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Officer Who Shot Rayshard Brooks Charged with Felony Murder; New Model Warns Florida Could Be 'Next Large Epicenter'; Bolton: Trump Asked China for Help to Win Reelection. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired June 18, 2020 - 06:00   ET



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fulton County district attorney announced charges against the two police officers involved in the Rayshard Brooks shooting.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've concluded at the time Mr. Brooks was shot that he did not pose an immediate threat of death.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This isn't like a celebration, because this never should have happened.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Despite the message coming from the White House and its allies, the COVID crisis in the U.S. has not abated.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If you look, the numbers are very minuscule compared to what it was. It's dying out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The administration wants to move beyond coronavirus, but the virus isn't going to cooperate.


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 Thursday, June 18, 6 a.m. here in New York. John Berman is off. Jim Sciutto joins me.

And we begin with the stiff charges from prosecutors in the killing of Rayshard Brooks. And in response, a potential revolt by Atlanta police. Sources tell CNN that some police officers are now not responding to calls.

This comes as the officer who shot Brooks faces 11 charges, including felony murder, which carries the possibility of the death penalty.

One key factor appears to be this picture that prosecutors allege shows Garrett Rolfe kicking Brooks as he lay on the ground after being shot. The other officer allegedly stood on Brooks's shoulders while Brooks was on the ground.

Prosecutors had said that that officer would be a witness for the state, but in an unusual twist, Officer Devin Brosnan's attorney says that's not true. Both men must turn themselves in today.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Also this morning, coronavirus cases are surging in 23 states now. That is two more than yesterday. More than half the country -- nearly half the country. Ten states have set records for the highest seven-day average of new cases.

Despite those facts, President Trump is in denial, insisting that the virus is, quote, "dying out."

Let's begin our coverage with CNN's Dianne Gallagher. She is live in Atlanta with our top story. And this is the picture there, just -- just a shocking image.

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is, Jim. And look, both of these officers now facing charges in the killing of Rayshard Brooks. The officer who pulled the trigger is facing a potential death penalty sentence for felony murder charges.

And we're learning more about those officers' defense. What they say they did, why they did it, as well as how the district attorney plans to lay out the case.


GALLAGHER (voice-over): Some Atlanta police refuse to respond to calls in at least three of the department's six zones last night, sources within the department tell CNN. They say it's in response to charges against the two officers involved in the fatal shooting of Rayshard Brooks.

But the Atlanta Police Department disputed there had been a widespread walkout, tweeting, "Earlier suggestions were inaccurate. The department is experiencing a higher than usual number of callouts with the incoming shift."

MAYOR KEISHA LANCE BOTTOMS (D), ATLANTA: Across the country, morale is down with police departments. And I think ours is down tenfold. We expect that our officers will keep their commitment to our communities.

GALLAGHER: Just hours earlier, the Fulton County district attorney announced 11 charges against former officer, Garrett Rolfe, who shot Brooks twice in the back. Rolfe's charges include five counts of aggravated assault and felony murder.

PAUL HOWARD, FULTON COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: The possible sentences for a felony murder conviction would be life, life without parole, or the death penalty.

GALLAGHER: Officer Devin Brosnan Brosnan, who's now on administrative duty, is facing three charges: aggravated assault and two violations of oath of office. HOWARD: Officer Brosnan, however, has admitted that he was, in fact,

standing on Mr. Brooks' body immediately after the shooting.

GALLAGHER: The district attorney also telling reporters Brosnan is now a state witness.

HOWARD: He has decided to testify on behalf of the state in this case.

GALLAGHER: But according to his attorney --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's no agreement that our client is going to testify at any hearing. In my view, he doesn't need a deal. He shouldn't have been charged with a crime in the first place.

GALLAGHER: The district attorney also providing this image, allegedly showing Rolfe kicking Brooks after the shooting. That's something his legal team denies, and Rolfe's lawyers additionally claim that Brooks was not running away from the former officer.

