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Erin Burnett Outfront

Protesters Gather After Fatal Police Shooting Of Black Man In MN; Curfew Begins Soon In Minneapolis Area After Deadly Police Shooting; Judge In Chauvin Trial Denies Request To Sequester Jurors After Fatal Officer-Involved Shooting In Nearby Community; Army Lieutenant Pepper-Sprayed By Police Says He Is "Gratified" And "Encouraged" By Support; One Dead, Officer Injured In Knoxville School Shooting; Interview With Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-GA). Aired 7-8p ET

Aired April 12, 2021 - 19:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Her granddaughter, Anya (ph), says she was funny, artistic, sometimes brutally honest, but she had the biggest heart. May they rest in peace and may their memories be a blessing. Thanks for watching.

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, a curfew about to go into effect as Minnesota braces for more protests after a 20-year-old black man was shot and killed by police. Police are calling the shooting an accident. The incident just a few miles from the trial of Officer Derek Chauvin is taking place.

Plus, a police officer is fired after he and another officer are accused of pointing guns and pepper spraying an Army Lieutenant all over what police mistakenly thought was a missing license plate. The Attorney General of Virginia where this all went down is my guest tonight.

And a senior Republican senator suggests President Biden is a Manchurian candidate because his tweets are 'conventional'. Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, state of emergency. Tensions running high in Minnesota after a deadly police shooting. These are live pictures right now, protesters and police in Brooklyn Center. This is just an hour, exactly an hour before the curfew is set to go in effect. The nearby cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul have declared states of emergency.

Minnesota and the nation now struck by another incident of a black man killed by police. Here is what we know happened. The man 20-year-old, David Wright (ph), a vigil for right is under way right now. The Mayor just moments ago announcing that the city manager has been fired. And today authorities in Brooklyn Center released body cam video showing police approaching right after being pulled over for what they say were expired tags. At the time, Wright's mother said her son called her saying he was

being pulled over because he had air fresheners hanging from the rearview mirror, so that's different from what the police said. Then officers tried to arrest Wright because they entered his name in their system, they saw there was an outstanding warrant for his arrest.

So they go to arrest him. There was a struggle and you're going to see that struggle in the video we're about to show. The Police Chief is saying that a veteran officer accidentally discharged her gun instead of her Taser. It was an accident, a mistake they say, a horrific one that resulted in this young man dying. I want to warn you the video is graphic.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) ...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) got a warrant.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have warrant (inaudible) ...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) ...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't because it's not right. Don't do it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) ...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't do it. Don't do it. (Inaudible) ...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) ....

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'll tase you. I'll tase you. Taser. Taser. Taser.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Holy sh**. I think I shot him.


BURNETT: You heard there Taser, Taser, Taser and then holy - I just shot him. Well, Minnesota's professional hockey, basketball and baseball teams have canceled tonight's games in light of the shooting, President Biden tonight also calling for peace and calm after what we saw last night.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There is absolutely no justification, none for looting. No justification for violence.


BURNETT: Deadly shooting in Minnesota, one of several major police involved incidents coming to light in the past 50 hours here in Virginia. We've got newly released body cam video. You'll see it this hour. It shows police pointing a gun at a black Latino army officer.

The man was then pepper sprayed pushed to the ground because officers say they thought he was missing a license plate on his new SUV.

And then in Georgia overnight three officers were shot during a car chase. According to police, a passenger pulled out a rifle, shot at a patrol car. Now, the officer survived. One of the suspects in the car is dead.

We have a lot to cover tonight. I want to start with Shimon Prokupecz who is OUTFRONT live in Minneapolis tonight where the vigil is being held for Mr. Wright. So Shimon, what is the latest you're learning about this case?

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME & JUSTICE REPORTER: Yes. And Erin, that video that you've been talking about, the Police Chief here saying that it was important to release that quickly. It's really unprecedented to see a police chief release this video, this kind of video so quickly.

The Chief here saying that it was important to do so, so that the community here could see exactly what happened. And a warning to our viewers, Erin, that the video they're about to see is disturbing.





PROKUPECZ (voice over): Less than 10 miles from where former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin is on trial for the death of George Floyd ...


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, shit. I just shot him.


PROKUPECZ (voice over): Twenty-year-old Daunte Wright killed during a traffic stop with Brooklyn Center police officers.


A shooting the police chief called an accidental discharge. Police body cam footage released Monday shows the deadly Sunday afternoon altercation. Police in Brooklyn Center just outside of Minneapolis pull Wright over for an expired tag and then try to take him into custody for an outstanding warrant on a gross misdemeanor. The police chief released a video today.


community needed to know what happened. They needed to see it. I needed to be transparent and I want to be forthright after.


PROKUPECZ (voice over): Member being shot, Wright drove away before hitting another vehicle just blocks away, authority said. Police and medical personnel attempted life saving measures following the crash, but Wright died at the scene. The traffic stop leading to yet another fatal police shooting of a black man.


GANNON: There was an expired registration on the vehicle. When he walked up to the car, he discovered that there was a hanging item from the rearview mirror.


