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At This Hour

Russian Forces Take Control Of Ukraine's Luhansk Region; 3 Dead, Several Hurt In Copenhagen Mall Shooting; Uvalde Schools Police Chief Resigns From City Council. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired July 04, 2022 - 11:30   ET



POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Pop led authorities to suspect that at least one gunshot was fired from inside the vehicle. There will be questions that are still being asked here if that was the case, then at who or what?

And then a few moments later, that's when that body camera video that's disturbing picks up when you see at least eight police officers basically chasing after Walker on foot, and then they opened fire.

A big question that's been asked here is about the so-called perceived threat. According to APD'S police chief yesterday, those eight officers that basically are responsible for that barrage of bullets, they raise their hands when asked who fired and each one of them according to the police chief independently said that they saw Walker reach for his waist area and they then take some kind of shooting position and that is what provoked them.

But here on the ground, there's a big -- there's a big question about whether or not that actually happened because it's very difficult to see in the video. So what we're seeing right now is certainly a call for accountability above all.

Only a small group of demonstrators outside of police headquarters here, but officials here are preparing for another night of demonstrations. Yesterday, we saw things get to reach a very tense point, but no arrests were made. Boris, back to you.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Polo Sandoval live from Akron, Ohio, thank you so much. Let's get some insight now from experts, CNN legal analyst and civil rights attorney Areva Martin is with us, as well as CNN Law Enforcement Analyst Jonathan Wackrow. Thank you both for being with us on the Fourth of July.

Areva, first to you, the police chief says that 40 seconds after Walker drives away from police, they heard what could be a gunshot. Police are also saying that they saw a flash of light from the driver's side of the car.

We saw it in a still frame from the scene that Polo just showed us. Is that the most significant detail in this investigation?

AREVA MARTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I think the -- from the police's standpoint that is a very significant detail, Boris. Obviously, the police have the rights under certain circumstances to use a force and even lethal force.

But the Supreme Court has made it clear in the case of Tennessee v. Gardner that the police don't have the right to shoot at a fleeing suspect unless the officer reasonably believes that the person poses a substantial risk.

And that's the big question in this case, what risk of harm did Mr. Walker pulls to these police officers, and how long did that risk of harm last?

Because there's some reporting coming out that Mr. Walker was actually shot while he was on the ground after presumably, he was no longer a risk to anyone, even assuming that he was a risk at any given point in time. Each bullet that was fired by each of those eight officers has to be accounted for.

In each of those bullets, there has to be a direct link between the shooting by an officer and their perceived risk of harm.

So lots of questions about why eight officers were chasing this one unarmed black man and why 60 rounds -- at least 60 were fired, and again, was there justification for each and every one of those rounds?

SANCHEZ: All right, Jonathan, Areva raises the point not only of justification but proportionality, right? I'm wondering what you make of that detail that he had 60 gunshot wounds.

JONATHAN WACKROW, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, I just want to take a quick step back for us if I could. I want to just talk about how these officers are going to be judged in their -- in the actions that they took that precipitated the shooting incident, going back to the initial attempt for the vehicle stop.

And these officers are going to be judged in three ways. They're going to be judged from a legal application of the use of force, they're going to be judged from a policy aspect of the Akron Police Department, and then as we'll see, they're going to be judged publicly.

But to your point and to the question at hand is, you know, how you know all of these rounds, right? I think that what we have to look at is everything has to come from the point of an individual officer, not all of them together.

The -- each individual officer was responding to the perceived threat that they -- that they had at that time. The number of rounds fired by an individual officer is predicated upon their training. And officers are trained to continue to fire until they perceive that threat to be -- to be stopped.

So again, there's a lot here. We have a lot of video evidence, but there's a lot more evidence that we don't know. We don't have ballistics from the cars. We don't have witness testimony. So there's still more to come out. But you know, again, there's -- you

know the actions of the police are going to be judged on the individual officer, and they're reasonable as -- the reasonableness at the time that they fired that shot.

SANCHEZ: I want to bring up for our viewers an image that was released of the gun that was in his possession in the car. The family has brought up that there's a discrepancy between one report that indicates the gun was found in the backseat.

But this is how officers say they found the gun. You can see, there's a gold ring next to it, it looks like the magazine was removed. Areva, when you look at this image, what stands out to you?


MARTIN: Well, what stands out is the police are trying to make the connection, Boris, that the gun that was found in the car was actually fired before the police got you to know out of their car before Mr. Walker got out of his car and the chase on -- the foot chase began.

