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Police Killing of Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta Sparks Racial Tensions; Officer Garrett Rolfe Fired By Atlanta Police Department After Shooting Brooks; GOP, Democrats at Odds as Congress Tackles Police Reform. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired June 15, 2020 - 05:00   ET




TOMIKA MILLER, WIFE OF RAYSHARD BROOKS: Go to jail, I want them to deal with the same thing as if it was my husband who killed somebody else.


LAURA JARRETT, CO-ANCHOR, EARLY START: As the nation continues to protest the killing of unarmed black men, police shoot and kill a black man in Atlanta. How a police encounter that could have de- escalated turned so deadly so quickly.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CO-ANCHOR, EARLY START: And as the economy reopens, coronavirus cases spike. Several states dealing with record spikes of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations. Those concerns sending Asian stocks and U.S. futures down sharply overnight. It will be a tough Monday morning here for the markets. And we have reports this morning from Atlanta, Beijing, Lisbon, London and Hong Kong. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is EARLY START, I'm Christine Romans.

JARRETT: And I'm Laura Jarrett. it's Monday, June 15th, it's 5:00 a.m. here in New York. And this morning, more outrage across the country after a white police officer killed a black man in Atlanta. The shooting of Rayshard Brooks prompting more calls for rethinking how police use deadly force. Now just three weeks after a police officer in Minneapolis killed George Floyd.

An autopsy reveals Brooks was shot twice in the back moments after a struggle over the officer's taser, Brooks' cause of death listed as a homicide, and his wife is speaking out for the first time.


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.


ROMANS: Now this all began calmly. One officer walking up to Brooks' car where he was sleeping at a Wendy's drive-through.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's going on man? Hey, man, you're parked in the middle of a drive-through line here.


ROMANS: Brooks eventually wakes up and moves his car, but when the second officer arrives, things get tensed, Garrett Rolfe eventually administers a breathalyzer. Minutes later, the office tells Brooks he had too much to drink, he tries to handcuff Brooks, he resists and tries to run.

JARRETT: But this all ends with officer Rolfe chasing Brooks on foot, Brooks, then you'll see it, appears to point the taser back at the officer who fires three times ultimately killing Brooks. Let's go live to Atlanta and bring in CNN's Dianne Gallagher. Dianne, a lot of developments in this case over the weekend. The police officer who shot Brooks is no longer on the job, the police chief resigning. What more can you tell us?

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. And that police officer who shot Rayshard Brooks here at this Wendy's behind me was fired. The other police officer that you saw initially approaching him in that video was placed on administrative duty while they continue to investigate this. And less than 24 hours after Rayshard Brooks was killed in Atlanta, the chief of police, Erika Shields stepped aside, saying that she wanted the city to be able to move forward and rebuild trust in the community.

Now what happens next is looking towards whether or not there may be charges. The district attorney here in Fulton County is looking at that. He was waiting on a medical examiner's report after that autopsy that stated that he was shot two times in the back, and they did list his method of death as a homicide. But I want you to listen to what else the district attorney says may play into those charges.


PAUL HOWARD, DISTRICT ATTORNEY, FULTON COUNTY, GEORGIA: Sometime around Wednesday, we will be making a decision in this case. What we're trying to determine is at that time, whether or not the officers felt their lives were in danger, specifically officer Rolfe. 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: Now the district attorney also said that they've struggled getting all of the dash cam video, all of the video that is associated with this. They also want to be able to interview two additional witnesses that a local attorney brought forth according to the district attorney so they can get a better picture of this.


Laura, Christine, we're thinking according to the district attorney, we may know more about potential charges against those officers sometime mid-week this week.

JARRETT: All right, Dianne, thank you so much for staying on top of this for us.

ROMANS: About race. But it's also about why de-escalation is not used more. The officer who patted him down knew he was not armed, but he kept escalating the matter even after Brooks offered to leave his car at the Wendy's and walked to his sister's house. Facts not lost on the Brooks family attorney.


CHRIS STEWART, ATTORNEY FOR FAMILY OF RAYSHARD BROOKS: The first officer actually was being polite, was trying to be understanding. And it escalated once Rolfe got there, who didn't want to allow any type of compassion or empathy or understanding or even let this man just walk home.


ROMANS: Atlanta's Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms vowed last night during a CNN town hall that America will get to the other side of this. She says her heart remains heavy because up until Friday, she quote, "thought, we were doing it right".