PROKUPECZ (voice over): Wright's mother was on the phone with him when he was stopped and she told CNN affiliates that he said he was pulled over because he had air fresheners hanging from his rearview mirror.


KATIE WRIGHT, DAUNTE WRIGHT'S MOTHER: A minute later, I called and his girlfriend answered which was the passenger in the car and said that he'd been shot.


PROKUPECZ (voice over): Without identifying the officer who shot Wright, the Police Chief says the officer is a senior veteran in the department who fired her weapon accidentally.


GANNON: It is my belief that the officer had the intention to deploy their Taser, but instead shot Mr. Wright with a single bullet. This appears to me from what I viewed and the officer's reaction in distress immediately after that this was an accidental discharge that resulted in the tragic death of Mr. Wright.


PROKUPECZ (voice over): Hours after the shooting, hundreds of protesters took to the streets. They were followed by looters and vandals who the Police Chief called out during a contentious press conference.


GANNON: Just so (inaudible) clear I was front and center at the protest at the riot. We did ...



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There was no riot.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... don't do that.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was no riot (inaudible) ...

GANNON: There was.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) ...

GANNON: So the officers that were putting themselves in harm's way were being pelted with frozen cans of pop. They were being pelted with concrete blocks. And, yes, we had our helmets on and we had other protective gear. But an officer was injured, hit in the head with a brick.


PROKUPECZ (voice over): And tonight, a 7 pm curfew has been ordered in three counties, which include the cities of Minneapolis, St. Paul and Brooklyn Center to try to contain the unrest. Minnesota's Governor addressing the state on their all too familiar grim circumstances.


GOV. TIM WALZ (D) MINNESOTA: Those that are angry, heartbroken, sad, fed up, tired, all of the things that they have every reason to feel, but we also know and we saw it again last night, those that would try and take advantage of this to create chaos or damage will not be tolerated.



PROKUPECZ (on camera): And Erin, as you can see behind me the hundreds of people who have gathered here, this is where this all took place, where all this happened where Mr. Wright was killed. As the community here was gathering, the medical examiner just releasing their findings saying that Mr. Wright died from one gunshot wound to the chest and ruled his death a homicide, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Shimon. And that ruling of homicide just literally happening as Shimon's report was airing.

I want to go now to Elie Honig, our Legal Analyst and Isaiah McKinnon, the former Police Chief in Detroit.

So Chief, let me ask you, you've seen the video, you've heard it, it's distressing. You hear the Officer yelling, Taser, Taser, Taser, then when she fires, she says, oh - you hear the expletive and it was a single shot. The Police Chief says they put this out very quickly, because they wanted people to understand that they believe that this was a horrible accident. What's your reaction after seeing and hearing this? Do you think that's the case?

ISAIAH MCKINNON, FORMER DETROIT POLICE CHIEF: Erin, I've seen so many of these kinds of incidents of people being killed and particularly people of color and each time there's some kind of an excuse. Officers are trained from the time that they're in the academy to the time that they leave that this is what you do with your weapon. If you pull your weapon out, you intend to shoot someone.

Now, we don't know if, in fact, this officer did pull the wrong weapon out. The thing is that they teach you to put the weapon, the Taser on one side, on your weaker side and your dominant hand will have your gun. We can't second-guess what this officer was doing, but my question is what was the crime that had been committed by this young man.

I mean, is it something that someone should lose their life for and that to me is the most important to hear. We have so many young people and older people who have lost their lives and particularly people of color who've lost their lives by people who they become judge and jury. And the Supreme Court makes those kinds of decisions, not a police officer.


And so, if we look at the crime, I think what they said was a misdemeanor. I mean, you don't get killed for misdemeanor. And so they had his ID, they knew who he was and so if he escapes, you see escaping with a misdemeanor, I mean, is that worth losing someone's life over. It doesn't (inaudible) ...

BURNETT: Now, let me just ask you a follow up because it is - I hear everything you're saying, they're saying that then they entered his name, they saw there was an outstanding warrant for his arrest, so that's why this happened and we all watched it. He's sitting there very calmly for quite several - I mean, it feels like minutes. Obviously, we're talking seconds here.

But then right when the scuffle begins, she starts yelling Taser and the shot happens. But does that context change anything to you in terms of what may have been just a really bad error?

MCKINNON: Not at all. You had multiple officers that I saw on that video who were on the scene, none of the other officers pull their weapons that I saw. And again, I go back to is it worth it to potentially take someone's life over - whatever the crime - I think they said it was a misdemeanor or high misdemeanor, over those kinds of situation. It doesn't to me make any sense.

BURNETT: So Elie, then what happens here? I mean, Ben Crump, who represents the Floyd family was in the Trayvon Martin case, civil rights attorney, is also now representing Mr. Wright's family. So where does this go from here? There was obviously a settlement from the City of Minneapolis for the Floyd family, $27 million. There's now, of course, this trial, the criminal trial for murder, for Officer Derek Chauvin. What do you think may happen in this case?

ELIE HONIG, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: So three things to watch, Erin. First of all, there could be a civil lawsuit. The family could sue the Police Department. Just like you mentioned, we've seen with other police involved shootings, including George Floyd.

