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Columbus Police Release New Bodycam Videos In Deadly Shooting Of Black Teen Armed With Knife; Dem Rep. Blasts GOP's Jim Jordan In Exchange Over Policing; DOJ Launches Probe Into Minneapolis Policing Practices. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired April 21, 2021 - 21:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: The President today also added more incentive. He called on businesses to give employees paid time-off, to get the vaccine, and announced he would give non-profits and small businesses a tax credit, to offset the cost.

The news continues right now. Let's hand it over to Chris for "CUOMO PRIME TIME."


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: All right, thank you very much, Coop. I appreciate it.

I am Chris Cuomo and welcome to PRIME TIME.

So here we are, trying to figure out what comes next. You had the verdict yesterday. And we do see some different developments already.

We know that the Department of Justice, under the care of Merrick Garland, that they are going to open up an investigation into policing in Minnesota, OK? What are they looking at? Well, the obvious. Does that Police Force have a pattern of excessive force and unlawful conduct against citizens?

Now, immediate interest there will be the initial Police statement on how George Floyd died. Remember, the Police initially called this a "Health incident." There was no mention of the knee on the neck, or the duration. And this would have never gone to trial had it not been for the case being taken away.

So, the White House says President Biden is going to push policing reform nationwide. He's going to do it, in an address to the Joint Session of Congress, next week. How likely is that?

Remember, many on the Right don't believe systemic racism exists.

Many on the Right believe that any problem with policing is a figment of the Left's imagination, that the numbers say "What you're seeing right here is the minimum. This one was bad, but there aren't many like this." That's their point of view. That's why it is a big unknown whether you will get any bipartisan play on the George Floyd Act. So, in terms of change, I think we saw an answer, right before we even

got the Floyd verdict, in terms of "What is the state of play?" And the answer is that the State of Play hasn't really changed. That was one case.

Before we got that verdict, just in the moments before, there was another police-killing, a lethal shooting of a 16-year-old Black girl named Ma'Khia Bryant. Now, this happened, at the hand of Police, in Columbus, Ohio.

I have to tell you, though, if you think you know about this story, you may not, if you haven't seen the video.

The early reports about this situation that were coming into us last night were varied and very misleading. But now we have tape, OK?

To be clear, the circumstances of this latest case are very different than that of the George Floyd situation. But the issue will be the same. Was the use of force justified?

And once again, there is body-camera footage that was released quickly. Now, this transparency, with the bodycam video, is new-found and fundamental. We saw it with other recent cases.

Daunte Wright, in Minnesota, the 20-year-old, with the mistake, between the Taser and the pistol. And Adam Toledo, the 13-year-old in Chicago, who was told to turn around, the officer thought he still had a gun, fired at him once, killed him.

The tapes in both cases were released quickly. That is a positive change because trust is at a premium.

Now also, this latest case in Ohio that I'm about to show you, and the two that preceded it, they all involve young people, OK? They are all, each and all, about the opposite use of time, as with George Floyd, meaning these cases are all split-second decisions.

Now, while the images can be tough, disturbing, if you want to understand what happened, you need to watch.

So, this is the latest case in Columbus, Ohio. This started with a 911 call, and here it is.


DISPATCHER: 911, where is your emergency?

What's going on?

911 CALLER: Come up here!

We've got these (inaudible) girls over here trying to fight us, trying to stab us, trying to put their hands on our grandma, get here now!

DISPATCHER: Do you see any weapons?

Ma'am, do you see any weapons?

911 CALLER: We need a - we need a police officer here now!


CUOMO: Now, we don't know who it was that made that call. But she referred to someone trying to stab her.

Now we have the body-camera footage, and we can see what the officer saw in real-time.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's going on? What's going on?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey? Hey? Hey? Hey? Get down! Get down! Get down! Get down!


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey? No. You just killed my (BLEEP) baby girl. You shot my baby girl!



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (inaudible) I didn't do anything.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This man is not supposed to be here.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This man is not supposed to be here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you stupid (inaudible)?





UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She had a knife. She just went at her.


CUOMO: That's the voice of the officer there. "She had a knife. She just went at her."


Now, there's a lot going on there, so let's walk through it again slowly, as the analysis that will be done by investigators, in judging whether or not this was a justifiable use of force, OK?

