Return to Transcripts main page


Transcripts from Officers' Body Camera Add Chilling Context To George Floyd's Last Moment; White House Says, We're On Page With CDC Despite Mixed Messages On Schools. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired July 9, 2020 - 14:30   ET



MAYOR BEN STAHLER (R-OH), BELLEFONTAINE: I always have a mask with me. If I'm indoor and if I'm in confine spaces or close to people I wear a mask. If I'm outdoor in these blue skies and I'm standing six feet away from you, I'll be honest with you, I don't wear a mask at that point.

And so I think it's very situational. And I think that you have to personally consider your own risk. And so I think the mask, I do support wearing masks but it's not 24/7. It's not in the privacy of your own home. So people have to just find that comfort level. Have a mask with them and be ready to don their mask.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: All right, Mayor. Thanks for joining us, Mayor Ben Stahler of Bellefontaine, we appreciate it.

STAHLER: Thank you.

KEILAR: So more than a million people filed for unemployment last week as coronavirus continues to wreak havoc on the economy.

And moments from now, Joe Biden will lay out his plan for economic recovery. We're going to bring that to you live.

Plus, chilling transcripts have just been released from body cameras worn by the officers charged in George Floyd's death. How they responded when he said he could not breathe.



KEILAR: There has been a new discovery in the death of George Floyd. CNN has obtained transcripts from the police body cameras that add chilling context to the confrontation between Floyd and four Minneapolis police officers.

Floyd's death after an officer placed his knee on his neck for nearly nine minutes sparked weeks of national protest. Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin faces a second-degree murder charge. His three former colleagues face charges of aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter. I want to bring in CNN's Josh Campbell in Los Angeles for us. And, Josh, CNN has reached out to the court to find out whether they're planning to release the actual videos from the officer's body cameras. But this is important, this is key there, the transcripts. Tell us what's in them.

JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right, Brianna. Up to this point, the one video that the public has keyed in on was that bystander video where you saw this officer, Derek Chauvin, with his knee on George Floyd's neck. We have been working, asking public officials to release the body camera footage from the officers to provide additional insight.

And we are getting a transcript that was released, as part of a court motion that depicts George Floyd's final minutes alive. And I want to warn our viewers that obviously this is very graphic, depicting someone struggling to breathe.

But just to read as a sense of what we're getting from this transcript during one of these instances, this encounter with police, Floyd says, okay, okay, I want to lay on the ground. I want to lay on the ground, I want to lay on the ground. The officer there, Thomas Lane, says you're getting in the squad car. Floyd says I want to lay on the ground. I'm going down, I'm going down, I'm going down.

He was in a state of panic, according to one of the officer's defense attorneys. Additionally, later on in that encounter, we get another exchange between Floyd and the officers and you really get a two -- a sense of two different kinds of policing style, where you had Derek Chauvin, the senior officer, who is telling Floyd that despite his please to breath, he saying that, no, you can breathe.

Floyd says I'm through, I'm through, I'm claustrophobic. My stomach hurts, my neck hurts, everything hurts. Then Chauvin goes on to says then stop talking, stop yelling. Floyd says you're going to kill me, man. Chauvin says, then stop talking, stop. It takes a lot of oxygen to talk.

Now, as part of this motion that was filed, again, this is from the attorney for former Officer Lane, who is saying that this video, the body camera footage and the transcripts derived from it, actually prove his client's innocence, I actually talked to him when I was in Minneapolis earlier this month.

And he indicated what he had said previously, that on this transcript audio and video from the officers, you actually see the junior officer, Thomas Lane, asking the senior officer if they should turn George Floyd over. He was obviously in a state of distress, according to this motion. The attorney says that his client asked twice, should they turn Floyd over, and Chauvin, saying, no, we're going to leave him where he is.

Now, what we're waiting for as well, Brianna, finally is whether we'll get a sense to see this video for ourselves. We just had just got an indication from the court a short time ago that they're in the process of allowing members of the media to come in and view the body camera footage. That still hasn't been decided whether that will be released publicly.

But, again, that's a next phase and an effort to -- for us to get that full description out to the public about what transpired. And then lastly, the next trial date has been set for early march. It's yet to be seen what Chauvin's defense strategy will be. We know that at least two of those officers are blaming him, his seniority, saying that as a senior officer on the scene, he was the one calling the shots. Again, we haven't heard any indication from Chauvin or his attorney what his defense is. We're waiting to see what that is, Brianna.

