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Killing of Rayshard Brooks Sparks Fresh Outrage in U.S.; 7 Minneapolis Police Officers Resign After George Floyd Protests; New Spike in Coronavirus Cases in Florida. Aired 6-6:30a ET
Aired June 15, 2020 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MAYOR KEISHA LANCE BOTTOMS (D), ATLANTA: This was a guy that you were rooting for. Watching it, you're going, just let him go. Let him call somebody to pick him up.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was shot twice in the back, which is very problematic.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To see a police officer still being so insensitive to the life of a young African-American man.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We burnt this one specifically because of what happened here, making sure that there is justice served for the person that died over here at this Wendy's.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's a legitimacy to this anger. There's a legitimacy to this outrage. A man was murdered because he was asleep in a drive-through.
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Monday, June 15, 6 a.m. here in New York. And John Berman is off. Jim Sciutto joins me.
Great to have you, Jim.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT/ANCHOR: Great to be here.
CAMEROTA: We begin with the protests against racial injustice. They continued overnight for a 20th straight day as this weekend saw the killing of another black man by a white police officer, this one in Atlanta.
An autopsy shows Rayshard Brooks was shot twice in the back after a struggle with a police officer, during which Brooks grabbed the officer's Taser.
The police officer was quickly fired by the police department. The district attorney is now considering murder charges. He tells CNN the officer's first remarks after shooting Brooks were, quote, "I got him."
Rayshard Brooks' wife is speaking publicly for the first time. She wants both officers involved to go to jail.
SCIUTTO: Also this morning, there is growing concern about coronavirus. Cases are rising in 18 states. Florida reporting a record high number of new cases for the third day in a row. Several new studies say that wearing masks is key to continuing to stop the spread.
New York just reported its lowest daily death toll, but the governor is threatening to roll back the state's re-opening after complaints about people who were not socially distancing, not wearing masks in public. See the pictures there.
We begin our coverage with CNN's Dianne Gallagher, though. She is live in Atlanta.
Dianne, tell us what the situation is like there now this morning.
DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Jim, protests did continue in Atlanta, but they were generally peaceful as more video as come out showing what happened between Rayshard Brooks and the police at the Wendy's that you see here behind me.
Brooks talked to the officers about visiting his mother's gravesite, his little daughter's birthday. For nearly half-an-hour, it was a relatively normal interaction that, in a matter of seconds, turned deadly.
I want to warn you, what you are about to see is very disturbing.
GALLAGHER (voice-over): Protests against police brutality pressed on for the 20th day in cities across the country, including Atlanta outside this burned-out Wendy's.
Here, a memorial is growing in memory of Rayshard Brooks, who was shot and killed by police Friday. Last night, the Fulton County medical examiner ruling the 27-year-old's death a homicide, saying he was shot two times in the back.
This police bodycam footage showing the start of the interaction. Watch an Atlanta police officer respond to a call reporting a man asleep in his car at the Wendy's drive-through.
OFFICER DEVIN BROSNAN, ATLANTA POLICE DEPARTMENT: What's up, my man? Hey, my man. Hey. Hey, man, you're parked in the middle of a drive- through line here.
GALLAGHER: Officer Devin Brosnan asked Brooks to move his car. He eventually does to a parking spot close by, where Brosnan asks --
BROSNAN: OK. How much did you drink tonight? Not much? How much is not much?
RAYSHARD BROOKS, KILLED BY POLICE: I drank about 12 today.
GALLAGHER: Brosnan calls in another officer to conduct a DUI test.
BROSNAN: I got a guy sleeping in the Wendy's parking lot. I smell alcohol. Hard to wake him up. He's fumbling with his license.
GALLAGHER: That's when officer Garrett Rolfe arrives on the scene. Brooks agrees to a breathalyzer test and tells the police --
BROOKS: I know, I know. You're just doing your job.
GALLAGHER: Rolfe tells Brooks that he's had too much to drink and tries to handcuff him. That's when Brooks begins to resist.
OFFICER GARRETT ROLFE, ATLANTA POLICE DEPARTMENT: Hey, stop! You're going to get tased!
GALLAGHER: Video from a witness shows Brosnan get his Taser ready. Brooks grabs it out of his hands, seen on this dashcam video, before running away.
Rolfe fires his Taser and follows. At this moment, surveillance video shows the incident take a deadly turn. During the chase, Rolfe reaches for his handgun. Brooks turns back and appears to fire the Taser, and Rolfe shoots his handgun three times.
The officers eventually provide medical treatment on site before an ambulance arrives to take Brooks to the hospital, where he's later pronounced dead.