There likely will be an administrative review, where the city, the police department figures out what happens and decides whether this officer needs to be suspended or fired. And finally, there should be and I believe there will be a criminal investigation here, because there could be liability even if this was accidental.

As the police chief said and I found that a little strange that he was saying it's accidental, but he was also saying I'm not going to comment on any other facts. But he concluded it's accidental. But it was negligent, that could still be manslaughter. That's actually one of the charges right now against Derek Chauvin. So they need to investigate that fully is well.

BURNETT: And really significant to lay all that out. All right. Chief McKinnon, Elie, please stay with me because, obviously, we're talking about this happening across the country. But in Minneapolis, specifically, these protests are coming as Derek Chauvin's defense in the death of George Floyd prepares to start presenting its case tomorrow.

Now, what happened today is that the judge rejected a request to fully sequester all jurors. Chauvin's attorney had expressed concerns that the jury could be influenced by the potential for unrest while they were coming to a verdict.


ERIC NELSON, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: But the problem is that the emotional response that that creates sets the stage for a jury to say I'm not going to vote not guilty because I'm concerned about the outcome.


BURNETT: George Floyd's brother taking the stand today giving personal and emotional testimony about what he meant to his family.


PHILONISE FLOYD, GEORGE FLOYD'S BROTHER: That's my mother. She's no longer with us right now, but that's my oldest brother, George. I miss both of them. They are - I was married - in May 24th, I got married. And my brother was killed May 25th, and my mom died on May 30th. So it's like a bittersweet month because I'm supposed to be happy when that month comes.


BURNETT: Prosecutors also calling two expert witnesses who refuted the two main points of Chauvin's defense.


JONATHAN RICH, CARDIOLOGIST: I can state with a high degree of medical certainty that George Floyd did not die from a primary cardiac event and he did not die from a drug overdose.

SETH STOUGHTON, FORMER POLICE OFFICER AND USE OF FORCE EXPERT: No reasonable officer would have believed that that was an appropriate acceptable or reasonable use of force.


BURNETT: Omar Jimenez is OUTFRONT live from Minneapolis. So Omar, how did the jury respond to today's testimony, especially that incredibly emotional testimony from Philonise?

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, for starters when Philonise Floyd, George Floyd's brother, took the stand. What this was really doing was injecting a bit of humanity and to what has been a really technical streak of testimony, especially as of late when you look at the law enforcement officers and of course the medical testimony we've seen play out over the last few days of this.

So when he took the stand, jurors were smiling. They were taking notes.


They were very, very - paying attention very closely, I should say. They were just reacting like a normal human would. And I want you to take a listen to some of what Philonise Floyd wants the jurors to know about who George was.


FLOYD: He was a big Mama's boy. I cried a lot. But George, he loved his mom. He will always just be (inaudible). Every mother loves all of their kids, but it was so unique how they were with each other. He was so much of a leader to us in the household. He will always make sure that we had our clothes to school. He made sure that we all were going to be to school on time.

Like I told you, George couldn't cook but he'll make sure you have a snack or something to get in the morning.


JIMENEZ: And right before that, accounts from inside the courtroom got the sense that Philonise felt at ease before making that testimony. And it's almost a reminder that they've been going through this for almost a year and they've had to process the loss of a loved family member on a national and international scale.

So testifying in this trial and talking about what he loved about George seemed easy in some senses. Now we look ahead, though, to see how we are going to prepare for a potential verdict in this. And we know that closing arguments are now scheduled for this coming Monday. At that point, the jury will be sequestered and then we'll wait a verdict.

BURNETT: All right. Omar, thank you very much.

And I want to go back to Elie Honig and the former Detroit Police Chief Isaiah McKinnon. So Elie, you heard what Omar is reporting that the jury, Omar said, was actually taking notes, was riveted today by the testimony from George Floyd's younger brother, Philonise. He is one of the last people the jury is going to hear from before the defense is expected to start its case.

So what do you make of that decision that this was in a sense, the kind of closing, the final impression that they wanted to leave in jurors' minds?

HONIG: Yes, Erin, in any murder prosecution, one of the challenges prosecutors faces reminding the jury that the victim was more than a victim. He was once a living, breathing, vital human being. And I think Philonise Floyd gave really compelling moving first-hand testimony today about his big brother and the details, small and large, the small details, the games they used to play together, the foods he tried to cook and the big details how he was around his family.

That's the kind of thing that I think is really going to hit hard with the jury that they're going to remember it when they're in the jury box. And it's worth noting, by the way. This is actually an unusual law in the state of Minnesota that allows this kind of testimony.

In a lot of jurisdictions, including the federal courts, you cannot call a witness as a prosecutor simply to testify about the character of the victim. However, Minnesota does allow it and I think the prosecutors made a really effective use of that today.

BURNETT: That's really interesting. I wasn't aware of that, that you could only do that in some places. I think it's really important just to think about that and the reasons. But Chief, let me ask you about what else we heard, because Omar said that what we heard from Philonise was in contrast to so much of the technical testimony that we've had, much of it damning for the defense but it was very technical and detailed.