KEILAR: It's been set for early March, is that what you said?

CAMPBELL: That's right, March. There's another hearing that set for September. But the trial itself for the four officers set for March also yet to be determined whether all four will be tried together or whether they will be tried separately. We're told from court officials that that is yet to be determined, Brianna.

KEILAR: Okay. And that body cam footage is so important. And yet I'll tell you just reading that transcript, it's tormenting to read, but so important to know what happened. Josh, thanks for bringing that to us.


KEILAR: We have some more on the breaking news, Dr. Fauci saying that the transmission of the coronavirus is, quote, striking and that problematic states should pause right now.

Plus, the White House responding to the CDC director moments ago after he said guidelines would not be changed for schools despite what the president and vice president have said.


And Germany's Angela Merkel with a pretty blunt warning about President Trump's handling of the coronavirus.


KEILAR: A group of Japanese theme parks is reopening to visitors with one strange new rule, no screaming on roller coaster. Instead, they suggest that people, and I am serious, quote, scream in your heart. And they even released a video of two executives demonstrating how it's done, screaming in their hearts. And they launched a social media campaign called, Keep a Serious Face, to try to get people to play along.

Now, the serious part is this is that, droplets are released during screaming, right? And they are concerned this could spread coronavirus. All guests also required to wear masks.


For more international headlines, let's check in now with our CNN Correspondents around the world.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Fred Pleitgen in Europe, where German Chancellor Angela Merkel has denounced what she says is populism and a lack of facts among some in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.

In a speech in front of European Parliament, Angela Merkel said that, so far, lies and disinformation have proved futile in dealing with the pandemic as have incitement and hatred. Angela Merkel says that democracy is the transparency if they want to be successful in stopping the pandemic.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Will Ripley in Hong Kong, where this city is in the middle of a third wave of the coronavirus pandemic. According to health officials, they're very concerned about a number of cases. You're talking about dozens here, which, you know, comparing to other places, is still a low number.

But for Hong Kong, which has been viewed as a global success story by closing down its borders, imposing a mandatory 14-day quarantine with electronic monitoring for people who are coming back in, well, this is a city that thought that had beat the pandemic. But this just shows that even when you take all of those precautions, there are still cases now popping up of community spread.

The numbers may be low today but health officials know they could be very high tomorrow. So, we wait and watch to see if any additional measures will be taken here in Hong Kong to try to slow the spread of the virus.

BILL WEIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Bill Weir in Sao Paulo, Brazil, a country that has now seeing over more than 1.7 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and fatalities are reaching close to 68,000. All of this as the President of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, battles his own infection of COVID-19, but it really hasn't changed his policies, his attitudes towards the pandemic.

Yesterday, he vetoed a number of bills that would provide pandemic relief to indigenous tribes in this country. He's telling office workers who may have coming contact with him to keep coming to work while other ministers are tested for coronavirus.

And Facebook removed several fake accounts tied to President Bolsonaro as so much misinformation and propaganda swirls in these uncertain times.


KEILAR: Moments from now, Joe Biden is going to be spelling out his plan to fix the economy as the pandemic is worsening. We're standing by for that.

Plus, as Dr. Fauci refutes the president, yet again, we look at ten times that the two men have not seen eye to eye.


KEILAR: Moments ago, the White House press secretary was asked why the Trump administration is pushing a one-size-fits-all solution to opening schools, and here is what she had to say.


KAYLEIGH MCENANY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: There's a way to safely do it and there's a lot of stake. I mentioned the 67,000 pediatricians that represented by the American Academy of Pediatrics who say it's imperative schools reopen. I was underscored by another 1,500 United Kingdom pediatricians.

The costs are high when your network, CNN, is reporting about child abuse. I mentioned the study yesterday. It was a good piece by CNN Massachusetts alone reports of alleged child abuse dropped almost 55 percent, because when kids are not in school a lot of times we don't catch that abuse.

The costs are too high to keep schools shut down. They can safely reopen. Even the American Academy of Pediatrics believes that and the president is going to stand on the side of the child always.


