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Atlanta Police Officers Not Responding To Calls In Protest Of Charges Brought Against Officers; Officer Brosnan Charged With Aggravated Assault, Accused Of Standing On Brooks' Shoulder After Shooting; President Trump Claims COVID-19 Is "Dying Out" As New Cases Hit Record-Highs In 10 States. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired June 17, 2020 - 21:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, ANDERSON COOPER 360: And so, I sat down with Trevor Noah, Host of The Daily Show. He'd - we'd hope to bring you some of his comments tonight. But we ran out of time. We apologize for that.

You can see the whole interview, Friday 9:30 P.M. Eastern, plus an extended version of the interview on Sunday at 10 P.M. here on CNN.

News continues right now. I'll hand it over to Chris for CUOMO PRIME TIME. Chris?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST, CUOMO PRIME TIME: All right, Anderson, thank you very much. There's a lot changing here in real time.

I am Chris Cuomo. Welcome to PRIME TIME.

We've got extraordinary access to the key elements of the Rayshard Brooks case for you.

We have an exclusive interview with a name, who today was named as an additional victim by prosecutors. He is certainly a key witness in the police-killing of Rayshard Brooks. You'll hear his story.

Now, this comes as we get new information about a potential revolt by Atlanta police officers.

We have the Mayor of Atlanta, here with us tonight, to respond to what we are being told reportedly is dozens of officers calling in sick, or failing to answer calls because of the remarkable charges filed today against the Atlanta cop who killed Rayshard Brooks, felony murder and 10 other counts.

The District Attorney says the case could be eligible for the death penalty though he did not say if he would push for that. Just for your information, we can't find another case where a police officer ever had the death penalty on the table because of what was done on duty.

One aggravating factor for the prosecutor is a detail we hadn't heard before today. They say Officer Rolfe not only shot Brooks multiple times, he kicked Brooks, prosecutors say, as the man laid dying in that crowded parking lot.

Another new information is that prosecutors don't see Rayshard as the only victim. They named others including, the man I alluded to, Melvin Evans. He is going to join us this hour. He could have very well died that night as well, he says. And he'll tell you why.

Now, the other officer in question here is Devin Brosnan. He's facing three charges. Two of them are for standing on Brooks' shoulder after he was down from the bullet wounds. The prosecutor says there was no rush by him or Rolfe to get medical help.

Some of Rolfe's own words, Friday night, could be used against him. Listen.


PAUL HOWARD, FULTON COUNTY, GEORGIA DISTRICT ATTORNEY: At the time that the shot was fired, the utterance made by Officer Rolfe was "I got him." We also noted that Officer Rolfe was firing a TASER at Mr. Brooks. The City of Atlanta SOPs, in fact, prohibit officers from firing TASERs at someone who is running away.


CUOMO: Can't fire a TASER? What does that mean for the ability to discharge a handgun?

Now, the D.A. also said that Officer Brosnan has turned State's witness. But tonight, Brosnan's lawyers say that's not true, and say that what Brosnan did that night was exemplary. They, too, will join us this hour.

But first, let's get to this late breaking news in Atlanta, OK?

Again, multiple sources within the Police Department tell CNN officers are not responding to calls in three zones this evening, in protest against the charges that were brought against officers Rolfe and Brosnan.

We have the Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms to respond.

Mayor, thank you for being with us tonight. Just for your information, if you hadn't heard yet, on social media, the Atlanta Police Department tweeted this.

"Earlier suggestions that multiple officers from each zone had walked off the job were inaccurate. The department is experiencing a higher than usual number of call outs with the incoming shift. We have enough resources to maintain operations & remain able to respond to incidents."

Mayor, what do you make of this?

MAYOR KEISHA LANCE BOTTOMS, (D) ATLANTA, GEORGIA: Well, you know, Chris, across the country, morale is down with police departments, and I think ours is down tenfold. This has been a very tough few weeks in Atlanta.

And with the tragedy of Mr. Brooks, and then, on top of that, the excessive force charges that were brought against the officers, involved with the college students, there is a lot happening in our City, and our police officers are receiving the brunt of it, quite frankly.

But what I will say is this, is my Administration has had a great working relationship with our officers. In fact, our officers were given a historic pay raise by our Administration.


And it was so our officers wouldn't have to work three jobs, and be fatigued, so that they could afford to live in the City of Atlanta, so that they would not be resentful about policing our streets, so that we could have the best to choose from on our Force.


