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Now Public Viewing Underway for Rayshard Brooks; NYPD Suspends Officer for Using Chokehold on Black Man; Corporate America Responds to Calls for Racial Justice; Two More Trump Campaign Staffers Positive for COVID. Aired 3:30-4p ET
Aired June 22, 2020 - 15:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Right now, people are gathering to honor and remember the life of Rayshard Brooks, a public viewing is taking place at the Atlanta church where Dr. King once preached. Brooks died over a week ago after a police officer shot and killed him in that Wendy's parking lot and that officer Garrett Rolfe faces 11 charges including felony murder.
Brooks' funeral will be tomorrow for friends and family. But today the public is getting a chance to pay their respects and we have Ryan Young live in Atlanta for us. And Ryan, I know you've got some guests next to you. Tell us why people are coming out to honor him?
RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you think first things first, Brooke. You know how much people respect this area of Atlanta when it's attached to Dr. King, the eternal flame across the street with Dr. King and Coretta Scott King in the crypts. So many identify the civil rights movement with this area.
Of course, Rayshard Brooks' body was brought in earlier, we have some pictures of that as it arrived. The family arrived in here about 35 minutes ago. And you can honestly understand that people in this community are hoping for a bit more peace this week.
I can report that I've been told that there have been less sick-outs from the Atlanta Police Department, a source telling us. But you have to talk about moving forward. Have two guests with us. Dante, you've been here, lived in the city for quite some time. When you saw the pain from last week, how do you think moving forward this city can make a change?
DANTE, FUNERAL ATTENDEE: I think we have to start by adjusting the pain. You know, we're humans and we got to start looking at the humanity and I think that's the biggest thing that I see. I'm here with my little girl. She's 2 years old. You know, these are the things that as a father that I care about. You know, before I'm a business owner, before I'm anything, I'm a father, I'm a husband. And I just want my daughter to know that she can grow up and that her life is going to be valued just like everything else that we grow up with.
YOUNG: Absolutely. Gerald, you've been fighting in the streets for years in terms of bringing some of this stuff to light. Atlanta went through a lot of pain last week. What do you think will happen now and what do you call for officials to do to make a significant change in the city?
GERALD GRIGGS, ACTIVIST AND ATTORNEY: Well, I think Atlanta is witnessing what the rest of the country has gone through and I think we have to recognize there's a police brutality problem here and we need legislation to address it. We need to make sure that policies reflect the will of the people and I think Atlanta will respond appropriately, so I'm hopeful.
YOUNG: One last quick question. Obviously, the funeral is happening tomorrow. What do you expect?
GRIGGS: I expect to see an outpouring of hurt and pain. But love and reflection on where we've been and where we're going. So, I know Atlanta knows how to respond in these situations and I think we'll respond appropriately.
YOUNG: I want to thank both of you gentlemen so much. And especially the little girl here. Obviously, Brooke, people have been talking about through the streets.
When the Wendy's burned down there was a lot of people upset about the loss of jobs and in that community which is a food desert, but there's been a lot conversation about, how do we move forward as a community and not worry about buildings and worry about people's lives? That is a continuous conversation that's happening in this city. Of course, there'll be a lot more talk about what happens to the next two officers. But today and tomorrow it's supposed to be about Rayshard Brooks.
BALDWIN: And as you mentioned funeral tomorrow. Let me ask you just on a bit of news. We know that the Georgia Medical Examiner just released that full autopsy report. What does it say?
YOUNG: Well, you know, it does talk about the shots to his back. So that's something that a lot of people in this community are upset about. If you talk to people who are investigators, they say, of course, there could have been a turn when after he fired the taser.
That's the big part of the conversation honestly and people are waiting to see what the GBI says in terms of the investigation. Did the officer, should he have shot and that is still a big question. You talk to community activists and they say they feel like if there was empathy involved, he would be allowed to run on. So that is a big conversation still happening in the city.
BALDWIN: Ryan Young in Atlanta, thank you. Thanks to the two gentlemen you just interviewed as well. Here in New York City, a police officer has been suspended without pay
after an apparent choke hold incident, it was all caught on body cam video.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yo, stop choking the bro.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE OFFICER: You guys --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. Stop choking him. Yo, he's choking him, let him go, bro.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Now this struggle here came after officers confronted a group that had been taunting them along the boardwalk. This was in Queens yesterday. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo addressed the speed of the officer's suspension earlier today on CNN.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): There is no doubt that the political mood has changed all across this nation. And I think it is a great thing. Why didn't they say enough is enough after Eric Garner, I don't know. Why didn't they say enough is enough after Abner Louima and Amadou Diallo and Rodney King in Los Angeles 30 years ago, why did it take so long? I don't know.
