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Erin Burnett Outfront

Daunte Wright's Funeral Held Amid New Fatal Police Shooting; Funeral Held for 20-Year-Old Daunte Wright in MN as New Details Emerge About Officer Who Shot 16-Year-Old in OH; Officer Who Killed Black Teen Serves in OH National Guard; North Carolina Braces for Protests After Deputies Fatally Shoot Black Man; Senate Overwhelmingly Passes Anti-Asian Hate Crimes Bill; Doctors to Navalny: End Hunger Strike to Save Your Life. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired April 22, 2021 - 19:00   ET



WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: May he rest in peace and may his memory be a blessing.

Thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer.

Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, as a family mourns a young black man killed by police, new questions surrounding more police involved fatal shootings across the country including the death of a 16-year-old girl in Columbus, Ohio.

Plus, an anti-Asian hate crimes bill passes the Senate, 94 to one, so who was the only senator, the one, Republican Josh Hawley. Why?

And doctors for Putin opposition leader Alexei Navalny say end the hunger strike now or they will not have a patient to treat. Navalny's close friend is my guest. Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, grief and anger. Not far from where George Floyd took his last breath, the community around Minneapolis again gathering this time for Daunte Wright. The 20-year-old black man who was fatally shot by a Brooklyn Center police officer.

Body cam video shows Officer Kim Potter yelling Taser, Taser, Taser at Wright before firing her gun. The former Brooklyn Center Police Chief says Potter mistook her gun for her Taser. At one point during the traffic stop, Wright's mother was on the phone with her son. That, of course, would be the last time she ever spoke to him and today she spoke about him by his casket.


KATIE WRIGHT, DAUNTE WRIGHT'S MOTHER: I never imagined that I'd be standing here. The roles should completely be reversed. My son should be burying me. My son had a smile that was worth a million dollars. When he walked in

the room, he lit up the room. He was a brother, a jokester and he was loved by so many. He's going to be so missed.


BURNETT: Wright's family was surrounded by other families who also have lost loved ones at the hands of police. The families of George Floyd, Philando Catile, and Jamar Clark who was killed in 2015 were all there along with the boyfriend of Breonna Taylor. She was killed back in March of 2020 by police late at night in her home during a no- knock warrant.

And today as we watched these families united in their loss, we are learning new details of two more police involved fatal shootings, Ma'Khia Bryant, the 16-year-old who was shot after she appeared to lunge at another young woman with a knife and Andrew Brown Jr. A 42- year-old black man from North Carolina who witnesses say was shot by deputies while in his car. The Sheriff's office says they were trying to serve a search warrant on Brown.

Now, we're going to have much more on both of these developing stories in a moment. First, though, I want to go to Minneapolis on our Omar Jimenez. And Omar, celebrations over the Chauvin conviction were short-lived for so many tonight.

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Erin. It's easy to fall into the idea that the verdict against Derek Chauvin was the end all be all, but it's far from that. A persisting chant here is one down three to go. Of course, talking about the other officers charged in the killing of George Floyd.

And even in this week of celebration in one case, you have tragedy in another and significantly a reminder of the stakes at play when it comes to policing in America.


JIMENEZ (voice-over): Less than 48 hours after the celebration for the murder conviction of former police Officer Derek Chauvin ...


CHOIR: And go home to my lord and be free.


JIMENEZ (voice-over): The funeral for Daunte Wright.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You thought he was just some kid with air freshener. He was a prince, and all of Minneapolis has stopped today to honor the prince of Brooklyn Center.

(END VIDEO CLIP) JIMENEZ (voice-over): During Chauvin's trial in nearby Brooklyn

Center, Minnesota, Wright was shot and killed by former Brooklyn Center police Officer Kim Potter attempting to arrest him during a traffic stop for misdemeanor warrant.


KIM POTTER, FORMER BROOKLYN CENTER POLICE OFFICER: Taser. Taser. Taser. Holy sh**. I just shot him.


JIMENEZ (voice-over): And in the struggle, the city's then Police Chief claiming she missed took her gun for her Taser. She's been charged with second-degree manslaughter. Wright was 20 years old. And in the span of less than two weeks, hardly alone the day of the Chauvin verdict.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) you shot my baby.


JIMENEZ (voice-over): Sixteen-year-old Ma'Khia Bryant was shot and killed by Officer Nicholas Reardon after she appeared to lunge at another young woman with a knife.