BOTTOMS: And so, what I would say is in the same way our Administration has made that commitment to our officers, we expect that our officers will keep their commitment to our communities.

CUOMO: Do you think that the charges that came down today against Officer Rolfe warrant this kind of potential revolt by police officers?

BOTTOMS: No, I don't. I don't.

Everything in this country is changed. I think what is surprising to many is the swiftness of the charges in the same way it was surprising with the college students two weeks ago, simply because it - we don't normally get charges this quickly from our District Attorney in cases like this.

But that being said everything in this country has changed. And in light of what we saw with George Floyd, and Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, and now Rayshard Brooks, we should expect that things will be different.

And in bringing charges, and even taking actions to fire police officers in a much more swift fashion, that's likely to be our new normal.

CUOMO: So, the speed of the charges doesn't bother you. You see it as a sign of positive change. What about the substance of the charges against Rolfe? One of the charges could amount to a potential death penalty case.

BOTTOMS: Well, we have an independently-elected District Attorney in our City.

What I would say, though, as it relates to the swiftness of these charges, I just want to see the same swiftness as it relates to the other use-of-force cases that are sitting on the District Attorney's desk.

We have at least two other cases, involving officer-involved shootings, and we have not gotten outcomes on those cases. So, I just think we want to see it across the board.

And, you know, I'll defer it to the District Attorney on what the appropriate charges were. There was information that even I learned today, in watching his press conference, in terms of the other officer, and the allegations made against the other officer, and even that there was another vehicle hit during all of this.

So, I'm getting a lot of information the same time as the public is getting it. And we'll review it and continue to make our decisions accordingly.

CUOMO: Three quick things.

One, what you were just saying about wanting action on the other cases, is some politics being played here, in terms of this case being dealt with swiftly, and with a heavy hand, because it's in the news?

Do you believe the prosecutors are, you know, they're politicians, too, are they playing to the politics here?

BOTTOMS: Well I know our District Attorney is involved in a run-off. So, I won't speak to that.

I think there is a bit of a difference in the other cases in that there is not body cam video available. And I believe I heard him say today that's the reason that he's not taken action on those other cases.

But the point is that we still have some other families awaiting some finality and some outcomes on those cases. And--

CUOMO: You heard about GBI, right, Mayor? Obviously, you know them, a lot more about all this than we do. But they were surprised by the swiftness of charges here. And there is reporting that they felt they hadn't been in the loop.

BOTTOMS: Well, that's between the District Attorney and the GBI, Chris. I had more than to deal with than I can say grace over right now. So, I'll leave that up to them--


BOTTOMS: --to figure that part out.

CUOMO: Assuming it's true, and the video bears it out, we've seen a freeze frame, but prosecutors put it forth as an allegation today that Officer Rolfe said "I got him," Officer Rolfe allegedly kicked Rayshard Brooks, and that they didn't render aid right away, and that Officer Brosnan that his charges stem largely from him standing on Mr. Brooks' shoulder after he was shot.

Your reaction? BOTTOMS: Chris, everything about this case is disturbing to me. From watching the more than 30-minute interaction, between Mr. Brooks and the officers, to see it in this way is, I don't even have the words to describe how disturbing it was because what struck me is that he was not humanized in that moment.

There were so many other things that could have happened. This could have turned out so differently.

And then, I watched Anderson Cooper, just before coming on with you, and to see Mr. Brooks tell his story about being incarcerated. My dad went to prison when I was eight. I counted each and every day waiting for him to come home.

And to think that he was simply trying to get to his daughter's 8th birthday celebration because he said that, when he spoke of what he had planned, and why he just wanted to walk to his sister's house, it's just it's tragic.


And, you know, I go between anger and frustration, and just sheer sadness, because for everything that we're doing in Atlanta to try and get it right, when something like this happens, shows that there is a deeper systemic problem that we have.

And even if we get it right tomorrow, it still doesn't bring Mr. Brooks back home to his family.

CUOMO: True. And when you talk about systemic issues, you have one going on right now. I mean, do you have your hands around how many officers are involved in this not calling in, or calling out sick, this apparent revolt in response to these charges?

The Department put out that tweet, I read earlier for the audience, saying that they think they have enough resources. But how many officers are we talking about? Do you know?

BOTTOMS: Well, we don't have a count yet because we were in the midst of a shift change.

