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U.S. Capitol Police Officer Killed By Man Ramming His Vehicle Into Barricade, Authorities Attempting To Uncover Motive Of Suspect; Major League Baseball Pulls All-Star Game from Atlanta After Georgia Passes Controversial Bill On Voting Reform; President Biden's And Georgia Gov. Kemp's Comments On Georgia Voting Law Examined; Analysts Review First Week Of Testimony In Trial Of Derek Chauvin; Florida Republican Representative Matt Gaetz Under Federal Investigation For Possible Charges Related To Sex Trafficking. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired April 3, 2021 - 14:00   ET



RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They protect kids, they sure do. That's smart. And you want to be a police officer?

And now when Jeremiah returns to the Manatee County Sheriff's office, his new friends couldn't be happier to see him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you for coming, buddy.

KAYE: Hugs and high-fives for a little boy when he needs them most.

Randi Kaye, CNN, Bradenton, Florida.


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: Hello, again, everyone. Thank you so much for joining me. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

All right, we begin this hour with that deadly assault at the U.S. Capitol that left one police officer dead and another injured on Friday. Investigators are now working to find out more about the suspect who rammed into the police barricade outside the Capitol building, hitting those two officers. Police say the suspect got out of the car brandishing a knife. He was shot and killed by police right on the scene.

CNN's Boris Sanchez and Pete Muntean are here with the latest on the investigation. Boris, to you first. Another tragic day at the Capitol just months after another officer was killed there. What more are you learning about officer William Evans who died yesterday?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Fred. Officer Evans was known as "Billy" and he was an 18-year member of the force. He was well known to lawmakers, staff, and even members of the press as well. He was revered as an all-around good guy and a good father as well. Some of those closest to Officer Evans shared the grief with CNN, and here is some of what they said.


JASON LAFOREST, FRIEND OF OFFICER WILLIAM EVANS: It is incredibly sad and just surreal to know that Billy died serving our country, doing something that he loved so much. Above all, he just loved life, he loved being a dad, and he loved to be a part of the U.S. Capitol police.

MATT DERRY, FRIEND OF OFFICER WILLIAM EVANS: It was real surreal to just think that I literally just talked to him, and we shared a laugh a couple of days ago, and now he is gone. I have just been shocked ever since. It's been fighting back tears all afternoon and trying to make sense of it all and knowing that there is none to be had.


SANCHEZ: And of course, Fred, as you noted, it has been difficult year for Capitol police, Officer Evans becoming the second Capitol police officer killed in the line of duty this year following Officer Brian Sicknick who died while responding to the insurrectionists on the January 6th.

And it's important to point out, there were a number of officers that were injured that day that are still recovering from their injuries, and officers who later died by suicide as a result of the assault that day.

The Capitol Police Department has put out a statement thanking the world, essentially, for the outpouring of support. Here is what they wrote this morning on Twitter. They write, quote, "The U.S. Capitol Police Department is deeply grateful for support we have received from around the world. We wish we could respond to each one of you. Please know your sympathy is appreciated beyond words."

We should also note, Fred, that there was a second Capitol police officer that was hurt during yesterday's attack. We don't have many details on their identity or their condition, but we are working to get those right now, Fred.

WHITFIELD: Boris, thank you so much.

Pete, to you. What more do we know about the suspect in the case. Police are reviewing his social media posts, but what else?

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That is right, Fredricka. Investigators are just now starting to dig into the past of 25-year- old Noah Green, trying to find out his real motive here, and perhaps maybe the most telling, as you mentioned, are his social media posts.

We have found an Instagram account that appeared to belong to Green, and on it he posted that in the days leading up to this attack that he felt he was the victim of mind control. He also felt that the government, he said, quote, "was the number one enemy of the black people." That was a caption on a video featuring the head of the Nation of Islam.

We know also that he was a graduate of Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia, not all that far away from here, and he's been known as being a good and talented athlete. He played football there, but a quiet and a bit of a loner-type, Fredricka.

Still a lot to be learned here according to the head of the Homeland Security about this investigation as it continues to unfold, a lot to learn about the suspect Noah Green. Of course, investigators are not really taking many chances right now, especially with the security here. You can see black fencing behind me. That was put up not long after the January 6th attack here on the Capitol.