In Elizabeth City, North Carolina ...


CROWD: I can't breathe. I can't breathe.


JIMENEZ (voice-over): The morning after the Chauvin verdict, Andrew Brown Jr. was shot and killed by sheriff's deputies serving a warrant.


A repeated American pattern, leaving some fearful.


CHRISTIAN GILYARD, COMMUNITY MEMBER: To grow up in an area where automatically as soon as you walk out your door and the police stereotype is scary. A lot of people don't know what that feels like. A lot of people have never witnessed that.


JIMENEZ (voice-over): But it's a pain reverberating across the country, especially in the Minneapolis area.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MEL REEVES, HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST: We can't even get an arrest from

the last one. The question is not for all my neighbors are what are we going to do and then what is the government going to do to stop this once and for all. This is tiring. I'm a fairly old guy now. I've been doing this for a long time and it's the same story over and over and over again.


JIMENEZ (voice-over): With the pain, some hope. An alternate juror and the Chauvin trial says she's optimistic the guilty verdict will lead to real change.


JIMENEZ (on camera): What was this like? What are you going to remember most?

ELIZA WESLEY, "GATEKEEPER," GEORGE FLOYD SQUARE: I hope something good comes out of it. I really hope this is a changing point, a turning point. I hope Minnesota does the world proud.


JIMENEZ (voice-over): There's a pride in concluding one fight, but also reminders of so many more that remain.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're going to do everything we got to do to keep the justice for us. For us. They see bad ill about us over here. But if it come to you and if you see the people, it gives you a whole different perspective. It does not happen to everybody, it happen to us and we're going to do we got to do.



JIMENEZ (on camera): And the months after George Floyd's death, use of force incidents by Minneapolis police actually dropped, but then spiked late last year according to CNN analysis. And black people were the subjects of those use of force incidents at a highly disproportionate rate.

And then when you look ahead, it's part of why the Department of Justice has already launched a probe into the practices of the police department here. Something local leadership has welcomed not to mention renewed momentum to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act in D.C. that would, among other things, ban police chokeholds and make it easier to prosecute police officers, all of it combining to at least make a step toward long-term change for policing in America, Erin.

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

And I want to go now to Benjamin Crump, attorney for the families of George Floyd and Daunte Wright.

And Ben, today at Daunte Wright's funeral you acknowledged all of the families there, the loved ones of other victims of police violence. They were there in attendance; George Floyd's family, Philando Castile's, Breonna Taylor's. How did it feel to you to look out there at that congregation today and see all of those families united in this tragedy?

BENJAMIN CRUMP, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY: Well, it was a great show of support, Erin. You even had Oscar Grant's family who, from the movie Fruitvale Station, when the police officer there claimed to have pulled his Taser, but pulled his gun and shot and killed Oscar Grant while he was facedown in handcuffs.

And so I think about all of them being there to provide comfort and counsel to Daunte Wright's family because God only knows, Erin, what they're about endure over the next months and years for the journey for justice as they now are going to assassinate his character because they want to justify the unjustifiable killing.

BURNETT: So let me ask you about that journey, because as you point out, it's going to be a long one. The officer in the Daunte Wright case has been charged with second-degree manslaughter. Now, I know Ben that Wright's mother, his aunt, other relatives have all called this murder and murder is a very different word legally than manslaughter, which again is the charges. Will they be able to accept any verdict in this case, as it is now with the charges now?

CRUMP: Well, I think what they want is equal justice at the funeral today when I spoke in a plea for justice, I asked will she have shot if that would have been her child. That's the real question, Erin. Because we love our children, just like why white brothers and sisters love their children, why can't they de-escalate when you do that.

And so if that would have been her child, Officer Potter, what would the charges have been? Would it have been like Officer Noor, the African police officer of Minneapolis who shot the white woman from Australia. He was charged with third-degree murder and he was remorseful said it was a mistake. But he still was convicted of murder. We don't want two justice systems, Erin. We want equal justice.


BURNETT: So I know you're laying out here the family wants an upgrade in the charges. I want to ask you though, the prosecutor in the case, Ben, the Washington County Attorney Pete Orput told the Daily Mail and I want to quote what he said.

He said, "Because I believe the woman I'm prosecuting committed second-degree manslaughter. If I thought she'd committed more, I'd bring the charges. But I can only bring the charges that the evidence supports. And if that doesn't assuage the public, then I'm sorry it doesn't."

