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Trump Claims He's Done More For Black America Than Biden; Trump's Unsteady Appearance At West Point Sparks Health Concerns; Family Of Rayshard Brooks Speaks. Aired 11:30a-12p ET
Aired June 15, 2020 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: There needs to be justice. But those are just two things President Trump has not seen to be particularly interested in talking about.
So as they try to move forward to November and appeal to black voters, there's a problem here. The president wants to appeal black voters on economic issues, but he's resistant to discuss issues of racial discrimination and racial justice. And that's clearly what so many black American and their allies, white, black, Latino, Asian, all over the country, are trying to say he needs to do a lot more of.
JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: A lot more of, I would, given the moment and given his history on this issue, in which there's legitimate criticism.
Abby, a separate issue for the president. There was a lot of talk over the weekend. He gave the commencement address at West Point and was walking down the ramp. He looked a little bit shaky. The president says no big deal. It was a downward ramp and it was, he says, slippery, though it was a clear day.
The Internet suggesting that maybe the president was having some balance issues here. What do we know?
PHILLIP: Yes, but President Trump also responded to this by tweeting about it. And I think it really contributed to the conversation around all of this.
What we're seeing is President Trump has had these moments -- there's video and him drinking water and holding it with both hands -- that have led for some people to question whether he's being transparent about his health.
President Trump himself has been one to constantly criticize the health of his rival, Joe Biden. And in 2016, he criticized the health of his rival, Hillary Clinton, But now I think it's a moment where people are looking at these incidents.
They're also looking at the president's long history of - his speech, his ability to sort of convey information accurately that really leads to questions about whether the president is being transparent about his own wellbeing or whether this is a case of hypocrisy. The Trump campaign repeatedly questioning whether Joe Biden is
mentally fit. And now we're seeing Democrats turning the tables on that message with President Trump as well.
KING: Repeated history of lack of transparency leads to questions and skepticism.
Abby Philip, on the ground in Tulsa. Very much appreciate the reporting. Thank you.
When we come back, a quick break, we're waiting for the family of Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta to speak about the horrific shooting of Rayshard Brooks at hands of the Atlanta Police Department.
We'll be right back.
KING: Straight to Atlanta now, the family of Rayshard Brooks.
JUSTIN MILLER, BROOKS FAMILY ATTORNEY: Our law firm is called Stewart Trial Attorneys.
We are not here today to get into the specific minutia of the case. What we will be doing today is introducing you to the family of Mr. Brooks so that everyone will see and understand what was taken away from all of these people behind us.
You going to hear from Mr. Brooks' niece and cousins and Mr. Brooks' wife as well. And hopefully, you'll get to see and understand why this is very important and why this can't happen again.
So first up, you'll have Chassidy Evans. This is Mr. Brooks' niece. She will say a few words.
CHASSIDY EVANS, NIECE OF RAYSHARD BROOKS: My uncle, Rayshard, on June 12th, one of our biggest fears became our reality. Not only did we lose another black unarmed male. This time, it landed on our front doorstep.
Blessed, Memory and Dream will never get to see their father again. Not only was he a girl dad, he was a loving husband, caring brother and, most importantly to me, an uncle I could depend on.
Rayshard Brooks was silly. He had the brightest smile and the biggest heart and loved to dance since we were kids. Me and my uncle are both 27 years of age, 27 years of age.
No one walking this green earth expects to be shot and killed like trash in the street for falling asleep in a drive-through. Rayshard has a family who loves him, who would have gladly came and got him so he could be with us today.
The day after my uncle's murder, his oldest daughter sat for her father in her birthday dress to come and take her skating. And to look across the room and know that there's never a possibility anymore breaks my heart. Me and my family are still grieving the loss of my grandmother when my uncle's life was horrifically taken away from us.
Not only are we hurt, we're angry? When does this stop? We're not only pleading for justice. We're pleading for change.
Where my uncle was killed is the same zone that we represented and loved all our lives. We stood with the Atlanta Police Department when they was tearing up our city, saying this doesn't happen here, leave them alone. And here we are three weeks later, those same police took something away from my family that we'll never get back, Rayshard Brooks.
Most of us have not slept or eaten since we viewed a video of a man being murdered to only get a phone call moments later to tell you it's your loved one. This entire situation has traumatized me and my entire family, I sure, for the rest of our lives.
