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Atlanta Officer Devon Brosnan Turns Himself In to Fulton County Jail; Florida Sets Record in Most Cases Reported in Single Day as Trump Says Virus "Fading"; Dr. Cyrus Shahpar Discusses Trump in Denial about COVID, Saying Virus is "Dying Out"; Fauci Laments "Anti-Science Bias" Where Authority Is Not Believed; Don Lewis, Former Federal Prosecutor, Discusses Challenges of Prosecuting Officers Charged in Rayshard Brooks Killing. Aired 11:30a-12p ET
Aired June 18, 2020 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They said that Brosnan actually sustained a concussion during the scuffle with Brooks on the ground and that he was disoriented and he was unaware at the time, according to Brosnan's attorneys, that Brooks had been shot by Rolfe and that he didn't know at that point in time.
And again, if you remember, yesterday, during this press conference with the district attorney, he initially said that Brosnan had turned state's witness.
Well, his attorneys, for the officer, who is on administrative duty right now, came out and said that that is not the case. He is not a state's witness, that he spoke openly and honestly in the interview with the district attorney the day before the charges were announced but that he was not a state's witness. And at that point, he had not even agreed to plead guilty to those charges.
They believed that he is, at this point, not guilty and are going to continue doing that.
But, again, John, he is being processed as we speak.
He will have a bond, unlike at this point, we're told by the district attorney, the other officer, Garrett Rolfe, who is facing 11 charges.
The most serious of those charges against the former officer, Garrett Rolfe, who was fired the day after the killing of Rayshard Brooks, is felony murder. John, that carries a penalty of up to life in prison or even the death penalty upon conviction.
Rolfe is also facing five aggravated assault charges. Two of those are against Mr. Brooks, one for shooting him, and the or the district attorney says is for kicking him.
The three other aggravated assault charges are for individuals who were inside of a car that was hit by a bullet during that shooting. There's a property damage charge as well as violation of his oath charges there. Rolfe, as far as we know, at this point, has not turned himself in to
the Fulton County jail just yet. I just tried to contact his attorney to get an update on that situation.
But, John, as we know right now, the current or former -- or, excuse me, the officer, Devon Brosnan, at the Fulton County jail being processed right now, as we speak, on those charges related to the killing of Rayshard Brooks.
JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Dianne Gallagher, appreciate the reporting on the breaking news. Let us know when we hear the update on Officer Rolfe, now fired Officer Rolfe.
Up next for us, the president says the coronavirus is "fading," "dying," his words. Florida, moments ago, reporting thousands of new cases.
KING: Breaking news out of Florida this hour. New numbers on the coronavirus, and there's reason to be concerned.
Let's go straight to CNN's Rosa Flores in Miami.
Rose, a new record. How bad?
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, John, you and I were talking about this yesterday, and yesterday we were talking about 2,600 cases. This time 3,207 COVID-19 cases in the state of Florida on Thursday alone. Like you mentioned, that appears to be a record. We're checking to double check that.
But, again, the cases in the state of Florida continuing to rise. Last week, we were talking about 1,000 cases a day. Over the weekend, that turned into 2,000 cases a day, which we've been talking about this week, and now more than 3,000 cases.
Now, yesterday, John, after your show, we got a response from Governor Ron DeSantis' office saying this is all due to aggressive testing in communities that have outbreaks, like prisons, long-term care facilities, agricultural communities, migrant worker farms and other areas.
But we also talked to an expert at FIU that looks as these numbers regularly, infectious diseases, and she says that this is not just due to increased testing, that this is due to a real increase in the number of COVID-19 cases and that it should be of great concern.
The mayor of Miami-Dade yesterday saying that there's an uptick in cases, that he is concerned, and also that there's an increase in hospitalizations.
You and I know that that's one of the metrics that both Governor Ron DeSantis and all the leaders at the local level have been worried about because of those hospitalization numbers.
Now, John, one of the things that Mayor Jimenez said yesterday is that, for everybody, businesses included, if you think that this is not your business to social distance, to wear a mask, he said that they are going to make sure that people know that it is their business.
