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Trump Issues Police Reform Executive Order; Interview with Burke County, Georgia Sheriff Alfonzo Williams; Interview with Sports Agent Drew Rosenhaus. Aired 2-2:30p ET
Aired June 16, 2020 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST, NEWSROOM: -- to incentivize good behavior rather than guidelines to mitigate bad behavior.
This was a speech very much in step with the president's law and order messaging. He spent a lot of time praising and defending police, and here are some of the more specific things that he says will be included in this executive order.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As part of this new credentialing process, chokeholds will be banned except if an officer's life is at risk. And I will say, we've dealt with all of the various departments, and everybody said it's time, we have to do it.
Additionally, we're looking at new advanced and powerful, less lethal weapons to help prevent deadly interactions.
Departments will also need a share of information about credible abuses so that officers with significant issues do not simply move from one police department to the next.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: Let's bring in CNN White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins to join us here.
Kaitlan, explain how the White House anticipates that these federal guidelines and these incentive programs are actually going to change local and state departments.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, they're really going to be relying on those local departments to carry these measures out, and they're also counting on Congress to fund the new programs that the president was talking about, talking about having those co- responders, people who are people like mental health experts, going to situations with police officers, in hopes of de-escalating it.
TEXT: Trump's police reform executive order: Nationwide certification process for police departments using a set of "best practices," including on use of force; Nationwide database to track excessive force complaints against individual officers; Incentivize programs where social workers sent out with officers re: mental health related calls
COLLINS: But it's basically just what you said, guidelines. A lot of this is encouragement for police departments to do this, and the way they're doing that is basically saying you can get credentialed by the attorney general, by the Justice Department, by meeting certain standards when it comes to training about uses of force.
That's -- that reference the president made to banning chokeholds, that's basically, they will not meet that certification by the Justice Department unless they only use chokeholds in what he said is a life- and-death situation, though there are going to be a lot of questions, Brianna, about what is that standard for that, what does that mean. So it's not this outright ban on chokeholds.
And the other aspect of this is basically, they're incentivizing funding for these police departments that do meet this standard, but it's really just encouragement for them to meet these standards. It's not saying you're not going to get funding, it's just saying this how we're going to put you in a line of priority when it does come to these grants that some of these police departments seek from the federal government.
What you also heard from the president was a full-throated endorsement and praise of law enforcement as he was there. You noticed who was in the Rose Garden and who wasn't. He met with the families of police violence who have lost loved ones, privately beforehand. And then the president came out, he said he made a commitment to them to pursue change.
But then as he was in the Rose Garden, he surrounded himself with law enforcement officials, police union representatives because sources have been telling us that he wanted to be very careful about how he was navigating this, Brianna, and he didn't want to alienate any police support.
So that's very important to keep in mind, as you were looking at what the president was saying, what this executive order is outlining and suggesting that police departments do, while leaving most of the heavy lifting to Congress.
KEILAR: All right, Kaitlan, thank you so much for that report.
Let's bring in CNN legal analyst and Civil Rights attorney Areva Martin, joining me now. Areva, let's talk about what impact this is really going to have here in a moment, and let's talk about what the president is messaging as his priorities here. What do you like about what you are seeing here, and what do you still maybe have questions for, you feel like it's not going far enough?
AREVA MARTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I didn't like any of it, Brianna. I felt like it was a big smack in the face to the protestors that have been in the streets for the last 19, 20 days, calling for big and bold changes to the way police departments around this country operate. What the president didn't do at all was address the systemic racism issues that are at the fore of these issues. He comes out, you know, surrounded by law enforcement personnel, talks about his law and order agenda without at all even paying lip service to the systemic problems that have, you know -- a bright, big bright line is shining on.
So this is another band-aid on a hemorrhage, this is another, you know, carrot that Trump is dangling in front of, you know, the American public. And quite frankly, protestors are tired of it, Civil Rights activists, we're all tired of this president and his approach to these issues, which is basically a non-approach.
So I didn't find anything encouraging about what he did today. If anything, he made a mockery, I think, of the whole process that is in place, where people were demanding -- re-imagining our public safety and the way police, police particularly African-American communities. He didn't speak to those issues at all.
KEILAR: You heard him, there, say that there's, quote -- that, quote, "Chokeholds will be banned except if an officer's life is at risk." What did you make of -- I mean, not only could that be enforced from his standpoint as president, but what that would actually mean if local and state law enforcement entities use that as the standard?
MARTIN: It's not a standard that could even be followed by anyone. We see, in these cases all the time, Brianna, law enforcement, police, agents, officers defend their actions by saying they felt their life was in danger. So all they have to do is repeat that refrain that we hear repeated over and over again. And according to these guidelines, they would be completely justified in their use of chokeholds.
