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Killing Of Rayshard Brooks Sparks Fresh Outrage In U.S.; Prosecutor To Decide On Charges This Week In Brooks Killing. Aired 7- 7:30a ET
Aired June 15, 2020 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN NEW DAY: Viewers in the United States and all around the world.
This is New Day. John Berman is off. Jim Sciutto is joining me.
And protests continue --
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN NEW DAY: Good to be here.
CAMEROTA: Great to have you -- overnight, new details also emerging about another case of deadly police force. The killing of Rayshard Brooks outside of Wendy's on Friday night was captured by surveillance video and a police body cam. An autopsy shows Brooks was shot twice in the back following a struggle with police. The medical examiner has ruled his death a homicide, prosecutors now considering murder charges against the officer who pulled the trigger.
Rayshard Brooks' widow speaking publicly for the first time, she says she wants the officers involved to go to jail.
SCIUTTO: This comes three weeks after George Floyd's killing in Minneapolis, which, of course, sparked protests around the world. CNN has learned at least seven Minneapolis police officers have now resigned from the department since the unrest. More than half a dozen others are in the process of leaving.
We're also seeing new video overnight from the arrest of two black teenagers in Tulsa, Oklahoma. A witness capturing the moment here when a 13-year-old was thrown from the front of a police cruiser, his 15- year-old friend also in handcuffs. The two teens were arrested for jaywalking on a rural street that had no sidewalks.
Let's begin with CNN's Dianne Gallagher. She is live in Atlanta at the scene of the Rayshard Brooks Shooting. Dianne, tell us what we're learning this morning about the details behind this.
DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And, Jim, look, protests continued overnight. They were generally peaceful. People showing up at the Wendy's again today paying their respects, taking photos, just kind of being here. As more video has been released, we're learning a little bit more about what happened in those moments leading up to the shooting death of Rayshard Brooks. He talked about being there to visit his mother's gravesite with the officers. He talked about his little daughter's birthday.
For nearly half-an-hour, everything seemed like a normal interaction, and then in a matter of seconds it turned deadly. And I do want to warn you that what you are about to watch is very disturbing.
GALLAGHER: 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 body cam footage showing the start of the interaction. Watch an Atlanta police officer responding to a call reporting a man is asleep in his car at the Wendy's drive-through.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's up, my man? Hey, my man. Hey. Hey, man, you're parked in the middle of the 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 --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How much did you drink tonight? Not much? How much is not much?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Like 12 today.
GALLAGHER: Brosnan calls in another officer to conduct a DUI test.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 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 --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know. I know you're just doing your job.
GALLAGHER: Rolfe tells Brooks he had too much to drink and tries to handcuff him. That's when Brooks begins to resist.
Video 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' 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.
MAYOR KEISHA LANCE BOTTOMS (D-ATLANTA, GA): 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: Now, Atlanta's police chief, Erika Shields, also resigned over the weekend after the shooting of Rayshard Brooks. CNN has reached out to the officers and their union, but, Jim, we have not yet received a response.
SCIUTTO: Thanks so much, Dianne Gallagher.
Joining us now, Justin Miller, he is the attorney for the family of Rayshard Brooks. Good to have you on, Mr. Miller. We appreciate you taking the time this morning.
JUSTIN MILLER, ATTORNEY FOR FAMILY OF RAYSHARD BROOKS: Good morning. Thanks for having me.
SCIUTTO: There's so much to go through here. I want to start, if I can, with the first interaction here, because Brooks fell asleep in a line at a Wendy's. The police pull him out of that line, administer the DUI test, et cetera. But in that interaction, Brooks says, listen, can I walk to my sister's house? In other words, offers an out other than arrest.
And I wonder from your perspective -- and this is later, this is after 27 minutes when the police have given him that test and then attempt to handcuff him. But before we get to this point, what do you believe the police response should have been? Should it have been to say, all right, go home, rather than attempt to arrest? MILLER: Well, that question is kind of what the crux of everything we're talking about revolves around. Yes, they should have done something different in this situation because they had several different options. I wouldn't have let him get back in the car. I've seen people say, well, you know, if you let him go, he could have got in the car and hurt someone.