They are sending out police officers to businesses, parks and beaches to enforce those guidelines -- John?
KING: Rosa Flores, with those very concerning new numbers out of Florida.
Let's take a look at how they fit in the national perspective. Again, the president says the coronavirus is fading. You look at the numbers and you decide whether that's the case.
If you go back to April, the newly confirmed cases, you do see it's a bit of a drop. But now in recent days, starting to head up a little bit, the seven-day moving average. Still, more than 20,000 new cases a day confirmed in the United States. That might be manageable, but it is not fading. And you can see it starting to trickle up right there.
This number -- if encouraging is the right word. This is always terrible. You do see the death toll is coming down, trending down, the seven-day moving average. Still, though, between 500 and 1,000 Americans dying every day from coronavirus but down from the highs we saw in April and early May as we come down into mid-June.
This is the map that is concerning. Rosa Flores just reporting the new numbers from Florida. See the dark red. That means 50 percent more cases this week than you had last week. That is not heading in the right direction, by no standard.
Even if it's manageable, even if you have the hospital beds, you don't want to be 50 percent higher this week than last week this deep into the pandemic.
But that's happening in nine states. Nine states. The deep red on your screen, 50 percent more reporting this week and last week. Fourteen more states still going up. So 23 states, nearly half heading in the wrong direction. Eight states holding steady. And 19 states, that's the green, the northern half of the country. And then out here heading down.
But 23 states heading into the wrong direction. Florida among them. Such a large state. And 50 percent more cases this week than last week. If you look at that.
Just some of the states we're going to watch in addition to Florida. You see these lines. They are all going up. This is Arkansas in green, Utah, Oregon and Oklahoma.
And if you look, if you go back to early April, they are all down here. Reopenings, right? Reopenings start, reopenings start to accelerate
and you can see this happening. Again, not necessarily a disaster but a sign for concern.
As you see it tick up here, this is Oklahoma, where the president goes for his rally this weekend. You can see the shelter-in-place order lifted the beginning of May. You see a flat line for a long time in the seven-day moving average but then, in recent days, you see that going up. Heading very much in the wrong direction.
This is Oklahoma. This is the United States of America. That's 23 states. Numbers don't lie, 23 states going up. The case cause for concern.
Listen to the president. He says we're done.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If you look, the numbers are very miniscule compared to what it was. It's dying out.
(voice-over): We're very close to a vaccine. And we're very close to therapeutics, really good therapeutics. And -- but even with that -- I don't even like to talk about that because it's fading away. It's going to fade away. But having a vaccine would be really nice. And that's going to happen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Let's discuss this with Dr. Cyrus Shahpar. He's an epidemiologist and an E.R. doctor and he's also the director of Resolve to Save Lives, prevent epidemics initiative.
Doctor, it's good to see you again.
I just went through the state-by-state numbers and I want to be very careful. Just because a state is going up, we knew that was inevitable when it reopened. That's not a sign of disaster necessarily but it's a sign of concern, especially when you see 50 percent more this week than last week, the numbers you're seeing in a place like Florida.
The president says this is fading and it's dying. Is it?
DR. CYRUS SHAHPAR, EPIDEMIOLOGIST, E.R. PHYSICIAN & DIRECTOR, PREVENT EPIDEMICS TEAM, RESOLVE TO SAVE LIVES: I think in the United States we have a steady rate of around 20,000 to 25,000 infections in May and June but this highlights a mixed picture you just highlighted.
Some states, about half the states have increasing or stable cases and half are declining. So it's really some of those states with increasing or stable cases that we're concerned about, states that you mentioned like Arizona, Florida and Texas, because multiple indicators indicate that there could be a problem there.
KING: Multiple indicators. Meaning not just the case count but the hospitalizations -- SHAHPAR: Right.
KING: -- and the stress and the system and the positivity when you look at testing in some of those cases as well.
Here's my question as a public health professional. When you have the president of the United States saying it's fading, it's dying, essentially sending a message we're on the good side, we're on the good side and things are getting better.
Then you someone I know you work with, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former FDA commissioner, saying, you know what, we need to get all the states in the beige or green and the way to do that, listen here, is for people to please wear a mask.