JARRETT: And now to Tulsa where police are captured on video making a violent arrest for jaywalking. CNN obtained a new video recorded by a Tulsa resident. One of the boys is seen sitting handcuffed outside the patrol car there, the other is in the front passenger seat where he gets kicked by an officer and dragged out of the car to the ground.

The 13-year-old's mother says the boys were visiting a relative who lived in the neighborhood and were walking down a back-road where there's no sidewalk. Tulsa police say the kids were, quote, "improperly walking along the roadway and they're still investigating the incident".

ROMANS: Thirteen-year-old boy there. All right, as Congress works to find common ground on police reform, a key issue presents a major road-block. Democrats want to end qualified immunity which makes it all but impossible to successfully sue police officers. But Senator Tim Scott who is a leading Republican -- who was leading the Republican reform efforts says that's a non-starter.


SEN. TIM SCOTT (R-SC): From the Republican perspective and the president has sent the signal that qualified immunity is off the table, they see that as a poison pill on our side. We could use a decertification of officer, except for the law enforcement unions say that's a poison pill. So we're going to have to find a path that helps us reduce misconduct within the officers.

But at the same time we know that any poison pill and legislation means we get nothing done. That sends a wrong signal.


JARRETT: Now, house Democrats have introduced a package of proposal forms that includes banning choke-holds and no knock search warrants. Some are pushing to defund the police, but there's a clear generational divide on that issue. James Clyburn; one of the leading African-American members of Congress warns against it.


REP. JAMES CLYBURN (D-SC): Nobody is going to defund the police. We can restructure the police forces. The police have a role to play. What we've got to do is make sure that the role is one that meets the times. One that responds to these communities that they operate in.


JARRETT: Democrats generally favor a national strategy for police reform whereas Republicans prefer incentives for individual states to make changes. Well, Beyonce is calling on Kentucky's attorney general to demonstrate the value of a black woman's life by filing criminal charges in the death of Breonna Taylor.

You'll remember Taylor and EMT was shot and killed in her own home by police who were executing a no-knock search warrant. The suspect they were looking for was already in custody. All of the officers involved are still employed. The Kentucky attorney general's office confirms it has received the letter from Beyonce but because the investigation is ongoing, they will not comment.

ROMANS: Coronavirus in the United States is heading in very different directions depending where you live. Twenty states are currently moving in the right direction. But across the south and the west, 18 states are seeing a rise in cases. Florida, a major concern, the state reported a record number of cases for the third day in a row over the weekend.

Florida currently in phase two of its reopening plan. The mayor of Miami says he would consider reinstating restrictions if this continues.

JARRETT: Yes, both Texas and North Carolina are setting records for hospitalizations. Then there's a flip side in New York.


GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): Total hospitalizations, lowest level since we started this horrific journey. So that is great news. This is really great news. This has caused a lot of New Yorkers a lot of pain, so we breathe a deep sigh of relief today.

(END VIDEO CLIP) [05:10:00]

JARRETT: New York is actually bringing numbers down for the nation. Take New York out of the picture and the U.S. cases are either holding steady or slightly increasing. But Governor Cuomo has threatened to reverse the state's phase reopening if things take a turn.

ROMANS: Yes, thousands of complaints have been filed for businesses, mainly bars and restaurants in Manhattan and the Hamptons are breaking public health rules. In an interview with a British newspaper, Dr. Anthony Fauci says that real normality may not return until the middle of next year, Laura.

JARRETT: Well, Beijing is in war time emergency mode after a new cluster of coronavirus cases there. Dozens of people testing positive. The first new cases in the Chinese capital in almost two months. Most are linked to a major food market. The Chinese government is racing to contain the spread now. CNN's Steven Jiang is live in Beijing. Steve, what more can you tell us?

STEVEN JIANG, CNN SENIOR PRODUCER: That's right, Laura. And this market used to house thousands of vendors and some huge crowds on a daily basis. That's why the authorities here are now conducting very extensive contact-tracing as well as mass testing for anyone who had visit this market since May 30th and their close contacts.

Now, on Sunday alone, they tested more than 76,000 people and this process is ongoing as we speak. The government has now not only shut down this market, but also sealed it off along with its surrounding area. They're also placing a growing number of cities, neighborhoods with newly reported cases and their very strict lockdown.