And everybody was saying something consistent, but then slightly different here or there, you really need to pay attention. And today, they had a cardiologist who did say very clearly Floyd's death was absolutely preventable. So then the defense, again, tried to come in and twist that on cross-examination. Let me play it for you, Chief.


NELSON: If Mr. Floyd had simply gotten in the backseat of the squad car, do you think that he would have survived?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Objection, Your Honor, not calling for medical testimony.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You may give a - if you have a medical opinion as to that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Overruled to that extent.

RICH: So had he not been restrained in the way in which he was, I think he would have survived that day.

NELSON: So in other words, if he had gotten in the squad car, he'd be alive.

RICH: I think my answer remains the same.


BURNETT: So Chief, they're clearly going at the argument of if he had just complied, none of this would have happened to him. What do you make of that?

MCKINNON: Well, they're tried to put George Floyd on trial. And so the way I would look at this is this, if he was a reasonable law officer, he would not have done the things that he did, number one.

And number two, as you put George Floyd, they're putting George Ford on trial, is unfortunately that we can't look at Chauvin's record and the number of complaints that were against him. And so if we look at it in its entirety, we cannot put George Floyd on trial and say that he was this bad person because he did not get into the car. Well, there was four guys there putting him in the car.


Number two, if in fact, George Floyd had been driven to that location that wouldn't have happened. We got a lot of what ifs.


MCKINNON: And so as they try to put George Floyd on trial to demean his character, we look at this in terms of the number of things that happened with him that caused his death.

BURNETT: All right. Chief McKinnon, Ellie, thank you both.

MCKINNON: Thank you.

BURNETT: And next, a police officer fired after being accused of pointing his gun and then pepper spraying a black Latino army officer. Virginia's Attorney General demanding answers tonight and he's my guest.

Plus, breaking news, a school shooting today in Knoxville, Tennessee and we are live there with the latest.

And CNN speaks to Florida Senator Rick Scott about Matt Gaetz and the horrible allegations he's facing. Does he thinks the Florida Congressman should resign?



BURNETT: Tonight, we're learning that a police officer in Virginia has been fired following an internal investigation. And now a black and Latino U.S. Army officer has filed a lawsuit against the fired officer and another member of the Windsor Virginia Police Department as newly released footage shows officers pointing guns at him and pepper spraying him.

This is during a December traffic stop that is just though coming to light. So I want to show it to you, this is the new video. And, of course, I do want to warn you that some of this is difficult to watch.


Let's go to Natasha Chen with the full report.


JOE GUTIERREZ, FORMER WINDSOR VIRGINIA POLICE OFFICER: You're being detained for obstruction of justice.


NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): This Windsor Virginia Police Officer Joe Gutierrez was fired after an internal investigation into this traffic stop determined department policy was not followed.


GUTIERREZ: Get out of the car now.


CHEN (voice over): The town of Windsor said the other officer, Daniel Crocker ...


DANIEL CROCKER, WINDSOR VIRGINIA POLICE OFFICER: Work with us and we'll talk to you. Get out of the car.


CHEN (voice over): ... is still employed. The driver Army Lieutenant Caron Nazario is now suing the two officers in federal court on the grounds that the officers denied him his constitutional rights. According to the lawsuit, on the evening of December 5th, Nazario saw lights and sirens but didn't know why he was being pulled over.

He indicated with a blinker that he was going to pull over but didn't stop for another minute and 40 seconds because he says he was looking for a well-lit area. By the time he stopped at a gas station, officers Crocker and Gutierrez had their guns drawn.


CROCKER: Driver, roll the window down. Put your hands out in the window. Turn the vehicle off, put your hands out the window.


CHEN (voice over): Nazario began recording from his own cell phone and put his hands out the window as ordered.


2ND LT. CARON NAZARIO, U.S. ARMY: What's going on?

CROCKER: How many occupants are in your vehicle?

NAZARIO: It's only myself. Why are your weapons drawn? What's going on?


CHEN (voice over): It turns out Crocker said he had not seen the temporary license plate taped to the back window of Nazario's brand new Chevrolet Tahoe. And seeing tinted windows and a driver not stopping right away, Crocker decided it was a high-risk traffic stop.


NAZARIO: What's going on?

GUTIERREZ: What's going on? You're free to ride the lightning, son.


CHEN (voice over): Body camera footage shows Officer Joe Gutierrez gun drawn unfastening the Velcro around what may be his Taser at this time. The lawsuit says Nazario thought ride the lightning meant he could be killed.


NAZARIO: I'm honestly afraid to get out. Can I ...

GUTIERREZ: Yes, you shoot me. Get out.

NAZARIO: Get your hands off of me. I didn't do anything. Don't do that.


GUTIERREZ: Get out of the car now.

NAZARIO: Don't do that.

GUTIERREZ: It's not a problem. Back off, Daniel. (END VIDEO CLIP)

CHEN (voice over): After two to three minutes of shouted commands, Gutierrez got out the pepper spray. Officer Crocker tried to open the driver's door.


NAZARIO: I'm actively serving this country and this how you're going to treat me?


