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Officer Who Shot Rayshard Brooks Charged With Felony Murder; Coronavirus Cases Spike In Nearly Two Dozen States; Bolton Says, Trump Is Not Fit For Officer, Lacks Competence. Aired 7-7:30a ET
Aired June 18, 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 ANCHOR: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and all around the World. This is New Day. John Berman is off today. Jim Sciutto joins us.
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. 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. Prosecutors allege it shows Garrett Rolfe, the officer, kicking Brooks as he lay on the ground after being shot. Rolfe's attorney says that is not true.
The other officer allegedly stood on Brooks' shoulders while Brooks was on the ground, prosecutors said that officer would be a witness for the state. But in an unusual twist, Officer Devin Brosnan's attorney says that's not true, they didn't agree to that. Both men must turn themselves in today.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN NEW DAY: Also this morning, coronavirus cases are surging now in 23 states. That is two more than yesterday. Ten states have set records for the highest seven-day average of new cases. Despite those facts, those numbers, President Trump remains in denial. He insists the virus is, quote, dying out. That's not what the facts say.
CNN's Dianne Gallagher, she is live in Atlanta though with our top story. And, Dianne, these new images are alarming here. Tell us what you know and tell us the reaction of police in Atlanta now.
DIANNE GALLAGER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And, Jim, it was the first time any of us had seen those images that you're referring to, the district attorney announcing charges against those two officers for the killing of 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks, the officer who pulled the trigger facing a potential death penalty sentence for felony murder.
But we are getting an idea of how these officers plan to defend themselves, what they say happened that night and as well as how the prosecution plans to lay out their case. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
GALLAGHER: Some Atlanta police refused to respond to calls in at least three of the department's six zones last night. Sources within the department tells 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, GA): Across the country, moral is down with police departments, and I think ours is down tenfold. We expect 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, 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 --
AMANDA CLARK PALMER, OFFICER DEVIN BROSNAN'S ATTORNEY: 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' lawyer calling the charges against two officers a good first step.
JUSTIN MILLER, ATTORNEY FOR RAYSHARD BROOKS: But as you know, that doesn't always result in convictions.
I'm glad the D.A.'s office has really looked into this and hopefully we can get some justice out of this one.
GALLAGHER: And for Brooks' 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: Tomika Miller actually had to walk out of the courtroom when the district attorney was describing those officers kicking and standing on her late husband in his final moments.
Now, the D.A. showed some pictures of Officers Brosnan standing on Brooks there while he was on the ground. But his attorneys now characterize the photo as incorrect. Brosnan's attorneys say that they have evidence that the officer had suffered a concussion. He was confused and was not aware that Brooks had even been shot when he was standing on his shoulder.
Jim, the Fulton County district attorney says they have issued those criminal warrants for the officers. They have until 6:00 P.M. today to turn themselves in.
SCIUTTO: Amazing that the family was seeing those images for the first time there. Dianne Gallagher, thanks very much.
Now, to a new and revealing interview with Rayshard Brooks himself. CNN obtained a copy of it. it was shot just a few months ago before his death. Brooks opening up about his time behind bars and his struggles after that. CNN's Randi Kaye has the story.
RAYSHARD BROOKS, POLICE SHOOTING VICTIM: I'm 27 years of age, you know, full-time carpenter.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That was Rayshard Brooks in February this year, just months before he was shot and killed by an Atlanta police officer.
BROOKS: I have always been the type of person to -- you know, if you do some things that's wrong, you pay your debts to society.
KAYE: Brooks shared his story about navigating the criminal justice system with a group called Reconnect.
BROOKS: Well, I just feel like some of the system could look at us as individuals. We do have lives, you know, where it's just a mistake we made, you know, and not just do us as if we are animals, you know, lock us away.
When I did get arrested, you know, it was for false imprisonment and financial credit card fraud. I got sentenced to do one year in prison.
KAYE: When he got out, Brooks had no money, no car and a mountain of debt.
BROOKS: From one individual trying to deal with all of these things at one point in time is just impossible. You have court costs, probation -- just a lot of -- a lot of -- you would have to have a lot of money. And I'm fresh out of jail.
KAYE: Fresh out of jail and in need of a job.
BROOKS: You go to filling out your application and you get to this question, have you ever been convicted of a crime or have you ever been arrested. And, you know, you're sitting there, like, oh, my God, you know? It just breaks your heart. It's hurting us, but it's hurting our families the most, you know?
So as we go through these trials and tribulations, we make mistakes and it just causes our kids to be angry inside. And you know, that's -- that's a hard feeling to stomach.
KAYE: All of this, Brooks says, impacted his mental health.
BROOKS: It hardened me at a point, you know, to like, hey, you know, I have to have my guard up, because the world is cruel. It took me through seeing different things in the system, you know, it just makes you hardened to a point.
KAYE: What Brooks said he needed most was help from the very system that locked him up.
BROOKS: Probation is not there with you every day, like a mentor or something. They're not finding you out to find a job. You have to do these things on your own. And I feel like it should be a way for you to have some kind of person, like a mentor assigned to you to keep you on track and keep you in the direction you need to be going.