Now, when they pull up, the first scene, obviously you got a group fighting. You have what they call a melee, all right? And the female in the jean, so the officer comes out, you don't see his gun right away, can't see his right hand, so I don't know he probably has his hand on it.

Now, he sees this girl get knocked down by Ma'Khia Bryant, OK? The man standing on the right then proceeds to kick the woman, or attempt, to kick her in the head. Ma'Khia then makes an advance toward a woman in a pink sweatsuit up against a car. The officer saw the knife. He starts to give verbal commands.

Now, there are a lot of decisions that he had to make in a very short amount of time.

At the end, you heard the voice of the officer, who fired those four shots, identified earlier as Officer Nicholas Reardon. He's been on the Force since 2019. You heard him tell a witness why he pulled the trigger. "She had a knife. She just went at her."

The question is does that justify the use of force? Split-second decision, absolutely, it's a hard job.

But it's got to be analyzed by what he saw, the distance, which is going to be a big part, of the analysis here, the options presented to the officer in his own mind, and then you have to start with inaction.

Could he or should he have done nothing? Could he have physically restrained, because he'd gotten in there? Did he have time? Did he have the capability, the inclination? Is that the rule? Could he have used the Taser? What are the rules there? What is the difference?

Well, distance, what were the different criteria for whether or not a Taser is right? What are they trained to do? The knife being involved, how does that change things for the officer? And then, the number of shots fired? Will that be justified?

And a part of the analysis that I can do in advance, no officers in any police department, in this nation, that I know of, are trained to fire warning shots, or to aim for non-lethal opportunities, with a weapon, meaning shoot you in the foot, shoot you in the arm. They are not trained to do that.

They are trained, if you're going to use the weapon, it is because you've made an assessment of imminent threat to you or someone else.

The duty for the officer goes to your life, or another's, meaning the woman in the pink sweatsuit. But none of them are given the ability, unless they want to take it on themselves, to shoot somewhere else. They are trained center mass and to fire until the threat is put down.

Now, what Reardon did not have we do, which is the benefit of slo-mo. Now, some will say this isn't fair in assessing his decisions. I'm not using it for that. I'm using it for us, so that we can assess what we see in the situation. When I use the slo-mo, it'll be much more apparent.

Here it is.


CUOMO: So, Reardon has arrived. The woman's already been thrown on the ground. This is what he sees.

That's a big knife in her hand. It's not a pocket knife.

He sees the woman in the pink sweatsuit. She is not positioned to fight back, right? The woman's been knocked down.

Go ahead. Run the slo-mo again.


CUOMO: The woman gets knocked down. There's a man, who comes behind Ma'Khia. Ma'Khia gets up, and comes at the woman. That's a knife that's highlighted. That woman is in no position to defend herself.

Now, the last part of this that I want you to see is where do you see the knife, the arm position of Ma'Khia Bryant, and what it looks like, she's about to do?

Now, this is in slo-mo, OK? Show that one more time.


CUOMO: The knife, position of the arm, and what it seems like it's going to happen. The arm comes up to the shoulder, over the shoulder, and does seem to be going down toward the woman in the pink sweatshirt - sweatsuit.

Now, we see the officer with a gun. Did he pass leather, meaning did he take it out of the holster, because he saw the knife? That's important here. Why did he go for the gun automatically, and not the Taser?

Bryant did appear to move quickly toward the woman in pink. You hear Reardon yelling "Get down! Get down!" Was that the right verbal command? The officer screams instructions, "Get down! Get down!" Bryant's arm is raised. He takes the shots, all right? That's what we see in the video.

The question is what are the right steps for assessment? And I am not saying that slo-mo is a fair way to assess it for whether or not the officer did the right thing. I know he had to do it in real-time, OK?

So, let's continue our analysis right now, which is to bring in the better minds, OK? We have Anthony Barksdale, and Van Jones, joining us right now.


Gentlemen, once again, thank you. I wish it hadn't been so soon. But it is good to have you both.

You saw the video. Without just drowning people in it all night, Bark, when you look at the video, what is your initial assessment as to whether or not what the officer did was justified or unjustified?