After the shooting, Rolfe who shot Brooks, was fired from the Atlanta Police Department and Brosnan placed on administrative duty. But that's not enough for Brooks' wife.
TOMIKA MILLER, RAYSHARD BROOKS'S WIFE: 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.
GALLAGHER: The Fulton County district attorney says his office is weighing charges against the officers, and a decision could come as early as Wednesday.
PAUL HOWARD, DISTRICT ATTORNEY, FULTON COUNTY: 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: Atlanta's mayor, Keisha Lance Bottoms, believes that Brooks' death was entirely avoidable.
BOTTOMS: This is not confrontational. This was a guy that you were rooting for, and even knowing the end, watching it, you're going just let him go, just let him go. Let him call somebody to pick him up.
GALLAGHER: Atlanta's police chief also resigned over the weekend after the shooting of Rayshard Brooks here. CNN has reached out to the officers and to their union, but we have not received a response yet, Jim.
SCIUTTO: Dianne Gallagher, thanks very much.
Also developing this morning, there is new video of a violent arrest of two black teenagers in Tulsa. This one for jaywalking on a road that had no sidewalks.
Video obtained by CNN from a Tulsa resident shows one of the boys sitting handcuffed outside the patrol car there on the curb. You can see the other is in the front passenger seat, where he gets kicked by an officer, dragged out of the car here to the ground. Watch that moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: Previously released body camera video shows the officers approaching and arresting the 13- and 15-year-old boys. The 13-year- old's mother, Tawanna Atkins, said they were visiting a relative who lived in the neighborhood and were walking down a back road where there is no sidewalk. CNN's Abby Phillip, she spoke with Atkins.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TAWANNA ATKINS, MOTHER OF 13-YEAR-OLD ARRESTED FOR JAYWALKING: It could have turned out a lot worse or he could have been dead, you know, or worse. It was the first thing that went through my mind, that they could have killed my son.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: Well, Tulsa police say the kids were, quote, "improperly walking along the roadway." They say they're still investigating the incident.
CAMEROTA: Also developing this morning, at least seven minutes police officers have resigned since George Floyd was killed three weeks ago today.
CNN's Josh Campbell is live in Minneapolis with more. So what's this about, Josh?
JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, good morning, Alisyn.
This is a police department that has obviously been the focus of global attention here. This obviously following the death of George Floyd after that incident involving four police officers. We know that four of those police officers were charged in that incident.
Now we're hearing that at least seven members of the police department are now departing. They have resigned from the police force. We're told that at least six others are also now in the process of separating, as well.
Now, none of those officers are speaking publicly about the reason for leaving, but we did get a statement from one of the police officers' spokesperson. I'm going to tell you what he said. He said, "People seek to leave employment for a myriad of reasons. The MPD is no exception. We thank those who are leaving for their time, commitment 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."
Now, obviously, this department the focus of a lot of global attention. This comes as the city council itself is seeking to reform this police department. Just late last week, the city council voted unanimously to move forward with a new set of provisions to reform -- transform this police agency.
We're still waiting to see what that new model will look like. But again, a unanimous vote by the city council to press ahead with those reforms.
And finally, I want to tell you about one more piece of breaking news that was just occurring overnight. This is going to be something to focus on. In St. Cloud, Minnesota, which is just about an hour from here in Minneapolis, we received word overnight of another encounter involving an African-American male and police officers.
I talked with a police official who says that they were attempting to arrest the suspect. During the course of that arrest, the suspect fired at police officers, injuring an officer, but this is key here, the officers did not return fire. They did not shoot him, although many police department officers would allow for the use of deadly force. They instead opted to use physical force to restrain him.
We're told that the suspect was injured in that process. It was nonlife-threatening injuries. We're also told that the police officer who sustained a hand wound is also in the hospital with nonlife- threatening injuries. But obviously, you know, something to focus on as this moves forward, yet another incident in America involving an incursion (ph) with police and a person of color, this one ending much differently, with police officers not returning fire -- Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: We're going to be having a lot of conversations about when police are supposed to, when they're not, what the right protocols are and what's changing. Josh, thank you very much for all of that.
Protestors are calling for widespread police reform. What would that look like and what is Congress willing to do? We discuss next.
CAMEROTA: Atlanta's top prosecutor says his office will decide by Wednesday whether to bring charges against the police officer who shot and killed 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks outside of a Wendy's on Friday. The autopsy found that Brooks was shot twice in the back after he wrestled a Taser away from one of the police officers.