But new this morning, more barricades went up, more concrete barriers went up to try and protect this fortress around the Capitol. Lots of people here around Washington. It is a high tourist season here. It is the peak of the cherry blossom season here in Washington, and now they're intermingling with about 2,300 members of the National Guard, Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: Pretty significant. All right, thank you so much Pete Muntean and Boris Sanchez, appreciate that.

Let's talk more about all this. Joining me right now is retired U.S. Capitol police officer, a 34-year veteran of the department, John Euill. Mr. Euill, so good to see you.


This is yet another sad day, another sad day for the U.S. Capitol police, just months after the Capitol insurrection killing officer Brian Sicknick. So what are your thoughts now on this day?

JOHN EUILL, RETIRED U.S. CAPITOL POLICE OFFICER: Well, it is a very sad day that we lost another officer from the U.S. Capitol police force. I can remember back in 1998, July, when two officers were shot and killed by a suspect that entered the Capitol building. And the officers maintained good control of the visitors while the action was going on.

And like I said, I usually would go down to talk to Officer Chestnut (ph) before I left the Capitol, and after finishing my day's duty, and for that day, there was a lot of commotion going on. I was trying to find out what was happening. And when I saw these people running down steps towards the west front of the Capitol, and when I got up to the crypt area, I noticed the two officers had their hats off and their guns drawn.

And through inquiry and radio dispatch, they said that there was a shooter in the Capitol building, and they had shot one officer at the door, and they were looking for the other one.

But afterwards, we didn't know for sure whether the other officer had succumbed to the situation, but then we found out later on that both officers were deceased. And that really took a hard feeling towards the officers, and it was very sad, sad day. And now --

WHITFIELD: What I get from you is that you remember this in detail like it was yesterday, and that that you described was 1998. So talk to me about the kind of the vulnerability, perhaps, that you felt immediately after that, and for how long did you feel that?

EUILL: Well, it was quite a sensation to deal with. And as soon as that took place, there were situations where the police department upgraded certain situations as far as the doors were concerned. And they had extra help either with an extra officer or a what they called a person who worked with the officers, but they weren't police officers.

They were there to especially to check the x-ray machine and watch people come through the door. That takes a load off the officer from having to do two things at once.

WHITFIELD: And so now here you have this year alone, two attacks on the U.S. Capitol involving Capitol police. Is it your worry now that these attacks are becoming far too frequent, and might be this is the beginning of these attacks becoming more frequent?

EUILL: Well, it's a possibility that it's going to be more frequent. But in looking at the security around the Capitol, we must maintain it as best as possible. And through the fencing, which was a big problem with everybody, sometimes you have to maintain tight security like that for a while until you are able to resolve that problem and use new measures in order to take care of that situation.

Now the fencing per se that was around the Capitol was taken down about a week before this happened. And supposedly if this was still up or the fence was still up, the driver would have had to go through that fence first before he hit the blockade, and therefore the officers might have had enough time to see what the situation was and act accordingly.

WHITFIELD: It might have bought them a little bit more time.

So the motive of yesterday's suspect is still unclear. How important is it in your view to learn what the motive is behind this attack?

EUILL: Well, we don't know from day to day what's going to take place. A lot of people are talking about the mentally ill. Well, there is a situation where a suspect kills several people, and they say that had a bad day. So who is to say how you detect these people?


He didn't have a record, there was nothing listed for him, so therefore he's not a threat. But then he back a threat.

WHITFIELD: So what, in your view, needs to be provided to help Capitol police, to keep you safe as continue on with your commitment, Capitol Police commitment to protect and serve?

EUILL: Well, we have to be more vigilant and be aware of your surroundings. And you to really look at every person. It's one of those things where you never know what is going to transpire. So if something doesn't look right, they always say, if you see something, say something. And if you have to call into the supervisor and say I have a situation here that needs to be taken care of, you get backup. But at that point, you know that something is wrong and you've acted.

And that is what we have to do, to have more officers becoming alert now than ever before, because the way this world is turning, you never know from one day to the next who or what is going to happen. So you so to be pretty much on alert.