ANTHONY BARKSDALE, FORMER BALTIMORE CITY DEPUTY POLICE COMMISSIONER, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Chris, I believe the officer's actions were justified and reasonable. It is a tragedy. Yes, it is. But his actions were valid.

CUOMO: Now, you know what people say?

"Valid? 16-year-old girl, a knife, he couldn't have done anything else? He couldn't have gotten in there? He couldn't have used the Taser? Why did he pull the pistol? Should police even be coming to an event like this?"

That's some of the pushback, specifically, from a lot of the Black community. What do you make of those snap judgments and concerns?

BARKSDALE: She has a knife. She is actively attacking another Black young girl. And the officer had to take action. Once again, Chris, policing isn't pretty. It's not perfect. But sometimes, that officer has to do what he or she has to do, to save someone. And I believe that's what we saw.

CUOMO: Van, you understand the pushback that people have to this situation, and what they're complaining about. Obviously, the officer didn't know how old the people were involved.

But 16-year-old girl, her life gone, in this situation, has made people very upset again. Do you think that's a justifiable upset at the Police?

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, FORMER OBAMA ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I do. The one thing you want is for your kids to be able to survive their dumb mistakes. That's all. I don't know why that young girl was doing what she was doing. I don't know why she had the knife. I just can't have a hard time with this one.

I understand. Look, again, I'm from law enforcement family, you know? I'm sure the cops are going to be justified because there's a deadly weapon there. Pretty much that's the end of the conversation, from a legal point of view.

But I think, from a community point of view, the fact that you have a police officer, who seems to be in situation, where the first thing he goes for is a gun, maybe he saw the knife, maybe he didn't see the knife.

But I just - this is going to sound terrible, Chris, but just hear me out.

I've just seen so many White kids do so much crazy stuff, I mean, insane stuff. And they don't get arrested. They don't get shot. They don't get beat up. They don't get Tased. They don't get anything. It's just like the cops were there, like they're babysitting, for the neighborhood, while total pandemonium happens.

And then, when I see the same kinds of behavior, and frankly, less crazy behavior, happening in the community, it's always yelling at kids, cursing at kids, threatening kids, sometimes hitting kids, sometimes Tasing kids and, as you see, sometimes shooting kids.

I just - it's just so hard to swallow, that there wasn't some other option that there wasn't some opportunity. And if you went up to a bunch of White girls fighting, do you imagine cops shooting them? It just - so that's what I'm saying, it's hard to swallow.

When you get through with all of it, I'm 100 percent resigned to the fact that the officer will probably be justified, from a legal point of view. But there's something really wrong in the just a mere fact that most of the community, we have no trust, just no trust at all.

As soon as we got the verdict, everybody was happy. "Oh my god, another kid got killed!" Another kid got killed by the cops. And--

CUOMO: Why don't the circumstances matter?

JONES: I mean--

CUOMO: What concerned me last night--


CUOMO: --I was with you guys last night.


CUOMO: When we started hearing about this. Bark came on later. I was with you and Ramsey. And the versions of this story were exactly what you're portraying it as now. I know you know the facts change.


CUOMO: But "It was just a fight, and the cop shot her," you know?


CUOMO: This is not just a fight.


CUOMO: I mean, she's lunging with a long blade at somebody's head, neck, torso. If that were your kid, in that pink sweatsuit, would you have wanted the officer to let it go, or run in there, after she stabbed her a couple times?

JONES: Yes, look, I understand the cop, in some ways, is in a no-win situation, and they're not trained to do nothing. I understand that.

And that we could have just as easily been sitting here saying, "Look, well, cops don't care about kids. They let these kids stab each other to death, and the cops didn't do anything." So you could be in the opposite scenario.

And so, what I'm saying, it's sitting so poorly with me, at a heart level. At a head level, I understand. But at a heart level--

CUOMO: How can it not? 16-year-old girl--

JONES: Yes, that's what I'm saying.

CUOMO: --how can you not? I mean, everything we want is protection of the young.

JONES: Yes. And I--

CUOMO: So that they have a chance to do better.


JONES: And I just wonder, in a country, where cops weren't armed, which is most countries, if you think about, if you're in the U.K., the cop doesn't reach for the gun because they can't reach for the gun.

