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Judge Denies Trump Administration's Attempt To Block Release Of Bolton's Book; U.S. Attorney General Tries To Dust Powerful New York Attorney; Trump Campaign Rally To Be Held Amid Spike In New COVID-19 Cases; New Model: Florida on Track to Become Next COVID-19 Epicenter; Florida Food Banks Struggle To Meet Demand Amid Lag In Government Aid; Sports Shutdowns Amid Rise In Coronavirus Cases; Georgia Representative Calls For Independent D.A. In Rayshard Brooks Case; Demonstrators Gather In London's Iconic Hyde Park. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired June 20, 2020 - 11:00   ET




FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. And thank you so much for joining me this Saturday.

I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

We begin with this breaking news.

A federal judge has just refused to block John Bolton's new book from being released. The White House had sought to stop the publication of the former national security adviser's book claiming information in it was classified.

CNN's Kristen Holmes starts our coverage from the White House.

So Kristen -- this is a big blow for the administration with this book set to hit shelves in just a matter of days. What more can you tell us?


It's set to be on all bookshelves as early as Tuesday of next week. And it looks like it will be.

I just want to break down what exactly the argument was here. The judge saying that the Department of Justice did not present enough evidence that should stop the publication of this book. But they also cite this idea that the damage was already done -- that the book had already been out there and had been leaked. And even if he was to issue this injunction, there's no way to stop it from continuing to spread on the Internet.

And I think that point needs to be made very clear because he doesn't let Bolton off the hook here. He talks about how he published this book without the approval of the White House without them saying that it could go forward because of classified information. And the judge notes that this really opened the door to Bolton being punished. in the future.

I'm going to read a part of this here. It says that if there is classified information, that Bolton could lose profits. He could expose himself to criminal liability and there are perils to national security there.

Now President Trump has already responded, very quickly on Twitter. He essentially attacked John Bolton. He said that he was all washed up until the President himself gave him a chance. Then it says that Bolton broke the law by releasing classified information in massive amounts and now he must pay a very big price for this as others have in the past.

Again, it is unclear whether or not there is actually classified information here. The judge saying that the Justice Department's argument just wasn't enough to actually stop the book from being published.

But of course, we have reached out to the White House for a formal response statement. We'll keep you posted as the story develops -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: All right. And this on the day that the President is expecting huge numbers at his rally.

The first in what -- three months since COVID had all of us staying at home -- a rally for his re-election campaign in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Thank you so much -- Kristen Holmes. Appreciate that.

All right. Let's discuss this major development.

Jennifer Rodgers is a former federal prosecutor and a CNN legal analyst. Also joining me on the phone is Brian Stelter, CNN's chief media correspondent and anchor of "RELIABLE SOURCES".

Jennifer -- let me begin with you. So your reaction from the judge's ruling saying there was really no reason to stop the release of the book because so much of it is already out there.

JENNIFER RODGERS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I'm not surprised about that -- Fred, because what they were seeking at this point was not money damages or the discouragement (ph) of the profits, but an injunction to stop the publication. And it's kind of like the analogy of the horse is out of the barn.

Once the book is out there in the public realm, it doesn't help to sweep up some of those copies. So the damage is already done. So that is a legal matter. It was pretty expected.

Now we'll see what happens if they actually analyze what in the book may have been classified, whether he really published without permission and whether he has to discourage (ph) his profits.

WHITFIELD: So that drip, drip, drip may have been rather clever on Bolton and his publisher's part. But then take us back, Jennifer -- to Bolton had already provided a lot of the manuscript, if not all of it right, to the White House for their review. And many months have passed since that point.

So why now with the White House counsel feel that it had an advantage to try to get this publication ceased and release ceased?

RODGERS: Well, I don't know that it was so much of an advantage as it was just a last-ditch effort to try to get something out of the public realm that was going to be damaging to the President. So what the judge will be looking at when this all is finally litigated is whether there was a good faith reason to say that he hadn't actually complied with the procedures there.