He's not banning chokeholds, he's not changing the way police officers police African-American communities and other communities of color, he's just paying lip service to these issues. He's patting his law enforcement buddies on the back, he's telling them what a great job they're doing, and he's not at all addressing the underlying issues.
You know, "The New York Times," Brianna, wrote a great article over the weekend about what happened after 2014, and all the protests that we saw following the police murdering of Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. And they said, tens of millions of dollars was invested in all of these, you know, de-escalation, implicit bias, so many other reforms we're hearing about, and nothing moved the needle on the 1,000 people that are killed, every year, by police officers.
And the article basically said what the protestors are saying, is that unless we make big and bold changes to the way we police, we're going to be right back here, not -- I can't even say a month from now, because we were right back here over the weekend, with Mr. Brooks in Atlanta. So Trump hasn't done anything other than insult the protestors.
KEILAR: Areva Martin, thank you.
MARTIN: Thanks, Brianna. KEILAR: I want to turn now to Atlanta, where as soon as tomorrow, we
could see a decision on charges for both officers who were involved in the deadly shooting of Rayshard Brooks. That's according to the Fulton County district attorney. This is happening as we get a first look, now, at the disciplinary records of the fired officer who shot Brooks, Garrett Rolf.
In 2017, he was reprimanded for use of force involving a firearm. And as millions of Americans protest this latest use of deadly force, my next guest believes in this case, the officer's actions were justified.
Sheriff Alfonzo Williams, who serves Burke County, Georgia, says Rolf acted appropriately and believes the shooting has been politicized by the city's mayor and the police department. He's joining me now.
Sheriff Williams, thank you so much for talking to us today.
ALFONZO WILLIAMS, SHERIFF, BURKE COUNTY, GEORGIA: Thank you for having me, Brianna.
KEILAR: The -- you know the family attorney in this case says that police should have tried to catch Brooks instead of shooting at him. What is your reaction to that?
WILLIAMS: Having 30 years in the business, police and law enforcement, and 27 of those years having taught use of force and taught hundreds and hundreds of law enforcement officers across the state of Georgia and other states, I just think that he's a lawyer, he's not a law enforcement officer. I think that is -- it's just a ridiculous statement.
Obviously (ph), we saw in the video that the -- Brooks was engaged in a fight with the officers, they were on the ground. We know that when we're on the ground, we have a very high likelihood of being hurt or killed. It's not the place we want to be. This is not a wrestling match.
The -- Brooks is able to take a nonlethal weapon, a taser, away from one of the officers, and he flees, they give chase. He's committed two felony obstruction of an officer counts, and he needs to be held accountable. So they were perfectly justified in running behind Brooks to capture him.
He -- Brooks turned back to the officers, and fired the taser. And we all know -- this is the third law enforcement agency I've been head of, and every agency I've gone to, I've required every officer who carries a taser, to be tased with it so that you understand the incapacitation.
Five seconds: one thousand-one, one thousand-two, one thousand-three, one thousand-four, one thousand-five. That's five whole seconds that, if an officer is hit with that taser, that he -- all of his muscles will be locked up and he'll have the inability to move and to respond. And yet he is still responsible for every weapon on his belt. He -- so if that officer had been hit, he still has a firearm on his
side. And the likelihood of him being stomped in the head or having his firearm taken and used against him was a probability. And so he did what he needed to do, and this was a completely justified --
KEILAR: Which is --
WILLIAMS: -- shooting.
KEILAR: So you think lethal force here was necessary?
WILLIAMS: It's very necessary. The Fourth Amendment allows it. This is the objective reasonableness standard, and there's nothing malicious or sadistic in the way these officers behaved.
And it's very unfortunate that the law enforcement leaders in the state of Georgia have not come out and stood together on this case. I think it's political and it's senseless. We're sending the wrong message to our black youth, we're telling them that it's OK, that they can run from the police, they can take a weapon from the police, they can fight with the police. And point a weapon at the police, and expect nothing to happen. That is the wrong message to send to black youth.
Now, we cannot -- we cannot, Brianna, put this case with the Ahmaud Arbery case, nor the George Floyd case. When I saw the George Floyd case, I was outraged. Two weeks ago, I was so outraged that I wrote a letter to the governor, the head of the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police, and the head of the Georgia Sheriffs' Association, and I provided them with seven standards that I think are very necessary to prevent black men from being killed at the hands of police in the way it was done in the Floyd case and the Ahmaud Arbery case.
WILLIAMS: I graduated high school with Ahmaud Arbery's mother. Those were two outrageous, very clear violations of policy and law.
KEILAR: Can I ask -- I want to ask you a question about the Rayshard Brooks case, early on, once he was on the ground. One of the things that struck me, observing -- and you know, you're in law enforcement, I'm not, but -- was how quickly at close range one of the officers pulled a taser out. And it seemed like his arm was flailing, and then he sort of got tangled and grabbed the taser.