Joining us now is CNN political commentator Bakari Sellers. He's the author of the book "My Vanishing Country." Also with us is retired LAPD police sergeant Cheryl Dorsey. She is the author of "Black and Blue."
Sergeant Dorsey, we're so grateful to have your law enforcement expertise with us this morning. What do you see when you watch this tape of this long encounter that police had with Mr. Brooks? And what are police supposed to do if a suspect wrestles a Taser away from a police officer and then attempts to shoot it at an officer?
CHERYL DORSEY, RETIRED LAPD POLICE SERGEANT: Well, what I see are poor tactics used by these officers. They clearly did not -- did not anticipate that Mr. Brooks might run away. You should always anticipate that a suspect is going to try to get away when you put handcuffs on him. It's inherent to what we do.
And so what the officer should have done was, as he ran away, they should have set up a perimeter. They should got on the radio, requested additional units, direct them into the area, provided a description of the suspect, a direction of travel, and then try to contain him within that perimeter.
You don't get to shoot someone in the back because they take your Taser and because they run. I said from the beginning this was punishment. And now we know, in the officer's own words, we hear one of them say, "He took my f-ing Taser," twice. And so this was about catching him, punishing him, and when they got close enough to do just that, one of the officers murdered Mr. Brooks and even said, in a victory lap, "Got him."
SCIUTTO: Sergeant Dorsey, I want to ask you about the standard for police officers, how they're trained for the use of deadly force, which viewers might not understand here. It's this idea of immediate defense of life.
When you look at that latter part of the video there, when the suspect points the Taser back at the officer, does that, in your view, meet that standard?
DORSEY: No, it doesn't, because first of all, a Taser is a nonlethal weapon that officers use. And so if it's nonlethal when an officer uses it, it's nonlethal when a citizen gets ahold of it.
And so immediate defense of life means just that: imminent threat of your life being taken or that of another.
And also, you have to take into consideration what other alternatives were available for you. Using deadly force is an absolute last resort, that thing you do when you have nothing else left at your disposal.
And we know that the officers had alternatives. As I said, set up a perimeter, contain him. They had his driver's license. They knew who he was. They could have followed up at his home, if he were able to slip a perimeter. There were other alternatives.
But this was about punishment. This was about you made me mad and there's a price to pay, and that's why he was shot.
CAMEROTA: One last question on this topic, Sergeant. The Taser is obviously a controversial weapon, because, I mean, maybe they call it nonlethal, but we know that at least 500 people have been killed in the past ten years by a Taser. And so do you think that it should be reclassified?
DORSEY: Well, I mean, it is what it is, and so you can't have it both ways. It can't be a nonlethal weapon when used by police and all of a sudden, a deadly weapon when used by officers [SIC].
And we're assuming that this Taser was even operable. We don't know if there were cartridges in the Taser. Had it already been discharged? The officers were far enough away where the Taser may not have been effective anyway.
There are a lot of variables that go into consideration when you think about whether or not Mr. Brooks, as he was turning and facing with the Taser, actually had the ability to strike the officer.
SCIUTTO: Bakari Sellers, great to have you here, as well.
I wonder, there's a commonalty through a lot of these cases, right, which is the initial interaction with police here, right, and was it necessary? If you're talking about George Floyd and a $20 counterfeit bill, Eric Garner selling counterfeit cigarettes, right?
And here, the attention that police pay early on there, tell us what you read from that. In other words, excessive -- before you get to the excessive force, right, is it an excessive interaction in effect and what does that tell you?
BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think the first thing it tells me is that Wendy's is somewhat culpable in this matter, as well. And the reason I say that is I'm a little tired of the police being called all the time. I think there are better ways to handle this situation.
If you have someone who is asleep in the driveway, knock on the window, wake him up, have him pull his car over. Many times, we've given people rides. We've called Lyfts. They could have even called a medic, because they didn't know why he may have been passed out in the front seat. I think that we have to somewhat limit these interactions between law
enforcement and the community, especially when not -- when not necessary.
And what I saw in this -- I believe it was a close to 40 minutes back and forth between the officers and Mr. Brooks. Mr. Brooks was trying to get a courtesy that I've seen law enforcement give to many others, which is, you know, let me -- let somebody come pick me up. You know, is there a way that we can diffuse this situation?
It seemed as if this -- this officer was hell-bent on taking Mr. Brooks to jail. We know -- we know that he has, you know, been -- been praised before for the number of arrests that he's had. And I just think he was hell-bent on making another arrest when sometimes it's OK just to get people home safely, and that should be a part of the -- the characteristics of your -- and descriptors of your job, as well.