What do you say to him? I mean, do you believe, Ben, at this point that there is clear evidence that does support an upgrade in charges?

CRUMP: Well, I believe if it wouldn't have been Officer Potter's child, it would have been third-degree murder. However, we want to encourage prosecutors to charge what the charges that they think they can get an eviction on. We don't want it to be an overcharge and there's no accountability.

And so the family right now is grieving. They're very emotional.


CRUMP: They want her charged to the full extent of the law, whatever that is, that's what they're pushing for. They believe it's murder. We're going to continue to evaluate the evidence to see if it can be upgraded.

BURNETT: So I also want to ask you, Ben, about the Ma'Khia Bryant case, the 16-year-old girl shot and killed by an officer. She appeared to lunge at another girl with a knife. And I'll show everyone again that video just so they can see the moment I'm referring to.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's going on? What's going on? Hey. Hey. Hey. Hey, get down. Get down. Get down. Get down.


BURNETT: We've now seen this from multiple angles of the police camera video. Bryant appears to be holding a knife during a struggle with another young woman, the officer arrives and opens fire when Bryant appears to attempt to stab a second woman.

From what you've seen here thus far, Ben, is this case different? Does it seem different to you than any of the others that you've been involved in?

CRUMP: Well, it seems to be from the preliminary release of the video that it's different from Daunte Wright and, obviously, George Floyd, because neither one of them had a weapon in their hand. But the one thing that is very troubling about this matter is there were other officers on the same beforehand, why did they not try to de-escalate the matter.

And we have to believe in transparency, Erin. I always want to be consistent, because transparency, we can see who did what. There are going to be witness statements taken from all of the individuals who were involved in altercation and then once you have transparency, then you have to hold those accountable who are responsible, because that's the only way we can get to trust between law enforcement and our community.

BURNETT: And, Ben, I just want to ask you one question before we go, because you and I have been talking now for years and it all started, obviously, you've become a household name for an unfortunate reason. And I will say a very unfortunate and tragic reason, that you've represented the families of black men and women who've been killed in this country.

Trayvon Martin, everyone remembers you from Trayvon Martin. Michael Brown, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, now Daunte Wright. And I'm not even trying to be comprehensive, I'm just saying these are the situations in which America has seen you on their television screens. Al Sharpton yesterday called you, Ben, the Attorney General for black America. Do you feel that sense of responsibility, I mean, that this sort of happened to you, mid career, you have become this person in this face?

CRUMP: Well, Erin, we have been talking about these cases over the years and I'm very grateful for you always using your platform to say that Black Lives Matter and the importance of black lives. My personal hero and my north star is Thurgood Marshall. And what Justice Marshall always tried to do is to take cases that wouldn't just impact that one person or that one family, but he took cases that shot in the conscience that will have a greater impact on our society so we can try to make it a better America for all of us.

And so whatever title they have strive to me and I am grateful to my mentor, Rev. Al Sharpton, but I know what I am in my heart is a country lawyer who is unapologetic in my defense of black life, black humanity and black culture, because we too are American culture. And America has to realize that, Erin, that we all contribute to this and we should all be treated equally, because we are Americans and that is the promise of the American Constitution.


BURNETT: Ben, thank you very much. I appreciate talking to you, I always do.

CRUMP: So do I, Erin. God bless you.

BURNETT: And next, new details on the investigation into the deadly police shooting of 16-year-old Ma'Khia Bryant, including what we know about the police officer. Bryant's cousin is OUTFRONT.

Plus, North Carolina bracing for protests after the shooting death of Andrew Brown Jr. by deputies. We do know there is body cam video, but we haven't seen it, how come?

And Republican Senator Josh Hawley tonight the only senator to oppose an anti-Asian hate crimes bill, the only one. Why?



BURNETT: Tonight, we're learning more about the Columbus, Ohio police officer who fatally shot a 16-year-old girl. I'll warn you that the video you will see here is disturbing. Police say Ma'Khia Bryant was shot and killed after she, apparently

armed with a knife, lunges at one young woman after attempting to attack another one. Today, Paula Bryant, Ma'Khia's mother spoke to CNN about losing her daughter.


PAULA BRYANT, MOTHER OF MA'KHIA BRYANT: I have a beautiful baby.


She was taken from me. She was taken from me.


BURNETT: Athena Jones is OUTFRONT from Columbus. And Athena, what have you learned about the officer in this shooting?

ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Erin. Well, we're learning more about Nicholas Reardon. I believe you have the video, the slowed down version of the video of what happened on Tuesday afternoon when he was the first officer to show up on scene. In this shooting what we've learned the Nicholas Reardon was a member or is a member, a staff sergeant assigned to the Ohio National Guard. He's assigned to the 121st Security Forces Squadron in the Ohio Air National Guard. He's been part of the National Guard here in Ohio since August of 2015. Deployed several times. The last one, the latest one in July of 2019.

Nicholas Reardon is on paid leave while an independent investigation into this shooting incident on Tuesday afternoon is carried out. That investigation is now underway. But there's a lot of anger and frustration in this community of people who feel that this is a case of police not valuing the life of this young black girl.

But if you talk to members of law enforcement, they believe the video shows that this was a reasonable use of force. Now, one of the questions that has been being asked over and over again was did officer Reardon have to shoot. He shot for four rounds at Ma'Khia Bryant soon after arriving on the scene.

We know there was a struggle. We know there was a scuffle. We have seen the video that showed Bryant with a, apparently, a knife in her right hand raised and a woman - a girl in pink pinned against a car. But still folks are asking was this an excessive use of force.

Well, the Interim Police Chief Michael Woods addressed that question. Here's what he had to say.


MICHAEL WOODS, INTERIM POLICE CHIEF, COLUMBUS, OHIO POLICE: If there's not deadly force being perpetrated on someone else at that time, an officer may have the opportunity to have cover distance and time to use a Taser. But if those things aren't present and there is an active assault going on in which someone could lose their life, the officer can use their firearm to protect that third person.


JONES: So there you heard that from the Interim Police Chief. And also the police union in a statement said, "We have a duty to protect the public and ourselves. These are the kinds of decisions officers are forced to make, we do not know potentially how many lives could have been lost in addition to people seriously injured."

So the bottom line here from authorities is that they, at this point believe, this was a reasonable and justifiable use of force in defense of another to prevent an attack and serious bodily injury to another person. But, of course, this is being investigated and those independent investigators will draw their own conclusions, Erin.

BURNETT: Athena, thank you very much. And I want to go now to Don Bryant whose cousin is Ma'Khia Bryant's mother. And Don, I'm so sorry for your loss. It's just a horrible situation, unimaginable situation for you and your family and now to have to watch this again and again. I truly am so sorry.


BURNETT: What was your first thought when you saw these images and you realize this is your family, this is your cousin.

BRYANT: The first I heard about it was from social media. Paula, her mother, made a post. And I immediately called Paula to find out what in the world is going on. And she put me on speakerphone and she was talking with the BCI detective at the time and it was breaking up, but from what I gather, Paula was trying to view the body and the detectives would not let her view her daughter's body and that's when the call broke up.

And I was in complete shock. The whole family was in shock. We are all deeply saddened by the death of Ma'Khia. This did not have to happen. Paula, her mother, is heartbroken by what happened. And I'm bringing seriously into question the use of force policies by police departments across the country.

As a former city councilman, I know that there are de-escalation tactics that could have been used rather than pulling out your gun and shooting my cousin. There could have been other things done to avoid this situation.

BURNETT: So it's really important, I know what you're saying, that the procedures need to change. I mean, the Mayor of Columbus has spoken about the horrible loss of your cousin and pose the question directly, did Ma'Khia Bryant need to die, directly posed that question. But then he went on to say this, let me play it for you, Don.



footage, the officer took action to protect another young girl in our community.



BURNETT: The National Fraternal Order of Police issued a statement, Don, and it reads in part, "After only 10 seconds on the scene, the officer, who repeatedly yelled to 'get down' at the armed assailant was faced with a split-second decision and fired to protect the life of a young woman. This was a lethal force situation and resulted sadly, in the death of Ma'Khia Bryant. An act of heroism, but one with tragic results.

BRYANT: Now, Erin, I'm concerned because the Governor, the Mayor, the Police Chief all have coordinated this response yet have not reached out to our family.

BURNETT: Well, they haven't.

BRYANT: The authorities (inaudible) the case still - they have not. The authorities still have not reached out to the family. Paula still cannot see her daughter's body. This is an outrage. What's happening is not right.

BURNETT: So what do you want the world to know about Ma'Khia Bryant? Tell us more, because now it's just this one image we keep seeing.

