to die down. I think as things, you know, continue to get worse, we're going to come out in more numbers and we're going to support each other until they get the message, because we're not going to lose this message.
This is the most momentum we've had. I mean, you take Martin Luther King with Selma, he didn't have this many different mixed races and age groups of people and college students and parents and kids and this is real. You know, this is the new normal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: And Poppy, after we hear from those speakers they will be marching to the Georgia state capitol. It's about a mile and a half or so from here. Really a number of different issues at the forefront, one of them for these demonstrators is repealing Georgia's "Stand Your Ground Law" and also just pushing forth the message that the relationship between police and the African-American community has to change -- Poppy.
HARLOW: Yes. It is notable, Boris, as he just said, how diverse the crowd is behind you. Same thing we're seeing here in New York and across the country, you know, white people, black people, Hispanic, parents, children, et cetera. Thank you for that reporting.
Let's talk about the latest in this case where potential charges stand. I'm happy to be joined now by the Fulton County district attorney, Paul Howard.
Sir, thank you for taking the time very much.
HOWARD: Glad to be here.
HARLOW: Let's begin with Wednesday. You have said charges against these officers could come as soon as Wednesday. What more are you waiting for to potentially bring charges?
HOWARD: Well, Poppy, as you know, we were on the scene the night that it happened, and we've been working diligently to gather all the facts and circumstances of this unfortunate incident. One of the things that we must attempt to finalize before we make a decision is to confirm the ballistics. We try to make sure that the projectiles on the body of Mr. Brooks that we can expertly trace them to a firearm.
There were two firearms involved in the incident. One of them was not fired. So we are waiting to confirm the ballistics before we make some final decision in this matter.
HARLOW: OK, that's helpful to know. I'd like you to listen to some of the interview by CBS News just this morning of Mr. Brooks' wife, Tomika Miller. Listen to what she said about the officers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MILLER: I want them to go to jail. I want them to deal with the same thing as if it was my husband who killed someone else. If it was my husband who shot them, he would be in jail. He would be doing a life sentence. They need to be put away.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: What is your response to hearing that?
HOWARD: It is disturbing in the sense that she represents so many views of so many citizens, and I agree with them, that people are tired of these things happening, and what people are demanding is that we not create two separate justice systems, one for the police and one for other citizens, that the justice system has to be one system.
I think that's what she is saying, and I've already visited Miss Brooks at her home, and I want her to know, as well as the other people in our country and our community that we hear you. We are listening, and we believe that the justice system ought to have one standard and not two.
HARLOW: You know, to that point, I was also struck, sir, by what she went on to say about both officers, even though one fired shots and the other gun as you said did not. Listen to her take on the responsibility of both in this case.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MILLER: I feel like even though everything happened so fast, it didn't take nothing but a split second for the other officer to say, hey, calm down. He could have told his partner calm down so all of them need to be sentenced the same way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: She's saying there's equal culpability here. What do you say?
HOWARD: Well, we are looking at the facts and circumstances regarding the second officer. However, under Georgia law, when this second officer did not fire a shot, we are then required to show that he had some actual participation in the final act, so that's one of the things that we are waiting now and as we've said earlier, we hope to make a decision about that later on this week.
HARLOW: Is the way the other three officers were charged in the killing of George Floyd other than Officer Chauvin, who's facing second-degree murder charges, the others facing aiding and abet abetting, is that informing at all how you're looking at this?
HOWARD: I think the circumstances in this case are different, but we are certainly keeping that in mind, as we examine all of the facts and circumstances in this matter.
HARLOW: I wonder if you agree with the president's chief economist at the White House, Larry Kudlow, who we heard just a few days ago say repeatedly when asked by reporters, he does not think that there is systemic racism in police forces across the country. He echoed exactly the same thing said by National Security adviser Robert O'Brien. They both said look, there are few bad apples in police departments. What do you think?
HOWARD: Well, I hope that the political leadership in our country will take what is going on in our country a lot more seriously. It's difficult for me to understand how someone could make that statement. Obviously there is a racial bias that goes on in police departments and policing all over this country. It's not going to help us to just stick our heads in the sand and to just say that it's only a couple of bad people, but there has been a systematic display that's caused harm against certain communities and certain members of those communities, African-Americans and minorities, and unless we begin to realize it, then I don't think we'll ever going solve the problem.
HARLOW: Let me end on this. I was struck listening to an interview on CBS "Face the Nation" yesterday with Republican Senator Tim Scott, obviously the only African-American Republican in the Senate, who is also leading the way on the Senate side for police reform legislation. Here is what he said about how he feels that the killing of Rayshard Brooks is different than, for example, George Floyd.
(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)
POPPY HARLOW, ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: Is it far worse clearing your mind, and what will that mean for, you know, charges that you may bring forward?
PAUL HOWARD, DISTRICT ATTORNEY, FULTON COUNTY, GEORGIA: Well, I think that we get the point that we have to understand is not to get so involved in the intricacies of the legal determinations in each case. I think if we are going to make changes, we've got to look at this on a broader scale. And that broad scale says that over the last 10 years, we've had more than 10,000 American citizens killed by policemen.
Now, you don't have to know something legally about every case to maybe say that maybe that's a problem when you consider that, with those deaths, only 153 officers have been prosecuted. So, you know, Senator Scott might be correct that the legal or factual differences between the two cases or some other cases might be worth talking about. But what I think the protesters and young people are saying today is, there's a broader problem, and if you fail to acknowledge the broader problem, then these specific instances will continue to happen.
HARLOW: Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard, I know how busy you are. I appreciate you joining us this morning.
HOWARD: Well, thank you for having me.
