Return to Transcripts main page
Don Lemon Tonight
Brooklyn Center City Manager Fired; Rioters Clash Out With Police Officers; White Police Officer Accidentally Killed Young Black Man; Police Arrested Curfew Violators; Floyd Family Seeing Another Black Family Mourn; Wright Family Demands Justice For Daunte Wright's Death. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired April 12, 2021 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST (on camera): All right. We're monitoring the situation in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. The streets are active. There is anger there. There is police. There is a lot of flash-bangs, and there is a lot of tear gas in the air tonight. Coverage picks up with Don Lemon and "CNN TONIGHT" right now.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: All of which we know too well from sitting here at the anchor desk and being on the ground when that unrest happens. Chris, we're going get right to it. Thank you, sir. I'll see you later on. I appreciate the coverage.
This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.
We are following the breaking news now. New protests tonight after the police shooting death of Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota.
I want to get straight now to the ground with CNN's Shimon Prokupecz, you see him there in the rain in front of the police department. Shimon, take it away. What are you seeing?
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Yes, so, Don, the police are continuing to fire these pepper balls, these pepper balls at the protesters who are still gathered here. As the protesters get closer, they are firing these pepper balls with the tear gas, flash- bangs.
I just want to show you this picture here, Don. Sorry, we're just moving around, because really just trying to stay out of the way here. More police officers. They're trying to clear this area. So, this is what they're doing. They're pushing people back, coming in formation. You can see there they're making an arrest, Don.
And so that's been -- this has been ongoing now for over an hour now where the police have been -- there you see an officer --
LEMON: Shimon, we just listen in for a little bit?
PROKUPECZ: We're just trying to -- we're going to move over this way. UNKNOWN: Will you move back now?
LEMON: So, Shimon is there on the ground.
PROKUPECZ: That's tear gas is there.
LEMON: Shimon, and are you getting tear gassed?
PROKUPECZ: Yes. I'm OK. It's been constant. But it doesn't last very long. And I think that's because of the rain and just the precipitation in the air. Yes, I mean, this has been for the better part of the last hour, we are -- our crew, our entire crew, our producer, our security teams all have just been here for the last hour. This has been constant from the police here, the tear gas and the flash-bangs, and it's strong.
You can certainly feel it in your eyes and in the back of your throat. But what's different here, Don, this is the closest sort of that we have seen the police move through this area for all the way through 9 o'clock, really, this entire area was surrounded by many of the people in the crowd.
They have now kind of dispersed and are on the outskirts of this area. So, the police have been successful in pushing them back.
LEMON: Shimon, I want you to --
PROKUPECZ: But that's what's going on now. The police continuing to try to push more people back.
LEMON: I want you to stand by, Shimon, and be careful out there. We're going to keep some of your pictures up, just so you know as we -- we want to bring the mayor in. So, Shimon, stand by. We might need to get right back to you as soon as we get the mayor on.
LEMON: Mayor Mike Elliott joins us now from the Brooklyn Center, the Brooklyn Center mayor.
Mayor, thank you so much. Can you update us on what's going on tonight? Who's directing the police? What's happening?
MAYOR MIKE ELLIOTT, BROOKLYN CENTER, MINNESOTA: Yes, hello. Obviously, this continues to be an unfolding situation. Unfortunately, we're (Inaudible) they're here expressing their anger at yet another Black man who has been killed at the hands of law enforcement in our city, in a place not too far from where George Floyd was murdered.
The time when this trial, George Floyd's trial is still under way. And in so many ways, this feels like our community as though, you know, there is a Band-Aid that (Inaudible) -- (CROSSTALK)
LEMON: Mayor, Mayor, can I jump in here for just a second? Mayor, if you can move to a better cell area, I don't know if you're near a window, if you can go outside or what have you, but we're having some break-up on your phone, and we'd really love to get your information as clearly as possible.
ELLIOTT: Hey, is that all better?
LEMON: That is better, sir. So, my question is, so earlier, you relieved the city manager of his duties. Who is directing the police right now?
ELLIOTT: So right now, the orders are coming from the regional command center. They're not coming from me. They're not coming from my department. And so, the folks on the front line right now who are executing orders are the state patrol, the National Guard and those other law enforcement entities the sheriff's department that are under the auspices of the regional command center that's been established by the governor.
LEMON: So, mayor, as we were watching this unfold now live, our reporter Shimon Prokupecz is out right in front of the police department. Can you tell us what is, do you know, then, if you're not directing them, then what is -- what are the orders here? What's the goal here? What are they being told?
ELLIOTT: Well, we want people to go home. Obviously, people are still upset. We need everybody to stay safe. The goal right now is to try and disperse the crowd and try to get people to go home. Obviously, the governor has put a curfew in place. That was in place since 3 p.m.