BRYANT: My cousin, she was a loving person. She was a sweetheart. She enjoyed talking with her friends. Her family loved her. She loved her mom so much and her mom loved her. And she enjoyed doing hair. She was a TikToker, making videos.

And if you see some of the videos that I posted on my social media, just some of the facial expressions that she had when she was making these videos with her mother. They both love each other so much, yet she's gone today. We're not getting Ma'Khia. Let's take a look at the use of force policies and police departments across America. All elected officials, they have the power to do that right now. Put some oversight, let's rein this in.

BURNETT: Well, Don, thank you very much.

BRYANT: Thank you so much.

BURNETT: I appreciate you telling us all of that. And again, I'm sorry.

BRYANT: Thank you.

BURNETT: I want to go to Ned Pettus now, the Director of the Department of Public Safety for Columbus, Ohio. Director, let me just start by asking you, you heard Don with the tragic loss of his cousin, his frustration and his outrage at the situation. I know that you said there's more to the story than just the video. You've asked for patience for people not to rush to judgment. Tell me more about what you mean.

NED PETTUS, JR., DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC SAFETY, COLUMBUS, OH: I'm sorry, tell you more about ...

BURNETT: When you say people shouldn't rush to judgment and that there may be more to the story than just the video that we've seen.

PETTUS: Well, we know that the investigation will review the facts and circumstances. But we also have to bear in mind the pain and the feelings of our community, of Ma'Khia Bryant's family. My heart broke for the family. It was hard for me to watch the video. In fact, I had to work to control my own emotions.

The first thoughts that popped into my mind were my grandchildren. The black community here in Columbus is emotionally exhausted from all of the tragedies and then here's another tragedy.

But there's a process that has to play out. The City of Columbus entered into a labor agreement. There's a contract. There's a process by law that has to be followed. And so, we need to be patient and composed and allow the process to work. But we are amenable to making all of the changes that need to be made here in the City of Columbus, Ohio.

BURNETT: So you heard Don Bryant, Ma'Khia's cousin. Look, he's facing loss. He's upset and he is outraged. He said this didn't have to happen and that he believes there are other de-escalation techniques that could have been used. What do you say to him at this point, Ned?

PETTUS: Well, there's not a lot that can be said that will ease the pain, especially for family members. But I can tell him that there are those of us who want to be involved from the inside, to make the positive changes that need to be made. There are those of us who recognize the generations and decades of inequity and mistreatment and there are those of us who wants to do something about it.

But we can't do it alone, we have to have the help of everyone and it needs to be done in the right way.


BURNETT: So Director, we spoke to former Greenville, North Carolina, Police Chief Hassan Aden about the video. His comment was that Officer Reardon gave verbal commands to Ma'Khia for her to stop, just as she lunged with a knife at a second victim. His view is the de-escalation did not appear to be a viable option, that Officer Reardon was faced with an immediate deadly force situation. That he understands how this happened because he -- there could be death to the second assault victim if he had not acted.

Let me just ask you, Director. I know there's a lot we do not know, but do you think this incident is different from other police involved shootings that we have seen recently around the country or not? NED PETTUS JR., DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC SAFETY, COLUMBUS, OH: Well, I think

that technically and intellectually, it's likely different than some of the others where there was an unarmed black person that was killed, lethal force was used on them. But it does not help with the hurt and pain, because this was a teenage child.

And it just hurt. It's devastating. It's a tragedy, no matter how you analyze it.

BURNETT: It certainly is. It's poignantly sad. Thank you very much, Director. I appreciate your time.

PETTUS: Thank you.

BURNETT: Ned Pettus from the Department of Public Safety in Columbus, Ohio.

And next, North Carolina bracing for another night of protests after deputies killed a 42-year-old black man. The sheriff said they were serving a warrant at the time. How did it turn deadly?

Plus, the Senate passes an anti-Asian hate crimes bill by an overwhelming majority, 94-1. The lone no-vote? Josh Hawley. How come?



BURNETT: Breaking news. Protestors demanding answers for the second night in a row in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, as the local sheriff's department begins to some light on what happened to another African American man killed at the hands of law enforcement. This is 42-year-old Andrew Brown Jr., the father of ten, who was shot and killed while deputies tried to execute a warrant. The sheriff's department say thing just a short time ago.


CHIEF DEPUTY DANIEL FOGG, PASQUANTANK COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE: Some people want to know why our local version of SWAT team and deputies from another agency are assisting in this search warrant and arrest warrant. This is an arrest warrant surrounding felony drug charges. Mr. Brown was a convicted felon with a history of resisting arrest. Our training and our policy indicate on the first circumstance, there is a high risk of danger.


