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Ohio Officers Won't Face Charges in Shooting; Florida Governor Threatens to Build Prison Next to Disney; Dr. Kameelah Phillips is Interviewed about a New Study on Black Doctors; Draymond Green Ejected from Game. Aired 6:30-7a ET
Aired April 18, 2023 - 06:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back.
The attorney for the family of a black man killed by police in Akron, Ohio, last year are now saying they're going to file a civil suit. This comes after a special grand jury declined on Monday to indict those police officers who fired their guns nearly 100 times. They killed 25-year-old Jayland Walker following a traffic stop in June. Ohio's attorney general says the panel concluded the officers were legally justified in their use of force.
Polo Sandoval is live in Akron for us.
Polo, good morning. What can you tell us?
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning.
Hey, Poppy, it was that single shot that state investigators say that was fired by Jayland Walker, some 40 seconds into a vehicle pursuit on that summer night that led police officers to still perceived him as a threat, that they concluded that he potentially was armed and that's why they used deadly force.
In Akron this morning, things are quiet, but there certainly is a sense of frustration and even some outrage. Many people here wish that there would have been charges filed so that the cases would have played out in open court in front of a jury trial instead of come to a conclusion behind closed doors with the grand jury.
SANDOVAL (voice over): Jayland Walker's family left devastated after a special grand jury failed to indict eight Akron, Ohio, police officers who shot and killed the 25-year-old in June of last year.
BOBBY DICELLO, LEAD COUNSEL FOR JAYLAND WALKER'S FAMILY: The family of Jayland Walker's hearts have been destroyed. His body has been destroyed. And our faith in this community, its leadership, has been destroyed. SANDOVAL: Walker allegedly fired one shot from his car as he drove away from a traffic stop attempt and then led the officers on a car chase and later a foot pursuit. According to the Ohio Attorney General's Office, he exited the vehicle in a ski mask.
DAVE YOST, OHIO ATTORNEY GENERAL: Mr. Walker then reached for his waistband and what several officers described as a cross draw motion, planted his foot and turned toward the officers while raising his hand.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you (EXPLETIVE DELETED) hands (ph).
SANDOVAL: The investigation found the officers fired a total of 94 round in 6.7 seconds. Walker's autopsy revealed he was hit or grazed 46 times. At the time he was shot, Walker was unarmed, according to police. His gun was found in his car later. Walker's fiance had died in a car accident just one month prior. The attorney general's office says there is no direct evidence this was a suicide by cop.
ANTHONY PIERSON, OHIO ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL: He was going through a very tough time. And he was hurting. And that night that he encountered the police, he was not acting himself. By all accounts, this was a good man, a good person, with no prior criminal record.
SANDOVAL: The Akron Police Department says they are now conducting an internal review of the shooting. The eight officers involved have not been identified and remain on the force. One of the officers was -- previously been involved in a shooting incident that was deemed legally justified.
Some Akron residents taking to the streets, frustrated by the grand jury's decision.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What are you feeling right now? What -- what gets you out in the streets?
ANDREW MYERS, AKRON RESIDENT AND ACTIVIST: Insulting of intelligence. It's a phrase. You had to say all that in it's entirely. Because when you sit there and you talk about a dead man and what his -- what he did, and we don't talk about 96 shots, we were told that we were going to get an explanation for every bullet that came out.
Unfortunately, we didn't get that.
SANDOVAL: There were some demonstrations here on the streets of Akron yesterday. Fairly small. And Akron PD not reporting any major incidents.
Those city officials, they have been taking steps to make sure that buildings are protected because of what happened last summer. There were a few isolated incidents that did result in some vandalism and some violence and arrests. Those things, again, remain quiet this morning.
As for that internal use of force investigation, we're told, Poppy, that that is just going to get started right now with Akron PD internal investigators looking into the actions of each one of the officers. That's an administrative investigation.
HARLOW: OK. Understood.
Polo, thank you very much for that reporting, live from Akron, this morning.
SANDOVAL: Thank you.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Down in Florida, the governor, Ron DeSantis, escalating his battle with Disney by threatening to put a prison next to a Disney World in Orlando, or a competing theme park. That's straight ahead.
LEMON: So, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis threatening to retaliate against Disney, even sarcastically suggesting, we think, that he would build a state prison next to Disney World. The governor threw the idea out as one of several retaliation options after Disney attempted to avoid a state takeover of its special governing district. In February, the board of Disney's self-governing district quietly voted to hand over power to the company before a DeSantis appointed board could take control. A move DeSantis says Republican state lawmakers are ready to formally nullify.
CNN's Steve Contorno is live in St. Petersburg, Florida, this morning.
Good morning to you. Your reaction to the press conference. What has the reaction been to this press conference, I should say.