But I think the George Floyd murder was the tipping point and you've seen this outrage. I actually think it's even related to COVID when you go back and look that there is a feeling of unity and community that didn't exist before.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Let's go to CNN's Shimon Prokupecz. And so, Shimon, what do we know about this suspended officer?
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: It's a 15-year veteran. So, he has quite a bit of time on the job. He was assigned to this precinct, to this area where this happened in Queens in Far Rockaway section of Queens.
And what we do also know is that he's now under investigation. Now under investigation by the Queens District Attorney which covers that area of course.
There is legislation now that you can be charged criminally. It's a crime now. They've banned police chokeholds and the Governor has signed legislation banning that and potentially making it a crime. So now the D.A.'s office is looking at that. And as you said, he's been suspended, almost immediately within hours the police department suspended him, they released the body camera video and now there is this investigation. What's really interesting is some of the ways in which some of the
other officers acted out there yesterday morning. You see an officer, while this apparent chokehold is going on, you see another officer tapping on the back or the shoulder of the officer to tell him to back off, to indicate to stop and he did.
Of course, the mayor today praising that officer saying this is what they need more of, you know, conduct like this. You know, as you said, this started all, there was a disorderly call and then there was a lot of taunting between these individuals towards the police. And then at some point it just escalated and then we see the arrest and so that's that. So, the Queens D.A. office, Brooke, is going to continue to investigate.
BALDWIN: All right. We know you'll stay on it. We'll stay in touch, Shimon. Thank you very much for that update.
How about this. Corporate America is responding to the Black Lives Matter movement. All the folks using their voices and marching. Some companies are now focused on ballot box instead of business. We'll talk to one CEO who is making sure her employees get out and vote on election day.
BALDWIN: November 3rd, election day may look a bit different for companies here in the United States as the country faces a reckoning, hundreds of companies are promising to give workers paid time off on election day. And some are even taking it steps further by helping them register to vote.
Uber announced that election days around the world will be company holiday for its employees. Best Buy is going to limit store hours on election day so that workers will have a chance to vote. Restaurants like &pizza will close for the day. You have Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg saying that his goal is to help 4 million people vote.
NBA teams including the Minnesota Timberwolves and sports leagues like the NCAA will make election day a company holiday and at least one meal delivery service will also make election day a paid day off.
And speaking of, Linda Kozlowski, President and CEO of Blue Apron is with me. Linda, welcome. Nice to have you on.
LINDA KOZLOWSKI, PRESIDENT AND CEO OF BLUE APRON: Thanks so much. Thanks for having me.
BALDWIN: Not only are you giving your employees this paid day off for election day but as I was reading, you know, you guys are going to help employees should they need it with early voting, absentee voting, even helping pay for transportation to and from the polls. Tell me why?
KOZLOWSKI: Yes. Well, so for us it is not just about giving the day off which we think is critical.
But it's more about removing all the barriers to people actually voting and having a voice. And that's in every election possible. So, we're going to be first enabling voter registration both in person and electronically for all of our employees in all of our facilities. Then we're also going to be looking at making sure that we're moving any of the barriers they would have to vote. Allowing them to vote early, we're going to participate in early voting day and then we're also going to be helping with any absentee ballots for people who need it.
But then even the day of, on November 3rd, we will also be making sure that everybody has transportation to and from the polls to make sure that they can vote, if they want to vote, how they want to vote.
BALDWIN: And I know so much of this is pegged to or maybe part of the catalyst is just this movement that we're all living in, right. This space and time in America. And so, in addition to helping, you know, folks vote and get to the polls, Blue Apron has also pledged to expand its diversity and inclusion programming. And you're also partnering with some other organizations just to ante up those efforts. So, what's your goal? What will that look like?
KOZLOWSKI: Yes, so for us it's really starting at home. Which is our team and our facilities. So we think that all change does start at home and we want to make sure that our employees are empowered, that they have a voice and that we make sure that we are both empowering our employees inside but then also enabling them to use their voices outside as well and that includes voting.