WHITFIELD: Retired Capitol Police Officer John Euill, thank you so much, thank you to all that you have done and continue to do.

EUILL: Yes, ma'am, thank you.

WHITFIELD: Coming up next, sports and politics colliding in Georgia after MLB pulled the all-star game from the state because of its new voting law. The governor is now slamming the league and saying he will not back down if there are future boycotts or protests.

And later, we heard emotional testimonies from witnesses during the trial of Derek Chauvin. I'll reflect on what we all experienced this week.



WHITFIELD: The decision by Major League Baseball to pull the All-Star Game out of Georgia in response to a new voter law that the state has been actually drawing both support and criticism. Georgia's Republican governor is blasting the move, the game -- is blasting the move for the MLB to take the All-Star Game out of Georgia. Meanwhile, some Democrats worry that this decision by the MLB will be just the first of many boycotts the state could face unless the law is changed.


MAYOR KEISHA LANCE BOTTOMS (D), ATLANTA, GEORGIA: I can't say that I like it, but I certainly understand it. And it is really probably the first of many boycotts of our state to come. And the consequences of this bill are significant. Just as the legislatures and the governor have made the decision, the legislatures and the governor made the decision to go forward with this bill, people are making decisions not to come to our state.


WHITFIELD: For more on today's developments, let's bring in Natasha Chen. So Natasha, the governor held a news conference to defend this law. Does it appear that he has any plans to push for any changes or compromise?

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely not, Fred. He seemed defiant and doubled down on his position, and he was flanked by a lot of state legislators who agree with him. He said that Major League Baseball as well as some of these corporations making blanket criticism statements, he said that they were bending to the left, bending to cancel culture, that they were afraid of Stacey Abrams and Joe Biden. And he also stated that this is terrible for the small businesses who

were hoping to benefit from this game being played here in Georgia. I asked him whether if MLB had come to him with specific problems with the bill, which is what he said they should have done. I asked if they had done that? Was there any part of the bill that he would have been willing to talk about openly or adjust? He said a hypothetical question with no answer because they didn't actually do that.

I also asked about a timeline of getting this bill passed into law, whether it had to do with his personal belief if there was any fraud in the recent elections in Georgia. He didn't answer that directly. He said that different people have different feelings about how the elections went last year. He did say that there were issues with the election that needed to be addressed. Here is what he said.


GOV. BRIAN KEMP, (R) GEORGIA: There were mechanical issues that needed to be fixed. There were reasons to try to figure out a better way, a more accessible way, and a more secure way for us to hold elections. And there is nothing wrong with that. We shouldn't apologize for wanting to make it easy to vote and hard to cheat.

Now, if we were making it less easy to vote and harder to cheat, then maybe there's an argument for boycotts and protests and moving all- star games. But that is not what happened.


CHEN: Let's read this statement from Cobb Tourism and Travel. They said that tourism is one of the hardest hit industries during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the initial stages of the pandemic, many Cobb Hotels saw single digit occupancy numbers. "The 8,000 plus MLB contracted hotel room nights that will not actualize as a result of the MLB All-Star relocation will have a negative impact on Cobb's hospitality industry and other local businesses, further delaying recovery."

The estimated lost economic impact from the MLB All-Star Game relocation is more than $100 million," Fred. So a lot of concern right now for these businesses in the area who were hoping for a real boost after the pandemic and will not be getting that from this game.

WHITFIELD: All right, Natasha Chen, thanks so much for that.

For a fact check of all the rhetoric and the confusion surrounding Georgia's new voting law, let's bring in CNN's Daniel Dale. So Daniel, let's start off with what President Biden has said about it.


DANIEL DALE, CNN REPORTER: President Biden has, of course, been very critical of the bill. Some of his criticism has been factual, but some of it has not been. Listen to something he said on ESPN on Wednesday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOE BIDEN, (D) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Or you're going to close a polling place at 5:00 when working people just get off? This is about keeping the working folks and ordinary folks that I grew up from being able to vote.


DALE: So this bill does not touch Election Day voting hours in Georgia, which are still 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., and it does not force Georgia to close the polls at 5:00 even in early voting. What it says is that there is a mandatory minimum of 9:00 to 5:00 hours, but the counties can go from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. if they want to.

