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Former Minnesota Police Officer Kimberly Potter has Been Found Guilty; First Responder Feeds the Hungry; Biden administration will Lift Travel Restrictions for Eight Southern African Countries. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired December 24, 2021 - 08:30   ET



ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: Former Minnesota police officer Kimberly Potter has been found guilty on two counts of manslaughter for the killing of Daunte Wright.

She said she mistook her gun for a taser during a traffic stop back in April. Supporters of Daunte Wright and his family celebrated outside the courthouse upon hearing the news.

And joining me now is Daunte Wright's mother, Katie Wright, as well as Benjamin Crump, the attorney representing Daunte Wright's family.

It's good to see you both this morning. Katie I know you said you felt every single emotion you could imagine as the verdict was read. I'm wondering this morning, how or what are you feeling?

KATIE WRIGHT, MOM OF DAUNTE WRIGHT: Good morning. Still, it is still --I'm in shock, disbelief. I am --again, it's just every single emotion still, we're still trying to decompress and just have so many so many emotions still, as, as of today.

HILL: I'm sure a number of people have reached out to you since this verdict was read. What are you hearing from folks from supporters from you know, from your son's friends from your family?

WRIGHT: We're receiving so many messages from supporters. They're reading, you know, congratulations. I know this doesn't feel like a win, but it's a victory to, to actually even be able to have, you know, and to be able to have two guilty verdicts is a win, even though Daunte won't be coming home. So, so much support and so much love.

HILL: There's been there's been a fair amount of discussion about accountability versus justice. Where do you stand this morning?

WRIGHT: I'm still going to always stand on accountability. I think, again, justice would be Daunte being home. Justice would be no more names being you know, yelled in our streets. And until that happens, and we don't have to fight anymore, that's when true justice will, will be.

But right now, we're gonna accept accountability and we're thankful for that. HILL: Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison had had a really strong statement following the verdict yesterday, and I just want to play that in case folks haven't seen it.


KEITH ALLISON, MINNESOTA ATTORNEY GENERAL: Accountability is not justice. Justice is restoration. Justice would be restoring Daunte to life and making the Right family whole again.

Justice is beyond the reach that we have in this life for Daunte, but accountability is an important step, a critical, necessary step on the road to justice for assault for us all.


HILL: Benjamin Crump, those echoes -- those comments echo what we just heard from Katie.

But look, you have been on this road to justice for some time now, in a number of different cases. What do you see the impact of this verdict being?

BENJAMIN CRUMP, ATTORNEY FOR WRIGHT: I think is profound, Erica. It is on the same level as the verdict that we saw in the killing of George Floyd, as well as a Ahmad Arbery.

You know, in 2021, it is a historical year in our quest for racial justice in America when we see three foot three, that people who kill Black people unjustly being held accountable.

It really is about not just a victory for accountability for Daunte Wright's family, but it is a victory for America in our quest for equal justice under the law.


HILL: Katie, what do you want people to know about Daunte?

WRIGHT: Daunte was my son. He had a smile that would light up the room. He was a father. He was -- he had his whole life ahead of him.

And you know, he was taken too soon and we weren't able to see what he was going to become. And we were left with memories, but they were amazing memories.

HILL: And what will you tell his son?

WRIGHT: That his dad's a part of history and his name will be forgotten and that he loved him.

HILL: I really appreciate you both joining us this morning. The sentencing is still to come as we know. What would you like to see happen in that case, Benjamin Crump, in terms of the sentencing?

CRUMP: We're, Erica, in the same courthouse in Minneapolis, about five years ago, there was a black police officer, officer Mohamed Noor who shot and killed an unarmed white woman and his arguments were parallel to Kim Potter's.

He said, I'm sorry, I didn't mean it. He cried. He said I was trying to protect my fellow officer from being killed in the dark of night.

And yet, his argument was not accepted. He was convicted and sentenced to 12 years over and above the 10 year recommendation.

So what we believe is, this is a chance to see if the family of Daunte Wright, when the roles are reversed, and it's a white police woman killed a young black man, will we get an equal sentence?

We still wait to see if equal justice in the sentencing, not just in the conviction.

HILL: Katie, do you think that you will see equal justice in terms of that sentencing?

WRIGHT: I'm optimistic. Again, you know, no amount of time is going to be justice for us. But I am I'm optimistic that that they're going to do the right thing and give her a fair sentence.

HILL: Katie Wright, Benjamin Crump, I really appreciate you both joining us this morning. Thank you.

WRIGHT: Thank you.

