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Interview with Atlanta Councilwomen Marci Collier Overstreet; NFL Dallas and Houston Teams Report New Coronavirus Cases; Interview with Hallandale Beach Vice Mayor Sabrina Javellana. Aired 2-2:30p ET
Aired June 15, 2020 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST, NEWSROOM: Top of the hour now, I'm Brianna Keilar. And we begin with a family's plea for justice, amid a nationwide movement for change.
The widow and family of Rayshard Brooks, calling for murder charges after an Atlanta police officer shot and killed Mr. Brooks in a Friday night confrontation at a Wendy's restaurant.
There's bodycam footage that 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. And then shortly after, he took off running.
And while running away, video shows Brooks turning around, pointing what appears to be that taser at the officer. One of the officers then fired three times at Brooks. An autopsy confirms Brooks died of gunshot wounds to the back.
News of the incident led to destructive protests across the city. Today, a peaceful rally at the state capital. And less than 48 hours after Brooks' death, the officer who shot Brooks was fired, and the Atlanta police chief resigned.
Today, Brooks' family described the man that they lost. They begged authorities to not let his death be in vain.
GYMACO BROOKS, RAYSHARD BROOKS' COUSIN: He was always happy. He was always smiling. And you had to kill him (inaudible) his family members, because he wasn't that type of dude.
So to you people that are looking around the world, and you have your feelings, before it happened to us, I can 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 all 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're going to have to deal with it again. We're
going to have to bury him, we're going to have to say, We miss you. And if we didn't say we love you enough, we've got to apologize to him for not telling him that we loved him that much.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) took my cousin, man. I (INAUDIBLE), I've got to go. I have to go. You all took (INAUDIBLE) from me, I want you all to know that you all took my cousin from me, you all took him (INAUDIBLE). That wasn't the person to take because he wasn't no (INAUDIBLE).
KEILAR: I want to bring in CNN's Ryan Young now, he's live from the Wendy's where this incident happened.
I mean, just the emotions coming from that family, Ryan, and we've seen that, obviously, at the Wendy's. There, you see the sadness and the grief, you see the anger as well. And this site behind you, it's become a place for a vigil. It was also set on fire two nights ago. Tell us what's going on behind you today.
RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It has. When you think about that, what we just heard, it's very difficult to listen to. I think people were sort of keeping it together until that moment.
You heard the words, "He wanted to talk to his people." Well, so many people across Atlanta are listening to those words. You heard those family members talk about, they wanted this to remain peaceful.
You talk about the Wendy's behind me, there is an effort to catch the people who they have -- they believe that started the fire behind us. But when you look there now and you see what's going on, Atlanta is showing up in a different way. People are coming to pay their respects, they're coming to mark this moment. Because there's a lot of pain in this community.
And when you heard it from the family, there's a lot of people that are asking for answers. They want to know what D.A. Paul Howard's going to do moving forward. They say they are glad the police officer was fired.
And a lot of people have watched that bodycam footage, and they talk about the fact that there was that 30-minute conversation between everybody there, and everything seemed calm. And then it took that turn. But the one question that everyone seems to be asking, over and over again, is why were the shots -- why were they fired? Why wasn't he allowed to run off? That is the big question.
And you're talking about a part of this city that's really connected to the edge of downtown. I mean, Turner Field, where the Rays used to play, is just pretty much on the other side of this area over here. So there's a lot of people who are just driving by, just to take a look at this.
But the main question is, how does the city move forward? One, you heard that Tyler Perry's going to help pay for the burial of Rayshard Brooks. That was one of the things that was talked about there.
But there are other questions, like this Wendy's parking lot that was full. You saw the lawyer step forward with the fact that they now have a witness that says that one of the cars that wasn't involved in this was hit by gunfire. And that's something that has also upset people in this community.
Brianna, there's so many emotions in this right now, and what we're told is there are going to be several more protests over the next few hours. In fact, there's supposed to be another one in the next 30 minutes or so at the capital.
