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Jury Wraps Up Day One Of Deliberations In Floyd Trial; Former Vice President Walter Mondale Dies At 93; Brooklyn Center, MN Mayor: Not Safe To Drive While Black. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired April 19, 2021 - 21:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Senator Murphy, I appreciate your time. Thank you.

SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D-CT): Thank you.

COOPER: The news continues right now. Want to hand it over to Chris for "CUOMO PRIME TIME." Chris?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: All right, thank you, Anderson. I appreciate it.

I am Chris Cuomo and welcome to PRIME TIME.

What will the verdict be? That is the question hanging over this country. The jury in George Floyd has the job to say the truth. That's what verdict literally means, to speak the truth.

And deliberations are still ongoing in the George Floyd murder case. They began earlier today. An entire nation is awaiting the verdict.


CUOMO: You're looking at Minneapolis, protesters peaceful, gathered there tonight. Cities from coast to coast are bracing for the outcome. The question is why? The first reason is because of this, this video.


CUOMO: The images that we saw seemed so obvious and obviously removed from anything resembling righteous behavior, any sense of decency. Floyd pinned for so long, by so many, literally a knee on his neck, screaming that he couldn't breathe, screaming for his mother, literally arrested to death, all on camera.

And though it is one case, for many, the hope is that the verdict speaks the truth about yes, what Derek Chauvin did to George Floyd, but also to what they believe happens to so many, in many cases, in many places, and too often, to Black faces, when it comes to policing.

And as clear as this reality is, for many in this country, it is challenged mightily by the Right, specifically the far-Right. It is used as a proxy. "This is an attack on law and order."

They use it to add potency to the poison of White fright, White replacement, the whole basket of bubkis that is a sorry distraction from problems that we should all work on, for the benefit of police, and of course, those they serve and protect.

So yes, our nation's eyes are on this jury of five men, and nine women, how will they process the final arguments? First, they heard from the state, then the defense. And then of course, the final word from the prosecution.

Here's a sample.


STEVE SCHLEICHER, PROSECUTOR: You can believe your eyes.

This wasn't policing. This was murder. The defendant is guilty of all three counts.

ERIC NELSON, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Officer Chauvin made a decision not to use higher levels of force when he would have been authorized to do that.

He was following his training.

Mr. Chauvin should be found not guilty of all counts.

JERRY BLACKWELL, PROSECUTOR: You were told, for example, that Mr. Floyd died, that Mr. Floyd died because his heart was too big.

The truth of the matter is that the reason George Floyd is dead, is because Mr. Chauvin's heart was too small.


CUOMO: Now, we will go in-depth on the closing arguments, the presentation, the positioning, how they were countered.

But be clear, the outcome in this case, and I don't know that it comes tonight, it's getting late. It's an hour earlier, where they're deliberating in Minnesota.

But they don't usually keep a jury this long. They will ask at some point, "Are you guys anywhere close?" And if they say "Yes," they may keep them. They may ask to stay. Otherwise, this will carry into tomorrow. We'll see. It's on our watch. I'll let you know as soon as we do.

But just be clear. This verdict is likely to bring nothing to the country anything like the unanimous voice that a jury must find for itself, if it does convict.

This has become the battleground for the ugliest politics of division. Now, I don't know if you were watching Friday night, but I said something that every one of you knows to be true. If what we're seeing, in these communities, were happening to kids in

suburbs, to adults in suburbs, if they suffered the same fate, as we see too often with these Black kids, if they died in policing situations, things would change.

Look at heroin, prescription opioids, meth. In poor areas, "Bad habits, bad families." Suburbs? "We have a major crisis. We must fight addiction. Laws! Legislation! Help! Crisis! Politics!"

Do you know how many Black girls go missing every year? They don't become household names. They're not the center of major manhunts, like when they are when they're affluent Whites.

Even COVID, once it was ravaging middle- or upper-class communities, well after the poor had gotten hit and hit hard, that's when it became a crisis. It's obvious, right? No, it is only obvious for the reasonable.