HARLOW: Of course. Still to come, the co-founder of Black Lives Matter in Atlanta will be here with us. What brings her hope at this moment. Plus, I will speak to the doctor who performed this remarkable surgery. This was the first-ever known double lung transplant on a COVID patient in the United States. Why that doctor says it shows just how little even the experts still know about the virus.
And the Atlanta Hawks head coach set to march with protesters to the Georgia state capital today, where he will deliver a speech on racial injustice. How the sports world is making such an impact.
HARLOW: Welcome back. New this morning, the White House says the president will likely sign an executive order on police reform tomorrow. What's going to be in it, that's the key question. Right now, many people, look at that, gathered in Atlanta, this is downtown Atlanta this morning, set to march to Georgia's state capital today demanding reform.
With us now to talk about this and all that has happened this weekend. Dimitri Roberts; she is a former Chicago police officer, Mary Hooks; she's a social service activist and a founding member of Black Lives Matter Atlanta. Good morning to both of you. Mary, let's just begin with your feelings about and your read on what we're seeing happen today in Atlanta this March, a very diverse group that has gathered after we saw the tragic killing of Rayshard Brooks.
MARY HOOKS, CO-DIRECTOR, SOUTHERNERS ON NEW GROUND: Yes, thank you so much for having me. What we're seeing is decades and generations of folks who have borne witness to the rotten system of policing, who are not going to be bought out by the height of reform and who realize that we need outright, you know, ultimate transformation. And so what we're also seeing is folks who are watching people, you know, get killed and murdered in the street by the hands of the people that we pay.
And so you are seeing folks who believe in a different world, and believe that something else must be possible. And I think what we're also seeing is, you know, this institution that many argue is critical and necessary for our communities, continue to be delegitimized not because of what we do, but by what they do at every -- at every hand. HARLOW: Dimitri, for anyone who watched the 22 minutes of video
between those officers and Rayshard Brooks, they saw what was even described by the D.A. as for most of it a cordial conversation. He even said -- Rayshard said at one point, you know, when they asked if he'd take a breathalyzer, he said I don't want to refuse anything and he did.
And then there was the struggle that ensued with the taser. We saw that happening. The Fulton County D.A. whom we just spoke with said there could be a number of charges here. There could be murder, there could be felony murder, there could be involuntary manslaughter. As a former police officer, do you think any of those charges are appropriate here?
DIMITRI ROBERTS, LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: I think that involuntary manslaughter. I think that's the appropriate charge. And I think that the D.A. has taken the right approach here and holding these officers accountable in a way that we are seeing -- we are seeing trending in the right direction across other police agencies. Swift and appropriate action is necessary. It's obvious to anybody including me, a former police officer, to look at that and say that this officer's life was not in immediate danger.
HARLOW: Yes --
ROBERTS: And I hope that other officers take note and say that, hey, you know, we don't have to pull our weapons -- and more so if these officers had taken a service approach mentality, I don't think that they would have been in this situation in the first place.
HARLOW: What are you, Dimitri, as an officer trained to do in reaction to something like that. If someone were to take your taser and point back at you, what is the appropriate response?
ROBERTS: Well, first Poppy, all officers that's handling tasers have been tamed. So -- that they know how it would feel and how to react in certain situations like that. The appropriate action is to get in the fight, and make sure that not only the safety of the public is thought about, but the safety of the individual that we're trying to apprehend.
And at the end of the day, this was a DUI stop, and then this individual wasn't even driving. So, when we look at the escalation of force that these officers put forth, I think that they're going to see, you know, that not just reforms are going to be needed, but changes in the way that police approach these situations in general starting.
HARLOW: Mary, I was very struck this weekend listening to Congressman Jim Clyburn, the Majority Whip, who you know has been -- does not -- does not support the defund of police movement, but listen to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. JAMES CLYBURN (D-SC): I didn't grow up in fear of police, even
in the segregated environment. We never feared the police, but all of a sudden now, I do fear the police. The young blacks fear the police. Nobody is going to defund the police. We can restructure the police forces, restructure, re-imagine policing. That is what we're going to do. The fact of the matter is the police have a role to play.
What we've got to do is make sure that their role is one that meets the times. One that responds to these communities that they operate in.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: Mary, notable to hear him say, look, in the '60s, you know, I wasn't afraid of the police, but now I, sitting member of Congress, also the position he holds, I am scared of the police. What do you make of his response, though, against defunding them, which you've called for?
HOOKS: Yes, I think it's interesting for him to hold that fear and think that a watered-down reform is actually going to be the solution. And so unless we are adamant and serious about not allowing the next generations to come to inherit that fear, then we must do something radically different. And it isn't to me, it's not about no one is going to defund police.
We're actually seeing people in local government take major steps in doing so. And I also think that we also -- it's not -- people have to make a conscious decision to want to do and be something different. And unless -- you know, and obviously I know many interests are tied to that statement I'm sure. But I think that when it comes down to it, our lives are on the line.
And so we cannot -- the ordinary won't do, the retraining won't do. Again, the institution is rotten to its core, and anyone who continues to perpetuate an idea that, you know, if they just get better training or if they learn how to do X, Y, Z, it is in the core of the system, the way in which they are trained. The way in which the culture of it, all of it promotes, you know, the violence that we see happening on black lives.
HARLOW: I wish we had a lot more time. We will have both of you back together soon. Mary Hooks, Dimitri Roberts, I appreciate it very much.
ROBERTS: Thanks, Poppy.
HOOKS: Thank you.
HARLOW: Thank you. So we are seeing a spike in coronavirus cases. One U.S. city could soon reinstate restrictions because those numbers are going up. We'll have a live report next.