And the orders have been given to the law enforcement here now is to disperse the crowd and try to get them to go home. I'm calling, asking for people to go home, you know, and being able to (Inaudible) at a time when, you know, engaged with law enforcement, you know, at a time like this.
LEMON: So, mayor, I want you to stand by. Don't go anywhere. I just want to update our viewers. If you're just joining us, you're watching the unrest happen in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, not far from the incident with George Floyd happened last summer in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
And as this trial is going on, we have the mayor on the phone. It's a little bit difficult to hear what he has to say, but it's important that we have him on, because he is the person who is in charge of this city. Also, relieving the Brooklyn City manager Curt Boganey of his duties earlier. And we have the mayor on the phone.
Mayor, why did you relieve the city manager of his duties? What was the reason for that? ELLIOTT: Well, the city council took that action collectively to
relieve the city manager four to five -- I'm sorry, four to one vote because they felt that it was a lack of leadership early on in how things unfolded with this situation.
The city manager in our form of government has command and control over the police department and so because of the way that this unfolded, the city council chose to take that action collectively to relieve the city manager and appoint the acting city manager in that role.
And then also appoint me, the mayor to take command of the police, which is part of our city charter that during times of emergency like this the city council can act to appoint the mayor to lead the department so as to adjust the emergency and work to getting things back to normal.
LEMON: You're watching on your screen a standoff between police officers and protesters in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota at this hour. We have the mayor of Brooklyn Center on now. This current unrest is because of the fatal police shooting of Daunte Wright following a traffic stop on Sunday in Brooklyn Center.
The officer tonight has been identified, mayor, as Officer Kim Potter. That's according to a press release from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehensions. Potter has been with the Brooklyn P.D. for 26 years. What do you know about that, mayor, anything?
ELLIOTT: You know, so I don't know much about the officer's record. Obviously, this is still unfolding. The situation is still unfolding. I've been dealing with an active situation here today. But that is correct. That was the officer that was involved that shot and killed Daunte Wright.
And you know, more information will come out about the officer in about her tenure here on the department. But before we go further, I just want to express my condolences to Daunte's family. I had a chance to speak with his father earlier today. I didn't get a chance with his mother, but I will.
But you know, I want to say that they were so gracious. The family is just so gracious, even in this time of hurt. And all they want, all they want is just justice to be done for their son, for there to be full transparency and accountability. And that's what we're committed to doing.
So, you know, I'm calling on all of the folks who care about what happened and the folks who are protesting. Protesting is your right. It is important, but I'm asking everybody to go home.
We need to keep the peace in our city. We need to make sure that there is a tomorrow where people can gather peacefully as well and continue to express their grief. LEMON: Mayor, we appreciate that you're here. We know this is very
important. So, if you'll just stand by and take a couple more questions, we would appreciate it, so even more than we do now. So, listen --
ELLIOTT: I do have time for just a couple of more --
LEMON: I understand, I understand. I understand. When you have to jump, just let us know. So, do you accept the view -- I mentioned the officer earlier, the officer has been named. Her name is Officer Kim Potter. Been with the department for 26 years. Do you accept the view earlier that was expressed by the police chief that the shooting of Daunte Wright was an accident by this officer?
ELLIOTT: You know, I'm sorry, I cannot comment on that right now.
LEMON: You -- you cannot comment because?
ELLIOTT: I cannot comment because there are casualties, review of casualties going on right now that don't (Inaudible) that do not allow me to comment on that particular question.
LEMON: As --
ELLIOTT: But I'm happy to talk about that at a later date.
LEMON: OK. As to the situation that we're watching unfold on our television now, on our televisions across the country, listen, it's reminiscent of what happened in the summer of unrest, the late spring and summer of unrest in Minneapolis and then across the country.
Can you -- now I don't know if you would deem this situation -- this situation in control or out of control, but can you assure the people there in your town that things are under control or going to be under control, brought under control tonight?
ELLIOTT: Absolutely. We're working to make sure that things are under control. That is the goal ultimately. And, you know, there are possible command centers that have been established to coordinate the establishing the security of our city. And so, you know, that is our goal and that is what we're working toward.
I just want everybody to know that ultimately, we will get back to normal. And normal is not enough, right? Obviously, for so many of our community members, but we're working actively to secure the safety of our community and at the same time to make sure that we are as much as we can treat the folks who are gathered here humanely.
Unfortunately, you know, there is a command center that's been established that is largely, you know, in control of those (Inaudible) personnel that are here right now.
LEMON: Mayor Mike Elliott of Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. Mayor, we, again, we appreciate your time. We know that it's a very
busy and tense time for you. If you get a minute, we would appreciate --
ELLIOTT: Thank you.
LEMON: -- having you back throughout the evening here --
ELLIOTT: Thank you.