LANCE LORUSSO, ATTORNEY FOR GARRETT ROLFE: Mr. Brooks turned and offered extreme violence towards a uniformed law enforcement officer. If he was able to deploy the Taser, it would incapacitate Officer Rolfe through his body armor.

GALLAGHER: Brooks's lawyer calling the charges against the two officers a good first step.

JUSTIN MILLER, ATTORNEY FOR RAYSHARD BROOKS: But as you know, you know, that doesn't always result in convictions. I'm glad the D.A.'s office really looked into this, and hopefully, we can get some justice out of this one.

GALLAGHER: And for Brooks's widow, Tomika Miller, Wednesday's news was another painful reminder of moving forward without her husband.

TOMIKA MILLER, WIDOW OF RAYSHARD BROOKS: I don't know what I would have done if I would have seen that for myself, but I felt everything that he felt, just by hearing what he went through. And it hurt. It hurt really bad.


GALLAGHER: That's hard to hear there.

Now, look, the district attorney released photos of what they say is Officer Bronson [SIC] standing on Brooks after he had been shot. But Bronson's [SIC] attorneys say this is a mischaracterization of this photo. They claim it's incorrect.

They claim they have evidence that Bronson [SIC] suffered a concussion and that he was confused, and he wasn't even aware that Brooks had been shot when he was standing on his shoulder.

Now, the district attorney says that those criminal arrest warrants have been issued. Both officers have until 6 p.m. today, Jim, to turn themselves in. SCIUTTO: Dianne Gallagher, thanks very much.

Other major story we're following this morning. Nearly two dozen states, nearly half the country, seeing spikes now in coronavirus cases. There is particular concern in Florida. Some experts say it has all the markings to be the next large epicenter of the pandemic in this country.


CNN's Rosa Flores live in Miami with more.

You know, you look at that graph, Rosa. That's quite a sharp rise. Is it changing the response from state officials there?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, it's not changing the response, Jim. Good morning.

Like you mentioned, Florida's cases continue to rise. Just yesterday, reporting a 10.3 percent positive. That is the highest in two weeks.

Now, we asked Governor Ron DeSantis's office about this, and in a statement said that it's all due to, quote, "aggressive testing" in areas that have seen outbreaks like prisons and agricultural communities.

But we also talked to an FIU infectious expert, Dr. Eileen Marti (ph). She says that that is not the case. She says that this is a real rise in cases. And, according to Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, it's also true.

Now, remember, this is the epicenter of the crisis in the state of Florida and the mayor saying that there is an uptick in cases and also hospitalizations. And he's worried, so much so, he is sending law enforcement out in the community to go and inspect businesses, parks, and beaches to make sure that people out there are following the rules, that they're wearing masks and they're social distancing.

Now, we're seeing all of this around the country, and yet the Trump administration and President Trump himself saying that the numbers are dying out, that they are minuscule.

All this ahead of a MAGA rally that's scheduled in Tulsa this weekend that will not require masks. And even though the president is saying that the numbers are dying down, if you look at the numbers in Oklahoma where this MAGA rally is going to happen, the numbers are increasing.

If you look at the map around the country, at least 23 states are showing upward trends this morning. And if you asked Dr. Fauci if he would go to this mega-rally, Alisyn, he told "The Daily Beast," that, no, he personally would not attend -- Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Rosa Flores, thank you very much for the report from Florida. So this morning, the Justice Department wants to stop the publication

of John Bolton's new tell-all book. Among the damning claims, Bolton accuses President Trump of asking China to help him win re-election.

CNN's Sara Murray is live in Washington with more. So tell us what's in this book, Sara.

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Alisyn, even in Donald Trump's Washington, this book is a bombshell. So much so that the Justice Department is still trying to fight the release, but it seems the cat is already out of the bag.