Some critics have said, well, but yes it allows counties to shut at 5:00 if they want. The thing is, Fred, that they already allowed counties to shut at 5:00 under the previous bill. The previous bill said counties had to go normal business hours. So what this bill does is specify that normal hours means at least 9:00 to 5:00.

You can't say, for example, 10:00 to 4:00. There are other provisions of the law, I'll get to this, that are quite restrictive. But this hours thing is not one of them.

WHITFIELD: Here is another provision that has been quite controversial, this part about giving water and food to people waiting in the line to vote. What is the governor saying about that, and what are the facts?

DALE: So the governor is being misleading by leaving important parts of this provision out. He is saying, well, it only prohibits people from giving out food and water if you're within 150 feet of a voting location. What he's not mentioning is that it also prohibits people from giving out food and water if they're within 25 feet of any voter in line, even if they're beyond 150 feet from the building.

He is saying, look, this just prevents special interests groups and candidates from bothering voters in line. No, it does not only restrict special interests groups, people running for office. It says any person cannot hand out gifts, including food and drink. He is correct, there is one exception, county officials, election staff can set up an unattended water station. But he's leaving a lot out about the prohibition on everyone else giving out food and water.

WHITFIELD: And's the governor saying about the provisions that entail the drop boxes?

DALE: Yes, so he is really spinning that provision to the point of being misleading. So this new law will require big urban counties, say Atlanta's Fulton County, to significantly cut the number of drop boxes from the number they had in 2020. Fulton County had 38 boxes in the 2020 general election. They say they will now be forced to go down eight.

Kemp is saying this is not a cut, because the boxes were only authorized last year under a temporary pandemic rule. He says now they're a long-term part of actual law. But look, a cut from 38 under a special effect to eight in a long-term law is still a cut from last year to this year.

WHITFIELD: Big difference. All right, Daniel Dale, good to see you, thanks so much.

DALE: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: In the trial of Derek Chauvin, there was key, potentially damning testimony this week in court. The details on what was revealed, next.



WHITFIELD: Scared, threatened, sad, helpless, and kind of mad, that's how witnesses described feeling as they watched George Floyd lie under the knee of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged in Floyd's murder. The first week of testimony coming to a close after five days of emotional and potentially damaging eyewitness accounts. CNN's Josh Campbell has more from Minneapolis.


JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: The family of George Floyd kneeling in protest Monday, just hours before the testimony would begin in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former police officer accused of murdering their loved one. Prosecutors opened with the video that sparked a worldwide movement, capturing Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck, which they say killed him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can believe your eyes that it's a homicide. It's murder.

CAMPBELL: Chauvin's attorney argued the video doesn't tell the whole story, that Floyd died of an underlying heart condition, and --

JERRY BLACKWELL, PROSECUTING ATTORNEY: -- the ingestion of methamphetamine and fentanyl, and the adrenaline flowing through his body.

CAMPBELL: New video from the scene and emotional testimony seemed to drive the prosecution's case, like from Charles McMillian, the man heard on body camera pleading with Floyd to give into police.

CHARLES MCMILLIAN, EYEWITNESS: I feel helpless. I don't have a mama either. I just heard him.

CAMPBELL: Also heard for the first time since the beginning of the trial, Chauvin himself on police body camera footage as he defends his treatment of Floyd to McMillian.

DEREK CHAUVIN: I've got to control this guy because he's a sizeable guy. He looks like he's probably on something.

CAMPBELL: Arguably the strongest testimony for the prosecution came from members of the Minneapolis Police Department. Sergeant David Ploeger, now retired, was the supervising officer on duty. He was asked if Chauvin followed police protocol.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you have an opinion as to when the restraint of Mr. Floyd should have ended in this encounter?



PLOEGER: When Mr. Floyd was no longer offering up any resistance to the officers, they could have ended their restraint.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And that is after he was handcuffed and on the ground and no longer resisting?

PLOEGER: Correct.

CAMPBELL: The jury also heard from 35-year police veteran Richard Zimmerman, who testified it was totally unnecessary for Chauvin to kneel on Floyd's neck after he had been handcuffed, calling it deadly use of force.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Once you handcuff somebody, does that affect the amount of force that you should consider using?