And so, they wind up being trained very differently in conflict resolution, they wind up being trained very differently, and they have different outcomes. Of course, they don't have a country where you got guns everywhere. So I'm not saying that.

But I'm just saying how much of it, at the end of the day, maybe in this situation, there's no other choice, but I just - it just sits so bad. It's been bothering me all day. And I think a lot of people feel the same way.

At the end of the day, I want us to figure out some way to talk people down more than we shoot them down. And I see it happening in some communities more, I see it happening in others.

CUOMO: I totally get everything you're saying. And this is a no-win situation because you lost life. And as soon as that happens, there's no - there's never going to be upside, no matter what the remedy was.

But Bark, in this situation, is there something else? What would you have done?

BARKSDALE: Chris is - and we all go back to what we talked about prior, OODA loop, Observe, Orient, Decide, Act.

We got a call - the officer got a call that there's someone stabbing. So, you're thinking on person, there's a knife. It's not for Tasers, not for Mace. The officer must think "Gun, I - my force has to overcome a knife." So that's what's in his mind.

Then he sees the threat. He orients. He's looking where everybody is.

Now, I'm going to stop you and say something. He - I'm looking at him take those shots, while the woman in pink was right there. That is concerning. But, at the same time, the threat was there. It was imminent and he fired.

So, he made a decision, decide, he decided that he was going to use force. He pulled the trigger--

CUOMO: I will say though, Anthony, did you see the faces on the other two officers? They look a little bit in shock. They did not have weapons drawn.

One of them seems to be a person of color. The other one seems to be White. He's got on black long sleeves, but I think it's a White guy. They look surprised. They're looking at the officer. They did not have weapons drawn.

BARKSDALE: If we look at the angle, that officer that fired is the one who sees the knife. I think one is coming from behind the vehicle.


BARKSDALE: And he's - he pulls his gun out to sweep, while she's still on the ground. So, he didn't see, in my opinion, what was going on. That officer went right into that situation, and then split-seconds, that hot call really got hot.

And unfortunately, and I'm with Van on this, it is - you're tired of it. If there's another solution, I believe we do need to work on it. But right now, for this particular incident, the officer is justified, in that use of force, in my opinion.

CUOMO: All right, I got to jump.

JONES: I think--

CUOMO: Van, I got to go. I got to go. I'm sorry.

JONES: We'll be back.

CUOMO: Look, this conversation will be continued, I hope, God willing, it's not because we keep having cases.


CUOMO: It's that we start talking about solutions.

Thank you both, Gentlemen. I appreciate you.

BARKSDALE: Thank you.

CUOMO: A Columbus City leader was working on making Police more accountable, in his city, when he got word of this shooting last night. I want to bring him in, to get his reaction to the bodycam videos and what he thinks.

Is there something that could have made this go differently? Is there a way to do it better? Next.









CUOMO: All right, here's the question. Could the situation in Columbus have been handled otherwise? My next guest is looking at exactly this, and he's in a position to help, President of the Columbus City Council, Shannon Hardin.

Thank you for joining me.

SHANNON HARDIN, PRESIDENT, COLUMBUS CITY COUNCIL: Thank you for having me in these very tragic circumstances.

CUOMO: Do you believe it had to go the way it went?

HARDIN: You know what, Chris? I am in leadership of a city that is mourning today that is grieving. At the end of the day, we have a 16- year-old - I call her a baby, Ma'Khia, who is not with us anymore.

So, I don't have all the answers. What I do know is that the Black community, in particular, is dealing with the fear that comes with policing in America. And our City is not immune to those fears. And we're not immune to the issues of policing in this country.

CUOMO: Understood. But, look - there is no "But." You lost a young life. And that is horrible under any circumstances. But in terms of what you do with that pain, not all cases are the same.

HARDIN: Right.

CUOMO: I really don't know what this officer - I mean, I guess the officer could have done nothing. But then what if she had really stabbed up that other girl, and then people would say, "See he didn't do anything because he didn't care about her life the same way."

I feel like the situation's got to matter too. I mean, when you look at the situation, I understand the pain and the mourning, but answers and clarity and transparency, can really harness the pain in situations like this. What do you say about that? HARDIN: So, certainly, I think what we have done, over the last 24 hours, I applaud the Mayor, in immediately releasing these videos.