LEMON: -- on CNN because we'll be covering this live. Thank you, Mayor. I appreciate it.
ELLIOTT: Thank you.
ELLIOTT: Thank you.
LEMON: I want to get to CNN's Sara Sidner now who is live on the scene. Sara, your viewpoint. What are you seeing?
SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We are seeing police move very slowly, but very methodically. We are standing in between two buildings that are the apartment complexes, a large apartment complex. But what you are seeing just past me, and (Inaudible) is going to zoom in to show you.
It looks like there is a bus that is a police van, a large one there. It looks like there are two of them. And we are told that they -- and you can see police with riot gear now coming closer and closer to the few protesters that are now still left around here. We know that a lot of the protesters moved down the street towards the dollar store.
But you are seeing the officers slowly and methodically push people forward. You sometimes hear flash-bangs. You sometimes see a spotlight that is shining on people. And you're also seeing fireworks that are being shot off by folks who are protesting here.
And we just have to remember, and I have to always remind, when you see a scene like this part of this is because people are so angry about what happened with an officer, the officer we now know is Kim Potter who shot and killed a young man 20 years old, Daunte Wright because they had stopped him for his license plate was expired.
This is another firework. Don't be alarmed. It's just a firework. And people just could not believe that another Black man had been killed by an officer, especially since there was a lot of tension here and still is because the trial of former officer Derek Chauvin is going on for being accused of murdering George Floyd.
And as that is going on and as people are nervous about how that is going to end, this is happening.
We are going to get out of the way. Folks are starting to run because police are starting to push further and further into the neighborhood. And I'm just going to come up here.
But we're at a advantage point. You hear things flying back and forth. You can hear people throwing things. But you can also hear the officers, sort of using their less than lethal rounds towards the public here. You see water bottles being thrown and you can see -- you hear that? You hear that back and forth? That is tear gas. Let's show a little bit.
So, you see that there. They're shooting tear gas at someone that has a shield. And you'll see that flare up. And boy, the tear gas that they're using, Don, and I know you've had your bouts with tear gas, this is the strongest tear gas I have ever faced during a protest. It seems that it is C.S. gas, but I don't have that confirmed. But it is extremely strong. It's like military grade tear gas.
That is the scene right now. The precinct you'll see lit up in the background. That is where people were sort of banging on the fence, throwing fireworks, throwing water bottles, the police responding with less than lethal rounds and responding with a lot of tear gas.
They have moved most of the protesters out, hundreds and hundreds of people were here about a half an hour ago. They are mostly gone. But there are still people yelling back at the police, and there are still people standing here, and they say they're not leaving even though it's a curfew because they feel like the police need to answer to what happened to Daunte Wright. Don?
LEMON: Sara Sidner joining us now. And Sara, you're right you. Get a good whiff of that tear gas, and it just, it's uncomfortable. And you are not able to concentrate or to even get words out for quite some time. Sara Sidner joining us live now in Minnesota.
We'll continue to watch the scene here. Sara is on the scene. Shimon Prokupecz as well.
These protests happening after a young man, 20-year-old Daunte Wright shot and killed by police yesterday. A routine traffic stop that turned deadly. The officer or the police chief saying that the officer made a mistake, that she mistook her stun gun for -- she mistook a gun for her stun gun and then ended up fatally shooting the young man as he was trying to get away from routine police stop.
There you see the police officer news in front of the police station, again, a rainy night in Brooklyn Center. And here we have unrest. Very close to a year to the unrest that happened last summer over the death of George Floyd.
That trial for the police officer who is accused in the killing of George Floyd happening now. That trial ongoing. And now we have this unrest. We're going to continue to follow the scene. Don't go away. We have a very short break we need to get in. We're going to come back and we are going to go to our folks on the scene.
The mayor is also standing by. He has been standing by. We've been talking to him, and we've got reporters and producer, crews on the scene in Minnesota tonight. You're not going to miss anything. Quick break. Back in a moment.
LEMON (on camera): So, we're back now with our breaking news, and we're going take you through this slowly and methodically. You are not going to miss a thing that's happening here.
This is the breaking news tonight. Protesters are out in the streets of Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, police firing tear gas after the death of 20-year-old Daunte Wright. Daunte Wright was shot by a police officer during a traffic stop that was yesterday on Sunday, and police started arresting people a short while ago.
About two hours after this curfew took place, they started to arrest people in the city of Brooklyn Center. Officers arresting people who have ignored dispersal orders and are violating curfew in the area. That's a quote from our sources there from the Minneapolis -- excuse me, the Minnesota Operation Safety Net.
They've begun arresting people who ignored the dispersal orders and are violating curfew in the area near the Brooklyn Center Police Department and Humboldt Avenue. They're asking people to leave the area. You heard the mayor. The mayor was on just minutes ago, asking people to go home as well.