But that's not what we saw. We saw a man who was close. They could have called his sister. They could have held him there until someone came to get him. So there were several other options at that point. And then there continued to be other options as the incident went on.
SCIUTTO: And it's an important point, I think, because it gets to the issue of de-escalation, right? Because in so many of these encounters, you have other options that are frankly in police training. At the next point -- again, this is the video we showed, I know it's hard for you because you're in a place where you can't see it but I know you're familiar with this video, is after 27 minutes when the police have administered the breathalyzer test, they determined he's over the legal level, this is the attempt to arrest.
Key here, and you can see on tape, is they do not say, I'm placing you under arrest. Before we get to the reaction here, the altercation, why is that important?
MILLER: Well, I think that with this current climate, they need to be very clear what's going on. Mr. Brooks' state of mind was not the same as their state of mind at the specific time of the incident, so you have a professional who's trained and a guy who is inebriated and is tired and obviously he fell asleep. So, them being very clear, them understanding what's going on and having a little empathy for Mr. Brooks at that particular time would have been very, very helpful and probably would have helped him stay alive in that situation.
SCIUTTO: So you see there -- and as you described, this is someone who had too much to drink -- his state of mind in relation to the state of mind of the police, you see him there though, in effect, resisting arrest. And then I want this video later because this is what happens after the fact, this was caught on security footage. This is when he's being chased. He has gotten the taser of the police and points it back at the police.
The police defense will be that he was under threat there. The standard for using deadly force for police in Georgia requires either a deadly weapon, immediate threat of physical violence or a reasonable concern about him having committed a crime involving physical harm. Does this episode here qualify, in your view?
MILLER: It does not. What we are looking at is, was it reasonable, proportionate and necessary? And those are the three things that we are looking at in that incident.
You can see the officer reach for the gun before Mr. Brooks turns around with the taser. I mean, that's clearly visible in the video. So he was already going in that direction, going to the lethal force direction before that taser was pointed in his direction.
So the taser didn't hit him. The taser goes off. And he still decides to shoot him in the back while he's running away when there are, again, multiple options that he could have chosen that would not have resulted in death. We just don't think it was right and we don't think it was reasonable.
SCIUTTO: And you mentioned there, shot in the back, and that's what the autopsy confirmed over the weekend, three shots. I believe two hit him in the back there.
As you look at this case, you've seen others before it, of course, George Floyd, the officer in that case has since been charged with second-degree murder. Is it your contention that this officer should be charged with murder or something less?
MILLER: I don't like to get into what charges should be. We leave that up to the district attorney's office. They are the experts in that. I will say they need to view everything, and I'm sure they are. They need to dissect the tape, like we have. Again, we do not want to get into what their job is but we are waiting for what they're going to do and we'll talk to you again after they do that.
SCIUTTO: Another thing we learned over this weekend, and, again, this is from the video including body cam video worn by the police officers, are the first words that the officer involved here said after that shooting which we just showed took place. His words are, I got him. Tell me your reaction.
MILLER: Well, my first reaction is this. It seemed like that whole altercation for an officer may be embarrassing. He didn't win that altercation in the beginning. And so in the end, saying, I got him, may have been his way of saying to his partner, listen, I feel like we were vindicated from what happened before.
We can't say. Only the officer will be able to say that. But just hearing that, it hurt my heart because this is a situation where you're a professional and emotions should not be -- anything emotional should not be involved in what you're thinking after you shoot a man. So it's just sad, that situation.
SCIUTTO: They were chilling words to hear. Justin Miller, we appreciate you taking the time this morning, and if you could pass on our thoughts to his family.
MILLER: Will do. Thank you.
SCIUTTO: So, big picture in this country, what police reforms can lawmakers agree on in response to these deadly encounters with police? You do have Democrats and Republicans talking about changes. Where, if anywhere, do they overlap?