But what I do know is that we do have enough officers to cover us through the night. And our streets won't be any less safe because of the number of officers who called out.

But it is just my hope, again, that our officers will remember the commitment that they made when - when they held up their hand and they were sworn in as police officers.

CUOMO: Right. But there's strength in numbers.

BOTTOMS: In the City of Atlanta.

CUOMO: As we both know. That's why I'm asking you, Mayor.

If we're talking about six people, 10, you know, people who are particularly passionate about what they think the job is about, and how it's being perceived in this prosecution is one thing. If it's dozens, you have a different scale of problem on your hand.

BOTTOMS: We do. But the good thing is that we are not the only agency in Atlanta. We have other partners across the metropolitan area, including assistance from the State, and from the County, and from other jurisdictions. So, we will be fine.

The thing that I'm most concerned about is how we repair the morale in our Police Department and how do we ensure that our communities are safe, as they interact with our police officers.

CUOMO: So, what do you do? Do you reach out to the Union? What are you doing to deal with this? I mean, this is an unusual thing to hear about. I know it's all unusual. I know we are living through unusual times.

But if you have any scale of officers not wanting to report to duty, that is a novel problem to have. Have you reached out to the Union? Now, what are the different avenues of access to heal?

BOTTOMS: I've not spoken directly to the Union today. But I'm sure that we will be in contact with them. I've been in contact with our Interim Police Chief. And listen, there is no playbook for what we are dealing with right now across this country.

And so, what I do know is that we have a lot of men and women, who work for our Police Department, who care about this City, and they work each and every day with integrity and with honest interactions with our communities. And so, those are the people who I expect will show up for work.

And if we have officers who don't want bad officers weeded out of the Force, then that's another conversation that we need to have with all of our officers because when we're talking about fixing what's wrong with our Police Department, and what's happening in our communities, it's just as much for the protection of our communities, as it is for our police officers.

CUOMO: Absolutely. Understood. I've been in Atlanta often. I've seen them do the job. I've done it as a journalist. I understand how important they are to the community.

You said that you'll be OK because you got surrounding forces to draw on. Are any surrounding jurisdictions sending manpower to help cover the gap right now?

BOTTOMS: Well, right now, we are covered with our Force, because we have some officers who are staying on a bit longer to cover a longer shift to make up the difference.

But we've already notified many of our other partners just in case we need to call others in. But we are fine. I think our true test will be likely tomorrow. But I don't have any concerns about where we are this evening. CUOMO: Nobody's given you any indication that "This is just the beginning, Mayor. You're going to see more tomorrow. We're not going away?"

BOTTOMS: You know what, Chris? I take it one day at a time. And - and, in the morning, we'll start over, and then we'll see what we have before us.

But again, this is an independently-elected District Attorney. I didn't talk with the District Attorney before he went forward with these charges. These are charges that he decided to bring against our officers.

And, you know, we will see how justice will be served for Mr. Brooks. And we'll see what the outcome is with these officers.

But meanwhile, we have communities that we still need to protect. And it's my hope in the same way that I kept my word to our officers, when it came to that historic pay raise, they'll keep their word to the people of Atlanta.

CUOMO: Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, these are difficult times that demand leadership. Thank you for being with us tonight to provide exactly that.

BOTTOMS: Thank you.

CUOMO: Be well.


All right, I told you that Officer Brosnan's team is pushing back. One, they say he is not cooperating with prosecutors as a witness for them. They say he is working with them and volunteering his interviews, etcetera, but not a State's witness. So, what does that mean?

And, more importantly, why the Brosnan Defense Team says what he did that night was exemplary, it was exactly the right way to do the job.

Their case, next.








CUOMO: Now, let's take a deeper look into the case now. OK? You have Rolfe. He's the man who shot and killed Rayshard Brooks.

The other officer is Devin Brosnan. He did not shoot at Rayshard Brooks let alone shoot him and hit him.

But he is also looking at criminal charges here, three of them, possibly a sentence of up to 20 years. Why? In part because of what you see in the video, according to prosecutors, Officer Brosnan standing on Rayshard Brooks as he lay dying.

Now, there are questions about whether Brosnan is going to testify against Officer Rolfe. Here's what the D.A. said today.



HOWARD: Officer Brosnan is now becoming a cooperating witness for the State. We are asking the court to grant a bond of $50,000, and to allow Mister - Officer Brosnan to sign that bond.