You can see there is still unrest in the streets. It looks like they have it under control, but you never know. These situations are volatile, and they can change at any moment.
Our Shimon Prokupecz is live on the scene now in Brooklyn Center. What's on the ground, Shimon? We saw some scuffles, some skirmishes earlier when you were up. What are you seeing now?
PROKUPECZ: Yes, I'm just trying to see, Don, if some officers are putting on their gas masks, or if they're taking them off. I can't quite tell. I'm sorry. We got caught up in some cables here. Sorry about that, Don.
So, what's happening is the state troopers here have been pushing people back, and they just keep every few minutes, they push us further and further back, moving us further away from the police station. That's what's been happening. And then you see some of the heavily -- there is some of these more heavily armed officers here, but also there is an officer here with this weapon, with this large what looks like a machine gun. But it's actually what they use to fire that tear gas.
And we've been seeing him use that. They've been pointing it at people here in the alleyway here behind some of these buildings. And so that's basically what's happening now. There was a standoff. Some of the people who are -- some of them are still remaining here. They have no intention on leaving. So, what's happening at some point, the police push them further back.
But it's been relatively calm I would say the last few minutes. You know, for the -- since 9 o'clock Eastern Time, there has been a steady stream and a barrage of tear gas and pepper balls and some of those flash-bangs. We have not seen any of that in the last several minutes.
So, it would seem at least for now police are just kind of going to allow the crowd to remain. We'll see how long it lasts. It has not lasted for very long. And you can see through the crowd here, Don, many of the people are still remaining with their chanting and having -- and have their hands up, waiting to see what the next move will be from the police.
But as you said, this has been a really tough time for this community. And certainly, what's to come and the days and week as we await the jury to reach their decision in the Chauvin trial.
Certainly, this is on the minds of many of the police leaders here. As you said (AUDIO GAP) about (AUDIO GAP) is now in charge of this. You always get the sense here, Don, that they want to set some kind of a precedent here.
They want to sort of send some kind of signal here that in the days to come and in the weeks to come that they are not going to allow people to just really do what they want as they get past the curfew, because from what I can see, certainly they've been throwing water bottles at the police.
But at some point, the police just decided after several water bottles had been thrown around 9 o'clock or so that they had had enough. And that is when you started seeing the tear gas and the flash-bangs and the pepper balls.
And the police during that time were not even in a confrontation with many of the protesters, because the police were standing behind the fence. And many of the protesters were standing at the fence, and they were yelling at the police. Water bottles were being thrown. And then at some point the police had just decided that they had had enough. And then we started seeing them move in. And then now you see this large presence here (AUDIO GAP) --
LEMON: Shimon Prokupecz -- OK. I'm not sure. Is my mic up?
PROKUPECZ: Yes, Don.
LEMON: OK. Shimon Prokupecz is on the scene --
PROKUPECZ: I can hear you, Don.
LEMON: Sorry. Yes. Shimon, we're having a little trouble with your audio. I wasn't sure if the viewers could hear me. So, I just wanted to make sure. Do we have Sara Sidner? No? Who do we have? Jonathan? Yes.
OK. So, we're going to bring in a couple of folks here. I want you to stand by, Shimon. We're going to keep your pictures up and we'll keep talking. Our Sara Sidner is on the scene, also we've got CNN's security analyst, national security analyst Juliette Kayyem and law enforcement analyst Jonathan Wackrow with us as well. We'll be going to all of them throughout this.
I just want to go to Sara, real quick. Sara, you can tell us what's going on where you are and then we'll bring our other law enforcement experts in. What are you seeing?
SIDNER: I'm going to have Sykes (Ph) show you the police line. We are standing a few feet away from the line of police that are slowly pushing people out of this area, the police precinct just before them. OK. You see a bottle -- a water bottle just been thrown. And here they come. And every time something is thrown, the police then make a move and they are moving.
They are moving now a little bit faster than normal. People start screaming and hollering, trying to get out of the way. But usually what follows this is tear gas, less than lethal rounds, and you're also hearing somebody who is Native American with the war cry there.
But what you're seeing right now is the police pushing protesters as far back as they can from the precinct where hundreds of people were protesting just moments ago. They're not completely dispersed. There are folks all up and down. Just like if we can show the crowd. It's just that they are all up and down the street now. And the police are making the move.
So, they are now -- hold on. I'm going get away from this music. They are now moving to the left and to the right, making a larger line. You see the officer there in front of the apartment complex, making a larger line. And as people throw things, they move. They keep moving the crowd further and further away.
As you might imagine, people are upset. People are angry. People are frustrated. This has been a really tense time, Don. I have been here since the beginning of the altercation with George Floyd that left him unable to breathe with former officer Derek Chauvin and the other officers. We have been here for the jury selection. We've been here for the trial.