CHEN (voice over): In Crocker's report he wrote, "When I attempted to unlock and open the driver's door, the driver assaulted myself, by striking my hand away and pulled away from Officer Gutierrez's grip." But in his own body camera footage, Nazario is not seen striking anyone. Crocker's report also says that at this point, Gutierrez 'gave several more commands to comply with orders or he would be sprayed with his OC spray'. But no such warnings could be heard.

Gutierrez sprayed Nazario still without either officer having told Nazario exactly what he was being pulled over for.


NAZARIO: This is (inaudible) up. This is (inaudible) up.

I don't even want to reach for seatbelt. Can you ...

GUTIERREZ: Take your seatbelt off and get out of the car. You made his way more difficult than it had to be.

NAZARIO: I'm reaching for my seatbelt.

GUTIERREZ: Fine. Let's go.

NAZARIO: Is your commanding officer available?


CHEN (voice over): Once out of the car, Nazario was handcuffed.


NAZARIO: Can you please talk to me about what's going on? Why am I being treated like this? Why?

GUTIERREZ: Because you're not cooperating. Get on the ground.

NAZARIO: You know this is (inaudible) up.

CROCKER: Certainly. (Inaudible) ...

NAZARIO: This is (inaudible) up. I can't (inaudible) believe I'm being treated like this (inaudible) ... GUTIERREZ: On the ground.


CHEN (voice over): Nazario later explained why he didn't immediately pull over.


NAZARIO: I was pulling over to a well-lit area for my safety and yours. I have respect for law enforcement ...

GUTIERREZ: No, you don't.


CHEN (voice over): And the officer still pressed him on why he didn't comply with getting out of the car.


NAZARIO: I've never looked out the window and saw guns blazing immediately.

CROCKER: But when we follow you that long - look at look at the climate this day against everybody, against us, against you all, you know what I mean?


CROCKER: I'm not out to hurt you and I know you don't want to hurt me. That's not what it's about. What it's about is making sure that everybody goes home at the end of the day.


CHEN (voice over): Gutierrez's behavior changed drastically in the end.


GUTIERREZ: I just talked to my Chief of Police ...


CHEN (voice over): Telling Nazario he's giving him the option to let this all go.


GUTIERREZ: You don't need for this to be on your record. I don't want it to be in your record. However, it's entirely up to you if you want to fight and argue, I mean, and I don't mean that disrespectfully, OK. I mean, you have that right as a citizen. If that's what you want, we'll charge you. It doesn't change my life either way.



CHEN (on camera): Erin, CNN has not yet been able to reach either officer in this case and it's not clear right now if they have legal representation. But in that last conversation we watched Officer Joe Gutierrez seem to be trying to make it easier for Nazario presumably out of concern for the young Army Lieutenant's career. But tonight, it's Gutierrez who no longer works for Windsor Police and is Nazario is getting praised.

U.S. Army Sergeant Major Michael Grinston said today that he's proud of Nazario and that Nazario 'represented himself and our Army well through his calm and professional response to the situation', Erin.

BURNETT: Natasha, thank you very much.


I want to go straight now to the Attorney General of Virginia, Democrat Mark Herring.

And I appreciate your time, Attorney General.

So, I know you demanded personnel records, other information from the Windsor police in light of this incident, you know, obviously, because of a lawsuit we're just finding out about all this now, seeing this video, finding out about the story that happened over the winter holidays.

So, you're asking for more information under your authority to pro-law enforcement agencies over policing practices. Are you preparing to investigate this is incident yourself?

MARK HERRING (D), VIRGINIA ATTORNEY GENERAL: Well, first let me say that the officers' conduct that we saw in the videos were -- it was appalling, it was dangerous and it's unacceptable.

And people of color continue to experience brutality and being pepper- sprayed, even killed at the hands of law enforcement and it's got to stop. There are a few things that are going on. First, there is a state police investigation of the incident underway now. We've seen that it's really important when there are officer officer-involved shootings or something like this.

It is important there is an independent, unaffiliated agency to fully investigate and to make sure that there is accountability to maintain the public trust. So, that's underway.

One of the things I am looking into is whether there might have been a pattern of misconduct -- of police misconduct either by these officers specifically or more broadly within the department. Because if so, then we got more work to do to make sure that this never happens here again.

BURNETT: So, let me ask you about, I know you know this very well, what our viewers just saw in Natasha's report is that, you know, the officer said that the lieutenant tried to slap his hand away. We don't see it occur, right? So, it claims he happened, we do not see it. At the moment, he said it occurred. It is not there on camera.

And then the officer who has not been terminated, right, there was a pair obviously, filed a report of discrepancy of what was seen in the body camera as well, right? So, that -- this included whether Lieutenant Nazario assaulted the officers and, of course, this incident with the pepper spray and whether he was appropriately warned before that happened and that he slapped the officer's hand away which we don't see it happening on the video.

So, what do you make of this? What they said happened is not there on camera?

HERRING: Well, what I saw in the video -- nothing that I saw in the video would -- have justified the actions that the officers took.


HERRING: It was Lieutenant Nazario who was the calm one, who was the responsible one. And so, under no reasonable use of force policies that I could say any of this conduct be permissible. And so, that's why the investigation is important.