MURRAY (voice-over): Former national security adviser John Bolton casting President Trump as an uninformed, erratic liar.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is the president lying?

JOHN BOLTON, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: Yes, he is. And it's not the first time, either.

MURRAY: Describing a commander in chief foreign adversaries saw as an easy mark.

BOLTON: I think Putin thinks he can play him like a fiddle. I think Putin is smart, tough. I think he sees that he's not faced with a serious adversary here. I don't think he's worried about Donald Trump.

MURRAY: And claiming Trump was all too happy to take foreign help to boost his re-election bid.

Bolton's forthcoming book, "The Room Where It Happened," a copy of which was obtained by CNN, offers this scathing summary of a Trump presidency: "I am hard-pressed to identify any significant Trump decision during my tenure that wasn't driven by re-election calculations."

Trump pressed Chinese President Xi Jinping to help him out with farmers by buying more U.S. crops, pleading with Xi to ensure he'd win. Bolton writes, "I would print Trump's exact words, but the government's pre-publication review process has decided otherwise."

Bolton also confirms the case House impeachment managers laid out earlier this year, writing that Trump said he would withhold security aid to Ukraine until all the Russia investigation materials related to Clinton and Biden had been turned over.

And he says Trump was prone to doling out personal favors to dictators he liked, at one point telling the Turkish president he would replace Southern District of New York prosecutors to make an investigation into a Turkish firm to go away.

Bolton says, "The pattern looked like obstruction of justice as a way of life, which we couldn't accept," and claims he raised some of his concerns with Attorney General Bill Barr. A longtime Republican who served in the Trump White House for 17

months, Bolton says deliberations there were like college food fights and calls Trump "stunningly uninformed," unsure that Britain was a nuclear power and unaware that Finland was not part of Russia.

The early look at Bolton's book comes as he's locked in a bitter dispute with the U.S. Justice Department, which sued to block the book's release, claiming it contains classified material. Bolton's lawyer says the administration is trying to block the book for political reasons.

Bolton writes he was forced to exclude some material that did not appear to be classified and can only be described as embarrassing to Trump.


MURRAY: Now, in another disturbing anecdote, Bolton claims that the Chinese President Xi essentially told Donald Trump he was building concentration camps for Uyghur Muslims in China, and Donald Trump responded that was exactly the right thing to do.


Coincidentally, Trump signed a bill of rights for the Uyghur people yesterday.

And Alisyn, it is worth reminding everyone, during all of this, that John Bolton is making these claims in his book as he is trying to sell books, but he would not make them under oath when House Democrats called on him to testify as a witness during the impeachment hearings.

Back to you.

CAMEROTA: Maybe they'll call him back. This has bombshell after bombshell. It's not even just one bombshell. It's a -- it's a secession of bombshells, as you point out, Sara. Thank you very much.

So the police officer charged with murdering Rayshard Brooks allegedly kicked him after shooting him twice in the back. What impact does all of that have on the case? Next.


CAMEROTA: A fired Atlanta police officer could face the death penalty if convicted of felony murder for shooting Rayshard Brooks nearly one week ago. Garrett Rolfe is facing ten other counts, as well. The top prosecutor in the case revealing disturbing details about what they say the two officers did after Brooks was shot.


Joining us now, we have CNN legal analyst Areva Martin, and Cedric Alexander, former president of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives. It's great to see both of you. Areva, felony murder. I mean, this is considered throwing the book at

this police officer. Are you surprised by the 11 stiff charges that this officer is facing?

AREVA MARTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I'm not really surprised, Alisyn, at the level of charges that were revealed yesterday by the prosecuting attorney in Atlanta.

What we saw on that videotape was shocking. The way that that officer conducted himself after witnessing what appeared to be this incredibly calm and compliant Mr. Brooks. And then to have what was essentially a non-threatening interaction with Mr. Brooks turn into a lethal interaction for Mr. Brooks.