And there has been this sense of underlying tension this whole time, because people are watching this trial, feeling all these really strong emotions. And now you have another police officer shooting that took the life of a 20-year-old. And you can see the video.
UNKNOWN: Black lives matter.
SIDNER: You hear the officer saying "tase her, tase her" and then she cusses and says I shot him.
LEMON: You know why I shot him, yes.
SIDNER: The police keeps saying she made a mistake. But.
SIDNER: This police saying she made a mistake. But a 20-year-old is dead. And that's why you're seeing this today.
LEMON: A 20-year-old that when they pulled him over for this routine traffic stop, and then they discovered according to the reporting, the reporting and from the police department that he had a misdemeanor warrant. And that I guess he was afraid of what would happen and then tried to -- didn't obey police officers.
SIDNER: Crowd is moving.
LEMON: What are you seeing, Sara? Sorry.
SIDNER: You can hear the officers saying "move, move, move" and they are moving people. And every time that happens, Sykes (Ph), please be careful. You're going to go down. OK.
You're hearing the officers yell "move, move, move," and people are moving. Watch it. Watch it, a lot of noise here. There is a lot of energy here. There is a lot of young folks here. There are Black folks. There are white folks. There are people from the neighborhood. There are people from surrounding neighborhoods.
There are a lot of people who were here during the George Floyd protest who are out here again, and they say "they are not going anywhere," and I am quoting them, until they get some justice. Now what that means at this point in time, I think at this point, a lot of people can't tell you what they feel like justice means right now because, again, another person is dead at the hands of a police officer.
And the frustration is just completely out of control at this point because they don't know what justice looks like. When this is going to change, when there is going to be some change between the relationship between Black folks and police here.
LEMON: Yes. That is -- that's the key here. That's what the protesters want. Sara, I want you to stand by because we're going to keep your pictures up. We'll keep you open to us. We may bring you into this conversation. If you need to bolt to get away from something that's happening --
LEMON: -- just let us know. I want to bring Juliette in? Juliette, give me your reaction on what you're seeing on the ground in Minnesota right now. Juliette is our national security analyst here on CNN. JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Yes.
LEMON: Juliette Kayyem, what do you think?
KAYYEM: Hi, Don. I wanted to just mention two things that the mayor said that may be confusing to audiences. The first is what's clearly going on in just understanding what's the police motivation right now. It's site protection there is a police department there. And so, that's why they're dispersing the crowds. We don't know where the crowds will go. But that seems to be the primary focus.
And I don't want the say anything is a success or failure, but so far, you know, nonlethal force and trying to disperse a crowd. The second is just something the mayor said that may have not made sense.
Basically, he said there is a regional command center in charge when you asked him who's in charge of the police department now. And basically, what that means is they've moved what's called the incident command, the local police department. They've moved it from them being the primary response agency to a regional one that would mean surrounding areas. And then as the mayor said, the state police that actually a smart move, even though the mayor doesn't have control over the police. So, it means the police are the --
LEMON: So that doesn't interrupt the flow of command?
KAYYEM: No. We train it all the time. So basically, you have a local incident command and then a regional and a state incident command. I mean, there is a flip of the switch, and maybe that decision was made some time during the day that you would not want the local police department to be in charge of the deployment of regarding protests that are focused on the police department.
It's just lessons learned over time as police departments obviously came under protest for the kinds of abuses that we saw yesterday. And so, they just move it to a regional command structure. So I know it sounded really confusing, but that was just sort of -- the mayor was saying I'm not in charge of them because now we have a regional command structure and some other elected official, I don't know if it's a county commissioner who was in charge of them.
And then deploying resources based on operational need at this stage. And what the operational need now is clearly to protect the police department. I know it looks very stressful. It sounds very confusing, but I'm sure Jonathan will agree this is -- this looks familiar in the kinds of responses that we expect now in these environments. Unfortunately, we've trained it too much at this stage.
LEMON: Let's bring Jonathan in now. Jonathan, you can respond to that. But I just want to show you Shimon -- our reporter out there is reporting that protesters were launching bottles, fireworks, bricks and other projectiles, but they aren't -- they aren't doing it right now. So, respond to what Juliette said and what police need to do at this point. JONATHAN WACKROW, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, right now, you
know, Juliette is spot on with what she is saying. Law enforcement, you know, has actually prepared for this moment for a long time. And the reason being, you know, the death of Daunte Wright is the type of tragic wild card incident that both the community at large and law enforcement had feared, you know, during a time of already heightened tension.
So, the incident command structure was already preplanned within the region. And that's a structure that is set up so when you have multiple agencies responding to a protest and demonstrations and civil unrest, it's a way to coordinate all of the activity and ensure that there is a unified command structure that is putting all of the pieces in place for really two reasons.