And we are also seeing these very rigorous and obsessive health checks and screening measures, making a strong comeback across the city after things had been easing out for a while. Now, this market itself is attracting a lot of attention because among the things it sells was seafood. Remember, this virus, for many believe it was originated in the seafood market in a central Chinese city of Wuhan.

But so far, there's no suggestion, there's illegal wildlife trading going on in the market. But it does supply or normally supplies 70 percent of Beijing's vegetables. So when the authorities closed it down, it caused quite a bit of concern among the local population more than 20 million residents, not only about their health, but also about their food supplies. Laura?

JARRETT: All right, Steven, thanks so much.

ROMANS: Another setback for press freedoms worldwide. Maria Ressa, a respected Philippines journalist has been found guilty of cyber liable. Ressa has gained prominence for coverage of critical strong man Rodrigo Duterte. The case stems from a 2012 story connecting a business leader to illegal drugs and human trafficking. But that article was published two years before new cyber laws came into effect.


MARIA RESSA, JOURNALIST: We swat it away and we keep our eye on the ball. It makes me wonder and worry, what is the government afraid of? Why are they afraid of journalists? Why must they always make me feel their power? I think I'm a nice person. I ask very respectfully. Our reporters are very respectful. But they just don't like the questions.


ROMANS: Ressa is a former "Time Magazine" person of the year. Used to be a CNN bureau chief. Ressa and staffer Reynaldo Santos Jr. who wrote this story face a minimum of 6 months in prison and a maximum of 7 years. Both were granted bail pending appeal.

JARRETT: Yes, you know, that case is getting a lot of attention --

ROMANS: Sure is --

JARRETT: And we think it only happens, you know, in other parts of the world, but the president of the United States tried to sue CNN, so it's a big issue. While stocks around the world tumbling overnight on coronavirus concerns, how the White House plans to jolt the economy once again.



ROMANS: All right. A tough Monday morning here. U.S. futures and global stock market are falling overnight on fears of a surge in coronavirus cases. The Dow looks like it could open about 700 points lower. A Wall Street has seemed disconnected from the struggling U.S. economy. Then last week, stocks had their worst drop since March amid warnings about a second wave of the virus.

A new surge could require more economic stimulus. And the White House trade adviser Peter Navarro says the administration wants a $2 trillion package focusing on buy American, hire American.


PETER NAVARRO, WHITE HOUSE TRADE ADVISER: One of the key thrusts of any phase four in any economic plan going forward has to be manufacturing jobs. The president is very interested in something on the order of at least $2 trillion.


ROMANS: Manufacturing Navarro added pays good wages, creates more jobs in a community, a $2 trillion price tag is squarely between what Congressional Democrats and Republicans are asking for. Democrats want additional $3 trillion in aid passed soon while Republicans want to wait to pass more relief are spending not more than a trillion.

JARRETT: Well, several EU countries are reopening their borders today after 3 months in lockdown. But others with borders near coronavirus hot spots are holding off for now. CNN's Fred Pleitgen joins us live from Lisbon in Portugal. Hi Fred, how are you doing?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, well, doing pretty good. And I think a lot of these European countries actually, they do feel that this is going to be or could be a very big day for them. You look at Portugal for instance, the place that I'm at right now, which is a beautiful commerce square, we normally be teaming with tourists this time of year and certainly this time of day.

But right now, it's still pretty empty. So they are hoping that on this day, tourists will start to pour in again and they can revive their industry because of course their country is very dependent on the tourism industry. The country here for instance -- the government here is initiating a plan to try and bring tourists back, a national plan which involves for instance a seal of health for certain hotels and for other businesses as well to make sure that they adhere to hygiene standards.

They're also in talks with countries that still have quarantines to try and get those countries to allow tourism between Portugal and themselves. The same is true with a lot of other European countries who of course, for them, tourism is a really big component, for instance for Spain. But some of them say for health reasons, they are still going to hold off a little bit longer.


And one thing, guys, that we absolutely have to talk about as well is for instance, the airline industry. Of course, they've been extremely hard hit here on the continent. And for them, they also believe that this is going to be an extremely important day as well because it's basically the day where they see whether or not people on the continent believe that it's safe to try for leisure, to get on an airplane again and to travel across Europe.

