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At This Hour

U.S. Capitol Officer Describes "Chaos" And "Carnage" Of Siege; Uvalde Police Chief: I Don't Know I was In Charge At Scene; MI Officer Charged With 2nd Degree Murder In Patrick Lyoya Shooting. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired June 10, 2022 - 11:30   ET





CAROLINE EDWARDS, U.S. CAPITOL POLICE OFFICER: It was carnage, it was chaos. I can't -- I can't even describe what I saw. I -- never in my wildest dreams did I think that as a police officer, as a law enforcement officer, I would find myself in the middle of a battle. That day, it was just hours of hand-to-hand combat, hours of dealing with things that were way beyond what any law enforcement officer has ever trained for. And I just remember -- I just remember that moment of stepping behind the line and just seeing the absolute warzone that the West Front had become.


KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: Raw and real. That is some of the testimony from last night from Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards, talking about what she endured on the frontlines during the violent attack on January 6. And she, of course, was not alone. Some 140 officers were injured, as well in that Capitol attack.

With me now is one of those officers, former DC Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone. He's also the author of a book. His book Hold The Line is set to release in October. It's good to see you, Mike. You were there last night sitting behind Caroline Edwards, along with other officers when she testified. Why was it important for you to be there?

MICHAEL FANONE, FORMER DC POLICE OFFICER ATTACKED DURING INSURRECTION: I mean, this whole experience has become very personal to me not just because of what happened on January 6, but since I engaged in, you know, speaking out publicly, the cost has been significant. So it's important for me to see this through that I was also there to support officer Edwards. And just like the other Americans watching, I wanted to see the findings that the committee's investigation revealed.

BOLDUAN: You -- as you're kind of getting to -- I mean you're one of the few people who also knows and understands what officer Edwards is going through now, what being thrust into the spotlight can really mean and I don't think a lot of people understand that though. What could life now be like for witnesses like officer Edwards after last night?

FANONE: Well, first, I want to say that I hope that Officer Edwards' experience is dramatically different from my own. The vitriol that came from coworkers and colleagues not just from the greater law enforcement community but from within my own department became, you know, really just too much for me to bear and ultimately resulted in me resigning. So I understand that you know there is a price to be paid for speaking out publicly even if you are telling the truth.


BOLDUAN: She's had to -- you can see it was painful for her -- for her to have to relive the day when she testified last night. And you -- I was thinking how many times you've had to do that. How hard is that, honestly?

FANONE: I mean I can't speak directly for officer Edwards. And for me, my experience, I think is unique in that. You know, I had 20 years of a police officer with Metropolitan Police Department to prepare me for the violence of January 6. In a lot of ways, I'd become desensitized to even that degree of violence.

What I was not prepared for and what I suspect that Officer Edwards was not prepared for was the aftermath. Not just the denials of politicians, members of the press, and other Americans about the experiences that we had on January 6, but also the criticism from within the law enforcement community, and even within our own police departments.

For me, that was too much to bear. Having officers that I served with telling me that I was a disgrace to the badge just simply became a, you know, too much. And my pride would not allow me to continue to work alongside individuals that felt that I was a disgrace to the batch.

BOLDUAN: Yes. I want to ask you real quick about something that Congresswoman Cheney said and she -- I mean, she spoke for a long time, but she was speaking directly to law enforcement on the day and she said that part of the investigation is looking at what the White House and intelligence agencies knew before but she says but we will not lose sight of the fact that the Capitol Police did not cause the crowd to attack. We will not blame the violence that day, the violence provoked by Donald Trump on the officers who bravely defended all of us. Did that stick out to you?

FANONE: Yes, I mean, I think it's important, you know, while we can recognize that there were planning and preparation failures, which really are the responsibility of the House and Senate sergeant at arms, and the executive level officials within the U.S. Capitol Police, that the individual officers' response was nothing short of courageous. That those officers fought many of their own volition without any type of organized effort.

They simply went there to fight alongside their fellow officers. And that's why I was there. I heard distress calls coming out from police officers. I responded. I went there to protect other police officers. And in doing so, I recognized that you know, our greater effort was preserving democracy.

But I was there for my coworkers. I was there for the officers that fought in the Lower West terrace tunnel, some of the most courageous, selfless individuals. And you know, while I do not celebrate my career as a police officer, I'm just not able to do that at this point, I certainly am proud of the individuals that I had the privilege of fighting alongside of on the Lower West terrace.

BOLDUAN: No, and that definitely cannot be lost in -- no matter what comes out of these hearings coming up. And I think it was important that what the first witness from -- in this long string of public hearings was a Capitol police officer fighting on the front lines to not lose sight of that. It's good to see you. Thanks for coming in.

FANONE: Yes, ma'am. Thank you.

BOLDUAN: We'll be right back.



BOLDUAN: There is new reporting on the police response during the Uvalde school massacre. The school police chief who was the incident commander on the scene that day, the man also now blamed for the decision to wait for more backup to arrive rather than immediately confront the gunman. Pete -- chief Pete Arredondo is now defending himself telling the Texas Tribune that he did not consider himself the person in charge and also trying to explain why he did not take his police radio with him into the school as a gunman murdered 19 children and two teachers more than an hour going by before federal law enforcement took things into their own hands. CNN's Omar Jimenez filed this report moments ago.

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, The Texas Tribune spoke to Pete Arredondo by phone through written responses and in statements provided by his attorney, all of them providing new details regarding the central question at the heart of what is now multiple overlapping investigations, what took so long?