BURNETT: Body camera footage exists, but authorities have not said what it shows. They said it cannot be released without a court order. You know, the police department can't just do what they did in Columbus and put it out quickly, or in the case of Daunte Wright. They're saying they cannot do it until that court order comes.

Also unknown right now are key details like why shots were fired or how many shots were fired. One witness describing a chaotic scene to CNN.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I heard one shot and I looked up and ran down here. By the time I got down here, they were standing behind his car, he was trying to get away. They stood behind him. I couldn't tell you who shot him, I couldn't do that. But one of the officers or maybe a couple shot him, because it was 14 shell casings right here.

REPORTER: Do you know how many deputies were here if --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my God, behind him? Whoa! I want to say it was about four or five.


BURNETT: Dianne Gallagher is OUTFRONT in Elizabeth City tonight.

And, Dianne, you're there on the ground, now there's growing calls to find out more to see this video, we need a court order to find out what happened. So much of these hinges on that body camera video, right, that we just don't have.

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Erin. And look, the people who are out here right now in Elizabeth City are sort of in the heart of Elizabeth City, North Carolina, right now. You can see that we shut down an interstate here. They're here because -- excuse me, not an interstate, the inner workings of the city here, it's a street and intersection.

The reason why they say they're here is not just to say the name of Andrew Brown, Jr., but they want answers, and they want the sheriff to give answers directly. The sheriff has been speaking on these Facebook videos and these press conferences and not speaking to the community.

Now, as you can see, I've got this intersection. There's one down there as well. I've got Quentin Jackson here with me.

And, Quentin, not only did you know Andrew Brown, but you're out here demanding information, demanding that they tell you more, right?

QUENTIN JACKSON, REGIONAL DIRECTOR, NATIONAL BLACK CAUCUS OF LOCAL ELECTED OFFICIALS: That's right. We want them to come out. We don't have Facebook posts. The sheriff was elected by the people, so he needs to come out here and he needs to answer these folks' questions.

When you look around, you see sheriff deputies from all over. But yet, the Pasquotank County sheriff is not out here. We understand he said that we're getting death threats or whatever. That hasn't come from anybody out here because we've been out here for two days and everybody out here has been very, very peaceful, we've been very, very respectful.

Of course, we have community leaders out here just in case any outsiders come from out of time and want to be to not be peaceful, we're going to get them. GALLAGHER: Tell me about Andrew Brown real quick. I want you to tell me about Andrew.

JACKSON: So, Andrew Brown was a guy who you knew, he was the first one. You see by every morning that was going to post on Facebook. He was a father, he was a grandfather, he was just a loving guy.

But we're a very small community. Elizabeth City, there's under 20,000 people. So we all knew Andrew. So, no, Andrew knew that he did not carry a weapon. We know that the local police department knew Andrew Brown wasn't a person known to carry weapons.

So, even though it's out there like that, you have to understand that it's hard for us to wrap around that deputies just shoot a guy who was known in the community not to carry a weapon. So, that is reason why we want answers.

We're going to miss Andrew. We're going to miss riding around smiling. We're going to miss the BMW. Just a fun loving guy and a very family oriented guy. Go ahead.

GALLAGHER: Erin, I mean, that is what we're hearing from everybody, Erin, is that Andrew Brown loved his children, that he loved his grandchildren.


I was told that he didn't get a chance to meet his second grandchild, who was just 2 months old, that he was killed before he had that chance to meet his second grandchild. But he was so proud of his grandchildren and his children, and that is what people remember him most by, is just what a dedicated father he was and how much he'll be missed by his children.

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

I want to go now to the president of the North Carolina NAACP, Reverend T. Anthony Spearman.

And, Reverend, I appreciate your time.

So, you know, you heard there the sheriff and the deputy sheriff, they're beginning to give out some information about the case. They say that this happened as an arrest warrant on felony drug charges. They say that Andrew Brown, Jr., was a convicted felony with a history of resisting arrest.

What do you make of that and what else do you know or don't know so far?

REV. T. ANTHONY SPEARMAN, PRESIDENT, NORTH CAROLINA NAACP: Well, good evening, and thank you, Erin, for this opportunity.