He apparently was told by someone that there wasn't anything classified in there. And then he just didn't get the final letter. So if the judge decides that the White House is really proceeding in bad faith by not giving him that formal signoff, they're unlikely to rule for the White House that he has to discourage his profits. But we'll have to see how that plays out.

WHITFIELD: And Brian -- on the phone with us, already a response coming from the President via Twitter, really targeting John Bolton, calling him "washed up", but not taking as much time to dispute any content of the book much of which has already been released to the public.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): That's right. We have not seen denials of some of the most jarring claims in the book by John Bolton. I'm about halfway through my copy of the book.


STELTER: It is a stunning read. Even though it's just peeling back more layers of an onion that we've all been peeling for three years. Even though it does not contain something uniquely new about the man, President Trump.

It does contain so many new anecdotes about the President's conduct, allegations of the President asking for Chinese help to win the election. The President arguing that Venezuela is part of the United States. Arguing that the President tried to intervene in the criminal justice on behalf of foreign leaders. Saying that senior officials mocked him behind his back.

It is understandable that President Trump didn't want this book to be published. You know, it does seem like the government is trying to punish Bolton for speaking out against Trump and trying to intimidate others, trying to stop them from maybe writing their own books in the future.

So, this may well in the future Bolton may have his money taken away, the profits from the book taken away, but the judge today is ruling that the book can't be stopped from being printed. And that's an important First Amendment victory for the principles that we all, you know, believe in in America, that people should have the right to tell their own stories.

WHITFIELD: So then Brian -- since you are, you know, reading it, continuing to read about halfway through it, does it make more sense to you now why John Bolton would refrain, would not testify during the impeachment hearings even though he sent mixed messages that he was willing to do so but then ultimately did not? Or does this take a swing at his credibility because of the information that's in the book and instead withholding this information from testifying during impeachment?

STELTER: Yes, I can't wait to see Bolton asked about this in the interviews he's going to be doing this week with Wolf Blitzer and Jake Tapper and Stephen Colbert and others, you know. He's going to have to answer some really hard questions about why he decided not to engage in the impeachment process.

Essentially Bolton says the House impeachment process was too short. Should have gone longer. Should have been more in-depth. Should have been about more than just Ukraine. Bolton argues the House Democrats committed malpractice by not doing more. But I can't wait to see Bolton answer these questions in the coming days.

WHITFIELD: Jennifer -- quickly, I saw you nodding your head on that.

RODGERS: Yes, that's right. I mean it's just so ironic that the way that the house could have done more and dug into more of these indents of the President's misconduct is for witnesses to come forward and talk about that under oath.

So for Bolton to say that now, I mean it's really just outrageous. I also look forward to seeing him answering those questions.

WHITFIELD: All right. Jennifer Rodgers, Brian Stelter -- thanks so much for that. Appreciate it.

All right. Also breaking this morning, a standoff between U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr and a powerful U.S. attorney in New York who has investigated a number of the President's associates.

Moments after the Justice Department announced that Geoffrey Berman, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, was stepping down, Berman himself denied resigning and insisted he has no intention of leaving.

CNN's Kara Scannell joins us now with more on this. So Kara -- what more can you tell us about the U.S. attorney versus the, you know, Attorney General spat here?


So this unfolded late last night with the U.S. Attorney General saying that the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey Berman had agreed to step down. And Berman came out very forcefully in an extraordinary statement saying that he had not resigned and he did not intend to resign. Now, Berman has been leading the U.S. attorney's office in the Southern District of New York as it has engaged in a lot of investigations close to the President. They investigated and prosecuted Michael Cohen. They were looking into the Trump Organization. They also were investigating the President's inaugural fund and they brought charges against Rudy Giuliani, the President's personal attorney's associates Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman. They're also investigating Rudy Giuliani.

So a lot of these investigations get close to the President, raises questions why Berman is being forced or pushed out now. And you know, Berman was asked about in March whether there has been any political interference from the attorney general's office. Here is what he said.