People want their voices heard. They know session's in today, so they want to make sure lawmakers can hear them. They want changes, they want changes made to policing.
We talked about the police chief has already stepped down, and now there's a new police chief who's been put into place. But they want to see action, and they want to see it pretty soon.
KEILAR: Ryan Young, thank you for that report from Atlanta.
Atlanta City Councilwoman Marci Collier Overstreet is joining me now. Thank you so much for being here. The widow of Rayshard Brooks says that her husband's death was murder. Do you agree?
MARCI COLLIER OVERSTREET, ATLANTA CITY COUNCILMEMBER: I agree that her husband's death is a huge problem for our city and our nation. And I will allow the process to reveal itself, but I am not going to take up for that officer that shot that man while he was running away.
KEILAR: You know, I wonder, I think especially when something like this happens, it's like at each point, you look to see where things could have been different, right? What is -- when you see this from Rayshard Brooks is asleep behind the wheel, he appears to be under the influence. Then he is awake, he's talking, he's being, you know, agreeable. It seems very calm with the officers. It escalates to -- after what appears to be a sobriety test, he's then on the ground and he's being restrained, and then there's this struggle. And then we see what happens after that.
What is the first point for you where you have a question about, OK, why is it at this point right now?
OVERSTREET: Well, I have a question with all of it. Clearly, there is a problem with either fear, when officers are in their capacity, or just lack of empathy. Don't have respect for our citizens, especially black citizens. So I have a problem with all of it, I don't even know where to start with that.
But I do know that as a council, we really and truly have to take this listening session serious, and make sure that the actions that we take after the listening sessions reflect how we feel about our community, and what our community has to say.
Yesterday, I went over to that Wendy's to help with the clean-up, with our Public Works Department. And I had conversations with so many of the people that live in that community, and that came from miles around just to get a feel of where all of this horribleness took place.
And I have to tell you that people are sad. They are sad, they're distraught. And so am I. This is an area where I grew up. I know Southwest Atlanta. I live on -- in an area where I was actually -- I grew up, I learned how to drive here. I was married here, I raised all three of my black children here.
These are the same police officers that patrol my streets. It is scary to think that my sons, either one of them, the 23-year-old or the 19- year-old, can go out and make some bad decisions and die for it. No one should have to live in that type of fear. Not anyone.
KEILAR: Councilmember Overstreet, thank you so much for joining us.
OVERSTREET: Thank you so much for having me.
KEILAR: We have some breaking news in the coronavirus pandemic. As sports leagues plan to restart their seasons, the NFL network is reporting that several players for the Dallas Cowboys and the Houston Texans have tested positive. CNN's Ed Lavandera is outside of Cowboys Stadium.
OK, this is sort of what we feared the whole time, right, Ed? What happens when people start testing positive? What do you know?
ED LAVANDERA, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, as we've mentioned, the several players, the exact identity of who they are exactly, how all of these players contracted the coronavirus is unclear at this point.
And that will be a big part of all of this, in determining how this league moves forward here in the months ahead.
The NFL has had the comfort of having a little bit more time. Their season doesn't officially start until end of August, early September. And because of that, it has had time to figure out how to handle all of this and what to do with the upcoming season.
All indications are, is that the league had hoped to start the season on time, but exactly how that would look like or what it would look like is unclear. Also seeing the NBA and Major League Baseball kind of grappling with these issues as they try to figure out a way to restart their seasons in the midst of this pandemic.
But the news here today, that several players with the Houston Texans and the Dallas Cowboys that are now sick with coronavirus, really does appear to complicate the issue here, and the details of how all of this unfolded, I think, will be very crucial in determining exactly how the league moves forward -- Brianna.
KEILAR: All right, Ed, thank you so much. Ed Lavandera.
We also have some breaking news about the drug that President Trump touted to treat coronavirus. The FDA has just revoked its emergency authorization.
Plus, the entire SWAT team in one city in Florida resigned after their chief took a knee in solidarity with protestors. I'll be speaking with the city's vice mayor, next.
