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Rayshard Brooks' Family Delivers Emotional Plea For Change; Some Minneapolis Officers Resign, Citing Lack Of Support; Supreme Court Says, Workers Can't Be Fired For Being Gay, Transgender. Aired 1-1:30p ET
Aired June 15, 2020 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
M.J. LEE, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: And we know as far as timing goes that he hopes to have somebody chosen by around August 1st. John?
JOHN KING, CNN HOST: Six weeks at this lobby, six weeks to go. M.J., thanks very much, and thanks for joining for us and I hope to see you tomorrow. Brianna Keilar picks up our coverage right now.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: I'm Brianna Keilar. Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world.
A family's pain is now a national rallying cry. A raw morning, the cousins of Rayshard Brooks demanding a conviction after police officers shot and killed Mr. Brooks in a Friday night confrontation at a Wendy's in Atlanta. Body cam footage shows Brooks initially complied with police instructions but when officers tried to handcuff him, a struggle ensued. And during that struggle, Brooks grabbed an officer's taser then shortly after, he took off running.
And it was while running away that video shows Brooks turning around and pointing what appears to be the taser at the officer. One of the officers then fires three times at Brooks. An autopsy confirmed that Brooks died of gunshot wounds to the back.
News of the incident had rapid repercussions across the city. Today, a peaceful rally at the state capital after two nights of unrest. And less than 48 hours after Brooks death, the officer who shot Brooks was fired and the Atlanta police chief resigned. But today, Brooks' family says that is not enough.
TOMIKA MILLER, WIDOW OF RAYSHARD BROOKS: There is 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 -- it's just going to be a long time before I heal. It's going to be a long time before this family heals.
CHASSIDY EVANS, RAYSHARD BROOKS' NIECE: Not only was he a good 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. No one walking this green earth is supposed to be shot and killed like trash in the street for falling asleep in a drive-through.
GYMACO BROOKS, RAYSHARD BROOKS' COUSIN: He was always smiling. And you'd have to kill him by (INAUDIBLE) his family members, because he wasn't that type of dude.
So to you people that are looking around the world and did 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 the media. I came to love on my people. 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. You had a glimpse of what we lost.
KEILAR: The district attorney told CNN he should have a decision on possible charges against the officers involved by Wednesday.
I want to go now to Ryan Young. He's in Atlanta. Ryan, tell us what's happening there on the ground.
RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, we're seeing small groups of protestors still sort of going through the city right now. But I really think we have to take a moment to just think about that emotion from the family. We've done these news conferences before and the tremendous amounts of pain that family is going through right now and what they shared with us, it was hard to watch. When you think about -- there are a lot of questions in the city right now.
I've been on the ground for maybe about two hours now and people just want to know why. They've all watched the body camera video. They want to why know, how a conversation could take such a drastic turn. They want to see what D.A. Paul Howard is going to do. And they are all anticipating the see what will happen on Wednesday.
But everyone that I talked to so far keeps pointing back to the family and mentioning the fact that the eight-year-old girl who obviously had a birthday party and her father wasn't able to be there, that sticks out to so many people.
And you heard in that news conference, they did not want violent protests. We've heard this before, but I think the family was really hammering that point today in terms of saying they want to have their loved one remembered for the right thing.
And even right now across the street from this Wendy's, there is probably 60 people standing there. There are balloons. There are people who are showing up to take pictures. There is plenty of traffic where people just want to be a part of this.
Atlanta is a different city. One of the (INAUDIBLE) is it's a city too busy to hate and this has really shocked, I think, a collection of people who live here who are looking for answers in terms of what happened and what kind of policing they can sort of count on moving forward because this really shattered the trust with so many people. And they are looking to the leaders of the city to make a change.
Over and over again, I keep hearing he was so calm. He was so nice. Why did this have to happen? And that is part of what's going on here now with those questions being asked all the time.
KEILAR: Ryan, thank you so much for that report.
My next guest helped lead a rally at the Georgia State Capital today. Bishop Reginald T. Jackson is with us. Thank you so much for joining us on the phone.
And as I mentioned, you've been protesting. So tell us how the death of Rayshard Brooks has changed the conversation there in Atlanta.
BISHOP REGINALD T. JACKSON, SIXTH EPISCOPAL DISTRICT, AFRICAN METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH: Well, I don't think it so much changed the conversation as much as it strengthened the conversation. Straight then to the point where the city and the state and, in fact, the nation are going to have to do something.
There are too many blacks who have been lost at large, who -- law enforcement and I think the nation, black, white, brown, yellow, I think they're ready and insistent on change. And I think what happened this weekend in Atlanta only enhances that.
KEILAR: I want to listen now to what the Brooks family attorney said at that same press conference. This is Chris Stewart.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
L. CHRIS STEWART, BROOKS FAMILY ATTORNEY: -- done, watching T.V. 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 it so offense or painful or off putting when African- Americans step forward to demand change against police brutality?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: I want to know what is your reaction to that.