And what we saw yesterday, the new evidence that was revealed, that had not been communicated to the public, watching those officers, Rolfe kick Mr. Brooks and then Brosnan, the other officer, stand on his shoulder, just harken back to what we saw in the George Floyd case and a complete disregard for Mr. Brooks and his humanity. He's lying on the ground, literally dying, and rather than those two officers administer any kind of life-saving measures immediately, they took those actions in terms of continuing to victimize him.

So given all of the evidence that's been amassed to date, not surprised at all by the charges.

SCIUTTO: Cedric Alexander, of course, you served as a police officer. You now have what sound like sickouts happening in the Atlanta area. Officers not answering calls, calling in sick in response to these charges.

I wonder how you would communicate to your officers in these circumstances that these are officers here who may have broken the law, but you, we have your back. We're looking out for you. We know you have a difficult job here. We know you face dangers every day.

How would you get that message right to the officers there? Because this is becoming an issue not just in the Atlanta area, but other police jurisdictions around the country.

CEDRIC ALEXANDER, FORMER PRESIDENT, NATIONAL ORGANIZATION OF BLACK LAW ENFORCEMENT EXECUTIVES: It is an issue across the country right now, in terms of where we are in this country, between police and community relations in light of the incidents that we've seen, and certainly more recent there in Atlanta. And the sickout calls that we all are becoming very familiar with there in metro Atlanta is of concern.

But I must say this. The men and women in Atlanta and across this country, I can only assume, are probably very angry. They're very confused. They really don't know what to do. They've been trained a certain way, and now their training is becoming in question, which appears to be putting them in a very unusual position.

But what I would encourage them to do, and I hope that they're listening, is that one thing that we have to do in this very tough time that we're in is not to leave our posts, but to stay on post, because there's a larger community out there that really need those officer's support. There's a lot of people out there in that community know that there are great officers out there, good officers who are trying to do the very best that they can.

But officers out there, they're really confused. They're hurt, they're angry, they're saddened. And they don't want to be characterized as a bad officer. They don't want to be painted with a (AUDIO GAP) -- but I would encourage them that there are people out there that are very much throughout the Atlanta community that are depending on you today and tonight to stay at your post. And the men and women who are out there need your support and backups. That is so important to them.

So I actually hope that they come back onboard.

CAMEROTA: Areva, in terms of the prosecution's case, there are some things that, as you would imagine, the defense attorneys have taken issue with.

For instance, we've seen a lot of video of what happened, but that still frame that they presented, where they say, where prosecutors say that the still frame shows Officer Rolfe kicking Mr. Brooks when he is already on the ground, having been shot. They say that that's misleading. They say that why not show the video? If they have video of this, why are they just taking a still frame of this?

And they also refute the idea that Mr. -- that Officer Rolfe here did not offer any life-saving help. So here is what his attorney has said.


LORUSSO: My client never kicked Mr. Brooks. If there was a video of my client kicking Mr. Brooks, you would have seen it. He shows a still, and one leg is planted and the other one is bent. He could be leaning down to try to give him first aid. It could have been when he was trying to evaluate whether he needed handcuffs.


And this officer gave him CPR, monitored his pulse prior to that, talked to him to try to keep him breathing and called for EMS, and coordinated other efforts on the scene.


CAMEROTA: So Areva, that's new information. And do you think that it is curious that they're just releasing a still frame instead of video if they have it?

MARTIN: I don't think it's curious at all, Alisyn.

And look, Mr. Rolfe's attorney has a job to do. And we would expect nothing less of him than to come out and start building, for the purposes of the public consumption, his client's defense. We've seen this happen time and -- time and time again in these cases.

The common refrain, which we've heard Rolfe's attorney say, which is that he was in fear of his life. We've heard that play over and over and over again in these cases. And the reality is that it's very difficult to get a conviction in a case against a police officer, particularly talking about felony murder.