HARDIN: It provides that transparency.


We are now under an agreement with the State of Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, where any officer-involved shooting is immediately turned over so, there, that we have the independence, so that we can have the accountability.

Transparency, accountability matters. But, at the end of the day, they're not going to bring back Ma'Khia.

And so for me, one of the things that we have focused on is reform, in general. We have too many interactions with police officers that end in, in violent ways. And for us, we've been focusing on reform.

In fact, just yesterday, when I found out about Ma'Khia is I was live, hosting a hearing to seat our city's first-ever Civilian Review Board to provide oversight and accountability. I had to process this, in front of the community, as we were hearing this.

And I think back, over the last eight months, nine months, since George Floyd, as we were putting out the statement yesterday, where I was saying that we were sighing a sigh of relief, the truth smacks us in the face, and that for too many in our community, there is no relief.

Since George Floyd's killing, in Columbus, in our city, we have banned no-knock warrants, we have decriminalized - de-militarized the Military force, we have passed reforms that would weed out police officers with hate group affiliations, and we passed "Put to voters (ph)" and it passed 72 percent, the civilian police reform.

But even this instance tells us we still have to do more. I believe in the term and the process of reimagining public safety.

And not just here in Columbus, but all across this country, we have to bring down those situations, where these officers are engaging with the community, and say, "Do we need more mental health responders?"

We are asking police officers to deal with youth violence, to deal with mental health, to deal with substance abuse, to deal with poverty. And they can't be trained to deal with all of this.

CUOMO: Right.

HARDIN: And so, I have to support bringing in other folks to make sure that our residents get the appropriate response to the crisis that's at hand.

CUOMO: And look, I've read a good amount about what you've been saying on this. And people should do their own research on you, because it's very nuanced and contextual. You just lost a 16-year-old. It's hard to move past that.

But you do have to balance your equities here in terms of this is what police face.

HARDIN: Right.

CUOMO: And you can't have them be demonized, because then you'll never have trust in the community.

And it was interesting for me to get your take on this, a son of Ohio, to have LeBron James, he came out hot, out of the box, "YOU'RE NEXT." He deleted the tweet.

And then he wrote another message saying, "Hey, we got to be calm. I deleted the tweet, because I don't want to add to this. I don't want to just go at the officer. I'm just very upset about this 16-year-old being lost."

It's a delicate balance, having people respect a very difficult job that that cop had to come to, in that situation, and also making sure that the job is as safe as it can be. Am I right?

HARDIN: You're 100 percent right. But everybody has the right to be angry. I have shed more tears today, than I have in any other day of my term, of serving this City. So the anger and the frustration is real. And that is understandable.

And what we have seen, over the last day, with this body-camera video, is an interaction that tragically took the life of Ma'Khia.

But the important thing is, is that we have an independent investigation. So, it's not about you or I answering the question, "Should he use a different weapon or not?" We will have an investigation to look into those things.

And candidly, I can't really speak on how I feel on that, because there is an independent investigation.

CUOMO: Right.

HARDIN: And the worst thing that I would want to do is any way jeopardize those findings.

But the fact of the matter is that one thing that I know for sure is that the baby's gone. And we, as a community, all of us, and I will say that - I mean, we as a country need to pass the George Floyd Policing Act. We all - we need tools.

Cities are trying. We are passing the reform. But time and time again, we are having these instances. And in too many, too often, the babies and the folks that are dying look like me.

CUOMO: Shannon Hardin, you are right. And the pain is all too real. And it's all too frequent. And I'm sorry for your community. And I appreciate you addressing it, and addressing it here on the show. I wish you luck going forward.

HARDIN: Keep our City in your prayers. Thank you.

CUOMO: All right, be well.

And just quick, as I transition to conventional here, I know what the other side is, on this. And there really, there can't be sides. I understand. She had a knife. This was bad. Not every case is the same. I know.

Well, then why are they so upset? Here's why people are upset. Because you know how many situations like this were not as fact-friendly to a justified use of force, as this one was, but there was no justice? There was no knife. It was a pushing match. It was someone, who didn't want to listen.

The pain is not just about one incident. It's a carry-over from a culture. You have to remember that as well.