JACKSON: I think he's absolutely correct. For too long, the African- American community has been very patient, giving a chance, giving a chance, giving a chance. Well, all those chances have run out. It's terribly frustrating. And in the last four weeks alone, you had Ms. Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky, you had Ahmaud Arbery, you had George Floyd and now we have this shooting in Atlanta on Saturday. Enough is just enough. And so like everybody else, we're not asking, we're now demanding change. And, in fact, we are happy so that many whites and others are joining in this call because I think their eyes have been open, their sensitivity has been changed.
KEILAR: Bishop Jackson, thank you so much. We really appreciate you joining us. We're going to have more from the Brooks family ahead.
First though, some Minneapolis police officers suddenly resigning over mysterious reasons.
Plus, new video surfaces showing police in Tulsa aggressively arresting teenagers for jaywalking.
And new scrutiny over the hanging deaths of two black men in California.
This is CNN's special live coverage.
KEILAR: Amid plans by City of Minneapolis to reform its police department in the wake of George Floyd, CNN has learned at least seven police officers have resigned from the department. Six others are in the process of separating from the department and they have not spoken out publicly about their reason for leaving but the Minneapolis Star Tribune says several complain they did not feel supported by top brass or city officials as the department came under heavy criticism.
CNN did get a statement from a police department spokesman who said this. Quote, people seek to leave for a myriad of reason. The MPD is no exception. We thank those leading for their time and service to the City of Minneapolis. They have given of themselves and they are appreciated. We wish them the best in their future endeavors.
The four officers involved in George Floyd's death have been fired and charged. And investigators are separately looking into two hangings, two separate hangings of two black men from trees in Southern California. They happened ten days apart, 50 miles apart. The deaths were initially deemed suicides but the families of both men are challenging that assessment and a growing course of community members and leaders are demanding answers.
Here is CNN National Correspondent, Suzanne Malveaux.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Brianna, there's a lot of questions and there is a lot of anger here about the alleged hanging of two black men. The state's attorney general now involved in overseeing an independent investigation and an independent autopsy over the death of 24-year-old Robert Fuller.
He was found last Wednesday about 3:30 in the morning hanging from a tree, authorities say across city hall.
Initially, Palmdale officials ruled as a suicide but Fuller's family believes it was homicide, a lynching. Today, with protesters, residents I talked with, they are demanding answers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's no way he hung himself. This is a lynching in the middle of Palmdale in 2020. There's another lynching of a young black man in Victorville not even 15 minutes away. They're lynching our black children in Palmdale, Lancaster and Victorville, California. It stops now, right now. Justice. Justice. Justice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MALVEAUX: In nearby Victorville, California, another black man, a 38- year-old Malcolm Harsch was found hanging from a tree outside the city library while San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department says that they suspect no foul play. His family, too, say they just don't buy it.
So later today, there's going to be a press conference. The L.A. County Sheriff's Department, they are going to have to answer to these questions. Brianna?
KEILAR: Suzanne, thank you.
New video has surfaced showing the confrontation between two teenagers in Tulsa, aged 15 and 13, who were stopped by police and they were handcuffed for jaywalking. A neighborhood bystander filmed the incident and it shows another version of the physical altercation that unfolded between one of the officers and a 13-year-old who was placed inside the patrol car.
Abby Phillip, our CNN Political Correspondent, is in Tulsa ahead of the president's visit there this weekend. And, Abby, if you could walk us through video here, I know you spoke to the neighbor who filmed this. Tell us what she said to you.
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Brianna. This is one more incident that is really causing residents here to be extremely angry about this relationship with police. The neighbor, Donna Corbitt, was just across the way looking at this incident happening, looking at this arrest unfolding. She was shocked by what she said was just the amount of force being used to restrain these teens, one of them in particular.
And I'm just going to let you see this video here from her vantage point as she's looking across the way, she sees the officer struggling with the boy in the police car.
This video is just one of several that people have recorded as they watched this incident unfold. And it really shows a different version of the events. You can see in the dash camera video that once they are in the car, the officer is looking through the pockets. He's struggling with the 13-year-old teen who's screaming about how he is being racially profiled.
So this incident, the department is saying, that this was a specialized gang unit that stops people proactively. It also is -- they are also just charging the teens with jaywalking, but not making any allegations that they were involved in any sort of criminal activity.
KEILAR: And I wonder if you could shed some light on this, Abby, because having watched these two videos now, there really seems to be from the get-go when it comes to this young man here, a -- I guess he's outraged. He doesn't understand why he's being detained like this.
And, I mean, even this -- the definition of jaywalking, just to listen to some of the family members, the people who saw this, say, look at this road here. There aren't sidewalks. And it's kind of a backstreet, so where would you walk, you know?