On the Rabid-Right, it was weaponized as a threat, what I said. "See? They want your kids to die. They want White kids to die, to end policing problems." Now, look, on its face, that's absurd. I'm White. Why would I want that?

But this is not about the facts. It's about fear. These people on the fringe want you afraid. They want you to fear diversity and being replaced.

This is the heart of the White replacement theory that has "Nothing to do with race." No wonder the fop on Fox who said that was described in court, as his own employer, by his employer, as not to be seen as credible. It's all about race.

But here's the truth that I hope to God that we find in ourselves, and soon, no matter what this verdict is. There is no progress in "Us" and "Them" in America. There is no progress in "Us" and "Them" in America.

No matter the verdict, we have a problem that disproportionately affects minorities, and it will never change, unless the majority wants it to. It is only when those with the power want it to change, that it may change.

God forbid it was your families. But if it were, it would have likely changed already, if you were White, affluent, suburbs, access to power. That's my point. That's the only point.

That is why I believe it is part of this job to have people, who may not look, may not live, may not feel like the people on your screen right now, but that to see your interconnection to them, the interdependence, on you and them, in a society.

Policing must be right for all communities. If you get it right, where it's going wrong, it will be right everywhere. Left and Right must surrender to reasonable. Everyone should want to be better. The question is, will this moment, and this is a heavy moment, will it bring us closer to the light or deeper into darkness? I know what I said is true. But it's not about knowing the truth. It's about living the truth.

Let's take that question to the better minds, Van Jones, and Anthony Barksdale.

Thank you both.

Bark, I've been relying on you for a long time to tell me what's right and what's not, not just in communities of color, but in policing, and in general.

I know that what I said is not just true. It's simple. If things happen in affluent communities that tend to be White, things change. They have power. They have access. The politicians are dependent on them. They have money. The police departments reflect those priorities.

Is that even something that you would let me finish, if we were face- to-face in a restaurant? Would you not cut me off and say, "Yes, yes, I know. What's your point? This is obvious."

ANTHONY BARKSDALE, FORMER BALTIMORE CITY DEPUTY POLICE COMMISSIONER: Oh, I would - I would agree with you. I might get up and start clapping, because it is true.

The disparity is clear between communities. And it is - it is we are way past the time to address this. We've seen enough in our country. We've had enough. And it's time to do something about it.

Hopefully, we see this conviction happen, for Chauvin, and Mr. Floyd gets justice, and we keep moving, because that's just the beginning. It's just the beginning. We got a lot of work to do.

CUOMO: I had somebody say to me, on the radio, Van, now - not, look, you want justice done. You want fairness under law. But it was a suggestion.

I wonder if the jury, were to come back hung, or a not-guilty verdict, that it may shock so many reasonable White people that "Holy cow! I can't believe they didn't get this guy" that that might have a bigger impact than even a guilty verdict. I'm not suggesting a good outcome from a bad outcome, or anything like that.

But there is a reason why the Right weaponizes words, like mine, looks at situations like this, and says "These people are the problem!" looks at what happens with George Floyd, and said, "This is not an example of a bad White guy. It's an example of a bad Black guy."

And they are every bit as invested in that argument, as people who were asking for change, Van. What do you do with that?

[21:10:00] VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, FORMER OBAMA ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Well, I think what you do is you lift up the people, who are actually doing it the right way.

The students, in the Twin Cities today, had a high-school walkout, and the kids at St. Anthony's, the white school, walked out, and the kids from the school in Northside walked out together.

The young people get it. They are moving forward. You have groups like ACER, which is a group of African immigrants, and other groups that are standing up, and they are finding support.

So, it is true that you do have in the far-Right, they're doing everything they can to discredit you, to discredit this movement, why, because they're scared of the fact that we are winning.

This movement is growing. Corporate America has come on board. You got politicians now. Look, if Tim Scott, Cory Booker, and Karen Bass, can get some magic going, in Congress, we might get legislation.

So yes, they are coming after you, Chris, they're coming after Black Lives Matter, because they understand that the truth is now only on one side of this thing, is that we need change.

