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4 Current & Former Louisville Police Officers Charged in Connection with Breonna Taylor's Shooting Death; Biden Admin Plans to Declare Monkeypox a Public Health Emergency; U.S. Postpones Planned Missile Test Due to Heightened Tensions with China Over Pelosi's Taiwan Visit. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired August 04, 2022 - 14:30   ET




ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: Four current and former Louisville police officers involved in the deadly raid on Breonna Taylor's home were arrested and charged today.

Attorney General Merrick Garland laid out the charges.


MERRICK GARLAND, ATTORNEY GENERAL: The Justice Department has charged four current and former Louisville Metro Police Department officers with federal crimes related to Ms. Taylor's death.

Those alleged crimes include civil rights offenses, unlawful conspiracies, unconstitutional use of force, and obstruction offenses.


CAMEROTA: Joshua Jaynes, Kelly Goodlett and Kyle Meany were charged with charged with submitting a false affidavit to search Taylor's home. And then working together to create a false cover story in an effort to escape responsibility.

Brett Hankison was indicted on two counts of depravation of rights.

Here with the latest, we have CNN security correspondent, Josh Campbell.

Josh, explain how this is different than the state's prosecution case two years ago.

JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Alisyn. Back in 2020, after this March 2020 incident, state prosecutors brought a charge of what's called wanton endangerment against one of the officers that was there that day. That officer was ultimately acquitted on those charges.

And we heard this uproar, members of Breonna Taylor's family, some members of the community asking the federal government to step in and do more.


And as is often the case as we cover these incidents of excessive use of force by police, these allegations, the federal government will wait and let the state decide what it's going to do.

The feds will do their work behind the scenes and then, ultimately, will make the decision whether or not to bring charges.

Today, the Justice Department saying that, yes, they believe there's a compelling reason for the feds to step in. They believe federal law was, indeed, broken.

And the easiest way to think about this is to think of these charges in two separate categories.

The first is that the Justice Department alleges that three of these officers actually engaged in falsifying information that went into the search warrant that was ultimately signed by a judge that allowed authorities to be there on that day.

You know, I can tell you from a career in law enforcement, police have incredible amount of power. When they go to a judge, they raise their right hand, they swear to the judge that the information being presented in a search warrant is true and accurate.

The judge will then make a determination whether to sign that warrant, but the judge is basing that decision on, not just what they're reading, but also the integrity of the officers.

Here, the Justice Department says there was information falsified in that warrant that then, in words of the assistant attorney general, Kristen Clarke, set in motion the chain of events that led to Breonna Taylor's death.

The second category of charges relates to excessive use of force. Now, the federal government alleges that one of these officers who was there that day -- as officers went toward the house, a shot was fired from within that house, someone within the residence thought there were intruders there.

One of the officers allegedly went around to the side of Breonna Taylor's residence and fired through a window that was covered in blinds.

And so prosecutors say that that officer didn't know what was on the other side of that window but, nevertheless, opened fire 10 times. That person has been charged, again, with excessive use of force.

Finally, take a listen very quickly. This is the attorney. We're hearing reaction from Breonna Taylor's family talking about their view in response to these charges. Take a listen.


BENJAMIN CRUMP, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY: What a great day to arrest the killers of Breonna Taylor.


CRUMP: Thank god that Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron did not get the last word --




CRUMP: -- in regard to justice for Breonna Taylor.


CAMPBELL: Now, Breonna Taylor's family says that she's waited 874 days for this moment, for these charges to be brought.

It's worth pointing out the attorney general says this is only the beginning of the prosecution. This is an allegation. We don't yet know whether this will actually go to trial or whether these officers will plea -- Alisyn?

CAMEROTA: OK, Josh Campbell, thank you very much.

Back to discuss all this, we have CNN legal analyst, Areva Martin, and CNN senior legal analyst, Elie Honig.

Elie, first, the federal charges, what do you see here?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: This means, Alisyn, that DOJ believes that Breonna Taylor's death was not the result of just some tragic accident but was the result of criminal conduct by four Louisville police officers. That's enormously significant.

Now, there are two types of charges here. Three of the officers are charged with, lying on the affidavit that they put in to get a search warrant.

They said, we saw packages going into that home, which was used to support an allegation that there may be drug trafficking here. The allegation is that was made up, that's a lie. That's remarkably serious to see from a law enforcement officer.

And the allegation is they got together and fixed their story and lied to the FBI afterwards.

The other charge against this one officer, Hankison, which Josh said, that is your traditional use of excessive force, unnecessary force, leading towards or which could have endangered the life of Breonna Taylor.

So those are the two categories of charges here.

CAMEROTA: Areva, the details just get worse with everything we heard, everything that Elie just laid out.

They fabricated things, I mean, allegedly, for the search warrant. And then they met, the defendants, according to Garland, tried to cover up their crime and met in a garage where they agreed to tell a false story.

Your thoughts as you listen to all this?

AREVA MARTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, Alisyn, really reprehensible conduct on the part of police officers who have an obligation to protect and serve. These officers were engaged in the exact opposite conduct.

And if you will recall, Breonna's mom and her family and her supporters have been consistent in saying that their daughter was not involved in drug activity, that her boyfriend that was living with her or at the home at the time wasn't involved in drug activity.

So what the Justice Department has now put in these indictments very much mirrors what we have been hearing from this family.

And that this was just an innocent couple at home, asleep in their beds, startled by this no-knock warrant that was executed by these, what we now know, are rogue officers, and that this young woman lost her life for no apparent reason.

And now we know the reason is because these officers were completely dishonest in their efforts to get this search warrant in the first place.

And then, they went even further in their -- you know, falsification, in their deception, and hatched this plan to obstruct justice and to try to evade the consequences and penalties for their conduct.