And I -- one of the questions I had was, do you think that that officer would have pulled a taser so quickly on a suspect if they were white?
WILLIAMS: I think we have a serious issue in this country with officers, law enforcement officers using force against black persons or persons of color versus other persons. I'm not sure exactly why that exists. I think it's based on your experiences, based on your ignorance, based on your -- whether or not you're learned, based on movies, television, media.
You know, there's a little bit of blame to go around with all of us. That's why I have --
KEILAR: But -- but just -- I just want to zero in on this --
WILLIAMS: -- proposed setting (ph) standards --
KEILAR: -- Sheriff. You're -- it sounds like you don't know, like -- it sounds like you are saying perhaps, there could be a possibility that maybe -- that escalation to the use of the taser might not have happened then, if it were a white man?
WILLIAMS: I'm not saying that at all. I'm saying what happened in the --
WILLIAMS: -- Brooks case is completely justified, 100 percent. And an officer generally goes to work every day, he's not concerned about whether a perpetrator is black or white. He's there to do a job. He was called there by the employees of Wendy's because the guy is passed out at the wheel. And he's investigated for being under the influence of something, but he is less safe to drive. And they conduct field sobriety.
And all officers know this , Brianna, that when one cuff goes on, a person is going to do one of three things. He's going to fight, take flight, or he's going to comply.
In this case, he did fight and flight. And we -- they're taught in the academy that you arrest or you handcuff quickly, one to two seconds. If not, your life is in jeopardy. And that played out in this scenario.
We don't want to fight with anybody, we don't want to be on the ground. The suspect had the ability to hurt the officer, he had the opportunity to hurt the officer because he took his taser. The officer's life was certainly in jeopardy, and the suspect could have complied and none of this would have happened.
KEILAR: Sheriff, thank you so much for joining us, Sheriff Alfonzo Williams from Burke County, Georgia, we appreciate it.
WILLIAMS: Thank you.
KEILAR: And, next, Oklahoma State's football coach is now promising change after his players objected to his support of a far-right network that peddles conspiracy theories.
Plus, the NFL commissioner says he'd be happy to have a team sign Colin Kaepernick, one of pro sports' most influential agents, Drew Rosenhaus, will join me live.
Also, the officials in charge of promoting social distancing and masks to help protect Americans, yet they just don't do it, they weren't doing it at the president's event today.
This is CNN's special live coverage.
KEILAR: A cultural change, that is what Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy is promising after his players objected to a T-shirt that he was wearing fishing.
After seeing his coach donning a shirt for the far-right network that peddles conspiracy theories, One America News, Oklahoma State running back Chuba Hubbard said he wouldn't take part in anything representing the university. He slammed Gundy's clothing, he called it insensitive, unacceptable.
But now, the two men say that they will work together to alter the culture.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE GUNDY, HEAD FOOTBALL COACH, OKLAHOMA STATE UNIVERSITY: I met with some players, and realized it's a very sensitive issue with what's going on in today's society. And so we had a great meeting, and made aware of some things that players feel like that can make our organization, our culture even better than it is here at Oklahoma State.
And I'm looking forward to making some changes, and it starts at the top with me and we got good days ahead.
CHUBA HUBBARD, FOOTBALL PLAYER, OKLAHOMA STATE UNIVERSITY: I'll start off by first saying that I went about it the wrong way by tweeting. I'm not someone that, you know, has to tweet something to make change, I should have went to him as a man. And I'm more about action, so that was bad on my part.
But from now on, we're going to focus on bringing change and that's the most important thing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: Now, this morning, Hubbard tweeted a statement that said in part, "I am a young black man that wants change. I want change that will bring a better experience for my black brothers and sisters at Oklahoma State. It's that simple."
And I'm joined now by veteran sports agent Drew Rosenhaus to talk about this and other things. And, Drew, when it comes to this Oklahoma State situation that we're seeing there, one of the things that has so many people buzzing about this is that Hubbard did not apologize, right? Or -- pardon me, Hubbard apologized. Gundy, the coach, did not apologize, we never really heard those words that are so important that Hubbard said. What do you think about that?
DREW ROSENHAUS, VETERAN SPORTS AGENT: I think he should have apologized. He offended his player, and I'm sure he offended many other guys on the team. Oklahoma State's football team, like every college football team in America, is made up of predominantly black football players.
For the head coach to wear a shirt of a network that calls Black Lives Matter a fraud in so many words, is insulting, is insensitive and requires an apology. I commend Hubbard for speaking up, but the head coach did not go far enough.
KEILAR: I want to talk to you about the NFL because the commissioner there, Roger Goodell, is now supporting a team signing Colin Kaepernick. I mean, what a change, right, from just weeks ago? Let's listen to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROGER GOODELL, NFL COMMISSIONER: If he wants to resume his career in the NFL, that obviously is going to take a team to make that decision. But I welcome that, support a club making that decision, and encourage them to do that.