GEOFFREY BERMAN, U.S. ATTORNEY, SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: The Southern District of New York has a long history of integrity and pursuing cases and declining to pursue cases based only on the facts and the law and the equities without regard to partisan political concerns.

My primary commitment is and has been to maintain those core values. And that's how our office is operating.


SCANNELL: So now, Fred -- we're at this standoff with the U.S. attorney now in limbo whether he will continue in this position or be fired by the President remains to be seen. But this office does have a number of important investigations and how those will be handled going forward is a big open question -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: And so, Kara -- you mentioned or potentially being fired by the President because also I guess what's being disputed is who has the power, who has the authority to fire the U.S. attorney? Is it the Attorney General? Is it the President particularly because of the circumstances in which this U.S. attorney got the job?


SCANNELL: That's right. I mean this was an unusual situation where Berman was appointed by then Attorney General Jeff Sessions. And then based on the way that this works, the district court judges in New York had then appointed Berman on.

So there's a big legal debate of whether Berman can stay. And that's why you see in a statement he gave last night he says he's going to stay until senate confirms a nominee, you know.

But the President ultimately does have the say over executive branch employees, including U.S. attorneys, so the question is will he actually move to fire him because it did not appear that he was involved in that as of last night -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: Kara Scannell -- thank you so much. Keep us posted. All right. Let's go now to Tulsa, Oklahoma where President Trump will hold his rally this evening. A huge crowd is expected there. Already lots of people have lined up. They're ready to get into that arena. All this happening as the city of Tulsa is seeing a spike in COVID-19 cases.

CNN's Martin Savidge is in Tulsa for us. So Martin -- people have been gathering there not just overnight but for days. They can't wait. Tell us about the precautions.



SAVIDGE: They cannot. They cannot.

We're at the front of the line -- Fredricka, actually. And you can see they are pushed right up against the security fences here hoping to be the first in. Many of them want to, not just get into the event which is a day-long kind of street festival but also, of course, into the rally.

And as you point out, this comes right at a time that there is a spike in Tulsa County of coronavirus. In fact, four days this week they have set new records for 24-hour new case transmissions.

So that is the concern for health officials here because clearly there is not any social distancing going on here. You might see just beyond the security point there's actually a sign that's been put up says "face masks". So they're ready to hand out face masks.

The truth is it does not appear that many of the people that are in this line really want those face masks or are going to adhere to any of the safety precautions. That's why the fears of the local health director are that this could be a super spreader event -- Fredricka. But for fans of the President, they can't wait.

WHITFIELD: Ok. Martin Savidge -- thank you so much. And again, we reported -- we've been reporting all week that people were going to be asked to sign waivers. We'll talk more about that with you next time we see you -- Martin. Thank you.

All right. Joining me right now, CNN Political Commentator Dr. Abdul el-Sayed. He is an epidemiologist and public health expert.

Good to see you, Doctor.

So President Trump pushing forward with this rally tonight despite health concerns that have been expressed on the federal level and even locally.

So what are your concerns about what potentially could happen with all these people gathering?

DR. ABDUL EL-SAYED, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, there are several, I'll tell you. The fact that we've seen increasing cases, not just high levels of cases, but increasing cases to me is a big warning sign. Because what that tells us is that it's not just where we are, but it's the rate at which this COVID-19 epidemic is spreading in Tulsa.

And then we have a large group of people coming into one place. And then going from that place back out to where they came from, they're going to potentially take that virus with them. And so the fact that this is happening in the context of an increasing risk, that's a big problem.

And then what's really frustrating here is that as the correspondent said, there are masks available but people are choosing not to wear them. So if you're going to do something hazardous, you should do what you can do to protect yourself; but not just yourself, everyone else.

And the fact that these masks have been so politicized and people are choosing not to do the thing that can protect themselves and others even adds more worry and more fear to me when it comes to what could come of this in Tulsa and Oklahoma beyond.

WHITFIELD: And then, Doctor -- help us break down this anatomy of the coronavirus. Just take a look at some of these numbers. Even if only 100 people are infected when they arrive, as many as 1,000 people could be infected. So what do people need to know before taking this kind of risk and how transferable these, you know, pathogens are?