As I indicated that he would become one of the first police officers to actually indicate that he is willing to testify against someone in his own Department.


CUOMO: Now, is that true? Not the part about him being one of the first. I'm sure it is. It's very rare. But is it actually happening? The Officers' attorneys say "No." So, let's talk with them.

Don Samuel, and Amanda Clark, thank you for taking the opportunity on PRIME TIME.



CUOMO: Amanda, I'll start with you. What is the state of play between your client and the Prosecutor's Office?

PALMER: Well, to be clear, there is no agreement that our client is going to testify at any hearing. He has been cooperative. He went in yesterday, and made a statement to the Assistant District Attorney and their Investigator. He provided them with his cell phone.

We are going to provide medical records and photographs of his injury. If there is any other law enforcement agent - agency, like the GBI, which I would anticipate wants to talk to him, we will be cooperative with them.

CUOMO: Might there be a deal to work as a State's witness?

PALMER: In my view, he doesn't need a deal. He shouldn't have been charged with a crime in the first place. It's so early to be talking about any kind of court proceedings.

What I will say about Devin is he's not a State's witness. He is a witness.

He will tell the truth about what he saw, what happened to him, and what happened. And he will do so, if he gets a subpoena, if he gets an investigative - investigating agency request to cooperate, he is just going to go out and tell the truth, and tell what he saw.


And, by the way, you guys can answer any question you want, as we go along. I have a lot of them tonight. I think this is going to be very helpful for the audience.

The statement from the team is his actions were exemplary that night. Let's just set that in contrast to the Prosecutor's most damning allegation, which is, he stood on Rayshard Brooks' shoulder after he was on the ground and shot. How is that exemplary?

SAMUEL: Well, you have to - you have to take a few steps back. Remember, the encounter with Mr. Brooks became chaotic when Mr. Brooks tried to resist arrest.


SAMUEL: And you've seen, I'm sure, the videos of them - of them fighting. Devin ends up taking out his TASER, and yelling at him, "Stop fighting. Stop fighting."

Mr. Brooks grabs the TASER from him, and shoots Devin. Devin gets shot with the TASER. He then falls over, and lands on his head, on the pavement, and gets a concussion.

And we have the medical records, which the D.A. just had no interest in seeing. We've got the medical records that show that he has a - has a concussion. He's got bruises on his legs.

CUOMO: Right.

SAMUEL: On his - on his - knees are injured, on his arms.

CUOMO: We'll put up pictures of the bruises, by the way, Don, just so you know.

SAMUEL: And so, when Mr. Brooks and Officer Rolfe--

CUOMO: Apologize. I have a tendency to interrupt just to create more information for the audience. I'm showing pictures of a bruise, just so you know. We have some. We're showing them now.


CUOMO: You can tell us if they--


CUOMO: --if they're not what you've seen before. But, Don, these are the photos that we've gotten that are supposedly of his injuries. Do they size up with what you're talking about?

SAMUEL: Yes, well, these are - these are photos that were taken four days or five days after the incident. The GBI took photos. And the D.A.'s Office never looked at those either. But the--


SAMUEL: --the important thing is the concussion that he suffers.

CUOMO: Right.

SAMUEL: That the Grady Hospital documented.

But then he - he runs, you know, he follows Officer Rolfe, and Mr. Brooks, who were running away, and he is suffering from the concussion. He says he's dizzy. His head is hurting. It's, you know, kind of the, the - metaphorically seeing stars.

And then he hears the gunshots, and he doesn't even know who is shooting. You can see in the video that he - he ducks behind a car because he doesn't know who is shooting.

And then he gets out from behind the car and goes up to where Mr. Brooks has fallen down, and he still doesn't know that he's been shot. And he puts his - he - and he testified to this.

CUOMO: No way. Right.

SAMUEL: He talked about this with the D.A. after that.

CUOMO: I'm just saying that--

SAMUEL: He put his--

CUOMO: I get - I get you.

SAMUEL: --he put his foot on an arm.

CUOMO: Right.

SAMUEL: He put his foot on the arm to make sure he didn't have access to a weapon. He still had, you know, within reach, the TASER that he had taken from Devin.

And like for six seconds or seven seconds, he puts his - he puts his foot on the arm until he can make sure that he doesn't grab a weapon. And then he takes his foot off. And the - and the D.A. says that that's an aggravated assault.

CUOMO: Right.

SAMUEL: Which is, it's ludicrous. It wasn't an assault at all.