My uncle did not die in vain. His life mattered. George Floyd's life mattered. Breonna Taylor's life mattered. Michael Brown's life mattered. Sandra Bland's life mattered.
I'm not only asking the city of Atlanta to stand with us, I'm asking for everyone in this nation to stand with us as we seek justice for Rayshard.
J. MILLER: Now you'll hear from his cousin, Tiara Brooks.
TIARA BROOKS, COUSIN OF RAYSHARD BROOKS: Rayshard Brooks, the name that may start a protest tomorrow or another day in the future. However, the man himself no longer has a future. He can no longer live in the present nor plan for tomorrow.
No matter what had the different points of view are of his death, we must all agree to one fact, the fact that he was killed by the Atlanta Police Department, the fact that someone's cousin, brother, uncle, nephew, father, companion and friend is no longer in this world.
The trust that we have with the police force is broken. And the only way to heal some of these wounds is through a conviction and a drastic change with the police department.
But honestly, true, true justice will never prevail because we will never be able to bring back Rayshard Brooks. He will no longer be able to return to this world nor to his family.
However, again, if we stand together and united as one, there will be no more cases similar to Rayshard's.
How many more protests will it take to ensure that the next victim isn't your cousin, your brother, your uncle, your nephew, your friend or your companion so that we can finally end the suffering of police excessive force?
We are tired. Guys, we're tired. And we're frustrated. Most importantly, we're heartbroken. So we need justice for Rayshard Brooks.
J. MILLER: This is Mr. Brooks' cousin. His name is Mr. Allen.
DECATUR REDD, COUSIN OF RAYSHARD BROOKS: I'm going to try to make this brief and clear. First and foremost, we want to say we want to show our appreciation and thanks to everybody that has been out here supporting and helping us. And we encourage you to continue to do so.
And -- and I actually go by the name of Decatur Redd. A lot of families try to reach out and find the family. We are the family. I am the family. And if you're trying to help, you know, reach out to me so we can make sure that my cousin and his wife and his kids are taken care of.
If you can't help financially, then keep helping with your voice and stay with the protests.
But, again, I just want to tell you that we appreciate all the help. We appreciate the voices around the nation. We thank you.
CHRIS STEWART, BROOKS FAMILY ATTORNEY: As you all know, I'm attorney, Chris Stewart.
And I tried to figure out a way to encompass everything that's going on and get rid of the division of one side verse the other and get the whole country to understand what's going on.
And the first thing that came to mind is what we all just went through with the coronavirus outbreak. We all sheltered-in-place for months, losing our mind.
And then we started seeing on the news large amounts of white Americans demanding change, coming out and rallying in the streets and protesting and making their governments change laws so that we could start getting back to regular life.
And as I sat stunned watching TV and watching so many of our white brothers and sisters out there rallying, protesting because they thought something was wrong with the current state of laws in their city or state, we didn't have a problem with it. That is their right as Americans to demand change, to demand laws change.
So why is this so offensive or painful or off-putting when African- Americans step forward to demand change against police brutality? Why is it so wrong when we're protesting in the street when we see something wrong with police abuse? It's our God-given American right also.
So it's a thing of unity when you see both sides of it. You have to support and vocalize your rights as we did, and we watched on TV, and as people are doing in the streets now, demanding changes in laws, in policies, in accountability, in value of life where that a man that was running are away doesn't get shot twice in the back.
And now there's a question of, was it reckless or should he have used that force. Let me tell you and show you why shooting in a crowded parking lot is so reckless and so unnecessary of what he did.
A witness today sent us his vehicle, which was hit by one of Officer Rolfe's bullets while he and his kids were in the car. A couple of feet up, and we would have another loss of life.
So trying to justify the actions of shooting at Mr. Brooks as he's running away in a crowded Wendy's parking lot when you can easily catch him later for what started off as a very non-confrontational situation, it can't be justified. It cannot be justified. Otherwise, we're going to continue to lose lives from stray bullets shooting at someone that should never have been shot at.
And people ask, how could this have ended. Why didn't -- why did he resist? It could have ended there. Well, it also could have ended here. "I can walk. My sister's house is right here." That's how this could have ended. It didn't have to go to that level.