And even though those affluent communities are important, guess what, those poor, Black and Brown communities, standing up, make a difference as well. This thing is moving in our direction. And that's why they're terrified.

CUOMO: What is terrifying about that, Bark?

And look, and just to be clear, I take a whooping, on a regular basis, you know? I have it on, the Head of the Police Union, from Chicago, the people, from the Left are very angry. They don't want to hear his perspective. I get it.

It's my job to reflect reality and test what comes. And I'm not looking to be popular. It's the wrong business for that.

But there is equal energy on the "This is not true, what you guys are doing on this street. This is just bad-mouthing cops, making it easy for people, to live the wrong way, and making disobeying the law OK. This is the end of law and order. This is what we're afraid of." They mean it, Bark.

BARKSDALE: They're not hearing the people. They're - It's tone-deaf.

One thing I did, when I retired, was I started to hear other voices, voices that were concerned about policing, "Black Lives Matter," "Defund the Police." I go, I sit, I talk with them.

And not being inside anymore, and listening to those voices, they have something powerful to say. So, we can't have our police departments saying "No, we're the cops, and this is what we do. And you don't know." They do know. You've got to listen to them. They'd have to hear voices, just like your voice. And you're willing to take anything they throw at you? Well, guess

what, they also need to understand that the other side has something so important to say. And we've got to make some difficult decisions. And the cops may not be happy. But we've got to push on this now.

JONES: And let me just say, I think a lot of cops are happy, in terms of I've not heard any police defending what this cop did.


JONES: You know? I mean an unbelievable wall of silence. And don't forget, who are the main people testifying against this cop?


JONES: A bunch of other cops saying "This is ridiculous."


JONES: And so, again, why this reaction? Why are you seeing people going completely nuts, on the other side? You even have police, who are willing to admit, and to acknowledge that this thing has gone too far.

And so look, I am praying and hoping that we get the right verdict here.


JONES: I know - I know, for the young people, who are watching this thing that a lot is hanging on the balance for them. But the reality is the entire world knows what happened. And I thought the prosecution did a good job.

I thought the defense today was a laughable joke. They, I mean, they spent two hours, saying, literally nothing. They refused to deal with the key issue. And I think we've got a shot here to get something positive done.

But regardless, a movement is forming, that includes people on all sides. And the Right-wing is screaming, and yelling. They should get on board with this thing and help us get to a better place.

CUOMO: Listen, Van, I love you. And I love the optimism. And I do believe that we have seen things change since George Floyd.

It was look, I don't know, it only takes one. I have to keep cautioning the audience that. It takes one person to hang this jury.

It takes one person, who says "Look, I don't like what this guy did. I think it was wrong what he did. But I think that this guy George Floyd was a little messed up, inside. And, you know, I had a cousin like that, you know? I heard of a guy once." And one is all it takes. So, I've got to caution people about that.

But that said, Commissioner, when cops talk to me, and I have cops all over my life. And Black, White, doesn't matter. They say "Don't sleep on how dangerous this job is, OK?"


I'm in community. I had - I had an African American officer say it to me, like literally within days, up in Boston, said, "Listen, you discount what we have to deal with. We come in. I've been shot out by a guy like this a 100 times. Nobody complies. Now they feel like they don't have to comply. Everybody's out to get me. They're writing A.C.A.B. all over the place. They're calling me "Pig" to my face. You did this."

What do I say?

BARKSDALE: I hate to be the bearer of bad news. But that's the job. I've been in those positions. I know some dynamics may have changed. But your training plays a role. The law is the law. You follow your training. You follow the law. You do your job.

And the issue is not what they do. It's what you do. You are a peace officer. They cannot disturb your peace. That's one of the most fundamental things that you learn when you become a police officer. You are trained. You use your equipment. You use everything that you have to do to do that job.

But to say, "Oh, these streets are too tough," quit, quit. Policing isn't for you. If you're scared, get out of it. If you can't function, when society says, "Look, this isn't working for us. We don't feel this. This is wrong," and you don't want to listen? It's not the job for you.