CUOMO: Right.

SAMUEL: It's a man who's suffering from a concussion, and has been injured. He is trying to make sure that the - that the - it's safe in this location where they are now.

CUOMO: But - but just to Ping-Pong it, Don.

SAMUEL: And then he sees the injury.

CUOMO: Just to - I gave you the benefit of the argument, Don.


But just to Ping-Pong it, Amanda, it is an aggravated assault, unless you can remove the intent by saying he had a concussion, he didn't know what the hell he was doing. That may well be your defense to it.

But running up to a guy laying on the ground, and standing on his shoulder, and not giving medical aid, is going to be charged as an aggravated assault, absent a better explanation.

PALMER: No, I disagree. Aggravated assault--


PALMER: --puts somebody in fear of immediately receiving a, you know, a violent bodily injury. That wasn't Devin's intent. There was no malice or ill intent in what he did.

He was going there, and following his training, to say, "Let me figure out what is going on. I just heard shots fired. Now Mr. Brooks is on the ground. Let me just put my foot, down on his arm, to make sure that he doesn't have access to a weapon," as Don just said. And as soon as that was clear, he took it off.

CUOMO: But there was a lot of time there, Amanda, more than just that period of assessment that there was no help given that they were either standing on him, or talking about him, and then they started to render aid.

And that is interpreted by the Prosecutor as either just not doing your duty or having animus towards Mr. Brooks, meaning they didn't like him.

PALMER: So, we - we - Devin--

SAMUEL: That is--

PALMER: Sorry, Don. You go ahead.

CUOMO: Go ahead, Don. Go ahead. I got you both for a reason.

SAMUEL: I mean the - the timeline is not the way the D.A. described it today.

Within a matter of seconds, you hear the sirens coming. They - they rolled him over to try to figure out where the entrance wound is, when they realized that he - when Devin realizes he's been shot.

Within less than a minute, Rolfe is running back to his car to get the first aid kit. This notion they stood around--

CUOMO: Prosecutor says Rolfe kicked him, Don.

SAMUEL: --doing nothing for two minutes is just wrong.

CUOMO: Prosecutor says Rolfe kicked him.

SAMUEL: That is not visible on the video. And Devin certainly never saw that.

Within less than a minute, he is running back to get his first aid kit. Other police officers are there on the scene. Other police officers are there. They're not rendering aid.

The only person who ends up rendering aid is the man with a concussion, our client. Other police officers are standing there. There is an ambulance is coming. There's fire trucks that are heard. Other police cars are coming.

And they indict our guy, who's got a concussion, who is the only one who ends up doing CPR.

CUOMO: All right, I--

SAMUEL: It makes no sense what the D.A. is charging in this case.

CUOMO: I take that argument. Amanda, let's look at this idea that the performance that night was exemplary in the context of several different aspects of this, starting from light to heavy.


CUOMO: Light is, you see the guy. He's drunk. He says he wants to walk home. You could have let him walk home. You don't have to, but, in terms of exemplary or not.

Two, you can't get him on the ground. And, with all due respect, watching the video as somebody who is not a cop, never been a cop, been with lots of cops, spent many years of my life training in ground fighting and self-defense, two men should be able to take one man down. The training looked absent at best. I don't know how that is exemplary.

Then, Brooks takes your TASER, even though he is drunk, and you have another cop there with you, how is that exemplary? And then, you get knocked senseless in the course of your job, against a drunk man, how is any of that exemplary, in terms of how he should have been able to do the job?

PALMER: Sure. Well, so I go back and start with the initial response. And when Devin goes over there, he is not going over there, thinking "Who am I going to arrest?" He goes over there thinking, "Let me figure out what's going on."

CUOMO: Right. PALMER: His initial thought is this man maybe had a long day at work. Maybe he's got a medical condition. And you see on the video, he says to him, you know, "What's going on? Do you need an ambulance?"

CUOMO: Very nice.

PALMER: That, to me, is exemplary, in showing care, and respect, and concern about the citizen that he is dealing with. You know, with regards to the argument, "Well why didn't you call him an Uber. Why didn't you"--

CUOMO: Or drive him home.

PALMER: --"or drive him home," number one, Mr. Brooks provided an Ohio driver's license, and he was driving a rental car.

We also see in the video he is disoriented about where he is. He says that he is in Forest Park, Georgia, when in fact he is in the City of Atlanta. He thinks that his hotel is like just down the street over a bridge. There is no bridge nearby.