KEILAR: All 10 members of a South Florida SWAT team have resigned from their assignment. They are set to meet next hour with the Hallandale Beach police chief to turn in their equipment and voice their concerns, which include this protest.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get your knee off my neck. Get your knee off my neck.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Get your knee off my neck. Get your knee off my neck.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: Now, the officers are angry that their police chief took a knee with protestors, and they also accused the chief of kneeling in solidarity with the city's vice mayor, who they have said is showing, quote, "clear disdain" for their agency. That woman, the vice mayor of Hallandale Beach, Sabrina Javellana is joining me now.
Thank you so much, Vice Mayor, for being with us to talk about this. What is your response to this mass resignation of the SWAT team?
SABRINA JAVELLANA, VICE MAYOR, HALLANDALE BEACH, FLORIDA: Hi, Brianna, thank you so much for having me today. And I was disappointed and I was shocked when I saw the letter on Friday. But I think it just resonates with what we're seeing nationally.
I think our officers, one of them being the police -- the newly elected police union chief, saw what happened in Buffalo, New York, with the officers who resigned in solidarity with an officer who had pushed an older man on the ground.
And the fact that they're singling out our police chief, who has been very reform-minded, very community police-minded and truthfully, you not telling the truth in saying that she was standing in solidarity with me, that was not true.
The chief and several other officers kneeled in this protest, led by community members like Reginald Smith, Javonte (ph) McCoy (ph), Gary McDonald, Northwest Community Hallandale Beach residents who organized this in support of Howard Bowe Jr., who was killed by the Hallandale Beach SWAT in 2014.
Many of them were his neighbors, his friends, even his family members. I met his sister there and we embraced, we cried. I told her that we are going to remember Howard.
And that was a lot of what this letter was about, the fact that we were talking about Howard Bowe, that no officers were charged in this case, that we really truthfully believe that he was wrongfully killed, and there was no accountability or justice held up.
KEILAR: And that was -- I mean, that's part of the criticism of this SWAT team, right? That speaks to a larger issue, not just you have brought up, it's been brought up in the media as well. Howard Bowe was unarmed, and he was shot twice in the stomach. His family was at home.
In the end, when police did go in, they found drugs. Not a huge amount, right? This speaks to one of the criticisms that has been made about this SWAT team, that maybe they go overboard for drug busts that are yielding no drugs, or that are yielding very little. What is it going to -- do you -- what is it going to mean to this community that they do not have a SWAT team?
On one hand, you have this criticism of them in the Bowe case, in drug cases as well. On the other hand, of course, there are going to be proponents -- as you know, Vice Mayor -- of this SWAT team who say, Look, if there is a school shooting, if there's a hostage situation, who are you going to call? Who are you going to have with expertise at your disposal?
JAVELLANA: Of course. And this SWAT resignation of the 10-member unit has absolutely no impact on the operations or the safety of our community, our residents, our visitors. We have a mutual aid agreement with the Broward County Sheriff's Office for those SWAT services, for emergency services if ever necessary.
But SWAT is not the first, you know, critical response unit. They respond to neutralize a situation after all exhausted measures are taken. And we are a small city, a four-square-mile city, 38,000 people in a county with nearly 2 million residents.
And I really don't think local police departments should be militarized. I hear the arguments, both sides. But to tell the truth, I mean, Howard Bowe was a victim of one of 38 SWAT raids, almost all done in the northwest, historically black quadrant of Hallandale Beach.
And he fell victim to something -- 16 grams of cocaine, a very, very minimal amount -- from military-style drug raids that the majority of which were finding little to even zero drugs in these homes, terrorizing a community. I don't think that kept us safer, and it didn't keep Howard, his family, his dog safer.
[14:20:16] And it's really reflective, that it only happens on really one side of our city versus the other side, west side versus east side. I think our community can be safer by reallocating the funding for the SWAT department -- not department, I'm sorry, unit -- with regards to pay, with regards to --
KEILAR: Yes, where do you want to see that going? Do you want to see that going towards pay for other officers?