One, you want to be able to protect the first amendment rights of those who are protesting and expressing their first amendment right. But also, so that you're then able to quickly address the criminal matters of those who were engaged in criminal acts such as civil unrest.
So, the command structure is absolutely necessary. You know, always of concern for law enforcement during these moments is really that the unanticipated variables right now that can lead to the sudden shifts in landscape. So, as we were seeing --
WACKROW: -- this coordinated effort, the line of the police in their riot gear pushing away protesters from that critical asset, which is the police station. What they're going to try to do is try to disperse that crowd, create distance from those critical assets. But really, you know, what we're seeing is people throwing bottles.
But for the most part, they're engaging in nonviolent direct action against the law enforcement. And acts of civil disobedience. We're not seeing the widespread civil unrest that we have seen in the past. You know, the tenor of these protests has changed significantly because of social media. And really, the demonstration, these groups are of largely leaderless groups.
LEMON: Jonathan Wackrow, Juliette Kayyem, stand by. Our Sara Sidner is still on the scene, Shimon Prokupecz as well.
But I want to talk about this more broadly, and what's going on, the entire scope of what's happening in Minnesota and then what has taken place around the country. This particular unrest happening because of the shooting of the young man yesterday, and of course, the trial going on now in Minnesota.
So, I want to bring in now George Floyd's brother Philonise who took the stand today for the prosecution and Ben Crump, the attorney for George Floyd's family who is also now representing the family of Daunte Wright.
Philonise Floyd here as well as Ben Crump. So, gentlemen, thank you both for joining. I appreciate it. You've been standing by, you've been watching this unrest. Ben, I'm going get to you first. Philonise, I'll come to you in a moment.
You now represent the family of Daunte Wright. That family has called for calm. What is your reaction and what you are seeing now playing out on the streets of Brooklyn Center?
BENJAMIN CRUMP, ATTORNEY FOR FLOYD FAMILY: Well, Don, honestly, this is a very emotional time. Especially when you think we're in the midst of what many believe is the police excessive force civil rights case of our time, the most impactful tipping point with the killing of George Floyd.
And then in the midst of that, Don, you have these police officers within 10 miles of the courthouse stop this young Black man for driving while Black, looked like air freshener where he is ends up being killed by this officer who claims she meant to pull her taser. And it's just unacceptable.
We heard President Biden say that it was tragic, the killing of Daunte Wright, and that we all need to wait on the findings of the investigation. But he said that looting was absolutely unnecessary and uncalled for.
Well, I was there for the Wright family, and a lot of people at the (Inaudible)vision and we want the president to also say that killing unarmed Black people for traffic stops is absolutely uncalled for.
LEMON: Ben, and listen, the traffic stop, you're right. Now according to the chief, the chief said that Wright was pulled over on Sunday for a traffic violation related to expired registration tags. And then they discovered that he had outstanding misdemeanor warrant. Is that -- is that not your understanding?
CRUMP: Well, it evolves. And so, we have a witness who was in the car with him who heard what the police were talking to him about. And so, you know, now they're trying as they often do try to unjustify -- I'm sorry -- trying to justify the unjustifiable killings of Black people. That's number one.
But secondly, Don, it is so very troubling when you think about a misdemeanor warrant for possession of marijuana. We're talking about misdemeanor warrant for possession of marijuana. And so, Daunte, a young man --
LEMON: Ben, Ben, Ben. Let me ask you this. I've got to ask you this question. You're saying that it was marijuana. Now according to the report and court records indicate the judge issued a warrant for Mr. Wright earlier this month after he missed a court appearance. He was facing two misdemeanor charges after Minneapolis police said that he carried a pistol without a permit and had a run -- and ran from officers last June.
Is that -- is that reporting incorrect? Ben, you're saying it was misdemeanor for marijuana?
CRUMP: Well, Don, I'm about to talk to the district attorney right after I get off your show, and they are going to tell me what they are claimed. But I will say this unequivocally.
The fact that this young man hadn't killed anybody, hasn't harmed anyone and was not putting those officers in danger. He was trying to get away from them. And yet again like Jacob Blake, like Anthony McClain, like so many other young Black men who are running from the police, not putting them in violence or fear or threat, they shoot first and ask questions later.
The fact that you have young white men like the ones in Atlanta who shot the people in the Asian spas, you take them alive, but yet you always end up killing us when you have people like the young white man in Parkland, Florida, who shot up the school, you took him alive. But then you shoot us.
Just like Dylann Roof who shot up the church in South Carolina. You took him alive, but you shoot this young man who we believe should have never been stopped in the first place, especially when we're dealing with something so senseless going on in Minneapolis.
So, Don, it is an emotional time because we're just tired of them killing us unjustifiably over and over and over again. How many hash tags are we going to have before we pass the George Floyd Justice and Policing Accountability Act to have some reform and some systematic reform to change this culture of police excessive force against Black people?