Well, Arredondo told The Tribune that some of the shooter's bullets pierced the classroom door and during officers, and hitting adjacent walls that these officers started breaking windows and evacuating other children and teachers elsewhere in the school. But also that lockdown measures were working against them that they had trouble pinpointing this gunman's exact location because lights in the classrooms were off as is typical in lockdown measures. But also because the door had a steel reinforced -- was reinforced with a steel jam that is designed to prevent outside attackers from getting in but in this case, prevented officers from me -- from immediately breaching this door and confronting this shooter Arredondo says.


JIMENEZ: And he also told The Tribune, he did not consider himself incident commander, which of course, goes contrary to what we've heard from Texas Department of Public Safety officials. He also told The Tribune he did not have his radios on them, which as his attorney added, even if he did, he would have turned them off for fear that noise would have given away some of their positions.

They said that they were speaking in whispers in this hallway. But also because of that, Arredondo said he was not aware of 911 calls at the time and said that no one was relaying that information to him. So he made a call from his cell phone to bring in backup and to get tools to try and breach this door.

It wasn't until 12:50 p.m. that they eventually got a key to get into this door, shoot the gunman and kill the gunman. I should mention CNN has reached out to Arredondo, his attorney of the school district, and DPS on these new details, but we haven't got a response. Kate.

BOLDUAN: Omar, thank you so much for that. Joining me right now for more on this is CNN Law Enforcement Analyst Jonathan Wackrow. He's a former secret service agent. Jonathan, what is your take on this new interview?

JONATHAN WACKROW, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, listen, Kate, as more information continues to trickle out, the more challenging it is for us to really understand what happened on that day, including who was in charge. In the back and forth that we're seeing in the media and new interviews and reporting is only re-victimizing those who are impacted by these tragic events. Families and loved ones are trying to bring closure. They're trying to figure out what happened with this incident so that they can move on. And every single day, this is becoming more and more challenging for them.

BOLDUAN: Sure it is. I mean how could it not? This whole issue with just police radios, for one. I mean, him deciding not to carry one with him, his attorney is saying that even if they had radios, they would have turned them off. Does this add up?

WACKROW: So it really doesn't. And again, this is where information that is trickling out is so shocking every single day. As an incident commander, you have response-generated demands upon you, no matter the size of your department, whether it's six people, or 600, there are three key elements. It's communication, continuous assessment, and mobilizing of the resources that are necessary to respond to that event.

All of that is predicated upon being able to communicate to other responding officers and agencies in a dynamic situation. And what we're seeing here is a failure of the incident command structure. Now, we're hearing the chief say he wasn't in command. Then who was?

BOLDUAN: And that's what I was going to say. And the fact that he never considered himself the scene's incident commander -- I mean, the paper is also reporting that Arredondo assumed, it's how they put it, assumed another officer or official had taken control of the larger response. Should he not have known the answer to this the moment he was on-scene, and definitely long before the hour passed that law enforcement was outside that classroom? WACKROW: You are the chief of police for a reason. There's a hierarchical control. You don't assume anything. And we don't assume anything in terms of dynamic multi-agency responses to critical incidents. There's a plan for this, there's a structure. Everybody knows this. This is almost policing in public safety 101. So to start introducing this narrative, weeks later, around, well, I didn't know that I was the commander or you know trying to justify why you didn't bring a radio into an active shooter situation, to me is stunning.

And again, it necessitates a further review by the Department of Justice in the critical incident review process as to answer what the hell happened on this day.

BOLDUAN: Yes. It's good to see you, Jonathan, as the questions continue to mount.

WACKROW: Thanks, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Thank you so much. Coming up for us. A Michigan police officer is now charged with murder for shooting a black man in the head after a traffic stop. The very latest developments in a live report next.



BOLDUAN: Grand Rapids Michigan Police Officer Christopher Schurr will appear in court very soon now charged with second-degree murder for shooting Patrick Lyoya in the head during a traffic stop in April. Let's get over to CNN's Ryan Young. He's joining me now with more on this. Ryan, what is expected to happen today?

RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, when you think about this, Kate, we're going to find out whether or not the officer is going to get bond. But when you think about the speed that this has moved forward and the way the prosecution has been able to put this in place, this happened in April. So they have the investigation in just eight days ago, and they went for it with these charges.

You got to think a lot of this was predicated on that video that we're getting ready to show you. Of course, it was that traffic stop, there was that initial conversation, and then at some point, the argument turned to a point where there was a struggle and that Taser was pulled. And when the Taser was pulled, there was a fight over the Taser. And then the two men went to the ground.

Now, at some point during that struggle on the ground, you're going to hear the officer giving out commands. And it seems like Patrick got a hold of that Taser. And while he had a hold of that Taser, you can hear the officer say let go of the Taser before the shot is fired. The thing here that a lot of people are talking about is the fact that it seemed like the officer had gained a dominant position by having sort of a mount and Patrick's face down on the ground before firing that shot. And of course, that's a lot of what we'll be talking about with the prosecution. But listen to the mayor talking about the charges and how the city moves forward.



ROSALYNN BLISS, MAYOR OF GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN: Today's announcement is an important step in the process of accountability and justice. And as we move forward, we have a lot of work to do.

YOUNG: Yes, Kate, as you can imagine the family and Ben Crump, who's their attorney, he talked about moving forward and the chargers are just the first step in doing that. But a lot of conversation about what happens next, and obviously, we'll be watching this first court appearance today.

BOLDUAN: Yes, and so a long road ahead to see where this ends up. It's good to see you, Ryan.

YOUNG: Sure.

BOLDUAN: Thank you very much for that. Ryan is going to be keeping a close eye on that today for us. I'm Kate Bolduan. Thank you for being here, everybody. INSIDE POLITICS with John King starts after this break.