EL-SAYED: Yes. I'll say three things.

First, to break down that anatomy, we know that the virus can spread to an average of three people per one person. If you multiply that over several generations of spread, you're talking about a huge number of people that could be infected from one person. And that could be the case here.

But second, we know that gathering together inside in a static place where there is not movement of air and people are not social distancing, that is a real risk. And that even increases the potential for the spread from even one person into the people that were around them and then you think about those people and who they're going to interact with in the context of the stadium where this is happening. That's a big problem.


EL-SAYED: And then the last thing I'll say is that for folks who do want to protect themselves -- and I hope you do, because it's not just you that you're protecting, it's all of your loved ones -- that you can wear a mask. Make sure to bring hand sanitizers. Stay as far away from others as you possibly can.

And then when you're going home, it's a great idea to spend 14 days in self-isolation away from the people you could spread it too.

And then the last thing I want to say is that early on in the spread of this disease we thought that you had to have symptoms to be spreading it. That's not the case. We know that upwards of 30 percent of people don't have symptoms. And so you've got to be really, really careful. And this could really spell bad news for people out there.

WHITFIELD: We'll leave it there for now. Thank you so much, Dr. Abdul el-Sayed. Appreciate it.

EL-SAYED: Thank you for having me.

WHITFIELD: All right. Still ahead, spiking coronavirus numbers coming out of Florida, the state that some health experts fear will become the next epicenter of the pandemic. We're live.

And the COVID-19 pandemic having a serious impact on sports. New cases now threatening the NBA and NFL.



WHITFIELD: Welcome back.

There are nearly 4,000 new cases of coronavirus in Florida. And according to a new model, the state is on track to become the next epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic.

The majority of the state is currently in the second phase of reopening. Public health experts are now encouraging state officials to consider a mask mandate. This as the CDC predicts that the U.S. will surpass 135,000 coronavirus deaths over the next three weeks.

CNN's Randi Kaye joins me now.

So Randi -- Florida's governor says the spike in new cases is because more testing is available?

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: More testing, absolutely -- Fred. And it's more testing of young people specifically. In fact, he says that most new cases are younger people. The median age for those who are testing positive for coronavirus in the state of Florida is 37 in the last few weeks.

Most of those young people are asymptomatic, the governor says. So they're not showing any symptoms. They're also not dying at the rate of the older people. He says that 86 percent of the deaths in the state of Florida are people 65 and older.

Also he did address the hospital beds issue. Because we're seeing more cases he says that those reports that three quarters of the hospital beds are occupied and that the ICU beds are running low is not true. That ICU beds and hospital beds are widely available in the state of Florida.

But it's not just people's health -- Fred, that we're talking about. It's also hunger. All over the country people have lost jobs. They're struggling to feed their families.

Here in the state of Florida hundreds of thousands of Floridians are trying to feed their children. Now months ago, Congress promised to help but the aid has been slow to come.


KAYE: The sun is just rising at this Florida food giveaway and already more than 1,000 families are lined up. Many are parents who lost jobs who still have hungry mouths to feed.

CHELA CANVO, FLORIDA RESIDENT: We have no food. And I have a big family and they need to get fed. We don't have the money to buy groceries.

KAYE: More and more parents are turning to food banks to feed their children, while they wait for government aid that was promised months ago. Back in March, Congress approved a program called the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer, or pandemic EBT.

It's supposed to funnel money to millions of children who are no longer getting school breakfast and lunch. Pandemic EBT issues cards to purchase food, $5.70 per day per child or about $114 per child for four weeks of benefit.

SARI VATSKE, EVP, FEEDING SOUTH FLORIDA: It's absolutely heart breaking. You never want a child to go to bed hungry.

KAYE: this 12-year-old and her family haven't received any government aid yet. Instead, they waited in line for hours to pick up free food at this Feeding South Florida food bank.

Are you glad that you're here with your mom this morning to get some food?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Yes. Really glad.