And they're using that photograph of the gun and the evidence of the gun to establish their sense that there was some reasonable threat that they perhaps believed at the time that they were chasing him that he actually had a gun with him.

And they've been making a big deal out of the gun, I think, again, to try to establish that the police's conduct was reasonable because there was a gun found in the vehicle that was at some point being chased or being followed by the police.

And we've even seen, Boris, in this case, the police union come out with a very strong statement supporting the actions of these eight police officers, which is somewhat incredible to me, given that the investigation has just begun and there's so much to be unpacked in a case like this.

So how it is that the police union is already asserting that these police officers acted reasonably is quite remarkable.

SANCHEZ: Jonathan, quickly, your impressions of that image that officers released.

WACKROW: Well, I listen here. I think that goes to part of actually establishing that objectively reasonable standard as set forth by the Supreme Court under Graham v. O'Connor.

And that's what the Akron Police Department has based their use of force protocols on that, the use of force must be judged from the perception of a reasonable officer at the time. Now, this is not in hindsight, this is in the moment and that time, those officers that were responding.

Listen to what they understood. They had a traffic stop that had noncompliance. During a vehicle pursuit, they had a report of a round being fired from the vehicle upon the -- you know, the transition from a vehicle pursuit to a foot pursuit, they again had noncompliance of an individual.

And then this is where everybody is focusing on is they perceive that there was a threat at that moment and they just charged their weapons.

Again, there's a lot more to come out here, but that gun is critical. The imagery of someone firing from the vehicle is also a critical piece of evidentiary value.

Again, piecing this all together is going to allow us to understand did those officers act reasonably in that moment in time?

That's how they're going to be judged. I'm not making a determination, I'm just letting you know how these officers will be judged from a legal and then from a policy standpoint.

SANCHEZ: This is undoubtedly going to be an extensive investigation as it should be. Areva Martin and Jonathan Wackrow, we hope you'll come back to walk us through the details as we get them. Thank you both.

WACKROW: Thanks, Boris.

SANCHEZ: Coming up, Russia making more gains in eastern Ukraine. Is the war at a turning point? We'll take you to Ukraine in a live report next.



SANCHEZ: Russian forces have taken control of the last key city in the Luhansk region of eastern Ukraine and officials say Russia is now preparing an assault on the neighboring Donetsk region. Let's take you to Kyiv now live with CNN's Scott McLean. Scott, what's the latest?

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Boris. Look, aside from a few points of resistance from the Ukrainians, the Russians are now entirely controlled -- in control of the Luhansk region, of course, this is an area that they've had their sights on literally for years.

They took about one-third of this region back in 2014 and now they've come back to take the other two-thirds successfully.

Both the Russians and the Ukrainians say that the fighting was bloody, it was extremely intense for Lysychansk, that last major city.

Ukrainians also say that the Russian fighters that they were up against were some of the most prepared along the entire front lines. These are the type of troops that have been fighting along this frontline for the last eight years on and off, and they also know the area quite well.

And so tactics that Ukrainians have successfully used in other areas like removing street signs to disorient and confuse their enemy didn't work so well in this case. But fundamentally, this illustrated one of the Ukrainians' great flaws, and that is that they were simply outmatched, they say when it came to artillery when it came to firepower.

They just could not compete with the Russians and so, well, they say that they could have stuck around to fight for another two weeks, but they would have sustained heavy losses and so instead they decided to withdraw.

Vladimir Putin says that the troops involved in that battle, they should be able to take a break. But the rest, they're going to be moving on to try to take the rest of the Donbass and we are already seeing Russian troops start to move in from the north. We're also seeing shelling in Slovyansk and missile strikes in Kramatorsk nearby as well. Boris.

SANCHEZ: Now, more than one-fifth of Ukraine is under Russian control. Scott Mclean from Kyiv, thank you so much. Let's dig deeper now with Kurt Volker. He's the former U.S. ambassador to NATO. Ambassador, appreciate you being with us on Independence Day. [11:45:00]

SANCHEZ: The capture of Lysychansk, put that into context for us. What does this mean for the conflict moving forward?

KURT VOLKER, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO NATO: Well, the most important context is that Russia started off this war trying to take over all of Ukraine, including the capital Kyiv, all the other major cities, and they were pushed back in that effort. Now they have reduced their goals and saying they're only going to take eastern Ukraine.

They put all of their firepowers into taking this area in Luhansk. It's not militarily that significant. But politically, it gives Vladimir Putin the opportunity to claim that he achieved something in this war, namely that he got all of Luhansk Oblast, which he now calls an independent state. So you can say he achieved that.