So, letting him walk home, in Devin's opinion, was not an option, particularly for Mr. Brooks' safety.


PALMER: Now, if he's disoriented--

CUOMO: How about the inability to make the arrest?

PALMER: Yes. The - so, what I will say, when I saw that struggle is, number - well, and let me back up too.

Let me tell you one thing too that I think is important to highlight, which is that Devin did not know that Officer Rolfe was going to arrest Mr. Brooks, at that point in time.

You can see on the video there is no like verbal announcement that arrest is about to be made. There was no non-verbal communication. You know, it's not like Rolfe--

CUOMO: Does Brosnan think that Rolfe did the job the right way that night?

PALMER: Brosnan is not, and has not offered any opinion about what Officer Rolfe did.


And, you know, just quite frankly, Don and I are not concerned about defending Officer Rolfe's actions. He has his own legal team. And we're going to leave that to them. We're concerned about Devin.

So, can I just--

CUOMO: Right. PALMER: --if I could just go back and--

CUOMO: Yes. Fine.

I'm just saying - I'm just asking you, Amanda, in the context, you said "He is going to tell the truth. He's going to tell the truth anybody asks him. He's going to answer the questions." That is part of the truth. His perception--

PALMER: Well--

CUOMO: --of what Rolfe did, and why Brooks wound up dead, is part of the truth.

PALMER: Well, what Devin would say is he - Devin, "I, Devin, would have liked a heads-up we were about to take this guy into custody."

CUOMO: Is he OK with Brooks being shot from behind?

PALMER: Of course not, of course. He, you know, as I've said, we - we put out a written statement earlier, you know.

And what we said is that - and what Devin has communicated to us, is that he has grief about the situation. He, you know, offers his condolences to Mr. Brooks' family. This was a tragic situation.

You know, and from - from Devin's point of view, when he went there, you know, to initially engage with Mr. Brooks, he had no clue it was going to end up the way it did. He also had no clue that Mr. Brooks was going to struggle that the way he did. Devin had no clue he was going to end up smacking his head on the pavement.

I don't think anybody, and all of us have watched the video, right, nobody watched the first 40 minutes of that video, and thinks that a struggle is about to happen because, as we've all seen Mr. Brooks was, you know, friendly. He was being respectful to the officers. The first 40 minutes were a good interaction, I would say.

CUOMO: His decision to struggle changed everything for the worse. There is no question about it. Don, the only question is whether or not it warrants a death sentence, which is him deciding to struggle--

SAMUEL: No, of course it doesn't.

CUOMO: --and get into a fight with two cops--

SAMUEL: Of course, it--

CUOMO: --winds up you getting shot from behind, which I don't know how you justify.

SAMUEL: Of course, it doesn't warrant a death sentence. And you know that, Chris. He doesn't warrant a death sentence. But, you know, we're talking about Devin. Devin gets injured, as I've said, repeatedly. He gets a concussion.

CUOMO: I get it.

SAMUEL: All he can testify about - all he can testify about is what he observed. And you can see it on the video, as well as he can, and asking him to render an opinion, "What do you think should have happened" is no more meaningful than asking anybody else what happened.

CUOMO: No, that's not true.

SAMUEL: He is injured. He is on the ground.

CUOMO: That's not true, Don. I'm not saying it in terms of the charges against him. You're absolutely right.

But let's be honest. This is playing out in two courts right now, and they are conflated. They - they combine in terms of relevancies. Obviously do for this Prosecutor's Office.

If he has observations of what Rolfe did, and whether he thought it was right, or not, under the circumstances, and whether it was something that he would have done, it is not only relevant, in the context of the understanding of the prosecution, but it is very relevant to the overall dialog that's going on in his community right now.

SAMUEL: I agree with you.

CUOMO: And if his goal is to tell the truth, and to be candid, that's got to be part of his actions, if that is his intention. Fair or not?

SAMUEL: Absolutely. I agree with you. He is absolutely going to describe everything that he observed. He is going to describe everything that he saw.

And he did it yesterday, when we sat down in the D.A.'s Office with the D.A. and the Investigator. Every second, second by second by second, he described what he observed. But to ask him--

CUOMO: Did he think the shots were warranted?


CUOMO: Did he think the shots were warranted?

SAMUEL: You know, he was - he was further away.