So the diversity and inclusion programs are really focused on how do we elevate those employee voices through both training but then also programs around hiring, people development and the, of course, product itself, making sure that we're really driving diversity on all aspects of that.
And so, our goal is to make sure that we are internally first really focusing on our employee base and empowering them completely and then continuing to expand that externally as well through these programs.
BALDWIN: More and more, you know, good on you and more and more companies are looking to do I know similar things. I would be remiss to not to at least also ask you about just in the midst of the COVID pandemic, you know, a lot of companies have been hurting. We've been reporting on that for months now. But since everyone's stuck at home doing a bunch of cooking, my husband, not myself, I'm just going to out myself, but, you know, you are benefiting from that.
So how has Blue Apron been faring during all of this and how are you thinking long-term just as we don't know really what the future looks like in terms of dining out.
KOZLOWSKI: Right. Well, again, for us, you know, we did see a big surge back in the beginning of April as the stay-at-home orders started to come into play. Again, as with everything else our first priority is our employees. So the first thing we did was figure out to you to take sure that we could keep our employees safe. Who are really focusing their efforts on getting food into more homes.
And so, we started to expand our hiring and also build on the already like strong sanitation and safety practices in our facilities to make sure that we're fully prepared and keeping our employees safe.
And so, for now that's really the balance that we're working on. We want to continue to grow the business and make sure that we are focusing on our long-term strategy and just keeping employees safe in the process. So that's really what we do day-to-day.
BALDWIN: And making sure people are staying at home and being safe and cooking with their spouses doing the cooking. Linda Kozlowski.
KOZLOWSKI: We have a kit for that. We can teach you.
BALDWIN: Yes, I need to. I could do better. I could do better. Linda Kozlowski. Thank you so much. I appreciate it from Blue Apron. And a quick break. We'll be right back.
BALDWIN: Very upset, President Trump, that's a direct quote. President Trump is still seething over that, shall we say, less than packed arena that hosted his return to the campaign trail this weekend.
Despite denials from the White House, a Trump adviser tells CNN that the President is furious about the poor turnout for his rally in Tulsa. Just last week, in fact, the President tweeted that almost 1 million people requested tickets for the event. But the Tulsa Fire Department says that only about 6,000 people actually showed up.
And those lackluster numbers leaving Trump aides to rethink really what his rallies will look like, might look like going forward as we head to election day. All of this is happening as the President heads to Arizona for his next big event. And Arizona by the way has seen a spike in coronavirus cases, up about 94 percent over the past week.
With me now in Arizona, Ryan Nobles. And so, Ryan, we'll get to the rallies in just a second. But I know you have news right now on some additional staffers who have tested positive for COVID.
RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right, Brooke. The Trump campaign confirming to us that two additional advanced staffers that were part of the Trump campaign and were a part of that rally in Tulsa on Saturday night have tested positive for coronavirus. Tim Murtaugh, campaign spokesman, telling me via text that those two staffers were actually participants in the rally. They were inside the rally as it was happening. But he said they were wearing masks the entire time.
This raises the total of Trump campaign staffers who tested positive for coronavirus over the course of the planning and execution of this rally to eight. There were six before the rally, two during, and then two additional Secret Service agents as well.
So, Brooke, just kind of a glimpse into just the threat level that was associated with this rally. As now we have at least eight people -- ten people I should say who've tested positive that were connected to the rally in some way, shape, or form -- Brooke.
BALDWIN: And so back to the sort of lackluster, you know, in terms of people showing up at the Tulsa rally this weekend.
I know that folks are furious at the campaign manager Brad Parscale. What are you hearing about why they're directing their ire towards him?
NOBLES: Well, there's a lot of concern across the Trump campaign about what exactly happened at that rally on Saturday night. And part of the reason that Brad Parscale is taking a lot of the heat is because of the expectations that were set for this event.
Parscale was the person who suggested Tulsa to President Trump. And he also was using his data operation that he was responsible for in the 2016 campaign to kind of set the stage for exactly what to expect. They said they got over million RSVPs. That's why they expected the big crowd, Brooke, as we say on Saturday night that just did not materialize.
BALDWIN: All right, Ryan, thank you very much in Scottsdale, Arizona.
And our breaking news coverage continues as NASCAR holds a powerful show of support. Just moments ago, in Talladega in response to just a heinous act of racism. We're be right back.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.