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NYPD Policing Reforms; Unrest in Atlanta; NFL Players Test Positive For Coronavirus. Aired 3-3:30p ET
Aired June 15, 2020 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: That's right, Pavlovian,.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: Chris Cillizza, thanks for -- thank you for...
KEILAR: Yes, exactly.
Thanks for joining us.
CILLIZZA: Thanks, Brianna.
KEILAR: And our special coverage will continue now with Brooke Baldwin.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Hi there,. I'm Brooke Baldwin. You're watching CNN on this Monday afternoon. Thank you for being here.
We begin this week with a storyline that has become all too familiar in this country. A family is in mourning and a city is on edge after another police-involved shooting leaves a black man dead.
Let me show you the scene earlier today in Atlanta during this massive march and rally there at the Capitol Building, after 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks was shot and killed by police on Friday. The shooting unfolded in the parking lot of a Wendy's fast food restaurant where Brooks was awakened by police, who found him sleeping in his parked car in the drive-through lane.
And before we show you this video here, I just want to warn you that what you are about to see may be disturbing to you. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation says Brooks and the officers ended up in this physical confrontation shown here in this eyewitness video.
And that eyewitness tells CNN that a fight broke out when the officers tried to arrest Brooks, who, according to the GBI, failed a field sobriety test.
Now, during the struggle, Brooks actually took one of the officer's Tasers, and then this surveillance video from Wendy's shows what about the eyewitness and the GBI say happened next. After running a short distance away here, Brooks then turns around and
points the Taser at an officer. And that is when the officer grabbed his gun and opened fire three times. An autopsy from the medical examiner lists Brooks' cause of death as two gunshot wounds to the back.
The Fulton County district attorney says Brooks did not seem to pose or present a threat, noting that, for 22 minutes, part of which is shown in this body cam video, he was speaking to the officers in a cordial and cooperative manner.
The mayor of Atlanta says she doesn't believe the use of force was justified. And, today, members of Brooks family spoke out in an emotional news conference.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHASSIDY EVANS, NIECE OF RAYSHARD BROOKS: No one walking this green earth expects to be shot and killed like trash in the street for falling a sleep 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 here today. Not only are we hurt. We are angry. When does this stop? We're not only pleading for justice. We're pleading for change.
TOMIKA MILLER, WIDOW OF RAYSHARD BROOKS: But there is no justice that can ever make me feel happy about what has 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 is going to be a long time before this family heals.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: And one of Rayshard Brooks' relatives being consoled here yelled out, "You took my cousin from me," while the family walked there out of the room.
Let's go to Atlanta to my colleague Ryan Young. He's at that Wendy's which was burned during protests in the wake of all of this.
And, Ryan, I know that the police chief there in Atlanta has resigned. Tell me about these officers. What is the status of the officers involved in this? And then just where does the investigation go from here?
RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, just to give you a little bit of a curve ball, we actually moved to City Hall because there were reports of protesters who were showing up outside of the city hall.
They're well aware that there is a session going on at the capitol. And so they wanted to make sure their voices were heard here. When you talk about the two officers, one, the officer who fired his weapon has been fired. The other one has been placed on administrative duty.
And so when you have all these issues that are going on in this city, you can understand the pain that has sort of surrounded the people who live here. In fact, there are so many people who are passionate about this.
You listen to how they are making their voices heard, they have told me they want to make sure the mayor understands that they have demands.
And, look, one of the things that -- we have been talking about before, and you said you wanted to make sure that the protest voices were heard. What do you people in Atlanta around the country need to understand about what you guys are trying to get the voices heard in terms of what you want?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, what people need to understand is, is that we are trying to shift the culture in our cities.
And the culture in our cities and in our states across America is that the police are used to brutalized black people, that the police are not here for our protection, that the police are here to uphold white supremacy.
And so we need our government officials, particularly in a city like Atlanta that prides itself on black leadership, to side with black people, to have policies and budgets that reflect the needs of black people.
The fact of the matter is, people are saying, we don't need no cops, because we're about to hire 221 new police officers in a city that has one of the highest per capita rates of police officers per resident.
YOUNG: Let me ask you this question. When you saw that video, what did it to you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I go to that Wendy's all the time, Ryan. I go to that Wendy's all of the time.
That could have been me. That could have been any of us. Nobody knows who you are when you're on the street. They don't know if you're politically connected. They don't know if you're an organizer in the street. They don't know if you're a reporter.
