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At This Hour
Family Of Patrick Lyoya Demands Officer Be Prosecuted; Over 150 Hurt In Violent Clashes At Holy Site In Jerusalem; CDC: Drug Overdose Deaths In U.S. Hit New Record High. Aired 11:30a-12p ET
Aired April 15, 2022 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: This afternoon, another protest is planned in Michigan to demand justice for Patrick Lyoya, a 26-year-old black man shot and killed last week by a white police officer during a traffic stop. There's quite a bit of video capturing this incident and it is difficult to watch. It shows Lyoya face down on the ground, the police officer on top of him, and then the officer shooting him in the head as they struggle. The family wants the officer fired and charged. CNN's Lucy Kafanov is live in Grand Rapids, Michigan with more on this. Lucy, what are you hearing there today?
LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, we are in front of the Grand Rapids police headquarters. We're expecting folks from the community to gather here in a couple of hours to join the family and demanding justice. But yesterday was the first time that we heard from Patrick Lyoya's family. His father said he's deeply heartbroken that Patrick was his life and that now that life is over. And some important context, Kate, the family fled a brutal war in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a region plagued by violence since the late 1990s. They won asylum coming here in 2014. America was supposed to be a refuge, a safe refuge for their children and now a mother is grieving the death of her 26-year-old son. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DORCAS LYOYA, SON KILLED BY MICHIGAN POLICE OFFICER: Speaking a foreign language.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: See, that was my beloved son and you know how you love your firstborn son. And I thought that I came to a safe land, a haven, a safe place. And I stop talking now. I'm surprised and astonished to see that my son is here, that my son has been killed with a bullet.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KAFANOV: They are now making funeral arrangements. The family has demanded the name of the officer in question be released, but the police chief says that won't happen unless charges are filed, Kate.
BOLDUAN: Lucy, thank you for that. Joining me now for more on this is attorney Ben Crump. He's representing Patrick Lyoya's family. Ben, thank you for being here. Lucy played some of what the family said yesterday and that was the first time they were speaking at a press conference. How is the family doing today? What are they saying?
BEN CRUMP, ATTORNEY FOR FAMILY OF PATRICK LYOYA: They're heartbroken obviously, Kate Bo, and they just can't fathom that they would leave, you know, a violent situation in the Congo and then come to America and have their son shot in the back of the head by someone who was supposed to protect him.
BOLDUAN: The Michigan State Police have taken over this investigation. The city's director of oversight and accountability, that's his title, he has said that they will seek transparency and the truth. You have been involved in many investigations into police-involved deaths. What is your level of competence in this one?
CRUMP: Look, Kate, when I look at this video, the thing that you are left thinking is how unnecessary this tragedy was. This police officer escalated a simple misdemeanor traffic stop to one of a deadly execution when he shot an unarmed young man in the back of his head. And so you know when we think about what's going on in the world today, leaders everywhere, even here in the United States are condemning Russian soldiers for shooting civilians in the back of their heads in Ukraine and so we want them to condemn police officers here in America for shooting unarmed black civilians in the back of the head.
CRUMP: Is just enough is enough. You look at that video and you say he was in no intimate -- immediate danger, why did he have to shoot the young black man in the back of his head?
BOLDUAN: You were touching on something that I wanted to ask you about. Your career has been this point about representing and helping families through these worst moments of their lives. And this situation is particularly unique because the Lyoya family came to the U.S. in 2014 because they were looking for safety. They were fleeing violence and war in Congo. And now this happens. How do you -- how does that impact you? How do you reflect on that?
CRUMP: Well, you know, it's heartbreaking because we want to be able to tell everybody around the world that America has the great beacon of hope and justice, that we believe in equal justice under the law but it can't just be rhetoric, we have to make it real. And that's why we need to get justice for Patrick so not only we can see in Grand Rapids, Michigan, that the promise of American democracy and equal justice is real, but they can see it all around the world over in Africa, over in Russia, over in Ukraine. They can see that equal justice is for everyone whether your skin is black or whether your skin is white.
BOLDUAN: The investigation continues and we will continue to follow it. Ben Crump, thank you.