KAYE: About 30 million children nationwide are qualified to receive this aid, but there have been challenges in getting Pandemic EBT rolling, such as outdated data bases and limited administrative ability to disperse the money.

CRYSTAL WEEDALL FITZSIMONS, FOOD RESEARCH AND ACTION CENTER: Some states have really great state education data bases that will identify kids who are eligible for free or reduced priced meals. And you can link that up and easily get a card to them.

For other states, it can be hard to identify the kids who are eligible for free or reduced priced meals.

KAYE: The federal government, specifically the USDA, has left it up to the states to figure out a plan to implement the program. That plan then has to be approved by the USDA before the cash cards can be given to children. 42 states, D.C. and the Virgin Islands have been approved for the program.

Analysis by "The New York Times" shows that by May 15th, two months after the effort was approved by Congress, just 15 percent of all eligible children had received benefits. FITZSIMONS: There is no border for hunger. Every state in this country

has kids who live in households that are struggling to put food on the table.

KAYE: On May 27th, Florida was finally approved for Pandemic EBT. But those electronic cash cards likely won't get to the more than two million Florida children who need them until some time in June.

Without government aid, groups like Feeding South Florida have had to get creative. For the first time ever they spent more than $1 million to purchase food for families and the demand is greater than ever. Feeding South Florida says they've seen a 600 percent increase in families who need food.

Jesus Sebastian has five children at home to feed. She tells me she's still waiting for government aid. This woman brought her neighbor and two small children to get food.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She had a hard time, for sure, especially she hasn't gotten any government help.


VATSKE: We do wish that benefits had rolled out sooner. The need has been incredibly great. more than 40 percent of people coming to us are relying on support for the first time.

KAYE: In response to our questions about the delayed aid, the USDA said they're working everyday to ensure all Americans have access to safe, affordable and nutritious food to feed themselves and their families.


KAYE: Now, before the pandemic, Feeding South Florida says they were serving about 700,000 people. They're now serving more than one million people. They tell me that most of those are families.

And transportation is a real barrier -- Fred. It's why they need these pandemic EBT cards because a lot of these families don't have cars. They can't drive to these food banks and these food giveaways. So they really need the Pandemic EBTs to maybe use much closer to home.

Fred -- back to you.

WHITFIELD: It's heart breaking. And of course, sometimes if you have cards, you don't have the money for the gas in order to stand and wait in line like that. It burns out a lot of resources, too.

All right. Randi Kaye -- thank you so much.

All right. Joining me right now to discuss is Dr. Julio Frenk, president of the University of Miami. Doctor -- good to see you. So I understand that the university has plans now to reopen on time in August, less than two months away even though you've got this new model that shows that Florida is on track to be the next epicenter. How is that going to happen?

DR. JULIO FRENK, PRESIDENT, UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI: Well, we're obviously monitoring everything very, very carefully and I said from the beginning that our absolute priority will be the health and safety of our students, our faculty and our staff. So, YOU KNOW, we need to make sure that we have those conditions.

Now, we're getting ready for that. The current spike in cases was expected given that we relax some of the constraints -- the stay-at- home orders. It's not surprising that the median age has shifted because older people who -- or people who may have an underlying condition have tended to stay home and it's mostly younger people who are going out as some of those measures get relaxed.

But we are very, very carefully monitoring everything. And we will open. We're getting ready the measures -- specific measures to keep everyone safe. And we will do that under safe conditions.

WHITFIELD: So Dr. Frenk, yes, a spike expected but I mean listen to these numbers that we're just now getting in. That Florida now has 4,000 new cases in a single day. That's quite extraordinary.

How do you even proceed with a plan that you, you know, had in place? How do you execute that plan knowing that these numbers have ballooned at such a rapid pace like this?

FRENK: Yes. The key to the -- both to reopening everything, not just universities, reactivating the economy, is to do that return to normalcy in a careful way. And we know exactly the measures that work.