And that's what we're saying in America with policing. This type of empathy is gone. The courtesy of an officer, it wasn't like he was called there because Mr. Brooks had been swerving and was a danger to society. The first call was because a man was asleep.
Where is the empathy in just letting him walk home? That's what policing is supposed to be, no matter what color you are.
But as I said, that's broken. That's gone. We don't see that often. And we don't see it in the African-American community. So just like the protest before, that's what we're demanding, not just laws and policy changes but a mental change in policing, which is missing.
So we do want everybody's support. We're looking forward to the D.A.'s findings in this situation. And the only thing that we can ask for is some semblance of an idea of justice because there's no definition anymore of what it is.
But what we know, right now, is that a man's life was taken when it should never have happened.
J. MILLER: Right now, we want to introduce everyone to -- to Tomika, who many of you have met, and the kids, Blessing, Memory and Dream.
Blessing, it was her eighth birthday when her father died. She had her birthday party on the same exact day that she found out that their father was killed. She had her birthday dress on, as all of you heard. She had cupcakes and friends over. She was supposed to go skating with her dad. And that didn't happen, of course.
Also -- also Makai (ph), who is 13, it's his step-son, he took care of him as well.
And, Tomika, you want to say a few words?
TOMIKA MILLER, WIDOW OF RAYSHARD BROOKS: I just want to thank everybody for all the protests and love and support that you guys have done. Words can't explain how thankful I am for everything.
Even though I can't bring my husband back, I know he's down smiling because his name will forever be remembered.
There's no justice that can ever make me feel happy about what's been done. I can never get my husband back. I can never get my best friend. I can never tell my daughter, oh, he's coming to take you skating or swimming lessons.
So this is going to be a long time before I heal. It's going to be a long time before this family heals.
Like I said, I'm just thankful for everything that everyone is out there doing. And I just ask that if you could just keep it as peaceful protest that would be wonderful because we want to keep his name positive and great.
STEWART: Lastly, we do want to acknowledge and thank Tyler Perry, who we spoke with, who we will be taken care of the funeral for the family. And it's support like that and it's people who are actually in this community that love the community that want healing and families like this to never have to go through something like this to step forward. And we want to thank him for such a generous move.
Yes, three brief questions.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Have you ever discussed -- (INAUDIBLE)
STEWART: Talking about the George Floyd video.
TOMEKA MILLER: Oh, the George Floyd -- I mean, we've watched it. I always said, baby, I never want that to be you. You know, he was always like, no, you know, it's going to change. It's going to change. He always tried to stay positive about everything.
But we've had our incidents where we've had police officers stereotype my husband just because of tattoos on his face. So it's really crazy.
I'm scared every day. My children go out, my husband go out, my family members go out. I'm scared every day because I don't know what they say. This just really startled me because I don't know if they're going to come home.
STEWART: Chris, that is -- it goes to the point where people ask why would he resist when they were trying to put him in handcuffs? Well, they put George Floyd in handcuffs and he was subsequently killed. So just getting put in handcuffs if you're an African-American doesn't mean, oh, you're going to get nicely taken to the back of a police car. So especially watching this video of George Floyd over and over again,
his reaction may have been I'm not getting put in handcuffs. So we can't just toss it out because he resisted. George Floyd didn't. And it ended the same way.
J. MILLER: This is something that is not new. It's not just with this George Floyd. All of us, all of us, I know every black man standing behind me and woman, too, we have all been dealing with this from birth so that is a trauma that's deep. It's not something that just started two months ago.
I still today dress like I dress, do what I do, I still feel nervous around police and that shouldn't be the case. Right?
So if you feel that way and then you see all of these things happening, of course, you're going to feel some kind of way when the police come up to you and, you know, you are somewhere where, you know, you're not in the perfect state of mind at that point in time.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: I think it was Chassidy who spoke about this. I think you mentioned it was your family asking people not to attack the police. Can you talk about that moment and what it feels like now that that's the position u you took before?
EVANS: It makes you eat your words. I love Atlanta. My family loves Atlanta. And when they were tearing -- busting out the windows at CNN Center, we were like, why they do this to our city. Why are they burning police cars? This doesn't happen in our city.
And it hit our front door. So not only does it happen in our city, it happens in cities everywhere.