CAMEROTA: Well, that leads us to what people are talking about with police reform, Sergeant Dorsey, that if there were -- if people were trained, even if the general public thought that there was another alternative to not having to involve the police in things like this.
Now mind you, he had been drunk driving. When he was given the breathalyzer, I want to be clear, he was legally drunk. That can be a deadly crime, obviously. People are killed by drunk drivers all the time. And so what do you think the answer is here?
DORSEY: Well, first of all, do we know that he was legally drunk? Has he been --
CAMEROTA: Look, the breathalyzer results that we have were -- I think it's .08 is the standard, and he was at .1.
DORSEY: OK. If .08 is the legal standard, and he was at .1, then perhaps the officers could have given him the courtesy of taking him to the police station, certainly not releasing him there if he was incapacitated, because listen, once we take you into our custody, now we're in charge of you.
And so they had an affirmative responsibility to do one of two things. Either charge him and arrest him, take him to jail, or take him to the station and have someone come and pick him up if that was their choice. We have great autonomy.
And so I'm not saying that an arrest wasn't necessary this case. I'm just saying that officers need to use a little discretion.
And I know for a fact, working on the Los Angeles Police Department, that police officers conduct themselves very differently in affluent areas, where great deference is given to folks who don't look like me, than they do when they're in areas much like South Central Los Angeles, where there are plenty of black and brown community members.
And so certainly, there was something else that the officers could have done. And poor tactics lead to bad shootings, and that's what started this, poor tactics. CAMEROTA: Sergeant Dorsey, Bakari Sellers, thank you both very much.
Great to talk to you.
SELLERS: Thank you.
DORSEY: Thank you.
CAMEROTA: Up next, a new interview with Dr. Anthony Fauci on when he thinks that Americans should expect life to return to normal, as states across the country experience some record coronavirus spikes. We have a status report for you.
SCIUTTO: If you thought the outbreak was behind us, this morning coronavirus cases are, in fact, rising in 18 states across the U.S.
In Florida, authorities there reported a record high number of COVID cases for a third straight day. Look at the graph there.
CNN's Rosa Flores is live in Miami with the latest. Florida, of course, slow to shut down, early to open back up again. Seeing the numbers now, are state officials responding?
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, they're worried. And Jim, you and I were talking about this last week, how Florida was reporting about 1,000 cases a day. Well, now over the weekend, it's more than 2,000 cases.
And Governor Ron DeSantis saying that it's mostly due to outbreaks in agricultural communities and in prisons, but here's the thing, officials in big cities are also worried.
Like here m Miami Beach, one of the cities that was last to re-open in the state, and also in the city of Miami, which leads the state with the highest number of coronavirus cases, nearly 13,000. The mayor there, Francis Suarez, says that the uptick started about a week ago, and now he's concerned about Memorial Day and protests. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR FRANCIS SUAREZ (R), MIAMI: We still haven't seen all the numbers from Memorial Day or from the protests, and so that also will lead us to believe that there's probably going to be an uptick.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FLORES: Now, Mayor Suarez also says that, if the situation continues to worsen, he would consider reinstating restrictions.
Bow there is one metric that he says that gives him hope, and that is that the number of hospitalizations has been slightly down. But Alisyn, here's the thing. He and so many other city officials are urging people to simply follow the rules, follow the guidance, wear a mask and social distance -- Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: Rosa, thank you very much.
All right. Joining us now is William Haseltine. He's the chair and president of Access Health International and a former professor at Harvard Medical School.
Professor, it's great to have you here. And you got a lot of people's attention with the op-ed that you wrote for CNN, basically explaining that this virus has mutated, and that's part of what has allowed it to have such a galloping rein through the country.
So just explain what happened in January that made coronavirus so much more infectious.
WILLIAM HASELTINE, CHAIR/PRESIDENT, ACCESS HEALTH INTERNATIONAL: The -- thank you very much. The first thing people noticed is that there seemed to be a new strain sweeping through Europe. That was done completely by computer analysis of the genome sequences. Everybody in the world is now sequencing these viruses and contributing to a common database.
And a very astute observer noticed that one particular strain was taking over, first Italy, then other places and then, actually, China and the United States and almost exclusively in South America.
People weren't quite sure that that meant it was more infectious. Very recently, laboratory studies done here in the United States and, in fact, in Florida at Scripps, showed that the outside of the virus had undergone a very subtle change which allowed it to have many more receptors for our cells on its surface. That also made it about ten times more infectious, so a lower dose of the virus could actually infect you and start the disease.
Now, there's a good part of this story, and that is that at least it doesn't seem to be causing more serious disease.