And thank god that the Kentucky attorney general, as we just heard from the attorney for the family --

CAMEROTA: Daniel Cameron.

MARTIN: -- did not have the last word. Because he refused to bring charges and to take any action with respect to these officers.

And we needed for the Department of Justice -- the Department of Justice, under the Biden administration, that said they would take a different approach to these types of cases.

And this is exactly what the community, what the African-American community, and what advocates have been asking this Justice Department to do.

So this is a good day, not only for Breonna's family but for all the advocates that have been fighting for criminal justice reform.

CAMEROTA: Elie, are you already seeing some evidence that one of these four officers may be working with the prosecution?

HONIG: Yes, the indicators are there with respect to one of four officers, Kelly Goodlett.

Here's what I base that on. Three of the officers are charged by an indictment, when the prosecutor goes to a grand jury and the grand jury says, we charge you.

But Kelly Goodlett is charged by what we call an information, which is essentially prosecutors don't go a grand jury. They agree with the defendant, OK, here's what we're going to charge you with, and the defendant says, yes, I'm fine with that.

Very often, that is a sign and indicator or precursor of cooperation.

And if you look at the indictment of the other officers -- and Areva alluded to this -- there are mentions of texts and conversations. They had to have somebody on the inside.

The indictment refers to a quote, "K.G.," the initials, Kelly Goodlet, as somebody who was involved in that.

So I think it's reasonable to infer from that, it looks like Kelly Goodlett is cooperating.

CAMEROTA: Really interesting.

OK, Areva Martin, Elie Honig, thank you very much for all of that analysis.

So, the Defense Department is working to ease tensions with China by delaying a missile test. This all follows, of course, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's controversial trip to Taiwan this week.



CAMEROTA: The Biden administration could declare the monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency as soon as today.

The first confirmed case in the U.S. appeared on May 18th. The CDC says there are now more than 6,600 infections across the country. The virus has been found in all but two states.

CNN's Jeremy Diamond has the very latest for us.

So, Jeremy, why now? We know that local officials have been calling for this for a while. So what was the tipping point for the administration?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, we don't know exactly what the tipping point was. I mean, clearly, there's been a ramped-up pressure from state and local officials as well as public health experts for the government to do this. This is something that's been under consideration, Alisyn, for several

weeks now. There's been debate within the administration about how much of an impact declaring a public health emergency would actually have.

But it does appear that is exactly what this administration is going to do. And it will do it as soon as today.

Now, what would this actually do? It certainly would raise the public profile of monkeypox and help with some of the public health education efforts of this government by just increasing awareness of this disease, and its spread.

And it's also going to unlock some additional flexibility, some emergency funds that the government can use in this response. Some of that flexibility, for example, would apply to medical treatments and vaccines, getting those approved more quickly to get out.

But clearly, there's a ramped-up focus within the administration and at the White House to try and get a more serious national, centralized response to this outbreak.

We saw just a couple of days ago, the White House named a new monkeypox coordinator, Robert Fenton, who was previously an acting head of FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

So there's clearly a lot more resources, a lot more attention that the White House is starting to put on this issue.

And it also comes, as I mentioned, amid some criticism from public health experts about the strength and the muscle behind the federal response so far.

There's been this new revelation that CNN has confirmed that it took HHS more than three weeks after the first confirmed case of monkeypox for the U.S. to order -- to make the bulk stock of this vaccine that was being held in Denmark, to ask for that to be bottled and distributed to the U.S.

So we're now in a situation where about 1.1 million doses have been offered to state and local jurisdictions. But that's of the 6.9 million doses that the U.S. has already ordered or secured.

So clearly, there's a mismatch there and it's going to take some time to get those doses out where they're needed -- Alisyn?

CAMEROTA: OK. Jeremy Diamond, thank you for that update.

So, happening right now, a Texas jury is deliberating in the Alex Jones's defamation trial, deciding how much money he has to pay for his lies about the Sandy Hook massacre.


[14:53:11] CAMEROTA: This just into CNN. The Pentagon is delaying a previously planned missile test over concerns about China and their response to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's trip to Taiwan.

Let's get to CNN's Barbara Starr with latest at the Pentagon.

So, Barbara, what are you learning?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Alisyn. Well, this was a scheduled test of a U.S. unarmed intercontinental ballistic missile that was going to be shot from California out over the Pacific as part of a routine reliability, if you will, testing program of these intercontinental ballistic missiles.

It was supposed to happen in a window last night or tonight. Now it is all postponed by the Pentagon because of China's anger over Pelosi's visit to Taiwan.

As we know, the Chinese now carrying out war games, if you will, sending their missiles, their military assets near Taiwan. So Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin decided to postpone this test.

Not the first time. Back in March, he postponed another one out of concern that Russia might misinterpret it after their invasion of Ukraine.

So all of these tests are normally very routine business, but now we have two significant postponements in just a matter of months. The Pentagon said it is a prudent action.

But I want to you hear what one leading House Republican, Congressman Mike Rogers, the leading Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, had to say about this all of this.

And let me quote him. He says, "These weak-kneed, pearl-clutching attempts at appeasement hurts our readiness and will only invite further aggression by our adversaries."

Tough words from the Republican side. The Pentagon said prudent, had to do it, and that they will reschedule the tests -- Alisyn?

CAMEROTA: OK. Barbara Starr, thank you very much for that update.


Now an update on monkeypox. The Biden administration has now officially declared monkeypox a public health emergency. This announcement came from the Department of Health and Human Services.

All right, the conservative gathering of CPAC is under way in Texas. And one of the star speakers is Hungary's hardline authoritarian leader. We are live in Dallas with the details ahead.


[15:00:07] CAMEROTA: It is the top of hour on CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Alisyn Camerota.