Something that was conveyed to me earlier today about Andrew Brown is that had Andrew been aware of the warrant that was out on him, that he was the type of individual that would have turned himself in. And based on some of the other reports of Andrew being a nonviolent individual, I believe that be the case.

He was a devoted father of ten, and as I just heard, a grandfather who did not get the opportunity to see his youngest grandchild. And I know that he was a person that probably did not graduate from high school, and he tried to instill in his children to the best of his ability to go on to higher education and get college educations.

So, of all the reports I've been receiving, they are that Andrew was a non-violent individual and a responsible individual.

BURNETT: Okay. And we'll see. Obviously, as you say, hearing more and more about this person, what law enforcement says obviously is counter to that. But we don't know because we haven't seen the body camera footage.

SPEARMAN: Correct.

BURNETT: It hasn't been released.

SPEARMAN: Correct.

BURNETT: I understand that -- go ahead, go ahead, Reverend.

SPEARMAN: That for me is an issue that I attempted to address today. I happen to be on the advisory council of the State Bureau of Investigation's Excessive Use of Force Committee. And I contacted the director, Bob Shamayer (ph), this morning to put the question about getting the footage for the -- from the body cams.

He informed me that it's not the sheriff's office that is the one to talk to, but to contact the district attorney, which I did this morning. I attempted to reach the district attorney's office and was appalled by what I was told. I was told first and foremost I couldn't leave a message because the person who assists him was on leave or out of the office. And when I called back to let them know that I was told that the district attorney himself was on -- out of the office until April 26th.

At which time I told them that is up acceptable. I need some answers from the district attorney right now.


SPEAKER: That would put me in touch with some of the assistant DAs. They said of which there are several or so, and they told me that they are on assignment and the other judicatories that he is responsible for.

I said, well, this is still unacceptable. We need answers and we need them now. If you're hoping for us to be able to maintain peace and calm in the community, we need to talk to the district attorney. I have not heard from the district attorney yet.

BURNETT: All right. Reverend Spearman, thank you very much. I hope they heard this loud and clear as you laid that out. I hope you get an answer and that we all will see that footage. Thank you very much. I appreciate your time, sir.

And next, the Senate overwhelmingly passes a bill to address hate crimes against Asian-Americans. There was only one no vote, only one no vote. It was Republican Senator Josh Hawley. Why?

Plus, doctors for Putin's top critic warning Alexei Navalny to end his hunger strike or end up dead. A close friend of Navalny is OUTFRONT.



BURNETT: Tonight, the Senate passing an anti-Asian hate crimes bill 94-1. That kind of unity is rare. Well, I mean, right, it just doesn't exist, right? It just doesn't exist.

But it does leave you with the question who was the lone dissenter, the one person who said I just cannot go with this, even though every other Republican and Democrat are?

Well, that would be Missouri's Republican Senator Josh Hawley.

Manu Raju is OUTFRONT from Capitol Hill.

And, Manu, this bill is aimed at strengthening federal efforts to address hate crimes against Asian-Americans. Obviously, there has been an alarming rise in discrimination and violence against Asian- Americans. So, you have this 94 to 1, right? And we just don't see it on, anything, anything.

But we saw it here, that kind of unity, but not Josh Hawley. How come?

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the reason why, Erin, is that Hawley was saying that this -- in his view -- overly broad. He said that bill is hugely open ended, he said it was expansive, and could lead to massive government overreach, and data being sent to the federal government.

Of course, that's not how 94 of his colleagues view this. They view this and said, what this bill would do is expedite the review of hate crimes that are committed against Asian Americans. The bill would create an official within the Justice Department to review potential hate crimes against Asian Americans, and also, would incentivize states to create hotlines for potential hate crimes, provide grants as well to provide training to local law enforcement to try to train to identify potential hate crimes that were committed.


But, Erin, it's important to note, Hawley might not have been the only senator to vote no. Rand Paul, who had missed the vote today, but he was one of a handful of senators who voted against opening debate on this bill. So, perhaps, he would've had at least one more to vote against it -- Erin.

BURNETT: And, you know, on that point of voting tonight, bring it to a vote, we see Ted Cruz on that list, Rand Paul on that list, Tommy Tuberville on that list, the same -- the same suspects here. They didn't even want to move ahead with the vote.

What were the reasons?

RAJU: Well, they had a variety of reasons. Paul, for one, said these issues should be done at the state level, not a federal level.