And it seems like from the beginning, there's just something that's understandable, a frustration on the part of these young men for why are we being stopped.
PHILLIP: Yes. We went to that place just to see for ourselves what was going on. It is in a residential neighborhood, and that road is kind of a back road. It's very quiet back there. And as you said, there is no sidewalk.
But one thing that Donna Corbitt said to us was that that grassy patch that you can see there was often overrun with grass and weeds. People do not walk there because they don't think it's safe to walk out there, so they walk in the road.
But it is part of what seems to be a pattern or that's what people here in Tulsa tell me, of these proactive stops really targeting -- in their view, targeting young black men. These boys had been walking from a bus stop, their lawyer told me, through the neighborhood. And as they began walking into the neighborhood, the officers in their patrol car followed them and eventually stopped them at the point at which the arrest occurred.
So there is quite a bit of frustration communitywide here that this is just not an isolated incident.
And you can hear if you are to watch this dash camera video, you can hear the boys talking to the officers. One of the boys, the 13-year- old, is distraught. He is screaming about being profiled. He is angry. His mother told me when I spoke to her that he is traumatized. She says that he had had some previous trauma that made him very sensitive to being held down and that he now is in a state of just constant nervousness, about feeling like he could be stopped at any moment.
KEILAR: Yes. Abby, thank you for that report.
Beyonce and Taylor Swift making specific demands to local lawmakers. Hear their pleas.
Plus, a monumental Supreme Court decision that employers cannot fire workers because they're gay or transgender. Hear which conservative sided with liberals.
Also, states and cities threatening to shut down everything yet again after crowds ignore coronavirus guidelines in bars and restaurants.
KEILAR: A landmark ruling today for the LGBTQ community, the Supreme Court declaring the historic Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects gay, lesbian and transgender employees from workplace discrimination. The Supreme Court now says employers cannot fire their workers for being gay or transgender.
Irin Carmon is a CNN Contributor, also co-author of the book, Notorious RGB -- RBG, pardon me for that. We had a typo there and I just read the prompter. Irin, thanks for joining us.
Two of the court's conservatives joined the four liberals in this decision. So tell us more about this significant ruling.
IRIN CARMON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Brianna, good afternoon. Today, LGBTQ activists have so much to be thankful for, but not just that. The larger argument here that was being made that all of these movements are intertwined, that LBGTQ rights can be found in existing civil rights legislation, which in turn was a provision of women's rights, discrimination on the basis of sex, which built on racial equality in the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the argument that all of these rights are intertwined, that the movements all have to work together to make the legal arguments, has been validated by no less than two Republican appointees to the Supreme Court in an unequivocal clear decision today.
This is even better than many advocates were expecting. We had Justice Neil Gorsuch, obviously, President Trump's first appointee, and Chief Justice Roberts, both joining an opinion authored by Gorsuch that made a very strong argument that you cannot discriminate on the basis of sex and specifically that that sex provision applies to LGBTQ individuals in a way that the Supreme Court has never previously recognized.
Now, yesterday, 15,000 people marched in Brooklyn and said that black trans lives mattered. The woman who brought the case in the LGBTQ community, the trans rights aspect of this, Amy Stevens, did not live to see this day. But millions of people in this country will now see a bipartisan, cross ideological coalition saying that LGBTQ individuals are included in existing civil rights law and the impact is enormous.
KEILAR: Yes. And it's so significant when you look at the breakdown on the court on this. Irin, thank you.
President Trump calling them game changers in the fight against coronavirus, now, the FDA is sidelining them. The agency is ending the emergency use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine because the risks outweigh any known benefits.
CNN's Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen is joining me now. We have talked about this drug so much. This was an emergency use authorization, right? So tell us why revoke it now?
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: In some ways, you could ask the question, Brianna, why didn't they revoke a long time ago. This has been a long time incoming.
Let's take a look at how at sort of the tick tock of how this all unfolded. So back in March, the FDA issued emergency use authorization for hydroxychloroquine to be used for certain COVID patients. And then in April, just a month later, the FDA itself and the NIH come out warning against its use. And then the month after that, two studies in very prestigious medical journals came out saying it was ineffective.
One of those two, the larger of those two studies said not only does it not work but it increases the risk of cardiac arrest by more than two times. And then today here in June, the authorization is revoked.
Now, it's saying and the FDA is now says it is unlikely to work and there are concerns that it could cause problems, including heart problems.
Now, it's interesting, Brianna, because the FDA has also said look, at the time we gave the authorization back in March, we were going based on the evidence at hand. Every expert that I've spoken with, and these are people who study hydroxychloroquine in COVID, said there never really was any evidence that this drug worked. Basically, what we had was a president who was pushing it.
KEILAR: And there was evidence from the beginning, from the very beginning, that it caused problems. Elizabeth Cohen, thank you so much.