All they know is that you are black, and because black skin means that you're a threat. And so I was personally hurt by that, because I knew that it could have been me. It was too close to home.
George Floyd was close to home because he's a black man, and I'm a black man. But this was a black man in my neighborhood. This is a black man at a drive-through I go to all the time.
And the idea that people were in the streets for two weeks before saying, no justice, no peace, saying that the police are out of control, and the response from the police department would be to gun down an unarmed man, would be to gun down someone whose only crime was being intoxicated in their car, allegedly.
YOUNG: Thank you so much, Devin (ph). I appreciate you.
Look, they have said they're going to keep making their voices heard. They want to make sure that not only the mayor hears it, but the governor hears it, who is just across the way.
One of the other things they have been talking about is, Paul Howard, who is the DA here, his office is just across the street. They want to make sure they see some charges toward the officer who fired his weapon.
So, Brooke, you have lived in this city before. There is a conversation here about changing how people are responded to. They want to make sure they see more help services in this community. And they want to see something surge in the next 30 days or so.
You talked about Erika Shields, who was the chief of police here for about 3.5 years before she stepped down. They want to hear from the new police chief to see what actions will be put in place in the next few days.
And I have to say this. You think about Atlanta, all the rich history that is here when it comes to the civil rights movement. For the most part, it has remained peaceful for so many years in terms of protests, especially large protests.
There are also people here who are disheartened to see the turn that has taken place. And that is why you see Crime Stoppers stepping forward to try to catch people who did the arson at the Wendy's -- Brooke.
BALDWIN: We will talk about of that with my next guest.
For now, Ryan Young, I appreciate you. And I appreciate Kevin for speaking up and out with you. Thank you very much there.
And let me go now to Atlanta City Councilman Antonio Brown.
So, Councilman Brown, thank you so much for joining me.
ANTONIO BROWN, ATLANTA CITY COUNCILMAN: Absolutely. Thank you for having me.
BALDWIN: This is such an important conversation to have. I know that you were there.
I have seen clips of you speaking up and out at the scene where Rayshard Brooks died Saturday night. And you have said that -- to Ryan's point about the Wendy's and the burning it down, that you don't condone the burning of the Wendy's, but that you understand it.
So, here is your moment. Just tell -- what do you want the rest of the country to know just about the people in Atlanta and how they're feeling, those who you represent?
BROWN: You know, I just had a very intense conversation with Mayor Bottoms during our City Council update.
And you know the people are hurting right now. I grew up in conditions, poor conditions where there were limited resources, limited opportunities. People are out here struggling to survive every day.
And then on top of this, we have -- our communities have to worry about walking down their very own streets and whether or not their life is at stake. No one should have to feel like that.
And Rayshard Brooks is not the first black man to die in Atlanta. We have a responsibility, a relentless responsibility to our community. And it is time that our community gets put back to the forefront of the conversations, not just has a seat at the table, but is the table, because we are all public servants.
We're here to serve. And we're all hurting right now. And I know Devin Barrington (ph), who was just on and speaking at the rally. We work together. We're hurting right now.
And we want people to listen. That is what is important right now. In order for us to move to a place of action, we -- folks in leadership, our elected officials, including myself, we have to listen. The destruction that is happening is because people feel like they're not being heard.
BALDWIN: I hear you. I hear you, Antonio.
And forgive me, Devin, not Kevin, so what a powerful voice he had there speaking with Ryan.
But to your point about words are one thing, action is another, I know that the police chief, as Ryan pointed out, Erika Shields, she is out. She's resigned.
BALDWIN: But I know -- and I want you to tell me about this contentious phone call that you had with Mayor Bottoms, because you tweeted out that she and the entire Atlanta City Council, which includes you, should resign.
So, quoting you: "We're all equally responsible for the unarmed black lives lost to police brutality. We could have passed legislation to address this."
You are clearly owning it. You are accepting responsibility. But why is solution, Antonio, why is the solution that all of you all resign?
BROWN: So I was speaking in the context of a hyperbole, right?
For me, I wanted them to understand that it is not just Chief Shields. We're all accountable for what is transpiring right now. I have only been on Council one year, one year, and the first thing that I targeted when I came onto Council was a city ordinance requiring our local police to always keep their cameras on.