KEILAR: Jeremy Diamond has more now on this, as his covering the White House there behind him. What's happening here as Kayleigh McEnany is trying to push back? It seems like she -- the White House, has really created a binary choice, open or reopen without realizing that people are just calling for some safety as it's done?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right. And what our colleague, Kaitlan, was pointing out there, was the fact that the White House, on the one hand, is saying all schools should reopen while at the same time saying, well, these guidelines from the CDC, you know, are overly prescriptive and everybody shouldn't be following them because one size does not fit all.

So that is kind of the inherent contradiction here in the White House posture, because, look, there is broad-based agreement from medical community, from parents, from educators from policymakers that schools should begin to reopening in certain parts of country, but the question is how to do it and how you kind of pressure these various school districts and these various states to do so.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, which has said that schools should begin to reopen, also came out this morning and said that the way that Florida, for example, is doing it, by mandating it statewide despite the surge in cases that we are seeing there, that the American Academy of Pediatrics opposes that statewide mandate.

And so what the White House is doing here is saying, essentially, disregard the guidelines and instead reopen quickly regardless of whether or not you meet the criteria for those guidelines. Now, the CDC director, Robert Redfield, is being found in this tricky position, as so many of the administration's public health experts often are, between defending what they are putting out, which is science-based, versus what the administration is pressuring them to do.

And this morning, we heard Dr. Redfield say that while Vice President Mike Pence yesterday said those guidelines were going to be reissued next week, some new guidelines will be re-issued next week, Dr. Redfield saying this morning, that they will not be change the current CDC guidelines, instead adding some new documents to provide some additional guidance to schools that are beginning to consider this reopening.

So it's a very confusing situation, and part of it, Brianna, is because the president has been so eager to push these schools to reopen, a goal that many people share.


The question is how do you do it.

KEILAR: Yes, how do you do it and what are the priorities?

I want to bring in our Political Director, David Chalian, to talk about this. You know, part of this, David, comes down to trust in the president and where his priorities are, and we've seen through the politicization of this pandemic, right, when it comes to masks and other things that are clearly guided by science, he hasn't prioritized the obvious thing, which is human lives. And I think that's why this is becoming such a difficulty for the White House as they're calling to reopen schools. This politicization is now reaching schools, so it's reaching children.

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Right. He wants to politicize something that is clearly political. It's a virus, right? And so he believes that's he can win a political battle. So you mentioned the mask incident. Now, schools, they want to act like that it doesn't have to be done carefully and within every sort of community figuring out how to mitigate risk as much as possible.

Again, everyone shares the goal of getting kids back to the school, but they want to be very broad sweeping, because Donald Trump wants to open at any cost. He wants to, you know -- we saw a month or so ago, Brianna, get the economy open, get businesses back open, get people back from underneath this lockdowns, get the states to open up. Now, get the schools open. He just wants society to be open because he believes that that's his path back to firmer footing, that if the country looks normal and returns back in some way.

But what is so perplexing to me, Brianna, is it is pretty clear, I think, that's not the path back for the president, because right now, the virus, as it is on and uptick and the spread of it, it is also consuming for so many Americans that the path back to Donald Trump's political rehabilitation is actually through managing this crisis of the pandemic. KEILAR: Yes. So then why -- I mean, not for you to get into the president's head, but for you to analyze the situation here. This doesn't seem like a win for him to now take that strategy that isn't working and apply it to what for most people is their most precious possession, and that is their child.

CHALIAN: Right. What I think the president is doing here, he's -- he is leaning into and banking on. I mean, listen to what Kayleigh said at the end of that bite you just played, when she said, the president's always going to stand on the side of the child. Well, of course. Well, who in America is not standing on the side of the child? That's a very easy thing to say.

And I think the president believes that that's a political win for him to lean into but ignoring the how or trying to brush over it, or thinking you could just put that to the side and lean into, that you want the kids to just get back to school, that's not actually answering and addressing every parent's concern, every teacher's concern about the way in which schools can operate again.

KEILAR: All right. David, thank you so much. Jeremy, thank you.

And we're waiting right now for Joe Biden to come to the podium in Pennsylvania and spell out his agenda to fix the economy in the wake of this pandemic, really, in the wake of just not even the end of the first wave here. We're going to see this live, just ahead.