ZIMMERMAN: Once a person is cuffed, the threat level goes down.

CAMPBELL: Chauvin's attorney attempted to undermine Zimmerman's credibility, arguing that Zimmerman is a detective, not a patrol officer.

ERIC NELSON, DEFENSE ATTORNEY FOR DEREK CHAUVIN: And it would not be within your normal role or job duties to do such a use of force analysis, right?

ZIMMERMAN: That's correct.

CAMPBELL: During the week of testimony, a common emotion emerged from some of the eyewitnesses -- remorse. Christopher Martin was a cashier who suspected Floyd handed him a fake $20 bill, an interaction that initiated the policy response. The teenager was asked what he now feels about the encounter.



MARTIN: If I would have just not taken the bill, this could have been avoided.


CAMPBELL (on camera): The trial will resume on Monday. The court isn't telegraphing in advance who the witnesses will be, but we are expecting that the chief of police here in Minneapolis may testify. But again, Fred, one theme that we have seen thus far in week one of testimony in this case, some of the most damning testimony has come from Chauvin's fellow officers in the Minneapolis Police Department who have rejected this notion that he was somehow acting within policy when he pinned George Floyd's neck to the pavement for over nine minutes. Fred?

WHITFIELD: It has been a stunning and very sad week. Josh Campbell, thank you so much.

And we'll be right back.



WHITFIELD: From allegations of extortion and sex trafficking to new accusations of sharing nude photos on the House floor, the scandal surrounding Congressman Matt Gaetz gets stranger by the day. CNN has obtained audio recordings Gaetz shedding light on his relationship with a Florida politician who has been indicted with underage sex trafficking.

Gaetz is responding to all of the allegations against him with a blanket denial.

With me now, CNN political commentator Ana Navarro, and legal analyst Jennifer Rodgers. Good to see both of you ladies. So I want to go through this audio with you. First we've got this radio interview from 2017 where Gaetz promotes this Florida politician Joel Greenberg for a potential run for Congress. Take a listen.


REP. MATT GAETZ, (R-FL): Joel Greenberg has gone into the Seminole County tax collector's office and taken it by storm. He has been a disruptor. So I think that if Joel Greenberg runs, with his ability to fundraise, with his ability to put his own skin in the game for his campaign, if Joel were to run from Seminole County, I think he would become the next congressman from the seventh district.


WHITFIELD: So Ana, you first. What does this tell you about their relationship?

ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: That they obviously know each other, and they have a close relationship. And I think that we have seen more evidence of that.

Look, Fred, this is so upsetting and disturbing, particularly as a Florida voter. I really do think that we need better representation than this. And this is a -- it's like this onion we are looking at, where every moment it is one more layer of the onion that gets unpeeled. So far, there have been no indictments. There is a presumption of innocence unless and until we see more and he is found guilty.

But what we have seen is that whether what he has done is criminal or whether he gets indicted or not, he is a superfreak. He is a superfreak who does not deserve to hold the office of congressman representing the state of Florida, particularly when you are supposed to belong to the party that is about Christian and family values.

It's absolutely disgusting, it's unseemly and unstatesmanlike, and it's grotesque. It's the kind of thing that will get him expelled from any prep school or any university. It's the kind of the behavior that would not be accepted in practically any other job place except in Congress.

WHITFIELD: We also have this other bizarre voicemail that we would examine here. Gaetz and Greenberg left this voicemail together, Jennifer, for another Florida lawmaker. Listen.


JOEL GREENBERG: My dear, Anna, this is your favorite tax collector. I'm up in the Panhandle with your favorite U.S. Congressman, Mr. Gaetz.


GREENBERG: And we were chatting about you and talking about your lovely qualities.

GAETZ: We think you're the future of the Democratic Party in Florida.


WHITFIELD: So Jennifer, that also underscores the icky factor that Anna was talking about there. But what do you make of that audio?

JENNIFER RODGERS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it's really interesting, Fred, because we know that Joel Greenberg was charged with a wide variety of offenses last summer, including stalking, for stalking a political rival.