The first and foremost is the wearing of masks. The second is keeping a safe distance. The third is hand hygiene. Those are the key issues. And to me the absolutely key not just to protect people's health. But to reopen the economy, to deal with the joblessness is to make sure that everyone wears a mask.


WHITFIELD: Do you feel like it should be mandated? While you are going to institute and make sure all students and faculty are wearing masks throughout the state of Florida, do you believe the governor should mandate the wearing of masks?

FRENK: I believe we need to depoliticize this issue. This is not a political issue. Every defender of civil liberties -- and I am one of those -- will agree that my liberty ends when I put somebody else at risk.

The reason for wearing a mask is not so much to protect myself but to protect the others. It only works if everyone else wears it. It's the same reason why we don't allow people to drive a car drunk while they're drunk or intoxicated. It protects them for sure but it protects the others. When we don't allow people to smoke in public, it protects them but it protects everyone else.

WHITFIELD: Yes. FRENK: It's a mutuality of protection that works. It's not a political issue. And it's the key to reactivate the economy in relation to being the key to defeating the pandemic.

WHITFIELD: And Dr. Frenk -- before I let you, quickly. I know the last time you and I spoke, we talked about, of course you know, the hurricanes, the University of Miami football team. I mean it's notorious and now, you know, on the heels of hearing say Clemson University has an increased number of coronavirus cases among its, you know, athletic and football team now that university players are back in training.


WHITFIELD: Are you concerned about whether your football team in the midst of training, or whether it will even have a season as a result of the coronavirus, this pandemic?

FRENK: We are certainly concerned but we're worrying and we're watching against the worry. So the key here is we have a very logistic (ph) operation to test and trace contacts. We are redesigning all the spaces. We're keeping safe distance.

We are making the wearing of masks mandatory. I protect you. You protect me. It's a mutual responsibility. And we're emphasizing -- we're redesigning every single space to keep those distances.

So if you do that, the public health objective and economic objective will be achieved. And again, wearing a mask is not a political issue. It's the key to safety of people and it's the key to recovering those jobs that have been lost and reactivating the economy.

WHITFIELD: All right. We'll leave it there for now. Dr. Julio Frenk -- thank you so much. Good to see you again.

FRENK: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: And we'll be right back.



WHITFIELD: Major League Baseball says it is temporarily shutting down all of its spring training facilities after at least five teams reported positive tests for coronavirus.

CNN's Carolyn Manno is following the story for us so give us details.

CAROLYN MANNO, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fred -- the league told CNN that they're going to thoroughly clean and disinfect all of these facilities before opening back up. And that once they do, a negative test is going to be mandatory for re-entry. Of course, that's assuming that there's going to be any baseball to play after talks broke down between Major League Baseball's player's association and the league on Friday. The number of games the latest sticking point there. In the NHL, they're confirming 11 new cases since permitting clubs to open up training facilities back on June 8th. The Tampa Bay Lightning shut down their facility on Friday. Multiple players and staff members tested positive.

The PGA has its first confirmed case. Nick Watney withdrew from this weekend's RBC Heritage after initially testing negative at the start of that tournament.

And the Clemson athletic department confirming 28 positive tests for their student athletes -- 23 of those are football players.

CNN can confirm 16 schools reporting coronavirus cases. Those include Alabama, Florida State, Iowa, Michigan and Texas. The list goes on and on -- Fred. And it's all across the country.

WHITFIELD: Wow. And then what about for the NBA, NFL?

MANNO: The NBA is doing everything that they possibly can. They sent a very detailed memo over a hundred pages to teams outlining a number of different safety protocols. But they are heading to a hot bed in Florida at Disney for over three months in a bubble that potentially includes over a thousand people. So there's certainly cause for concern there.

As far as the NFL goes, Dr. Anthony Fauci and President Trump had been on different pages nationally when it comes to how they may proceed. Dr. Fauci telling Sanjay Gupta that he doesn't expect any football, it would be a real surprise. Meanwhile, President Trump saying the league is going to move forward.

So this is a balancing act between money and safety and it's a story all across the country.