[07:15:00] CAMEROTA: Should charges be filed against the former police officer who killed Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta? An autopsy report shows that Brooks was shot twice in the back.
Joining us now is CNN Political Commentator Angela Rye, she is the former Executive Director of the congressional black caucus, and CNN Law Enforcement Analyst Charles Ramsey, he is the former Chief of Police in Philadelphia and Washington D.C. It's great to have both of you here.
Commissioner Ramsey, I want to start with you. Because -- just help us understand what the police should have done. Once a suspect grabs an officer's taser and is running from the scene with the taser and, in fact, turns around and what appears, at least in the video, to be firing it, should police officers have let him run off? What should they have done at that moment?
CHARLES RAMSEY, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, first of all, a taser is a dangerous weapon, not a deadly weapon. And earlier in the video, there's a key piece that I think makes a difference in this case. When he first steps out of the car, he's asked two questions. One, is do you have a weapon? He says no. The second question is, do you mind if I pat you down? He didn't resist that. They patted him down. Now, you know he's not in possession of a firearm or any other deadly weapon.
Later, a struggle ensues. He takes the taser. He starts to run. They give pursuit. It looks like he may have even fired the taser at some point in time. Well, once you fire the taser, it has to recycle before it can ever be used again. I would doubt seriously if most citizens even know how to operate a taser.
So my answer to your question is, continue to foot pursuit, get on the radio and call for assistance. You've got the car. You've asked for his driver's license. You know who he is. So even if you don't get him right now, you can get him later. So the need to immediately apprehend is taken away. And you can only use deadly force under certain very narrow circumstances.
I mean, you have to be in threat of your life or the life of another or if the person is making an escape, you need to immediately apprehend is so important because of the danger that person could present to the public at large is such that you need to be able to apprehend him, even if that means using deadly force. That's not the case here.
SCIUTTO: Angela Rye, this gets to a larger issue of de-escalation, does it not? Because in the wake of other shootings like this going back years, that's become more of an emphasis in police training so that you don't rise to the level of use of deadly force or near deadly force immediately. The intention, the focus is on finding a more peaceful way to resolve these things, particularly when they start, as it did here. They knew, for instance, that he did not have a deadly weapon.
What does that show about what the attempted changes so far have failed to do, right? I mean, a lot of cities have boosted training, thrown a lot of money at training, but it doesn't seem to be netting the effect, the desired effect.
ANGELA RYE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. I have to say, Jim, this is so crushing to watch. Because what we did not see in the clip that was just shown is the amount of time taken by Rayshard to communicate what he had been doing, how many drinks he believed he had. There are countless people who are stopped for DUIs every year in jurisdictions all over this country, and yet that is not an offense that should cost someone's life, particularly when they were trying to sleep it off, particularly when someone says that I can just walk home from here. I was leaving my daughter's birthday party.
And I think that the frustration that I have is this is after the Justice and Policing Act was introduced by members of the caucus where I used to work. This is after data is collected. And, by the way, as we talk about the jurisdictions that don't report data to DOJ, we're talking about data that would be another death, another person's life. We're talking about data that would be another instance or incident of abuse by an officer.
And so what I do not want to do is get to the point where we continue to be desensitized to the actions taken by police that are different or different applications based on how someone looks, based on someone's race. Dylann Roof was able to be driven away after killing several people at bible study to go get food, and this man is sitting in a parking lot asleep because he had too many drinks, and he lost his life. That is not a reason to cause someone's life.
I don't want to talk about the data and I don't want to talk about the ways in which we can de-escalate. I want to talk about the ways in which black people can survive in this country when they may not be perfect, and we don't even need to talk about murder. We're just talking about the ability to survive, to live another day, to take care of their families, to go home and say hello to their neighbors.
This is past trying to adjust a system that is so broken, it cannot see me or my brother or my father or my godsons as deserving to walk away from something that is not even a crime scene. That is where we have to begin this conversation. We cannot remove the emotion, the passion we must have for human life away from these things.