But it's also important to find out if these are an isolated incident or have there been reports in the past of unconstitutional policing or brutality or complaints about it from these officers -- about these officers or about the department because if so, then we got more work to do in order to put a stop to it, to root it out, and to make sure it doesn't happen again.

BURNETT: Attorney General, I'm --

HERRING: This is happening way too much

BURNETT: Yeah, this video is really -- is just awful to watch.

All right. Attorney General Herring, I appreciate your time, and I thank you.

HERRING: Thank you very much.

BURNETT: All right. Next breaking news, multiple people shot at a high school in Knoxville, Tennessee, including a police officer. Details are coming in so we're going to go there live and give you the latest that we know.

Plus, the senior Republican asked who's in charge at the White House. Why asked such a question? Well, he says President Biden's tweets are too limited and conventional.


[19:37:54] BURNETT: Breaking news, investigators on a scene of a deadly shooting at a high school in Knoxville, Tennessee. One person dead, a police officer injured after responding to reports from an armed man at the school.

Nick Valencia is OUTFRONT.

And, Nick, we're awaiting a press conference from investigators. I know this is coming in just a few moments. But what do you know right now?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Erin, it's an unfortunate reality that people watching this is a sign of America getting back to normal. Another school shooting in here this year and this time, it happened in the Knoxville, East Austin Magnet High School.

But police saying they responded to a male subject who was armed on campus. There were initial reports of multiple people who were shot. That since has been clarified to one person being killed. The suspect we believe has been taken into custody. One person was detained.

A police officer with the Knoxville Police Department did get shot as well during that exchange and has been taken to the hospital. He's expected to survive, non-life threatening injuries.

It was about two hours after the incident was reported around 3:15, that the superintendent with Knox County released a statement, telling parents and guardians that they could go back to the building. It was secure and no doubt a tearful reunion there.

We understand also the ATF and TBI is responding. And we're actually waiting, as you mentioned, for that press conference from TBI to update us later on tonight about 8:00 p.m.

Governor Bill Lee in Tennessee has called this a very tragic situation. In fact, it was just in January that students went back in- person to in-person learning.

And just one quick note here, Erin, WET, a local affiliate reported that this is the fifth shooting related to the Austin East Magnet School since the start of the year. Just tragic -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Nick, thank you very much.

Of course, as we learn more in the next few minutes, we'll let you know.

I want to turn now though to Georgia's controversial new election law and the fallout there. Will Smith's "Emancipation", which was a drama about slavery now leaving the state about two months before it was scheduled to begin production. Now, this is in protest to the voting law and it's the first major production to do so, to pull out of the state.

In a statement, Will Smith and the director of the film saying in part, quote, we cannot in good conscience provide economic support to a government that enacts regressive voting laws that are designed to restrict voter access.


OUTFRONT now, the Democratic senator from Georgia, Jon Ossoff.

And, Senator, I appreciate your time.

So, you know, since this bill passed, there has been a lot of calls for companies and productions to move out of Georgia over this law. The film production industry is obviously significant in Georgia. There is a lot of tax breaks, you guys have a lot of film production.

There have been other critics of the law, though, Stacey Abrams, Tyler Perry, his studios are based in Atlanta. They caution boycotts aren't the way to go. They could hurt local residents.

What do you think? Do you support this move by Will Smith or do you think that although you may agree with the motive, it may be misguided?

SEN. JON OSSOFF (D-GA): Thanks for having me, Erin.

I don't support any boycott of the state of Georgia. In fact, the economic growth that's been so extraordinary in the last 20 years is a big part of what's driven political progress. Georgia welcomes jobs and investment. And I don't think that moves to boycott the state are constructive.

But it's also a fact that bad public policy is bad for business. That legislation that politicizes election administration and restricts access to the ballot for black voters and Democratic-leaning voters is driving business away from our state. And this should be a clear signal to our state legislature that they're playing with fire when they abuse their authority to try to rig the rules of election administration to gain a partisan edge as to why we need to repeal this restrictive voting law that they passed.

BURNETT: So, this comes as Republicans who led the charge to overturn Biden's election are raking in the cash. Senator Josh Hawley was the first senator to announce he challenged the results. You know, we all remember his fist-pumping outside the Capitol there, of course, Senator. He's raised more than $3 million just in the first quarter of this year, according a source. It was $43,000 of the last election cycle, right? So, he's raking money over this.

And Marjorie Taylor Greene, obviously, from your state, also voted to overturn the election, has taken in more than $3 million. I mean, these numbers are pretty incredible, and money talks.

I mean, what is it telling you do you think?

OSSOFF: Well, look, I guess there is a small market of hardcore political activists who support some soft those extremist political tactics. But the bottom line is that the overwhelming majority of Americans just want good, decent government were horrified by the events of January 6th, and the threat that it posed to the constitutional transfer of power, and applaud the Biden administration's massive investment in COVID relief, economic recovery and defeating COVID-19.

So, for all the noise, all of the sound and the fury of partisan politics, the most important thing I want folks to recognize is that we're making huge progress against this virus. It's because Georgia voters sent two Democrats to the United States Senate in January that we were able to pass that stimulus bill.

BURNETT: That's true.