CRUMP: Thank you, Erica.

HILL: Still ahead holiday travel turbulence on this Christmas Eve, hundreds of flights grounded because of COVID.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: And a new turn in Donald Trump's continuing fight to keep White House documents secret. Could the Supreme Court end up deciding?



SCIUTTO: He is an EMT by trade but in his spare time this first responder feeds the hungry, handing out his own home cooked meals to the homeless of New York City.

CNN's Brynn Gingras tells us how he's going beyond the call of duty.


CHRIS BUDER, EMT: Hi, my name is Chris. I'm an EMT with the fire department.

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When Chris Buder greets someone he's hoping for a smile. That's really it.

BUDER: They could be in the worst time, their worst element, but putting a smile on somebody's face could change the world around.

GINGRAS: So twice a year around the holidays, Buder makes home cooked meals.

BUDER: There's the bird, some mashed potatoes--

GINGRAS: Packs them up along with a wrapped gift and drives around looking for people who could use a little something extra.

BUDER: Here is a hat and gloves and there's a fork and knife.

I've always had a heart for people. I did, but I think the pandemic made me really realize how thankful we should be.

GINGRAS: In the early days of the pandemic, the veteran New York City EMT spent months away from his family because of COVID-19. He worked long shifts providing medical care in Queens, one of the hardest hit areas in the city.

BUDER: Fifty to 75% of the people in my station were out COVID. And we were depleted by so much and the fact that I was healthy the whole entire time made me realize that must be a reason why I'm still healthy to this day and not sick, so I could stand up and help do more than what I possibly can do.

GINGRAS: He says buying a cup of coffee for a stranger turned into buying a meal which turned into making many meals for those in need. It's now his own little tradition.

BUDER: Hopefully this can teach people to learn to be more careful with one another. Hello lieutenant.

GINGRAS: Buder's colleagues aren't surprised by his acts of warmth and generosity. They say it's thanks to Chris many of them made it through the toughest days of the pandemic.

ERIN DOYLE, LIEUTENANT: People like Chris come along and they took you off the ledge. They show you what it's all about. They remind you why you're here. And without people like Chris a lot of us would have retired or quit and he keeps us going.

GINGRAS: For Buder why he puts in this extra effort on his own time at his own risk all by himself?

BUDER: Here you go. Merry Christmas.

GINGRAS: Again, it's simple.

BUDER: I just like making people happy and I just that's more important. Once I see other people happy that's when I'm happy. If I don't see them happy then I'm happy.

GINGRAS: And when you see a smile?

BUDER: I cry.

GINGRAS: Brynn Gingras, CNN New York.



SCIUTTO: I love that man.

HILL: I know.

SCIUTTO: Makes you smile.

HILL: Yes.

SCIUTTO: One good reasons to smile

HILL: And inspire us all maybe to do a little something extra.


HILL: Our thanks to Brynn for that story.

Here's a look at what else you can watch out for today.


HILL: Just ahead. A mother desperate for help and the TSA agent who jumped in to save the day.

SCIUTTO: And does Nicole Kidman make a convincing Lucille Ball? More on being the Ricardos and other movies you got to watch over Christmas.


SCIUTTO: Breaking news out just moments ago. The White House says to CNN that the Biden administration will lift travel restrictions for eight Southern--


SCIUTTO: --African countries put in place after the Omicron variant was first identified in South Africa. The restrictions had come under increased scrutiny as the Omicron variant became the predominant one in new cases here in the U.S. and around the world.

Biden said Tuesday that he was considering whether to lift those restrictions we'll have much more on that at the top of the hour. It's going to take effect December 31st, at midnight.

HILL: Important development there.

Well, the holiday weekend, a prime time to catch up on those new or maybe recent TV shows and movies you might have missed.

CNN media analyst Bill Carter Joining us now to share some of his top picks. Good to see you this morning. Merry Christmas Eve. All right. So I am behind on everything. So this is this is timely and important for all of us. Let's kick things off with the movies. What should we be watching?

BILL CARTER, CNN MEDIA ANALYST: Okay. Well, I mean, I picked the movies that I think would be available this weekend, if you just you know are streaming.

And I wanted to start with the Ricardos because I really enjoyed this. I mean, I thought it was a fun and interesting look at really a landmark television show.

A lot of people thought Nicole Kidman can never pull off being Lucy. There was a lot of expectation that that wouldn't work, but Aaron Sorkin's writing and her performance, they're just great and it's a lot of fun.

And I thoroughly enjoyed it and it would be great holiday viewing, I think.