SHAHPAR: Uniform masking would go a long way. There's one study that showed that if 60 percent of the people would wear masks that was 60 percent, you'd get the reproduction number under one, meaning you'd have a declining epidemic rather than an expanding epidemic, which is what we still have in this country.
KING: He used the words "expanding epidemic." The president of the United states, that a lot of people listen to, says it's fading and it's dying. It's expanding, correct?
SHAHPAR: In some parts of the United States, it's expanding, and it's extremely concerning. I think, if leadership doesn't share a sense of urgency about it, it just makes our jobs as public health officials more difficult.
KING: I think that's a fair point.
I want you to listen here to Dr. Fauci, one of the interesting things he says. Among them, that when he's trying to talk, when you're trying to talk, when people who do this for a living, who are a hell of a lot smarter than a guy like me on this, so we ask you questions, what should we do, what shall we follow, what piece of data is most important to track, Dr. Fauci says there are some people out there who just won't listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY & INFECTIOUS DISEASES (voice-over): Unfortunately, there's a combination of an anti-science bias that people are -- for reasons that sometimes are, you know, inconceivable and not understandable, they just don't believe science and they don't believe authority. That's unfortunate because, you know, science is truth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: How do you -- A, do you agree with that, that some people just won't believe science and, therefore, won't believe smart authorities like Dr. Fauci and like yourself? And if that's the case, how do you break through it?
SHAHPAR: I agree with it. There are pockets of people that don't agree with it or don't believe that maybe what's going on with COVID. And I think it really requires engagement with those communities to understand, what are the reasons why and, really, you know, use data to show the situation.
And I think some of the things we're advising for, we call them the three "W"s, wash your hands, wear a mask, and watch your distance. Those things are really low -- they are not very disruptable. They don't cause a major disruption to your day. They're easy to do and they really do prevent disease. That's not in question.
So to do those things and have everybody do them and everybody get on board with that, we really need to engage communities.
KING: That would be nice. And, yes, you're right. They are not all that disruptive. They make it pretty easy once you get them into your daily routine.
Dr. Shahpar, always grateful for the expertise and insight.
This quick programming note for us. Join Anderson Cooper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta tonight, a brand-new coronavirus town hall. That's 8:00 p.m. Eastern only right here on CNN.
COVID-19's toll on the elderly has been especially devastating. Social distancing can protect them physically but it can be a very isolating time for many seniors. A New York nonprofit now stepping in to connect older citizens with members of their community. That's in this week's "IMPACT YOUR WORLD."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a good feeling that you don't feel alone.
BEN GOODSTEIN, VOLUNTEER, DCROT (ph): Good to see you. I haven't seen you in a minute.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I miss you. I would like to hug you.
You still look like you haven't had enough sleep. Such a sweet kid.
GOODSTEIN: We talk about our lives and, you know, music and politics and movies and -- and it's really just like a nice time that we have together.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good friend.
MARK MENDY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, DCROT (ph): For many of our older adults, their partners and spouses are no longer living or, in some cases, they never marry. And so as a result, as their social circles have diminished greatly, it's really the friendly visitor that plays such a meaningful role.
And for younger people, studies have shown that when they engage with older adults, they also have an increased sense of self.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The biggest sadness I have is --
GOODSTEIN: Bob actually kind of worked in the music industry, as I do.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I worked as a manager in the record department.
GOODSTEIN: The walls of his apartment are just covered with old records. I think he kind of gets a kick out of me telling him stories from the road. It's really nice to be able to get advice from him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think he deserves a medal.
KING: Very touching. To find out how you can help others or seek help yourself during COVID-19, go to CNN.com/impact.
Up next, the challenges of prosecuting the police officers now charged in the killing of Rayshard Brooks.
KING: One of the two Atlanta police officers involved in that deadly shooting of Rayshard Brooks is now in police custody himself. Devon Brosnan now being processed in the Fulton County jail. He faces an aggravated assault charge. The officer who shot Brooks, Garrett Rolfe, is facing 11 charges, including felony murder.