And I don't know who's going to step up, and take your badge, and take your service weapon. But somebody will. And hopefully, that person can listen to the other voices that say "We've got problems."

CUOMO: Van, quickly, what's your biggest hope over the next day or so? What's your biggest fear?

JONES: Well, look, my biggest hope is that the jury will come back, and say that this was - this was unlawful, it was - and give the most severe penalty possible, because that begins to send the signal that what we've been doing is working.

Don't forget, it was a protest in the street that got the Governor to reach down, take that case, from what I thought was a corrupt local prosecutor, give it to Keith Ellison, an African American, who was elected with a big mandate. And Keith Ellison did the right thing.

You can now go to the young people and say, "Guess what? If we protest, but got to keep it peaceful, vote, and put in good people, you can get a good outcome."

If you have any other thing that goes down, it becomes hard to keep people in the system, it becomes hard to get people to vote, and you go down a very, very bad pathway.

So, my fear is that well you can't go back to this generation, and say "Your protests mattered. Your voting mattered. Your elected officials did the right thing." If you don't have that, you have a very, very difficult time going forward.

CUOMO: Gentlemen, thank you very much. I appreciate the guidance.

As always, this is living history. We are going to figure something out about the country now, not just in the case, but in the reaction of the case.

And Van, your point was forgotten, and it is well met. We would have never gotten to this trial, if the situation had been as normal, status quo. It is only because this case, as egregious as it was, was taken out of local hands, and put in the State, the Attorney General, the State--

JONES: That's right.

CUOMO: --that you got here.

JONES: That's right.

CUOMO: Remember that. It wasn't obvious at the beginning.

Bark, thank you, Commissioner, as always.

BARKSDALE: Thank you, Chris.

CUOMO: Van, appreciate you.

So, they're still deliberating. I can't believe it's going to go that much longer, tonight, again, unless, and I don't know that we'll get word, if this happens, but unless they go to the jury, and say, "Are you close? Are you getting somewhere?"

Ah! We just got word that the jury is finished for the night. Not unusual, OK, not in a case of this magnitude. They have a number of charges all that meet the same behavior. I'm sure they're taking their job very seriously, because this is heavy.

They know what this is about. They know they're about the facts in the law, but they know what's going outside that courtroom as well. So, they should take it seriously. They should take their time.

They will reconvene in the morning. I expect that you have, if you don't have a verdict, in the first half of tomorrow, you have a situation, within that jury, where there's obviously one, or a few people, who are insistent that they can't find a meeting of the minds with the rest of the jury.

And that's when a hung jury becomes an issue. And if you have it, then it's a question of whether or not you can re-prosecute. And that's for the prosecution. One step at a time!

They've gone home for the night.

Now, when we look at the legal arguments, the prosecution's argument was very simple today. It was "Believe what you see and apply common sense."

The defense said "It's not easy to see it because you can't see inside what's happening to Floyd." Now, they also said "Chauvin could have done more. He could have used more force, and didn't." I don't get where they were going with that.


Luckily, I have two great, brilliant legal minds, from two other very high-profile trials, but they have a ton of experience beyond that, the prosecutor of the Freddie Gray case, and the lead defense attorney for the man acquitted in the killing of Trayvon Martin, next.








CUOMO: Judging by what we heard today, and the proof that was brought to bear, to support the same, over the weeks of this trial, where does it suggest, we're going to be, when the jury comes back?

Remember, three charges are under consideration, but all for the same universe of behavior, second- and third-degree murder and second- degree manslaughter.

Derek Chauvin could be acquitted or convicted in any combination of the three. There are a couple of combinations that are very unlikely, but let's see what they decide and then we'll digest it.

Let's discuss what will be weighing on them at this very moment. Let's bring in top legal minds, Marilyn Mosby, and Mark O'Mara.


I'd like to do this a little different tonight. Marilyn, I'm going to start with you with the suggestion of what the prosecution said. And then Mark, as - I just want to kind of help it along as it needs.