So it's now looking like what we have learned in the last couple days as the leaks continue to come out is that Matt Gaetz is being investigated for much more than just the initial travel with a 17- year-old that we first heard about, but seems to be involved potentially, at least, or is being investigated for some of the activities that Joel Greenberg was involved in and has been indicted for.

So if the person that we are calling is the political rival was the subject of the stalking charges for Joel Greenberg, it's possible that that is one of the things that Matt Gaetz is now being investigated for, whether he participated in that enough to warrant charges. WHITFIELD: And this is where it gets really serious and upsetting,

because sources are telling CNN that Gaetz has a reputation for bragging about his sex life, including showing off photos of nude women that he claimed to have slept with to other lawmakers.


Gaetz has not responded to CNN for a comment on this, but Ana, we're talking about reports of him showing these images of nude women on the House floor. No indication that this is connected to the Justice Department probe, but if it turns out to be true, what are the potential consequences? What is anyone to assess here about the fitness of this Congressman, three-term Congressman Gaetz?

NAVARRO: Well, as far as the potential congressmen, look, he represents probably one of the safest Republican districts in the country. And so if he is the Republican nominee, I'm not sure what would have to happen for him to lose that seat. But definitely, if Kevin McCarthy wants to have a straight face, if he wants to behave like a minority leader, like a true leader, if he wants to have any moral standing on anything, he should investigate this.

And he should ask his caucus and his members, is this true? Was he showing pictures of nude women and of his sexual exploits on the House floor? Because if that happens to be true, despite the fact that it is might not be criminal, again, it might just be kinky and freaky, but if it happens to be true, it should not be happening on the House floor.

And Kevin McCarthy needs to take steps, strip him from his committee assignments, and make sure that there are consequences if he ever wants to lecture about family values and Christian values.

WHITFIELD: And Jennifer, we're talking about multiple types of investigations here, FBI, Department of Justice. How do you assess it all?

RODGERS: Well, it's all one big Department of Justice, and I think that it's being handled, as I've read at least out of the public integrity section in Washington D.C., so that is going to be the control center calling the shots, likely with help from Florida FBI as well. But it sounds like there are a lot of different things that they're looking at.

Ana is right, that likely wouldn't be criminal in terms of showing pictures and the like. But there is a lot of things that have been reported in the papers that are certainly criminal. So it is going to be a matter collecting the evidence, seeing if there is enough, and then seeing whether in terms of prosecutorial discretion they want to go ahead.

Some of the things that have been discussed, like campaign finance crimes, are not always handled criminally, so that will be part of the mix as well. But we are just going to have to wait and see what DOJ does. WHITFIELD: OK, Jennifer Rodgers, thank you so much. Ana Navarro, stick

around as you and I will also reflect on a very tough week of trial. The trial of Derek Chauvin will have implications far beyond the verdict. We'll talk about that next.



WHITFIELD: All right, let's reflect, as hard as it is going to be, on an especially hurtful week. This was the first week of testimony in the trial of a former Minneapolis police officer who, according to video evidence and eyewitness testimony, killed George Floyd. But this was also a hard look in the mirror for America, both the tapestry and culmination of everyday experiences for much of black America.

MMA expert Donald Williams shared with us how he stayed within his body but verbally challenged the officers to stop what they were doing. He wouldn't take the bait of Defense Attorney Eric Nelson who preferred to use the word "angry" in reference to him and the growing crowd. Williams describing his demeanor this way.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I proved professional. Professionally I stayed in my body. You can't paint me out to be angry.


WHITFIELD: Resident Charles McMillian told the court and us how five days prior to George Floyd's death he said to Officer Derek Chauvin, now you get home to your family so we can get home safely to ours. And then McMillian seeing Officer Chauvin pinning down Floyd, watched over the takedown like a concerned citizen, saying you can't win.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not trying to win. I'm not trying to win. I'll get on the ground, anything.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get in the car.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He know it, too, Mr. Officer. You all hear me? Don't do me like that, man.


WHITFIELD: And in a moment, foreshadowing and reality come crashing together. The seasoned and the young forever impacted. Prior to McMillian breaking down on the stand, who could forget the voice of now 18-year-old D.F. who testified she has nightmares, and, like store clerk Christopher Martin, is ridden with guilt. If only she could have done something more. If only he had not done anything about the counterfeit $20.