We can't get the time back but we can make up for it. So I'm trying. I'm not the kind of person to give up, you know? And I'm going to keep going until I make it to where I want to be.
KAYE: Randi Kaye, CNN, West Palm Beach, Florida.
CAMEROTA: joining us now is CNN Law Enforcement Analyst, Charles Ramsey. He's the former police chief in Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia. Chief Ramsey, what do you think when you hear Rayshard Brooks there speak quite candidly about the cycle that so many people get caught in and how hard it is to build a life after a jail stent?
CHARLES RAMSEY, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, listen, that's a very interesting interview. And I think he's absolutely right. Van Jones has a very good piece on CNN.com today where he talks a lot about some of the issues around reentry, probation, parole and the like. I mean, we do need to take a look at that.
But I would argue that, as we talk about policing, we need to talk about the entire criminal justice system. I mean, what's it there for? Is it there just to punish? Is it there to punish and rehabilitate? I mean, we've got the punishment part down pat. It's the rehabilitation part that needs a lot of work to give people a succeed opportunity. Otherwise, they're paying for the rest of their lives for something that they did.
CAMEROTA: For sure. And, listen, we're having all of those conversations right now and everyone is calling for some sort of reform, that they see that there are things that have been done in the criminal justice system that have been wrong and are overdue for fixing.
But when you also hear that in Atlanta, CNN's reporting is that there are some officers who are not showing up for work, and when they are at work, they're not responding to some emergency calls. It sounds as though they're doing this in protest and just because they feel demoralized by everything that has happened in Atlanta. And beyond over the past three weeks, do you worry that the pendulum is swinging back in the other direction against police officers making them wonder if they even want to take this job?
RAMSEY: I do. I have concerns about that. I really do think that we have to strike a balance. I mean, we're talking about police officers that have abused their authority in some cases. And certainly we need to root them out, and take whatever action is necessary, whether it's administrative, criminal or what have you.
But we also need to make sure that we aren't demonizing all of police. And my fear is that this can easily spread throughout the country. We have a lot of issue that need to be addressed. But we do have to strike that balance and make sure that we're not giving people the impression that all police are bad, because that's simply not the case.
But we do have a problem in policing and we need to be able to address the problem. And police officers know they've got people in their ranks that have no business being cops. But chiefs have to be very aggressive now in hitting these roll calls, talking to their officers and helping them understand, listen, if you're doing your job the way you ought to be doing it, then you don't have a problem.
But if you're one of those people who go too far, then, yes, you do have a problem and you need to correct that behavior now or suffer the consequences. And I think they'll get that message, but it has to be a strong message and consistent. CAMEROTA: Are you surprised after you saw the videotape after of what happened with Rayshard Brooks being shot, are you surprised that the prosecutors went for felony murder that carries the death penalty?
RAMSEY: Well, I mean, I'm not an attorney, so I don't know all the nuances. Obviously, he's had a lot more information than I have been exposed to. I was shocked to see that whole snapshot of the kick, for ane example, which looked like it was taken from a video. So, obviously, that video would be there and be part of the evidence.
But, again, I never felt that the shooting was justified from an administrative point of view. And when I say administrative, I mean, policy and procedures of a police department and so forth. Whether it rose to a criminal level or not, certainly that's something that attorneys would have to look at. Obviously, in the mind of the district attorney, it did. But getting a conviction is a whole different ball game and trying to get a jury that has not been prejudiced by all the attention that this case has been given is not going to be easy.
CAMEROTA: We should also say that officer Rolfe's attorney says that that snapshot is not fair, that that snapshot does not capture what the actual video says and that his client wasn't actually kicking Rayshard Brooks, but we'll see. I mean, we just don't know.
RAMSEY: Yes, we'll see.
CAMEROTA: We cannot know at this point.
But beyond the bad actors that you've addressed, beyond the bad actors that ruin it for everybody in the police force, do you have any concern that with all of this reform, with all of the talk of defunding or at least even redistributing money, that with all of these stories, that the job is -- that police officers will somehow feel as though their hands are tied, too tied, and that it may not be an appealing job choice for even the good ones?
RAMSEY: Well, yes. I mean, listen, if you have opportunities and choices, as a young person coming up, and you see everything that's going on now, you may very well say, you know, I kind of like policing, but maybe I'll do something other than that. It kind of reminds me of the 1960s when I decided to become a police cadet at '68.
Again, not a popular period of time to become a police officer with civil rights, Vietnam, protests and all those kinds of things.
I actually had people that I considered friends that were no longer friends when they saw that I was going into policing. So it's a tough time. It's a very tough time. But again, reform is needed. They can be a part of that reform.
But part of the discussion that hasn't taken place, we've got to deal with the crime and violence that's taking place in the neighborhoods every single day. I mean, that's why police are there to begin with. Where is the balance? We've got to be able to deal with all the issues that we're confronted with it and we have an opportunity to do that now. But if you just narrowly focus on just what police are doing and ignoring a lot of the other problems that exist, we're going to miss the mark on this.
