Return to Transcripts main page
The Killing Of Rayshard Brooks In Atlanta Is Sparking Fresh Outrage In America; In A New Interview Dr. Anthony Fauci Says A Return To Normality May Not Happen Until Next Year ; Beijing Is Shutting Down A Food Market And The Surrounding Neighborhood Amid A New Coronavirus Outbreak. Aired 7:30-8a ET
Aired June 15, 2020 - 07:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: The killing of Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta is sparking fresh outrage in America this morning. An autopsy concludes he was shot twice in the back as he fled from police after a DWI stop.
Joining us now is Stacey Abrams, Former Georgia Gubernatorial Nominee. She's also the author of the new book, "Our Time is Now: Power, Purpose and the Fight for a Fair America."
Miss Abrams, great to have you here.
STACEY ABRAMS (D), FORMER GEORGIA GUBERNATORIAL NOMINEE: Thank you.
CAMEROTA: We have a lot to talk to you about, but let's just start with this Rayshard Brooks case. What do you see when you watch that entire half an hour video of surveillance video and police body cam and do you put in the same category as George Floyd?
ABRAMS: Absolutely. I think as the police officer you had earlier pointed out, this is a man who had been frisked, so they knew he did possess a deadly weapon. They knew that he was impaired because he had parked in that driveway and they knew when he ran away that he did not pose a danger, that was a deadly force incentive.
The decision to shoot him in the back was one made out of maybe impatience or frustration or panic, but it was not one that justifies deadly force, it was murder.
And that's what we want to -- people to understand, that the consequence for driving to a Wendy's, parking in the parking -- let's assume every single narrative that he was -- he had driven while drunk, he parked and caused inconvenience to those who had to drive around him.
At no point did he possess a -- present a danger that warranted his death and that's what we're talking about. A murder because a man made a mistake, not a mistake that would have cost the police officer his life, but a mistake that was caused out of some form of dehumanization of Rayshard Brooks.
CAMEROTA: I mean, you say he was frisked, so they knew he didn't have a weapon, but after that he grabbed the police officer's weapon, you know, he had the stun gun and he was running off into the community --
ABRAMS: He had a stun gun --
CAMEROTA: -- with that. And so, you know, there is a question about, look, that's not a death penalty crime, OK? Let's be clear, that is not a death penalty crime. That doesn't deserve to be murdered or shot. But, he had a weapon at the point that he was running away.
ABRAMS: He did not have a deadly weapon, and that's exactly the point. Any time we're attempting to justify the murder of a man because he had -- number one, because he embarrassed the police by taking their taser, and two because he was running on foot, that we decide that it is worth killing him. Every moment of justification is a moment of dehumanization. That's the problem.
And let's not get distracted. The distraction that happens is that we try to find reasons that murder is acceptable when a black man or black woman is the -- is the victim and that should not happen.
In an identical situation in York, Pennsylvania, they managed -- this man managed to take the taser from not one but two officers and he lived to tell about it. Why? Because they did not take away his life and that's what we have to focus on. Everything else is a distraction.
CAMEROTA: And so that leads us to the larger conversation that we've been having for three -- at least three weeks now, and that's the, what do we do about police departments? What about the defunding argument, which is, that if you take some of the money away from police departments and put it into community programs that that would be more helpful. Do you agree with that?
ABRAMS: I agree that we have to have two conversations at the exact same time. We have to have a reform conversation that acknowledges that the murder of George Floyd, the murder of Breonna Taylor, the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, the murder of Tony Dade, the murder of Rayshard Brooks, the murder of black men and women who's litany is too long to go into on the show.
That those behaviors have to be changed, because we do have legitimate needs for public safety, for domestic violence victims, for children who are risk. There are real reasons to have public safety, but the way we currently construct our police and the way we dehumanize those who should benefit from their safety must stop.
But we also have to reallocate resources to invest in community. We have to improve education, we have to improve healthcare, we have to improve community programs that actually widen the likelihood of communities of color, particularly black communities surviving and thriving. And the notion that we have to put these two conversations in conflict
is false. What is true is that we can and must do both. Reallocate resources for the public good and for the humanization of black communities, but also make certain that extra judicial killings do not continue in our country.