PALMER: Well now you're really asking him--

SAMUEL: He was further away. He was behind him. He didn't even know who had shot the gun at the time.

I don't think he thought in any way, shape, or form that anybody should have been shot, or that Mr. Brooks deserved to be shot. There is no question about it. He didn't want Mr. Brooks to be shot. There is no question about that at all. And - and we have told the D.A. that he would be cooperative and answer every question as to what - but someone's going to have to ask Mr. Rolfe.

CUOMO: No question.

SAMUEL: His legal team is going to have to explain what was going through his mind.

CUOMO: They're invited every night.

SAMUEL: And why he did what he did.

CUOMO: They're invited every night, just as you were.

I have to tell you, Don and Amanda, it is helpful to the audience, because people feel like we're living in two different worlds these days. It is very important for people like you, and obviously your client, I know he's got a case coming up, he gets the opportunity as well if he wants it.

Thank you for answering the questions about what matters in this situation, in court, but also in this country. Thank you very much to you both.

SAMUEL: Well thank you for having us.

PALMER: Thanks for having us.

CUOMO: Appreciate you taking the opportunity.

All right, we have more on this ahead. Let's get an observation about what it looked like in real-time, OK? Fine, let's take the attorneys at their word for the sake of argument. Brosnan had a concussion. He didn't know what was going on. OK.

A witness nearly got shot himself that night. He's here. You've never heard his story. But you will.

Also, urgent developments tonight on Coronavirus, I've got it for you, next.









CUOMO: All right. I'm going to get you to this witness in the Rayshard Brooks' case. But I can't let these lies about Coronavirus go unchecked. It is too important.

21 States has cases - have cases that are surging. You know that. But the President won't acknowledge the reality. And a President has power.

Trump was interviewed by a local TV group, a short time ago, and he was asked about his upcoming Campaign rally in Tulsa. Oklahoma has a problem with case growth.

He said, "If you look, the numbers are very miniscule compared to what it was. It's dying out." That's not true, OK?


A source close to the White House Coronavirus Task Force says Trump is in denial, OK? There is only one reality, and it is not his. We will give you the facts. You make the choices you want to with your life. But he is not telling you the truth, all right?

Now, on the issue of truth, we have more on what it looked like that night as Rayshard Brooks was talking to, then fought with, then pursued and shot by the police. Eight different cameras.

But our guest was there. He saw it himself. In fact, he was in a vehicle that got hit. His eyewitness view, inches from catching a bullet, next.








CUOMO: One of the surprises today, in the Brooks' case, was the District Attorney in Fulton County making the case that Rayshard was not the only victim in this case.

One of the bullets fired by Officer Rolfe hit an SUV in the Wendy's drive-thru. Sitting on the other side of the hole that you see in the door was Melvin Evans. He is here now, along with his lawyer, Shean Williams, for an exclusive interview.

Thank you for taking the opportunity. Thank God you are OK. How are you doing, Melvin, with all this? MELVIN EVANS, WITNESS TO RAYSHARD BROOKS SHOOTING: I'm doing fine.



EVANS: I'm doing fine.

CUOMO: Good. Good. It's good to hear. So, just tell the audience, what did you see that night?

EVANS: We pulled up into Wendy's. We just literally got - got to Atlanta. We were just looking for something to eat. Pulled up into Wendy's. We heard arguing, an altercation.

About a couple of seconds later, we see the victim running towards us, and the officer was chasing him. He had a TASER in his right hand. The victim had a TASER in his - in his hand. The officer shot three times, and dropped. And we was - we was ducking because we didn't want to get hit.

CUOMO: Did you see Rayshard Brooks try to fire the TASER at the officer who was chasing him?

EVANS: He - he pointed the TASER in the air. And I don't think he did - I don't think he shot the - I think he was doing - he shot it to get the officer up off of him. He didn't point it towards him, though. He - he just - he was still running, running away from the officers.

CUOMO: He never stopped and turned towards him?

EVANS: And--

CUOMO: He didn't turn his whole body around and face the officer at any time?

EVANS: No, Sir. He was still - he was running. He just - he just pointed up. I guess he was just trying to get the officer off of him.

CUOMO: He was running away.

EVANS: He was just trying to get away.

CUOMO: Once he got shot, and he hit the ground, do you remember what you saw then?

EVANS: We was - I was - we was ducking. We - I just seen him hit the ground. And then - and we were just ducking in the - in the truck. My partner behind me was like "Oh." He was - he said "Pull off. Back up. Pull it off."