JAVELLANA: No. So what we've been hearing from a lot of our residents, from community members, Black Lives Matter Alliance- Broward, is those funds should be reallocated to community-led initiatives: expanded scholarships for families who need child care after school, mental health, first responders, people -- you know, the things that we really need in direct assistance to our communities, that would keep us safer and root out problems at the stem, the things that our community wants.
And not for a SWAT team that rarely, rarely gets deployed and you know, for assignments, for pay, for operations, for things that we really don't need that don't keep us safer versus community-led initiatives that will keep us safer, and will keep our communities together rather than take away a life.
KEILAR: Vice Mayor, we really appreciate you coming on. Sabrina Javellana, thank you.
JAVELLANA: Thank you so much, Brianna.
KEILAR: Next, major Supreme Court decisions, two conservative justices siding with the liberals who -- to protect LGBTQ workers from workplace discrimination.
And South Carolina Congressman Tom Rice just announced he and his family are recovering from coronavirus. This comes as cases climb in 18 states.
KEILAR: The benefits did not outweigh the risks. The FDA has just revoked the Emergency Use Authorization for hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, drugs that President Trump once touted as game-changers for treating coronavirus. And in the meantime, the numbers of confirmed cases of coronavirus have spiked, complicating the process of reopening.
CNN correspondent Nick Watt is in Los Angeles. Tell us, Nick, which states are seeing the spikes here.
NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Brianna, it is very regional. The northeast, now looking pretty good, the numbers going down, the governor said that they have their lowest rate of hospitalization since all of this began. And as he put it, Amen.
But the south and the west are not looking so good. In Texas, their hospitalizations are higher than they have been since all of this began, and there's also some concern in neighboring Oklahoma.
WATT (voice-over): Thousands will gather Saturday night in Tulsa to listen to the most famous non-mask-wearer in the country, President Donald Trump.
"But COVID is here in Tulsa, it is transmitting very efficiently," says the director of the local health department. "I wish we could postpone this."
Confirmed cases in the county just climbed 30 percent in a week, blamed by the health department on large indoor gatherings.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: People should be wearing masks at the Trump rally in Tulsa this Saturday.
LARRY KUDLOW, WHITE HOUSE ECONOMIC ADVISOR: Well, OK, probably so --
WATT (voice-over): Right now, new case counts are climbing in 18 states, including much of the west, California seeing more than 3,000 new infections a day. Also much of the south. Take Florida. May 4th, the day the state began to reopen, they reported 819 new cases. This past Saturday, a new record high, 2.581. Still, Sunday in Miami, some NASCAR fans were back in the stands; most, but not all, wore masks.
Florida's governor blames outbreaks in prisons and agricultural communities for the rise, but some big-city mayors are worried.
MAYOR FRANCIS SUAREZ (R), MIAMI, FLORIDA: That could mean a potential restriction that could be reversing some of the things that we've done.
WATT (voice-over): Today in New Jersey, you can once again dine outdoors and shop indoors --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were the second-hardest-hit state in America --
WATT (voice-over): -- numbers there, now falling. Same in neighboring New York, where they've now had 25,000 complaints of businesses breaking the rules of this new-fangled normal. Inspectors, now on the streets.
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: We are not kidding around with this. You're talking about jeopardizing people's lives.
WATT (voice-over): And we might not see our old normal for some time. "I would hope to get to some degree of real normality within a year or so," Dr. Anthony Fauci told a British newspaper, "But I don't think it's this winter or fall."
(END VIDEOTAPE) WATT: Now, we all know that President Trump does not like to wear a mask in public. His surgeon general, Jerome Adams, has no such qualms. He just tweeted a picture of himself, wearing a mask, with this caption: "Some feel face coverings infringe on their freedom of choice. But if more wear them, we'll have more freedom to go out" -- Brianna.
KEILAR: All right, Nick Watt, thank you for that report.
And next, I'll be speaking to an attorney who filed a brief in a landmark Supreme Court decision that came down today, six justices coming to agreement that LGBTQ workers cannot be discriminated against at work.