LEMON: I think everyone can agree with you for a traffic stop and if it is indeed a misdemeanor warrant, that no one deserves to lose their life in the way this young man did. And, again, with police training, one would think an officer would not mistake a taser or a gun for a taser.
So, it's certainly understandable. But as you know, Ben, I've got ask you because there is certain reporting on this, and I want to know if the reporting is right, if that's what you're getting. So, thank you for clearing that up. I want to bring -- yes, I want to bring Philonise in, but go ahead, go ahead, Ben.
CRUMP: I say whatever they trying to offer to justify this unjustifiable shooting is unacceptable to us.
LEMON: Philonise, in the middle of this Chauvin murder trial of your brother, Daunte Wright was killed by police. Does it make the pain that you're already feeling worse now, another family dealing with a loss after a police encounter?
PHILONISE FLOYD, GEORGE FLOYD'S BROTHER: Yes, it makes it worse, because I'm thinking of Black America. So many people who have lost loved ones and yet we have to look at another mother who lost her child. And I understand the pain that she has, but I'm not a mother, but I know because I lost my brother.
As I sat in that courtroom today and I had the opportunity to impact the -- impact what was going on with my brother, because people knew him as the person who was tortured to death. Nobody knew who he really was. So, I had to explain who he was because that was my big brother.
And times like this, we can't have this because I miss my brother, and she is going to miss her son. And we will stand in solidarity with her and speak up. Because we have to stop this violence right now.
LEMON (on camera): Philonise, I want to play some of your testimony, but I want to be able to leave the pictures up as we play your testimony because we never know what's going to happen. We want to keep an eye on it. So, you know, let's talk more about you taking the stand today to talk about your brother. It was emotional testimony. This is some of what we heard from you. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FLOYD: He made sure that we all were going to be to school on time. And like I told you, George couldn't cook, but he'll make sure you have a snack, or something you get in the morning. He just was like a person that everybody loved around the community. He just knew how to make people feel better. Being around him, he showed us like how to treat our mom and how to respect our mom. He -- he -- he just loved her so dearly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON (on camera): Philonise, listen, we met, you know, almost a year ago after the killing of your brother. And here it is a trial of the man who's accused of killing your brother. And now we have more unrest. And I'm talking to you again during unrest in Minnesota. It's just unbelievable. It's surreal here. To take that stand today to speak directly to the jurors, to tell them about your brother, what was today like for you?
FLOYD: It was one of the bitter most bittersweet times of my life. It was great that I had a chance to explain who he was, but it was just terrible just being there knowing that I had to speak up for him because being in that courtroom, I've seen my brother killed over 100 times every day, constantly. And I know over a thousand times within this year.
My brother, I know he is looking down right now, and he is proud of me for the things in my family for what we're doing. But at the same time, Don, we have to get justice for my brother because justice for George Floyd means justice for all right now. If a Black man can't get justice for this, what can a Black man get justice for in America?
LEMON: Philonise, I know it's a tough day for you, not only having to take the stand, but also reliving unrest again in Minnesota. We thank you for joining us. Ben, we thank you for joining us as well, speaking to us about both of these cases. When you get an update on what you know about Brooklyn Center, we would love to have you back. Please contact us and let us know.
And thank you for going through some of the reporting with me. We appreciate both of you. Thank you, gentlemen. We'll see you soon.
We're going continue to talk about these new protests in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota tonight after the police killing of Daunte Wright. His aunt joins me next. Short break. We'll be right back with our breaking news.
LEMON (on camera): We're back now with our breaking news here on CNN. Protesters still out on the streets of Brooklyn Center, Minnesota tonight defying a curfew that went into effect just a few hours ago. Anger spreading over the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright, the 20-year- old Black man during a traffic stop, the medical examiner ruling Wright's death a homicide.
So, let's discuss now. On the phone with me is Naisha Wright, Daunte Wright's aunt. Ms. Wright, thank you so much. I appreciate you joining us. You know, sorry for your loss, obviously, a horrible time for your family.
We're seeing more unrest on the ground tonight. Your family has been calling for calm. Do you have a message for the crowd out there tonight and people watching?
NAISHA WRIGHT, DAUNTE WRIGHT'S AUNT: I'm going to be honest with you right now. All I can think about is my family, what they're going through, what we're feeling. I haven't -- I haven't thought more about what's going on out there on the streets. What I thought about is getting off this road, getting to my brother, getting to my sister-in- law, because my nephew was murdered.
I can't think of nothing right now, that's all I can think of is being there, supporting them. And it's hard being that you're at the bottom of the map and you got to come all the way to the top for something like this.
LEMON: So, you said that you're on the road, right? You're traveling to Minnesota, to Brooklyn Center tonight, is that correct?
LEMON: How long have you been on the road?