WHITFIELD: Carolyn Manno -- thank you so much.

All right. Coming up, what's behind the push for an independent district attorney in the shooting death of Rayshard Brooks?



Georgia representative Doug Collins is calling for an independent prosecutor in the Rayshard Brooks case. Collins, a Republican currently running for senate, now accusing the Fulton County district attorney of making a politically-motivated decision to charge the officers involved in the death of Rayshard Brooks in a Wendy's drive- through last week.

CNN's Natasha Chen joining us now from Atlanta. So Natasha -- what more are you learning?


Well Fred -- we are learning that Garrett Rolfe the former officer who has been charged with 11 counts including felony murder -- he is spending the weekend in jail, no bond.

We're learning more about his past as well. The Atlanta police department released records showing that he had some citizen complaints against him dating back to 2015, several of them. and those incidents are marked with notes saying that no action was taken. There was a 2016 use of force complaint for which he got a written reprimand the year after.


CHEN: Former Atlanta police officer Garrett Rolfe waived his first court appearance on Friday and is being held without bond. This comes one week after he fired the shots that killed 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks at a Wendy's drive-through -- a drive-through filled with other people including families with children.

MAGGIE KANE, WITNESS: I parked the car and I got out to kind of assist and talk with the other people who were in the drive-through. You know, the people behind me. I asked them, did they shoot him, you know? Did they shoot him?

CHEN: These witnesses said they saw Rayshard Brooks having a long, civil conversation with police before they heard tasers and bullets.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just kept screaming not again, not again and that they keep doing this.

CHEN: the Fulton County district attorney has filed 11 charges against Rolfe, including felony murder and three charges against the other officer on scene Devin Brosnan. Attorneys for both officers have said they are not guilty.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Critics think that you overcharged here.

PAUL HOWARD, FULTON COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Well, I think that's untrue, but we did it based upon the evidence -- Don. We had an opportunity to speak with three eyewitnesses.

We also had a chance to talk with seven other witnesses who were present at the scene of the incident, but we also had eight video tapes and the tapes were of really good quality. So we had a great chance to see what happened.

CHEN: Rolfe's attorney said in his 25-year career he has never, quote, "seen a district attorney act so unethically without regard for his professional obligations in pursuit of re-election."

Law enforcement sources told CNN the charges prompted some Atlanta officers to call out sick this week, forcing the department to put major crime unit officers on the street in uniform to respond to 911 calls.

The protests that began after George Floyd's death in Minneapolis reached a fever pitch in Atlanta after Brooks' death.

CROWD: Rayshard Brooks. CHEN: While peaceful groups dominated the daytime demonstrations,

people at night have blocked freeways and set the Wendy's on fire.

The other officer charged, Devin Brosnan, told MSNBC this was a tragic event.


DEVIN BROSNAN, GARRETT ROLFE'S PARTNER: My initial encounter with him, I felt he was friendly. He was respectful. You know, I was respectful to him. You know, and I felt like, you know, he seemed like someone who potentially needed my help. I was really just there to see what I could to make sure that he was safe.

What's your name, sir?


CHEN: But critics question how a calm conversation for more than 20 minutes could suddenly escalate.

BROOKS: I just don't want to be in violation of anybody. I can walk -- my sister's house is right here.

CHEN: This is footage that Brooks' widow, Tamika Miller told me she has not been able to watch.

TAMIKA MILLER, RAYSHARD BROOKS' WIFE: They feel sorry for what they've taken away. If they had the chance to do it again, would they do it the same way or would they do it totally different?


CHEN: And there have been multiple marches throughout the week, including today, peaceful marches during the daytime that we've observed. There have been some issues at night, though, with those protests.

Let's show you some video from overnight. One of our crews observed this happening as they had a couple barriers set up between the police and protesters. Police seemed to give those protesters some warnings about backing up.

And at one point an officer is seen, you know, going around the barricade to throw a protester to the ground quite forcefully. And we are reaching out to the Atlanta police department to ask about that incident -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right. Natasha Chen -- thank you so much for that.