I said, "No. I'm not going to pull off, while this man got this gun in his hand," because if I move, he's right 10 feet - he was 10 feet from the truck.

I might run over them or something, being nervous, or trying to get away from the scene, and he'd shoot - shoot at the truck, I don't know. So, I just stood there for a minute until he - until he put his gun up.

CUOMO: You were worried that if you tried to drive away, the officer may shoot at you?

EVANS: Yes. Yes.


EVANS: I mean - because I was nervous. I mean, I probably - I probably would have ran into him because they was right there by the truck. They was right there.


CUOMO: Yes, Shean?

WILLIAMS: You think about everything Melvin has seen, and he's seen, over the last few weeks, and over the years of his life, he had a right to be fearful. As a Black man, our perspective is different when we are - encounter a police officer.

You got to think Melvin and his friends just saw, in their view, a horrific murder of another Black man, right in front of them. So, he had every right, and understanding, to be fearful.

You know, it's just two different perspective. Melvin wanted to just stay because he was scared. His friend, Michael, who was in the back seat, wanted to get out of there, because he was scared. The common denominator is they were fearful for their life, and it should have never been that way.

CUOMO: And they didn't even know the SUV had been hit. Listen, I totally get it, Shean.

WILLIAMS: They didn't know that.

CUOMO: That's why I'm asking.


CUOMO: Because it's just so - it's just so sad, Melvin. I mean, that's why I'm asking. It's sad what happened to Brooks. It's sad that you have the ideas that you do in your head, and in your heart, about this. It just, you know, you're young. I'm old.


CUOMO: And it's just so sad that we are where we are today. And I appreciate you talking to me about this.

Do you remember at all, if you can, the moments after you and your partner having to talk about what to do, Brooks is on the ground, do you remember seeing what the officers were doing at all? EVANS: I - I don't know he - when we left, he was over there. I think he put cuffs on. That's when I - that's when I - that's when I got - I just got - got away from the scene. Yes. We just--

CUOMO: Do you remember them trying to help him?

EVANS: No. We just - no.

CUOMO: Do you remember anybody kicking him or standing on him?

EVANS: I didn't - I don't - that probably happened after we left.


WILLIAMS: Yes, Chris. They were so fearful once - once the shooting happened, for their own lives, and they had a right to be fearful. They - they kind of went underneath the car, and wanted to get out of the situation themselves.

They've been bold enough and courageous enough to come forward, after the fact, to make sure the - the Brooks' family gets justice. And they are - I'm proud of them of that.

Despite everything they're dealing with themselves, all of my clients are here to give the Brooks' family justice. They offer their condolences to the family, to his children.

And the biggest thing they want to do is give evidence and information to the District Attorney to ensure that we get justice in this case for a family and for this community. And they're being honest and truthful with everything (INAUDIBLE).

CUOMO: I hear it, Counselor. I appreciate it. Look, I mean, I'm a lawyer. I respect the right to counsel, and having it. But it's sad how many people come with Counsel, these days, just to tell the truth about what happened that everybody is so on guard.

Melvin, I know this has to be hard for you to have watched it in real- time. And I'm sorry that you've got--


CUOMO: --these memories haunting you in your head and your heart. But thank you for sharing what you saw, so that people can understand the truth of the situation from someone who was there.

EVANS: You're welcome.

WILLIAMS: Thank you, Chris.

CUOMO: Melvin, God bless, and good luck to you, and your partner, going forward, OK?

EVANS: OK. I appreciate that.

CUOMO: All right, we have more news tonight in the Coronavirus. I'll give it to you.









CUOMO: Have to get back to the truth because what the President is saying is literally making us sick.

This pandemic is "Dying out" he says. He made the comment about that when asked about his upcoming rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where local leaders are worried about what could come after the President draws a big crowd.


KAREN KEITH, TULSA COUNTY COMMISSIONER: We should have done any and everything that we could to move this to some other time because, as you all heard, our numbers are spiking. This could be a super- spreader. But given two weeks after this event, I can promise you that we are going to see issues in this community.


CUOMO: Trump supporters, you think the rally is worth it?

President says his Campaign is going to do temperature checks. So what? And that they're going to give out masks, which are optional. Why? And don't you have people sign releases? If you want them to come, you take the responsibility, Mr. President.

We're coming right back.