This is a tough case, because it was a kid. The facts are going to line up in a way that's going to make for a quick investigation. But that doesn't mean that this one incident gives us one reality.

My next guest is not only a former law enforcement officer. She is now a lawmaker with the power to vote for police reform in Congress.

Val Demings understands how hard this balance is, as a leader, as a lawmaker and, as a person of color. And she also understands that it's hot in here, in terms of this argument. She had a tiff with one of her colleagues about this, on the subject.

How does she see it? Where are we headed? Next.








CUOMO: An impassioned rebuke from Democratic lawmaker Val Demings is going viral. She took it to Congressman Jim Jordan.

The context? Jordan tried to introduce an amendment that would prevent efforts to defund Police. But it came during debate on a Hate Crimes bill, addressing racial violence against Asian Americans, a bill that made no mention of defunding Police. Demings didn't like it. Here was her response.



REP. VAL DEMINGS (D-FL): I served as a law enforcement officer for 27 years. It is a tough job. And good police officers deserve your support.

You know, it's interesting to see my colleagues, on the other side of the aisle, support the police, when it is politically convenient to do so. Law enforcement officers risk their lives every day. They deserve better, and the American people deserve--

REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): (inaudible).

DEMINGS: I have the floor, Mr. Jordan.

REP. JERROLD NADLER (D-NY): The Gentlelady has the floor.

DEMINGS: What? Did I strike a nerve?

NADLER: The Gentle - the Gentle--

DEMINGS: Law enforcement officers deserve--

NADLER: The Gentle - the Gentlelady--

DEMINGS: --better than to be utilized--

NADLER: Gentle--

DEMINGS: --as pawns.

NADLER: The Gentlelady--

DEMINGS: And you and your colleagues should be ashamed--

NADLER: The Gentlelady will - the Gentlelady--

DEMINGS: --of yourselves.

NADLER: The Gentlelady will suspend and the clock will be stopped.


CUOMO: House Judiciary Chair there, Jerry Nadler, obviously tried to step in.

Val Demings is no joke. She knows the job. And the politics have gotten ugly, around policing. It's the hardest job in the world. I mean, even in this Columbus, Ohio, how do you think that officer feels tonight, after having to do the job that he had to do there?

She believes there's a strategy behind playing Police as pawns. And she also believes there's a better way forward. So, let's have that conversation, next.








CUOMO: With us now is Democratic Congresswoman Val Demings, who of course understands policing. She was the Chief of Police in Florida.

What didn't you like about where you think Jim Jordan, and his colleagues were coming from, in that hearing?


DEMINGS: Well Chris, how are you? It's great to be with you.

And let me just say this. As you well know, we're dealing with some critical issues, in our nation. Criminal justice reform, COVID 19, crumbling infrastructure, we're dealing with some serious issues.

Yesterday, we were looking at legislation, dealing with hate crime, really trying to address the increase in violence against Asian Americans, in this country, as a result of the violent rhetoric from the former president.

I would think if Mr. Jordan was so concerned about protecting law enforcement, then he would be very interested, in passing legislation that reduces hate crimes that law enforcement has to deal with.

And so, what we saw yesterday was just another political game, that he - where he was trying to distract us, distract the Committee, distract the American people, from the real issues, and using, and tried to use, law enforcement as a political pawn.

CUOMO: You think--

DEMINGS: I didn't like it.


DEMINGS: We need to stay focused. And I spoke up about it.

CUOMO: Yes, you did!

The idea of getting change, through Congress, what do you think the chance is that the George Floyd law gets through, when the mentality in the Senate is not that different, from the Right in the House? They don't believe in systemic inequality. They don't believe in these

needed changes. They don't want to get rid of chokeholds. What do you think is that you get the George Floyd Act passed?

DEMINGS: Chris, yesterday, we saw, we heard the verdict, "Guilty on all charges."

During the trial, we saw bystanders, from a 9-year-old girl, a teenager, and others, come forward and testify.

We saw the Police Chief testify, Police Lieutenant testify, the Training Officer, testify. They all said, "We did not teach - we do not teach this technique. And this is not our ethics, or our values."

So, we've already seen some things that we are not used to seeing, resulting from the George Floyd trial.