All right. Let's talk more about this.

Joining me right now -- right now joining me is Rashawn Ray, a fellow with the Brookings Institution and an associate professor of Sociology at the University of Maryland. Rashawn -- good to see you again. He also researches racial and social

inequality with the focus on interactions between police officers and the communities in which they serve.

So, you've heard recently Congressman Doug Collins has said that he believes it's time for an independent district attorney because he believes these 11 charges being imposed against ex-officer Garrett Rolfe by the district attorney Paul Howard are politically motivated because it is, you know, reelection season. But at the same time Doug Collins also running for office in the U.S. Senate.

What do you think to that call for an independent D.A.?

RASHAWN RAY, FELLOW, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: Well, thank you for having me back on the show.

I mean I'm unsure if that's warranted. I mean in the case of say Ahmaud Arbery in southern Georgia, I think it could have made sense.

I think part of the issue here is that police officers are not accustomed to being held accountable for their treatment of other people. And when you have a civil conversation for 30 to 45 minutes that ends up in someone who doesn't have a deadly weapon being killed by a police officer, and then have that police officer say that I got him and then kick him. I think those are the sort of things that can add charges.

And it's something that law enforcement officers should not be able to get away with. It's a lot of those are the sort of incidents that a lot of good officers don't want to see happen and they want to see these bad apples be held accountable.

WHITFIELD: And of course, it was underscored in Natasha's reporting there that Rolfe did have a number of citizen's complaints against him. And nothing was done in answer to those complaints.

So, in one of your latest pieces, you know, for the Brookings Institute, you write that police officers can sometimes be responsible for escalating what would otherwise be non-violent encounters.

And this exemplifies that, the conversation between the officer and Mr. Brooks that you just underscored and then something goes awry. How have you evaluated those turning points how something civil can simply escalate?

RAY: So I think it's a couple of things. I mean what I try to do in my recent piece at Brookings was to really lay out what defunding means versus abolish and other sort of terms. I mean when people say defund the police-- really what they mean is to reallocate funding, reinvest.

And where we look at calls for service, nine out of ten calls for service for the police is dealing with nothing that's non-violent. Now, that doesn't mean that it might not turn violent based on the information they have, but officers are responding to everything from a pothole in the street to a cat being up in the tree. We also know that the homicide clearance rate is lower than it should be. And I really think that this is something that highlights training. Officers receive about 60 hours of firearm training when they're in the police academy. But they only have about eight hours of de-escalation training.

Why is that important? Well, when you have de-escalation training and you really bolster it, it decreases officer-involved shootings or police killings by about 15 percent.

So the problem is that tactics and training are out of whack with the social interactions that officers actually have. They are training for worst-case scenarios but they're really having conversations with people that can turn deadly for them as well as the person they're interacting with.


WHITFIELD: Right. And then your point really underscoring, you know, the mantra of protecting and serving.

All right. Rashawn Ray -- thank you so much. Appreciate it.

RAY: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: And we'll be right back.



WHITFIELD: Demonstrations for racial equality and social justice continue to intensify beyond U.S. borders. In London, protesters returned for another weekend of demonstrations against racism this time at the city's iconic Hyde Park.

CNN's Salma Abdelaziz is in London. Salma -- how big is the turnout?

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN INTERNATIONAL JOURNALIST: Fredricka -- it's huge. And it's really important for the organizers that people came out in these numbers today because last weekend, there were no anti-racism protests because there were actually right wing demonstrators on the street. One of the key organizers told me she planned this because she didn't want them to have the last word.

So this is truly a demonstration of defiance. It is in solidarity, of course, with what's happening in the United States. But they also want to turn the lens on what's happening here in the U.K. The message from everyone is we will hold all institutions to account when it comes to systemic racism. And this is about figuring out what to do with this momentum behind me.

How do we turn the desire for change into real change? Fredricka?

WHITFIELD: Right. Salma Abdelaziz, thank you so much, from London.

We have so much more straight ahead in the NEWSROOM right after this.