Ted Cruz had a different argument. He said that in a statement after voting to block the bill to come up from debate, he said -- he could it a Democratic messaging vehicle designed to push the demonstrably false idea that this, is somehow, racist to acknowledge that COVID-19 originated in Wuhan, China, and that the Chinese Communist Party actively lied and suppressed information about the outbreak.

Now, Erin, Ted Cruz ended up voting for the bill, ultimately, and there were changes that were made on the Senate floor. They were quite modest changes to this bill, that is now on its way to the president's desk, eventually, with Cruz's support -- Erin.

BURNETT: Yes, with Cruz's support after that.

All right. Thanks very much, Manu, I appreciate it.

And next, the health of top opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, right? This is the one guy, this is the main guy. It's like the only guy, standing up to Putin. Life threatening situation right now. His supporters across the country are being arrested for even protesting.

So, what is Putin's endgame here? Navalny's close friend is OUTFRONT.



BURNETT: Tonight, doctors of jailed Putin opposition leader, Alexey Navalny, calling on him to end his hunger strike to avoid death. Warning that if he continues with the strikes, quote, we will soon have no one to heal.

It comes as more than 1,800 Russians, 1,800, were detained yesterday after many thousands protested across the country, in support of Navalny.

OUTFRONT now, Vladimir Ashurkov, a close friend of Navalny who has taken over his anti-corruption organization.

Vladimir, I appreciate your time. I know that he's a good friend of yours. What do you know about Alexei Navalny's condition?

VLADIMIR ASHURKOV, CLOSE FRIEND TO ALEXEY NAVALNY: There has been some movement. We just learned today through Navalny's lawyers who visited that he was taken to a civil hospital two days ago. Some tests were made, and the result of this test are made available to the doctors. His health is in great danger, and the doctors are evaluating the results, and they're providing the course of medical treatment. This is something that was denied to Navalny over these 3 weeks of his

hunger strike. And we hope that some medical treatment is applied to Alexey soon.

BURNETT: So, I know you spoke to him, you know, personally, he's a friend right before he returned to Russia. That was after his recovery. He nearly died from being poisoned, right? Russian intelligence agents have been implicated in.

Navalny knew, when he went back to Russia, when he was walking into, he felt he just needed to be there to make a difference. He didn't want to do it from outside country. It was -- it was incredibly courageous.

But now, we've learned two of the Russian doctors who treated him, during the poisoning incident before he left the country, have also died. Now, Navalny's health is quickly deteriorating.

Vladimir, what do you think Putin's endgame is?

ASHURKOV: Well, we always understand that the Putin would like to see Navalny to emerge as his most prominent opponent eliminated, or isolated. We have the fact of his poisoning, he was unlawfully incarcerated after he returned to Russia, and, at the same time, the label of killer was applied casually to Mr. Putin by no other than President Biden.


ASHURKOV: If Navalny dies in prison on his watch, I think the label will become a permanent stain on Putin. And I think he would like to avoid that.

BURNETT: So, you mentioned Joe Biden, he did call Putin a killer. He did it knowing that it would cause incredible blowback, which it did. Now you have thousands of Russians going to the streets to support Navalny, 1,800 of them detained, risking their own lives.

So, today, the White House was tested again, on what the White House would do? Let's play with the Vladimir said in response to that question.


JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Obviously, we reserve the right to additional sanctions on the future. Obviously, our objective here, and our focus, and our hope, is that Mr. Navalny will be treated with humanity, and kept safe. And, of course, ultimately, to be released.


BURNETT: Is that message strong enough, Vladimir?

ASHURKOV: This is a welcome message of support. Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser, also said in an interview a few days ago that the U.S. is employing private communication channels with Russian authorities on Navalny's situation. So, we don't know the facts, but I suspect there is something going on behind the scenes.

BURNETT: And let me just ask you. I know Navalny's wife has been such a crucial part of him being able to get through this. How is she doing? Has she been able to see him, or talk to him?

ASHURKOV: No, she hasn't been able to see him. He can only be seen by his lawyer, who has access to him for around an hour a day. Yulia is indeed the rock on which Navalny stands. She came to the streets yesterday, during protests in Moscow, and her support is, really, indispensable for the situation.

BURNETT: I'm sure it is. Just as you said, courageous as.

Vladimir, thank you very much. I appreciate you taking the time and sharing all of this with us about your friend. Thank you.

ASHURKOV: Thank you.

BURNETT: And thanks very much to all of you for joining me.

"AC360" with Anderson begins now.