CRUMP: Thank you. BOLDUAN: Coming up for us. Violent clashes at a holy site in Jerusalem as Christians, Jews, and Muslims, all three religions are celebrating some of their holiest holidays. Details and a live report next.
BOLDUAN: Clashes are breaking out between Israeli police and Palestinians at one of Jerusalem's holiest sites, more than 150 people were hurt in the fighting as thousands were gathered for prayers at the Al-Aqsa mosque. Israel is saying that its forces went into the mosque after rioters began throwing rocks and launching fireworks. CNN's Hadas Gold is live in Jerusalem. She has been following this for us. Hadas, what's happening there now?
HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kate, even before those clashes this morning, there was a sense of a city on edge anticipation because of the rarity of these three holidays all overlapping on the same day, Ramadan, Good Friday, and Passover, which is starting this evening. And although it's calm here at Damascus Gate, just outside of the old city walls, this is one of the main entrances for Muslims (INAUDIBLE) to reach the Al-Aqsa compound, which is also known as a Temple Mount to Jews.
Earlier this morning, right after those dawn prayers is when the violence broke out. We were actually just outside the compound and we can hear the booms and the firecrackers and the clashes going on. And the scene was incredibly tense. Israeli police are saying that they had to respond to what they call the violent rioters on the compound and within the mosque, they said that they were throwing rocks and launching firecrackers at them. The Palestinian Red Crescent says more than 150 people were injured as a result of things like stun grenades and rubber bullets. The Israeli police said three of their own officers were injured.
Kate, we haven't seen clashes like this at the Al-Aqsa compound since just around this time last year. And it was clashes like these like we saw this morning, that helped spark that 11-day war between Hamas militants in Gaza and the Israeli army. So now the question is what will happen next? Will there be more violence, more clashes tonight, and what will Hamas do? Will they respond with (INAUDIBLE), and will we see another conflict or another escalation of the violence like we did last year? Kate.
BOLDUAN: That is exactly the question now. Hadas, thank you very much for that. Now, let's turn to this some encouraging news on the pandemic. The FDA has given the green light to a Coronavirus breath test. Yes, a COVID breathalyzer, and you can see it right there. It's about the size of a piece of carry-on luggage, and InspectIR is the company behind the device, and they say that it will give you results in less than three minutes and it will soon be available at doctors' offices, hospitals, and mobile testing sites. The FDA says a breathalyzer is more than 91 percent accurate at identifying positive test samples, and over 99 percent accurate in identifying negative test samples. So there you have that. Coming up for us. Drug overdose deaths in the United States hit a new record high. And now a new threat, mass overdose incidents. The DEA is calling for all hands on deck. I'm going to speak with the head of the DEA next.
BOLDUAN: Disturbing new numbers show an absolute crisis is unfolding in the United States. Overdose deaths have hit a new record high. The CDC now estimates that nearly 107,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in the 12-month period ending last November. The agency says synthetic opioids like fentanyl were involved in two-thirds of the deaths.
And for children, the numbers are just as scary. A new study released this week says adolescent drug overdoses doubled from 2010 to last year. Fentanyl was involved in 75 percent of deaths last year. The DEA is now making a call to arms of sorts because of the latest trend in this, fentanyl-related mass overdose events. Joining me now is DEA Administrator Anne Milgram.
BOLDUAN: Administrator, thank you for coming back in because I was looking back the last time we talked, you were ringing the alarm about the fentanyl crisis, this epidemic. But now with this new trend if you will, these mass overdose incidents, is it safe to say the problem is just getting worse?
ANNE MILGRAM, DEA ADMINISTRATOR: Thank you for having me on, Kate. And yes, I mean, this is the exact conversation we need to be having that the last time I was here, we were over 100,000 American deaths. Now, we're over 106,000 Americans who have died from drug overdoses. And again, it is being driven, as you said by fentanyl, which is the most deadly and addictive drug that is widespread in the United States right now. We see it in all 50 states. It is being mass-produced by the criminal cartels in Mexico.
And what is happening is it's coming into our streets, both in fake pills -- as fake pills, counterfeit pills and also, we just put out an alert to state local law enforcement to let them know that in less than two months, in seven cities across the United States, we had mass overdose events. Three or more people overdosed at the same time at the same place, and in total, that was 58 overdoses that we tracked and 29 overdose deaths.