I'd really like you guys to just do point-counterpoint of how this set up, OK, so people can understand it that way. A lot of people have not been following this, day in and day out. So today, they're kind of coming back into reconnect to this.

Now Marilyn, the main thrust of the prosecution was "Believe what you see. And you know it's wrong because it is wrong. And you have to figure out which category of law it is. But common sense tells you everything that was done here was wrong, and that's why he's dead."

Take it from there, in terms of why that works. And Mark, obviously pick up as you see fit.

MARILYN MOSBY, STATE'S ATTORNEY FOR BALTIMORE CITY, MARYLAND, PROSECUTOR IN FREDDIE GRAY CASE: So, what I think is really smart, on the part of the prosecution, is to directly confront the fact that George Floyd is not on trial here, right, even despite the defense's attempt to stigmatize and to criminalize and to blame Floyd for his own death, whether it's his drug use, his prior non-cooperation with police.

It was smart for the prosecution to also play that video again and again, for the jury, so that those grisly, sort of, images, and the pleas of the bystanders, and George himself, are imparted in the minds of the jury, as they deliberate.

But last, but certainly not least, the point that you raise, Chris, is that I think it's incredibly smart to appeal to the jury's common sense by saying "This is a simple case that even a child could understand," and then reminding them about the 9-year-old baby screaming out, to get off of George Floyd, reminding the jury that despite the truth that the defense is attempting to shade, the jury, you, you saw with your very own eyes, you heard with your very own ears, you know why George Floyd died, because he told us, he said, "I can't breathe."

So, you know how he died. The medical experts have told us the substantial cause of George Floyd's death was a lack of oxygen, due to the unreasonable excessive restraint, imposed upon Floyd's neck, by Derek Chauvin, for 9 minutes and 30 seconds.

And the beauty of those arguments, Chris, is that there are three avenues for the prosecution to attempt to secure a conviction. And all of them require three different states of mind.

CUOMO: Right. And just for the jury - just for the jury! Just for the audience at home, what does that mean? One is he knew what he was doing, and he wanted to do it.

MOSBY: Correct.

CUOMO: The other one is, he knew he was doing something that was risky, and he continued to do it.

And then there's this third-degree murder charge that I always think is hard. Minnesota has litigated it more. They figured it out. It was a big problem here in New York, what they call depraved-mind murder, which is--


CUOMO: --his head was in a bad place. And he was doing things he should have known, could really do bad things. But it wasn't specific to George Floyd. It was just a kind of behavior that he had to know, no matter who he did it to, he might kill them. It's a tricky one. It always is. We'll see how it goes.

Now Mark, what do you think they did best, on the defense side, to cloud the perspective?

MARK O'MARA, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY, FORMER LEAD DEFENSE ATTORNEY FOR GEORGE ZIMMERMAN: Well remember, a defense attorney's job, in this case, it truly is to show that there is reasonable doubt that exists. And it is to show that even though the state has proved something, they have not proved it to the point, where you are convinced beyond every reasonable doubt.

And that sounds a little bit insincere, as an attorney, when you go in and say, "Well, it's close, but it's not enough."

But if you look at the way a defense attorney's supposed to present their case, and I think Mr. Nelson did a decent job of that, what they are supposed to say is "Always put the burden and keep the burden on the shoulders of the state."

The defense has to do absolutely nothing. They can literally sleep at the table, according to the Constitution, because it is only a conviction, if the state proves, beyond a reasonable doubt, each element of the offense.

And what Nelson did, I think, was trying to come up with alternative theories. Again, some people might say it was a bit of a shotgun approach. You have to be careful with so many alternatives that the jury just goes numb to all of them.

But if you're trying to find reasonable doubt, maybe it is reasonable doubt in the meth, maybe it's reasonable doubt in the Fentanyl, maybe it's reasonable doubt in the heart.

But at the essence of what the defense should be doing, and I don't know that Nelson brought this home, was to say, "Look, certainly there is reasonable doubt as to the higher offense or offenses.


And if you have a question about that, if maybe it was the Fentanyl, maybe it was the meth, maybe it was his resistance, at some point, maybe Chauvin truly did not have that ill-will in his heart, maybe he was following poor training, then let us go down to what you might look at."