OSSOFF: And I want to take this opportunity as well to encourage everybody to go and get this COVID-19 vaccine. I have been vaccinated and my wife, Alisha, who's a doctor, has been vaccinated. It's the most important thing we can do as citizens to take it to this virus and put this pandemic behind us.

BURNETT: So, one of your fellow senators, John Cornyn, who is the former number two Republican senator, today, you know, you mentioned -- you are talking about President Biden, the stimulus bill, he questioned whether Biden is actually leading the country.

He tweeted: The president is not doing cable news interviews. Tweets from his account are limited, and when they come, unimaginably conventional. The public comments are largely scripted. Biden has opted for fewer sit-down interviews. It invites the question, is he really in charge?

Well, Senator, you work closely with him thus far. What do you say to Senator Cornyn?

OSSOFF: Well, first of all, let me say, I'm building a strong working relationship with my colleagues, and Senator Cornyn. We sat down on a number of occasions, and I think we're going to try to work together on supply chain integrity, environmental destruction, ethics, labor abuses and supply chain for products that enters into the United States.

I would be curious whether he or his staff wrote that tweet. Twitter is a dangerous tool in politics.

But putting all that aside, the American people don't want government to look like pro-wrestling. This is not about entertainment. This is about making good public policy without drama.

That's how President Biden is conducting himself. He's getting the job done. And it's been a pleasure working with him to get the job done like we did this last week and a half helping to broker a settlement between two industrial giants to save an electric vehicle battery plant in Georgia.

BURNETT: So, let me ask you that because you had the president's support to settle this dispute, it's a trade dispute between two big companies, LG and SK, two Korean companies, which could save 2,600 jobs at that electric battery plant in Georgia, as you mentioned.

So, those are the jobs at the core of President Biden's $2 trillion infrastructure plan.


You know, I know he had a bipartisan lunch with lawmakers today trying to sell it.

What did you learn from this deal done that can help Biden get Republicans on board with the stratosphere price tags for infrastructure?

OSSOFF: Well, let me say, first of all, it was a pleasure working with the president and his team, in particular, U.S. trade representative, Ambassador Tai, to get this deal done, save these 2,600 jobs in Georgia, ensure that we will have a diversified supply of electric vehicle batteries in the United States.

Humanity faces a mighty task right now. We have to adapt to climate change. Determine how we are going to keep growing our societies economically without destroying our planet. Electric vehicles are a core part of that transition to clean energy.

And the president's proposal for this infrastructure bill includes huge investments in electric vehicle research and development, battery technology and charging stations. I got involved in this case to save 2,600 skills jobs in Georgia, billions of dollars of investment in Georgia, so that Georgia could be one of the bases and not just nationally but globally for the production of technology that'll save our planet and employ our people for decades to come.

BURNETT: All right. Well, Senator Ossoff, I appreciate your time. Thank you.

OSSOFF: Thank you so much.

BURNETT: And next, protest growing tonight after police shot and killed Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center in Minnesota. State of emergency in effect, and we're going t to back live as we are approaching that curfew in just a few moments.

Plus, Senator Rick Scott speaks to CNN about the allegations facing his Florida colleague, Matt Gaetz. Does he think Gaetz need to resign or be punished in any way?


BURNETT: Tonight, a curfew is set to go into effect in just about 10 minutes. It's in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, where protesters are gathering after 20-year-old Daunte Wright was shot and killed by a police officer.

Shimon Prokupecz is OUTFRONT from the vigil being that is held right now.

So, Shimon, tell me what you're seeing here at 6:49, your time, ten minutes before the curfew. SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Right, 10

minutes before the curfew. There are no police here. This is where the vigil was taken place. It lasted about 30 minutes or so and the family and the community broke up and they told people to go home that there was a curfew.

But as you can see behind me there are still people here and we saw dozens of them.


There's about a couple of hundred here. But many of them did leave a large group of people, did leave this area, we don't know where they walked to but some these people that are still here, you can see behind me, really at this point does not appear during the day to leave.

Obviously, the big question as we approach the curfew hour, what are the police going to do? Is there going to be a strict enforcement of this curfew, or is the police going to allow some leniency here? So, we'll see. We have a long night ahead of us and we'll see what happens, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Shimon, as we watch that.

Also new tonight, top Republican senator stopping short of calling for Congressman Matt Gaetz to resign amid a growing number of allegations including sex trafficking. Here is Rick Scott from Gaetz' home state of Florida with our own Manu Raju.


MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Matt Gaetz, should he resign from Congress?

SEN. RICK SCOTT (R-FL): You know the allegation is pretty serious. So I think there should be a thorough investigation.

RAJU: Are you concern about what you're seeing about this?

SCOTT: Well, you know, on stuff like that there ought to be a real thorough investigation.

RAJU: Do you think he should lose his committee assignments?

SCOTT: That's a decision for the House.


BURNETT: This as Gaetz was also denied a meeting with former President Trump at Mar-a-Lago. So, Manu is now OUTFRONT.

So, Senator Scott is far from the only Republican to call the allegation serious. I mean, you know, it's just pretty clear he doesn't want anything to do with Matt Gaetz from the way he's talking there, but he stopped short of saying Gaetz should resign or be removed from any assignments. What did you take away from this?