At the same time, he has burned up considerable firepower, ammunition, personnel, and equipment and so it is getting harder and harder for the Russians to continue to advance.

And I think we are seeing -- we're getting very close to the point where there will be the maximum gains that they have. Meanwhile, the Ukrainians are fighting to make sure the Russians expend maximum effort, and then the Ukrainians will be planning counter offenses later.

SANCHEZ: You mentioned counter offenses. Ukrainian defense officials said that they would be back to this region in a Facebook post, in which they also mentioned that patriotism and heroics are not enough against the Russians, a clear signal to the west. What did the Ukrainians need to win back this region?

VOLKER: There are several things and we are doing a lot of it, just not all. First off, they need ammunition, the 155 rounds of artillery the U.S. just announced we're providing an additional 150,000 rounds. That's great. We need to keep up that flow of munitions and not just

in the United States, all NATO countries should be pitching in and getting it there as quickly as possible.

They need longer-range artillery systems. They've received the high rounds, and they're beginning to get those integrated into the forces but they've got to hit the Russians further back so they disrupt their supplies, their ammunition depots, and then those Russian forces that have now just advanced will become overextended with time.

They also need for us to stop saying what we will not do or what they should not do. For example, if the Russians are firing at the second- largest city, Kharkiv, from Russian territory, I think it is perfectly legitimate for Ukrainians to fire back.

SANCHEZ: Ambassador, I want to point out to our viewers, that you're currently at a conference in Switzerland talking about the Ukrainian recovery.

And the Ukrainian Prime Minister gave an estimate of $750 billion as the cost of rebuilding his country. He believes a source of that should be confiscated Russian assets. Are you with him on that idea? Do you see it happening?

VOLKER: Yes, I completely agree. All of the damage that we are seeing in Ukraine is unprovoked Russian aggression caused solely by Russia's aggression against Ukraine.

We should be not only freezing those assets as we have now done, but we should seize those assets and then make that available for Ukraine's reconstruction. I would hope our European allies and others would do the same.

From the United States, this could get as high as $250 billion. If Europe were to do the same, it could get as high as 400 to $450 billion. That's a big downpayment on that reconstruction cost.

SANCHEZ: Ambassador Kurt Volker, not sure how many fireworks you're going to see in Switzerland, but we hope you get to celebrate the Fourth anyway, thanks so much for the time.

Coming up, some terrifying moments after a gunman opens fire in a crowded mall in Denmark. New details on what investigators have learned about the shooter, we have a live report from Copenhagen next.



SANCHEZ: Three people are dead and several others hurt after a gunman opened fire in a busy mall in Copenhagen.


(END VIDEO CLIP) SANCHEZ: Danish police said the shooter had a rifle and was known to psychiatric professionals in that area. CNN's Sam Kiley is live in Denmark's capital with the very latest. Sam, Denmark has very strict gun laws. Do we know how this suspect was able to get that weapon?

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No, Victor, put your finger on, I think what is going to be the -- is the principal line of inquiry by the police since the court today has sentenced the 22-year-old led perpetrator to a 24-day period on remand in a psychiatric facility where he will be evaluated.

They don't believe -- the police don't believe that this was a terrorist attack or a hate crime.

All issues are pointing towards somebody suffering from severe mental health problems, but that doesn't answer the questions you rightly raised there. How did he obtain a firearm in a country in which firearms have to be licensed, owners of firearms have to be tested on their ability to keep that firearm safe and on their safety with a firearm?

Very, very strict controls on firearms in this country, but he nonetheless got hold of a hunting weapon. He was not licensed to have any kind of a firearm, but not somehow he did obtain a weapon.

Because of course, there are people who conduct hunting and conduct sports shooting here but it is that mean is going to be the main line of inquiry, Victor.


SANCHEZ: Sam Kiley from Copenhagen, thank you so much. A quick update for you on a story we've been following very closely. The Uvalde schools police chief Pete Arredondo has resigned from his seat on the city council.

Arredondo had just been elected to the seat weeks before the elementary school massacre. The chief has faced intense scrutiny over his response to the shooting that killed 19 kids and two teachers.

In a statement, Arredondo says "the mayor, the City Council, and the city staff must continue to move forward without distractions. I feel this is the best decision for you Uvalde."

Hey, thank you so much for joining us today. We hope you have a happy and safe Independence Day. INSIDE POLITICS starts after a quick break, Abby Phillip, is on the chair today for John King. Take care.