And he didn't say it. But I almost wish he had given the jury a path, not permission, but a path to go towards that manslaughter charge, because quite honestly, and I think Miss Mosby might agree, a manslaughter conviction, in this case, would be a gift to the defense, and would be a win for the defense.

So, maybe he could have done a better job of opening up that possibility, for the jury, to consider, because, though it's very difficult to convict a cop, of anything, in this country, under these facts, they may well, and then it's the defense job to lessen what he's convicted of.

CUOMO: What did you think of the fact, Marilyn that the defense attorney argued "He could have done more?"


CUOMO: "Chauvin would have been justified in doing more." I didn't get to see the jurors' faces on that. I had heard that they were a little tired. He took a long time. But where - what was that about?

MOSBY: So, I wasn't impressed with the defense strategy, which, in my opinion, was the same that it always is, in police misconduct cases, which is to stigmatize, and to criminalize, and blame the victim, for their own death.

I think that the defense sought the introduction of Floyd's drug use, his heart condition, and even the carbon monoxide poisoning, to impose doubt in the minds of the jury. But that was done to invoke these conditions, as contributing causes of his death.

I think the defense really went wrong, where he really went wrong was putting an expert, on the stand, that testified that Chauvin's use of force was not only objectively reasonable, and justified, but he could have used even more force, against Floyd--

CUOMO: Right.

MOSBY: --because he was allegedly resisting. This type of stigmatization, and criminalization, and blaming the victim, for their own death, was done in the killings of Freddie Gray, Sandra Bland, Philando Castile, Mike Brown, and will likely be the defense, in even Daunte Wright.

CUOMO: Right.

MOSBY: The "Carbon Monoxide" defense was one that the defense just threw against the wall to see if it would stick. And I didn't think that it was effective.

CUOMO: Well Mark, here's the problem. Not only do you have three different charges that go to three different states of mind, for the same behavior, which could be a little confusing, but I actually think it's more of a convenience for the jury.

He may be right, that Fentanyl was involved. He may be right that, you know what, one of these people in this room has some kind of savvy medically, and says "I got to tell you, that heart doesn't look right."

The standard is very simple, and was pounded into their heads. That knee didn't have to be the only thing that killed him. It doesn't even have to be the main thing that killed him.

MOSBY: Right.

CUOMO: It just has to be one of the main things. And the case law, they didn't explain it this way, but it really points to the top three.

I mean that's tough to get away from, is it not? Mark, last word to you.

O'MARA: Sure, very, very difficult. And that was the problem with this case from the beginning with the defense. It wasn't - was to (ph) show if and only if this one cause led to the death. It literally was the substantive or a substantial cause and causative factor. And unfortunately, that's what the statute requires.

And the defense had a very difficult time wrapping their head around that. And they had a very difficult time, trying to come up with a reasonable explanation, as to why "Reasonable Doubt" exists, as to that issue, as to it wasn't a substantial cause.

And what they did, again, was this sort of shotgun approach of saying, "I can cut back on the substantiality of this cause of death, if I can show you all these other contributors, and maybe you'll add all the other possibilities up, and find the first one, the cause of death by Chauvin's knee didn't rise to the level of beyond a reasonable doubt conviction."

But very difficult case for the defense to put on and, we'll see, in probably a few hours tomorrow, what the jury thinks.

CUOMO: All right, thank you very much, Marilyn Mosby, Mark O'Mara, I thought it was really interesting.

One of the things that the prosecution said was, "You're not required to accept nonsense. You're not required to accept the proposition that the car did it, or that it was the bystanders' fault, distracting the defendant." They were very careful about what they did. But we'll see what the jury does.

We'll be right back with Breaking News just coming into CNN.







UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN Breaking News.



CUOMO: All right, this just came into CNN, former Vice President Walter Mondale has died at the age of 93. Mondale, you'll remember, served alongside President Jimmy Carter,

from '77 until 1981. He then became the Democratic presidential nominee in 1984, picking Geraldine Ferraro as his running mate. What a moment that was, for the Democrats, but also the nation, the first woman to ever appear on a presidential ticket!