STEVE CONTORNO, CNN REPORTER: Don, this back and forth between DeSantis and Disney has produced so many unexpected twists and turns, but no one I talked to has foreseen or could have foreseen that the governor at some point would threaten to put prisoners next to the magic kingdom. Yet that is where we are today after the governor yesterday laid out his next round of expected retaliation against Disney.
And a prison wasn't the only thing he suggested that could be done with this public land next door to Disney World. Take a listen to some of his other suggestions that he floated yesterday for this property.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): Come to think of it, now people are like, well, there's -- what should we do with this land? And so, you know, it's like, OK, kids -- I mean, people have said, you know, maybe -- maybe have another -- maybe create a state park. Maybe try to do more amusement parks. Someone even said, like, maybe you need another state prison. Who knows? I mean, I just think that the - the possibilities are endless.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CONTORNO: Now, in addition to those sort of threats that he put out there yesterday, the governor laid out a more concrete idea of what he's going to -- what his next steps are going to be. It starts with the legislature passing a bill that he says will notify these agreements with Disney passed with the previous board. And he also suggested that the state might start taking over some of Disney's inspection protocols that right now Disney inspects its own rides. The state could take over that if a bill passes in the coming weeks. That's just another example, Don, of how DeSantis wants to get the state up in Disney's business until they relent.
HARLOW: I -- for anyone listening, like, on their commute, they probably couldn't see DeSantis' face. He appeared to be being sarcastic. I would just note, Steve, on the prison reference. But we'll see. OK.
I find this battle so fascinating, right, that a Republican governor would want to take on a public company in sort of the private sector like that is unheard of for the Republican Party. It just -- it's really interesting. But I would just note, does - does DeSantis really want to hurt Disney, one of the biggest employers in his state, or is this more about optics and looking like he's taking on a company that he deems to be, quote, woke.
CONTORNO: Well, Poppy, at the outset of this thing, I think that was what some people may have speculated, that this was about scoring political points and then maybe sort of backtracking to a stalemate where they -- both sides could sort of claimed victory. However, these latest actions that he is threatening would turn Disney in - Disney's special district into basically his -- his own operation. I mean he's already appointed five of the board members. Now he is threatening to use that new board to potentially tax Disney's property, putting in state inspections, selling off the utilities that operate in that district to other private companies. So, everything he is putting on the table suggests that he is not backing down and is, in fact, threatening further action in a way that could actually harm Disney's bottom line.
HARLOW: OK. You'll be watching closely. Steve, thanks very much.
Well, there is a new study we're going to talk about next, and it finds that having black doctors in a community raises life expectancy of black residents, even if they don't visit those doctors. We'll tell you why, next.
Plus, Fyre Festival take two. Why fraudster (ph) Billy McFarland claims he is considering a sequel to his botched music festival. That's straight ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Why would any performer or festivalgoers or investor or anyone want to do anything with you considering what happened the last time?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: This morning we are getting a look at an eye-opening study about the importance of diversity in the medical field especially. This is a study that found that black people who live in counties with more black doctors actually live longer. And it shows about a one month increase in life expectancy for every 10 percent increase in black primary care physicians. "The Journal of the American Medical Association" published this new study. So, joining us now is OBGYN and founder of Calla Women's Health, Dr. Kameelah Phillips.
Doctor, thank you very, very much.
DR. KAMEELAH PHILLIPS. OBSTETRICIAN-GYNECOLOGIST: Thank you for having me.
LEMON: Good morning.
HARLOW: When we were talking about this yesterday, what was so striking is it's not just -- it's not correlative to having a black doctor treated a black patient. Even if those black patients aren't treated by a black doctor, it's about just having them in the community. Why do you think this is? What do you make of this study?
PHILLIPS: Well, I think this study is really important because it really drives home the importance of diversity in medicine. Having a black doctor in a space -- we have lots of documentation of this -- shows that patients are more compliant, they get more preventative care, and they are overall impressed and more likely to engage in medicine. So, having black doctors present in the space really changes how people see health and wellness and the whole community does better.
LEMON: Yes. It's interesting to, you know, having a bunch of black doctors as friends to see experiences of black doctors in general. Like, you know, some patients not wanting a black doctor, people requesting black doctors and not being available. I mean it's a -- it's a whole thing.
A couple of us, including Kaitlan, and I read this -- I think it was "The New York Times" this past weekend about the pregnant women.
HARLOW: Yes. Yes.
LEMON: There's this new study that looked into the health system in Pennsylvania and found that black pregnant women are drug tested more often than white women, even though they are less likely to use drugs or test positive for drugs.
You say you're not surprised by this.