That's certainly something that we're hearing from the airlines as well. One thing for any American who wants to travel here in Europe, two things, because we traveled here by air, is on the one hand everything takes longer because of the coronavirus restrictions that are in place. And then also, your planes are probably going to be a little fuller because there's fewer flights and the airlines are trying to pull people onto those flights. Guys --

JARRETT: Yes, of course, all of this happening in the midst of what is normally a huge travel season in the EU. All right, Fred, thanks so much.

ROMANS: All right, today in the U.K., shops selling non-essential goods are reopening for the first time in almost three months. Retailers have to adhere to strict new safety measures. CNN's Anna Stewart live for us in London. And what do these safety measures look like, Anna?

ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: Well, they look like very long queues outside shops. Social distancing of two meters between customers and staff. And I have to say queues are already forming even as very early in the morning here in London. Outside the Apple store, it's just tucked away to my right. I can see a queue, I went to speak to people in it, though, four out of five are here for repairs and returns.

They're not necessarily here to buy new products. That is a concern for retailers today. And football is expected to be, you know, 15 percent to 20 percent of normal. It's not a very attractive proposal to go shopping if though you have to queue outside, there's a well- monitored system inside. For fashion, you can't try clothes on because the changing rooms are shut.

So it is a bit of a concern for businesses in the wider economy in general, not everything is reopening today though. Of course, bars, restaurants, hair salons, we don't expect those to reopen until the beginning of next month. And that will come after a government review. Now a lot in the hospitality sector, those sorts of businesses, they actually will be very heartened to reopen at all if the current rule of two meters social distance is maintained.

They want to see that reduced and the U.K. government is actually since the weekend urging and reviewing that situation. It could be reduced to 1 meter which is the advice of the W.H.O. Now, the flip side of course reducing any of these measures and generally the lifting of lockdown is that you could see a second spike in the virus. The U.K. yesterday posted 36 deaths from COVID-19, that was the lowest daily death toll since lockdown began. And that is the direction, of course, everyone wants to see it heading in.

ROMANS: Yes, that 2 meter -- that 2 meter distance under review. So many pubs and restaurants won't be able to reopen if you have a 2- meter rule. So we'll see where that goes. Anna Stewart, thank you so much for that.

JARRETT: And breaking overnight, a Russia levels a harsh sentence on an American who denies accusations of espionage. Paul Whelan's sentence and what he said in court coming up next.



JARRETT: Welcome back. A Russian court has just sentenced an American being held in Moscow to 16 years in prison. Paul Whelan has been detained since 2018, he's now being convicted of espionage, all along he has maintained his innocence. CNN's Matthew Chance is following the case for us. Matthew, what happens now?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's a big question. At this point, Paul Whelan has been standing in court all morning listening to this -- listening to this judgment against him hearing that massive sentence of 16 years being passed down to him. Before that verdict was read, there was a few minutes in the court where he was able to sort of protest. He said the trial was a sham. He called on the president of the United States to intervene, to get his freedom also on the Prime Ministers of Britain, of Canada, of Ireland as well. He also holds citizenships for all of those countries. But despite those diplomatic protests that have been made over the course of the past 17 months, the Russians have gone ahead and said Paul Whelan was caught red-handed, engaged in espionage, they've now sentenced him to 16 years despite the fact that he and his family and the U.S. administration have all categorically denied he had anything to do with spying the U.S. ambassador to the -- to Russia has issued a statement already.

He was in the courtroom and this was passed down, he said, "this conviction is a mockery of justice." And he called for Paul Whelan to be released immediately. The question now is how long will he be held in Russian custody? He's been sentenced to 16 years, but will he be part of a prisoner swap in the future. That's always been the speculation from the outset since he was arrested 17 months ago, that Paul Whelan could become some kind of bargaining chip for the Russians to secure the release of a Russian national, and there are several of them inside an American prison. Laura.

JARRETT: All right, Matthew, thank you so much for that. EARLY START continues right now.


MILLER: I want them to go to jail. I want them to deal with the same thing if it was my husband who killed someone else.


ROMANS: She continues to protest the killing of an unarmed black man. Police shooting kills a black man in Atlanta. How a police encounter that could have de-escalated turned deadly so quickly.

JARRETT: And several states dealing with record spikes of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations. Concerns sending Asian stocks and U.S. futures down sharply overnight. Good morning, this is EARLY START, I'm Laura Jarrett.

ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans, it is just about 30 minutes past the hour. And this morning, more outrage across the country after a white police officer killed a black man in Atlanta. The shooting of Rayshard Brooks prompting more calls now for rethinking.