Joining me now to discuss is former federal prosecutor, Don Lewis, who was also the special prosecutor in Philando Castile police shooting death.
Mr. Lewis, thank you for being back with us again to help us with your expertise.
I want to focus on Officer Rolfe, who has yet to turn himself in. We expect that to happen sometime later today.
He faces the most serious charges here, 11 charges, including felony murder, five charges of aggravated assault, four violations of his oath of office, criminal damage to property.
I want you to listen to his attorney saying, no, what you're hearing from prosecutors is, frankly, B.S. My client was doing his job. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LANCE LORUSSO, ATTORNEY FOR FIRED OFFICER GARRETT ROLFE: I'm kind of getting tired of people saying that Mr. Brooks was running away. Mr. Brooks was not running away. Mr. Brooks turned and offered extreme violence toward a uniformed law enforcement officer. If he was able to deploy the taser, it would incapacitate Officer
Rolfe through his body armor and, at that point, if he decided to disarm another officer, he would be in possession of a firearm.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Help me through this from two perspectives. Number one, as a prosecutor, how you read that video? Mr. Brooks is running away. And while running away, he does turn and tried to use the taser. So both of those -- he is running away. The lawyer is wrong when he says he's not running. But the lawyer is correspondent when he says he does try to use the taser.
Number one, what does that tell you as a prosecutor? And number two, process it through the eyes of your experience of, if you're the defense lawyer you tell the jury, look, you may not agree with what my client, the police officer, did, but at that moment, in the heat of it, he saw the taser and decided to pull his firearm.
DON LEWIS, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR & SPECIAL PROSECUTOR IN PHILANDO CASTILE CASE: Well, John, let me make two comments. First of all, Georgia law is much more forgiving of police officers' use of force.
When -- I'm licensed to practice in Minnesota not in Georgia. But I did take a look at the Georgia use of force statue. And it actually justifies the use of force against someone who possesses a device, when used offensively, is capable of inflicting serious bodily injury.
So I totally expect Officer Rolfe's lawyers to be latching onto that as a possible defense as a justifiable use of force.
Secondly, I was somewhat surprised at the Fulton County attorney's reliance on a case called Graham versus Connor because this is a case that helps the prosecution.
Graham versus Connor is a case that police invoke all the time. And this is why jurors are told that they need to judge the officer's use of force not by a reasonable person's standard but by a reasonable police officer's standard. They're supposed to give deference to the police officer and not use 20/20 hindsight.
So there's plenty of room for the defense to maneuver to create reasonable doubt in the minds of the jury regarding the use of force here.
KING: And help me with this one from your experience, especially in the Castile case. You thought you had a strong case. The jury wouldn't agree. You've been through this and other issues.
KING: As the prosecutor made his announcement yesterday, the Fulton County D.A., the Georgia Bureau of Investigation released a public statement saying, "We are in the process of conducting this investigation. Although we have made significant progress in the case, we have not completed our work. The GBI was not aware of the press conference before it was conducted. We were not consulted on the charges filed by the district attorney."
If I'm a defense attorney for Mr. Rolfe, I'm going to use that statement to say the people charged with doing the investigation had not finished their work. This is about politics, not the law. Would you not make that case if you were a defense attorney?
LEWIS: If you're a defense attorney, you're going to reach for any possible explanation for why the prosecution is moving faster than the facts allow.
You're correct. The authorities usually wait for the state body that's usually charged with doing these investigations to present evidence.
But keep in mind there's a lot of public pressure to bring these charges earlier than later. That was the case here in Minnesota. And it's often the case in many states that you do file these charges quickly by complaint. There's plenty of time to add to the evidence, to conduct the investigation.
As I understand Georgia law, this will be presented for consideration by a grand jury for indictment.
So the fact that there's still opportunity to provide more evidence, gather more evidence shouldn't be fatal to this prosecution.
KING: Don Lewis, as always, appreciate your expertise and insight. Thanks for your time, sir.
LEWIS: My pleasure.
KING: Still ahead for us, a major decision from the Supreme Court to keep DACA. The president not happy.