I am hoping that the Members of the U.S. Senate were paying attention, and will seize this opportunity, to join America, to join the citizens, to join good law enforcement officers, who certainly want to see change, so that they can be better.

I'm hoping the Senate's paying attention, and will step up to the moment, and do the right thing and pass this legislation.

Is it going to solve all of our problems? No, it cannot. But coming together in a very meaningful way, and listening to the American people, and wanting to fix our own brokenness, is a heck of a good start.

CUOMO: It is a good start, if you can get a start.

They are not accepting, on the Right fringe, this verdict, as what you just put it out there as. They are seeing it as mob mentality turned into a fear tactic that that jury was scared into this, that even the President was putting pressure on them to create a certain outcome.

Now, I have sound teed up, from this guy, over on Hate TV, but I'm not going to play it. I'm not going to echo what he says. You know what they're saying. They say that this was - the jury got scared into it.

Now, you have this situation in Columbus, Ohio, where this young woman, for whatever reason, decides to take a knife, and go at this other girl, the cop winds shooting her four times, killing her. They're using that as an example. "Oh, well what was the policeman supposed to do here? Let her get stabbed?"

How do you get past the rhetoric of the fear that people are demonizing the Police, that you're scaring people into verdicts? You got to get past that before you can get to legislation.

DEMINGS: Chris, any thought that the jury was scared into their verdict is an insult to them, and it's an insult to a system, while it's not perfect, it is an insult to our system of justice.

Look, I have had an opportunity to spend considerable amount of time with juries in my career. There are men and women, who step up to the plate, and they serve their communities with honor and distinction.

They saw the video, just like the whole world did. They heard the testimony, just like the whole world did. I would love to hear what the Republicans thought the use of force was, if they did not think it was excessive, that it was inhumane, that it was inappropriate.

So, the evidence is clear. But I know that they're asking us not to believe our eyes and our ears. Shame on them!


I commend the jury for weighing the evidence, which was clear and convincing. And obviously, the prosecution convinced them, beyond any reasonable doubt, in this case.

And so I am, again hoping that we can find enough good men and women, courageous Members of the U.S. Senate, to get this done, on behalf of our nation.

I said yesterday that justice prevailed. But look, we know that justice is more than just one verdict and one incident.

We still have a lot of work to do. But we cannot get that work done, without bringing in law enforcement and the community together. Everybody counts, but everybody's accountable and responsible, lawmakers at the local, state and federal level.

Chris, this is our moment. And I am hoping and praying that we will rise to this moment.

CUOMO: I give you the last word. Congressman Val Demings, thank you for coming on the show, and good luck with the work.

DEMINGS: Thank you.

CUOMO: Another piece of what we're seeing in the aftermath of the George Floyd trial is the Department of Justice moving in and looking at Minneapolis, specifically. Specifically, within their probe will be how George Floyd was handled by the Police in the beginning.

Now, the DOJ has done this before. They actually probed policing in Baltimore, when Freddie Gray died, in police custody, in 2015.

You remember, that case was a, heartbreak, for a lot of people, in that community, because there were all these charges that they weren't used to hearing about, against Police, but not a single conviction.

Now, what change came from the investigation of the Baltimore Police? What did they find? Is it better because of that case?

Marilyn Mosby knows, and she's here, next.









CUOMO: A day after Derek Chauvin's conviction, in the murder of George Floyd, the Justice Department announced a sweeping investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department.

It's the first such pattern or practice investigation in the Biden Administration. It's not the first of its kind, but it is marking a return to increased federal oversight on policing.

The Trump Administration used this kind of investigation, just once, over the past four years. Stark contrast to the more than two dozen civil rights investigations launched under President Obama.

One of those was launched in Baltimore, and it came after the death of Freddie Gray, while in police custody. It was ruled a homicide and resulted in a consent decree, which is a willing statement of change by that office or department.

Marilyn Mosby was the prosecutor in that State's case, and is the State's Attorney for Baltimore City.

It's good to see you, Counselor.


CUOMO: Do you believe that the DOJ made a meaningful difference in Baltimore?

MOSBY: I absolutely do. I mean, first and foremost, I think that we're in a very unique sort of moment. I think that what we saw yesterday is a first step towards equality and accountability.