And if their cameras were not on, corrective action would be implemented up until termination. That didn't pass through Council. We couldn't even get that into Council for a vote.
So, we have had ample opportunities to effect change. We talk about public safety reform. And I have heard this conversation around defunding the police.
What we're looking for, we're looking to restructure public safety. And we want to reallocate funds from the budget, so that we could have more intense training around de-escalation tactics, so we can focus on community policing.
You know, people said to me, Antonio, you worked with Chief Shields, because I did. We put together one of the first community policing programs on Martin Luther King Jr. and Lowery, a predominantly black and brown community.
And we had foot patrols. We have bicycle patrols. They got to know the community. The community knew them. We reduced crime by 57 percent. Those are things we can do now.
BROWN: We have to move into a place of action.
BALDWIN: I hear you. I appreciate you.
And I do want to just quickly point out -- I want to point out what Mayor Bottoms said on CNN last night. She said: "Up until Friday, I thought we were doing it right. We have implicit bias training in this city. I don't think that we can out-train our way as a country out of where we are and how we view race and how we interact with each other. I think, while we're doing it in our police departments, there's clearly a bigger conversation that has to be had across this country."
I just want to make sure that her voice was heard here as well.
Antonio Brown, we will keep our conversation going too. Thank you so much for making the time.
BROWN: Thank you.
BALDWIN: I know you're busy, busy there in Atlanta. And I appreciate you.
BROWN: Thanks. BALDWIN: The other piece of -- you got it.
The other piece of news coming out today, new concerns in the NFL. have you heard about this? Several players now on the Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans have reportedly tested positive for COVID-19. Details ahead, what that means for the league.
And the FDA today banning the emergency use of two drugs that President Trump touts as coronavirus -- quote, unquote -- "game- changers."
And a big split emerging regarding the NBA. Some players say the league should not play another game until there is racial justice in America.
You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. We will be right back.
BALDWIN: Welcome back. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.
As Texas deals with an increase in cases of COVID-19, CNN is now learning that several NFL players there have tested positive for the virus, raising questions just even about the league's upcoming season.
According to NFL Network, multiple players with the Dallas Cowboys and the Houston Texans have been infected, including Cowboys star running back Zeke Elliott.
CNN's Ed Lavandera is live for us in Dallas this afternoon with more.
Ed, what can you tell us about this?
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, as you mentioned, Brooke, this really does call into question exactly what is the NFL going to do in the next few months as it prepares for the 2020 football season?
As you know, the National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball kind of mired in figuring out how to restart their seasons. And this news coming here not only as the number of cases in Texas continues to go up, but several months ago, there were a number of Dallas Cowboys' players who had kind of stirred up a controversy as they -- Dak Prescott, the quarterback of the Cowboys, had hosted a party at his house.
And then there were a number of players holding workouts. So there was a bit of a controversy surrounding some of these players' actions as to whether or not they were following social distancing guidelines and that sort of thing.
But this news does come as the league prepares to begin the 2020 season. The Houston Texans and the Dallas Cowboys are not commenting officially on the names of the players that are reportedly infected with the coronavirus. They say they cannot comment on that, citing federal and local privacy
laws. But the NFL is in the process of trying to figure out how to reopen. It was just earlier this month that the commissioner of the NFL put out a memo to all of the teams, allowing that the coaching staff and up to 100 employees could return to training facilities and resume working.
But, again, this is -- that was just the first step. How this news affects what happens next is unknown at this point, but it's clearly something that the league is grappling with as it figures out what the 2020 season is going to look like -- Brooke.
BALDWIN: Huge question marks, then, as result of this. Hopefully, they can keep it contained.
Ed Lavandera, thank you.
Also today, a major victory for equal rights, the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that employers cannot fire workers for being gay or transgender. And two of the court's conservative justices helped make that happen. We have that.
And the split brewing in the NBA, some players arguing that the league shouldn't restart amid the movement for racial justice. Others, including LeBron James, disagree.
We will be right back.
BALDWIN: All right, we're going to take you to a news conference that is just beginning with the NYPD commissioner, Shea.
Let's listen in.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
DERMOT SHEA, NEW YORK CITY POLICE COMMISSIONER: ... and, more importantly, how it's achieved.
We have seen a number of bills passed rapidly both at the state and the local level recently. Just a few I will mention, 50-a, choke hold bill, both at the state and city council level, bills dealing with the release of arrest data, making notification when a gun is fired, obtaining medical treatment for prisoners, filming at the scene of incidents, the wearing of body cameras, the use of surveillance equipment.