You heard the family's attorney say for them, this is just one step. This is not justice. Because in these cases, typically, when they get before a jury, jurors give police officers the benefit of the doubt. They cannot and do not see police officers as criminals. And the question for a lot of jurors comes down to whether an officer made a mistake versus did they commit a crime.

So I'm not surprised by the comments made by Rolfe's attorneys. We should expect him to continue to offer a defense to the evidence that has been presented by the district attorney.

But at this point, all the district attorney has to do is present probable cause to make an arrest and to support the charges that he's put forth. And obviously, with the significant amount of evidence that he revealed on yesterday, there's more than enough evidence to move forward with the charges that have been brought for Rolfe and Brosnan to be arrested. And hopefully, an indictment to be signed by the grand jury and in this case, to move forward to a public trial.

CAMEROTA: Areva Martin, Cedric Alexander, we really appreciate both of your expertise, talking through these issues.

So America is in crisis in many ways right now. And a lot of people want to help, but they have no idea where to begin. So CNN's Don Lemon is launching a new podcast today that will feature tough but important conversations with activists, and artists, and thinkers about how to bring meaningful and lasting solutions. The first episode airs today. You can tune in on

Well, the Trump administration appears eager to get past the coronavirus pandemic, but nearly half of the country is seeing a spike in cases. The models say that Florida could be the next epicenter. We have all of the details, next.




TRUMP: If you look, the numbers are very minuscule compared to what it was. It's dying out.


SCIUTTO: President Trump in denial about coronavirus, despite the facts, despite alarming numbers. Twenty-three states are now seeing increases in new cases, not dying down. Ten states seeing their highest seven-day average since the pandemic began.

A key model now warns that Florida has all the markings to be the next epicenter of transmission. Joining us now is Dr. Peter Hotez. He's the dean of the National

School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor School of Medicine in Houston.

Doctor, good to have you on this morning.

I mean, the numbers don't lie, right? It's 23 states. It's basically half the country here. Some of them with spikes, right, in terms of new cases. And Florida leading the way there.

I mean, Florida is different from New York. New York City is a highly concentrated urban area, which helps this spread. But when you look at Florida, do you see some of the makings of a new epicenter here?

DR. PETER HOTEZ, DEAN, NATIONAL SCHOOL OF TROPICAL MEDICINE, BAYLOR SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: Well, yes, absolutely, Jim. We're seeing sharp rises now in Florida, in Texas.

Here in Texas it's very concerning. The numbers are accelerating significantly in our big urban areas, in Houston and Dallas and Austin. Then, of course, in Arizona.

So this is -- it's not really so much a second wave. It's, we've never finished the first wave. We didn't complete that social distancing period that we needed to do, and now we're seeing this very sharp acceleration.

And I think the only point to make is that it's not only the number of cases. This is being paralleled in many cities, especially in Houston, Dallas, Austin, Phoenix, with sharp rises in hospitalizations and ICU admissions. So the point is, this thing is real.

CAMEROTA: Dr. Hotez, just to put a finer point on that and give people a visual illustration of what you're talking about, the graph that you've seen, the model that you're looking at, which comes from the Children's Hospital in Philadelphia, in Houston -- for Houston shows, I mean, just a -- look at this spike, on the -- on your TV screen. So you see it bouncing around for a while, and then you see it shooting straight up. So that's Houston.

You see something similar with Florida, which is why some of the modelers have said that that looks like the new epicenter. And, you know, we lived through this in New York. We were the epicenter. And the way that -- that the officials tackled it was basically shutting down New York.

And the officials in Florida, at least, have said that they have no intention of doing that. So what turns around that big spike?

HOTEZ: Yes, you're absolutely right, Alisyn. Look at those models. They're -- they're positively apocalyptic. I mean, really worrisome.

And -- and again, it's paralleled by those rises in hospitalizations. So here in the Texas Medical Center in Houston, which is the world's largest medical center, we still are only about half capacity for ICU beds.