CAMEROTA: So -- so yes, to some defunding?
ABRAMS: We have to reallocate resources, so yes. If there's a moment where the resources are so tight that we have to choose between whether we murder black people or serve black people, then absolutely our choice must be service.
But I actually think it's creating a false choice and a false narrative that's playing into the hands of Donald Trump and the Republicans and sometimes into a media narrative that seeks to make overly simplistic decisions.
Slogans help, framing things through language helps, but we cannot be distracted from the policy responsibilities we have. And that's my focus.
CAMEROTA: Let's talk about your book. It's called "Our Time is Now." And I just to read a portion of it, because basically it's about trying to -- I mean part of your life's work is stopping voter suppression and how to make everybody have access to be able to exercise their vote.
You say, those of us who believe in the promise of democracy must become outraged about even a single act of suppression. In an honorable system the loss of a single voter's right to participate is a -- is a wrong that cannot be tolerated, and as Americans we should know that a failure in the system weakens us all.
And so, when you saw what was happening in the Georgia primary last week, what was that? I mean, what was that and how -- how can Georgia prevent that from happening again in November?
ABRAMS: Well for me it was deja vu. I am very aware of the fail -- the frailty and the fallacies of the notion of access to democracy in Georgia. We watched the Secretary of State in 2018 set up a system of voter suppression and we watched the current voter -- the current Secretary of State continue the same work.
The reality is this was a -- this was a mix of incompetence, malfeces, it was a deliberate indifference to voters and it's a solvable problem. But let's not be confused. What happened in Georgia was grotesque because of the scale, but similar things happened in Pennsylvania, in South Carolina -- South Carolina and Nevada.
Pennsylvania it was because they were trying to do better and they needed more time to correct their challenges, but in Nevada and in South Carolina Republican Secretary's of State did their best to weaken access to the right to vote.
And so, while I want people to focus on Georgia, I want us not to forget the hours long lines in Texas or the challenges we saw in Wisconsin where people were forced to put their lives at risk.
Voter suppression is happening around this country every day and I spent half of the book really laying it out, because until we understand the intricacy of voter suppression we stand no chance of fighting back.
CAMEROTA: We only have a few seconds left, but given all of the problems with the voting machines and everything that did happen in Georgia, specifically, are you calling on the Secretary of State there to resign?
ABRAMS: I'm not calling for resignation yet, because what I think we need is a Secretary of State who is willing to be held accountable. One of the challenges we're seeing both in the policing conversation and the state conversation and the voting conversation and the presidency is a willingness to take accountability and to then make corrective action.
We can't fire our way out of challenges. We have to do our best to make things work for every American, because that's what our democracy demands. And the reason I wrote "Our Time is Now" is that now is the moment where we can demand a functioning democracy that helps us put in place that polices that make life work in America. Not just for those who have privilege, but for every single person.
CAMEROTA: The book's title again is "Our Time Is Now." Stacy Abrams, thank you very much for having this conversation with us.
ABRAMS: Thank you.
CAMEROTA: Coronavirus cases are on the rise in about a third of the U.S. It scenes like this that raised concerns that another round of lockdowns might be needed. We discuss.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back. In a new interview Dr. Anthony Fauci says a return to normality may not happen until next year. This comes as 18 states are seeing a rise in new coronavirus infections just over the last week. This includes Florida, which is reporting a record high number of coronavirus cases for the third day in a row.
We're joined now by Andy Slavitt, he's the former Acting Administrator for the Center for Medicaid Services for President Obama. Mr. Slavitt it's good to have you on this morning.
I've spoken to Dr. Fauci a number of times about this and while he will say, no complete normality until next year, he's comfortable with opening of schools under some circumstances, et cetera.
I just wonder from your perspective, for folks listening at home. Is there a way to target closures, right? I mean, we have this kind of national stay-at-home order. Folks got bored with that, right, and now we have a national reopening.
I mean, is there a way to -- to dial back up restrictions as outbreaks, spikes occur in different places, in different time, not in other places?