He was beat in that election. Reagan had a signature victory, signature, you know, rolling to re-election. He only won his home state of Minnesota.

But when you look back at Mondale's influence, he was a true statesman. He first came onto the national political stage in 1964, U.S. Senator, after Hubert Humphrey became VP.

In later years, Mondale went on to become an Ambassador to Japan, under President Clinton. He lost a bid to return to the Senate, as a last-minute fill-in, after the death of Paul Wellstone in 2002.

The passing of this son of Minnesota comes on a night when his State is again in the national spotlight. Walter Mondale, the 42nd Vice President of the United States, is dead at the age of 93.


And if you're wondering, "Why do you know," I watched that Convention. I was there. I was seated next to his wife. And my father gave the keynote address. That was my Pop's big speech. It was done to boost Walter Mondale's chances.

He was a good man, who served this country with head and heart.

We're going to take a break, and then we'll be right back.








CUOMO: We got our eyes trained on Minnesota looking through the camera lenses. Let's go to those, who are watching it, out of their windows, people like Saint Paul Mayor Melvin Carter.

Mr. Mayor, it is good to see you. This is a heavy time to be in leadership. You're going to be needed no matter what the outcome is. What does that mean to you?

MAYOR MELVIN CARTER (D), SAINT PAUL, MINNESOTA: This is definitely a heavy time to be in leadership, Chris. It's a heavy time for our entire community.

And what we're focused on here is this memory, this notion, that no matter what the outcome of the trial, no matter what the jury decides, our work is really the same, moving forward.

And that's to ensure that this cycle, this deadly cycle, that we keep seeing stops, that we don't add another name to that list, not in America, and certainly not in Minnesota. And we're committed to that work, moving forward, no matter what the jury decides.


CUOMO: Let's see what your message is for both sides.

One is "This is grossly exaggerated, the media, the Left. If you look at the numbers, yes, you have some bad outcomes. But these are high- crime areas. There're more contacts. This is more criminality. And this would be about defending the police, who have such a hard job in these communities. And yet, they are demonized. And that George Floyd was wrong. But if he had just complied," what do you say?

CARTER: That's obviously what we always hear, "If he had just done this, or he had - if he had just done that."

Just last week, we lost Daunte Wright, in Minnesota, and people look at him and say, "Well, why did he run? Why was he afraid?" Well, maybe he thought that there was a possibility that he could be shot, on purpose, or by accident, by some of the officers who were with him.

Furthermore, it's very clear why people have a fear of officers, because they keep seeing these events, they keep seeing these incidents play out, over and over again.

The real question is, are we willing to accept a legal system, in our country, in which a minor traffic stop can turn into a deadly encounter with police? The answer has to be no.

CUOMO: Last week, in Minnesota, you had a 61-year-old White man, got into it with police. I don't know if he was in right mind or not. He wound up dragging a cop by his elbow, stuck in his window, and beating the police officer with his own hammer. And he showed up just fine at the station.

Now, I'm not saying he shouldn't have. God forbid, nobody else needs to be hurt. But what message do you think that sends?

CARTER: I think that's why it's important that we understand what the phrase "Black Lives Matter" means.

Our law enforcement infrastructure in America, and in Minnesota, has shown its ability to understand that White Lives Matter, and that other lives matter as well. That's why it's so important that we hammer home this message that Black lives matter.

They have to matter, that our legal system has to be able to assert that they matter, that our officers and our law enforcement systems have to be able to assert that they matter, and that we all deserve access to professional, courteous, respectful, first responders, who can treat all of our communities, with dignity, and protect the peace and sanctity of all of our neighborhoods.

CUOMO: You are very measured, Mr. Mayor, and there are those, who are not. And I think one of the problems - look, no matter where your sympathies lie on this, is that there's action and there is reaction, and both can be an issue, in terms of progress.

The Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan tweeted "I am grappling with the stark reality: Minnesota is a place where it is not safe to be Black."