Insurmountable grief, guilt compounded, dropped on, inserted into so many innocent people forever impacted, and forever gone senselessly after such cruelty and barbarism.

According to the week's testify, a jovial, tender father, brother, affectionately described a mama's boy, and vulnerable yet affable boyfriend, all wrapped up in the many we've all come to be familiar with, George Floyd.

In one week, so much anguish on display and felt, a sad reflection on the horrific moment from one year ago, a heartbreaking reflection of where we continue to be in America.


So joining me right now to discuss is Cornell William Brooks, a civil rights attorney and former president and CEO of the NAACP, and Ana Navarro, a CNN political commentator. Cornell, you first. How did this week of testimony hit you?

CORNELL WILLIAM BROOKS, HARVARD UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR: This week of testimony was extraordinary difficult. Why? Because African-Americans have been told over and over again, if you just comply you won't be killed by the police. And what we saw in the testimony and heard in the testimony of witness after witness after witness is that George Floyd was pinned to the ground with his hands cuffed behind him, with the officer's knee on his neck. He involuntarily complied. He posed no risk.

So though he involuntarily complied, he yet died. The witnesses in the crowd, the bystanders in the crowd, they morally begged Derek Chauvin not to kill George Floyd, they morally begged, but they did not physically intervene. They, too, complied, and yet George Floyd died, was murdered, and they are yet racially traumatized, as are all of us.

Please note this. This trial took place between the Jewish observance of Passover and the Christian observance of Easter. So when Derek Chauvin used his knee to pin George Floyd's neck on to the pavement in Minneapolis, Derek Chauvin also used his knee to pin George Floyd's neck on the pages of the Jewish Torah, on the pages of the Christian Bible, both of which declare thou shalt not kill.

So this week for millions of Americans has been extraordinarily traumatizing and triggering because we've had to see the video yet again and again, listen to these witnesses tell us what we already know, that which common sense and compassion yet declares that we are eyewitnesses to a murder, to a murder, a flesh and blood taking of life. And so, yes, this has been extraordinarily difficult week.

WHITFIELD: Really. Ana, I understand you like me crying all week watching this. It was hard to watch. It was important to watch. But it is indelible for all of us.

NAVARRO: First, Fred, thank you for letting me speak on this, because I think too often this trial gets portrayed as a black issue, as a black trial, as something that is affecting the back community. And of course it is. George Floyd was black, and there's been way too many George Floyds. There's been way too many Emmet Tills in history.

But it's not only a black issue. It is not only a black problem. This is a humanitarian problem. This is a lack of humanity that should break the hearts of every American. And I wish every American was paying attention and was watching this trial, as hard as it is.

It shouldn't be that our whiteness allows us to look the other way or to not follow it in detail, because it helps you understand why it is then that saying words like Black Lives Matter matters. It helps you understand so much of the history and so much of the emotional baggage.

And this is something that all of us in America need to work on solving, the racial tensions, the racial issues, the lack of humanity. Look, if that video, if that video were of somebody standing on the neck, kneeling on the neck of a tied-up animal, all of America would be shocked and would be horrified. And it is up to all of America to be shocked and horrified and disgusted by what we have seen. We cannot look the other way.

So I'm telling you this. If you are not black, you need to watch what is happening. Every African-American knows that this already has to happen, and that this has gone on for hundreds of years in this country. It's the rest of us that cannot afford to look away, that must know that this is happening and why people feel the way they feel.

WHITFIELD: Yes. Ana Navarro, Cornell Brooks, thank you so much. Isn't it our collective dream that this nightmare that we all saw again in real-time, on videotape, through testimony, can help break this cycle?


BROOKS: It must.

WHITFIELD: It has got to. Thank you so much to both of you.

BROOKS: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: We'll be right back.


WHITFIELD: All right, thanks so much for joining me today. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. But before we end this hour, I want to welcome the newest member of the CNN weekend show team, Jim Acosta, anchoring CNN NEWSROOM right after me now on Saturdays and Sundays.

Jim, good to see you. Congratulations. What you got coming up?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN HOST: Thank you, Fredricka.