RAJU: Yeah, that's consistent with the Republican approach so far, which is not to say anything, not to rush to Matt Gaetz' defense but when asked about it to say these are very serious allegations in fact, indeed they are sex trafficking allegations. He has denied that, denying having a relationship with a 17-year-old girl.

But nevertheless, the Republicans want to defend Matt Gaetz, but they are also not calling on him to resign. Rick Scott there making clear that he believes there should be an investigation and will decide what to do next. The question, too, will be, what will House Republican leaders do, as well?

Kevin McCarthy the top Republican in the House has not said whether or not there should be any punishment on Matt Gaetz and whether he should resign but should have a conversation on Gaetz and also calls serious.

Same with Liz Cheney, the number-three Republican, who has been targeted by Matt Gaetz, has not called on him to resign. The only one who has, though, is Adam Kinzinger who has been a sharp critic of the Trump wing of the Republican Party, sharp critic of Matt Gaetz. But other than that, Republicans not defending him but also not pushing -- not saying that he should step aside.

BURNETT: So, this comes as the House is scheduled to return to Capitol Hill tomorrow. Do you have any indication whether or not Gaetz will return?

RAJU: That's still an open question. Under the rules of the House, members can vote what's called by proxies and essentially designate some member to vote on his or her behalf at their direction, as well. And Matt Gaetz is an active proxy leader. He can actually designate someone to vote on his behalf.

His office has not said whether he'd return but a key distinction here, Erin, what is called for under the rules is that you can't travel because of the pandemic. There is nothing suggesting that the pandemic would prevent Matt Gaetz from coming but he's used that as a reason to skip votes in the past and potentially do it again -- Erin.

BURNETT: Right, right, certainly he is showing up all the way through mask free at event after event. He's -- he's not using coronavirus in any legitimate way as an excuse. Thank you very much, Manu.

And I want to go next to the heartbreaking decision some migrant parents on the border have to make in order to keep their children safe. A special report after the break.



BURNETT: Tonight, the White House securing agreements with Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala to mobilize nearly 20,000 people and military personnel at their borders to stop the flow of migrants into the United States. It comes as border officials counted more than 170,000 migrants last month, including a record number of unaccompanied children.

Rosa Flores is OUTFRONT.


ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Some of the more than 100,000 migrants expelled by the Biden administration last month ended up here at a plaza located in the crime and kidnapping hot spot that is Reynosa, Mexico, living in squalor and with impossible choices.

Idalia Payes says her husband and daughter face certain death if they return to El Salvador where their family business couldn't cover a $200 a month extortion fee to criminal gangs. She says she just wants to work and provide for her daughter.

In Reynosa, she and so many expelled migrants are surrounded by the same dangers they fled. Like this 31-year-old woman from Honduras who is now in a faith-based shelter clutching a pink rosary. She says promised to carry the beads during her journey for protection. We can't show you her face, because late last month, she says she was kidnapped from a street near the dangerous plaza, kept for three days, beaten and raped.

Her 9-year-old daughter with special needs was with her. Wiping away her mother's tears. She says it was moments of terror.

With her faith intact, she says she escaped with her clothes and tatters crossed into the U.S. again. But says immigration officials dumped her right back into Reynosa.

Attorney Jennifer Harbury has been representing migrants like her since 2016.

JENNIFER HARBURY, IMMIGRATION ATTORNEY: The problem created by president Trump is so enormous that it's not settled yet.

FLORES: And while President Joe Biden is perceived as more humane than his predecessor, some of his decisions --

JOSEPH R. BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're sending back the vast majority of the families that are coming.

FLORES: -- have Jennifer urging Biden to consider their true impact.

HARBURY: People are being hurt, raped, attacked and killed in northern Mexico because we have sent them back. That's not humanitarian.

FLORES: And it leaves many moms like this one from Honduras with a Sophie's choice. With her special needs child in arms, she says she didn't want to separate from her 12 and 16-year-old sons on the banks of the Rio Grande.

They had been expelled to Mexico twice under the pandemic public health rule which allows for the swift return of migrants to Mexico. When her oldest son pulled her, he wanted to cross alone with his brother because the Biden administration was allowing unaccompanied children to enter the U.S.

She says she felt she was dying as she watched her sons cross the river hand and hand, in tears and then gesture good-bye. She says she misses her sons who are now in a shelter in New York.

As for Idalia and the migrants stuck in this dangerous plaza in Reynosa, their American dream is still alive despite having to sleep in shifts to watch each other's backs.


ROSA: And if you're sitting at home wondering how is it possible that these mothers make this decision to send their children into the United States alone, you got to think of it this way -- some of these mothers have been return into areas like Reynosa, and they're with their children, but they are surrounded by danger, exposed and vulnerable to kidnapping, extortion, human trafficking, and then they learn that the Biden administration is allowing unaccompanied minors to enter into the U.S. and Erin, they see that as giving their children a chance at life -- Erin.

BURNETT: Well, Rosa, thank you very much. A powerful report.

And thanks so much to all of you as always for being with me.

Anderson starts now.