SCIUTTO: Get Back. I've got to say, I see that on your list, Bill, and just selfishly. I like that, that selection, because I've been watching it and I find it, I mean, it's powerful.

But you also really feel like you're in the room. I mean, the video quality is so, so high, you're, you're a fly on the wall.

CARTER: It's spectacular in that way because it's about the creative process. And there are moments where you think this not much is happening, but it's the Beatles and they're talking and you see them exchanging ideas.

And I just found it really gripping as a fan of them, since I was a little kid, it really gave you insight into how this amazing thing happened that this group of friends from a neighborhood basically in one out in England, made this spectacular cultural work.

SCIUTTO: Yes. I was telling Erica just in the breakout like you see them coming up you see book McCartney basically presenting the idea of Get Back and they're like, Oh my God, that's a good song.

You know, Erica, you've got to watch it.

CARTER: It's just running on a page and it comes together.

HILL: It's' so great and I'm sold. I love watching how things come together. So this, this is a good one and I know that my son was an avid drummer will also be all in on that one.

Okay, so we've got, we've got the Ricardos, which I'm actually dying to see, Get Back. Okay, what else? What else should be on our list?

CARTER: Well, the movie that people will obviously look for the Oscar time is called The Power of the Dog. It's not a great holiday movie. It's kind of grim, but it's going to be on everybody's best list. And for that reason, I think people should dive in and it's available

on Netflix. It's long. It's very atmospheric is very ominous. But very spectacularly presented to the scenes. It's New Zealand, but it's supposed to be Montana, but it really is kind of a strange and eerie movie.

SCIUTTO: Are there ones a little happier to watch?

CARTER: Well, there's a movie called Belfast which I have great times in Ireland, and I've been to Belfast. And it, obviously deals with the troubles in Belfast, but it's really a very warm family story.

It's really Kenneth Braunaugh memoir of growing up in Belfast. And I found really moving and very uplifting surprisingly, despite all the trouble that you see what was going on in that era in the in that very troubled city.

HILL: I do love uplifting, especially this time of year. What about any other TV shows? Because as I said, I'm behind on everything, Bill. So help me help me catch up so I can actually have a conversation.

CARTER: Oh, I love great mysteries. And Mare of Eastown, which was on HBO, and you can watch on HBO. It is not just a very interesting story, it's a powerful story. Kate Winslet is amazing.

That's it is one of the more intricate but satisfying, unusually satisfying mysteries in the sense that it takes you along, you don't see where it's going. But when it's done, like yes, that makes sense that hangs together and that's a rare thing.

I think that people will rally enjoy that. That's the best bargain on HBO.

SCIUTTO: Bill, the new normal, of course, is a lot of these movies are available, both streaming and in theaters and of course, there's a health component to watch any in theaters.

But I wonder, are any of these movies ones where you say, you kind of want to see it in the theater, right to get the full experience?

CARTER: Yes. So I went to West Side Story in the theater and I was very glad it because it's reimagined in a very spectacular way.

And some of those numbers are so great on a big screen and Spielberg's direction is purely, it's fantastic in this film. So it's a really great reimagining of it. It's not a remake, and I thought it was so entertaining.

So I think if you really want to take a risk and go to a theater, that's one you should probably try.

SCIUTTO: Well, well, we got a few on the list because I'm behind to Erica.

HILL: We'll compare notes.

SCIUTTO: So. So, Bill, thanks so much for the ideas. We'll try to get through as much of our homework as possible.

CARTER: Enjoy, enjoy. Have a great weekend, guys.

SCIUTTO: You too.

CARTER: Well, it is time for the good stuff. I like good stuff.

A rookie TSA officer save the life of an infant at an airport security checkpoint. Look at the effort she went through jumping--


SCIUTTO: --over the conveyor belt there a young mother realizing her two month old son cannot breathe that officer, Cecilia Morales grabbed the baby doing the infant Heimlich maneuver.

If you've ever taken a course for CPR, that's not an easy thing to do. Morales was just joined the TSA a few months ago. Her old job, she was an EMT for decades.

HILL: There you go.

SCIUTTO: For training.

HILL: Skills that always come in handy. It's great and a perfect good stuff as more people are heading to the airport.

Jim it's been good stuff.

SCIUTTO: It has.

HILL: Sharing the screen with you this morning my friend and over the last few months and I hope you have a nice break ahead.

SCIUTTO: You too and to all the folks watching please enjoy the holidays.

We really wish you the best and a healthy Christmas. CNN's Christmas Eve coverage continues next.