I will not walk away from George Floyd or Breonna Taylor. We're talking about this as Breonna Taylor's killers are still on administrative leave and not arrested. This is a bridge too far. It is time for not just massive reform or de-escalation. That's the wrong D, Jim. It's time to talk about defunding in a real way. We have to re- imagine safer community. We are not safe. We are not.
CAMEROTA: Angela, we hear your passion. I mean, we understand everything that has happened, that it seems like a sea change in the past three weeks but that people like you and so many of our guests feel have been going on for so many years and falling on deaf years for so many decades, centuries. But at the same time, Chief, I don't want to paint with so broad a brush stroke that we see this case as exactly the same as George Floyd. George Floyd was in handcuffs, he was on the ground, under an officer's knee for almost nine minutes.
In this case, there was a potentially dangerous crime. He was drunk driving. And I guess what I see --
RYE: He was parked. Alisyn, that's not fair. That man was asleep in a car parking lot. He ran and he realized that his life was at risk. That is why he took that taser. He was trying to fight back because every time we don't fight back, we die. And I don't want to take away the Chief's time but please don't Paint it that way. That is not fair.
CAMEROTA: Angela, he is -- I mean, let's just be clear. Let's just be clear about the facts. He was in a drive-through lane, so cars were having to go around him. So he didn't just go to a parking lot and fall asleep because nobody would have called the police if that had happened. He was in a drive-through lane and so people kept having to honk and go around him.
And Angela, I mean, let's just be clear about everything that we see so that we can have a real conversation about this. What I see, and I do want the Chief's take on it, that first police officer that approached him, there's 27 minutes where that police officer is -- I hear patience. I hear him saying, hey, bud, can you move over? Bud, what are you doing? Are you okay? You're in the drive-through lane. Is everything okay? How much have you had to drink?
And we hear, as so often in these cases with drunk driving, first he gives different accounts of how much he's had to drink, different accounts of whose car it is, different accounts of where he was going, all of that stuff, that's standard, I understand that. But, Chief, that police officer who tried to get him to move over, who tried to just find out the story, should he be charged with something, the one who didn't fire the deadly shots?
RAMSEY: Well, I mean, those are all decisions for a district attorney. I personally did not see anything as far as the conduct of the second officer that would rise to any kind of criminal charges. That's just me personally, but that's a district attorney assessment that will have to be made.
You've talked about de-escalation. You look at the first part of that, this was going very well, quite frankly. I didn't see anything that would even indicate that the outcome would wind up being what it was. It went south, like, in an instant. The use of deadly force in this case was not justified. And I can certainly understand how that officer who fired the shot be charged criminally.
I do think there's a difference between looking at the Floyd case and looking at this case. The circumstances are different but the outcome is the same and both officers were wrong in using deadly force. One, I mean, the Floyd case, clearly, that's murder. In fact, I'd argue that you could go first degree with him because the time it took to watch this man slowly die, you start getting into the whole issue of intent.
That's not the case the second time because it happened so quick but it was still wrong. And I would not be surprised at all if he were charged criminally in that particular case. But they are different.
But you know what it points to, the whole issue of discretion. I mean, there are a variety of paths that the officers could have taken in the Brooks case. One is arrest. Nothing wrong with that, may not be the path I would have taken or some other officers would have taken but it doesn't make it wrong, because that is a violation, driving under the influence and so forth.
You could have allowed him to walk home. Back in the days when I was on the street, you take his keys, right, you take him to the police station, put his name on an envelope and say, pick them up in the morning, sleep it off. Why? Because if you give him the keys, there's nothing to keep him from going back, get in the car and then you hit somebody and kill him, and then now, you've got a larger problem.
So -- but there are options. None of them are wrong. It's called discretion. And that's what officers exercise all the time. We don't agree with some of them but it is discretion.
CAMEROTA: Chief, Angela, we really appreciate the conversation. We appreciate your perspectives. Thank you very much for sharing them with us.
So, as Angela just said, is defunding the answer? How about disbanding the police? We'll talk to Stacey Abrams about what she thinks of all this, next.