WRIGHT: I have been on the road since four something. I'm coming from Alabama. Had to stop in Tennessee to get my mother, and now we're on our way. I can't tell you where we're at right now. It's dark. But I tell you like this. I'm going to be there for my brother and my sister.
LEMON: You've been in contact with your family?
WRIGHT: Definitely. Definitely.
LEMON: How is everybody doing?
WRIGHT: My goodness. How can you explain it? Everybody is hurt. This is a young man that had life in front of him. He had a son. How -- why -- how can I explain it? I can't explain it. My family is hurt. You've seen his mother, and for one minute you all, don't forget that my brother, he is there as well, his father.
This is not a broken home. This is not a broken home. They've been together over 23 years. Over 23 years they've been together. My brother has been there. Please do not disregard his feelings because my brother is in pain.
LEMON: We understand. I want to -- you talked about his family, his mom and his dad. You said that's not a broken home. Moments before Daunte was killed, he called his mother, Katie Wright, to say he had been pulled over.
LEMON (on camera): And I want to play what she told. This is for our view, CNN affiliate KARE, K-A-R-E. And then we'll continue on with the aunt after this. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KATIE WRIGHT, DAUNTE WRIGHT'S MOTHER: I heard the police officer come to the window and say please put the phone down and get out of the car. And Daunte said, why. And they said we'll explain to you when you get out of the car. So, I heard the phone either put on the dashboard or dropped, and I heard scuffling, and I heard the police officer say "Daunte, don't run." And then the other said put the phone down and hung it up.
And then two, like a minute later, I called and his girlfriend answered which is the passenger in the car and said that he had been shot. She put it on the driver's side and my son was laying there lifeless.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON (on camera): So, I know, Ms. Wright, it's hard to hear the mom. But you can hear the pain in her voice. What went through your mind when you heard the police chief say that the officer fired the gun by mistake? She intended to use her taser?
N. WRIGHT: You don't want to know. You really don't to know what I felt, but I'm going to tell you like this. You know the difference from a fully loaded pistol versus a stun gun. You know the difference.
[22:55:00] And if you are a police officer, you should know that I think that camera, I saw she held that gun out in front of her for a little while. You mean to tell me she didn't see it? But let me ask you all something. How would you all feel if you got the call that that was your nephew, if that was your son? If that was your brother? How would you all feel?
And being to sit here and people are trying to drag my nephew's name through the dirt. It don't mean nothing. It don't mean nothing. He didn't deserve to die. My nephew was a damn good kid. He loved his family, and we loved him. Accident? An accident? No. Come on, now.
Everybody in this world saw that gun. You mean to tell me you thought it was a taser? I've owned over 20,000-volt taser. They don't feel nothing like a gun. Nothing like a gun. So, you all tell me how would you all feel if you all got that call? That was my nephew. That was my blood. That was like my heart, my brother is my heart. Katie is my heart.
LEMON: Naisha --
N. WRIGHT: My mother, my mother shouldn't have to be burying her grandchild. My brother, my sister, they shouldn't have to be burying their son. Not over air freshener. They stopped him over air freshener. Let's get that correct. His tag wasn't expired. My sister (Inaudible) just bought him that car. You all want to see it? People want to try to look for something bad to go ahead and justify this.
How about we justify this man's life was taken. They took my man's life from him. My great nephew has to now grow up not even knowing, not even being able to touch his father. You tell me is it all right to take somebody life or was a misdemeanor warrant just because of some weed -- you got these politicians out here smoking weed. They are not dead.
You got all these people that just shot up the man that killed them Asian women, may they rest their soul, may they rest in peace. You got the people at the grocery store. You got the people in Bryan, Texas. You mean to tell me all three of them is still living? But my nephew is dead? Because now they want to use the justification of it was a mistake?
You don't mistake a stun gun from a gun. You don't mistake that. If I made a mistake like that, I'd be in the jail cell. They'd be trying to put me under it. It's not fair.
We got several police officers in all in our family. I don't have nothing bad to say about them. But what I got to say is she needs to pay for what she did to my family. My family's blood is on their hands. My brother, my sister is hurting. How do we put life back together after this? Some people say, it's God's plan. That was not God's plan. This stuff should not be going on like this.
LEMON: Ms. Wright, I can't begin to imagine what you're dealing with, and, and I'm glad you got to say your piece, at least for this moment, because I'm sure there is so much more inside of you and so much more that you want to say and that you want the world to know.
And I hope that providing this opportunity in some way gets it across. I know -- I was going to say I hope it brings you some peace. But I know it doesn't. It doesn't bring you peace. But --
N. WRIGHT: There is no peace in this. There is no peace in this. Say his name. Keep saying his name. My nephew did not deserve this. Daunte Wright did not deserve this. Katie Wright, Aubrey Wright, they did not deserve this.