The Brooklyn Center Mayor today said the following. Play it please.


MAYOR MIKE ELLIOTT, BROOKLYN CENTER, MINNESOTA: It's not safe to drive, in Minnesota, while you're Black.

I mean, the fact of the matter is there's so many of us who drive, you know, and if we see police behind us, we're afraid, you know, we're trembling. And that is a kind of terror that no citizens of the United - no citizen of the United States should ever have to face. It's constant. It's ever-present.


CUOMO: Do you agree with the sentiments of the Lieutenant Governor and the Brooklyn Center Mayor?

CARTER: Both leaders are close personal friends of mine. And what I'll tell you is if the Lieutenant Governor may be citing statistics, she may be citing facts, she may be citing the number of times that you've had to turn the eyes of your camera lens, to Minnesota.

There's no excuse, there's no reason, Chris, why Minnesota should be providing these hashtags to the Deep South, to the rest of the country, to the East and the West Coast.

I will tell you that from being a young person, who spent my high school years, driving around Minnesota, and my college years, driving around, going to school in Florida, and driving around the Deep South, if I were to tell you about the most disturbing experiences that I've personally had with law enforcement, I'd be telling you mostly about Minnesota stories.

And so, I think what matters less than my opinion of those comments is our ability, as a State, and as a community, to live them down.

CUOMO: It is a hard-spot for Black Americans because your outrage, at your own reality, gets used as proof of you to be blaming - blamed for your own reality. So, how do we see that made manifest? Representative--

CARTER: Without a doubt, but-- CUOMO: Go ahead, please.

CARTER: Chris, I was just going to say, it's a hard time for America.


It's a hard time for all of our country, when the entire world is eye witness to something, and we have to sit on pins and needles, wondering if this incident that the whole world can look at, and see with their own eyes, and say "That's wrong," we're sitting on pins and needles, to find out, if our legal system, if our judicial system is capable of holding someone accountable for it.

That's a hard time for our entire country. I am saddened. I mourn George Floyd, I mourn Daunte Wright, because they are Black men. I mourn them also because they are members of humanity.

And that's my response back to people who say, "I know this must be challenging for you," I always say "I assume it must be challenging for you as well."

This is the time that we have to push forward through. And that's our - that's why our message for our community is so clear. I'm not asking folks not to be angry. I'm not asking folks to be calm or to be quiet.

Quite the opposite, I'm asking our community to take the resolve, to take the energy, to take all that we feel right now, and channel it directly into constructing, not destructing our communities, but constructing a new path forward, in Saint Paul, in Minnesota, and all throughout our country.

CUOMO: Well-argued. Well said. Good luck with that mission going forward. Mr. Mayor Melvin Carter?

CARTER: Thank you very much.

CUOMO: Good luck. We'll be watching.

All right, we're going to take a quick break. When I come back, a reminder of what we, as human beings, are capable of. We are not just the incidents that we are focusing on right now. We are capable of great things, great things together.








CUOMO: We're not just about our ugliest moments, OK? Here's what I want to show you. I want to show you a video of what we're capable of. We don't have to just be steeped in our nightmares. We can achieve dreams.

Look at this, soaring like never before, on Mars, with its new helicopter Ingenuity.


CUOMO: It's the first time we've ever flown a chopper on another planet. It flew for about 40 seconds. Hit an altitude of 10 feet.

I know it doesn't sound like much. But this is really difficult. The air on the Red Planet, remember is very, very thin. So, what is this about? "This is a drone. You see them in your backyard." Yes, not on Mars.

This is just a reminder. This is just the beginning. The Wright brothers, 1903, got their first flight up in the air. Look where we are. We're in a planet that people could never even think they'd see.

We are capable of great things in technology, but also in the simplest of technologies, which is love. We can do better for each other.

We'll be right back.


CUOMO: And so we wait. The jury has gone, home, for the night, in the George Floyd case. We wait for a direction on this specific case but also for this country. "CNN TONIGHT" with the big star tonight, D. Lemon right now.