J. MILLER: All right, just one more.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Can you tell us a little bit more about Rayshard Brooks. What did he like to do? What did he -- (INAUDIBLE)
J. MILLER: Who wants to talk about him?
JAMAICA (ph) BROOKS, COUSIN OF RAYSHARD BROOKS: My name is Jamaica (ph) Brooks. Rayshard is my first cousin. These people that you see behind you are his sisters, his brothers, his nieces, his nephews, his first cousins.
A week and a half ago, me and his older brother were playing chess and he just popped up. And I said: How you doing, man? You good? He said, yes, I came because I needed to see my wife and my baby, it's my daughter birthday. I said you staying out of trouble, you all right. He said I'm fine, I'm all right. We shared a few drinks, a few laughs. His big brother gave him a few dollars and he left.
He was always happy. He was always smiling. And you'd have to kill him to fight one of his family members because he wasn't that type of dude. So you people that are looking around the world and you have your
feelings, before it happened to us, I could only guess at what you felt but now I understand.
Life shouldn't be this complicated. Life shouldn't be where we have to feel some type of way if we see a police or somebody of a different color.
I didn't come down here to talk to media. I came in love for my people.
But if you ask how this young black man was, look at your children when you see them laugh, that innocence, that joy, that pureness of soul, and you had a glimpse of what we lost. You have a glimpse of what it feels like.
Because, tomorrow, we going to have to deal with it again. We going to have to bury him. We going to have to say, we miss you. And if we didn't say we love you enough, we got to apologize to him for not telling him that we loved him that much.
My cousin, man. (INAUDIBLE)
J. BROOKS: You all took my cousin from me. You all took the wrong person.
KING: Watching family members of Rayshard Brooks leave the room in Atlanta. Very emotional press conference. Attorneys for the family. Several members of the family, including the widow.
Let's listen again. Attorney Stewart.
STEWART: I'm really not sure what else America needs to see. When we run George Floyd -- sadly, we're all probably going to be back here in a few months with another case.
KING: Chris Stewart, the Brooks family attorney, now finally leaving the room. The family left earlier. Mr. Stewart saying I'll be back here in another couple of months with another case.
Family members quite emotional as they described Rayshard Brooks. Thanks supporters who were protesting in Atlanta and elsewhere in honor of him.
Mr. Brooks shot in the back twice by an Atlanta police officer in a Wendy's parking lot.
Let's bring in our CNN Law Enforcement Analyst, Chief Charles Ramsey, former chief of the Philadelphia and D.C. police departments, also criminal defense attorney, Joey Jackson. Chief, I'll start with you.
Not really so much on a question of law and order because they were not getting into that much of the specifics of the case. One of the family members appealing for a conviction, saying that would be a step for healing, not the step, but a step.
But what I was most struck by -- and I ask you as chief, who's been a chief in large urban communities like Atlanta, even Philadelphia and D.C. -- was the grace of this family. Even as their shared their pain, thanking people for their support, urging the protestors to continue their protests but also urging them to be peaceful in honor of the memory of Rayshard Brooks.
CHARLES RAMSEY, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: That was an incredibly emotional and painful press conference to watch. They did exhibit a lot of grace, I mean, more strength than I may have had to be honest with you under similar circumstances.
I want to first offer my condolences.
But they need more than condolences. They need something to change. They may not be able to bring their loved one back, but they certainly don't want to see anything have to go through this.
I've seen too many families suffer over the years, whether it's the result of an officer-involved shooting or just violence that takes place in neighborhoods. And we just should not have to go through this time and time and time and time again.
So it's just a difficult situation. And hopefully, things will turn around. If we really put our minds to it and actually make that happen.
KING: Joey, the chief says if we put our minds to it and make that happen. You heard Attorney Stewart on his way out the door sounding quite skeptical, saying, I'll be back in another few months with another case.
You heard Tomika Miller, the widow of Rayshard Brooks, saying they were talking about the George Floyd situation, and he said, no, that's not going to happen to me. She said he was always an optimist.
Now that family sharing the pain that too many black families have had across America.
JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: John, you cannot blame Chris Stewart, of course, for being skeptical. I certainly would hope that we can do better as a society. With him being there with the family experiencing the pain.
What we saw is the human side on the other side of excessive force that leads to death. The human side. The person dying being a brother. A person dying being a nephew. A person dying being an uncle, a father, a brother of the community. That really has value.