CAMEROTA: Charles Ramsey, really interesting to hear your personal experience and perspective on all of this. Thank you very much.
RAMSEY: Thank you.
CAMEROTA: Coronavirus cases are rising in nearly half of the states right now across the U.S., but President Trump says that the numbers are minuscule for some reason. We'll bring you the facts and the emerging hotspots, next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: If you look, the numbers are very minuscule compared to what it was. It's dying out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: That's not true, folks. President Trump, he's downplaying the coronavirus, insisting, as you saw there, it is dying out. The facts don't show that. The numbers don't show that.
This morning, in fact, 23 states are seeing an increase in cases. A key model now warns that Florida has all the markings to be a next epicenter of the transmission crisis.
Joining me now is Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo. She is the Director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Dr. Marrazzo, good to have you on.
Just, you're a doctor, you're an expert in infectious diseases. The president says it's dying out. Is that true?
DR. JEANNE MARRAZZO, DIRECTOR OF THE DIVISION OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA AT BIRMINGHAM: Yes, good morning, Jim, thanks for having me. It's not true. It's hard to see how one could arrive at that conclusion when you look at the data that we have been talking about.
Yesterday, in the United States, there were over 25,000 new infections reported. And equally alarmingly, to counter the assertion that we sometimes hear that this is just a consequence of increased testing, it's really important to note that hospitalizations are also up in some areas. And that is very concerning, because we do not want to face the situation that we faced, for example, in New York City a couple of months ago. SCIUTTO: So the president is lying when he says it's dying out. That's the -- the facts show that. A second argument would hear from some of the president's defenders, but also people who argue for opening up is, okay, but we still got to open up. Economic consequences, et cetera, but we'll open up and do contact testing and tracing, so when people are infected, we can isolate those people, which is what the recommendations are. Its' what smart countries are doing.
But in states, such as Texas, Arizona and also Alabama, where you are, where you're seeing a big jump in cases, that's just not happening. Why isn't that happening?
MARRAZZO: Contact tracing is a very important tool. We've used it for infectious diseases for a long time. A great example is tuberculosis, another communicable disease that's spread through the respiratory route.
The challenge with contact tracing in terms of what's happening now is that we have so much infection that is now really endemic in the community and creating a sustained opportunity for people to get infected, it's almost impossible to go in and isolate a single case or a single cluster to really try to keep it contained.
Contact tracing would have worked and is working in places where there are isolated things that are bubbling up. So you have these little clusters of cases. You can swoop in there with your contact tracers and try to impose quarantine and isolation.
When the disease gets this common and you have this many infections, it becomes really important and impractical to think about doing contact tracing the way that you describe it, and that would be great.
SCIUTTO: Florida now has the hallmarks, according to some experts, of a new epicenter of this crisis. Now, to be clear, Florida is not New York, New York City with a dense, urban area has particular characteristics that help the spread. That said, you look at that graph there, it's a sharp jump in cases. When you look at Florida, are you concerned about a new epicenter?
MARRAZZO: Florida has already made the stuff of nightmares, I think, for me and for many infectious disease people when it comes to COVID- 19. In fact, we were surprised when other states were experiencing the kinds of increases that they saw that Florida didn't see.
And part of the reason I'm really concerned is that Florida has a lot of older people, right? And we know very, very well that age and coexisting conditions, like cardiovascular disease, like lung disease, like diabetes are the prime predictors for hospitalization and for mortality with this virus.
So, Florida also has a lot of nursing homes, a lot of geriatric care centers, a lot of retirement communities. So the potential for the virus to take off there is very, very nerve-racking and could have catastrophic consequences.
SCIUTTO: Yes. And, of course, the question is, will state officials there respond? So much of this has been politicized. Dr. Marrazzo, so good to have you on, we appreciate it.
MARRAZZO: I really appreciate it. Have a good day.
SCIUTTO: Well, John Bolton, the president's former national security adviser, lifelong Republican, is making explosive allegations against President Trump. In his first interview about his new book, a lot of new allegations, we're going to bring that to you, next.
CAMEROTA: This morning, former National Security Adviser John Bolton is talking up a storm, telling ABC News just moments ago that Donald Trump is not fit to be president. Here is a portion.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN BOLTON, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: I don't think he's fit for office. I don't think he has the competence to carry out the job. There really isn't any guiding principle that I was able to discern other than what's good for Donald Trump's re-election.
MARTHA RADDATZ, ABC NEWS HOST: You say that you were astonished by what you saw. A president for whom getting re-elected was the only thing that mattered, even if it meant endangering or weakening the nation?
BOLTON: Well, I think he was so focused on the re-election that longer term considerations fell by the wayside. So if he thought he could get a photo opportunity with Kim Jong-un at the demilitarized zone in Korea, there was considerable emphasis on the photo opportunity and the press reaction to it and little or no focus on what such meetings did for the bargaining position of the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: John Bolton's book makes many more damning allegations against President Trump and we'll get into all of those.
Joining us now is CNN Political Analyst Maggie Haberman. She's a White House Correspondent for The New York Times. Good morning, Maggie.
So, John Bolton's really letting it rip here --