And so this is a trend that we have not seen before and we wanted to be sure to get out to state and local law enforcement and tell them we want to help in any way possible, both to bring justice to those whose lives are being lost through these tragic over death -- overdose deaths, which are poisonings, and also to stop the next death from happening to stop those pills and the cocaine laced with fentanyl.
BOLDUAN: Absolutely. So -- because even after you sent the letter to law enforcement last week, there's another big one in DEA's backyard in DC, 10 people died this week. They thought they were taking cocaine. It was mixed with fentanyl. Is it clear yet, Administrator, what is actually going to make the difference? What's going to -- I'm not going to say stop it because it's such a huge problem, but slow the flood of this into communities?
MILGRAM: Well, there's a number of things I think that are -- that are vitally important. I mean, the first is what you see us doing is trying to build our partnerships with state and local law enforcement. When those overdoses happen and that 911 Call gets made, the first responders are the local police. They are the fire departments.
And for far too long in our country, we've treated those as though they were accidents. They're not accidents. They're poisonings. People are being killed. And so we need to treat those like the crime scenes that they are. We then at DEA are able to take those investigations from the drug trafficker who's selling that poison, the fentanyl, that is killing Americans at record rates not just to that person, but to their distributor, to their wholesaler and oftentimes, we're able to trace that back to the criminal networks in Mexico, and to bring federal cases in federal investigations that can encompass all of that.
So, that is a critical part of what we're doing. Another critical part, Kate, is what you and I are doing today to make sure that everyone understands the depth of this harm, how deadly and how dangerous it is. Any --
BOLDUAN: I don't mean to jump in, Administrator, because I really do want to focus on that. Because you've also said to me that this isn't just an illicit drug problem. That's not just illicit drugs being poisoned, but also that you, your families, and your parents really underestimate the danger that fentanyl poses to kids who aren't even looking for illegal drugs. What is the reality that people need to wake up to here?
MILGRAM: Yes, so I think there's two things. The first thing I would say is that yesterday, I was talking to a very senior DEA agent. He's been on the job for 30 years. He's done tours across the United States and across the world. And he told me that he's never been as afraid for his kids, his family, his community, as he is today because of fentanyl. And so I think everyone needs to hear that message that we're the experts and we are just -- we're seeing this catastrophically. The numbers are rising and all of us have to understand it.
The second piece, which is really important, is that victims are dying. These are people who are not seeking fentanyl. You know, the overdose -- mass overdose events, these were individuals who thought they were purchasing cocaine. They were told in most of these instances that they were buying cocaine, what they got was fentanyl.
You know a couple who both overdosed and died and left behind a one- year-old child, you saw the cadets -- the military cadets in Florida who thought they were taking cocaine and instead overdosed on fentanyl. And so people need to understand when you're talking to family members, to children to -- you know to adults, no pill is safe. There is not a single pill that is safe unless it was prescribed to you by your doctor and filled in at your pharmacy. And any drug today in all 50 states can be laced with fentanyl, which is deadly and it is deadly in minuscule, minuscule quantities.
BOLDUAN: Just put a fine point on it there -- with that study I mentioned off the top. The researcher said this is not coming from more teens using drugs, it's actually coming from drug use becoming more dangerous and that's why you call it poison and that's what it is.
MILGRAM: That's right. That's right. And we see this -- you know, we see young people who really do think they're buying an Oxy online on Snapchat or TikTok, they think that they're getting -- that they're getting a real prescription pill that's been diverted from the legitimate supply chain and instead they're getting fentanyl.
MILGRAM: And, Kate, there's not a week that goes by where I do not talk to a parent, or a child, or a loved one who's lost someone in this deadly epidemic. And so at DEA, we're doing everything we can and you know, we're grateful for the partnership we have with state and locals as well, as all of us tried to do more to meet this moment.
BOLDUAN: And obviously, so much more is needed and a lot of coordination to do it. Administrator Anne Milgram, thank you for coming on.
MILGRAM: Thank you so much for having me.
BOLDUAN: All right, thank you all so much for being with us today. I'm Kate Bolduan. INSIDE POLITICS with John King starts after this.