ANDY SLAVITT, FORMER ACTING ADMINISTRATOR CENTER FOR MEDICARE AND MEDICAID SERVICES: I think that's the way you have to do it. Governors are going to have to be as geographically targeted and surgical as possible if they want the public to be paying attention.
I think the other thing that's important is every time a governor takes a step to open things up, they should take a page from what Angela Merkel does in Germany, you spend two-thirds of their time talking about how they might have to dial it back if things get out of hand then they -- then they watch the data.
There's been some very interesting research done from a group called Nephron Research, which as shown that the states that have opened up early -- earliest in June are having the highest case growth. And the states that have taken it the most deliberately are having the slowest case growth.
SCIUTTO: Yes, I mean it's remarkable even if you look back, and I'm sure you have, the history of the 1918 flu pandemic, the exact same thing happened. The communities who open up too quickly, they had big spikes.
You know, the trouble here, one trouble here is how much politics have -- have -- have infused the debate and the policy, even how data is viewed here.
Can, what you just described, happen in this environment, right, when you have the president not only questioning reasonable measures like face masks, but also even the data, is the death toll as high as those numbers here on the right side of the screen show.
In this polarized environment, is that kind of reasonable policy response possible?
SLAVITT: Well, there's something else going too, right, which is that if you live in the northeast and you've experienced the trauma that comes from coronavirus, you're likely to know someone who's died or at least people who have been sick. You're very cautious and you wonder why the heck is the country not getting and not wearing masks.
But if you live in the part of the country where you may not someone who's died of coronavirus, but maybe you know 5 or 10 people who have lost their jobs or some small business that have closes, you might think its overblown. And it's very difficult for people to have the kind empathy of experience that they're going to have.
Now as things comes to these locations, sadly I think that becomes more and more difficult. Yes, there's a political overlay, I don't want to deny that and I really do think that it is up to some of these governors to be as strict and as tough and as deliberate as they need to be in order for the good of the economy and their healthcare. But we have to recognize that it's big country and we've got some diversity here.
SCIUTTO: OK, so -- so in the midst of this, the one measure that all the health experts agree on, that all of us can take is -- is a mask. It's not full proof, right, but we know it helps, it's in the data. You have a clear public disconnect, contradiction frankly, between those health experts, even the Surgeon General, I'm going to quote from his tweet this week, appointed by this president, Jerome Adams.
Some feel face coverings infringe on the freedom of choice, but if more wear them we'll have more freedom to go out. The president won't wear the mask. The president is insisting on having a rally indoors and really what's described as the worst circumstances possible, indoor venues with big crowds and people shouting and talking a lot, expelling a lot of droplets, et cetera.
Can you move the public in the right direction when you have that contradiction and the president fighting that health message?
SLAVITT: Well, I thought the Surgeon General's quote was brilliant. I thought it was exactly right, which is you know the reason you can drive -- the reason race car drivers can drive the car fast is because the have a good set of breaks. So, you put in some -- a little bit of controls and then you can do a lot more things.
Sadly, if it was the President of the United States that said that, we would have -- it would be an enormous difference. I mean, imagine if he walked out to his crowd in Oklahoma or to the White House wearing a mask and said, look, I think you should do this too. We would be rid of this thing pretty quickly.
Now people who are going to go to that rally, I worry about them and they should know that they're going to be going at their own risk, that they've got so sign something which says that. They should wear masks, they should be careful. I wish they would hold it outdoors. I wish they would take some precautions, because it is -- it is traumatic for people in that community when the virus starts to spread uncontrollably.
SCIUTTO: Andy Slavitt, it's good advice. If you're listening at home, follow -- follow what the doctors and the experts say. Thanks so much. Good to have you on this morning.
CAMEROTA: Jim, let's get a look internationally, because Beijing is shutting down a food market and the surrounding neighborhood amid a new coronavirus outbreak.
CNN has reporters around the world covering all the latest for you.
[07:50:00] STEVEN JIANG, CNN SENIOR PRODUCER: I'm Steven Jiang in Beijing. The authorities here have shut down the country's biggest wholesale food market and declared wartime emergencies in a growing number of city neighborhoods with the emergence of a new cluster of coronavirus cases.