PHILLIPS: It's definitely something I'm not surprised by as an African American physician. I see our patients overwhelmingly over policed in a sense. That's our way of doing it. And it really speaks to racism in medicine and medical bias. And that's something that the medical community really needs to work on.
LEMON: Are black patients not getting drugs as often or -
PHILLIPS: Yes, we have tons of documentation that for similar injuries African Americans overwhelmingly receive less narcotics. There is a sense that African American patients, particularly in the pregnancy space, are not listened to. And this is contributing to our increased rates of maternal mortality. So, there's a long history here that needs to be addressed by medicine. So, I'm glad we're talking about it.
HARLOW: You've also talked about solutions. So, what are some things that you suggest? What are some things you're doing in your practice?
PHILLIPS: So, one thing that's a big piece is having more diversity in medicine. And that starts from the bottom up. It really is a decades long practice to grow a doctor. And so increasing that pipeline at a young age so that we have more primary care providers, more advanced providers. Right now African American doctors are about 5.7 percent of our medical force. We're 12 percent of the population. So, it's not just us who needs to take care of black people, but really having a push that we have more doctors to take care of everyone is where I think we need to be focusing on.
LEMON: I can -- I mean bedside manner is good. I'm - we're very calm now.
Thank you, Doctor. It's a pleasure.
PHILLIPS: Thank you for having me.
LEMON: We hope to have you back. Thank you so much.
PHILLIPS: Thank you so much.
LEMON: A white homeowner now facing charges after shooting a black teenager who accidentally went to the wrong house. What prosecutors are saying about whether this was a hate crime. That's straight ahead.
LEMON: Welcome back.
Time for sports.
Draymond Green got ejected from last night's Warriors playoff game after stomping on an opponent -- an opposing player's chest.
Andy Scholes joins us with more.
Andy, what happened?
ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Yes. Well, Don, it wasn't good. You know, Draymond Green has been in plenty of controversial plays in his career. And last night, ejected from the playoff game for stomping right on Domantis Sabonis.
So, the play happened with the King's up by three with seven minutes left in the fourth. Sabonis is going to go down here fighting for the rebound. He grabs Draymond's leg. Well, Draymond responds by stomping right on his chest. As you can see, Sabonis was in a lot of pain. He got a technical for grabbing Draymond's leg. Draymond got a flagrant two and was ejected from the ballgame. Sabonis had some x-rays on his chest after the game. Those came back negative. Kings would pull away late to win this one 114 to 106. This is the first time in the Steph Curry era the Warriors are down 0-2 in a series.
After the game, Draymond defended his actions.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DRAYMOND GREEN, GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS FORWARD: My leg got grabbed. Second time in two nights. Referees just watch it. I got to land my foot somewhere. And I'm not the most flexible person. So that's not stretching that far.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So you didn't really see where you were stepping. You just kind of -
GREEN: I can only step so far. And pulling my leg away.
DOMANTAS SABONIS, SACRAMENTO KINGS FORWARD: We're both fighting for the rebound. You know, we fell on each other and stuff happened. It's basketball. We got to move on. Next play.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHOLES: Yes, Warriors/Kings continues on Thursday.
The NFL, meanwhile, has a new highest paid player. Quarterback Jalen Hurts, fresh off leading the Eagles to the Super Bowl, getting a five year extension worth $255 million. $179 million of that is guaranteed. The annual salary of $51 million passes Aaron Rodgers for the most in the league. Now, Hurts his represented by Nicole Lynn, who became the first black woman to represent a player in the Super Bowl when Hurts made it to Super Bowl 57. So, she tweeted in January, is anybody know where I could find a Brinks truck, please. And, no, she responded to her own tweet yesterday after the news of the deal saying, all good. Found one.
SCHOLES: And I'll tell you what, yes, Don, pretty amazing to see how far Hurts has come. You know, he was benched in the national championship game when he played for Alabama for Tua Tagovailoa. Went to Oklahoma. Then to the Eagles. Now the highest paid player in the NFL. He is the true epitome of hard work pays off.
LEMON: How is he going to survive on that? I mean -
HARLOW: Where is Kaitlan when we need her most? She's like a huge fan.
LEMON: To talk about - oh, right, of -
HARLOW: How could we forget?
LEMON: Yes. Oh, that's right. That's right.
HARLOW: Alabama, right, Andy?
SCHOLES: Yes. Yes. He went - that's what I said, he went to Alabama. He transferred to Oklahoma. Did well there as well. Now, hey, highest paid.
LEMON: That's a lot of dough.
Hey, look, congratulations to him. Good luck.
HARLOW: Hey, good for him.
Thanks, Andy. Good to see you.
SCHOLES: Yes. All right.
HARLOW: CNN THIS MORNING continues right now.