If his efforts are not on the field but continuing to work in this space, we welcome to that table and to be able to help us and guide us and help us make better decisions about the kinds of things that need to be done in communities.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: This brings up so many questions for me. But the first one is just what do you think of this switch from Goodell?
ROSENHAUS: It is necessary. Colin Kaepernick deserves to be in the NFL. Four years ago, he was banned by the NFL for taking a stance to speak up that black lives matter, to fight against police brutality, for the systematic racism and discrimination that blacks have endured throughout our country's history. And he was penalized for this, banished.
Bring this man back into the NFL. He deserves it. He's good enough to play quarterback in the NFL, he's not one of my clients, but I'll tell you right now, objectively speaking, the league needs him, they need to embrace him. What he did was heroic, he's an activist and he should be praised, not punished.
Give the man a chance to play again. If he can't play any more physically from the time off, so be it, but give him a chance. He deserves it. What he stands for, the NFL needs to stand for.
Thankfully, the league has taken a position where they're supporting Colin Kaepernick and his message of equality and eliminating racism, eliminating the oppression and discrimination against blacks. The NFL is made up of 70 percent black players. It's enough, embrace them, treat them fairly in our society.
The NFL has got to lead the way, and the commissioner's doing the right thing. But the teams and the owners have to follow his lead. Listen to your players, and support them, and let's bring true change and equality.
KEILAR: What -- I guess I would wonder, what team would he go to? Do you think that there are many teams who would want him to come? Is there a logical place for him to go that would be in line --
KEILAR: -- with the message? Tell us.
ROSENHAUS: Absolutely, Brianna, there are many teams that could use a talented quarterback like Kaepernick. Off the top of my head, teams that have (ph) young quarterbacks include clubs like the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Cincinnati Bengals, the New England Patriots.
They're going with new guys, either rookies or second-year players. You can't tell me that Kaepernick wouldn't be a great upgrade with those three teams. And I can think of more, but those are right off the top of my head, clubs that he should be playing for right now.
Teams, if you're listening, give this man a chance. And it's much bigger than Kaepernick, it's the message that he's promoting .Please embrace that. If you sign him, you're not only doing the right thing by him, but you're showing the players in the NFL, the black players in the NFL and people that support them, that this is what's right, that this is what is required, this is what's necessary, this is what is best of the NFL and our society.
KEILAR: Right now, a coalition of NBA players, Drew, says they don't want to resume the season, they are afraid that this is going to take away from the Black Lives Matter movement. Are you hearing NFL players voicing similar concerns to that?
ROSENHAUS: The concerns that I'm hearing for NFL players is really for their safety, and their families, and the concerns of COVID-19.
I think the majority of my clients have said to me that they would like to play and use it (ph) as a vehicle to bring change, to use playing as a platform to promote social justice and equality for blacks, and to eliminate discrimination and racism, and to eliminate the police brutality that you've been talking about over so many years that takes place against blacks in this country.
My clients that I've visited with and other players believe that playing will give them an opportunity to bring that to light, and to put pressure. And it'll give them an opportunity to kneel at the national anthem, and make a statement. And I endorse that and I support that.
And I sure hope every owner in the NFL does and every coach and every leader will kneel with the players and use this as a forum to bring about the change that is needed in this country. Not playing, in my opinion, eliminates an outstanding forum to bring change and make a statement and to keep this Black Lives Matter movement going forward with great enthusiasm and great exposure, which is what it needs. And playing in the games will help do that.
KEILAR: So quickly before I let you go, Drew, is the NFL season in question at all because of the virus?
ROSENHAUS: Sure it is. You know, we've got to worry about the safety of the players, the coaches, the administration. This is bigger than football. The players' safety comes first. If we can play and make it safe -- and that's a big "if" -- then obviously, everybody wants to see the NFL come back: the coaches, the players, and the fans of course.
But the key word is safety and protesting the players and coaches and the administrators and the fans as well. So let's hope that we can some up with a system that works, and we can get back to football and push this very important agenda and make a difference.
Nothing would make me prouder than to see, at the very first game, everyone on the football -- everyone in the NFL, coach, player, owner, administrator, on the sidelines, kneeling, and pushing for reach change in this country to make a difference in the Black Lives Matter, that is so important today.
KEILAR: Drew Rosenhaus, thank you. We really enjoyed having you on.
ROSENHAUS: Thank you< Brianna, I enjoyed it. Thanks so much.
KEILAR: People under 20 years old are half as likely to catch coronavirus. We have details on that new study.
And as we learn, it's been two weeks since President Trump spoke to Dr. Anthony Fauci about the coronavirus response.
And then new information about the misleading claims that Vice President Pence told governors to spread to the public.