The Chinese capital had not seen any cases for almost two months, until last Thursday. Since then, they have reported more than 70 cases, almost of all of them linked to the market, which used to supply about 70 percent of the city's vegetables. That's why among the city's more than 20 million residents there is growing concern not only about their health, but also about their food supplies.
PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Patrick. I'm in Havana. The mayor of Brazil's largest city Sao Paulo has been diagnoses with the coronavirus, according to a news release from the local government. This is the latest health scare for Sao Paulo Mayor Bruno Covas who's also been public about his battle with lymph node cancer. Covas said that he is not feeling any symptoms and is working from home.
Sao Paulo is the epicenter of Brazil's coronavirus crisis. There are over 170,000 cases there and more than 10,000 deaths according to local health officials.
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Atika Shubert in Valencia, Spain, where the beaches are begin prepped for tourists again. Next week the country plans to open for E.U. travelers, but today the holiday island of Majorca has actually brokered a deal with German tour agencies to allow in thousands of Germans, German tourists in early as a test case.
When they arrive they'll have their temperatures check, they'll have to show their contacts, where they will be, just in case there is an outbreak so that they can be traced. But, they won't have to be tested for the coronavirus. If all goes well then Spain plans to open to travelers outside the E.U. in July.
CAMEROTA: Our thanks to all of our correspondents around the world.
Now we want to remember some of the more then 115,000 Americans lost to coronvirus. James Cornacchia served as a Georgia Tech police officer for nearly 20 years. He always said his favorite part of the job was interacting with the students.
Officers who worked with him say they'll remember his smile, his sense of humor and his good heart. He was a loving husband and brother and a beloved father to three young boys.
Trevor Syphus Lee was a student at Utah Valley University. He was just one year away from graduating. Trevor's friends describe him as the kindest, most positive human. They say he was always looking to help other people. One friend says in five years not a day went by that Trevor did not go out of his way to make him feel special.
Trevor was just 27-years-old.
We'll be right back.
SCIUTTO: So, are we going to see any baseball? Major league baseball players want to know by the end of today if when the season will start. Andy Scholes has more in the Bleacher Report.
Andy, how does -- after a messy, messy negotiation, how does this all end up?
ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Well Jim, it certainly has been just an ugly negotiation period. They've exchanged proposals back and forth all of last week, but the players have said they've had enough and they've told the owners that they want to know when and where they are going to be playing.
The two sides have failed to agree on how many games they are going to play and what the player's pay should be. The players have never waivered from receiving their full pro-rated salaries.
The Player's Association Executive Director Tony Clark rejected the latest deal over the weekend, saying it unfortunately appears that further dialogue with the league would be futile. It's time to get back to work, tell us when and where.
According to ESPN, the players want that answer by the end of business today, and agreement made back in March gives Commissioner Rob Manfred the power to impose a season of any length as long as the players receive full pro-rated salaries.
All right, Ohio State football players meanwhile were asked to sign a coronavirus type waiver called the Buckeye Pledge upon returning to campus last week. According to the "Columbus Dispatch," by signing the document players agree to testing, potential self-quarantining, monitoring for symptoms, reporting any potential exposure in a timely manner and wearing a mask and practicing social distancing.
A failure to comply with the pledge would result in not being able to participate in athletics and use the facilities. Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith tells ESPN that the waiver is more for educational purposes than for liability. But Jim, you know, this is something that universities across the country are dealing with as athletes are returning to start working out.
My school, the University of Houston, had to suspend workouts because six of their athletes tested positive for coronvirus. It's definitely something these schools are going to have to work out if they hope to play football this fall.
SCIUTTO: Listen, it's a sign they're going to be battling this for some time. Andy Scholes, good to have you this morning and New Day continues right now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is New Day with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.
CAMEROTA: And good morning everyone. We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is New Day.
And protests against racial injustice continue for a 20th straight day and night. As this weekend saw another killing of a 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 department.
The district attorney is now considering murder charges. He tells CNN the officer's first remarks after shooting Brooks were --