I'm probably forgetting a few. The truth is that most of these bills will not have significant impact on day-to-day operations of the NYPD. I say this because most of what is codified in these bills was already being practiced by policies and procedures of the NYPD, because of the reforms that we have put into place over the last number of years. And I think that is good news. The culture, this culture of constantly striving for excellence is what I believe sets the NYPD apart. We welcome reform, but we also believe that meaningful reform starts from within.
From CompStat in 1994 to neighborhood policing and precision policing in the last few years, the NYPD has been the model of policing in this country. How do you keep crime down? How do you keep incarceration down at the same time? And how do you build trust simultaneously?
That has always been the challenge. Within the last hour, I just chaired a meeting of senior executives of the police department. It is regarding the deployment of precinct level and PSA-level anti-crime units. These are the plainclothes units that operate on traditional anti-crime.
Effective immediately, we will be transitioning those units, roughly 600 people citywide, into a variety of assignments, including Detective Bureau, neighborhood policing, and other assignments. Why? This is 21st century policing, intelligence, data, ShotSpotter, video, DNA, and building prosecutable cases.
It continues to be building these cases on a small number of people that, unfortunately, still terrorize parts of this city. However, the key difference, we must do it in a manner that builds trust between the officers and the community they serve.
I started speaking about a number of reforms that have just recently been passed. Make no mistake, this is a seismic shift in the culture of how the NYPD polices this great city. It will be felt immediately throughout the five district attorney's offices. It will be felt immediately in the communities that we protect.
I will take some questions.
QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) anti-crime. Why was that a big move for you guys?
SHEA: It is a big move when you look at culturally how we police this city, John. And what we always struggle with, I believe, as police executives is not keeping crime down.
It is keeping crime down and keeping the community working with us. And I think those two things at times have been at odds. I would consider this in the realm of closing one of the last chapters of stop, question and frisk. I would put it as that high of a time.
This is no reflection whatsoever on the men and women of the police department out that are there doing the work. This is a policy shift coming from me, personally. The men and women of the police department were doing what I and others before me asked. They have done an exceptional job. But, again, I think it is time to
move forward and change how we police in this city. We can do it with brains, we can do with it guile, we can move away from brute force. And it is lost on no one, certainly not the people that live in the neighborhoods that we serve that endure being stopped, or their children being stopped.
We can do it better. We can do it smarter. And we will.
QUESTION: Commissioner, so I just wanted to ask you about the 30 murders over the past month in comparison to...
QUESTION: Oh, sure. (OFF-MIKE)
SHEA: Well, it's the -- it's certainly one of the more proactive units in this job.
There will continue to be plainclothes units in the NYPD, whether it is in surveillance teams, whether it is narcotics or things of that nature. But when you look at historically, when you look coming out of Floyd, when you look coming out of the monitorship, when you look at the number of anti-crime officers that operate within New York City, and you look at a disproportionate, quite frankly, percentage of complaints, shootings, and they are doing exactly what was asked of them.
Again, I think we can do better. I think that policing in 2020 is not what it was five, 10, or 15 years ago. We have shown that we can build prosecutable cases with evidence, with intelligence, with video. And we will need -- make no mistake, we will need the cooperation of the five district attorneys to continue to keep New York City the safest big city in America.
But we also have to do it with the communities that we serve. We need cooperation. We need trust. And all of this goes into this decision of mine.
QUESTION: Have you -- a lot of the anti-crime guys (OFF-MIKE) plainclothes guys...
SHEA: And women.
QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) They were used during the protests a lot, and something that I had not seen before in terms of the way they were being used.
During the protests, they were out. Did you -- have you -- did you look at any of that activity during the protests? Did that in any way...
SHEA: I will tell you that that did not factor in.
The protests really did not factor in here. And what I will tell you to make you understand that is, prior to me having this job, we scrutinize every police-involved shooting very closely.
Going back a year, I have had conversations with people in this agency about the anti-crime teams. They do amazing work. They truly do. They put their lives on the line day and night in this city, going after, by the very nature of what they do, people that carry guns every day.
As a result of that, they get into a number of police-involved shootings. So, I have been looking at how they're attired, should we have them in raid jackets, should we have them in uniform, going back to last year.
Those conversations have continued --