But accountability is so incredibly important, right? Because when you look at what happened in Freddie Gray, in 2015, that accountability, which wasn't being had in this country, led to exposure.

A week after I charged those officers, the Department of Justice came in, exposed a pattern and practice of discriminatory policing, in the eighth largest police department in the country. That exposure ultimately led to reform. And even despite the fact that the Trump Administration tried to stop it, it's still on record.

And what we can point to is tangible sort of reforms that were put into place, as a direct result of that accountability, right? So, you look at the federal consent decree, the body-worn cameras on all officers, we didn't have that implementation in the City of Baltimore before that decision, before that accountability.

We have use of force and de-escalation policies that emphasizes sanctity of life. We have the affirmative duty to intervene, when your fellow officers cross the line. Police officers are mandated to call a medic, when requested by a prisoner, the mandate to seat all - seatbelt all prisoners, right?

We even have cameras in some of the police wagons, where we don't have to just rely on circumstantial evidence, like we did in Freddie Gray. And then there's also software verification that ensures police accountability.

So, there are tangible reforms. But let's be clear, there are still systems that prevent police accountability that we have to ensure that we reform.

CUOMO: Accountability goes hand-in-hand with culture. Do you believe that the investigation and your prosecution was a catalyst for culture change? Is there any indication?

MOSBY: I mean, you hit the nail on the head, Chris. This is about culture change, right? This is not a training issue, right?

And, at the end of the day, what we have to be cognizant of, and this is something that I said last night is I thought the - that Keith Ellison and the prosecution team did a phenomenal job. We had video evidence that was vital and could not be contradicted.

But, at the end of the day, the one thing I disagreed with them about was the fact that this did not represent policing in America. What George - what Derek Chauvin did to George Floyd absolutely represents what policing has been, for Black people, in this country. And so, it's a culture shift, absolutely. What do we need to do? We need to reform it.

So, when you look at the Law Enforcement Bill of Rights, that ties police department's hands from getting rid of problematic officers, we need to ensure that we do that. We've done that in the State of Maryland.

When it comes to investigating, police investigating themselves, your prosecution is only going to be as good as the investigation. No profession should be in the business of investigating themselves. So, there are systemic reforms that need to be put into place that we are moving towards.

And in the State of Maryland, I'm happy, through the leadership of the first Black Speaker of the House, we've passed historic police accountability reform. But nationally, we have got to understand, we have to move, from protests, to policy, and implement these types of reforms.


CUOMO: Every case is different. When the DOJ looks at Minnesota, they're going to have low fruit, like the fact that the Department didn't even mention the knee on the neck, in the initial assessment, said it was a "Health incident."

And then there are things that are hard, like the Columbus, Ohio case, we're looking at right now. 16-year-old girl that lost a life is unbearable for that community and, of course, her family.

But officers have a hard job. And now, in that case, the officer is getting all kinds of scrutiny. He was put in a bad position because that's the job for these guys. How do you help people understand that as well?

MOSBY: I mean you're absolutely right. I mean, I can tell you, I come from law enforcement. My grandfather was one of the founding members of the first Black police organization in Massachusetts. And the one thing I can tell you, they risk their lives each and every day.

But there is a culture of stigmatization and criminalization that is imposed upon Black people, in this country--

CUOMO: I hear you.

MOSBY: --that we have got to change. That's one of the reasons why, a month ago, I came out, and basically said, "We're not prosecuting these low-level offenses that have nothing to do with public safety."

We have to stop relying on the police to respond to every social ill of society that for Black people in this country can lead to a death sentence.

CUOMO: I hear you.

MOSBY: If you look at Freddie Gray, he made eye contact with police, in a high-crime neighborhood. He ended up dead.

Eric Garner was allegedly selling loose cigarettes. George Floyd passing - allegedly giving a counterfeit bill, during a global pandemic for groceries, right? Daunte Wright, air fresheners, right?

Like, so at the end of the day, there are systemic reforms that need to be put into place. And this is the beginning to ensuring those reforms come into place.

CUOMO: Marilyn Mosby, I appreciate the passion, and thank you for the intellect that you bring to the situation. Appreciate you.

MOSBY: Thank you. Thank you for having me.

CUOMO: We'll be right back.